Ski: 2021-2022 Dynastar M-Free 99, 185 cm
Available Lengths: 171, 179, 185 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 181.5 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1900 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2024 & 2112 grams
Stated Dimensions: 128-99-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 127.6-97.2-119.4 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (185 cm): 18 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 75 mm / 59 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5 mm
Core: poplar / PU + titanal binding plate + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.6 cm from center; 83.0 cm from tail
Dynastar completely overhauled their “freeride” lineup during the 20/21 season, with the new M-Free and M-Pro skis replacing the long-standing Legend X skis (and the Cham skis before them). The new “M” skis looked — and skied — very different from their predecessors, and we’ve generally been a fan of this change.
Given that, it makes sense that Dynastar is expanding the collection for 21/22. You can learn more about their whole lineup in our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video below, but one notable addition is the ski we’re discussing here, the brand-new M-Free 99.
The M-Free 99 effectively replaces the Dynastar Menace 98, which was a ski many of us loved, even though its design had basically been unchanged for nearly a decade (it was formerly known as the Slicer, among other names). But the M-Free 99 looks basically nothing like the Menace 98, and a whole lot more like its bigger siblings, the M-Free 108 and M-Free 118.
So, how does the design of this new ski compare to the other alternatives in the crowded, ~100mm-wide all-mountain category?
The M-Free 99 shares the same construction as the wider M-Free skis. The most notable thing here is that the M-Free skis use a core that consists of a mix of poplar wood and polyurethane (PU). The idea is that the PU offers a good damping-to-weight ratio, and combined with the wood core, can make for skis that are fairly lightweight while also being fairly damp.
The M-Free skis also get a small titanal plate around the binding area for screw retention, and then a fairly heavy fiberglass laminate. The M-Free skis feature a heavier-weight fiberglass laminate than the Dynastar M-Pro skis, which is reportedly why the M-Free skis are relatively heavier.
Shape / Rocker Profile
Especially since their top sheets vary so little, all three skis in the 21/22 M-Free collection look really, really similar. The M-Free 99 very much looks like a slightly skinnier M-Free 108, with very little noticeable change in taper lines or overall sidecut.
While the wider M-Free skis’ shapes aren’t wildly out of the ordinary when compared to similarly wide skis, the M-Free 99’s shape stands out a bit more when you look at other ~99mm-wide skis. The M-Free 99 features more tapered tips and tails than a lot of the directional skis in this class, and its shape is fairly similar to freestyle-oriented skis like the Volkl Revolt 104.
It’s a similar story when looking at the rocker profile of the M-Free 99. This ski has basically the same amount of tip and tail splay and as deep of rocker lines as the M-Free 108. And like that ski, the M-Free 99’s tips and tails rise fairly abruptly, as opposed to a ski like the Revolt 104, where the rocker lines are deep but the tips and tails stay low until the very ends of the ski.
Overall, the Salomon QST 98 is probably the ski that looks the most like the M-Free 99. Both skis have pretty tapered tips and tails and deep tip and tail rocker lines, though the M-Free 99 has more of a true twinned tail.
As for the Menace 98, well, the M-Free 99 doesn’t really look like it at all. The Menace 98 stood out for having basically no tip or tail taper, and its rocker lines were quite subtle. The M-Free 99 is basically the opposite in both regards.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the M-Free 99:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
Once again, there’s a very strong family resemblance between the M-Free skis when it comes to flex pattern. The M-Free 99’s flex pattern feels almost identical to that of the M-Free 108. Both skis have tips and tails that are a bit on the stiffer end, especially for playful skis. The M-Free 99’s flex pattern isn’t as consistently stiff as, say, the Volkl M6 Mantra or Blizzard Bonafide 97, but I’d still say it sits on the stiffer end of the spectrum. Though, as we discussed in our review of the M-Free 108, that ski’s flex pattern did not feel as punishing or demanding as you might expect when hand flexing it.
At about -7.5 cm from true center, the M-Free 99’s mount point slots between more traditional, directional skis and more freestyle-specific ones. And same as the wider M-Free skis, we’re playing with different mount points on the M-Free 99 to see how it feels with the bindings farther back and farther forward.
It’s worth quickly noting something here — when measuring its length using our standard straight-tape method, the 185 cm M-Free 99 actually measures exactly the same (181.5 cm) as the 182 cm M-Free 108.
Now, most skis measure shorter via that straight-tape method than their stated lengths, since most brands come up with their stated lengths before the skis are pressed / bent with their rocker / camber profiles (when their straight-line length is consequently shortened). But I wanted to include this note mostly for folks who are interested in the M-Free 108 vs. M-Free 99; while I’d say the 182 cm M-Free 108 “measures long,” I’d say the 185 cm M-Free 99 “measures short.”
The wider M-Free skis are fairly heavy for their size, and the M-Free 99 mostly continues this trend. Our pair of the 185 cm length came in at an average weight of 2068 grams per ski. That’s not extremely heavy, but you can certainly find lighter skis in this category. Of course, we’re not at all mad about this ski having a bit of weight to it — that’s a big part of why several of our reviewers personally love the other M-Free skis. They offer nice suspension and stability, but in a pretty playful package.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1638 & 1639 Atomic Maven 93 C, 172 cm (21/22)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1758 & 1758 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1781 & 1795 Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1801 & 1839 Salomon Stance 90, 176 cm (20/21–21/22)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–21/22)
1810 & 1828 Armada Declivity 92 Ti, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–21/22)
1883 & 1906 Season Aero, 180 cm (20/21)
1900 & 1908 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1934 Black Crows Camox, 186.5 cm (19/20–21/22)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–21/22)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–21/22)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–21/22)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21–21/22)
2024 & 2112 Dynastar M-Free 99, 185 cm (21/22)
2043 & 2089 Volkl M6 Mantra, 177 cm (21/22)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2054 & 2063 Salomon QST 98, 189 cm (21/22)
2055 & 2080 Salomon QST 99, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2089 & 2105 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–21/22)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
2178 & 2195 Volkl M6 Mantra, 184 cm (21/22)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21–21/22)
2302 & 2342 Dynastar M-Free 108, 192 cm (20/21–21/22)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Many of us at Blister have gotten along really well with the wider M-Free skis, particularly in softer or more varied conditions. But how will that design translate to a narrower platform that will likely see conditions that are more on the firmer side of the spectrum?
(2) Many skis like the M-Free 99 could serve as a lot of different things — daily driver for directional skiers, park ski, one you’d use for both of those things, etc. So does the M-Free 99 clearly fall on the more directional or more playful side of things? Perfectly in the middle?
(3) Given its shape and rocker profile, how well will the M-Free 99 carve on firm groomers, and how maneuverable will it feel off piste?
(4) Apart from weight, the M-Free 99 doesn’t look anything like the Menace 98 it effectively replaces. But will folks who liked that ski still have reasons to consider this new one?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Dynastar M-Free 99 looks like, well, what would happen if you shaved a few millimeters off the sides of the Dynastar M-Free 108. We got some time on the M-Free 99 at the Blister Summit and then got a pair for a long-term test later in the season, so stay tuned for our full review. In the meantime, Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below for our initial on-snow impressions.
Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the M-Free 99 for our initial on-snow 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.