Last week, Dynafit took a group of international journalists, including myself, on a two-day trip in southern Germany to show off the new 2012/2013 gear and to do some field testing. Base camp was the Wuhrsteinalm, a super plush hut in the Chiemgauer Alpen. Stocked with an abundance of strudel, and a short skin from several Bavarian peaks, the Wuhrsteinalm was the ideal venue to test some product by day and enjoy some Bavarian mountain culture by night.
One of the more anticipated products is the Huascaran, Dynafit’s newest ski. The widest ski of the Dynafit line, the Huascaran has a 112-milimeter waist (in 177 length), a healthy dose of tip rocker, and a slight tail rocker. Yet it is surprisingly lightweight (1780 grams) and I toured about 5,000 vertical on it while nursing a raging hangover with little trouble. Its multi-radius sidecut allows it to make a variety of different turn shapes and it smeared and carved with relative ease in the cream snow we encountered. It will definitely be a legitimate weapon for the freeride-touring crowd looking for a big ski for big lines. Read: North Americans.
From the second Dynafit added Eric Hjorleifson to their pro team, the skiing community has anxiously awaited some new developments in boot technology. By using the tech developed in their widely successful TLT5 boots and marrying it with the ideas from Hoji’s Frankenboot, Dynafit has created the Vulcan. Intended for the aggressive freeride touring/mountaineering crowd, the Vulcan is one of the stiffest touring boots I’ve ever tried on (though I didn’t get to ski it). However, what impressed me the most—even more than its light weight (1590 grams)—is the range of motion in walk mode. When you pull out the removable tongue (much like the TLT5), this boot has near unmatched stride length (both fore and aft), especially amongst other aggressive, downhill-oriented boots. I personally am pumped for the arrival of this boot next season. It will do a big part to change the perception of what is possible in boot tech, especially in the tourability of aggressive AT boots.
Dynafit’s parent company, Salewa, also bought Pomoca, a reputable Swiss climbing skin manufacturer that has been in the business since 1933. We Americans tend to view skins as an afterthought in the grand scheme of a backcountry kit. But surprisingly, the construction of a climbing skin makes a huge difference in how you can climb a mountain. Mohair and nylon, the two primary materials used in modern skins, have wildly different glide vs. grip characteristics. Pomoca does hours of product testing and research with these materials to make skins climb a mountain with as little resistance to glide as possible, meaning you expend less energy on the up. I’d never thought of skin construction until after I used Pomocas. Good skins make a world of difference.
Another big push from Dynafit for the 2012/2013 season is in outerwear, especially outerwear that is styled to a more freeride and North American audience. Here I’m testing the wind resistance of the new Huascaran jacket and pant combo on the summit of the Geigelstein. It’s good, technical (Gore-Tex proshell) stuff with a pretty comfortable and stylish fit. I would have liked a bit more venting in the jacket and the double zipper in the crotch zip was a little strange. But it’s an excellent start to push into that market.
And we skied with absolutely perfect conditions. I had some of my best turns of the season. Here John Stifter spreads some Germanic cream cheese.
On our third and final summit of the day, Breitenstein, we found more of the same conditions—blue skies and good times.
Eric Henderson, Dynafit’s North American PR man, and Lou Dawson of Wildsnow.com raise a glass of locally brewed suds, a proper cap to a hell of a day “product testing” in the Alps. A tough life indeed.