Can’t Get Out of your Dynafits? Here is the fix…


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 28, 2007      

You get your Dynafit bindings mounted. With excited anticipation you latch the boot heel down for your final adjustments. Then you press the exit tab at the front of the binding — and nothing happens. Your boot seems to be stuck in there like a rusty bolt. You realize you can get the boot out by twisting the rear unit of the binding to the side, but you don’t want to do that at every transition while you’re on a ski tour. Here be the fix.

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
What happens in this situation is that the “trigger” on the Dynafit binding toe unit doesn’t have enough room under the boot sole to move up and allow the binding wings to open. Problem is, if the trigger has too much room you won’t be able to step into the binding and have it close. Thus, it’s a fine line between too much rubber in this area, and too little. So, what you do is mark the trigger area on the boot sole with a transfer marker such as a sticky paint pen (as shown above). You then latch the boot in the binding and press down the exit lever, which in turn will cause the trigger to leave a mark on the boot sole. In this case we’re working with a pair of very cool and efficient looking Scarpa F3, mounted on a pair of light and lively Trab Duo Freerando Piumas that Santa dropped by. Yum.

Backcountry skiing Dynafit bindings.
Boot sole shown above has white mark transferred from the binding trigger. You can see how Scarpa tried to machine a divot in the sole that’s perhaps intended to remedy this situation, but it’s slightly out of position. In my opinion understandable, when you consider the fact that Scarpa is making boots that have to have a precise fit in another company’s bindings. Perhaps there is even a bit of culture clash? I don’t know, but my imagination pictures a guy in the Scarpa factory, running some kind of machine to make divots for Dynafit bindings, and thinking to himself “what the heck?” as he sips espresso.

Whoops, sorry, my imagination is getting away from me, as are my typing fingers…

Backcountry skiing Dynafit bindings.
The tricky part is grinding out more divot as shown above. The way I do it is use a disk grinder with a sander/flap disk that’s been used enough to have a nicely curved outside edge. I then take perhaps a millimeter off at a time in the general area of the mark. After each pass with the grinder, I test and make sure the boot will still close the toe wings during step-in. I then latch down the heel to alpine mode and try to exit the binding by pressing down the exit lever/tab in front of the toe unit. After just a few hits with the grinder, you’ll find that a firm press of the exit tab will pop the wings open. Don’t remove any more rubber after that, or you run the risk of the binding not closing when you step in. That’s it, all done, now have some espresso then go for a tour and enjoy easy step-in step-out.



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Comments

21 Responses to “Can’t Get Out of your Dynafits? Here is the fix…”

  1. Rando Swede December 28th, 2007 8:41 am

    Good post Lou. I have run into this problem only once at the shop. Most of the time I see the opposite problem. IE- Not enough rubber to engage the trigger- as it has been worn off from hiking and scrambling. That being said, I am amazed that some of the hammered boot toes/holes I see actually still work with the binding. Any thoughts on “adding” material to the boot sole? I have seen some pretty creative epoxy type add-ons to skate skiing boots where the plastic surrounding the toe pin has been worn off.

  2. Lou December 28th, 2007 9:07 am

    Rando, when the step-in doesn’t work I usually just build up a small pad of duct tape on the binding trigger. It lasts quite a while and is much easier than trying to add material to the boot sole. For a more permanent solution, one could place a dab of epoxy on the trigger. What’s really needed is an adjustable height mechanism on the trigger, perhaps a small set-screw or something. I plan on mentioning that to the Dynafit boys when I’m over there. Problem is that things like that add weight.

  3. Ryan December 28th, 2007 11:36 am

    Not a Dynafit user (please don’t throw rotten tomatoes), but reading this makes me wonder about the lateral release of the binding when a crash occurs. Like I said I use a different randonee binding and might be completely off-base here.

  4. Wally December 28th, 2007 1:26 pm

    Lou,

    I cant find one on the site, but I’d love to see a review of the F3. Very interested in how these things perform.

  5. Jonathan S. Shefftz December 28th, 2007 4:53 pm

    Lou, thanks, very interesting & potentially helpful info! (But then again, that is what all of us expect from you…)

    Hope it’s ok if I address two comments from fellow posters:

    “reading this makes me wonder about the lateral release of the binding when a crash occurs”
    — In a fall-induced release, the binding first releases at the heel (whether laterally or vertically), and then the boot twists out of the toe in a way that is unaffected by the issues described in this review.

    “I can’t find one on the site, but I’d love to see a review of the F3.”
    — Someone already beat Lou to it:
    http://www.backcountryworld.com/showthread.php?t=4341
    … but I’ll still be very interested in Lou’s upcoming review, since the F3 seems like the kind of boot where individual impressions can vary widely.

  6. Lou December 28th, 2007 5:27 pm

    All good Jonathan.

  7. brian harder December 28th, 2007 7:35 pm

    Lou,

    Thanks for posting after our previous discussion. First race coming up in a couple of weeks. It’s a team gig at the ‘Ghee. My partner Randosteve so we’ll combine that crazy, thumb-shredding energy and have a go at the others together. Should be a sufferfest!

    Anyway, I thought I would add my tip to this process of material removal. I used a small sanding wheel attachment for my Dremel and it seemed more precise than the grinder. Worked great.

  8. Lou December 28th, 2007 10:52 pm

    Hi Brian, yeah, my skive is a bit crude. I was in a hurry. So many boots, so little time. Have to admit I was a bit bummed I even had to do the mod…as I may have hinted in the post…

    Wish I could be there to watch you and Rando suffer (grin). But seriously, I bet you guys will clean up.

    I’ll be suffering soon trying to ski tour with jet lag. Usually a somewhat embarrassing situation, as my uphill and downhill skills seem to be reduced by at least 50% for two or three days. I guess I’m just a wimp when it comes to traveling.

  9. mt surf December 28th, 2007 11:41 pm

    In my opinion, this is the primary dilemma of Dynafits. I’ve been skiing my Mega Rides in Fritschi’s for a few years now, simply because I’ve worn down the toe’s rubber to the point where it won’t engage the Dynafit trigger. Both duct tape and epoxy modifications have amounted to no more than a tour or two before disintegration.

    Although I’ve found Scarpa durability superior, long ‘Teton style’ approaches are inevitable. There must be a more reliable solution, so please give my regards to the boys.

  10. Lou December 29th, 2007 9:41 am

    Indeed, I’d say Dynafits perhaps need a small adjustable set-screw or something like that at the trigger. That said, you can easily build up a small dab of durable epoxy such as JB Weld, on the trigger point. That stuff lasts pretty well, and since it’s on the binding rather than the boot it’s not subjected to constant wear. Easily removed, however, which is key.

    Like I said above, I usually build up a small pad of duct tape on the trigger point, and it seems to hold up pretty well. Also, if the binding doesn’t quite close, you can reach down and pull the wings together with your hand and they’ll easily snap closed.

  11. Nick DiGiacomo December 29th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Lou,

    I have TLTs new this season – have been on TriSteps for a few years before. I noticed that the pins in the heel-piece move slightly in a vertical direction – a mm or less. I first noticed it on a lift – felt a slight chatter when I shook the boot/ski. My older Tristeps (with many miles on them) don’t seem to have the issue. I am loathe to try the tighten the star screws on the top plate of the heel – would probably strip them, and my guess is that isn’t the problem
    Have you seen this? Any thoughts?

    Thanks

  12. Lou December 29th, 2007 3:12 pm

    Nick, you’ve got to put them on the bench and see where the play is coming from. Also, take apart the spring barrel and check the thimble bushing for wear. If all checks out, then it’s just normal play. All bindings have movement and play, even alpine bindings.

  13. alex December 30th, 2007 9:01 am

    no, its definitely vertical play of the pins within teh heel block.
    it occured on my verticals after 25 days of use.
    resorted in grinding a bit from teh grey block then remounted the whole thing back. and I hope it wont develop again.
    happened to others as well, and has nothing to do with timble bushing.
    its just a new issue.
    alex

  14. Lou December 30th, 2007 3:59 pm

    Hi Alex, thanks for the heads up on that. I’ll keep an eye on our bindings here at WildSnow HQ. We’ve got a few pair with high miles and they’re still bomber, so unfortunately have not been able to replicate the problem.

  15. John C. Lamb December 30th, 2007 11:14 pm

    Thanks, Lou – I applied (or should I say took off..) the fix for the annoying mismolded notch on the toe of my F3’s. I can get my toes out much easier now. I was worried that the twisting the heel was the only way that I could get out, making me the slowest guy in the bunch in transitions. After 10 days on the F3’s, I can still say that by far, it is the most comfortable ski boot I’ve ever had – if my Salomon snowboard boots are a 10 in comfort, the F3 is at least an 8.

  16. John C. Lamb December 31st, 2007 8:22 am

    PS, have fun in Europe!

  17. AJ December 31st, 2007 8:40 am

    happy newyear and enjoy your trip to Europe!

  18. Lou December 31st, 2007 9:04 am

    John, thanks for reporting in. Important that you guys who use these mods and fixes leave a comment now and then. Why? Not only do other users get a lot out of reading your posts, but some industry folks are uncomfortable with all the mods and fixes we post (or even think about posting), as they think such may make their product look bad, not be correctly done, or even have legal ramifications.

    Reality is that few if any products are perfect. Thus, skilled modification and configuration are the name of the game for the foreseeable future. Knowing that, WildSnow.com will continue to cover nearly every modification or fix we come up with.

  19. Tim Robertson March 26th, 2008 3:19 pm

    Hi Folks

    Was after wondering if you guys know about getting ski crampons for dynafits for skis over 90mm mine are 94mm wide. Can you modify the 88mm to work or are dyanfit going to start making wider ones soon?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place but couldn’t work out how to post a blog on the site.

    Tim

  20. Dawes April 21st, 2008 4:05 pm

    I have TLT Vertical ST and I have noticed that on two occasions skiing fairly high speed into piles of heavy dense snow the toe lever gets pushed by the snow up into the lower ranges of the tour (locked) mode. Has anyone experienced this? Any solutions?
    Thanks

  21. Lou April 21st, 2008 4:49 pm

    I’ve not had that happen, anyone else?

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