I’ve rarely had any problems with my Dynafit bindings. If I do, it’s usually because I forgot to adjust them after switching to different boots with different sole lengths, or not taking my time with re-assembly and stripping some of the screws. You only have to screw up once to learn your lesson, because not being able to ski because of busted gear sucks!
Now, I don’t have to tell that to Josh Gage, who was on my most recent trip to the Beartooths. After going through the motions of getting shuttled in, hiking to and setting up camp…and then climbing to the pass the next morning, Josh found out that something wasn’t quite right with his Dynafit Vertical ST bindings as he was having trouble clicking into downhill mode on his heelpiece. Upon further inspection, it looked as though whoever mounted his bindings, somehow stripped the forward adjustment screw and now, his heel piece wouldn’t stay put and would move backward anytime John tried to lock in…or even tour. Talk about a bummer!! The last place you want to find out your gear is messed up is at 10,000′ and 10 miles from the trailhead.
Back at camp, it was time to take a closer look and see if we could temporarily fix his binding so he could at least make some turns. If there was some way we could just keep the heel piece from moving backward, I was sure the bindings would hold his boot in place…alpine style. Reed came to the rescue with some bailing wire and after sizing the heelpiece to his boot sole length, we rapped the bailing wire around the front of the plastic base plate and then twisted the ends of the bailing wire together. After four wraps with three separate pieces of bailing wire, the fix finally held up to the hammer test and it was time for Josh to go for a test ski.
Keeping it simple, Josh toured up a slope right outside of camp. Even more simply, and since it was hot as hell in the sun, he did it in his long johns. We watched anxiously as he climbed higher and higher, soon making it to the top of the slope. We could tell his first few turns were tentative, as he started to make his way downhill. But soon, he was linking turns quickly and with aggressiveness. He came back to camp with a big smile on his face and we all celebrated. Not only did the binding hold during the test-ski, but Josh was confident enough opted to ski the North Couloir of Fox peak with it. Right on Josh…glad everything worked out.
Josh skis the North Couloir on Mount Fox with his repaired Dynafits.
* On a side note, and to give a little props to Dynafit customer service, they had a new heelpiece to Josh within days of his return and quickly enough for him to enjoy in some more spring powder. Being able to recover with grace is important in skiing, but it seems like Dynafit has that already figured out.