Having now skied the Powertrack 89 entirely off-piste down in Canterbury, New Zealand, and entirely on-piste in Taos, I can say that this is a really good, well-executed ski. And I regard that as no small feat, given the inherent difficulties of producing a “hybrid” ski like this.
I’d really encourage you to first read our Preview of this ski on the first page.
I hadn’t gone back and read Dynastar’s product copy about the Powertrack 89 since I wrote the Preview back in August. But having now spent 7 days on it, I can say that Dynastar’s description is pretty accurate, and as I’ve been skiing these (before revisiting their own description), I’ve kept thinking that this ski would serve as a very good one-ski quiver for the right type of skier.
In sum, Dynastar has made good on two of their biggest claims about this ski: (1) that it has a huge sweet spot, and (2) that this ski would make a lot of sense as a one-ski quiver.
The other performance characteristic that has really stood out to me is just how quick these skis feel.
Note: Keeping things Apples-to-Apples
I’ve been A/B/C-ing the 186cm Powertrack 89 with the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8, and the 187cm Blizzard Brahma—the longest available lengths for each of these three skis. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that my statements and comparisons are specific to these skis in these particular lengths. (I.e., I’m comparing the 186 Powertrack to the 187 Brahma, not the 180cm Brahma.)
Softer Groomers (both smooth and roughed up)
On smooth groomers, the Powertrack 89 is a very fun ski, and very willing and able to make short, quick turns (it is more willing and easier at making these turn shapes than the 184 X-Drive 8.8 or the 187 Brahma), while still feeling at home making big, fast GS turns, too—especially on smooth groomers.
As those groomers get roughed up, the Brahma and X-Drive definitely dampen the ride more, so I found myself not so much slowing down on the Powertrack 89, but less willing to commit to higher-edge angles, and opting instead to run a bit more bases flat and popping / playing off of the small bumps that would form on the runs.
In either case / style, it’s still been quite fun nuking down groomers at Taos on the Powertrack 89. It is definitely the easiest of the three skis in these lengths, and requires the least amount of energy and input to bend the ski and carve turns.
So while the Powertrack isn’t as stable and damp as the 184 X-Drive 8.8 or 187 Brahma, it also has the best “low end” of the three skis—they come alive with the least amount of speed, i.e., the Powertrack 89 is the easiest-going of the three skis at slower speeds.
Icy, On-Piste Steeps
This isn’t the forte of the Powertrack 89. Those tapered tips and tails, combined with a hefty amount of tip rocker, mean that the effective edge of the ski is relatively short, and it doesn’t dig in and bite like skis with little-to-no tip rocker + fat tips and tails. (For on-piste, icy steeps, the X-Drive 8.8 or the Rossignol Experience lineup have the better shape and camber profile.)
But if the groomers soften up at all, the Powertrack 89 will hold, and they are a lot of fun to lay over and carve hard.
I don’t tend to be a big fan of heavily tapered tips, and the Powertrack 89’s are definitely heavily tapered. But I’ve got to say, it certainly helps these skis feel really, really quick.
As noted above, for skiing at very high speeds on end-0f-the-day, roughed up groomers, those tapered tips diminish a bit of the Powertrack 89’s stability. But man, these skis are very quick in bumps.
The Powertrack 89 requires less work and are quicker in bumps than the 184 X-Drive 8.8 and 187 Brahma—though I personally still like the Brahma and X-Drive in bumps.
But if we were going to go ski Taos’ Al’s Run 10 times in a row, top to bottom, I’d definitely prefer to do so on the Powertrack 89.
Having said all that, I still think that the tails of the 186cm Powertrack 89 are maybe a little too flat and powerful for this ski to make sense for someone looking for a dead-easy moguls ski. But Dynastar isn’t pitching this ski to beginners, but rather to experts, and I would say that anyone from low-advanced to high-expert skiers that put a premium on quickness in moguls should put the Powertrack 89 on their radar.
Off-Piste, Variable Conditions (Slush, Big Piles of Slush, and Mixed Conditions)
Down in Canterbury, New Zealand, the Powertrack 89 wasn’t a ski to simply go rage on and blow everything up in its path; the shovels are a little too soft and too rockered and too tapered for that. But that big sweet spot that Dynastar talks about was a big help here, and very much aided my ability to ski pretty hard and fast in these conditions, even though this isn’t the heaviest, most damp ski out there.
If I was willing to either slow things down a touch, or not slow things down but to ski more dynamically, ready to pop off the inconsistencies in the terrain rather than steam roll them, the Powertrack 89 held up pretty well. (See the section above about those roughed-up groomers.)
And keep in mind that I was skiing the Powertrack 89 while also skiing the 118mm-underfoot, big-mountain, Blizzard Bodacious in the same conditions and terrain. Unsurprisingly, the Bodacious was better here. Quite surprisingly, however, was that I was far from hating life on this sub-90mm ski. That fact impressed me a lot.
I had the Powertrack 89 out after some fresh, wet snow fell down in New Zealand and the Powertrack 89s actually planed quite well. So yes, while I tend to ski much fatter skis in deep, fresh snow, the Powertrack 89 did not feel wildly out of place.
But I think the most important thing to point out is that the Powertrack’s pretty flat tail means that the deeper the snow gets, the more I needed to keep the skis pointed down the fall line. In some tighter chutes at Craigieburn where snow had piled up into some deep stashes, if I was working too much across the fall line, those flat tails would knife into the heavy, wet snow and wouldn’t be super easy to release.
In other words, this is not a super smeary tail, or a particularly surfy ski. But any advanced or expert skier should be able to note that fact, understand that the deeper (and heavier) the snow is, the less he or she should expect to be able to make surfy turns across the fall line, and then proceed without problem (while still having quite a bit of fun).
Best Uses / Who’s It For?
I think the Powertrack 89 makes the most sense for those who will use it as their single, do-everything ski.
For me personally, if this was going to be part of a 2-ski or 3-ski quiver, I would probably opt to have a sub-90mm ski be more of a dedicated firm-snow ski, and I’d have something else to handle softer & deeper conditions.
But if you want a sub-90mm ski that will work on firm days, but won’t feel out place on deeper days, then this is a very easy ski to recommend.
Don’t downsize these.
While I think a strong case can be made for dropping down in size from the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS (see my review on that topic) and the 187 Blizzard Brahma (review to come), I would not encourage skiers to drop down in size on the Powertrack 89.
I skied the 186, and I have no interest in skiing a shorter length. I.e., ski your normal length. (Unless you are still skiing skis that are too short for you … in that case, move up.) And I strongly suspect that the 180cm Brahma and the 179cm X-Drive 8.8 would feel like the closer comparisons in terms of quickness and ease.
It seems that Dynastar has built exactly the ski they set out to make, and their execution of the design is excellent. Kudos.
The Powertrack 89 is going to be enjoyed by advanced and expert skiers who like to (1) ski with a lot of speed (and are willing to ski very fast and hard with less aggression, more finesse) but (2) don’t always want to ski with a lot of speed, and like to have the option to dial things back and keep things mellow.
For those who simply prefer the edge-to-edge quickness of skinnier skis, but who want a (skinnier) ski that will still plane up in deeper snow for use on the occasional 6″ – 12″ pow day, the Powertrack 89 makes good sense.
And for those who put a premium on quickness in moguls, the Powertrack 89 will begin to make a whole lot of sense.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics