WildSnow.com Has Landed

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 4, 2007      

If you don’t believe the Internet has shrunk the civilized world, believe. Twenty four hours ago I was blogging from Carbondale Colorado, now I’m sitting in the guest room of the Barthel family’s 200+ year old restored farm house in Bad Haring, Austria. Blogging on the same server based blog software I access from home. I nearly feel like I’m still in my office. Did that plane flight really happen?

Last view of Colorado mountains.
Last good view of Colorado mountains before the plane flight.

Flying was what seems to be the usual epic these days. Got to Philadelphia airport with minutes to spare for connection as our plane was delayed by President Ford’s transport. Cruising like some sort of Olympic speed walker with my ski boots swinging around my neck like a martial arts weapon and laptop case pulling at my neck like a boa constrictor, I started for the A gates, which were of course at nearly the opposite end of the airport from my arrival. And not just “the” A gates, but the last A gate at the far far end of the concourse. Wow that place is big, seemed like forever as I counted off the gates, hoping to make my flight to Munich. Got it, and here I am.

To kill jetlag in one fell swoop I skipped sleeping last night and my forehead is getting mighty close to the keyboard, but I’d better share some Dynafit teasers.

Up till about 10 minutes ago I was in Dynafit inventor Fritz Barthel’s workshop fooling around with the actual precursors to the production Dynafit as we know it, as well as looking at some stuff that’s top secret (non-disclosure agreement was signed in blood by slicing finger with Dynafit ski edge). Wait till you see the photos of his early bindings, the ingenuity and sheer audacity of Fritz’s invention is incredible. I’ll publish photos soon. And talk about a man cave, the Bartel workshop has to win the skier’s cave contest of all time. Milling machine in one corner, along with enough presses, grinders and assorted toolery to keep a guy fabricating for several lifetimes. And we didn’t even look at the boot room.

Dynafit binding, race version.
The piece that was finally revealed. Third-party cobblers have been making similar units, but nothing as fully featured and as nice as this. This type of Dynafit binding isn’t appropriate for everyone to use, but it’s fun to check out and shows these guys are really on top of things in terms of bringing new product to market.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when I got to Munich I took a deep tour of the Salewa/Dynafit facility. Two highlights. First, Reiner Gerstner (head guy) and Barthel start talking about if they should show me the “piece” or not. I get the nod, and out comes the most beautiful little Dynafit race heel unit you can imagine. Full lateral and vertical release, three lift positions, and so light they nearly floated out of my hand like the down quilling from my puffy. Other highlight: The torture room. Some machine is wheezing in the corner; an electric motor mounted on top of a chest freezer, pumping a piston up and down, up and down, thousands of flex cycles at cryogenic temps to text ski durability. And an ST binding that had been torture tested for heel lifter durability to the point of actually pulling the ski apart. If your binding is stronger than your skis, what’s not to love? More tomorrow.



5 Responses to “WildSnow.com Has Landed”

  1. Bryan Wickenhauser January 4th, 2007 3:36 pm

    So when will we see the “piece” in the US? Any time table on a US release? Would it replace the current Ti heel?

  2. Mike Marolt January 4th, 2007 6:06 pm

    No sleep hu lou. Good training for 24 hours of Sunlight.

    Have a great trip.


  3. Lewis January 4th, 2007 7:34 pm

    Lou, you must feel like you’re on a pilgrimage! I can’t imagine anyone who would appreciate the stuff you’re seeing any more than you must be.

  4. Mark January 4th, 2007 8:26 pm

    It looks like you’ve found a Dynafit tinkerer’s heaven-on-earth.

  5. Lou January 5th, 2007 3:15 pm

    Bryan, I’m pretty sure the race heel is going to be sold this next sales season, meaning it will be available at the start of next winter. Don’t know if it’s replacing the Ti heel or not, but I’ll get more details about that when I’m at the press event in a few days. I don’t think I’ll be able to blog from the event, as it’s held at a mountain hut, but I’ll do a major post when I return to the vicinity of a wireless router.

    As you probably know, heels similar to this are already made in Europe by third-party cobblers, but they’re hard to get in the U.S., so it’ll be nice for racers to have something available from Dynafit.

    Lewis, yes.

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