Testing skis so you don't have to.
- Mar 5, 2017
Sizes: 158, 166, 174, 182
Size tested: 174
Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) The Speed Zone 12 is an easily engaging ski with confidence-inspiring stability. It crosses the fall line quickly in a calm fashion with lots of feel underfoot, but there is a definite top end. Advancing intermediates and above can improve their game on this ski.
- Who is it for? People wanting to up their game.
- Who is it not for? Those looking to go mach schnell.
- Insider tip: Tip it and enjoy the ride.
Philpug: Last time I got on the Speed Zone 12 Ti was when it was first released a few years back, so instead of regurgitating that review, I felt it would suit the community better if I wrote a new one because perceptions can change. Well, that wasn't the case with the Speed Zone 12 Ti. The ski is all I remember and more. In this segment, where there are a lot of new contenders, the Speed Zone is the old man -- but that doesn't hold it back, it will go up against all with its age and wisdom. The dampening that Dynastar puts in between the core and the sidewall really does make a difference: it is not just fancy words on the topsheet; you can feel how silky the 12 reacts on the snow.
- Who is it for? Stronger skiers who like a few extra o’s in their smooth.
- Who is it not for? Those who demand catlike quickness in every turn; it’s there, but you have to work for it.
- Insider tip: Tip it and rip it.
FairToMiddlin: (from last year) Dynastar has a great 72mm carver here, with a 15m radius, great snow feel (within shouting distance of the Stöckli Laser series), and even some talent in the bumps. My voice memo on the Speed Zone says “it doesn’t have quite the power of the Atomic Redster, or quite the personality of the Elan SLX, but it has a very nice blend of both.” It also has more versatility than both, although I wouldn’t quite give it one-ski-quiver status.
- Who is it for? Frontside carvers who want a touch more versatility, without any compromise in trench-laying grins.
- Who is it not for? Traveling skiers hoping for one ski in the bag that feels great all over the mountain.
- Insider tip: Like the Redster and SLX, this is a ski you can trust to tell you what’s going on, giving you the data you need to make good choices. In a culture that seems gaga over lightness, it is nice to see skis like this still being made.
Andy Mink: Honesty in advertising: we all want it. Dynastar wasn't lying when it slapped the "Speed Zone" moniker on the topsheet. You could ski this all day and have a great time, but it really does want your attention. Lay it over, and it just keeps grinding the snow. Get off it and it still wants to turn, even if you're not paying attention. For those who want to be able to relax occasionally, there are other skis that come close to the Speed Zone's carving ability but are less demanding. That said, the SZ should be in the running for those who want to become more technical or just love to turn. All. The. Time.
- Who is it for? The turnaholic.
- Who is it not for? The skier who wants to turn but is more relaxed about the day.
- Intermediate tip: Get on, snap in, hold on, and TURN!
Sizes: 156, 163, 170, 177, 184
Size tested: 177
Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) The Legend X84's sweet spot is off-piste, especially in moguls. Its tip, rocker, and flex (or softness) don’t help raise the carving fun-meter: I found it slow and bland from turn to turn, but a lighter or more finesse skier may have a different view.
- Who is it for? Off-piste aficionados.
- Who is it not for? Heavier skiers looking to rip groomers.
- Insider tip: Lighter skiers may enjoy these more than their portlier brethren.
FairToMiddlin: (from last year) You can probably tell that I put a lot of value in how a modern ski displays a willingness to turn. That’s the point of these newfangled parabolic skis, right? On the front side, the Legend X84 displayed a frustrating reluctance to turn. It has a tip that is seemingly disinterested in initiating; patience is needed for enough pressure to build up to get the sidecut involved, and when it finally happens, there is little joie de vivre, or feedback.
The news isn’t all bad. The Legend is very competent off-piste, quick and encouraging, a good bump ski. The problem is that the Legend competes in the heart of the all-mountain segment, where plenty of skis do a very wide range of tasks, very well.
- Who is it for? Old schoolers who steer from the tail, swishing down the piste, and who also want a friendly tool off the piste.
- Who is it not for? Lovers of a high-G carve, PSIA instructors looking for a ski for their next-level exam.
- Insider tip: Head to the side of the trail and dip into the trees to get the most out of this latest usage of the Legend name.
SBrown: (from last year) Hmmm. Easy enough to ski, it felt nervous at speed: nothing like the K2 or Kästles of that size (haha, I just likened K2 to Kästle on a groomer).
- Who is it for? Lighter and/or slower.
- Who is it not for? Bigger and/or faster.
- Insider tip: Fun in bumps, if you have a lot of those.
UGASkiDawg: (from last year) I had fun on this ski in the bumps but it didn’t knock my socks off anywhere else. A workman-like 84mm ski, I couldn’t find anything to blow my skirt up or to dislike about it. I felt the same about this ski when I bought a previous 89mm version on super sale about 10 years ago. I rode it some for a year and then sent it to the ski team ski swap after it sat unused for a couple of years
- Who is it for? Folks looking for an all-mountain ski that won’t offend; who knows, it might fit your skiing style.
- Who is it not for? People looking for a "wow, that was an awesome!" experience.
- Insider tip: Run it in the bumps and this ski comes alive, predictable without any surprises.
Dynastar Legend X88
Sizes: 166, 173, 180, 186
Andy Mink: As all-mountain skis become more and more popular, manufacturers are getting better and better at dialing their skis in, and the Legend X88 certainly proves that. Solid, stable, and tenacious edge hold made this mid-width a fast, fun groomer runner with enough width to play around in shallow 3D snow. I found it very easy to ski, and it didn't make me pay for my occasional faux pas.
- Who is it for? The intermediate to advanced skier who skis mostly frontside groomers but wants to venture onto the edges.
- Who is it not for? The strong groomer skier who demands near-race turns; see the Dynastar Speed Zone 12.
- Intermediate tip: If you're looking for a one-ski quiver for mostly frontside use, the X88 should be in the running.
Philpug: The Legend series could be the most versatile that Dynastar has ever offered. I know, those are tall words. Why do I say that? Because the skis are so deceptively easy and playful that people will think that they can’t be that good -- but they are. The 88 is a great do-anything ski that is fun and playful yet holds well when things get firm.
- Who is it for? The Legend X88 is more of a finesse ski, but it if you want to turn it up, it is there.
- Who is it not for? Bigger chargers will want to look at its cousin, the Rossignol Experience 88.
- Insider tip: Size up if you want a bit more stability.
Drahtguy Kevin: A little speed brings this ski to life. The Legend X88 is fun in the bumps and off piste with its even flex and dependable tip. Arcing GS turns is a great thrill on this confidence-inspiring ski.
- Who is it for? All-mountain skiers who like speed.
- Who is it not for? Slowpokes stay home. Gravity is your friend on the X88.
- Insider tip: True to size.
Sizes: 165, 171, 178, 186
Philpug: Dynastar, one of the first brands to entrench and commit to the mid-90mm segment over a decade ago, has offered some great skis here; the Legend X96 is no exception. Again, the Legends are on the playful/finesse side of the spectrum, yet skiers will find that they reopen parts of the mountain where they used to feel intimidated. The short wheelbase lets the 96 pivot around yet will be a blast when you want to downshift and take off.
- Who is it for? A good one-ski quiver for the skier who had trouble getting a 98-100mm ski onto edge.
- Who is it not for? Bigger skiers can overpower it.
- Insider tip: Throw a Pivot on it to add a bit more life.
Jimmy: I got to play with Dynastar's Legend X96 for the day during the Mother's Day Gathering; conditions were typical spring, firm in the morning, soft but not too sticky later in the day. I really didn't think I was going to like this ski, 177 length is too long for me, the early rise and shape of the tips looked a bit goofy and after hefting them they just didn't feel as "solid" as my Monster 98s.
Well at the end of the day I didn't want to give them back. I'm not giving up on the Heads, but this ski is a different animal. Light, playful instead of serious, the tips progressively slash through soft or cruddy snow where the Head just blasts through. They are fun in the bumps and it's asy to make short turns in the fall line. I was very confident skiing these fast; I never found their speed limit.
- Who is it for? "Ski the whole mountain" skiers; would make a good Western daily driver.
- Who is it not for? Backseat drivers.
- Insider tip? Don't be afraid to size up; it skis short.
Dynastar Legend X106
Sizes: 173, 182, 188
Philpug: Like the other Legend skis, the X106 is playful as a puppy and likes to spend time frolicking in the trees. The more three-dimensional the snow is, the more it likes it. The key to this playfulness is the short wheelbase and tighter turn radius, especially in the One Oh Something segment.
- Who is it for? Those who love to play in the trees.
- Who is it not for? Chargers, but you can size up and be happy.
- Insider tip: The new Pivot Forza will look awesome on the Legend X106.
WomenDynastar Intense 10
Sizes: 146, 153, 160, 167
Size tested: 167
AmyPJ: (from last year) I went to the Dynastar tent hoping to take out a different ski, but they didn’t have anything available in my length at that time. So what the heck, why not take out a narrow, frontside carving ski? This was a nice ski! It was smooth and had very good edge hold. It would not let me cheat in my turn transitions yet did not kill me when I tried to (which I do, often). I think the 167 was a bit long for me. It handled every type of snow on the way down, including the slush, very well. This would be a really good firm groomer ski for me to really hone my skills on.
- Who is it for: An Eastern skier who needs a ski that can handle a variety of conditions.
- Who is it not for? A true tail pusher.
Dynastar Intense 12
Sizes: 149, 158, 166
Size tested: 166
Tricia: (from last year) Dynastar is offering the Intense 12 to women who are looking for a serious frontside ski. This ski reminded me how much fun it is to make nice turns without having to overthink it: just pressure the tip and it comes around like an old friend. The small mogul field I went through was a piece of cake. This could easily be dubbed the Cougar Cruiser.
- Who is it for? Skiers looking for a fun groomer ski.
- Who is it not for? Someone who prefers a midfat as a daily driver.
- Insider tip: Trust the tip.
Dynastar Legend W84
Sizes: 149, 156, 163
Tricia: This was a surprise ski for me at the Mammoth test. I'm not sure what I expected, but the Legend W84 stepped up with everything that I threw at it. While it's not considered a frontside ski, it turned nicely, with surprisingly nice tip engagement and made the mid morning moguls a joy. My only regret was that I didn't have more time to take it for a couple more runs.
- Who is it for? An advanced, or advancing intermediate, skier looking for an all mountain sweetheart
- Who is it not for? Someone looking for a ho hum experience
- Insider tip: Don't overthink the length. I skied this in 163 and 170 and enjoyed both.
Sizes: 159, 166, 173
Tricia: Immediately after I skied the Legend W84, I took the 88 out for a spin and was equally impressed with how much fun it was in the varied snow conditions we started to experience just before lunch. It's hard to believe that a ski can conquer steep moguls and still feel so nimble when you're ready to dial it back. While the Legend W88 doesn't turn quite as quickly as its sister the W84, it was plenty quick when I needed to make the quick decision to change direction.
- Who is it for? Someone looking for a nimble all-mountain ski.
- Who is it not for? Someone looking for a groomer-biased ski.
- Insider tip: This ski comes flat or with a system binding.
Sizes: 158, 165, 171
Tricia: Dynastar brought the Legend series back in 2017-18, and since it can be challenging to find the right size ski to review in the first year of a series, these skis didn't get the attention they deserved from me. Fortunately, I have had the pleasure of spending some extensive time on the Legend W96, and I do mean pleasure.
I'm not sure if it's the five-point sidecut, or the tip and tail rocker that makes this ski so easy to ski. Or maybe it's the Powerdrive, which Dynastar touts as groundbreaking technology that gives this ski grip and smooth, instinctive, responsive ski control. What I do know is that I have spent several days on this ski at a variety of mountains, in a variety of conditions, and I feel like I can't do anything wrong when I'm on it. The Powerdrive offers torsional grip when you want to make a turn, while the five-point sidecut and tip rocker give that extra pop and playfulness that you need when you're taking on spring crud.
- Who is it for? A woman looking for an all-mountain charger that won't let her down.
- Who is it not for? Boring Bernice.
- Insider tip: If you're between sizes, don't be afraid to go up a size.