Ski: 2022-2023 4FRNT MSP 91, 181 cm
Test Location: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO
Days Skied: ~10
Available Lengths: 165, 171, 176, 181, & 187 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 180 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2010 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2047 & 2082 grams
Stated Dimensions: 130-91-117 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 129-91-116 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (181 cm): 16.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 16 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm
Core Materials: aspen/maple + titanal (2-layers) + neoprene tip insert + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.5 cm from center; 81.5 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Lange RS130, Tecnica Mach1 MV 130, Lange Shadow 130 / Tyrollia Attack 13
The MSP series has been the “all-mountain” staple of the 4FRNT Skis product line since the inception of their company (albeit with a brief hiatus). But the perennial nature of the MSP series may have caused some skiers to overlook the release of the newest and narrowest model, the MSP 91. But while the MSP 91 may not see the same hype or video segments as some of 4FRNT’s powder-oriented skis, we think this is a model that deserves consideration from a lot of skiers looking for a firm-snow tool, so let’s get right to it:
What 4FRNT says about the MSP 91
“The all new MSP 91 is the newest member of the MSP family. When all of Mother Nature’s signs are pointing towards a day spent on crisp corduroy, the MSP 91 is a must have. We tested this ski everywhere from the firm slopes of Vermont to spring corn in Oregon to confirm that this thing rips. Equipped with our award winning titanal laminate construction and Maple core, stability and liveliness are two of the 91’s best attributes. Pair this with its 16.5 meter turn radius and you get a smooth damp ride with incredible turn initiation and carving capabilities. Whether you are looking to improve on your carving abilities or you’re a veteran arc’er, you’ll find yourself right at home with the 91!”
The MSP 91 features a similar core construction relative to the wider MSP 99 and MSP 107, with a dual-layer titanal metal laminate, neoprene tip insert, fiberglass laminate, and 1.4mm-thick sintered base. However, the narrowest MSP ski features an aspen / maple wood core, whereas the wider MSP skis use a full poplar core, and this seems to translate to a slightly heavier construction for its size (see below).
Shape / Rocker Profile
The MSP 91 looks a whole lot like the MSP 99, but with the tweaks you’d expect when comparing a 91mm-wide and 99mm-wide ski: the MSP 91 features just a touch less early tapering at the tips and tails and slightly shallower tip and tail rocker lines. Still, the MSP 91’s shape and rocker profile definitely make it look like a narrower all-mountain ski, rather than some wider piste-specific model.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the MSP 91:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8– 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
The MSP 91’s flex pattern is fairly similar to the MSP 99, though the MSP 91 feels a bit softer at the ends when hand-flexing the ski. However, on snow, the end result feels fairly different (more on that below).
The MSP 91 has a stated sidecut radius of 16.5 meters for the 181 cm length we’ve been testing, which is on the shorter side of things for this class. That said, as we’ll discuss below, this on-paper number definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.
Similar to the other MSP skis, the MSP 91’s recommended mount point of -8.5 cm from true center is pretty rearward / directional, but not quite as far back as many other directional skis in this class.
The MSP 91 weighs about 2065 grams per ski for the 181 cm length, which is fairly heavy for its size, but definitely not out of the ordinary for a metal-laminate ski around this width.
For reference, here are some of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length and width differences of each ski listed to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1780 & 1800 Line Blade Optic 92, 182 cm (22/23)
1781 & 1795 Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, 180 cm (21/22–22/23)
1801 & 1839 Salomon Stance 90, 176 cm (20/21–22/23)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent 100, 188 cm (18/19–22/23)
1808 & 1823 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 95, 180 cm (21/22–22/23)
1810 & 1828 Armada Declivity 92 Ti, 180 cm (20/21–22/23)
1824 & 1835 Black Crows Serpo, 180.1 cm (21/22–22/23)
1849 & 1887 DPS Pagoda 90 RP, 184 cm (20/21–22/23)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–22/23)
1883 & 1906 Season Aero, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
1900 & 1908 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, 180 cm (21/22–22/23)
1915 & 1937 K2 Mindbender 89Ti, 182 cm (22/23)
1925 & 1934 Black Crows Camox, 186.5 cm (19/20–22/23)
1933 & 1943 Norse Enduro, 188 cm (20/21–22/23)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21–22/23)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
1952 & 1964 Folsom Cash 93, 185 cm (22/23–23/24)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–21/22)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–21/22)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–22/23)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21–22/23)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Spar 88, 182 cm (19/20–23/24)
2010 & 2023 Moment Commander 98, 182 cm (20/21–22/23)
2024 & 2112 Dynastar M-Free 99, 185 cm (21/22–22/23)
2043 & 2089 Volkl M6 Mantra, 177 cm (21/22–22/23)
2047 & 2082 4FRNT MSP 91, 181 cm (22/23–23/24)
2053 & 2059 J Skis Fastforward, 181 cm (22/23)
2054 & 2063 Salomon QST 98, 189 cm (21/22–22/23)
2077 & 2096 Line Blade Optic 96, 184 cm (22/23)
2128 & 2186 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (21/22)
2165 & 2186 Wagner Summit 97, 182 cm (21/22–22/23)
2178 & 2195 Volkl M6 Mantra, 184 cm (21/22–22/23)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21–22/23)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21–21/22)
Now, onto on-snow performance:
Charlie Schayer (6’3”, 190 lbs / 190 cm, 86 kg): I was a little skeptical of the MSP 91’s groomer performance before skiing it, given that the ski has a fairly soft flex pattern while hand flexing it (at least relative to most other directional, ~90mm-wide skis). This led me to believe that 4FRNT was prioritizing off-piste performance, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this ski provides a stable and powerful platform for carving and making the most of groomed terrain. The MSP 91 is engaging and lively, with its 16.5-m sidecut radius (@ 181 cm) encouraging deep angulation of turns, while its metal laminate and fairly heavy aspen/maple core provide an impressive amount of edge hold on very firm snow. I’ve been continually impressed by the MSP 91’s high performance threshold on groomers; the ski remains confident at high speeds and it encouraged me to keep pushing harder.
I am particularly impressed with this ski’s ability to go from carving hard to playing around on side hits and airs. The MSP 91 has the proficiency to contend in the frontside category but retains a playful spirit.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): Agreed. The MSP 91 is the best overall carver of any 4FRNT ski I’ve tried, which I supposed shouldn’t be all that surprising, since it’s the narrowest and least rockered ski they’ve put out in quite some time. Regardless of that, it’s still a very impressive carver in the ~90mm-wide all-mountain category. It initiates turns pretty easily, it offers impressive suspension on rough snow, and its edge hold is quite good for its class.
I was slightly surprised by its on-paper sidecut radius, both before and after skiing it, since it feels more versatile than the 16.5-m number might suggest. It’s pretty quick to start arcing across the fall line, but it’s by no means some tight-turn specialist. It does a good job of avoiding feeling hooky or otherwise sketchy when making big, drawn-out turns at speed, but with a bit of pressure on its shovels, it’s happy to really ramp up the edge angles and cut hard across the slope. I found it both engaging and predictable on everything from mellow groomers to the steepest pistes Mt. Crested Butte has to offer.
In terms of edge hold, the MSP 91 is again quite impressive — especially when you take into account its off-piste performance, which we’ll get into shortly. If I was only going to ski very firm groomers, I’d opt for something more piste-specific, but its edge hold is as good or better than I’d hope for from a 90mm-wide all-mountain ski. Plus, it produces a nice amount of energy when you bend it hard into the apex of a turn, which keeps things interesting, while its fairly damp build helps mute out the harsh vibrations of firm snow. All in all, it’s a very good carver that I think a lot of people could enjoy.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Charlie: As previously mentioned, I found the flex pattern of the 181 cm MSP 91 to skew more toward the forgiving end of the spectrum for this class, which in my opinion, makes it an easy ski to get along with in trees and moguls. I found this to be a quick ski that rewards a dynamic skiing style, and is most definitely in its element off-piste. The MSP 91 is a ski that can rapidly adapt to changes in line choice.
Crested Butte is home to some very steep and technical terrain. There were more than a few occasions where I had a bit of trepidation when riding up the North Face T-Bar (how we access much of CB’s steep terrain), knowing I was going to ski some of the steeper and more consequential terrain, asking myself: is a 91mm-wide ski the right choice for dropping into Cesspool or Staircase? These concerns proved to be unfounded, as the MSP 91’s impressive edge hold and quickness allowed me to confidently ski these steeps with a high degree of finesse.
Luke: I’m just a bit less high on the MSP 91’s off-piste performance, but I think this has much more to do with Charlie and my different skiing styles than it does the ski’s inherent traits. When trying to ski moguls and tight spots at speed, my preferred approach is to ski with a more centered stance and pivot the ski with it more bases-flat. Kind of like a true mogul-comp zipperline, but much worse. Doing this on the MSP 91 led to me feeling its minimally rockered tails hooking up more than they would on a wider, more rockered, and/or softer ski (e.g., the MSP 99). So I quickly found that I had to adopt a slightly more conservative and more traditional approach, with more deliberate weighting of the front of the ski and unweighting of the back in order to flick and hop the ski up and over bigger bumps. Once I got accustomed to the skiing style the MSP 91 preferred, I found it to be a versatile, lively, and nimble bump ski.
And that is generally something I have to do with most skis around this width — the less rockered, less tapered, and less forgiving the tail of a ski is, the more you have to actually work it through this sort of terrain, rather than expecting it to conform, release, and skid around like a wider all-mountain ski. So, provided you’re not expecting the same loose, slarve-y ride that you might get from a more rockered, wider ski, I think the MSP 91 is very much fitting of its “all-mountain” designation. I’d also be curious to see how I’d feel about the 176 cm MSP 91 in big moguls, since I think going a bit shorter might let me ski it a bit more like how I prefer to ski wider skis in this terrain, but I still ending up enjoying the 181 cm MSP 91 off piste, I just had to focus a bit more on adapting my technique to how this sort of ski wants to be skied.
Chop & Crud
Charlie: This season in Crested Butte, we were fortunate to have consistent snowfall that kept the mountain soft for several days after storms. Being on a ski between 105-115 mm underfoot would easily be justified for nearly the entire season. The other day, I was riding up the chairlift with Dylan Wood and he made the comment that it would be the perfect day to be on the Dynastar M-Pro 108. He was not wrong; it was a bluebird day after heavy snowfall, perfect conditions for skiing crud at mach speed. But I was skiing the MSP 91 in anticipation of writing this review, and I couldn’t have been happier with this choice.
On several occasions, I skied the MSP 91 in between storm cycles and was impressed with how unflustered it was when going through leftover consolidated chop. The MSP 91 is not an all-out brawler (like the aforementioned M-Pro 108), but it is scrappy and handles crud exceptionally well for a ski with a 91mm waist. Simply put, this ski lacks the mass of those larger skis, but it manages these conditions with quickness and agility. Utilizing a dynamic skiing style, I was able to skip between and bounce over features. The MSP 91 has a noticeable speed limit in these conditions, but it provides a nice blend of power and damping for what it is. This combination formulates a ski with very good suspension, which makes riding in chop and crud a very enjoyable experience.
Luke: Yep. I think the MSP 91’s suspension is quite good, which is a key attribute I look for from a ~90mm-wide ski, since I’m most often breaking out those skis when it hasn’t snowed in a while and the conditions are pretty firm and not that forgiving. The MSP 91 checks that box. It’s not as damp as some heavier, wider skis, and similarly, it doesn’t just blast through chop and crud like those skis can, moreso due to the MSP 91’s narrower silhouette. But provided that you’re ok with making more turns and taking advantage of the piles of chop and crud to make each run more interesting (rather than trying to go straight through them), it’s still a lot of fun in chopped-up snow.
The deeper the chop and crud, the more I’d like to be on a wider ski like the MSP 99, since that ski doesn’t get as bogged down as easily and is easier to slash and slarve around. But if you like to keep your skis on edge, the MSP 91 is an impressively capable ski in variable off-piste snow. And in conditions like chalky bumps, the lively yet damp nature of the MSP 91 means that it’s a ton of fun to carve hard in smooth spots and then launch off any little mound of snow and catch some air during each transition.
Who’s It For?
Charlie: The MSP 91 is a ski that performs well in just about all categories. I see this as being a solid choice for skiers who are looking for a tool to bridge the gap in their quiver between a piste-specific and wider all-mountain ski. The MSP 91’s versatility makes it an excellent daily driver for a location with limited snowfall and a moderate vertical drop. It is best under the feet of skiers who gravitate toward directional skis but enjoy skiing playfully — loading up a ski, catching a bit of air between turns, etc.
Luke: There are a lot of skiers who could potentially enjoy the MSP 91. It has the suspension and edge hold to perform as a piste-oriented ski in a quiver with wider skis, but its off-piste versatility also makes it a great contender as a narrower all-mountain ski. And if you rarely ski particularly deep snow but you do split your time between groomed and ungroomed slopes, it’s a top contender for a 1-ski quiver. It’s not quite as precise on piste as narrower, dedicated carvers, and it requires a more careful, conservative approach to ski hard in deeper chop and crud than wider alternatives, but it checks a lot of the boxes that I think most people are looking to tick off when it comes to a ~90mm-wide all-mountain ski. Provided you’re not looking for a very freestyle-friendly, forgiving, or surfy ski in this width, I think you have reason to give the MSP 91 a look.
The MSP 91 pays homage to 4FRNT’s freeride roots, adding just a bit of that playfulness and off-piste maneuverability to a pretty precise, strong, and stable all-mountain package that’s primarily tuned for firmer snow all over the mountain. It is an excellent value and deserves consideration from any skier who loves skiing on-piste but does not want to be limited solely to groomed terrain.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the MSP 91 to see how it compares to the 4FRNT MSP 99, Nordica Enforcer 88, Black Crows Serpo, Volkl M6 Mantra, Blizzard Brahma 88, Folsom Cash 93, K2 Mindbender 89Ti, Folsom Spar 88, Salomon Stance 90, Blizzard Rustler 9, J Skis Fastforward, DPS Pagoda 90 RP, Head Kore 93, Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, Armada Declivity 92 Ti, Fischer Ranger 90, & Line Blade Optic 92.