Dynafit bindings have gained popularity in the US after decades of development and use in Europe, mainly amongst ski mountaineer and randonee racers. In 1993 the Dynafit TLT type binding became the first available in North America. Today the company sells more than 13,000 pair a year and as many as 8 different models of bindings here in the US. Even after this type of popularity many new to the ski world have never seen this type of set-up.
The original 1993 purple and pink model!
After seeing my first pair of these bindings in use during a ski trip on the Haute Route of France I returned to the US sans my telemark bindings with my prized new Dynafit set-up. Simply put this binding offers the lightest option for ski touring and offers the downhill performance that most are looking for in the backcountry.
The Dynafit binding works by rather ingenious engineering. Unlike most AT (alpine touring) bindings that have a bar connecting the toe and heel plates, the Dynafit binding uses the entire boot to attach the two together through the rigid nature of plastic ski boots. This means that a specific Dynafit compatible boot is necessary for the system to be complete, where the toe and heel piece of the binding actually “prongs” itself into the boot. This eliminates much of the extra metal that would construct a binding made in the more classic downhill style.
The Fritshi Diamir type binding with a more classic alpine type construction
Dynafit products have some small limitations. These are really limited to only a few problems including the overall release mechanism which can be somewhat trigger happy if you are a super aggressive cliff jumper and bump skier. The binding can also not provide enough power for a skier to handle a super fat ski. So if you are looking for a binding and boot combination for super fat, big mountain heli-skis you might look elsewhere. In terms of tourability this is the right choice for the touring-minded backcountry skier. For more information on Dynafit bindings online check out wildsnow.com or give our new backcountry skiing courses a try!
The Dynafit compatible boot. Notice the metal toe and heel inserts.
-- Ben Traxler, AAI Guide