Advanced all-mountain skier
Craig's rating of this ski:
Considering his skiers profile:
"All-mountain skis will be my choice when conditions vary from firm to 6" of fresh snow. Better edge hold and carving capabilities should be expected compared to my powder skis. They should be competent in crud and soft bumps."
Weight:82 kg180 lbs
My favourite all-mountain skis:
1. Renoun Endurance 98
2. Liberty Variant 113
2. Rossignol Experience 88 HD
To all my reviews
It is December 2017, and I just met with Liberty's ski designer at the Liberty headquarters in Avon, Colorado. Liberty will be introducing a new series of skis called the "VMT series" or Vertical Metal Technology, that will replace the long running Variant lineup for next season. Some of the interesting technology he shared with me, will include:
- metal (5000 series aluminum) strips that will run the length of the ski, and will be set on their edge (vertically) rather than a flat thin layer that is normally incorporated across the width of the laminate.
- layered spring steel under binding area
- sidewall material that is poured during construction, into and around the side of the laminate, offering superior damping, interface with the laminate, and strength.
- metal inserts incorporated into the laminate on the base side, at both tip and tail of the ski, that will add damping, torsional stability, and protection. Versus, a external piece of metal that is attached to the tip of the ski with screws, and is common on many skis from other manufacturers.
- bamboo laminate with full carbon layup
- ski widths will "narrow" for the Liberty line (due to a industry trend for narrower widths) in the upcoming season. E.g. Origin 116 will slim down to 112, Variant 97 will become VMT 92, with additional narrow widths never offered before by Liberty, VMT 82mm, and VMT 72mm underfoot . One exception.....my favorite pow ski, the wide Liberty Genome at 141 underfoot remains unchanged... "Don't fear the girth". This review of the prototype Origin 90 below, utilizes this new laminate, minus the additional metal insert at the tip and tail of the ski, that will be used on the new VMT. This VMT laminate is not scheduled for production in the Origin series for next season, and I am sorry it's not!
Liberty's designer did suggest that the 179cm Origin 90 (that he pulled off the rack for this review) may be a touch short for my profile. I believe he is correct, considering available sizing is (179 or 186cm). A 181-182cm length would probably be ideal for my profile (please click on my image to see my profile) if it were offered, but the damping and stability of this new laminate allow you to error towards a shorter length vs longer based on your personal profile. I did try 8 mm behind the recommended mount point, and found the factory recommended boot mount point correct. This ski has a moderate sweet spot, with its preferred weight forward to neutral stance. Liberty rates the flex as 8 tip and tail, 9 underfoot for the current ski. My subjective rating for this new laminate would be a medium-stiff flex, perhaps 7 for tip and tail, in this ski width underfoot category. I must admit, I miss the stunning (Santa Fe) top sheet graphics that debuted on the 2015 Origin 116, they were a classic.
Early season, some nice small-medium sized bumps on black terrain and larger, firmer, cut up bumps at the end of the week, some untracked off-piste with 8-10 inches. Variety of groomed conditions over the week trial period.
This Origin has well above average edge grip, and excellent carving characteristics, which are common traits in the Liberty line of skis I have reviewed in the past, including the current Origin 96. I could induce some chatter, when I pushed the ski past it's 17.5m turn radius on firm conditions, with high edge angles, but it's progressive edge engagement made this easy to control. This is not unusual for skis with this amount of edge grip, and its medium radius carve turns were "spectacular", even as conditions became firm, with skied off glossy spots. It's transition over these skied off areas was very good, particular for this length. I think this is a ski that will age well, and maintain a strong edge through the life of the ski. The higher damping qualities in this new laminate were impressive, and stability in variable terrain and at speed were very good. The current 90 is listed at 1830g per ski flat. This 179cm example with next years laminate and Tyrolia demo bindings, feels comparable in weight to a Rossi E88 hd 180cm (weight 2100g flat) with Marker demo bindings (which are slightly lighter in weight), when I subjectively compared them. This leads me to believe the new laminate will come in slightly heavier than the current construction. Heavier weight is typically relative to better damping. Manufacturers are making strides in reducing weight while maintaining higher damping qualities with new, and often exotic materials, and creative design as we see with Liberty's new construction.
The straighter side cut, flipped-tapered tail, even flex, shorter length for my profile, good torsional stability, and very good damping, all add to this skis bump capabilities. Vail opened Kangaroo Cornice during my time with this Origin. Bumps were small-medium sized with good shape, that had formed over the week since it opened. Fairly consistent firm snow, with some tracked up off piste, and small tree tops mixed in, from the 8-10 inches that fell almost a week ago. The new 90 performed excellent in these conditions. Very good stability, quick, flickable, easy release tail, and excellent edge. Run the zipper line, carve the wider bumps, it's your choice. As the bumps became larger, firmer, and more cut up late in the week, the 90s sweet spot narrowed, with this skis medium stiff flex, and slight carbon pop, that may be quelled with the addition of the top and tail metal dampers used on next years VMT series. It required a accurate centered balance body position (back seat driving is discouraged) and the shorter 179cm length became a advantage.
With the Origin 90s straighter outline, and a more traditional sidecut. I was able to get into about 8-10 inches of untracked, reasonably light pow, on a black off-piste run that Vail opened for the first time this season. I would rate its flotation as average for this width underfoot, and stability was very good. This will make a great ski for those who prefer a deeper ride in powder.
Liberty, please bring this prototype ski to market! It's a winner...and add the tip-tail dampers please! Oh, make mine a 181-182cm length.
Who is this ski for
- East or west US, this skis edge can handle either -great-narrow one ski quiver
- Excellent choice for your narrow ski, in your two ski quiver
Liberty about the Origin 96
"The all-new Origin90 is quick and tenacious with Speedcore Carbon construction, minimal tip rocker, and a low rise tail. Carve hard on the frontside, ski some trees, or even bash bumps with the Origin90.", says Liberty.