Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
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Nov 8, 2015
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Steamboat Springs, Co
Fischer Ranger 94 FR
Dimensions: 126-92-117
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 161, 169, 177, 185
Size tested: 177
Design: All New

The Ranger 94 FR was a real surprise for me. I really liked it on the firm groomed snow. It does a lot of things well. It is solid, energetic, and fun, as well as fairly damp with good snow feel. Tip engagement is smooth and predictable despite the rockered tip. The tail is compliant and allows you to carve and finish a turn but it is also very good at drifting. In the crowded 90-something class, this ski is a contender; put it on your demo list for a versatile choice that is neither demanding nor boring.
  • Who is it for? Intermediates and up looking for a versatile ski with personality that could make a good one-ski quiver.
  • Who is it not for? Those seeking more of a carving tool.
  • Insider tip: Don't overlook this ski!

K2 Mindbender 99 Ti
Dimensions: 138-99-123
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 170, 177, 184, 191
Size tested: 177
Design: All New

I demoed the 99 in a 177 and felt it was too short, but I could tell the ski has a lot going for it. It has a nice damp, solid feel. I wasn't blown away on the firm snow of our test run, but once I found some soft snow, the ski came alive and I really enjoyed its fun energy. The tips hook up well, and it is easy to drift around. I would like to test it in some Steamboat trees with a foot of powder.
  • Who is it for? Those looking for a 99-ish ski that prefers off-piste conditions.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a versatile 99 ski that is happy on firmer groomed.
  • Insider tip: Size up; I felt the 177 was too short.

Liberty Evolv 90
Dimensions: 132-90-114
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

It's no secret I love the Liberty V-Series, so the new Evolv line had been on my radar since before Christmas. Although you will hear it's a cross between a V-Series and an Origin, that's not quite what you will experience. Yes, it does have more tip and tail rocker than the V-series skis and less than the Origin, but it's much stiffer in the tips and even more so in the tails than either. It was explained to me as Liberty's new charger ski aimed at the Bonafide, M5, Enforcer 93/100, and others. I don't typically love those skis, but I did love the Evolv. It is slightly less precise than the V-Series and slightly more than the Origin, and offered a much more serious ride overall. In the charger class of skis, I prefer the Evolv because it's more workable, less tiring, and more fun. It is quick and uber-stable but still retains just enough energy and pop.
  • Who is it for? If you are in search of a charger, you must demo this ski.
  • Who is it not for? This is not a kitten; it's a mountain lion.
  • Insider tip: If you are wondering if you should buy the V92 or the Evolv 90, I still prefer the V92 for its carving chops and ease, but if you want something more off-piste-oriented and don't mind losing some of the thrill of carving, go Evolv 90. The 179 is plenty of ski.

Liberty Evolv 100
Dimensions: 139-100-122
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

I loved this ski and will own it. If you didn't read my review of the Evolv 90. please do that first. The Evolv 100 is a charger for sure, but I found it less demanding and more fun than the others in its class. It is super stable, damp, and solid but not dull or overly stiff; surprisingly agile too. The tips are just soft enough to bend and modulate turn shape at will. The tails are stiff enough for a charger, but they aren't steel girders. I had a blast skiing the Evolv on edge through piled-up leftovers; it arced through the piles like a deli slicer through pastrami. You just want to ski fast!
  • Who is it for? Those looking for a charging ski that isn't a plank, a ski that can bust crud and surf pow and still be fun.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a stiff, boring plank.
  • Insider tip: The 179 is plenty; there is no need to size up unless you are sponsored. I preferred the 100 over the 90.

Liberty V-Series V92
Dimensions: 133-92-120
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: New Construction

I just love this ski. I skied it about 30 days in conditions from hard pack to a foot-plus (read my Long-Term Review HERE). The tip engagement is so easy and predictable, it's addictive, and I love the ski in the bumps. Updated for 2019 with three strips of VMT, the V92 is solid and damp but packs a lot of energy and fun. It is happy to ski slowly, to make easy turns, or to dish out rapid-fire, short-radius turns. The tips won't hook up abruptly like an SL ski but they respond quickly and predictably. You can easily turn this ski inside of the 17.5m turn radius with the softer tips and tails but have no fear, they will stand up to skier input. Liberty took customers' input added an additional strip of VMT into all of the V-Series skis. The V92 skis slightly stiffer in the tips and tails, but it is still an amazing ski. Yep, I own it. It's a better ski now, but if you can find a 2018 on closeout, buy it.
  • Who is it for? It is the elusive Western one-ski quiver for intermediates and up. (The V82 is the East Coast equivalent.)
  • Who is it not for? Clydesdales, or those seeking true race ski performance.
  • Insider tip: Liberties ski at length. Try the 172 for an even quicker ski; at 6 ft and 168 lb, I love the 179.

Rossignol Black Ops 98

Dimensions: Unpublished
Radius: Unpublished
Sizes: 162, 172, 182, 192
Sizes tested: 182, 192
Design: All New (was available to shop employees in 2018)

182- This super fun, smooth, effortless ski defines soft-snow fun. I skied the 182 in 3 in. of fresh and it was superb. I just wanted to pop off everything, slash my tails, and play around with turn shape. The ski is well-balanced and, as an added bonus, quite good in the skied-out chop. Surprisingly stable and competent, it is a bit heavy compared to most new skis, so I wouldn't suggest it as an AT option. One friend uses the Black Ops as his powder ski; I could easily see using it in a foot or so. This is one of three skis I gave the "I Could Own It" award.

192- If you ski a 186-ish ski, don't discount the 192. I grabbed this length first since the 182 was out and was shocked just how easy it was to ski. It's not as much fun as the 182, especially in tighter locations, but on the groomed in open terrain, the 192 is stable and easy.
  • Who's it for? Me! This ski is just fun and can be skied by a wide range of skiers.
  • Who's it not for? Those looking for a ski for dual resort/backcountry might find it too heavy.
  • Insider tip: If you typically ski a 185-ish powder ski, don't overlook the 182. But don't discount the 192, it's compliant even at a length that most never consider.

Salomon QST 92
Dimensions: 128-92-111
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 153, 161, 169, 177, 185
Size tested: 177
Design: New Construction

The new QST lineup features a new tip and core construction, and I think Salomon did a great job. Overall, Salomon made the QST lineup more groomer-friendly and improved the feel of the ski. Tip engagement is much improved, and it is playful and quick edge to edge. The 92 ski engages well and hold an edge on some of our scraped-off snow; in the loose stuff, it is very smooth and predictable. While still biased toward soft snow, the 92 is new and improved.
  • Who is it for? Intermediates and up. Those looking for a 60/40 soft-snow-biased ski that is still solid on the groomed.
  • Who is it not for? Those seeking a ski for hard snow.
  • Insider tip: The new QST line is vastly improved, and if you felt it was too soft-snow-centric before, give this one a spin.

Salomon QST 99
Dimensions: 134-99-116
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 188
Size tested: 181
Design: All New

Like the QST 92, the 99 sports a new core and tip construction. It is a fun, easy ski with a much improved feel and better tip engagement, even on the firm run where I skied it. Compared to the 2019 class of new 99mm skis, this one is on the easygoing side, but it does feel more grounded and substantial than some of the others. Decidedly biased toward soft snow, it displays some tip chatter at speed on the firm groomed but it does not affect the performance; it remains smooth and stable.
  • Who is it for? Those seeking a ski that can do powder duty as well as leftovers.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a wide groomer ski.
  • Insider tip: Give the new QST lineup a demo.
 

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
4,101
Location
Maine
It [Evolv 90] was explained to me as Liberty's new charger ski aimed at the Bonafide, M5, Enforcer 93/100, and others. I don't typically love those skis, but I did love the Evolv. It is slightly less precise than the V-Series and slightly more than the Origin, and offered a much more serious ride overall. In the charger class of skis, I prefer the Evolv because it's more workable, less tiring, and more fun.
+1. Well observed.
 
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Ken_R

Living the Dream
Skier
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Posts
3,917
Location
Denver, CO
When I demoed the Evolv 90 179cm at the A Basin gathering I loved it. I found it super easy to ski and just fun. Looking back at all the skis I have been on over the past few years it stands out as the perfect Colorado daily driver. A true all-mountain ski.
 

USCskibum

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Posts
89
What’s your “cage-match” threesome take on the following: DPS Cassiar Foundation 94, Fischer Ranger 94 FR and Liberty Evolv 90?

Intrigued by all 3 of these with maybe the Evolv being the outlier due to it’s flatter tails.
 
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Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
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Posts
6,722
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
I much prefer the Fischer 94 or the Evolv90. (YMMV) so I'll say I could own either pair. I think they are both dark horses. The Fischer has much more rocker and different tails (as you have noted) but Personally, I dont ike a lot of rocker. In the case of the Fischer, its not overdone. The Evolv90 skis a little more grounded, a bit more damp. the Fischer is more of a fun ski (in a good way). I didnt ski the Fischer enough to hone in on the subtleties but in my mind, they are pretty close. I guess the major difference would be the Fischer is a bit more fun and the Evolv90 is just a bit more serious. The Evolv is intended to be more of a charger. Hmm, I think I need to track a pair down again :)
 

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
4,101
Location
Maine
The Evolv is intended to be more of a charger.
That may be true, but it's a very civilized charger. I don't generally respond to "charger" skis, but I really liked the Evolv a lot.
 
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PNWRod

Getting off the lift
Skier
Joined
Nov 9, 2017
Posts
289
Location
Crystal Mtn
Hmm. I was just thinking I could use another ski, like another hole in my head, but you have tempted me to test out the Evolve 100. Closest width I have to that is a 95 and then jumps up to a 110 in my quiver. I do not know how I will cope unless I fill that gap.
 
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4shaw

At the base lodge
Skier
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Posts
5
The Liberty skis have me intrigued as my skinny ski out west. Curious which Liberty you feel would do better in bumps and trees? Evolv vs V? Thanks
 
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Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
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Posts
6,722
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
That may be true, but it's a very civilized charger. I don't generally respond to "charger" skis, but I really liked the Evolv a lot.
Yes, In my SIA review form 2020, I also referred to it as an easy going charger. its quite workable and it doesn't ski uber stiff or plank-y.
 

4shaw

At the base lodge
Skier
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Posts
5
Thanks Ron. Evolv 90 it is. Will try to get on a pair or find a good deal.
 
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