Liberty Brand Profile

Liberty Brand Profile

Overview Every mainstream ski brand can trace its roots to a founder, a visionary who nursed a fledgling idea to life.  If we’re aware of a brand’s history (a big if), we’ll associate the brand’s formative years with the sepia-toned photos of its first factory. But...

evolv 90w

Forgive me, Dear Readers, for I have sinned. I’ve included the Liberty evolv 90w here without knowing, deep-down, how women will feel about its 21/22 incarnation. You see, Liberty added a third alu strut to its innovative Vertical Metal Technology core, which will require a certain amount of energy to deflect.  I’m sure Liberty understands that any skier, regardless of gender, has to be able to bend a ski to extract its best behavior. Still, I hate to render judgment based on suspicions alone.

But I’m going to, anyway. The prior generation’s carving prowess, to which the fabulous Kim Beekman alluded in last year’s review, was already first-rate, and the unisex 21/22 evolv 90 is one of the brightest stars in this year’s pantheon of All-Mountain East models. There’s every reason to suspect the new evolv 90w will perform like an elite carving ski trapped in an all-mountain model’s body.

evolv 84w

When the fabulous Kim Beekman opined in her review of last season’s evolv 84 W that it “definitely prefers to mach the groomed at eye-watering speeds,” she had her finger on what makes the evolv 84w special.   Even though it belongs to an all-mountain family of which it is the narrowest member, it behaves as if it has a carving obsession.  Over the off-season, Liberty encouraged this behavior by adding a third aluminum strut to its Vertical Metal Technology core.

Which is why the 21/22 evolv 84w has a distinct, carving-ski feel with a fall-line disposition. Short turns tend to be shallow, keeping close to the shortest path downhill. If you want it to head cross-hill, get forward and drive the evolv 84w as you would a race ski. As the sublimely powerful Megan Ochs somewhat cryptically encapsulated its personality, “this ski skied like a stiffer ski than what it actually is. Well done,” said the demanding Ms. Ochs, who, BTW, is strong enough to bend an I-beam.

evolv 90

Little Liberty out of Avon, Colorado distinguished itself from scores of other small-batch brands when it made two momentous decisions a few years ago, one commercial, one technical. On the brand-building front, it opted to establish a viable network of specialty shops, despite all the hassle and expense compared to selling direct to the consumer. On the technical, ski-building side of the business, it created a new design that used vertical aluminum struts, in lieu of horizontal sheets of Titanal, to dampen vibration and maintain snow connection.

My most perspicacious Dear Readers will note that last year the evolv 90 earned recognition as a Finesse ski, while this year it exhibits the traits of a Power model. Since all that changed between the two iterations was the addition of a third aluminum element, it’s plausible to assume the 21/22 version’s additional accuracy on edge is directly attributable to the power provided by the third strut.

When you put the evolv 90 through its paces, its carving characteristics predominate. In a category chock full of skis with disconnected tips, its VMT struts keep it glued to the hill for nearly every cm of its length. If you look closely at its shape, its sidecut is very similar to that of the Kästle MX88, another AME anachronism that would rather carve than drift.

evolv 84

If you assembled a personality profile of the Liberty evolv 84 based on appearances, you could be excused for thinking it’s some variety of all-mountain ski. Which I’m sure it’s intended to be, but it behaves more like a GS ski with a fall-line fixation. Its sunny cosmetics suggest a free spirit that will float over anything fluffy; in reality, the evolv 84 is one of the most connected carvers in the Frontside genre.

The reason the evolv 84 is so well planted on planet Earth is its triple-ribbed core. A little background: Liberty grew up as a brand building bamboo and carbon skis that would bring both lightweight and stability to wide-body skis. Then designer and co-owner Dan Chalfant conceived of Vertical Metal Technology (VMT), aluminum ribs placed vertically in the core so they would resist deflection more than the putty-soft horizontal Titanal sheets that are the norm.

Which is why the 21/22 evolv models have a distinct, carving-ski feel. As embodied in the new evolv 84, VMT creates a ski with a fall-line disposition. Short turns tend to be shallow, keeping close to the shortest path downhill. If you want it to head cross-hill, get forward and drive the evolv 84 as you would a race ski. Its tail provides a platform you can trust, so while its turn finish isn’t explosive, it’s totally trustworthy.