Ski: 2020-2021 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm
Available Lengths: 169, 175, 181, 187 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 178.5 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2085 & 2096 grams
Stated Dimensions: 132-98-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 131.7-97.9-119.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (181 cm): 23 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64 mm / 47 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Poplar + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Points:
- -1.75 cm from center; 87.5 cm from tail
- -7.75 cm from center; 81.5 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Strider 120; Dalbello Lupo SP I.D.; Tyrolia AAAttack 13
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Telluride, CO
Days Skied: ~17
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Menace 98, which was not changed for 20/21.]
The Dynastar Slicer series has served as the brand’s freestyle lineup for years, but it’s getting a makeover for 19/20. The new line is now being branded under the “Menace” moniker, and will consist of the Menace 80, Menace 90, Menace 98, and Menace PR-OTO F-TEAM (which will be the same ski as the current PR-OTO Factory, apart from graphics).
All of the skis have twin tips and are designed to let you take a more playful approach to the mountain. Dynastar’s 98mm-underfoot Slicer has remained the brand’s mid-fat all-mountain freestyle ski under a few names for nearly a decade. For 19/20, it’ll become the Menace 98, which is the same ski as the current Slicer Factory, but will be available in more length options.
So what’s so special about the Slicer / Menace 98 that’s caused Dynastar to keep it in their line for so long?
What Dynastar says about the Menace 98
Since they’re essentially the same ski, here’s what Dynastar says about the current Slicer Factory:
“The SLICER FACTORY is a surfy, freeride twin designed for stomping smooth, easy spins in the backcountry and slashing first tracks. The Twin Rocker profile provides easy steering, speed control, and float, while Spring Blade technology increases pop and shock absorption for playful freestyle versatility on natural and man-made features”
At a fairly heavy weight for its size and a relatively narrow 98 mm width, the Menace 98 doesn’t exactly look like it’s designed to hunt pow in the backcountry, but its rocker profile and shape do seem ideal for freestyle performance. As for the “Spring Blade” technology, that’s reportedly Dynastar’s term for how they vary core thickness and the camber profile to increase the ski’s pop / energy.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Menace 98’s shape is probably the most obvious clue that its design hasn’t changed much for many years. Unlike many modern all-mountain-freestyle skis, the Menace 98 has almost no tip or tail taper. Instead, it has a pretty traditional shape for a twin, and basically looks like a fat park ski.
The Menace 98’s rocker profile sets it apart from most park skis though, as the Menace 98 has very deep, but very subtle tip and tail rocker lines. Its rocker lines are deep compared to most 98mm-wide skis, but the Menace 98’s tips and tails only really splay out at the very ends of the ski. In theory, the Menace 98’s lack of taper and deep, low rocker lines seem like they could equate to good edge hold on firm snow while still also floating well and making the ski feel loose when you want it to.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Menace 98:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8
The Menace 98’s tips and tails are quite soft, and it slowly stiffens as you move from the tips to the middle of the ski. The Menace 98’s tails stiffen up a bit quicker, with the back half of the ski feeling a bit stronger than the front. The Menace 98’s flex pattern is quite strong around the bindings, especially compared to some modern all-mountain-freestyle / park skis like the Line Blend and J Skis Allplay.
Compared to the Rossignol Black Ops 98, the Menace 98 is similarly soft at the very ends of the ski, but the Black Ops 98’s flex pattern stiffens up much quicker and is stronger overall.
The Menace 98 comes with two recommended mount points. One line is only around -1.75 cm from center, and the other is around -7.75 cm from center. That’s a pretty wide range, so we’re curious to see how the Menace 98 will respond with the bindings moved within that range. Often when we see skis with this wide of a recommended mounting zone, they respond well to both more directional and more playful / centered skiing styles, depending on where you mount them. We’ll see if that’s true of the Menace 98.
For its size, the 181 cm Menace 98 sits on the heavier end of the spectrum, though it’s still notably lighter than many metal-laminate directional skis and some other freestyle skis like the 185 cm Nordica Soul Rider 97 and 185 cm ON3P Magnus 102.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. As always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1829 & 1838 Faction Prodigy 2.0, 184 cm (18/19)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2002 & 2014 J Skis Allplay, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2022 Rossignol Black Ops 98, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2031 & 2038 Faction Candide 2.0, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2067 & 2074 Line Blend, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2118 & 2139 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2126 & 2136 ON3P Magnus 102, 186 cm (18/19)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) With such a wide recommended mounting range, how will the Menace 98 feel with the bindings moved between its recommended lines?
(2) On a related note, how will the Menace 98 respond to both a forward, driving stance, and a more centered, balanced one?
(3) Dynastar talks up the Menace 98’s soft-snow performance, but it’s still pretty narrow. So how well will it balance firm- and soft-snow performance?
(4) Is the Menace 98 a true all-mountain freestyle ski, or does it feel more appropriate within the confines of the terrain park?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Dynastar Menace 98 has a fairly traditional design by today’s standards, yet Dynastar has kept it around for so long that we figure they must be doing something right with it … right? Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review linked below, and then stay tuned for our full review.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Menace 98 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
We’ve now had two reviewers on the Dynast Menace 98, gotten it into a lot of different conditions, and skied it at a few different mount points. And after all of that, we think a lot of different skiers could get along well with the Menace 98.
The Menace 98 has two mount points marked from the factory: one at about -2 cm from center, and one at about -8 cm from center. That’s quite a broad range, and it’s also pretty surprising for a ski like this (that is marketed as more of a playful ski) to have a “recommended” mount that runs that far back from center. So we want to address this first.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): I spent time on the Menace 98 with the bindings at -8, -6, and -5 cm from center. To my surprise, the ski didn’t feel all that different with the bindings at each of those mount points. It just felt intuitive and nice.
At the -8 cm line, the ski definitely feels like a directional ski, albeit a pretty playful one. At -8 cm, it responds well to a forward, driving stance, and feels a bit unwieldy in the air due to how much ski you have in front of you. At -6 and -5 cm, the ski feels more balanced, can be skied from more of a centered stance, and overall feels more conducive to a more playful style of skiing. So I’d recommend moving the bindings between the two lines depending on your skiing style and what you’ll be using the Menace 98 for (which Sam will say more about).
Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 145 lbs): Having talked to Luke first re: the mount point of the Menace 98, I decided to split the difference between the -2 and the -8 lines, and I’ve spent all of my time on the Menace 98 right between these two suggested mount points at -5 cm from center.
And in general, I have really liked the Menace 98 at -5 cm. It feels intuitive and predictable. For a ski like this, I think I would only be tempted to mount on the -2 cm line if I was planning on skiing it in the park more than ~70% of the time. Otherwise, I think you can move the mount point back from that more forward line depending on the amount of time you plan to spend in the park or how much of a priority you place on freestyle performance.
If you don’t want to take the Menace 98 in the park at all and you ski with a more directional style, then it probably makes to go closer to the -8 cm line. Plan to use the Menace as a park and all-mountain ski? Mount it somewhere between the two lines. Looking for a pure park ski? Go with -2 cm (or even true center if you’re feeling frisky).
That said, my perspective throughout this review will come from the mount point of about -5 cm from center.
Sam: The Menace 98 feels pretty much exactly how I expected it to on groomers (and just about everywhere else, too). I grew up riding park skis that had very similar shapes and flex patterns as the Menace 98, so in some ways, getting on the Menace 98 was like getting reacquainted with an old friend.
The Menace 98 has a round and accessible flex pattern that feels pretty happy being put on edge and bent into turns. As one would expect from a ski that’s designed to perform in the park, the Menace 98 definitely has a bit of energy and “pop” out of a turn — though not as much energy as some stiffer skis and more frontside-specific skis.
All that said, there is a huge but pretty obvious caveat here: if you’re using the Menace 98 as a park ski, it won’t (or can’t, really) have sharp edges. The Menace 98 comes sharp from the factory, but a ski that sees a lot of rails in the park will never be able to rail firm groomers.
Luke: I loved the Menace 98 on groomers. Its lack of taper, subtle rocker lines, and accessible flex pattern all equated to really easy turn initiation, good edge hold, and nice energy coming out of a turn. I think most people will get along well with the Menace 98 on groomers, apart from really aggressive skiers who want skis with super stiff shovels. But for what it is — a playful, 98mm-wide all-mountain ski — I think the Menace 98 is one of the better carvers I’ve used.
Sam: When I first saw the Menace 98 at Blister HQ, it screamed “PARK SKI.” It has very little taper, a full twin, a round flex pattern, a very forward mount point (at -2 cm) and modest rocker lines. In other words, park ski. So I was super excited to get it on some jumps and rails.
In the park, the Menace 98 feels like a middle of the road park ski. It doesn’t feel like a super stiff competition ski. But it also doesn’t feel like a soft, buttery, Bunch-style noodle. The Menace 98 is very balanced — stiff enough to be supportive on Medium-sized jumps, but still soft enough to have accessible tips and tails for butters and presses.
I think the average park skier who wants to split their time between hitting jumps and rails, and who doesn’t have very specific needs (e.g., hitting massive jumps or doing tons of butters) will get along well with the Menace 98. The only caveat I have with that recommendation is that the Menace 98 is fairly heavy for a ski of this width. So if you are looking for dead-easy spins and a feathery swing weight, you should look elsewhere.
Luke: I don’t spend a ton of time in the park, and I barely ever hit rails. But on small- to medium-sized jumps, the Menace 98 felt great (when mounted around -5 cm from center). It produces a lot of pop on takeoffs, is solid enough on the landings of the jumps I’m comfortable hitting (read: not Freeway at Breck), and it’s still pretty forgiving and easy to flex.
All in all, I agree with what Sam said above. The one thing I’ll add is that the Menace 98 isn’t the most forgiving ski when it comes to under- or over-rotating spins. That’s the downside to its lack of taper. That said, even coming from more tapered skis, this wasn’t a big issue for me — it’s just worth noting.
Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain
Sam: I really like the Menace in bumps. In fact, it’s one of my favorite bump skis I’ve tested this year. There’s something about a traditional park-ski shape and construction that just works well in bumps (and part of that “something” is probably the pretty even, supportive, and forgiving flex patterns that are commonly found on park skis).
The Menace 98 pivots easily when mounted at -5 cm, has plenty of tail to keep me upright, and a forgiving but stable flex pattern. Furthermore, the heavier weight of the Menace also probably helps the ski feel more predictable and damp in funky, rough troughs.
I was able to ski bumps harder on the Menace than almost any other ski I’ve recently been on. The ski has a great combination of forgiveness and strength in a very balanced platform.
And I’m very curious though to hear Luke’s thoughts on the Menace 98 as a mogul ski, since we have different styles in bumps…
Luke: Turns out, I also really like the Menace 98 in bumps. I’m not quite as high on it as Sam, which is honestly probably mostly due to the fact that I don’t like bumps as much as Sam, nor do I fly through bumps like a (sometimes-barely-on-the-edge-of-control) missile. So a ski’s moguls performance doesn’t often stand out as much to me as it does to him.
But the Menace 98’s flex pattern, shape, and rocker profile all seem to work really well for my skiing style in bumps. I don’t drive my tips as hard into troughs as much as Sam does, and instead prefer to pivot and slide my way through them. The Menace 98 is loose and forgiving enough to work very well for this style, and still supportive enough when I get backseat without feeling punishing.
There are plenty of looser skis out there (most of which are more tapered), but the Menace 98 offers a combo of maneuverability and edge hold that I think a lot of skiers will like in bumps and other tight terrain.
Sam: As I said earlier, I spent a lot of time growing up on skis very similar to the Menace 98. But when I was growing up, park skis didn’t have tip rocker, and we also skied everything mounted dead-center. As a result, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Menace 98 in powder.
I skied the Menace in about 6” of denser spring snow over a firm base and the ski just felt good. It was predictable, floated adequately, and was happy both being driven when I was punching through to the firm snow underneath and being skied more neutral when surfing on top.
I certainly wouldn’t choose a 98 mm underfoot ski as a dedicated powder ski, and I would almost certainly choose one with a more traditional mount point if I knew I was going to be skiing much powder on it. But all things considered, the Menace 98 did just fine in pow.
Luke: Yep, I agree with everything Sam just said. I skied the Menace in both light, dry powder and some super dense, consolidated mashed-potato snow. It was surprisingly predictable and easy in the light snow, and better than I expected in the really dense snow. I’d prefer a more tapered and rockered snow if I was using the ski in a lot of really dense pow, but given how good the Menace 98 is on firm snow, I was very happy with its performance in fresh snow.
Sam: For its width, the Menace is fairly heavy and it has a round flex pattern that isn’t all that demanding. These things combine to make a ski that feels pretty comfortable in variable snow. The Menace 98 is surprisingly damp and predictable.
Skiing runouts in sun affected, heavy chop on the aforementioned pow day, the Menace 98 felt fine. It’s not a chop destroyer like some wider, heavier skis with more rocker, but for a ski that feels so natural in so many situations on the hill, I was very pleased with its performance in variable.
Obviously, in very deep chop / chunder, the Menace 98 doesn’t have the width to stack up to wider skis. But for days with about 8” or less new snow, there aren’t many ~98 mm skis that I would pick over the Menace 98. Both for skiing uncut pow in the morning and crud bashing in the afternoon. Granted, the Menace 98 really meshes with my skiing style. If you like a more playful ski and ski with a dynamic / active style, those are the people who I think will most like the Menace 98.
Luke: Compared to other similarly wide all-mountain freestyle skis, I think the Menace 98 is one of the better ones when the snow gets funky. Once you lay it over, it offers a lot of effective edge which lets it cut through inconsistent snow. It’s moderate, but fairly strong flex pattern helps with this, and so does its heavier weight.
If you love stiff, heavy, directional skis, you’ll probably want “more” ski than the Menace 98. There are several skis in its class that are better when it comes to nuking through variable snow. But if you’re coming from those skis, are specifically looking for something more playful, and are willing to give up a bit of stability, the Menace 98 is definitely worth a look. And if you’re coming from lighter and / or softer freestyle skis, the Menace 98 should offer a notable step up in stability.
Who’s It For?
Sam: The Menace 98 is an interesting ski because it never really feels out of place. Park? Sure. Moguls? A blast. Pow? Let’s slash. Groomers? Rail (if you haven’t detuned your edges off the ski, that is). I think the skier who will get along best with the Menace generally sees the mountain with more of a playful eye, tends to ski with a neutral stance (though the Menace 98 can still be driven), and prefers a damper ride over a super low swing weight. This is an easy ski to recommend to a wide variety of skiers.
Luke: Yep, agreed. I think directional skiers looking for a more playful all-mountain ski will get along well with the Menace 98, provided that they don’t expect the same stability as some of the heaviest and stiffest directional skis in this class. And more playful skiers looking for a ski that’s still playful and comfortable throwing tricks but that offers very good all-mountain performance should also check out the Menace 98.
The Menace 98, under one name or another, has been around for many years, and there seems to be good reason for that. It’s a ski that we think will work for a very wide range of skiers. It’s more playful than many directional all-mountain skis, yet it retains very strong performance all across the mountain and even in the park.
Deep Dive Comparisons: Dynastar Menace 98
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Menace 98 to see how it compares to the Rossignol Black Ops 98, Armada ARV 96 Ti, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, Liberty Helix 98 & Origin 96, J Skis Masterblaster, Blizzard Rustler 9, Nordica Enforcer 100, 4FRNT MSP 99, Moment Commander 98, and ON3P Wrenegade 96.