M-Pro 99

Just two seasons ago, Dynastar radically altered its all-mountain offering, replacing the long-in-the-tooth Cham/Legend design with the M-Pro series. The M-Pro collection consists of four models, that roughly parallel the ability hierarchy of novice (M-Pro 84), intermediate (M-Pro 90), advanced (M-Pro 99) and pro athlete (M-Pro 108 Ti F-Team).

The M-Pro 99 is clearly the sweetspot in the series, with more Titanal in its guts and a more connected-to-the-snow baseline. While there’s metal in its make-up, it’s a relatively mild dose, so the M-Pro 99 Ti doesn’t behave like a typical Austrian wood-and-metal sandwich. It’s lighter and looser, with a baseline and build that are biased to off-trail conditions. It performs best when the surface isn’t too slick, so it has something to push against and improve contact along the length of the ski.

Many, if not all, models in the All-Mountain West genre bill themselves as “50/50” skis, meaning they are equally adept on hard, groomed snow and soft, irregular crud. But Dynastar knows that skiers don’t buy a 99mm-waisted ski to cruise groomers; they get one in hopes of never seeing a groomer again.

So, the M-Pro 99 is clearly more of a 70/30 stick, with the 70% falling on the off-trail side of the ledger. The shallow sidecut and square tail design signal a directional ski that will plane evenly through tracked-up pow. Note the mere 10mm difference between tip width and tail, and less than 30mm delta from tip to waist. The only other place you’ll find sidecuts as straight as this is among the behemoths in the Powder platoon. One way to think of the M-Pro 99 is as Powder ski shrunk to everyday dimensions, with a more supportive tail that will make a crisper arc on hardpack.

Theron Lee is a precise technical skier with a penchant for short-radius arcing. His take on the M-Pro 99 in a 179cm: “Great all-around ski able to ski a multitude of radii. Early rise in the tip allowed it to go over variable snow the new core made with polyurethane delivered a smooth ride and kept it quiet and stable at speed.”

M-Free 99

The simplest way to characterize the new M-Free 99 from Dynastar is it’s a narrow Powder ski, a genre that’s otherwise populated by models over 113mm underfoot, compared to this M-Free’s 99mm. In groomed conditions, its tip and tail have nothing to do except dangle above the snow surface, waiting to be called into action. Considering how loose its extremities are, it’s cool, calm and collected underfoot, moving edge to edge in medium-radius turns without drawing attention to the fact that the tip and tail are on sabbatical.

Size selection is always important; with the M-Free 99, it’s critical. The 178cm length isn’t just a scaled-down 186cm, as each length goes through its own development process. To support the strong, fall-line crud skier who is the M-Free 99’s most probable partner, the 186cm length is a must, as it provides a longer, more stable mid-section to distribute a big boy’s pressure and liberate his aggressive instincts. Listen to the testimony of two strong, attacking testers from Bobo’s, Sawyer and the aptly nicknamed Big John Hume.

Sawyer, who devours terrain in 50-meter swaths, says, “The amount of tip and tail rocker make this a forgiving ski that still holds an edge through king-size turns yet it’s easy to shut it down and stay controlled.” Big John also liked the M-Free 99’s supple flex pattern, admiring its “soft, round flex tip-to-tail, making this a perfect one-ski quiver for the park rider wannabe.” The Realskiers scoring system doesn’t grade fitness for Pipe & Park shenanigans, so we’ll take Big John’s word for it. His perspective brings to light an aptitude for air that may come to define its core audience.

But even aerialists have to come back to earth, which the M-Free 99 would prefer to be soft, as one would expect, given its Powder-ski lineage. A smear-stick at a plodding pace, it’s capacity for edging seems to pick up the more it’s aimed downhill.

M-Free 108

It was only a few product cycles ago that Dynastar transformed its brand identity with the debut of the Cham series. It was a bellwether moment, both for Dynastar and the burgeoning freeride market segment. The Chams were the first collection from a mainstream brand that used what was then referred to as a “5-point” sidecut, the two extra points indicating the ski’s widest points, which were pulled back from their traditional location at the tip and tail. What came to be known as tip taper has now been universally adopted by every Big Mountain model in the known world.

Flash forward to today, and Dynastar’s signature powder ski, the M-Free 108, retains a few strands of the Cham DNA, but in several respects it’s the exact opposite of the Cham 117. The key carry-over features include the obligatory double-rockered baseline and tapered forebody and tail, both magnified to the max. The biggest difference is the overall sense of snow connection. Despite its shape and baseline, the Cham 117 was trying to maintain the sort of snow connection one gets with an all wood-and-metal laminate. The connection of the baseline of the M-Free 108 feels as solid as soup.

When there are only three lengths in a size run, length selection is critical. The 3 sizes of the M-Free 108 couldn’t be more different. If you want it to feel “extremely stable for the amount of tip and tail rocker,” as Sawyer Alford from Bobo’s found it, you’d best be on the 192cm. Don’t worry about the M-Free 108 losing its capacity for short turns, as its progressive shape and short platform underfoot can always be twisted sideways.

The M-Free 108 is able to stay calm while tearing through crud in high gear because it wraps its unusual PU and poplar core in a fiberglass torsion box, which is essentially a giant, coiled spring. Just because there’s just a touch of Titanal in it underfoot – a lesson learned in the Cham series history – doesn’t mean it’s some sort of dainty pixie. It has some heft to it, enabling it to stand up to crispy crud.

E-Pro 99

The M-Pro line that Dynastar introduced two years ago is hierarchical, with the M-Pro 99 and E-Pro 99 sitting on top of a 3-model range. This means the E-Pro 99 isn’t just the widest ski in the range, it’s the also the best. Women who’ve attained advanced ability should probably be on the E-Pro 99 even if they’re likely to spend half their time on groomed terrain.

I make this suggestion despite the fact that the E-Pro 99 baseline and build are clearly intended for off-piste terrain. It’s the Ti in the mid-section and tail that calm the E-Pro 99 down on groomers, earning the admiration of Lara Hughes Allen, who filed this dispatch: “I really liked this ski. I don’t usually ski anything much over 90 underfoot, but I was really impressed with this ski on groomers and off piste. I skied it on a day where we had gotten about a foot of new snow over crud/ice and it had a lot of float through the soft snow, but also charged through the crud. Surprisingly grippy on the groomers as well.”

E 4×4 7

The E 4×4 7 is the top of a four-model series of recreational Frontside models. All are system skis, meaning they come with a made-to-match binding included in the price. The E 4×4 7 works as an all-terrain ski with a Frontside bias. This is how Dynastar tester Jennifer Simpson outlined its performance envelope in a report she filed two seasons ago:

“These skis are great for days when you are likely to encounter a variety of snow conditions. This ski is fun, fun, fun on the groomers, and while they’re wider than my go-to carving skis, they’re quick edge-to-edge and will leave satisfying deep grooves in the corduroy. It’s nimble enough for moguls, and especially enjoyable when there is powder or soft crud in the bumps.