Expert Review: Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Ski Bindings · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the bindings which I purchased with my own money in November of 2019.
About this review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings which I purchased with my own money in November of 2019.
The Dynafit ST Rotation 10s are an excellent binding with extra safety features compared to most backcountry bindings. They aren’t ultralight but still aren’t terribly heavy compared to other options on the market. They are perfect for someone who is used to the feel of a downhill ski binding but is now looking for a binding to mount to a ski exclusively used in the backcountry and not at the resort.
About the gear
- Model: Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Bindings
- Height: 5’4”
- Weight: 110 lbs
- Preferred DIN range: 6
- Experience: 20 years of skiing
- When I bought these: November 2019
- Days tested: 50 days
- Boots: Scarpa Gea
- Boot Size: 22.5
- Skis DPS Alchemist Zelda 106’s
- Where I’ve used it: Utah
- Terrain: Backcountry and two random accidental resort days
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a safe, reliable touring binding that would be easy on the knees. I didn’t want to mess around with the safety ratings on my bindings. The Rotations have a pivoting toe piece that allows lateral release if you fall. Many touring bindings don’t have this, and I prioritized that over ultralight.
I also wanted something that would ski like a regular downhill binding because that’s what I was used to. Many bindings are so lightweight that they ski totally differently. Backcountry skiing already feels so different from downhill skiing because of the differently constructed and lighter-weight skis and boots that I knew I would be more comfortable with, a binding that was a bit burlier.
Why I chose this gear
Since I knew I wanted that lateral toe release, I mainly was deciding between the Rotations and the Fritschi Vipecs because those also have the same toe release feature. The Vipecs had a DIN range of 5-12, and I ski around 5.5 to 6, so the Rotations had more wiggle room on that with their range of 4-10.
I also had heard good things about Dynafit and knew they were one of the most dialed-in backcountry gear manufacturers around, so even if I used a higher DIN range and didn’t feel like the 5-12 range was too high, I probably still would have gone with these.
What I love about them
- Release Reliability: I haven’t taken that many rough falls on these, but the falls I have taken where my ski should pop off, it has popped off. Also, just knowing that they are rated for lateral release gives me peace of mind to ski some more complex things without worry of falling, my ski staying on, and wrecking my knees.
- Downhill Performance: They ski really well. The first few times on my setup took some getting used to for sure, just because everything skied a bit differently than I was used to having downhill skied since I was a kid, but I don’t think that was the bindings as much as just getting used to a new setup. I have also taken this setup to the resort twice, and while most touring bindings ski pretty poorly at resorts, these felt pretty stable. I also like that these have brakes, whereas most touring bindings don’t. When skiing downhill, if I do take a tumble and my ski falls off, it doesn’t go far because the brake stops it. Having spent hours digging through the snow looking for friends' skis who didn’t have brakes or a leash on their touring skis, I think this feature is worth the few oz of weight it adds to the bindings.
- Durability: Dynafit was one of the first backcountry binding manufacturers in the game, and they make really high quality and durable products. I have beat these up a bit, and they have no signs of wear or tear and still work just as well as the day I got them. I know that these will outlast my skis and boots and that I will be able to mount them on my next touring skis without worry.
- Power Transfer: The power transfer in this binding is awesome, especially compared to other lighter touring bindings. They ski the most similar to downhill bindings and feel the most efficient out of the few touring bindings that I have tried.
- Adjustability: Not something I prioritized or even thought about at the time of purchase, but similar to a downhill binding, these can be slightly adjusted to accommodate different boot sizes. The first boots I bought with these bindings I absolutely hated. Most three-pin bindings are locked into place once they are mounted, but with these, I was able to get a different boot and adjust them to fit the sole length of the new boot. It gives you a bit of wiggle room because even if you try a boot on and it feels good, sometimes when you take it out for the first few times, you realize some pressure point is causing you problems. That can be a really expensive mistake with the price of touring gear. I’m hyped that I could just adjust these with a screwdriver to fit my new, better boots.
- Ease of use: Super intuitive, easy to transition with gloves on. Risers are easy to flip on the hike up with a pole.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: at 1.3 lb each, they are not the lightest touring binding on the market. But they’re honestly not that heavy, especially when compared to a frame binding.
- Versatility: Though I wouldn’t use these very often at a resort since they are still a three-pin binding, I have had two days that I went up to tour and ended up resort skiing, and they were no problem. That being said, I docked them a few stars for versatility, but for three-pin bindings, they do ok on resorts, and that's not a feature I would expect any three-pin bindings to have anyways. If you are looking for a crossover binding to work at a resort and for touring, the Atomic Shifts or Marker Kingpins are the way to go.
- Uphill Performance: Overall, uphill performance on these is awesome; there are two levels of heel risers you can initiate, and it's really easy to flip between them in variable steepness of the terrain. I also don’t find them to feel super heavy on the uphills, even though they aren’t the lightest touring bindings on the market; they are a bit heavier than a lot of options out there, which is something to consider if you’re counting grams. In terms of issues I’ve encountered, I have had a few times where I didn’t lock the toe piece in all the way when I was going up, and my toe spins around when I go to do a kick turn. This is more of a user error and just something I need to be careful of, though.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moments with these have been the really early dawn patrol tours where the resorts aren't open yet, there’s no traffic, and I get to see the sunrise on the hike up. It’s very freeing to have the ability to just grab your skis and go before anyone else is awake. I also love the feeling of skiing down something that you have hiked up. Skiing is so fun in itself, but the sense of accomplishment you get from knowing that you walked up a whole mountain to get there is really satisfying and wouldn't be possible with a regular set of skis.
Value for the money vs. other options
At around $600, these bindings are a pretty mid-range for what’s to be expected for touring bindings. But in terms of the long-term value, they are a much better investment than most other options. They have held up really well, and I’m sure they will outlast the skis they are mounted on and that I will be able to mount them to my next pair of touring skis. Other cheaper options generally don't have the lateral release or are significantly heavier. Also, being that they are from Dynafit, which has their products so dialed in, they don’t tend to make huge changes year after year as many other binding manufacturers do. When other manufacturers come out with the new version, it kinda makes you wonder if there’s something better out there or if they had some issue with a previous model, but so far the Rotations have not changed in the last 4ish years. For a re-mountable, long-lasting, safe binding that doesn't weigh much, $599 is a steal and are the best bindings you could spend your money on.
The Dynafit ST Rotation 10s are a great safe and durable binding for those who aren’t trying to go ultralight on their touring gear. It is also specifically an awesome option for those who have had knee issues in the past or are particularly concerned about knee injuries and are lighter weight. They will likely outlast all your other touring gear because they are so well made and they are incredibly easy to use.