Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mounting Dynafit Bindings on Voile Chargers With a Milling Machine


After not riding lifts once last season I've been mostly skiing in bounds this year. This has been an easy decision to make: the early cold snap has left the backcountry snowpack faceted and unstable in many places while our local ski area has had consistently good conditions. (Not to rub things in for our Washington friends).

I love the light weight and shortish length of my 175 Black Diamond Justices in the backcountry but they are a bit short for inbounds use. I sometimes end up feeling "over the handle bars" plowing through variable cut up and snow. I decided I needed a set of skis that were longer and more stable but still light enough to tour with. When a deal on a pair of lightly used 191 Voile Chargers popped up I jumped on them.  


They arrived the day before we drove to visit my parents in Washington so I decided to bring them with and take advantage of my Dad and his milling machine to mount a pair of Dynafit Vertical ST's on them. A typical ski shop will have a set of jigs for each binding that allow the binding to be centered and accurate holes to be made with a hand drill or drill press. A home ski tech might use paper jigs to accomplish the same but is a time consuming and somewhat error prone process.

A milling machine (in this case with edge finder and digital readout) side steps the need for jigs and allows one to precisely position holes by moving the table. The most time consuming part of the process was measuring the bindings to determine where the holes should go. We ended up mounting the boots about 1.5 cm's forward of the line to reuse some existing holes from the previous mount.


I've been out on the skis for two in bounds days now and, while they are definitely different, am really enjoying adjusting to them. Surprisingly, I've found that the increased rocker and shorter turning radius makes them easier to turn than the Justices in some situations despite the longer length. The first few runs I actually surprised myself by hooking/turning too quickly as I had assumed they would require more aggressive skiing then the shorter Justices.


They seem to respond well and playfully to my usual balanced skiing style and soft Orange Maestrale boots while the longer running length and rocker and slightly increased weight does indeed handle chop better and eliminate the occasional over the handlebar/buried tip feeling I got in variable in bounds snow on the Justices. They also carve surprisingly well though I can only compare them to backcountry skis.

(This is in no way a full review as I have only two days on them and haven't toured on them yet. I'll do a more in depth review once I have more time on them.)


View from near the top of Lost Trail.

No comments: