John D. scheduled a WildSnow shop session for his new Dynafit TLT Vertical Race Ti binders, combined with Black Diamond Cult skis and the known performance of Scarpa F1 boots. John’s plan is to run this rig for a few months of hard training, then test everything (including his lungs) in the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse sufferfest.
Installing the heel unit is tricky, as Dynafit race binders don’t have a boot length adjustment and you’ve got to thus mount them perfectly. Key is to go slow, tripple check everything, and know you’ve got a millimeter or so of error tolerance but really no more.
Dynafit supplies a screw pattern template for the heel, but it’s not well marked for centering. My method is to first mount the binding toe and get the boot perfectly centered. Next, you insert the heel unit in the boot heel, position it with the shim/feeler, mark the screw holes, then apply the template over the marked screw holes. To keep myself honest I also mark a square line through one set of screw holes. This is done by aligning the center axis of the ski along workbench edge, then using a large carpenter’s square to run a square line from workbench edge.
We epoxied the toe and heel unit screws, and Gorilla glued the Scarpa F1 shim screws since they don’t endure much abuse. For those of the F1 uninitiated, when you use F1 boots with Dynafit you need a shim under the ball of your foot so the boot doesn’t sag too much when you’re in alpine mode or heel-flat-on-ski mode. With some race versions you need a shim under both heel and ball of foot. Since the Vertical series bindings have a heel rest incorporated into the binding, you don’t need the heel shim. You can see the shims in photo below.
John D. and his new ride above (the skis, not the CJ.) If I convince him to hack on his gear, we’ll get him over here for some mods such as a custom leash system, speed holes and more. For now, time for the die hard Fritschi user to learn how to CLEAN THOSE HOLES and LOCK THAT TOE!
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.