Dynafit Tri-Step Binding Review

 Dynafit TriStep Binding
Dynafit TriStep Binding

Dynafit Tri-Step Binding Review

I purchased the new Dynafit “Tri-Step” binding about two weeks ago. I have already had so many troubles with it, I thought I should warn others about it.

TLT Tourlite – the Original Dyanfit Binding

The original “Tourlite” by Dynafit is generally regarded as the best Alpine Touring binding on the market. There are, however, a few quirks with the Tourlite. First, it is tricky to get in and out of at first (but after a few days one develops a “knack” and this is no longer a problem), Second, the front binding will ice up in certain conditions making it necessary to occasionally clear the ice with your pole or a knife. And thirdly, you must remove your foot from the binding completely in order to switch modes from Locked (downhill) to Tour.

Tri-Step – New and Improved?

Most people I’ve spoken to find these issues a small sacrifice compared with the lightness and durability of the Tourlite. Dynafit’s new Tri-Step binding, although touted as an improvement over the Tourlite, does nothing to improve on these quirks.

  • The new model has an “improved” heel cup which makes it possible to line up the toe holes; however, after a few days I found I was inserting my toe first anyhow (first one hole, then the other, click), just like everyone does with the Tourlite model.
  • It is necessary to bend down and pull up the little toe lever in order to engage the front pins, even for Locked (downhill) mode–something which wasn’t necessary with the Tourlite.
  • The lever is not nearly as positive as the Tourlite’s lever. It actually adds to the finickiness of the binding!
  • The Tri-Step weighs more
  • The Tri-Step costs between $50 and $100 (CDN) more, depending on where you buy it.

Icing up with the Tri-Step – a serious design defect

Most serious, however, are the consequences of icing up with the new Tri-Step binding. Just like the Tourlite, the Tri-Step also has a major icing up problem in the front binding; however, Dynafit has placed a nifty-looking plastic coverplate over the mechanism. Although this coverplate looks cool, it unfortunately makes it utterly impossible to clear ice that develops underneath the toe lever (which is concealed by the coverplate). After touring with these skis for several days in the backcountry (without a warm hut or home to thaw the skis in), it becomes absolutely impossible to remove one’s foot from the binding without using extreme force. Other strugglesA second annoying problem that seems to happen frequently is that when touring (at least once an hour–but yesterday it happened to both bindings within 30 seconds) the heel piece will swivel into the Locked (downhill) position. The result is that with the next step your heel will bind and you will have to remove your foot, reposition the heel piece, and clip in again. This happens especially, it seems, when your ski hits an uneven patch and the heel misaligns slightly. This problem is exacerbated infinitely when the icing up problem (mentioned previously) makes it impossible to release the binding…. ARRGH! This problem is nowhere near as severe with the original Tourlite and is perhaps due to a slightly larger heel design.And finally, a problem I have had with my Tri-Step that I expect is actually a manufacturing defect, is that the front pins on one binding have been widening, making it necessary to hammer them back tighter periodically–or deal with the ski falling off while touring up hill every ten steps. I think that this might be a metal tempering defect. Imagine my frustration as I was skiing under a high-frequency serac wall a few days ago and had to stop, remove both skis, and begin hammering at the binding with the other ski in order to close the gap 1/8 inch! Fortunately I solved the problem after a few minutes and was able to keep on skiing. The last time this problem developed I had a handy hammer-shaped piece of quartzite nearby.


Before you spring for the new Tri-Step, consider that it:

  • weighs more,
  • costs more,
  • has more fiddly plastic bits to break,
  • doesn’t improve on any aspect of the respected and time-tested Tourlite,
  • has at least one or two serious flaws (icing up in toe piece that is impossible to clear due to the new coverplate being the most serious).
  • Tom Wolfe
    January 8th, 2002
    Calgary, Alberta

    Comments, etc: tom@sawback.com