(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)
I was recently in Montebelluna, Italy, checking out a full gamut of secret Dynafit boot happenings. Most interesting? Seeing various boots punished on a Fritz Barthel contraption I call the “Butter Churner,” (as a few of the parts came from eponymous machinery).
No photos allowed for now. Fantasy is better anyway. Buxom Tyrolean lass in the midst of a green field full of dairy cows? Not quite. Envision a tower about three feet tall, built with threaded rod, steel plates, and bushings. A worm gear system is attached to a load cell and measurement instrument. Parts of the tower move and load an artificial leg-foot in a boot, which in turn is tightly clamped to a frame.
As the Butter Churner does its thing, you might eventually get a popped rivet in your eye, but not until you’ve taken things way beyond the normal forces of skiing. The main purpose is to compare different model boots, as well as verifying changes in design that result in different flex ratings. “Hey, hold my
beer espresso and watch this,” is the kind of thing you might hear as the Butter Churner whirs.
A word about boot testing during the development process. The test boots come to the workshop directly from the injection molding facility, in pieces. Each time the mold is changed they output evaluation parts. A technician hand assembles the boots, one at a time. They’re then tested, on the bench for quantified stiffness and durability, with major iterations skied on-snow for overall performance and feel.
Oh, and about that PDG-2 (a nice lightweight style boot, by the way), how about some factory snapshots?
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.