I love my Dynafit Manaslu skis — an amazing combo of weight and performance. But they do have one possibly confusing aspect: That of the “pre-drilled” binding mount “holes.” Here be a little something to clear up confusion about this excellent and useful feature.
– Binding mount area on Manaslu is reinforced with a metal “Titanal” plate (basically a thin sheet of high quality aluminum alloy). Location of front plate shown below, with added Sharpie marker lines for clarity.
– Manaslu comes from factory with what could be called “holes” for binding mounting. These are actually nylon plugs (“preset binding inserts”) located in the core material below the Titanal plate, and a dip in the top sheet over the plugs makes them look like “holes.” The plugs indeed have a channel that acts as a screw hole. They do not need to be drilled when mounting, but I’ve found it logical to punch the top skin with an awl before inserting the screw.
– The inserts are glass reinforced nylon plastic and regular thread cutting screws are used for for binding mounting. Thus, the Manaslu inserts are not intended for continuous use but rather a limited number of mounts. We don’t have a hard number for this, but I’d say it is between six and ten. Use of epoxy will extend this limit, as will care with not over tightening and stripping the screws.
– Manaslu preset binding inserts are warranted and intended for use with Dynafit Vertical ST / FT / Comfort bindings.
– Inserts in Manaslu 178 and 187 length skis, with recommended Dynafit bindings (per above), fit boot 294 to 343 mm sole length (approximately 26.0 to 30.5 depending on brand). In 169 length, they accommodate boots from 274 to 323 mm sole length (approximately 25.0 to 28.5 depending on brand).
– Using the existing nylon inserts results in a mount is quite a bit stronger than drilling your own holes in the titanal plate area.
– If you drill outside the Manaslu preset inserts, then your mount is not under
warranty. Nonetheless, I’m certain that if done correctly nearly any binding can be mounted on a Manaslu without problems. (Caveat: We’re talking about skis in normal use, not hospital air with Marker Dukes set to DIN 13.)
– Drilling your own holes and mounting bindings in the Titanal plate area is ok so long as this is done by an expert mechanic who uses the correct bit for a metal top skin, taps the holes, mounts with epoxy and doesn’t over tighten the screws. Last winter, many Manaslu skis were tested with bindings such as Duke and Fritschi, mounted without using the nylon inserts. By all reports these mounts held up fine.
– Drilling holes outside the Titanal plate area may be necessary for bindings such as Fritschi, due to the rear latch of the binding being some distance rearward. In this case it’s best to get a few of the screws to still locate through the Titanal.
– In the case of larger skiers who require longer bindings, the Fritschi and Duke may locate with some or even all screws outside the area of the Titanal plate at front or rear (depending on where the foot is positioned on the ski). In this case we would conditionally recommend mounting based on the style of the skier and their weight. Very large and aggressive skiers should definitely consider that the rear of the Fritschi is only held with three screws, while bindings such as the Dynafit FT12 are held by four screws that will locate in the inserts (unless they’re using a boot larger than 30.5.)
– The Titanal binding area insert (diamond shaped plate) of the Manaslu is thicker than a normal “Titanal top sheet” ski. Under the Titanal plate, the ski has stringers running vertically as seen through the window in graphics near front and rear of ski. The lighter color is a lightweight manmade fiber and the dark color is Pawlonia wood. Depending on what non-Dynafit binding you’re mounting, the material the binding binding mounting screws end up in will vary. So long as the holes are correctly sized, and the screws epoxied and not over-tightened, our opinion is that screws will hold fine in either material. Again, all with epoxy and careful installation.
Summary: With care about how large and aggressive a given skier is, we feel nearly any ski binding configuration can be mounted on the Manaslu.
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WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.