Unusual But Important — Dynafit Breakage

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 22, 2011      

Yesterday, Colin Samuels sent me a message and photos from France, about a mode of Dynafit breakage he experienced. He’s recently been publishing about this elsewhere, and it seemed appropriate to get a discussion going here at WildSnow since we’ve got somewhat unique insight into the whole Dynafit spectrum.

From my own experience I can say this form of breakage is extremely rare (I’ve actually seen it before, but only on bindings with so much use they should have been in the scrap heap). Nonetheless, even if this has only happened a few times on fresh bindings, anyone with moderately heavy use on their Dynafit bindings should be inspecting the toe base metal structure for cracks. As Colin relates in his take (below), such cracks might not be obvious. I’m thinking the best way to test for cracks might be to do a sort of release bench check with the boot in the binding. Or, perhaps good lighting and a magnifying glass would be the way to examine the binding.

Also, I’m thinking that it might be smart for those of you using FT with big boots and big skis to install the Dynafit Power Plate, since it provides more support at the outside edge of the binding base. Again, I’d repeat that this failure mode is rare, but at the same time if it does happen it is very catastrophic (sort of the ultimate pre-release), so I feel it’s our responsibility to get this out there for you guys.

Dynafit FT breakage, click image to enlarge.

Dynafit FT breakage, click image to enlarge.

Dynafit FT breakage, click to enlarge.

Dynafit FT breakage, click to enlarge.

Colin’s own take included quite a bit of conjecture as to causality and possible consequences, but I think he’s worth reading. He published over at TGR, I repeat the same thing below. I’ll publish everything Colin wrote, but remember to separate fact (the binding broke) from theory (why it happened, or what Dynafit is doing or should be doing about it.)

Another thing that occurs to me is that the base of the FT binding toe is actually NARROWER than that of the ST. I always found that to be strange. It is possible that the small amount of difference could allow just enough flex in the binding base for metal fatigue to take place (regardless of what kind of “Torsion Plate” or whatever the binding base is ostensibly trying to be.).

Of interest to me and perhaps to some of you long time WildSnow readers, you might remember that some time ago we conjectured about how the newer generations of Dynafit bindings would hold up to being used basically as alpine bindings, since they were originally designed without that purpose in mind. It’s indeed been amazing how well the binding has evolved to a grabber that can support big skiers, boots and skis. But it’s still built to be LIGHT, so the engineering challenge of keeping it durable is quite difficult.

In Colin’s take he talks quite a bit about the “Torsion Bridge” having some causality in this. Could be, but I’d say it’s more likely metal fatigue caused by big boots and skis working the binding base plate in an area where it doesn’t have much direct support down on the ski. Or, perhaps that’s what Colin means? For the record, I publish Colin’s take below:

I am 6’2″, 185lbs on Factor Boots and Megawatt skis 2008 model (white). The bindings that failed were FT 92mm binding (re-fitted with 110mm breaks), Din 12 and purchased in France on March 2010. The bindings were mounted with a jig by a Dynafit certified technician on a new pair of skis. The bindings had roughly 30 days of use before failure occurred. The heels were set at 12, a turn left from maximum. The toes were locked.

I had experienced a toe pre-release one and two days prior in totally different situations – one just after the first turn off the lift and the second on a high speed ride through a low-angle field of broken-crud studded with hard snow chunks. I felt right away that both of these pre-releases were strange, as I have been skiing Dynafits for ten years with no previous problems in similar conditions. I checked the toes for cracks and verified that there was no ice under the boot or in the toe piece among possible causes.

It is my guess that the toe piece plate was already cracked and weakened, but not completely sheared yet, as seen in photo. But I did not know this at the time as the crack must have been hidden from view.

On the third day, during a traverse on soft snow at medium to high speed, the binding suddenly released at the toe for no reason and the ski shot out from under me. I made a controlled fall and discovered the toe piece had failed. I was lucky not to have hit a tree or rock.
If the failure had happened earlier in the run, there is a good chance I would not be alive to tell this story.

Cause of failure appears to be from two different reasons:

1- The newly designed torsion-bridge under the FT Toe Piece creates a “lever effect” which I believed caused the failure by adding additional stress just under the screws, as seen in the photo. The ST and TLT models for example do not have the torsion-bridge and their toe plates are a lot wider and thus give a wider distribution of force around the toe piece screws.

2- The exposed metal of the broken toe piece exposes white looking spots in the metal itself which begs the question as to Dynafit’s quality control and quality of the metal itself.

Conclusion: The FT series torsion-bridge causes additional torsion to the toe plate screws which can result in unpredictable pre-releases and/or complete failure in the form of shearing of the metal toe plate around the screws.

Serious injury or Death can result from such an unpredictable failure.
There is no doubt that the new torsion-bridge can not handle mixed/hard
conditions under higher speeds when skied with a combination of a 4 buckle Freeride type-boot (e.g.Factor) and fat skis 110mm underfoot or greater (125mm under foot in my case).

Thus, the FT is simply overwhelmed at the toe piece because of the poorly designed FT torsion-bridge.

Dynafit, in their description of the FT on their website states:

The patented mechanical four-point link between binding and boot, along with the intricate torsion-bridge between toe and heel, provides a previously unknown degree of force distribution to the ski.

Ironically, it is my belief that the torsion-bridge actually creates additional weakness to the toe piece by increasing torsion directly under and around the toe-plate screws, especially when used with fat skis. Also, it may be possible that there was a quality issue with the metal used. However, upon receipt of the broken binding, Dynafit never requested a serial # for the binding which leads me to believe that they were not concerned about faulty metal/poor quality control.

However, it is possible as well that the metal used in the toe-piece is of inferior quality and this is also what added to the failure, or was possibly the principle cause.This would require a detailed study, which Dynafit has not undertaken to my knowledge.

Incidentally, last winter here at the same ski area, another Dynafit FT failed exactly at the same place in the toe piece through sheering; the skier was of similar build, with a similar fat ski/stiff boot combo.

After 10 years of skiing 500 plus days on Dynafits I have never experienced any serious problems of this nature. I have not only skied many rare steep descents with Dynafits, but I have convinced many friends to trust their lives with the Dynafit binding system.

Now, I have serious and well-founded doubts that the Dynafit binding system, FT 12 or others, can safely handle the additional torsion and power created by the modern Freeride Boot/Fat Ski combo when skied aggressively in mixed conditions and terrain.

I warn all Dynafit users to seriously consider the consequences of a failure as described and documented here.

I will continue to use my Dynafits (without the torsion-bridge of course!) but I refuse to use FT’s or other Dynafit models for lift-accessed freeriding involving high speeds and high torsional forces in mixed snow conditions.

Please spread the word about this failure of the FT, and the risk it poses.

I believe Dynafit has known about this problem since 2010 and that they have kept such failures quiet as they hurriedly designed a new toe piece/ torsion-bridge to prevent future failures as I have described here. It will be interesting to know if anyone else has experienced similar failure with FT torsion-bridges.

Hopefully Dynafit will both warn its customers of potential and sudden failure of its FT Binding series, as well as make the needed improvements to avoid any future failures. If not, I sadly predict serious injuries/fatalities in the near future among Dynafit users, especially those with FT torsion-bridges.

La Meije, France
January 21st, 2011

Dynafit FT toe wing overhang.

Dynafit FT toe wing overhang. Truly surprising this would hang MORE than ST model. I'd been aware of this for a long time, never saw any failures so thought it was a non-issue. I was wrong. Click image to enlarge.

Dynafit ST overhang

Dynafit ST overhang, significantly less than current FT model. Rather surprising, but perhaps that's why I've always felt ST was perfectly fine for nearly anyone. Sure, it doesn't go to eleven, but most people don't want to rip their foot off their leg if they fall, so good.

Dynafit FT backcountry skiing binding cracks

Another photo from Colin.

Radical ST no overhang

Radical ST for 2011/12, no overhang. All other Dynafit models for 2011/12 are similar in that none have any overhang of the toe wings.


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121 Responses to “Unusual But Important — Dynafit Breakage”

  1. Ben January 22nd, 2011 12:32 pm

    If you can get a close up picture of the broken surfaces, usually there will be a darker part and a lighter part in a piece that failed from fatigue. The darker surface is the part that was cracked before final failure and has oxidized, the lighter part is the clean metal that was exposed when it finally cracked all the way through. There are also differences in the texture of the break surfaces – the dark part is smooth, the light final failure part is more irregular. Google for “bicycle crank failure” to see example pictures, like this one:


  2. Rick Hewat January 22nd, 2011 12:34 pm

    totally off topic but just wanted to post some avalanche footage. Happened up in British Columbia around Rettalack. I didn’t take the footage and was not there but it was posted on facebook and making the rounds. Quite a large slab, meter or so deep and right from the top of the mountain. Anyways, a great reminder of avalanche danger for us all. Only way I can fugure to post it is via my facebook page. Cheers!


  3. Maki January 22nd, 2011 3:43 pm

    It seems that even if Colin’s theory is right the new bindings are fixed. Speaking of those, have you tried the effectiveness of the power towers replicating your “hand pushing” test? Undue releases frighten me much more than possible breakage, and I’ve seen it happen too often (read “rarely, which is still too often”).

  4. Dave January 22nd, 2011 4:17 pm

    Like on previous posts, we need to be wary of mounting dynafit/tech bindings to fat skis. These are tried and trued bindings with the recent development in fat skis, we are seeing an increasing amount of binding failure.

  5. Samo January 22nd, 2011 3:39 pm

    Hi, powerplates and now bindings are a very good news and maybe solution for fat skis. Bud for wider skis then 100mm I am afraid that this is not enough. In soft snow it should not be a problem but in hard or icy condition there is much greater force on the opposite screws and metal. In soft snow force from ski boots is transmitted all over the ski width maybe by some mathematical function I guess logarithm or exponent. But on ice: in turn most of the ski is not on snow so power is not transmuted all over the ski width. My opinion is that lever is still quite short so torque force is very high. Also, at tech bindings most of the lateral force is transmitted via the toe, so load on screws is even higher.
    I also have had problems with my FT12 (first edition). Bindings were mounted on the Head Monsters 88 with width 88mm, top alu sheet and sandwich construction. Last February I ski on hard snow slope and one ski broke under the toe. Alu plate crack and inner wood broke so all core looked up. I am sure skis were ok no problem there. Of course I did not ski soft and it was a carving turn. I am around 80 kg. In spring alu fraction in heel unit also broke, this issue is already presented on Lou’s page: http://www.wildsnow.com/618/dynafit-durability/ (third picture). Before that I had broke naxo nx21 and it was also lateral issue. I think Dynafit should make completely new binding for wide skis with wider screws location and wide power support plate so force would be better distributed on the ski surface. They can also make a little stronger heel unit.
    After my problem with the toe I made stainless steel plates and no problems with toe till now. But I do not dare to put a tech binding on wider skis then 100mm, certainly not on 125mm. For serious touring backcountry use and expeditions, I think Dynafit or other tech bindings are still the best chose. But for hardcore aggressive skiing and cliff hucking I would go with Duke or Baron.
    photo (my post): http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3151681&posted=1#post3151681

  6. Glenn Sliva January 22nd, 2011 7:41 pm

    As an engineer: the bend flxing of the FT overhang is enough to cause failure of the base. The new supported 2011 improved model with no overhang should eliminate the flexing that caused this failure. Intuitively you can imagine the bending of the old coat hanger too many times causing breakage.

  7. Mark January 22nd, 2011 7:59 pm

    I’m planning on putting ST’s on a 116 waisted ski and I am having a hard time getting worked up about the potential to break the binding. Seems awfully uncommon. I mean, I know of alpine bindings breaking too, and it never led to the conclusion of design flaw. But then I am well within the average range in terms of ski aggression…

  8. Randonnee January 22nd, 2011 8:39 pm

    Dynafit seems to mostly hold up for my use for 10 years. I broke Fritsches which broke at the bar in front of the brake while I was powder skiing. When I Pro Patrolled, I broke Tyrolia, Geze, and Marker bindings just skiing around. I broke three of the older plastic “volcano” heel lifts from Dynafit. While ascending very steep and really pushing I caused the heel of the Dynafit to pull the screws from an FR10 ski, then the ski failed, broke. Thus far I have not broken any other parts of the Dynafit Tri Step, Comfort, Speed, FT 12, or the Vertical. I have been skiing Dynafit as much as 80 days per season since 2001 and I weigh 100 kg. Overall I trust the Dynafit system and it seems to stand up to my use.

  9. Nick January 22nd, 2011 9:02 pm

    Just had a look at my STs and, perhaps I’m being mislead by the photos, but there seems to be another difference that might be significant. On my STs the front of the metal plate is straight across the ski. On the photos the front of the FT toe plate appears to taper back – narrowing the metal in front of the front screw holes. Wonder if that is where the cracking started?

    I note the new toe pieces are cast, not pressed from sheet. Although castings LOOK more robust than pressed sheet, I hope they are very high quality castings – crack failures due to defects in castings are hardly unknown!

  10. Nick January 22nd, 2011 9:07 pm

    On second thoughts I suppose I should be reassured about the castings by the toe pincers also being castings. Although the new toe pincers now have an additional hole in them. Glad I’m not an engineer designing safety critical parts!

  11. Lou January 22nd, 2011 9:11 pm

    Nick, ‘I’ m not sure what you’re referring to, but know that the FT and ST toe units in existing models (other than recent FT’s with stronger springs) are exactly the same, only sitting on a different plastic base.

  12. Lou January 22nd, 2011 9:17 pm

    I’d agree that for most people this is not a panic situation. Yes, other bindings break as well. Good to keep that in mind. But I think the type of breakage Colin experienced should simply not happen if the binding is mounted correctly, etc. Thus, I have a concern in that area. Thousands of these bindings will remain in use over coming years, so if this is any sort of potential problem we really need to stay on top of it, and so does Dynafit. Lou

  13. Jonathan Shefftz January 22nd, 2011 9:19 pm

    Just holding the toe-heel “connector” in hand before mounting, I don’t see how that can be playing any role — it’s super flexible and moreover the toe and heel pieces overlap without really “connecting” together.

  14. Jay January 22nd, 2011 9:22 pm

    I broke a dynafit like that once….after I accidently on stupid drove over it!!

  15. John Gloor January 22nd, 2011 9:23 pm

    Lou, the new radical base looks significantly stronger and thicker than the current ST/FT toes. Is it cast steel or aluminum?

  16. Lou January 22nd, 2011 9:29 pm

    It is drop forged aluminum, and though thicker, there is no way for us consumers to really know if it’s any stronger or weaker than previous design.

  17. Fernando Pereira January 22nd, 2011 11:28 pm

    An additional issue to consider is whether the bindings had been mounted correctly. A recent experience suggests that even shops with good reputation and experience sometimes make alignment mistakes mounting tech bindings,

  18. jmr January 23rd, 2011 6:17 am

    I read the post on TGR and did not quite get it, but your picture of the overhang tells it really.
    Any movement will induce fatigue and any notch or scratch could initiate the crack.

    As for finding hidden cracks, consider taking them down to your local engine builder/rebuild place and either have them sprayed or buy some flaw-finder spray yourself to inspect you binders every once in a while .

    The light weight binding designs are pretty minimal so while i’m shure they have done some FEM modelling on the new plates, the strenght in reality in a bit of an unknown and checking a highly stressed component periodically seems to make sense .

  19. Lou January 23rd, 2011 8:03 am

    Fernando, I’d agree that a really bad mount, with loose screws, could contribute to this. But Colin is very experienced and says he was checking his bindings, so I doubt that was a factor.

    EVEN SO, the only way to figure this out for sure would be to put a binding and boot on a testing machine that cycled the boot in a rolling flex until the binding broke, or didn’t. Since this model of binding will no doubt be discontinued at some point to make way for the Radical series, I doubt anyone has the time for such testing.

    Dynafit told me they do some durability testing, but they were not specific. Rolling flex testing would be easy to set up for a testing facility.

  20. Lou January 23rd, 2011 7:47 am

    I’d also add that from an engineering standpoint, so long as the binding base is as wide as the wings, it’s as strong and stable as it’s going to get. It’s fantasy to think that the wider the binding base, past width of boot, that it’s somehow stronger. Once the binding base is screwed to the ski it is basically part of the ski as much as it is part of the binding, and any forces work both directions.

    Also, let’s get past the mythology of how much wider some bindings are than others. Here is the myth buster post:


    The main takeaway from all this is that how the binding and screw pattern are engineered is much more important than which binding looks wider than another. More, now that Colin shared this, I continue to be surprised that the supposed Sir Macho FT 12 has a narrower toe base than the tried and true ST. Just weird. Like, who cares if it is “white carbon,” really just fiberglass reinforced plastic?

    Above said, ENTER THE 2011/2012 Radical models, which prove our concerns are valid…

  21. scottyb January 23rd, 2011 1:19 pm

    That new Dfit binding does look quite a bit more “burly” than previous models.

  22. vlad January 23rd, 2011 3:07 pm

    however, as Lou points out, just because it “looks” burlier doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
    dynafit makes great products, but Colin’s comments should be seriously considered.

  23. vlad January 23rd, 2011 3:14 pm

    also i think lou’s comparisons above about the ST and FT nails the issue. my guess is the failure noted by Colin is not related to fatigue, but rather one sudden shock (or loading) event that did the initial damage. it then just broke later.

  24. Jason January 23rd, 2011 3:26 pm

    Welp, I only have a few kicks in my 12’s I hope that is way out there. I like to ski fast! Falling hard would be no good.

  25. Lou January 23rd, 2011 3:46 pm

    One thing occurs to me, that is even though one side of the binding with ST or Radical FT is supported from under, it’s still not supported from above. So when the boot is in rolling force, it presses down on one side of the binding but pulls UP on the other side. For all I know that could be the upward mechanism that caused Colin’s breakage, not downward force.

  26. Tim January 23rd, 2011 4:38 pm

    Lou, this is a very good point about upward pressure on the opposite wing.

    I was pondering this looking at the “power towers” and reflecting on whether or not the boot toe could “roll against” the tower and actually exert more force on the opposite wing than with the older design.

    Another armchair engineer…. :mrgreen:

  27. John Gloor January 23rd, 2011 5:09 pm

    Lou, I would have thought you had realized this a long time ago. One can also see how having a wider screw pattern, possibly even as wide or wider that the toe pinchers, would reduce the leverage on the screw opposite the edge being pressured. Note: I have never had a Dynafit problem, but I have only had them less than three seasons.

    Looking at the new Radical binding, I hope the pincher pivot is strong enough, given the change from steel to aluminum

  28. Lou January 23rd, 2011 5:36 pm

    Gloor, I’ve known for a long time that the FT base was narrower than ST, since they came out, what I tried to say in my inept way is that I didn’t think it was a big deal, but now I’m having second thoughts. As for screw leverage, my opinion is that unless there is a significant increase in screw pattern width, that aspect is psychological unless you’re actually pulling properly mounted bindings out by the screws while doing normal skiing. I understand the need for reliable bindings, but we have to separate real needs from theoretical. While I’ve heard of some screw pullouts, I’ve never heard of any more with Dynafit than any other binding system… actually, ditto for breakage, but due to the nature of the breakage the Colin reports I felt it was something I wanted to cover. Nonetheless, if only a few people experience it out of tens of thousands of bindings in use, it might be a bit blown out of proportion. We shall see.

  29. Deniski January 23rd, 2011 5:45 pm

    Hey, if one wants to ski steep, technical and radical slopes then don’t compromise.
    And ski touring gear is always a compromise.
    Sorry. :mrgreen:

  30. John Gloor January 23rd, 2011 6:02 pm

    I agree Lou. The binding width in this case might not have been an issue. The screws did not pull out of the ski, but the screw holes failed where the metal was the narrowest.

  31. John January 23rd, 2011 7:15 pm

    I originally posted this under new Dynafit boots.

    The intent of this message is that as ski core materials become weaker, as the race for lighter skis continue, we will see the problem of bindings pulling out of skis increase. I just think it would be wise to offer larger diameter fasteners for less dense core skis as an option. The Dynafit continuously prove reliable for “extreme” ski mountaineering. Of course T-nuts are also an option.

    “Lou and Federico,
    Topic: Toe piece pull out
    Background: I have witnessed a toe piece pull out by one of the worlds top ski mountaineers no less then a minute after we skied a no fall pitch. Lou has photos of this which I’d like to keep private. This particular case of mounting may be questionable.

    Since Dynafit is redesigning their bindings, I have both a question and suggestion related to binding mounting. It is difficult to calculate screw pull out force when the female material is weaker then the screw. But by simply increasing the diameter of the fastener by 1mm, keeping engaged length and thread pitch the same, the mathmatical pull out force can be increased by 20%.

    I mount with West Systems low viscosity marine epoxy (will penetrate CF and wood) and because it is impervious to water (unlike most over the counter epoxies) it will strenghten the area around the fastener also increasing pull out strength, at least in wood or foam core.

    Will Dynafit consider increasing the fastener diameter?

    On a good note, the unamed skier did finish the trip on my pre-season Stokes. I have Dynafit bindings on all of my skis, and I trust they will not pull out, because I am meticulous about mounting.

  32. Lou January 23rd, 2011 8:08 pm

    John, yeah, guesswork indicates that if perhaps the screws were located more towards the outside (on top of a wider base) there would be less of a lever arm past the screws…

    Main thing is that the web community needs to really contribute to this, and share any other instances. If Colin’s thing is rare, it could just be a manufacturing defect. Still problematic, but better than a fundamental design flaw.

  33. Lou January 23rd, 2011 8:13 pm

    About screw pullout: A reinforcement plate near the ski top skin is what holds the screws, the core only contributes a bit, though that contribution can be increased by somewhat by using epoxy. At any rate, screws stay in skis by design, not random materials. The ski is either well designed or it’s not, whatever density the core material is.

    Another thing about all this: Just how much force are we expecting the human foot and leg to stand up to? At some point they become the weak link, rather than the ski core…

  34. Nick January 23rd, 2011 9:11 pm

    Lou. Looking at photos of your update on the newer version of the ST (http://www.wildsnow.com/2288/dynafit-st-bindings-comparo/) I think what I am seeing is a difference between the old and the new versions of the ST. I have the old version.

  35. Walt January 24th, 2011 1:53 am

    The word there was “lift”. He’s more of a area/side country skier. What on earth is he using Dynafits for? I can tour out just as fast on marker at bindings and Fritschis as I can with my Dynafits to all resort “backcountry” (side country) destinations. It’s only on real backcountry tours (after a couple of hours or so of skinning) does the wieght difference between Dynafits and heavier AT bindings come into play. That’s why I have dynafits… for long tours and climbs. Plus, Colin has the absolute burliest skis and boots that you can get. How can one possibly think that any dynafit bindings is going to be the weak link. It has too. I have BD factors too but they are too heavy for long tours. I just use them as my alpine boots. They are more comfortable to hike in too. But for touring in Dynafits, dynafit zero boots (or something like it) are the way to go. (at least 3 pounds lighter) I’m going off because I see this same ridiculous setup all the time where I live all the time. People just don’t know what they are doing. Dynafits are not DIN rated or built to hold up to resort skiing. These people are going to break a leg some day. Plus, why not have beefierl binding when you already have bury boots and skis?

  36. Walt January 24th, 2011 2:08 am

    It seems to be easy to order dynafit parts. Like for instance I know a whole toepiece is only $61. Couldn’t an owner ot FT bindings do away with the carbon strip (which I always questioned if it ever does anything other than look cool) and order ST base plates? And thus basically converting your FTs into STs? I have converted TLTs to STs by changing out the front levers ($18 a piece) and the the top piece / heel lifter. (TLT metal one for the ST plastic one)

  37. Colin January 24th, 2011 3:22 am

    Walt, this conversion you describe is what friends and I have now done.
    We keep the 12din heel and switch out the toe plates, discarding the carbon bridge.
    I use this set-up with wide breaks for lift skiing fatskis/factors in softer conditions.
    I have other skis mounted with STs and other binding set-ups for ski-alpinism and touring, which are never used for laps on the lift….
    It’s a compromise that I am happy with for now, until a better binding is produced.
    My main point with posting the original testimony on the FT failure was to
    get the word out to both warn people, and to see if other skiers have experienced any similar breakage. Maybe it was just a very isolated event…or maybe not.
    In any case, Dynafit and other companies have been marketing their gear for freeriding without proper testing/design, which I feel in criminal.
    Also, I was amazed that Dynafit never did any follow-up on my FT failure. They never asked details, serial numbers, etc nor did they ask to see the broken-off toe piece that I kept when I sent the rest of the binding back for warranty.
    When such failures happen to an automobile or truck company, for example, there is an investigation. Why should skiers accept faulty and poorly designed material that can cost them their lives? So, one of my main points here is that Dynafit can go and produce FT’s but they should not claim it is a beefy, top-of-the line Freeride binding. Hey, just look at their ads for the Green Machine: guys hucking cliffs!
    Of course, it is up to us, the consumers, to be discerning. I just felt that the AT market is being flooded with product labeled “freeride” etc that simply cannot handle the performance claims of the manufacturers and that serious injury or death can occur as a result.
    In my book, this is not only criminal, but morally wrong.
    For me, this whole issue goes beyond legal responsibility and touches moral values of responsibility towards ones fellow skiers.

  38. jmr January 24th, 2011 7:58 am

    But as the ”question” / statement by mr Walt . ”The word there was “lift”. He’s more of a area/side country skier. What on earth is he using Dynafits for?

    A simple google seach with Mr Samuels name would have provided you with that answer .


    One has to keep in mind that when you are skiing La Grave, or Chamonix you find yourself on a lot genuine no fall terrain (as in 110% ultra death guarantee) .. And a lot of it is semi lift served as well but some will require a 6 hour tour as well.. so if you have a binding failure you will find yourself on a huge glacier on one ski if all goes extremely well..

    So I share Mr Samuels concerns there.

    I agree that more stringent tests on gear would be good.. there are a lot of products that are marketed for freeride ( whatever that is) that have proved to be less than satifactory (Quest tech inserts, a whole host a avalance shovels that did not stand up to a basic test). For safety critical climbing gear there are UIAA standards and as the risk of a failure in aformentioned conditions amount to a similar risks it would not be to far fetched to at least test it on a stress rig for a few months.

    or in the case of a shovel.. give it to the dim big guy down the hall to dig a few pits somewhere. 🙄


  39. Walt January 24th, 2011 10:48 am

    When a company claims something (such as that the FT is a freeride binding) , you can’t just take their word for it. Sometimes you have to use common sense. Just look at the binding and something inside you should tell you otherwise. Yeah dynafits are great for situations where they are not going to hammered repeatedly such as touring and mountaineering. But for lift skiing … I can’t see how it’s not going to get metal fatigue. Just look at it. There is no way it will hold up very long. Then when you add the stiffest, baddest, biggest skis and boots to it, how is the dynafit not the weak link. My point is that since you ski megawatts and factors, you are looking for performance and are not trying to save weight. So, why not use a beefier binding that is going to hold up? Why take the chance?

  40. Sky January 24th, 2011 11:03 am

    I considered the FT12s a few times for the higher DIN. I could never stomach an actual purchase because they are more expensive, heavier, and any real improvement in the design in terms of durability was not readily apparent. Looking at these pictures, there is clearly more torque on the metal plate of the FT12 toes.

    It’s a bit ironic.

    PS – Walt, have you skied in the Alps? I would use the lifts there all the time and I would always be using Dynafits. It’s a different ballgame than North American skiing. Forgive me if you’re well aware of this, but your questions make me wonder.

  41. Christian January 24th, 2011 11:25 am

    Walt: looks can be deceiving – just look at all the failures there have been with dukes. That said, I do believe that the dynafit gear was designed for freetouring and not freeride. If skied too hard and to often in ski areas I think that there is more than the toe that will break (e.g. the metal part holds the pin in place). Even if the bindings was beefed up to handle all the stress – it would still look wimpy…but it is still probably stronger than a burly looking plastic binding (e.g. duke)

  42. vlad January 24th, 2011 1:28 pm

    hey colin, thanks for the follow up.
    curious as to what binding set up you use for some of the more hairy ski alpinism routes?

  43. scottyb January 24th, 2011 3:19 pm

    Any one know if the Dynafit power plates are actually available or just a fantasy?

  44. Colin January 24th, 2011 3:34 pm

    Hi Vlad,
    my current set-ups are as follows:
    lift skiing and soft snow (pow, wind buff, spring snow, etc):
    Factors, Megawatt 188 Whities (2008 model), Dynafit FT heel and ST toe and carbon bridge removed (of course) with wide dynafit brakes (split skins in the pack always ready!).

    lift skiing hard snow (like now):
    Lange 130 freeride boots with Factor liners (luv the boas!), Look Pivot 18 XXL binding, Megawatt 188 Whities (2008 model) or Ski Logik Bomb Squads/Depth Hoars with Look Pivots as well.

    For touring:
    Dynafit ST, Scarpa Spirit 3, Megawatt 188 Whities (2008 model) or Ski Logik Howitzers, split skins

    For steep or hard snow descents where I want more beef, I will go Alpine Trekker with the above lift ski set ups. It all depends on what I am doing.
    I have an old pair of amazing Rossy Axioms 115mm and some other cool fat, stiff skis with little side cut for steep descents.
    I ski 80-90% on the megawatts however, but they are not my go to ski if I know I am getting into bullet proof and 45-55deg/exposed.
    Still the Megawatts can handle quite a lot.
    I am currently testing Ski Logik Howitzers for steep descents cause they are so damn light and have a great side cut /flex for steeps. I am not decided on those yet, but will know by next week or so.

    So that is my current quiver for 150-200 days/year on the hill 🙂

  45. Bar Barrique January 24th, 2011 10:57 pm

    I have been looking at this post for a couple of days now, and, what strikes me is that it appears that Colin uses the bindings with the toes locked. If the binding is designed for use at a maximum DIN setting of 12; locking the toes could cause stresses to the toe piece that exceed the design of the binding.

  46. Colin January 25th, 2011 3:04 am

    Bar, lots of people are saying this…however is this really true. The lock down should only effect the ski if a fall occurs or “should” occur.
    Otherwise during normal skiing under high torsion, should lock down of toe really add stress to the toe piece, especially in the place of failure???
    I am very interested to hear what you and others think.

  47. Lou January 25th, 2011 10:07 am

    Colin, your participation is appreciated but there is no need to be baiting. Save that for TGR.

    I agree with you that skiing with the binding toe locked would generally not contribute to this problem. BUT, if you took a few falls with the toe locked it actually could.

    One of the important things in these situations is to separate fact from theory. The fact is your binding broke. Why and how it broke is theory. Good theory to talk about and guess about, but just theory.

    Another fact is that your breakage is extremely rare. That doesn’t mitigate it as a concern, but people even break alpine bindings in normal use, and plenty of other AT bindings have broken in normal use, so you can see why Dynafit isn’t blasting their take all over the airwaves. Such takes have to be measured and backed up by testing and so forth. For example, perhaps they made 10,000 bindings and four of them had defective metal, and out of those four, one is being skied hard and broke. Or two. Or three. This sort of thing is an ethical and business dilemma for companies to deal with, and though you as a consumer can shout from the mountain tops, here and TGR, and elsewhere, it takes time for a company to figure out the best way to deal with such things.

    For starters, the warranty and customer support system is one solution that’s always in place. YES, a warranty doesn’t work while you’re flying through the air with your ski gong the opposite direction, but warranty is part of the system. How the binding is used is also part of the system. If you read WildSnow, you know that I’m not a big fan of skiing with locked Dynafit toes. In fact, to anyone who does that regularly I say they should be on another binding. In your case, it occures to me that if you had NOT been locking the toe, the cracked or broken base unit perhaps would not have been able to hold you in at all, and you would have known as soon as you put your bindings on that something was amis. Just a thought, but you get my point?

    Also, I would agree with you and others that Dynafit FT, while marketed as “freeride,” is not necessarily the most robust binding choice out there, and could quite possibly have failure points that show up in extremely hard use such as your 30 days in big boots on big skis, with the toe locked, etc.

    Just thinking outloud, but stuff to think about?

    Everyone wants to use lightweight tech bindings, but are they for everyone, in all types and style of skiing? Especially skiing that’s cable assisted and results in lots of vertical? While the marketing people would like you to think the answer to that is yes. I’ve always said that tech bindings are a specialized equipment that is indeed NOT for everyone. Don’t worry, I’m not directing that specifically at you Colin, but in general, I believe it’s a valid point.

  48. Samo January 25th, 2011 10:42 am

    Hi, Colin!
    I agree with you and I also think it would be intresting what Dynafit have to say about it. I also had a few problems with my FT12’s so last year I sent them mail with these text:
    “I suggest Dynafit to make one ski bindings for wider skis (example freeride FTZ14), mounting screw holes should be wider located on plate, so the distance between left screw holes and right screw holes would be at least 45mm and between upper and lower screw holes approx. 35mm. Plate connected with ski should be as wide as possible. I suggest at least 60mm, so that the lever between ski edge and binding would be shorter and lever between binding end and to the screws on the other side longer. Din settings could be up to around 14. I believe that such bindings would be competitive with Marker Duke, and also very lighter. And If is no one to test, I can test them.”
    But of corse no answer.

    PS: I wonder what kind of skis do you use for hard steep 55 or more degrees skiing? Width? Lenght? Cos my current touring setup is Elan 888 (88mm under foot) and Dynafit FT 12 (first year’s) remade: http://www.shrani.si/f/2Z/f9/vLbT3zL/predelanidyna.jpg Skis are quite narrow so I am thinking to use my alpine skis (110mm) also for steep descent but I am not sure how will they preform on hard snow. What are your experience? Thanks 😀

  49. Scott January 25th, 2011 12:29 pm

    Very important info here. I’ve had my toe pre-release a couple of times on hard snow, 110 underfoot and was lucky to only flail for a short distance. S

  50. Colin January 25th, 2011 3:58 pm

    The commercial director, Robert Gonzalez, of Dynafit France just responded on skitour.fr (where my testimony was translated by a forum guest into French and which has started a big discussion similar to Wildsnow.com).
     Here is what he said in French, followed by my translation into English:

    Je réponds aujourd’hui en qualité de DYNAFIT SALES MANAGER, je suis obligé de repositionner certains points concernant la FT12.
    C’est une fixation de ski de randonnée et non pas une fixation de freeride; si elle monte jusqu’à 12, c’est pour les skieurs qui arrivent vite à 100 kilos en
    charge avec sacs à dos et équipements.
    Elle est prévue pour être montée avec des skis qui possèdent des plaques de renforts afin d’éviter tout arrachement du top sheet du ski. De plus, nous conseillons de ne pas verrouiller le levier du bloc avant, premièrement pour des raisons de sécurité, mais aussi pour des raisons mécaniques.
    Dans cette position, le levier vers le haut, la chaussure ne va pas déclencher, elle rajoute donc une pression supérieure sur le top sheet . Si le ski est trop large, les contraintes sont alors multipliées et mécaniquement il faut que quelque chose lâche, soit le top sheet, soit le levier de la fixation.
    De plus, il est vrai que la FT 12 a une embase plus étroite que la ST Vertical, c’est pour cela que DYNAFIT a développé une plaque supplémentaire que l’on appelle “power plate” qui répartit mieux la charge sur le ski et évite ce bras de levier; elle est disponible depuis un mois en magasins ou sur commande.
    Nous sommes conscients que les pratiques évoluent vers des skis de plus en plus larges, c’est pourquoi nous avons élargi nos embases sur tous les modèles pour la saison prochaine, à l’exception des fixations de compétitions.
    Pour résumer, je vous rappelle que nous vous conseillons de ne pas verrouiller le levier en descente et, pour tous les skieurs qui possèdent un ski de plus de 95mn au patin, qu’il existe une plaque qui répartit la charge sur le bloc avant et qu’elle est disponible en magasin ou sur commande.
    dynafit vous accompagne depuis lomgtemps et vous remercie de votre confiance, nous sommes à votre écoute si vous avez des retours ou des remarques a nous communiquer sur nos produits nous sommes à votre disposition.
    Robert GONZALEZ

    I respond today as Dynafit Sales Manager (France), I am obliged to clarify certain points concerning the FT12.
    It’s a ski-touring binding and not a freeride binding; if it goes to 12 it is for skiers that approach 100 kilograms (220lbs) in weight with backpacks and gear.
    It is designed to be mounted on skis which have reinforced plates so as to avoid any ripping of the ski’s top sheet.  In addition, we advise not to block the toe piece, first for safety reasons, but also for mechanical reasons.
    In this position, the lever when raised up, the boot will not release, thus adding a superior pressure to the top sheet.  If the ski is too large (fat), the constraints are many and mechanically something must give, either the top sheet, or the binding lever.
    Also, it is true that the FT 12 has a base more narrow than the ST Vertical, it is for this reason that Dynafit has developed an additional plate that we call the “power plate” which better distributes the weight on the ski and avoids this lever effect; it is available beginning one month ago in stores or by order.
    We are conscious that the sport evolves towards larger and larger skis, and this is why we have widened our bases on all models for the following season, with the exception of competition bindings.
    To conclude, I remind you that we advise you not to block the toe lever during the descent and, for all skiers that own a ski larger than 95mm, that there exists a plate which redistributes the force on the front part which is available in stores or by order.
    Dynafit has been with you for a longtime and thanks you for your confidence, we give you our ear if you have responses or remarks to communicate to us about our products, we are at your disposal.
    Robert Gonzalez

  51. Colin January 25th, 2011 4:03 pm

    Skitour.fr has started a similar discussion to that on Wildsnow.com (skitour is the #1 ski touring site in French speaking Europe). My testimony was only translated yesterday into French by one of the forum participants. Just two days after the thread started, Dynafit France responded with the above.

  52. Lou January 25th, 2011 4:42 pm

    Well there you go.

  53. Colin January 25th, 2011 4:54 pm

    I agree with you Lou on your above points and I don’t mean to bait Dynafit.
    However, Dynafit France at least felt it was important enough today to respond to their French customers via skitour.fr., (see my above translation).


    Lou, my question is this: why must skiers accept bindings that break when used according to the manufacturers intended/implied use? Whatever the reasons for my particular binding failure, it is clear that the FT is one of many products marketed for “Freeriding” (which is commonly accepted as skiing hard and fast via lift or skinning) that in reality can not handle the intended/marketed use.
    As I said earlier, as a society we hold manufacturers morally and legally responsible if they make false claims or do not respond within reason to design or material flaws in their equipment. I repeat that I feel it is criminal for companies such as Marker, Fritschi, Dynafit and others to sell bindings that are known to have design flaws and material failures when used according to the marketing of such products. How many broken bindings and iinjured (or worse) skiers does it take to recall a binding or simply stop making it?
    I ask furthermore what will it take for the mind-set of both the ski industry and ski consumers to evolve towards solid bindings designed both for touring and “Freeride” skiing. As of today, there is not one such binding on the market that fits such a bill.
    This is my personal observation and I beg to be corrected and to be proven wrong. The truth is that I can’t wait to ski a touring/freeriding binding that I can fully trust and which performs as required.
    For now, my documented example of FT binding failure happened only to me and one other skier here in France. I pray it does not happen to anyone else.
    Imagine if it happened to one of you reading this, or to one of your loved ones or close friends. Imagine if a binding failed and the person riding it was put in a coma, paraylzed or killed. We all know this can happen if our bindings fail at the wrong time. This is our current reality as skiers who choose to tour and freeride with the same binding.
    Sadly, the current mindset is this: as skiers we all know touring bindings can fail and we all hope that it does not happen to us. We say to ourselves “If we ski softly or we are light on our gear then we should be exempt from injury or death. If we are heavier or ski harder, or use fat skis with high-performing boots then are chances will be greater that we will have an accident. And this is the chance we take.”
    Again, I beg to be corrected, to be proven that I am wrong in stating the above.

    The day someone comes out with a truly reliable touring binding for freeriding on fat skis and high performing boots, the ski industry and the life of the modern skier will change for the better. And the Dukes, Tour F12s, FT’s, Diamir Freeride Pro, Oynx etc, will slowly but surely be discarded and replaced by those of us who are waiting for a better and more trustworthy binding.
    I eagerly and impatiently await that day.
    How many near-misses (or worse) must occur for someone to design, test, manufacture and market the ultimate Touring Freeride Binding?
    Is it really that hard to do?
    Colin SAMUELS
    La Meije, France

  54. Lou January 25th, 2011 5:01 pm

    Colin, you’ve got good points, but what is wrong with Onyx for freeride application. As far as I know, that’s what it’s designed for and people like it. Ditto for Diamir Freeride Pro. Also, what’s wrong with the Duke? Are you saying the Duke has some sort of inherent flaw that makes it dangerous? I’ m not following.

  55. Matt January 25th, 2011 7:35 pm


    Where does one find Power Plates?
    You mentioned them in this post and I’ve been following the thread on TGR as well as searching in general about them. Can you shed any light on where or how we can get our hands on these?


    I’m thinking that it might be smart for those of you using FT with big boots and big skis to install the Dynafit Power Plate, since it provides more support at the outside edge of the binding base. [/quote]

  56. Mike January 25th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the heads up. Just checked the toes of my older tlt bindings and they have a crack all the way through by a back screw. The bindings have over 200 days on them and I weigh 160 lbs. Haven’t noticed it skiing up or down. But the crack is very visible. I guess I’ll try to warrenty them or get a new toe. Thanks again for the good info.

  57. Ben R January 25th, 2011 11:26 pm


    Thanks for posting your report. I find the reported failures and Dynafits’ response distressing.

    I found nothing on the Dynafit.us website, Mounting and Installation Instructions for Retailers, or User Instructions for Consumers that states or even implies using the FT bindings on ‘fat’ skis could result in failures, or that ‘Freeride Touring’ equals “a ski-touring binding and not a freeride binding; if it goes to 12 it is for skiers that approach 100 kilograms (220lbs) in weight with backpacks and gear,” as stated above by Mr. Gonzales.


    Designed for ski mountaineers who love the thrill of the descent. For maximum comfort and lightness on the ascent.”

    Mounting and Installation Instructions for Retailers:

    Type 3 skier
    •Ski aggresively. (Type 2 skiers “ski moderately” Type 1 “ski conservatively”)
    •Normally ski at higher speeds. (?Implying we sometimes ski at less than higher speeds and sometimes at greater than higher speeds?)
    •Favor higher than average release / retention settings.
    •Skiers who designate themselves Type 3 skiers accept a narrower margin of release in order to gain a wider range of retention.
    […]Skiers who desire release / retention settings higher than Type 3 may designate themselves (3+). Type 3 +.

    It is furthermore disappointing that Dynafit would sell a binding with a brake desigined for 110 MM waisted skis and then state that consumers should purchase an aftermarket “power block” for skis wider than 95 MM. Last time I checked Dynafit FT12 with 110 MM retail at $579.99 at REI.

    The manual does instruct skiers not to descend with toe pieces in touring modes. No arguing that skiing down with the toe in touring mode increases ones risk of injury secondary to not releasing; however, better than falling off a mountain.

    I completely love my Dynafit bindings. They are awesome! But, man if they break and I then I break… that would be a bummer.

    Dynafit, along with some other outdoor sports firms, could apparently benefit from a short history lesson in managing consumer safety crises:


    As always, Lou, your blog is indispensable.

  58. carl January 26th, 2011 2:27 am

    I can only imagine the carnage that you’ve saved the world from Colin. Thank you for this brave public service, informing all of us that bindings can break. I can sleep safely now

  59. Colin January 26th, 2011 6:27 am

    Your sarchasm is unwarranted.
    Already several people have emailed me and after reading Wildsnow report on FT Failure; and after checking their Dynafits they have found cracks. If even one person was spared an accident, that is important. As a fellow skier and a fellow human being, Yes, Cari, I will sleep better.
    Before, getting the word out was impossible without internet. Now ski companies will be much more on alert to deal with such issues in a responsible manner. Everyone is a winner in the long run with this.

  60. Colin January 26th, 2011 6:52 am

    Latest Dynafit USA marketing on their official website (and advertised on Wiildsnow.com) for their Titan ski boot:
    “Target group: Freeriders and Freeride Tourers looking for the best-in-class downhill performing boot, with incredible walk/tour ability, and compatibility with all alpine style bindings. Lightweight, yet powerful with a higher and stiffer rear spoiler. The Titan has no limits. You provide the adrenalin and imagination. We will provide the ultimate boot for the adventure. The Titan – Climb what you aim to ski! ”

    So what bindings do they suggest we use for such a boot? And what about use on fat skis?
    No limits???

  61. Lou January 26th, 2011 7:23 am

    I’d agree that Colin has some good points and that his published gear failure was important to get out there. That’s why we went ahead and joined the click party along with TGR and other websites that pant after breakage reports like a dog in the desert.

    On the other hand, there is none and never will be any sort of equipment that works for everything. That applies to everything from knives to sports cars. Clearly, Colin found a limit. He’s obvoiusly getting a bit repetative in shouting this out, hence a bit of scarcasm crops up.

    I’d say both to Colin and those getting a bit tired of the shouting: just tone it down, the point has been made.

    As for all you freeride skiers out there, Colin has pointed out to me that he feels there is NO touring binding made that can stand up to the rigors of true freeride skiing. In my view, there might never be such a binding, as it would basically weigh the same as an alpine binding paired with Alpine Trekker adapter, so why should companies bother making it? In view of that, those of you who are expecting bindings such as a lightweight Dynafit touring binding to hold up to World Cup racing types of forces and abuse, please please just use alpine bindings with Alpine Trekker adapters. Really, please. Pretty please. Please and thankyou.

  62. Lou January 26th, 2011 7:31 am

    Oh, and as for marketing speak, Colin, really, everyone knows that’s just a bunch of BS cooked up by who knows who, translated from who knows what language, and is just hype. It’s been that way since the first cave man tried to sell a string of saber tooth tiger toe bone beads to the cave girls walking by. Really, it is rather sophomoric to be pointing that out.

    Yes, Dynafit constantly dabbles in providing gear for freeride skiers, and tries to communicate that in their marketing words. But how that gear really performs is only known after it gets used and consumer reviewed. It’s that way with anything. That’s a big reason why WildSnow.com exists, and your report of real world use is part of that.

    I’d like to add one thing: I get a lot of private emails about gear choices. If someone had emailed me and asked what binding I’d suggest for a 6-2 tall 180+ pound guy doing lift served aggressive (freeride) skiing with associated touring at one of the gnarliest mountains in the world, I would not have suggested Dynafit bindings. That’s not to criticize Colin for his gear choice nor to try and invalidate the breakage he experienced, but to make the point that not all gear is suitable for all skiers. Most tech bindings are built to be light, not to be ultra-durable. That includes Dynafit and that’s why we like them. We all need to keep that in mind.

  63. Christian January 26th, 2011 8:20 am

    Colin:The titan boot has exchangeable soles for a reason – cannot see any reason why you should not use the Titan boot on wide freeride skis with alpine bindings.
    (That said the bindings should have hold up…but that is a different discussion)

  64. Matthew January 26th, 2011 8:41 am

    Colin, can you estimate how many days/vertical feet you had on the bindings? It would be nice to have a listing of all binding failures grouped by type and amount of use. Anything mechanical has a lifespan, I’d like to know what it is. I wouldn’t mind buying a new pair of bindings every year if the data pointed in that direction, just like I replace my climbing rope every two years.

  65. Samuel Fairleigh January 26th, 2011 9:30 am

    To Lou,I think you or your son was in the process of testing the dynaduke(or whatever they are called) plates. I’m not really Interested in dukes, but I have noticed that the same company is offering sollyfit plates which to me seem more logical.
    That said, with regards to the dynadukes were you able to get a satisfactory dynafit mount? It seems that was of some concern for you. Also as strange as it may seem I would be very interested as to if these “plates” maybe user friendly enough as to allow a fairly rapid field swap. None of the shops in Jackson seem to know anything about these plates.

    I know this may seem unrealated but, I do see this as a viable alternative to the alpine treker. At least for me 😮

  66. Lou January 26th, 2011 9:33 am

    Samuel, funny you should ask, as we have that review nearly ready. Stay tuned.

  67. Mats January 31st, 2011 3:16 am

    I have some questions for Colin and also for Lou.
    -Do you ski with the binding in climbing position?
    -Have you ever had a fall with a release with the binding in climbing position?
    -When the binding is locked, what part gives way when releasing?

    Is it not only possible but also plausible that the now failed area of Colins binding is the very same area that take the penalty for a release in locked position?
    If this area gets to much penalty there will be cracks and failure.

    Is Dynafit responsible regardless of how we use the bindings?
    Any thoughts on this?

  68. Marco January 31st, 2011 9:52 am

    One more dynafit breakage happen just few days ago (Saturday morning) during a day skiing in a skimo course.
    We were on and off piste with the students of a skimo course when we figure out one instructor just broke his dynafit heel … (pics here: http://freetourer.tumblr.com/post/3031557279/an-unpleasant-dynafit-breakage-happen-to-a-friend).

  69. Lou January 31st, 2011 10:01 am

    Known defect Marco, sorry to see it crop up again.

  70. Frank K January 31st, 2011 11:46 am

    Thanks for bringing this up, Colin, and thanks for being angry. AT gear could and should be a lot better than it is.

    When it comes to this type of breakage, as well as toepiece pull-out (which I believe to be somewhat of a problem for Dynafit bindings), I think that one question which hasn’t been asked is whether or not the lack of “play” in the Dynafit system has something to do with it. It’s true, Dynafits have little to no “play” or “slop”, as Lou pointed out in this post: http://www.wildsnow.com/379/backcountry-skiing-binding-flex-tests/

    The forces that are dissipated by the flex in Fritchis or other bindings have to go somewhere in the Dynafit system, whether it’s your knees or the screws or the toe wings. I have to wonder if a little bit of give in the Dynafit system wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Drive a car with no shocks, and somethings going to break eventually…

  71. Lou January 31st, 2011 11:49 am

    Frank, that is an excellent point. I think of bringing that up on occasion and have forgotten to do so. Combo of stiff boots and a stiff binding can probably be very hard on the screw attachment, and the binding itself.

  72. Lou January 31st, 2011 11:52 am

    Samuel, it always yields a chuckle when people find out that ski shops don’t know all…

    And yes, the Dynafits are mounting on the plates just fine.

    ‘best, Lou

  73. M:) February 1st, 2011 6:06 am
  74. Lou February 1st, 2011 8:24 am

    M, wow, that is not good breakage. I’ve always wondered about the strength of those base plates. What model binding is that, when did you obtain it, and how much use was on it?

  75. Jonathan Shefftz February 1st, 2011 9:10 am

    Although a disturbing failure, the picture clearly shows that it is a completely different model (i.e., the discontinued version of the race model) with a significantly different construction in that part of the binding, and a completely different part broke than with Colin’s FT12. (The failure of Colin’s FT12 was at two of the mounting screws — the prior year Low Tech Race broke at the pivot point for the one of the pincer wings.)

  76. Samo February 1st, 2011 9:04 am

    I think Dynafit here used aluminium alloy (maybe 7075) and so is not so strong.

  77. M:) February 1st, 2011 2:14 pm

    Lou, the linked blog and the binding are not mine, I am just a blog reader, not a blogger.
    I still have the unbreakable “Low Tech – third generation ” – they are inexpensive and they work :D:D:D

  78. Lou February 1st, 2011 2:17 pm

    M, I’m so used to getting spammed I just assumed (grin). Whatever, thanks for the link, I hope we don’t shut down the guy’s server looking at the latest breakage porn.

  79. Brandon February 3rd, 2011 12:42 pm

    Just came across what appears to be a similar failure on a blogspot, this person has a public blog, so here’s the site http://slcsherpa.blogspot.com/

  80. John Gloor February 3rd, 2011 4:45 pm

    I just finished remounting my Fritschi Freeride plus bindings on a new pair of skis, and found a crack through the metal on both sides of a toe side mounting screw. This is my third season on them. How common is it for aluminum Fritschi bindings to crack?

  81. Lou February 4th, 2011 8:08 am

    John, It’s not common but I’ve seen it before. Were the bindings well used?

  82. John Gloor February 4th, 2011 10:41 am

    Lou, they were used enough that the skis were not worth repairing for me. The good news is that BD’s warrantee dept said to send them in even though I told them I was not looking for a freebee, only fixing the problem. With this model of Fritschi, that repair is done by them. Awesome customer service!

  83. SteveG February 27th, 2011 11:38 am

    I saw a report of another FT breaking at the same point on a different forum. I appears to me that in addition to the overhang issue, the amount of “meat” around the screw hole in the pincher base of the FT is substantially less than I see on my Comforts. Less (weaker) metal + increased flex = failure. Notice they are going to a cast piece in the Radical.

  84. tony February 27th, 2011 2:00 pm

    I think steve g is talking about this:


    In this case, the skier did ski with the toes locked, but only once or twice, and doesn’t sound like an aggresive skier.

  85. Jonathan Shefftz February 27th, 2011 7:59 pm

    “[…] a crack through the metal on both sides of a toe side mounting screw. This is my third season on them. How common is it for aluminum Fritschi bindings to crack?”
    – I’ve seen a few of these, although as a % of all the various Diamir bindings out there over the years, seems to be pretty rare. Unfortunately that part can’t be replaced, although the broken binding can be harvested for many spare parts. Kudos to BD for warrantying them.

    “I saw a report of another FT breaking at the same point on a different forum. I appears to me that in addition to the overhang issue, the amount of “meat” around the screw hole in the pincher base of the FT is substantially less than I see on my Comforts.”
    – I’m pretty sure that part of the binding has stayed the same since the late 1990s, although I don’t have any in front of me right now for a detailed comparison.

  86. Lou February 27th, 2011 8:10 pm

    Hi Everyone, thanks for keeping the Wildsnow spirit going while I was up at a hut for 6 days away from computer. Back now, so look out! (grin) I’ll try to get some photos up tomorrow. Good trip, lots of pow, keeping it real and all that. Lou

  87. canwilf March 2nd, 2011 3:05 am

    So, Greg Hill does 2 million vertical feet on Dynafits mounted on his Stoke ski -in one year.

    Just wondering what pros like him have experienced in terms of this type of failure.

    Are these one-off incidents?

    Someone call him up and ask if he had any issues!

  88. Tim March 9th, 2011 11:31 am

    Interesting thread, and timely for me. My current touring setup is a (pure) DPS Lotus 138 with Dukes. It’s a fantastic setup for touring in softer snow and lift-assisted sidecountry touring. I’ve been considering a second setup for alpinist-oriented touring (longer approaches, longer climbs, no resort,no hucking) of a DPS Wailer 112RP with a Dynafit.
    Based on what I’ve read in this post and others, I’m somewhat skeptical now. I won’t huck on these but could end up skiing hard and/or wind-affected snow in the BC. I’m 6-5 and 230#, which means I’m about 280# fully clothed with day pack. On the resort, I usually keep my DIN at 16. It appeards adding a plate underneath helps although adding weight seems to defeat the purpose.
    Any suggestions? Go for the dynafit or is my fat ass better off with the Dukes?

  89. Lou March 9th, 2011 11:45 am

    Tim, in my opinion you are at the outer end of the design envelop for Dynafit. Not every binding is right for every person… That said, Dukes are heavy for anyone. Perhaps consider Fritschi Freeride Pro to save some weight. Or get next year’s Marker Tour, though you might find at your weight and height they deflect too much on sidehills in tour mode. You could also go ahead and get Dynafit FT12 with Power Plates, and give them a test. If you buy on sale you can always sell on Ebay next year if you don’t like. Also, consider G3 Onyx. Indeed, I’d love to get your opinion and results on those! They’re intended to be the beef version of a tech binding, so they just might fit the bill.

  90. Tim March 9th, 2011 12:01 pm

    Thanks Lou. I had completely overlooked the Onyx, but I will check it out. Perhaps I should hire myself out as a testbed for various binding makers in return for free gear. 😀

  91. Lou March 9th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Main thing is a person as big as you shouldn’t even be concerned about binding weight, come to think of it. In terms of percentage of your mass, any binding you haul is way lighter than anything most of us could ever use. So if Duke works, why fix what works?

  92. Tim March 9th, 2011 12:24 pm

    Your point appeals to the logical side of my brain, but not to my inner gear hound.

    Really though, it’s not just about the weight, I understand the dynafit style of binding has a more ergonomic walking mode. I love the solid feel of the Dukes but I find them a bit “clunky” to tour on and to change modes.

    Thanks for the advice. Appreciate it.

  93. Lou March 9th, 2011 12:29 pm

    You are correct about the ergonomics. So try an Onyx…

  94. Maki March 9th, 2011 1:00 pm

    Tim, the last generation of Diamirs likely has an even more ergonomic walk mode.

  95. John Gloor March 9th, 2011 7:22 pm

    Tim, I am just under 6’5″ and I also weigh 230. I have a pair of FT12s and ski them quite a bit. I have been worried about the bindings, but I have never released from them or had anything break. I just tone it down a notch from the full alpine setup.

  96. Lou March 9th, 2011 7:37 pm

    Gloor, you should get a set of Power Plates for those bindings. I’ve got some here if you want to check them out. Actually, you can test them, if you want to come by and install and let me take some photos. Need to do it soon.

  97. John Gloor March 9th, 2011 9:05 pm

    Lou, I would love to try out those plates. I am going on a week long trip to Canada in april with a bunch of friends in April and I need bomber bindings. I put my FT12s on some 112mm Lhasa Pows and am a little nervous about the bindings with my weight and the ski width. I went on the Dynafit website but could not find anything about the Power Plates. I have the bindings mounted on Quiver killers, so changing the plates out should be really easy.

  98. Lou March 10th, 2011 5:58 am

    That’ll work out fine, email me or call. I can’t find my set of Plates at the moment (they were sitting here on my desk, now they are not, alien abduction), but should have some more in a day or two. You’ll be the perfect tester.

  99. jake March 13th, 2011 1:46 pm

    Same failure came into my shop today. Again big skis (186 Gotama) and the boot I am not sure of but one can assume it wasn’t a Garmont Megalite 😆 Just another in the pile. Hmmm.

  100. Ross Hewitt May 31st, 2011 5:18 am

    Hi Lou,

    I had a similar failure to Colin about 6 weeks ago. I’m a engineer and trainee mtn guide. While skinning up to do the south couloir on the Chardonnet my ski came off after 30 mins skinning while lever was still in locked position. With some icing on the binding I didnt see anything wrong with the binding and initially thought it could be due to slight boot insert wear from mixed climbing. Anyway I wasnt about to jump onto a route with the first section exposed above cliffs with a binding doubt. I could feel about 0.5 mm of vertical play between boot and ski in ski mode. With the bindings free of ice I later found one of the binding mount screw holes in the base plate cracked straight through. Possibly fatigue crack though these skis are part of a large quiver and had just been used about 20 times for ski mountaineering and not freeride. Mounted on Mythics – 88 mm underfoot. I am 5’10”, 140 lbs.

  101. colin May 31st, 2011 3:06 pm

    Ross, glad you’re ok. you were smart to do a “demi-tour”. any photos of breakage?
    FT’s? with carbon plate?
    maybe Jake also has some photos?

  102. Lou May 31st, 2011 5:02 pm

    Am getting tired of hearing about this breakage… I guess solution is two things, binding inspection with magnifying glass to check for incipient cracks, and use Power Plates to support the binding wings. Any other ideas out there?

  103. SteveG May 31st, 2011 6:11 pm

    Weld a 1/4″ steel shim to the underside of the toe wings? 😉 Actually, I’ve read that using the plastic toe plates from Comforts or ST’s will add support where it’s needed. A pair of FT’s recently passed through my hands and I tried some older (no metal in the crampon slot) Comfort plates but they wouldn’t fit. Got the parts to check it Lou?

  104. Jonathan Shefftz May 31st, 2011 6:45 pm

    How was the FT toe incompatible with a first-generation Comfort baseplate? (Except for the replaceable plastic toe lever, the toe units are identical, except for the relatively minor Fall ’09 changes.)

  105. Lou May 31st, 2011 7:31 pm

    Jonathan, sometimes the touring latch lever doesn’t engage correctly if you have a base plate mismatch. They tweak that every so often. Only way to know for sure is experiment, and sometimes the base plate or lever can be shaved a bit to make things work.

    Let’s hope the Radical FT is better.

  106. SteveG May 31st, 2011 7:42 pm

    JS- I should have taken pictures. Even though my Shuksans’ mounted with older Comforts and ST toe plates were put away in the shed and it’s night and my old Comfort toe plates were sealed in a container ready for my move across the continent, I dug them out and checked. You are of course correct. Dimensions are the same. The exertion caused me to remember why the idea was not a good one. Plastic only crampon slots seemed like a bad move for FT’s and 110mm crampons. I sentence myself to 10 lashes to my helmet with one of the millions of Dynafit leashes tucked away in drawers wherever there is snow. 😳

  107. Lou May 31st, 2011 7:45 pm

    Steve, solution for the weak plastic crampon slots is to cut them off and screw a B&D crampon mount to your ski. If anyone does do that, be careful the mount doesn’t interfere with your boot sole.

  108. SteveG May 31st, 2011 7:57 pm

    Thanks Lou. I’ll keep that in mind. For the upgrade on the Shuksans I just ordered gray ST plates and they work well. On my Manaslu / Comfort setup, I have the brown ST plates and I could only get one click on the lever for tour mode and it was a bear to get back to ski mode. Some filing of the nub eased things.

  109. See May 31st, 2011 9:44 pm

    Wad of epoxy putty under wings?

  110. Jonathan Shefftz June 1st, 2011 12:49 pm

    The first-generation Comfort toe unit baseplate can be reinforced with JB Weld under the crampon slot area and silicon caulk underneath the rest of the baseplate. Or at least that’s what I did. Never had any failures, although then again I never had any failures with non-reinforced plates, so that hardly proves anything, though a quick glance at an unmounted plate certainly reveals the potential vulnerability.
    As for reinforcing the FT baseplate, the obvious solution is just swapping it out for an ST baseplate

  111. Patrick Fink January 28th, 2012 1:49 pm


    When I saw this post, I almost decided to switch from my FT12s to the radicals but I thought ‘hey, I’m not super heavy #165, and while I ski agressively on big skis, it’s not like Dukes-to-16 agressive’.

    Well, I’ve been working for a few months as a full-time ski patroller, working on my dynafits as many of us do, and on a whim the other day, I discovered what this failure looks like before it fails outright.


    The metal around the screw in the forward left position of the toepiece is cracked through on both sides. It makes sense that this would be the point of failure if the toe wings were flexing and fatiguing the metal base.

    Importantly, this is something that will only reveal itself with a pretty close inspection. Had I not looked at it, it could have failed pretty catastrophically, possibly while towing a toboggan or the like, harming not just me but others. I don’t think that I use my bindings in an unusual way or apply strange stresses to them.

    I’m also not convinced that plastic baseplates are going to improve anything.

  112. Mitchell C January 6th, 2014 7:23 pm

    Hello Lou, and others,

    I need your guys input!

    I just had this same thing happen to me today! It cracked just enough for my ski to blowout on me. Scary stuff!

    I contacted Dynafit, and they will replace my toe pieces, but I just want a different pair of Dynafit bindings because these Vertical FT 12’s just do not seem trustworthy. I have them currently mounted on K2 Coombacks. Will there be any issues mounting another pair of Dynafit’s on these skis? I’ve read about issues with the dynafit toepieces popping out of coomback bindings, I’m not sure what drilling some new holes will do. Seems like the new ones do not have the same 5 screw pattern, but 4-screws, and the front two are wider.

    Thank you!

  113. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2014 12:46 am

    Mtchell, did you have mounted a powerplate? I ride the exact same combination (coombacks 188 and Vertical FTs) plus powerplate, never had any problems..

  114. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 2:49 am

    If the Power Plate is used, and installed with epoxy above and below to “bed” the binding wings, it is very effective. Mandatory, in my opinion. Lou

  115. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 2:57 am

    Mitchell, best in my opinion is indeed to upgrade binding. If you did not have any problems with Vertical coming off ski, then you should not have any problems with Radical but be sure they are mounted correctly, with care, and epoxy in the screw holes. Lou

  116. Mitchell C January 7th, 2014 9:26 am

    Lou & Erik, thank you very much for your quick responses! It’s good to hear from guys with the wealth of Dynafit knowledge that you have. I only have a one ski quiver right now, so I can’t begin to thank you enough. I’m off the slopes until they are fixed, and it’s breaking my heart! Now to get these replaced.

  117. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2014 9:50 am

    Mitchel, you´re welcome, but to be honest: My “dynafit knowledge” is very small compared to Lous, i guess 😉
    Hope you get to ski soon again! And my advise to every skier would always be to go with at least a two ski quiver (better more). I found that in the long run this is not more expensive than to to own only one pair at a time, since you use each pair only about half the time (or less), so they last longer. Besides its more fun to have different skies for differnt conditions.

  118. Jon Jay January 24th, 2014 5:51 am

    Whoa, just had this happen today in Kazakhstan (http://instagram.com/p/ji5zD-jZWa/). I’m in Dyna Vulcans on FT12s and BD Zealots (Green) and did not expect to see someone comment with the same issue a few weeks ago. Anyhow, anyone have a spare FT12 toe piece they can send to an address in Washington, DC? I’m contacting Dynafit but warranty claims take a while and it’s snowing here now…

  119. Garett January 19th, 2015 6:41 pm


    Looking for input. I recently picked up some G3 empire 127 mm waisted skis and mounted some Dynafit TLT Speed Turns on them. On pick up from the ski shop mounting the bindings on the skis, the tech told me they don’t suggest this binding combination and that it would likely pull out or break. Now I have a dilemma… I have brand new Dynafits on brand news skis that have now been drilled once…. These skis will not be skied inbounds. Only backcountry and not super aggressively. I’m 205 lbs and 6 foot 2.

    My options are:

    1. Ski the set up and see what happens, but risk pulling / breaking a binding in the backcountry. (Not ideal)

    2. Pull the bindings off and put on some G3 ions or Dynafit radical ST or FT ( but I don’t really want brakes…) and have two sets of holes in my skis.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts, risks of the current set up. I really don’t want to remount new binders, but I don’t want to ski something that will certainly fail.


  120. colin January 20th, 2015 3:51 am

    Garett you are all good to go, as long as you double check proper boot adjustment and binding mounting. go to dynafit/ wildsnow archives for this.
    I am similar weight/height and have similar set-up. no worries.
    as long as you don’t use this set-up for laps on the lift, especially in mixed conditions (i.e hard snow).
    always double check your bindings when freshly mounted.
    ski techs are not always so technical and have been known to totally screw up a dynafit mounting (which is simple when basic steps are taken).

  121. Garett January 21st, 2015 8:04 am

    Colin, thanks.

    One of my biggest concerns is that terrain variability doesn’t always guarantee that you won’t run into crud or ice along the way. While I wouldn’t use the set up for laps at a hill, one of the back-country lodges I access does involve lift assist to a point before a 10 km ski in. So the skis have the possibility of being on a ski hill for a few runs a year to access the trail head.

    I have a loaded up pack for this, so I’m not carving turns at 60 kph, it’s generally a fairly tame affair getting to the trail head on a green / blue run. That being said, I don’t want to be put in a position of ripping a binding out or breaking a wing on the Dynafit. I also want piece of mind that I don’t need to ski conservatively at any point as it will create a mental barrier for me that I’d prefer not to have.

    How much lower is the risk of a binding pulling with something like the G3 Ion, or even the new Dynafit Radicals? Is it worth making the swap for piece of mind, or are the differences negligible?

    I’m not a big fan of the features of either binding, they are heavy and with the exception of the Speed Radical have brakes, which I generally try to avoid. I prefer the heel on the TLT Speed as it is simple, and less likely to break when being used as a lifter as the entire binding acts as the support in the mid range height. All that being said, I would swap out the TLT Speeds for G3 Ion’s / Radicals if it will give me a more bomber set up that I don’t need to fear the conditions I have the skis in.

    The unfortunate bit is that the ski shop mounted the skis and then told me about this concern. Had they told me in advance, I would have re-evaluated and not have the added concern of having an extra set of holes in a brand new pair of skis…

    Thanks your input.


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