Ski: 2017-2018 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 171, 176, 182, 187
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 185.7 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 130-96-118
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 129-95.5-117
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1997 & 1991 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (187 cm): 20 meters
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 73 mm / 36 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core Construction: Bamboo / Poplar / Carbon
Factory “Standard” Line: 7.45 cm behind center; ~85.4 cm from tail
Mount Location: “Standard” Line
Boots / Bindings: Fischer RC4 130 / Marker Jester
Days Tested: 2
[Editor’s Note: Our testing was performed on the 16/17 Origin 96 which remains unchanged for 17/18 except for the graphic.]
Test Location: Taos, NM
The Origin96 is a new ski from Liberty, and here’s what they have to say about it (the underlining is mine): “The all-new Origin96 is here and ready to take you anywhere there is snow. With tip rocker, a solid cambered midsection, and a low-rise rockered tail, the Origin96 is quick and powerful at the same time. Bamboo and carbon construction keeps the ski light and increases snow feel without sacrificing edge grip. The Origin96 will become the new standard in all mountain skis.”
So a “quick and powerful” one ski quiver. Got it. Time to take a closer look:
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Origin 96:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Underfoot, this ski is stiff, but as you move behind the binding to the tails, the ski softens up noticeably but progressively.
The flex pattern transitions similarly as you move from the center of the ski to the front, and the tips themselves go slightly softer than the tails.
The Origin96 has a LOT of tip and tail rocker for a 96mm-wide ski — far more than the Nordica Enforcer, Blizzard Bonafide, Volkl Mantra, etc.
Liberty calls this their “Bomb Rocker” shape, and there is nothing subtle about it. Just on the face of it, this is a sub-100mm-wide ski that ought to plane better in deep pow than other skis in its category.
There is also quite a lot of tail taper, and it will be interesting to see how this feels on snow — i.e., if the ski / tail shape still allows you to finish turns powerfully?
I’ve got 5 days now on the Liberty Origin96, and if I had to give a two-word summary review, it would probably be, “Holy Shit.”
I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever skied anything quite like this.
1) This ski is full-on comp ski stiff underfoot, and in front of and behind the bindings.
2) This ski has a happy-go-lucky, fun-times tip rocker profile – for a ski that’s only 96 mm underfoot, it has a super deep tip rocker line and a lot of tip splay. Typically when we’ve seen that much tip rocker on a ski this narrow, it’s on pretty forgiving, not-super-stout skis like the Armada TST (and I may be guilty of accusing Armada of putting a “stupid” amount of tip rocker on skis like the TST and Norwalk.)
Actually, come to think of it, thinking of the Origin96 as a way more ‘Game On’ TST is a pretty decent way of thinking of the Origin96….
Will Brown (and Brett Carroll) both noted that the TST carves very well on well-manicured groomers. I haven’t been on the TST in a while, but my recollection is that yes, you could carve the TST well given that the ski has quite a bit of sidecut and soft shovels. But the TST does not feel that damp and stable at speed when those groomers got roughed up.
The 187 cm Origin96 doesn’t give a damn if the groomers are roughed up. This ski is very stable at speed and tracks very well. I was very surprised to see how hard I could push it, and I kept expecting the ski to give up on me … but that never happened.
In fact, jumping over to the Nordica Enforcer (a ski that we love and think is great) the Enforcer didn’t really compare at all — it is a beautiful carver in its own right, but the word I use to describe the Enforcer is “smooth.” The word I’d use to describe the Origin96 is “tenacious.” (And I would never, ever be tempted to use the word “tenacious” to describe the Armada TST.)
So with the Origin96, you’ve got (a) a fun-times tip rocker profile, (b) comp-ski stiffness through the middle of the ski, and (c) a tenacious carver that is best suited to mid-radius and large-radius turn shapes. And the 187 cm Origin96 will make those turn shapes as fast as you want to go.
I really didn’t see this coming.
NEXT: Pow, Firm Steeps, Etc.