Matt is one of the stronger skiers around here. His badges include a third place in the 24 Hours of Aspen ski race back in his “day” — and more recently snapping a pair of BD Kilowatts in half by just looking at them. So when he asked for some help making sure his Dynafit FT-12 binders got mounted right I figured I’d better put in some time for the team and help out. Follow along.
As I’ve mentioned in my homebrew Dynafit mounting instructions, the trick with Dynafit (and all other tech bindings) is going slow and keeping everything aligned in various ways. While I’ve done dozens of mounts using our WildSnow paper templates, we now have a jig so drilling the skis is much easier. Even so, you don’t just slam these things on like an alpine binding mount.
One gotcha we noticed was the FT12 fiberglass topskin on the binding base plates made it tougher to know when you’d torqued the screws enough. Also, the screws tended to thread into the binding baseplate as well as the ski, resulting in the baseplate not seating on the ski correctly. Solution was to pay attention and hold the binding tight to ski while setting the screws, as well as give the screws a firm final twist. One binding was stubborn in terms of seating, so I pulled it off and removed the pucker at the top of the screw holes. Next mount on a ski such as Kilowatt I’ll probably trim (countersink) the top edge of the screw holes a bit so they don’t pucker so much.
(Skis such as the Killowatt have beefy binding mount plate, so they can stand up to fairly heavy screw torque. But stripping a screw is always a possibility so better careful than agro.)
First step with a precise Dynafit mount is to divorce the brakes, which involves surgically removing the upper portion of the rear unit. Doing so isn’t as complex as repairing an espresso machine, but nonetheless appears daunting the first time you do it. Probably the most difficult part is reassembly, when you have to be super careful not to strip the plastic threads you screw the aluminum spring cap into.
After the mount, carpet time (or in this case, old rags on concrete). For a guy like Matt who’s grown up with step-in bindings, getting used to fiddling with Dynafits is going to be a process. We got him started by practicing on the workshop floor. Probably the first and last time I’ll ever get to coach Matt Ross!
I also reminded Matt about cleaning ice from the boot sockets and sometimes from under the toe unit wings, and to remember the release lock-out for touring. Why was I not surprised when he asked, “how about I ski downhill with that thing locked?” I replied that with his ’12s mashed down to DIN 12, he might want to try ’em that way first, as does he really need DIN 19? (Besides, the Dynafit release lock only plugs your lateral release; it has no effect on vertical ejection.)
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.