Deep Dive: Dynastar M-Free 108

Luke Koppa reviews the Dynastar M-Free 108 for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.
Luke Koppa on the Dynastar M-Free 108, Crested Butte, Colorado.

If you haven’t already, check out our full review of the M-Free 108 for more on that ski. Here, we’re comparing it to several other options in its class.

Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 137.6-107.6-127.1 mm
Stated Radius: 18 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2170 & 2180 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 73 mm / 5 mm / 53 mm
Measured Length: 181.5 cm
Measured Mount Point: -7.75 cm / 83.0 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 172, 182, 192 cm
Core Construction: poplar/PU + titanal binding plate + fiberglass laminate

Dynastar M-Free 118, 189 cm (18/19–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 144.7-118.0-135.3 mm
Stated Radius: 24 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2341 & 2357 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 65 mm / ~7 mm / 39 mm
Measured Length: 186.6 cm
Measured Mount Point: -9.1 cm / 84.2 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 189 cm
Core Construction: poplar + fiberglass laminate

These skis feel extremely similar. Both are heavy, damp, pretty strong, and super easy to pivot. When comparing the 189 cm M-Free 118 vs. the 182 cm M-Free 108, the longer & heavier M-Free 118 is unsurprisingly much more stable and more sluggish, while the M-Free 108 is quicker and might even be a bit looser (though we’d want to get on the 192 cm M-Free 108 before making the final call on that).

In short, we think people who like one of these skis will like the other — if you’re deciding between the two, it mostly just comes down to whether you want more of a pow / soft-snow ski, or a more versatile, narrower option.

K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 135.8-111.4-126.5 mm
Stated Radius: 22.9 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2027 & 2052 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 55 mm / 3.5 mm / 41 mm
Measured Length: 184.5 cm
Measured Mount Point:
“Midsole”: -5.45 cm / 86.8 cm from tail
“Team”: -3.55 cm / 88.7 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 177, 184, 191 cm
Core Construction: aspen/fir + carbon stringers & “Spectral Braid” + fiberglass laminate

The biggest difference here is weight. While both of these skis are very surfy, the Reckoner 112 is so much lighter, poppier, and less stable. The M-Free 108 has a much more damped, smooth feel and does a significantly better job of blasting through chop.

Aside from those big differences, the M-Free 108 is a bit more accepting of a forward stance, it’s a bit looser, and maybe a touch more punishing if you get backseat. But this decision mostly comes down to weight.

Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 141.8-106.4-138.4 mm
Stated Radius: 16 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 1875 & 1881 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 59 mm / ~3 mm / 61 mm
Measured Length: 182.6 cm
Measured Mount Point: -1.9 cm / 89.4 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 176, 184, 190 cm
Core Construction: paulownia/maple + fiberglass laminate

Similar story as the Reckoner 112, except the SFB is even lighter and less stable than that ski. The M-Free 108 is drastically more damp and stable than the SFB, while the SFB is so much lighter, quicker, and easier to bend (whether carving or buttering).

So weight should be the biggest deciding factor, and then there’s also the shape differences between these skis. The SFB, with its minimally tapered shape and tighter sidecut radius, is much quicker to pull you into a turn and lay over at high edge angles (especially on mellower groomers) while the M-Free 108 is more comfortable going fast and straight. Both skis are easy to pivot, but the M-Free 108 feels a bit looser while the SFB feels a bit more carving oriented, particularly in softer conditions.

If maximum playfulness is your priority, the SFB is a phenomenal ski. If you want a surfy feel but think the SFB sounds too unstable for you, the M-Free 108 is a solid alternative.

Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 134.0-107.7-126.9 mm
Stated Radius: 22 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2011 & 2028 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 74 mm / 5 mm / 71 mm
Measured Length: 181.8 cm
Measured Mount Point: -6.1 cm / 84.8 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 174, 184, 190 cm
Core Construction: Aspen/Ash + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

You could think of the M-Free 108 as a looser, more damp Wildcat 108. Neither ski feels anywhere close to “locked in,” the M-Free 108 just takes the surfiness up a notch. On the other hand, the Wildcat 108 feels less twitchy at speed / is better at making longer turns in variable snow. The M-Free 108 is notably heavier, more damp, and a bit more sluggish than the Wildcat 108, though the Wildcat 108 is poppier and easier to flick around in the air.

If you like the sound of the M-Free 108 but want something that tracks a bit better through chop and don’t mind giving up some damping / suspension, the Wildcat 108 warrants a good look.

Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 137.6-111.9-129.3 mm
Stated Radius: 25 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 1964 & 1972 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 72 mm / 4 mm / 69 mm
Measured Length: 182.2 cm
Measured Mount Point: -5.1 cm / 86 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 164, 174, 184, 190 cm
Core Construction: aspen/ash + carbon stringers + fiberglass laminate

Same story as the Wildcat 108, but the Deathwish 112 isn’t quite as loose as the Wildcat 108 and offers better edge hold on firm snow.

Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 135.3-111.3-127.4 mm
Stated Radius: 24 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2220 & 2252 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 73 mm / ~4 mm / 54 mm
Measured Length: 184.1 cm
Measured Mount Point: -7.85 cm / 84.2 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 175, 181, 186, 193 cm
Core Construction: Poplar/Ash + Flax Fibers + Fiberglass Laminate

This one is interesting. Both of these skis are pretty heavy and very tapered, and both have similar mount points, dimensions, & rocker profiles.

Comparing the 186 cm Prodigy 4 vs. the 182 cm M-Free 108, the Prodigy is a bit more stable at speed and is more comfortable making longer turns, while the M-Free 108 feels even looser / surfier in any conditions. The Prodigy 4.0 could be a good choice for those who fall between lengths on the M-Free 108, just keep in mind it’s not quite as easy to pivot (it’s still a very maneuverable ski) and requires a bit more speed to get on edge (likely due to its longer sidecut radius).

Parlor McFellon Pro, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 149.1-112.6-140.5 mm
Stated Radius: 19.8 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2181 & 2190 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 58 mm / 0 mm / 36 mm
Measured Length: 184.0 cm
Measured Mount Point: -9.0 cm / 83.0 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 154, 164, 171, 178, 185, 192
Core Construction: Maple + Fiberglass Laminate (custom options available)

Very different skis, mostly due to their shapes. The McFellon Pro has very little tip or tail taper, and unsurprisingly is the much better carver and tracks better through variable snow. The two feel similarly loose on firm snow, but as soon as the snow gets inconsistent or soft, the M-Free 108 feels much easier to pivot. Both are damp skis, but the McFellon Pro’s shape does a better job of not getting knocked off track in variable conditions.

So if you mostly just want your skis to be easy to pivot in shallower / firmer conditions while preserving good stability and carving performance, the McFellon Pro is a solid choice. The M-Free 108 makes more sense for people who love to slash and slarve through everything.

Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 138.1-106.6-128.2
Stated Radius: 21.5 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2005 & 2035 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 68 mm / ~4 mm / 49 mm
Measured Length: 185.5 cm
Measured Mount Point: -8.45 cm / 84.3 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 171, 176, 182, 187 cm
Core Construction: Bamboo/Poplar + Carbon Stringer + Fiberglass Laminate

Similar story as the McFellon Pro. The Origin 106 is easier to get on edge, is the better carver overall, and also floats better vs. the M-Free 108. The M-Free 108 is notably looser in all conditions, and it’s also much more damp. In terms of overall stability, it depends on your skiing style. The M-Free 108 wins when it comes to muting out rough snow and it feels more stable in most conditions, but both skis get knocked around a lot in rough snow; for the M-Free 108, it’s due to its loose feel, for the Origin 106, it’s more due to its low weight. So this decision mostly comes down to your preferences regarding tapered skis and how much you prioritize good suspension / damping. And everything we’ve said about the Origin 106 applies to the Origin 112.

Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 145.4-111.2-135.4 mm
Stated Radius: 22 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2165 & 2219 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 65 mm / 2 mm / 59 mm
Measured Length: 188.3 cm
Measured Mount Point: -8.95 cm / 85.2 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 161, 171, 176, 181, 186, 191 cm
Core Construction: poplar/paulownia + fiberglass laminate

Once again, the big difference here comes down to shape. While the 191 cm Nomad 105 obviously isn’t a great comparison vs. the 182 cm M-Free 108, the two skis shapes are basically polar opposites. The Nomad 105 is the much better carver, it doesn’t get knocked off track as easily in rough snow, it’s much more sluggish, not nearly as loose, and it also wins when it comes to flotation. I think the M-Free 108’s suspension is better and I’m sure the 181 cm Nomad 105 would narrow the gap when it comes to stability, but this one mostly comes down to how loose you want your skis to be, or how well you want them to carve through a variety of conditions.

Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 135.3-103.5-125.3 mm
Stated Radius: 19 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2120 & 2134 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 73 mm / 3 mm / 41 mm
Measured Length: 186.2 cm
Measured Mount Point: -7.2 cm / 85.9 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm
Core Construction: poplar/balsa/beech/paulownia/ISO + partial titanal layer + carbon tips/tails + fiberglass laminate

Another ski with a shape that’s basically the opposite of the M-Free 108. The Rustler 10 is a far better carver than the M-Free 108, while the M-Free 108 is so much easier to pivot. The M-Free 108 also offers better suspension at the cost of a slightly heavier swing weight.

Neither ski is great for making big turns in variable snow, but for different reasons. The Rustler 10 starts to feel hooky / like it wants to get on edge when you start making turns longer than ~GS size, while the M-Free 108 feels more inclined to slarve through rough conditions. I.e., the Rustler 10 wants to be on edge, the M-Free 108 wants to be off edge.

Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 141-109-131 mm
Stated Radius: 18.5 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2182 & 2218 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 70 mm / ~3 mm / 48 mm
Measured Length: 183.4 cm
Measured Mount Point: -8.7 cm / ~83.0 from tail
Available Lengths: 169, 177, 185, 191 cm
Core Construction: poplar/beech/balsa + titanal (2-layer) + fiberglass laminate

This one is interesting. These skis are similar when it comes to weight, mount point, and rocker profile. But given that, they feel pretty different.

The Enforcer 110 is a much better carver and is overall more stable at high speeds in rough snow. On the flip side, the M-Free 108 is way easier to pivot and its swing weight also feels lighter.

I think more people will get along with the Enforcer 110 as it’s more versatile on firm and / or rough snow, while the M-Free 108 makes more sense for those who prioritize maneuverability / a surfy feel.

K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 136.0-107.5-124.7 mm
Stated Radius: 22.9 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2165 & 2211 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 60 mm / ~4 mm / 33.5 mm
Measured Length: 185.7 cm
Measured Mount Point: -9.75 cm / 83.1 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186, 193 cm
Core Construction: Fir/Aspen + “Titanal Y-Beam” + Fiberglass Laminate

Very different skis. The Mindbender 108Ti feels way more directional than the M-Free 108, while the M-Free 108 feels much more comfortable throwing tricks and skiing with a centered stance. The Mindbender 108Ti is a far better carver, floats better, is more stable at high speeds, but has a much higher swing weight and is not nearly as loose.

Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 138.5-110.0-131.2
Stated Radius: 23 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2188 & 2190 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 64 mm / 4-5 mm / 59 mm
Measured Length: 189.2 cm
Measured Mount Point: -3.1 cm / 91.5 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 178, 184, 190 cm
Core Construction: Maple + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate (custom options available)

Our lengths for this comparison aren’t ideal, but the big differences are (1) the Northwest 110’s stronger preference for a neutral, centered stance, (2) the M-Free 108’s better suspension, and (3) the Northwest 110’s better carving performance & overall stability when making big, fast turns.

Like the Wildcat 108, the Northwest 110 is still a pretty loose ski, but it tracks better in variable snow while the M-Free 108 requires even less input to throw sideways.

ON3P Jeffrey 108, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 137-108-130 mm
Stated Radius: 22.2 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2221 & 2245 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 80 / ~2 mm / 68 mm
Measured Length: 186.6 cm
Measured Mount Point: -4.6 cm / 88.7 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 171, 176, 181, 186, 191 cm
Core Construction: Bamboo + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

The 192 cm M-Free 108 will be the better comparison here, but when comparing the 182 cm M-Free 108 vs. the 186 cm Jeffrey 108, the biggest differences are that you can drive the M-Free 108 much harder through the shovels; it’s a bit looser (particularly in soft snow); the M-Free 108 is a bit more predictable on firm, smooth snow; the Jeffrey 108 is more stable at speed; and the Jeffrey floats better. We suspect the 192 cm M-Free 108 might feel a bit more stable than the 186 cm Jeffrey 108, especially if you ski with a forward stance, but both skis are good options for playful skiers who like a ski with a stronger flex pattern and heftier weight. This one mostly comes down to your preferred stance.

ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 138.0-108.9-127.3 mm
Stated Radius: 23.8 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2232 & 2244 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 78 mm / ~5 mm / 40 mm
Measured Length: 187.3 cm
Measured Mount Point: -6.35 cm / 87.3 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 177, 182, 187, 192 cm
Core Construction: Bamboo + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Similar story as the Jeffrey 108, but you can drive the Woodsman 108 much harder through the shovels and it’s not as loose and easy to pivot as the Jeffrey 108. But for directional skiers who like the sound of the playfulness and suspension of the M-Free 108 but want something that doesn’t get knocked off track as much at higher speeds and in rougher snow, the Woodsman 108 is a solid choice.

Black Crows Atris, 184.2 cm (18/19–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 138.5-107.5-125.7 mm
Stated Radius: 20 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 1993 & 2026 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 62.5 mm / 3.5 mm / 38 mm
Measured Length: 182.7 cm
Measured Mount Point: -7.65 cm / 83.7 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 178.3, 184.2, 189.7 cm
Core Construction: poplar + fiberglass laminate

These skis don’t feel very similar at all. The M-Free 108 is much more damp, so much easier to pivot and slash, and a bit more forgiving. The Atris is the far better carver, it’s much quicker and poppier, and overall feels like a more directional ski. But this one mostly comes down to your priorities when it comes to (1) weight and (2) surfiness vs. carving performance.

Folsom Primary — Blister Edition, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
Measured Dimensions: 137.5-108.5-129 mm
Stated Radius: 25 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2163 & 2164 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 70 mm / 0 mm / 46 mm
Measured Length: 186.3 cm
Measured Mount Point: -7.0 cm / 86.15 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 174, 178, 182, 188, 192 cm
Core Construction: maple/poplar/bamboo + fiberglass laminate (custom options available)

As with the McFellon Pro, the Primary (with Folsom’s “Subtle Reverse Camber” profile) feels similarly loose vs. the M-Free 108 on firm snow and shallower soft snow. In slush or pow over ~4”, the M-Free 108 feels much looser. Both offer nice suspension, but the Primary tracks better at high speeds and the 188 cm length we tested is more stable overall vs. the 182 cm M-Free 108. We’d also give the nod to the Primary when it comes to carving, though when the M-Free 108 is sharp, it’s a bit better for making tighter turns. The M-Free 108 is a solid option for those who are curious about reverse-camber skis but are worried about the lack of camber, while the Primary is a great alternative to the M-Free 108 if you want something a bit more stable at higher speeds without losing out on easy pivoting in tighter terrain (especially in shallower conditions).

Moment Meridian 107, 187 cm (17/18–19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 135.5-106.5-126 mm
Stated Radius: 23 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2113 & 2121 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 59 mm / 0 mm / 61 mm
Measured Length: 186.0 cm
Measured Mount Point: -5 cm / 88.0 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 171, 181, 187 cm
Core Construction: Aspen + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Similar story as the Primary. The Meridian is even looser than the M-Free 108 on firm snow, while the M-Free 108 feels a bit surfier the deeper the snow gets. The Meridian wins in terms of stability in most soft-ish conditions, but the M-Free 108 is notably more damp and feels a bit more comfortable and easier to control on rough, firm snow. The two feel similar in terms of accepting both forward and centered stances, boh are very playful skis overall, but the decision should mostly come down to your preference on camber vs. reverse camber and how often you tend to straight-line through chop. The Meridian is great if you want super easy pivoting on firm / shallow conditions and stability in deeper snow at higher speeds, while the M-Free 108 makes more sense if you prefer the predictable “bite” of a cambered ski and / or prioritize surfiness over the ability to make long, fast turns through chop.

J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
Measured Dimensions: 136-105-124.5 mm
Stated Radius: 19.1 m
Measured Weight per Ski: 2318 & 2341 g
Measured Tip-to-Tail Profile: 63 mm / ~2-3 mm / 49 mm
Measured Length: 183.3 cm
Measured Mount Point: -6 cm / 85.7 cm from tail
Available Lengths: 173, 180, 186 cm
Core Construction: maple + titanal + fiberglass laminate

Neither of these skis are light, but the Metal is still notably heavier than the M-Free 108, and it shows. The 186 cm Metal wins vs. the 182 cm M-Free 108 when it comes to suspension, and the Metal is also more stable. This mostly comes down to how loose the M-Free 108 is; while the Metal is a bit softer and has deeper rocker lines, it still tracks better at higher speeds / feels less twitchy. The M-Free 108 has a lower swing weight and is much looser, and really makes the most sense if surfiness is one of your top priorities. The Metal is a great choice if you’re worried that the M-Free 108 sounds too loose for your liking.

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10 comments on “Deep Dive: Dynastar M-Free 108”

  1. Any chance you could add the J Skis Metal? On paper, they seem pretty similar – heavy (for a playful ski), surfy, loose, tapered, forward mounted mid fat skis with similar dimensions. The metals seem like they have deeper but lower slung rocker lines, but apart from that, they look like a good comparison.

  2. How does the M-Free 108 compare to the K2 Marksman, which used to be the surfiest ski in its width class? Is the M-Free 108 a slightly directional, more stable Marksman, as I suspect?

    • Unfortunately, we haven’t had any reviewers who’ve skied both of those skis, so I can’t say for sure. But based on what Cy said about the Marksman, it does seem like the M-Free 108 is a bit more stable, and I bet you can drive it a bit harder through the shovels.

    • Good question — I think the two are similarly damp and versatile in terms of accepting a variety of stances, but the M-Free 108 is way looser than the Ahmeek 105 while the Ahmeek 105 is much more secure on edge on really firm snow and more stable at speed, particularly on firmer / shallower conditions where it’s less prone to getting knocked off track. But thinking of the M-Free 108 as a surfier, less stable Ahmeek 105 is not a bad analogy.

    • Yep, I’d say pivotability and damping are similar on firm snow, but the M-Free 108 is way looser in any sort of soft snow, while the Corvus is a far better carver in terms of edge hold and pulling you into a turn. The Corvus is also much less prone to getting knocked around at high speeds, which I’d attribute to its much less tapered shape and super subtle reverse-camber profile. Then the Corvus also just feels like a way more directional, less playful ski — you can drive it even harder through the shovels, but you can’t ski it nearly as centered and its tail is much more punishing if you get backseat.

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