Light is right when it comes to rando race gear, and Dynafit has some of the lightest around. Every ounce counts as you race up the mountain and ounces add up to pounds as you gain elevation. Although being a good downhill skier is key, I feel that most of the races are won on the uphill.
Dynafit was one of the sponsors of the 2006 US Ski Mountaineering Team, so I was able to get hooked up with all the light gear they have to offer. Although I have modified some of the gear a little, most is race-ready, and super light right out of the wrapper.
Most of the time I race on a pair of SR 11.0 skis. They are of carbon fiber construction and weigh less than two pounds. With a 90mm tip, they are not the fattest skis out there by any means, but they nearly float up the mountain…if your lungs can handle it of course. I also have a pair of SR 7.0’s, which are a bit wider, stiffer and heavier. I mainly use these for training, but they did show up for over 40,000′ at the 2006, 24hrs of Sunlight race.
I’m running Coll-tex skins for racing, as they were also a sponsor of the team and seem to be what most of the Europeans use. I have a couple pair. One is almost full length for maximum grip on icy and steep courses. The second pair is cut shorter for more glide and less weight. Each pair backs up the other when needed, and they work well.
One tip to speed up your skins is to try to wear them out quicker. I sometimes I keep them on for the downhills during training if they are new skins. Hard, icy snow works best at breaking them in quicker as well.
I also use the Dynafit Speed-Tips, which fit into the notches on the tips of the skis. I don’t think I have ever kicked one off and they pop off by hand super easily. No metal either, so again…light is right!
Titanium bindings are worth the extra bucks if you can afford them. Not coming with a high post saves you the hassle of sawing it off to cut weight. They come without any size adjustment, so mounting them should be done with care.
Dynafit’s TLT 4 Race boot weights just over 2.5 lbs, so it doesn’t need much modification for weight savings. Rubber is a good place to cut back though, and I did remove the entire stock sole. I glued on a thin sole I got from a local cobbler that had just enough lug to pass inspection at the World Championships. I also rotate the strap so it opens to the outside, instead of the inside…I just like it that way I guess.
I have two pairs of dedicated race poles. My Dynafit SR Race poles are my lightest pair, and I have them cut a little on the short side. I also shaved off some of the grip to make them lighter, and also fit my ‘mini-me’ sized hands.
My other poles are Swix AluStars and are a bit longer. I have some Toko 232 grips mounted on them as well. These grips are from the Nordic world and I don’t think they are made anymore. The strap is removable and stays on your glove during transitions. I like them cuz I feel like I have a really solid connection with the pole and I really don’t have to grip the pole at all. I find them most useful on the flatter courses, when you are really trying to maximize glide. Not the way to go when you have to use your hands to climb a ladder…or grab a rope on a bootpack section of a race though.
I had my skis and boots (sans liners) at the shop today and I popped them on the scale. They came in at under 4.5 pounds…which is really impressive if weight is your main concern. Funny…at the Worlds, they had a minimum weight limit for skis and bindings, and added small weights if you went over. Glad that didn’t happen to me!
Anyway, just wanted to give a rundown of some of my race kit…I sense it might come in handy real soon.