DFP Blog: Thinking on our Feet
14 March 2012
22 November 2010
A few observations and musings regarding DFP insole service for the US Ski Team this past summer at Mount Hood and this November at Vail, Colorado: as DFP is nearing it's second decade of being the leading insole supplier to the USST, I'd like to thank and wish well the DFP athletes who have recently moved on past their competitive careers with the team. Scott Macartney, Bryon Friedman, Jake Zamansky, Dane Spencer, Keely Kelleher - you all have been great to work with. Thanks for your support and the ultimate validation of DFP insoles - using them!
Mount Hood this past summer was what it usually is, too little time and too many athletes. Luckily for me, both men's and women's development teams come back every year so, I'm bound to get to everyone at some point. Seth Macadam, the head women's D team coach brought the girls by this summer for insoles and a quick alignment "snapshot". Devin Delaney and Rose Caston are among the women in that group using DFP insoles. A big congratulations to DFP athlete Laurenne Ross for a great season last year and making it to full time on the World Cup!
The men.... with the retirements above it is always reassuring to see the torch passing to the young guns.
26 October 2010
You've been "footed" when a bird grabs you with it's talons and won't let go. It's no big deal if it's from a small song bird. It's quite different when it's from a hawk, falcon, or eagle. Feet, not beaks, are the business end of raptors.
Getting footed by a small Sharp Shinned hawk or Kestrel is tolerable, although the tip of my middle finger still tingles from a lightning quick Sharpie back in August. A bigger male Cooper's Hawk will test your pain threshold, and an even larger female can make you beg. My only female Coop footing this year was a lucky (for me) shot through the front and back of the meaty part of my thumb. She was the tenderizer and I was the cheap cut of beef - her talons went in and out so cleanly that the wicked pain never came. The worst part was figuring out how to hold her free foot in my already impaled left hand so I could pry her off with my right. I've never had a big Red Tail get a solid lock, and can't imagine being inattentive enough to EVER get it from an eagle.
Does this have anything to do with insoles? Yes indeed, because my feet have been very happy throughout this year's raptor migration. First, the back story...
08 September 2010
It's been an interesting off-season as ususal. I've accomplished about 10% of the things I had planned thus far, and that can either be the result of the grandiose scale of my ambition or my inablitiy to see those plans to fruition. I prefer the former.
Shortly after my last, and coincidentally best day on the hill last winter, I traveled to the Georgia and Florida to visit some friends and attend a music festival. I'm going to call this trip a “Working Vacation” as far as the FED's are concerned because I packed my molds and a handful of DFP blanks to mold footbeds for my host and his girlfriend in Jacksonville. I have to say it's a whole hell of a lot easier – and for that matter more enjoyable – to complete the molding process in the kitchen of a close friend with plenty of Crown Royal and good music on hand.
After the molds were done using the kitchen oven (not necessarily reccomended, but effective nonetheless), I traced the stock insole outline onto the DFPs and replaced them in the bag for the return trip to Utah. Back in the shop I went to work on the grinder and sent the finished product back to Jacksonville. Shortly after, Johnson qualified in the top 5 for the Florida open (the DFPs were for his golf spikes) and his girlfriend (who won't be named because they've since parted ways) completed her next triatholon with her best time ever. Now I won't say the DFP's made all the difference, but
23 March 2010
A normal Wasatch winter makes it hard to get to work on time. It's the same principle that makes the U of U a 5+ year school - too many deep days, too few adrenalin filled lecture halls. Not this year though. El Nino forgot about us, or maybe just decided to give us a season long dose of everybody else's normal. Normal ain't bad - groomers at Alta and the Bird have been excellent - but the soft stuff has been measured in inches rather than feet. It's out there if you want to earn it - and why not get your cardio in the back country instead of the gym? - but a persistent weak layer has pegged the avalanche danger for almost the entire season. High danger = low angled tree skiing. Wa, wa, wa, another day of tree skiing? Like my Mom used to say - beats a sharp stick in the eye!
That being said, there's still work to do - insole shapes to evaluate, liner modifications to test. Check out a typical test session. This is why I try to get to work on time:
The small production run of liners we did this season proved out our overall design, but also gave us a few things to think about for generation II. The main tweak will be increased hold down power in the heel and ankle area. As is, it's adequate for many combinations of foot/shell/skiing styles, but I think it needs to be more positive for an even larger cross section of skiers. We also want to expand the ability of the liners to interface with snowboard and AT boots. People buy things for lots of different reasons, and you can't always count on a resulting perfect/proper fit. That's the point of custom - to make up the difference between imperfect and improper.
The easy way to get hold down is to add material. We'll do that - a little in the HD, and even a little more in the softer FX - but will also add two additional mods: a lace system, and proprietary external pads. Laces are an effective way to secure everything during the molding process, and they work great for minimizing heel lift without resorting to excess material and bulk. They'll be a huge plus for snowboard and AT boots, both of which require a more active foot than alpine skiing. On the downside, it becomes a little harder to get a boot on and off, so they'll be removable for those who don't see the need for them. The external pads will be trick, plain and simple! More on those in a future post.
Today's setup: a DFP Podium custom insole, inside a DFP FX custom liner, inside a Garmont Radium shell, clicked into a Dynafit Comfort binding, mounted on a K2 Coomback ski. Easy on the up, smooth on the down.