I just mounted a pair of Dynafit bindings in 8 minutes flat, with no jig, on a fresh pair of skis. More on that in a moment. For now, check out these wild new Dynafit planks.
|I asked my handlers if I could please publish a bit of pre-press-event info about Dynafit’s new and supremely interesting skis. They were a bit hesitant, but knowing you WildSnow readers can get more mobbed up than a holiday lift line at Kitzbuhel, I was allowed to share a bit. Nothing like some gang rule to get those gear makers to feed us info about the new goods, eh?
Above is the new Manaslu, 108/95/122, and possibly a nearly perfect ski for touring everything from variable powder to chopped up muck. I got these spy photos today, will publish the usually pretty pictures when they’re officially released in a few days. My shots don’t do the graphics justice, as gold on jet black is hard to photograph on a workshop floor. But take my word for it, they look simply maavelous.
|Why might this be such an interesting and effective plank? First, it’s got the width and the lack of weight to provide efficient human powered vertical. At 1468 grams per ski (178 cm), we’re talking some serious levitation vs mass. Second, as pictured above, Dynafit went radical with their tip geometry. Instead of the usual perky tip you’ll find on most touring skis, the Manaslu prow starts a full 19 cm back, and is quite soft and “hinged.” This means you’re effectively skiing on two different skis. One longer super-soft that can absorb and plane up out of trap-muck, as well as a shorter shaped ski that allows easy turning.
Do they work? Yeah, snow conditions here for the past few days haven’t been that great. But with foehn muck that tends to suck skis down like a giant squid dining on a yacht, we have the perfect testing ground. Fritz was on the ski just a few days ago, and I saw him float over difficult snow that had even the best skiers in our group struggling a bit. He said one thing: “unfair advantage.” I’ll test them in the same snow tomorrow and report again.
For now, not only am I impressed by the possible performance of the Manaslu on the down, but having a fat plank this light is remarkable for the up. Such is accomplished by two things, a super low density core, and a tip that’s made from the core material rather than the more common (and weighty) curved ABS plastic tip core. This configuration is still not as light as a full carbon ski, but close enough and much easier to produce with a good flex.
In all, I’d recommend paying attention to this ski.
|Now, about that binding mounting. Big news for 2008 is that the Manaslu ski will have a carefully designed “pre-drilled” insert system (pictured above) that will allow anyone to quickly mount a set of Dynafit bindings. These are not designed for constant swapping of bindings, as they’re plastic and use conventional binding screws that don’t follow the same threads each time. But in testing here with Fritz it appears they’ll easily work for a number of mounts, and can eventually be beefed with epoxy if necessary.
I can already hear the question: “why didn’t they use metal inserts so I can re-use them over and over again?” Word I got is mainly because of weight.
The insert pattern will vary by ski length, with those of the 178 Manaslu allowing a 15 centimeter range, from approximate boot sizes 25 to 30 (with all Dynafit bindings but TLT, which has a much smaller adjustment range).
As for mounting other AT bindings on this ski, you of course don’t want to ask that question around here for fear of seeing a certain side of the Tyrolean personality and possibly being denied dinner. But judging from my own experience, any competent ski mechanic should be able to work around the inserts.
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.