West Basin has been skiing incredibly well over the past several weeks. And as we suspected, the Origin96’s deep tip rocker line and significant tip splay meant that this ski planes up just fine in shin-deep pow (and even in knee-deep, dry New Mexico pow).
Not only that, but given how stout this ski is underfoot, even when hitting patches of wetter, thicker snow, the Origin96 tracked better in that stuff than a ‘twitchier’ ski would like the Armada TST. I’m not saying that there was zero deflection in deep, heavier snow, but all things considered, I’ve been pleased with how well the Origin96 tracked. And I’ll have to think hard about what sub-100mm-wide skis I’d prefer to be on in deep coastal or continental snow.
Reforma Test / Steep Bumps
This part got interesting. And the punchline is: with the current factory tune coming on the Origin96, I’d recommend that every single skier — unless you will only be carving these on groomers — heavily detune the tips of these skis an inch or two down past the widest point of the shovel.
This is what I wrote in my initial Flash Review:
“Over the last two days, I became more and more willing to push this ski hard. I will say, though, that in steep, bumped-up terrain, I’m not yet totally dialed in to the combination of the ski’s stiffness in front of the toe pieces coupled with the very deep tip rocker line. We’ll see if this becomes more intuitive over time, but there has been a bit of a learning curve.
Normally in steep bumps, I’m doing a series of airplane turns—jump turning on top of a mogul down to the trough below it, then repeating in the other direction. What I like to do is to jump, turn in the air, and consciously think about landing on the shovels of the ski—you don’t want to get thrown into the backseat in steep bumps, since you’ll immediately be out of control.
But I can’t say that these jump turn landings always felt smooth / seamless. It sometimes felt like I’d land a bit forward but still on the very stiff portion of the ski (right in front of the toe pieces), and the ski would barely flex. But sometimes (in firm steeps) if I then got more forward to get past that stiff point of the shovels, I’d be jumping onto the heavily rockered portion of the ski, and I’d find myself wishing that I had a lot less tip rocker so that the tips would just contact the snow sooner.
Of course, if you diminish the amount of tip rocker, then you’d likely be compromising how well this relatively narrow ski planes in pow, which you might not want to do. (And if you never ski steep, bumped-up terrain, then you can just disregard this whole section….)”
I’ll spare you more details on my fiddling with this ski, but the solution ended up being very simple: detuning the tips allowed me to land hard on them in steep, bumped-up terrain, and rather than having the edges dig in, I could more easily butter them a bit. This really transformed how the ski performed in huge, weird bumps off of Kachina, Pollux, etc., and after the fact, I could do exactly what I wanted to do on this ski, with zero hitches at all. And if you were one of the friends I was skiing with on day 4, you would have witnessed how (kind of embarrassingly) euphoric I was on this ski. Powerful, predictable, just loose enough (for my tastes) … magic.
With the tips detuned, these skis allow for a smash and bang style of dealing with steep bumps, but they also easily allow you to dig your edges in and carve hard and clean when you want them to. It’s not tolerant of backseat skiing, but I’m totally fine with that so long as I know the ski I happen to be on will let me get on the shovels. After the detune, I could.
Firm Steeps (Non-Bumped-Up)
Awesome. I’ve had the Origin96 in some very steep, sketchy entrances, and that stiff, stable platform underfoot makes this ski feel like a ‘real’ all-mountain ski that isn’t out of place in steep, techy terrain, even though the ski is heavily tip rockered and has tail rocker.
The skis were fun here, but I have to say, the Origin96 didn’t feel (initially) quite as loose in the trees as I thought they might given how much tip rocker they have. I definitely think you could continue to detune this ski to loosen it up as much as you want, but at a certain point, you would likely come to compromise the Origin96’s impressive groomer performance. Up to you.
But if you prize quickness in trees above all else, I don’t think I’d be inclined to recommend the Origin96. Liberty calls the ski both “quick and powerful,” and I wouldn’t argue. But in the 187 cm version at least, I’d say the ski skews a bit more toward the powerful end of the spectrum, so stronger skiers who are comfortable at working at higher speeds in tight trees will be the folks who still like “how quick” this ski is.
Who’s It For?
The Origin96 is a modern shape, and looks like a lot of the “dead easy” skis on the market (Rossignol Sin 7, K2 Pinnacle 95, etc.) But the Origin96 dials things up a bit. I don’t think you have to be a powerful skier to enjoy it—especially if you aren’t spending your time in demanding terrain. But I have a hunch that advanced and expert skiers who really like to push their skis and explore the whole mountain will be the people who will be the most psyched on this ski.
The Origin96 is no noodle. It is stiff enough that I would not be quick to recommend it to low-intermediate skiers, unless you’re sticking to groomers and fairly easy, open terrain.
Liberty calls the Origin96 “a new all-mountain standard.” That’s a big, ballsy claim for sure, but I can say that I haven’t skied anything that feels terribly similar. Five days in, and it feels like I can make this ski do anything I want it to.
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