Ski Reviews no1: Liberty Morphic

Pow Day In VT

Skis: Liberty Morphic 181 (2011/12) http://www.libertyskis.com

About me: 29 years old skied since I could walk.  Currently 193cm and 95kg.

Areas I’ve used these skis: Europe – Saalbach in Austria, Val Thorens and Meribel France, and snow dome and dry slope in the UK.

I purchased these at the end of the 2012 season as a replacement for my Fischer Watea 84’s mainly as a desire to try some new skis and a full twin tip with a bit more width under foot which I felt my Fischer Watea 84’s had lacked.  These were always intended to become a quiver ski alongside a set of GS skis.

Dimensions:

  • 126-94-119 mm
  • Radius: 19.5m
  • Weight: 1850g
  • Classic Camber

Category: All Mountain / Telemark.

Bindings used: I mounted them with a set of Marker Jester Schizo’s (din set on 10) with the centre of the adjustment on the Cab4 line (Libertys more centred progressive line +1 from standard and -1.5 from the centre line)

Boots used: 2011 Salomon CS 100’s

Quoted length 181, actual 178.

Days skied on 14+

So how do they perform?

Slush / slush moguls and spring snow in Austria: Incredible they surf over the slush with easy and the light and poppy nature of the bamboo core helps you bounce round and through the inconsistent un groomed slopes that had become a field of slush moguls.  The 95 mm waist handled and balanced well in the slush, the dampness the bamboo gives with a full twin tip and  a wide platform allows you to butter and scrub speed off with ease in the tighter areas and on narrow rutted tracks too.

Fresh Powder (off piste and on marked piste): During the 1st of two weeks in Val Thorens we had fresh snow every night in boot to knee deep powder these skis were in their element they prefer to be skied on the tails even with the progressive mounting (cab4) although after a morning skiing them on this line I moved them back to standard and found they became more balanced and willing to charge off piste and happier at speed in a straight line which was required when cutting various cat tracks to powder stashes.  Overall I found them very light and easy to manage when the going got knee deep, for a skier of my weight and their sub 100mm under foot and shorter length they did not disappoint in powder it was only when the snow became heavier and thigh deep that their true limit was discovered, many people I know prefer to surf on top of the powder but I have always preferred to be ride a bit deeper so for those people I do not recommend this ski.

Hard pack, crud and crust: These skis are not at home nor happy in these conditions their light weight meant I found even my ample frame getting bucked and thrown about and they do not like engaging an edge on harder surfaces in spite of their full sidewall and dampness.

Groomed / Pisted runs: On fresh and soft corduroy these skis are a dream they carve with ease and hold and edge well, they are not a GS ski by any means but they do not disappoint when the snow is nice and soft.  However when the groomed runs become tracked and skied out and start to ice or slightly harden up these skis become a bit of a nightmare they do not like engaging any edge hold on harder snow and while other skis would bounce and chatter the damp bamboo core offers a different but equally unpleasant reaction they begin to under steer to borrow a motoring adjective, the tips start to push wide when you attempt to turn on them, having adjusted the bindings from standard – cab4- dead centre I found this a characteristic of these skis no matter where the binding was mounted.

Quality of construction: Overall I have been very impressed, these skis have seen over three weeks in the alps and park laps in the snow dome and used on dry slopes here (Dendix and Snowfelx) the top sheets have little to no damage in spite of three weeks in European lift lines, the bases are very fast (as fast as my Salomon 24 hours) and the edges are very strong I dropped onto a rock patch off piste in Meribel and tore a section of base out next to the edge at a fair speed and the edge held firm and the core was also un damaged.

Other things of note: I detuned these a bit as I found even on the hard snow they worked better with the edges slightly blunted, with a fresh tune they can become very snatch and grab a lot which is not ideal given their light weight, I found detuning the edges did not affect their overall edge hold and offered a better solution that allows them to be skied in a much more relaxed manner.

Overall conclusions: I feel on retrospect I should have purchased something wider and longer but that’s all down to the learning experience, from Liberty I should have opted for the Double Helix in 190 for my height, weight and intended use or possibly the 184 SFB from Line.  These skis are not all mountain chargers for Europe, I recently lent them to a close friend for a week in Switzerland (Murren) and he is around 6’0 and 170lbs and he came to the same conclusion I did, epic in powder and mediocre on piste.  Ideally if Liberty wishes to promote this as a real all mountain contender the flex must be stiffened up, on a scale of 1-10 I would rate the flex around 6 in soft snow, and when pushed in firmer snow they feel around a 4.5 at the most.

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