The Reforma Test
I was pretty blown away by how well these worked on Taos’s Reforma. They felt much easier than the 187 Brahmas, and a bit easier than the 184 X-Drive 8.8’s when mitigating the pretty gnarly bumps that are currently occupying the top part of that run.
I found myself carving more short turns down the middle and bottom of Reforma rather than blasting my way down the middle and bottom portion, as I like to do on the 184 X-Drive 8.8s.
But with a bit of a change in style, the Motive 86 Ti still has proven to be a capable, predictable, supportive all-mountain ski that isn’t quick to punish mistakes. The ski feels pretty substantial – substantial and supportive, rather than substantial and get-on-these-tails-and-you’ll-get-your-ass-kicked. And that’s one of the reasons why I would group the 184 X-Drive with the 187 Brahma, while I would put the 186 Fischer Motive 86 in league with the 186 Dynastar Powertrack 89. Speaking of the Powertrack 89…
182cm Fischer Motive 86 Ti vs. 186cm Powertrack 89 (Deeper Chop, Weird Moguls, Etc.)
I spent a 6″ pow day at Taos directly A/B-ing the Powertrack 89 and the Motive 86 Ti all around the mountain. The results?
The Powertrack 89 really shines in consistent conditions—smooth groomers, uniform bump lines, untracked pow, shallow slush, or shallow crud. Across all of these conditions, the ski performs very well.
But in deeper chop or firm moguls with 6″ of fresh pow on top of them, the tapered tips and tails of the Powertrack 89 are prone to tip deflection and having its tails wash out.
In those six inches of pow, skiing Reforma and West Blitz trees, I much preferred the Motive 86 Ti over the Powertrack 89. I spent a lot less energy on the Motive 86 trying to control the ski, and was instead able to just ski hard without working to minimize deflection or worrying about the tails.
On Reforma & West Blitz Trees, the Motive 86 handled the constant shifts from scraped-off troughs to deeper piles of pushed-around snow well. I found myself thinking that I wouldn’t want to be hitting piles that were much deeper than what I was dealing with, but I had a really fun day on the Motive 86s.
But once again, the skis very rarely felt grabby. I could feather the tails to scrub speed, or I could engage them more fully to carve turns through the trees—same as my experience had been a couple of days earlier in Corner Chute Trees.
So as always, think hard about how and where you actually ski, and that will go a long way toward helping you figure out what ski design / shape will be the best fit for you.
(BTW, a Quick Note re: Width & Sidecut)
For those who have spent little time on fatter skis in deep chop and bumps, this is for you.
Skiing firm moguls that were now covered in a fresh 4-6″ down Al’s Run, I was having a slightly harder time than when I had just skied the Motive 86s down Al’s a day earlier when it only had firm bumps. With all the fresh snow, the skis seemed a bit more inclined to deflect off the fresh piles rather than to just track along and down the firm moguls. It wasn’t a huge deal, but there is a reason why wider, heavier, straighter skis with less sidecut work better in soft, cut-up snow, or down pow-moguls: they are less prone to deflection and they feel more stable. Remove all that fresh snow, however, and the narrower width, the edge-to-edge quickness, and edge grip produced from the fat, flat tails of a ski like the Motive 86 become nice assets.
Of the four skis I’ve mentioned the most here (the Dynastar Powertrack 89, the Blizzard Brahma, the Salomon X-Drive 8.8, and the Fischer Motive 86 Ti), the Motive 86 Ti may be the easiest / safest to recommend. It isn’t the most powerful of these skis, nor the quickest, but it provides a very nice blend of those performance characteristics while showing no significant shortcomings or compromises.
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