A sneak peak of Dynafit's new line of skis, which they hope to reveal at next winter's tradeshows.
Dynafit announced the signing of it second big-name North American freeride, Cody Barnhill, along with a slew of new skis aimed at delivering a one-ski quiver for chargers who want one setup for both in-bounds laps and beyond-boundary touring, a move Dynafit reps say has been in the works since their wildly successful Beast binding and Vulcan boot begged them to close the product circle.
Dynafit North America's Communications Manager Eric Henderson makes sure to test the new prototypes in conditions the target market likes. Ya know, powder 'n stuff. Jamie Laidlaw photo via Instagram.
Dynafit is a brand that has found itself surprisingly en vogue with today’s pow-hungry chargers. The brand’s bindings have been the standard for lightweight ski touring for a long time, but the German brand’s reluctance to cater to those beyond the weight-weeny European rando racing and Haute Route markets meant that North Americans, who were more inclined to go touring to find steep stuff to fly down, were constantly left wanting for burlier product. But the ripples left by Marker's launch of the industry’s first truly husky backcountry binding, the Duke, finally reached the shores of Dynafit’s product development offices, helped along by the paddles of the brand’s North American staff, who we guess constantly prodded the stodgy Euros to step up to the plate.
A cross-profile of early prototypes of Dynafit's new ski line. Photo courtesy of Eric Henderson.
After picking up legendary boot tinkering and big mountain skier Eric Hjorleifsen, the Germans introduced the Vulcan boot and Beast binding, which combined the full package of Dynafit’s tourability and lightweight with the stiffness and downhill performance North Americans had been dreaming about. But when most customers sought out a ski to pair this combo with, they inevitably passed by the company’s own ski line, which was often too wimpy for their liking. But by signing another product design-crazy North American freerider, this time Salt Lake’s Cody Barnhill, Dynafit hopes to close the circle with a new line of skis that it hopes customers will find stout enough to rip laps in-bounds with before taking them OB for an afternoon tour.
Dynafit hopes customers will see the pairing of their new ski line with the Beast binding (pictured) and Vulcan boot as the ultimate one-ski quiver. Photo courtesy of Eric Henderson.
“Because of the Beast and the Vulcan, there’s a lot of people out there now that want a one-ski quiver,” Said Dynafit North America’s Communications Manager, Eric Henderson, who recently returned from a testing trip to Alaska with Barnhill and others. “These new skis need to be strong and snappy for steep faces, playful enough for long mellow runs, and firm enough to handle run outs at 40 mph, which is ultimately what we haven’t been able to offer in the past.” While the crew tested a variety of new skis in Alaska, they all centered on a 100% wood ski with full sidewalls, rockered tips, a single radius, and minimal camber. Weight, like with the Beast, will inevitably go up compared to traditional Dynafit offerings, but as Henderson puts it, “You need a little more umph underfoot going balls-out over cliffs.”
Cody Barnhill puts the new skis to the test near Valdez, Alaska. Jamie Laidlaw photo via Instagram
Barnhill enters the mix after years as both an athlete and the Product Manager at 4FRNT Skis, where he had a heavy hand in designing and producing skis like the YLE, Devastator, Renegade, and his own pro model, the CODY. With serious chops in big-mountain terrain, Henderson thinks Cody will be a perfect candidate to make sure Dynafit’s new line passes all the KIR tests before making it to market. But if over the course of this spring and summer it doesn’t, they won’t hesitate to postpone production. “We are not going to put something out on the market that’s not right for the market… ideally these will be launched next year at OR and SIA, but if we’re not happy with the product, we’ll postpone it.”