Expert Review: Dynastar M-free 108 Skis
This review is my honest opinion of the Dynastar M-Free 108 Skis, which I bought with my own money in January of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the Dynastar M-Free 108 Skis, which I bought with my own money in January of 2022.
The Dynastar M-Free is a versatile, maneuverable, playful, yet stable big mountain ski. This is a great ski for an expert looking to charge hard and fast but also make some quick turns and ski technical lines.
About the skis I own
- Model: Dynastar M-Free 2022
- Gender: Unisex (Note the smallest size these skis come in is a 172. I am a woman and ski these, but some consider them to be more of a men’s-specific ski.)
- Size: Available in 172cm, 182cm, and 192cm.
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 120 lbs
- Experience: 20 years of skiing
- When I bought these: January 2022
- Days used: 75
- Size: 172cm
- Where I’ve used them: Resorts in Colorado, California, Wyoming, and Montana
- Terrain: Powder, hardpack, moguls, and trees
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a maneuverable and playful ski that also provided a good level of stability and handled well at high speeds. I wanted something that I could take in the tight trees and moguls that could also charge down an open bowl with minimal chatter. I was coming off the DPS Pagoda 112 and wanted something just a bit more stable and hard-charging.
Why I chose this gear
After testing many skis, including the Black Crow Atris Birdie, Salomon QST 106, and the K2 Mindbender 108Ti, I purchased the Dynastar M-Free 108 for its ability to pivot quickly underfoot, giving it a playful feel while still feeling stable. These other skis I tested were equally stable but not as fun and playful to ski.
What I love about them
- Maneuverability and Responsiveness: With a generous amount of tip and tail rocker, this ski can pivot and turn very quickly and easily—making them great for navigating technical lines. These skis technically have an 18m turn radius; however, they feel quicker to initiate compared to other skis with similar turning radii.
- Float: Although not quite as wide underfoot as some true powder skis, the generous rocker on these allows them to float super well in deep snow. I like to have one pair of skis that can do it all, and these are a great compromise for those who are not looking to purchase a powder-specific ski.
- Flex Pattern: The M-Free series has a hybrid core made of wood and PU (plastic—think like the plastic in a ski boot). This gives them stiffness without containing a layer of metal. They are relatively stiff underfoot, whereas the tip and tail are slightly more soft and forgiving. This makes them a good mogul ski compared to other big mountain skis, such as the K2 Mindbender Ti or the Salomon QST.
- Stability: This is certainly not the most hard-charging stable ski out there, but considering how quick and playful these skis feel, they do not compromise too much on stability. Their stiffness underfoot makes them effective for landing jumps and cliff drops as well.
- Versatility: What impresses me most about the M-Free 108 is their ease in transitioning from short “pivoty” turns to hard-charging “GS” turns through choppy snow. Most of us encounter different types of terrain throughout the ski day, and I wanted something that could handle it all; the M-Free is just that.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: After one season on these, they have pretty much seen their day. I found the bases to dent and scratch somewhat easily. However, I put a beating on these skis with over 75 days of use.
- Ice: I have had some issues getting this ski to hold a good edge on ice. Probably not the best choice for someone skiing on the East Coast. However, this is to be expected with a ski of this width.
- Heavy: In the middle size (182cm), these skis weigh in at 2175g per ski, which is a bit on the heavy side and initially scared me off. However, I can hardly notice once I am clipped in due to their super playful and maneuverable feel.
- Carving: Part of what makes the M-Free so maneuverable and playful while still feeling stiff is its ability to pivot underfoot. Unfortunately, this does compromise its carving a bit. I find I really have to lay the ski over to get a good carve, but it is still possible to carve this ski!
Favorite moment with this gear
The first day I took these out, we had about eight inches of fresh snow at Aspen Highlands, Colorado. Typically, it takes me a few days to start really enjoying a new pair of skis, but this was not the case with the M-Free. They are such easy skis to get used to, and I can really adapt them to my own style. I had a great morning skiing pow with them, and by the afternoon, we had some soft bumps and cruddy snow, but they were still a blast.
Value for the money vs. other options
These skis retail for around $800. This may seem a little steep, but for a high-performing ski that can really be a one-ski quiver, I think they are a good value. Their price is comparable to some of their top competitors, such as the Salomon QST 106 or the K2 Mindbender 108. They are a bit more affordable when compared to some high-end brands, such as Black Crow or DPS. I find these skis are more versatile and unique than many of their competitors.
These are a fantastic option for an expert skier who wants a ski that can charge but also has a playful feel. This ski is incredibly easy to pivot underfoot and has a short turning radius when compared to some competing big-mountain/freeride skis. I would stray away from these if one is looking for a super-stiff charging ski, as they have more of a playful and forgiving feel.