2023 Dynastar M-Free 108

SkiTalk Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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Size tested: 172cm
Location tested: Mammoth Mountain
Conditions tested in: Spring slush

This ski really surprised me. Once again I am getting excited by this wide all-mountain-powder ski category. The 108s were about the surfiest skis I had tested, and despite the fact that they seems a bit soft they really didn't ski that way. The edge hold could be a lot better, but let‘s face it, if you're buying a ski this wide your intention really isn't to ski it every single day; you will have other skis to fill that need. The ski engages turns really easily and only slightly washes out in the tails when driven hard but again you would expect that with that much rocker in the tail. Since I had them in the slush I can tell you that as a Tahoe powder ski this thing would be awesome. Most of them time in Tahoe we don't see multiple feet type of days so going over 110 waist usually isn't necessary.

Overall if you need a fresh snow ski I would take a look at this ski, it really is quite fun and playful. Don’t expect too much hard snow or groomer performance but it will certainly do the job getting you to your next line.
  • Insider tip: Drive the tips hard, it doesn't ski as soft as it flexes.
  • One thing I would change: A bit less tail rocker.

From previous season ...
Ron:
When the snow stake at Steamboat read "16," I headed to the mountain; it was finally a day worthy of testing the Dynastar M-Free 108. New for 2021 is Dynastar’s M-Free series, featuring four different classifications. A totally new ski line, the M-Free series features a wood core with PU and fiberglass and a Titanal mount box. Dynastar calls the M-Free series its freeride line, falling more toward the playful end with substantial rocker and an all-new tapered shape.
The shape of the 108 is what first caught my eye, piquing my interest. The heavily tapered ski looks like it was built for water, its lines just flow. The widest points of the tip and tails are located more toward the center, along with a twin tail giving a hint of the ski's personality. Normally, I prefer powder skis to be around 185 to 187 cm, but Dynastar designed the ski in 172, 182, and 192 lengths; I tested the 182, which measures 181.75 cm. It is on the stiffer side with a very even, consistent, deep flex from tip to tail. It bucks the trend for lightweight AT-worthy builds. The cambered ski has a more centered factory mount point of -7.75, which feels just right; it skis very balanced here and I would suggest sticking to it. On paper, this represents a vast departure from prior Dynastar skis and an evolution in shape and construction. The graphics are polarizing, you will either love the marble-like appearance on the tips and tails with the matte black, or you won't. I don't look at my skis when skiing and they were covered in white so I don't care :). For those into bling, mating these with a gold Pivot is highly suggested.

Skiing towards the Storm Peak lift, which serves the summit, I dropped in on about 6 in. of fresh, light powder over the previous day's 8 in. that had been groomed in. The initial feel of the ski is damp, connected, and smooth; the weight disappeared from underneath my boots. I always start off my testing by doing some falling leaf turns to get a feel of how the ski connects and responds to input. The 108 literally pivoted on a dime with minimal input! Trees came to my mind, so I pointed them downhill and went into a mid-radius carved turn. The 108’s wide shovels and tail connected far better than I expected, hooking up ultra-smoothly and holding as I built speed. I could pressure the tips and increase the edge angle, resulting in even deeper turns, or I could back off the tips and make big lazy “park and ride” turns standing over the center. It has a wonderfully smooth and silky feel, which I think is due to the PU in the core. Transitioning into short-radius turns was a snap, and the shape of the ski allowed fun high-energy turns. The M-Free’s moderately stiff build allows you to load the ski with a nice release of energy. The ski flex is among the best I’ve ever felt. It tracks very well through deeper snow, which on wider skis is sometimes an issue.

At the summit on Storm Peak, the snow was a bit deeper, and we dropped into a section called Center Field, which is a steeper black face peppered with tightly packed pine trees about 3 to 4 ft high. The snow here was just below our knees, and the ski’s ability to pivot on a dime turned the tight trees into a playground. Again, I am accustomed to longer skis, but the 182 was just as stable as a longer ski with the significant advantage of being incredibly quick. We lapped this section for several runs, popping off covered treetops and looking for playful turns. Although 16 in. isn’t all that deep, I never buried the tips, and it had plenty of float in the light but not truly “champagne™" powder.

Heading over to Hurricane and Twister, two bumps runs below Storm Peak, we again found the snow to be mostly untracked. The same attributes that make the 108 so much fun in tight trees were felt here. The 108 is a fantastic powder bump ski. I think the medium-stiffness of the ski works really well: you can be a little aggressive in the bumps without crushing the tips, and the tail doesn’t fold on you providing good support. Underfoot is quite stiff and provided a great platform to work from.

Moving onto chopped-up groomers, I skied on some blue and black tracked-out runs at decent speeds, and the M-Free held very well. It’s not a charger, so yes, at higher speeds, it can get knocked a little, but if I stayed over the ski, it was plenty stable. Because of the shape, it was most happy on edge arcing GS turns. The weight of the ski and the PU contribute to a stable quiet feel, For 90% of skiers, this ski does a great job and makes chopped fun.

  • Insider tip: Don’t be offput by the 182 length; if your typical powder ski is 185-187, the 182 will be enough.
 
Awards
Who is it for?
Surfy, playful, tree skiers that want a ski to get them by on most "powder days."
Who is it not for?
Those looking for a one ski quiver, look elsewhere, maybe the M-Free 99?
Skier ability
  1. Advanced
  2. Expert
Ski category
  1. Powder
Ski attributes
  1. Off Piste
  2. Trees
Segment
  1. Men

Specifications

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Available sizes
172, 182, 192
Dimensions
138-108-128
Rocker profile
  1. Camber with tip and tail rocker
Size Scaling
  1. None
Construction design
  1. New graphics
Binding options
  1. Flat

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