Expert Review: 2023 Dynastar M-Free 99 Skis [with Video]
Curated Ski Experts Thomas Harari and Theo G. tested the 2023 Dynastar M-Free 99 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Thomas and Theo tested the 2023 Dynastar M-Free 99 skis at Powder Mountain in Utah last spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but remember that every skier is different. If you have any questions about the M-Free 99 or are looking for recommendations on which ski would be best for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to Thomas, Theo, or another Ski Expert here on Curated to get unstuck.
And before we begin, Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands, all of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Dynastar claim about these skis? [Thomas] Dynastar claims that this is an all-mountain freeride ski. It's a twin. The Dynastar M-Free 99 is an all-mountain freeride ski with a rocker tip and tail. It’s going to be a reasonably powerful ski, but definitely, something that is playful and fun on the whole mountain.
[Theo] Dynastar markets the M-Free as a twin-tip all-mountain ski that you can use in pretty much any situation. The 99 iteration is an East coast, lower snow, daily driver on the west coast, perhaps, but not a powder day ski. They have the 108 and 118 for that.
What is your first impression of the ski? [Thomas] So the first impression is that these are super fun. They're a little bit more of a twin shape. They're for being playful. They're really powerful. They're able to ski well. They're able to punch through cruddy snow, but overall very, very fun ski. You'll be able to rip a groomer on these, but they're going to be more, more fun just off-piece in the trees, in the bumps, skiing all kinds of different snow.
[Theo] This is a utilitarian, versatile, freestyle, all-mountain option. It holds an edge well.
What is the shape of the ski and how does that impact how it is to ski? [Thomas] Yeah, so the ski is pretty rockered. Lots of rocker in the tip and tail and a relatively centered stance. So this means they're quick to pivot. They're not as much of a carver and they're also pretty playful and have a pretty poppy tail.
[Theo] It has super early rise tips and tails, which give it, although only 99 millimeters underfoot, a nice float in powder. I immediately started smiling once I veered off groomed terrain. The ski is very maneuverable in the half a centimeter of fresh snow that we have here.
And once the day progressed, we did get some slushie snow. It was super fun in those conditions.
How does the ski feel when it comes to turning? [Thomas] These are super easy to turn. They're not a carver. They will carve or turn if you want them to. But if you want to make really quick slide turns or a slarve turn (slide into a carve), they're going to turn well.
[Theo] M-Free, in terms of sidecut, is not a traditional carver. It's not a carving freestyle ski like the blade optic. That said, it holds an edge well, and it has nice camber underfoot.
Coming from Dynastar, which is a company with a proud history of all mountain carving and racing skis, that's no surprise. They didn't let this become a loosey-goosey freestyle-only option. If you're a skier that enjoys carving groom runs but wants to spend time in the trees and fresh snow, especially if you're an East Coast skier, this is an excellent option. It's going to give you all of that versatility at essentially no compromise.
How is its edge hold? [Thomas] At 99 underfoot, this is a great middle ground. So it's not going to be a carving ski. It's also not going to be a powder ski, but for 99 underfoot, it does feel pretty confidence-inspiring on a groomer or firm snow or ice.
[Theo] When you get it on edge, it'll often arch you right into the woods, but you can bail out, hop back up and continue down in a straight line with these rocks strapped to your feet.
How forgiving are these skis for someone’s technique? [Thomas] These skis are a more intermediate, upper intermediate to advanced ski. They will work for someone who is not quite as good of a skier. They don't have a super stiff tail.
So if you're in the back seat, they're going to still ski a little bit. That's not ideal for you as a skier, but they're not going to kick you around a ton.
How do they feel in terms of speed? [Thomas] These skis, for how much rocker they have, are super stable at speed. You can open it up in them. You can also just kind of pound through bumps or just go through cruddy snow and they're going to feel rock solid.
How are they for short and long radius turns? [Thomas] They are great for short radius turns or long sweeping turns. These are not a carver.
How is the ski for playfulness and pop? [Thomas] So these are super playful skis. They're not like the softest. They're not the most playful, but this is a really good balance between playfulness and power. There are not a whole lot of skis where you can butter around and also punch through bumps at the same time. So these are super awesome skis in that area.
How are they for skiing switch? [Thomas] These are skis that will ski switch pretty well.
[Theo] They have a lot of rocker in the tail. They're relatively centered. They're not park skis. They are a ski you could take to the park, but they will ski switch very well.
How is stability on landings? [Thomas] This is a great ski for taking off jumps. If you watch the FreeRide World Tour or people jumping off of cliffs, they're on bigger, stronger beefier versions of this, that are wider. But this is 100% a free ride ski for the entire mountain.
How are they in terms of maneuverability? [Thomas] This is a great ski for trees. This is a great ski for trees. It has a lot of rockers. It's looking to pivot quick turns and will do well in the trees.
What would the ski be like in powder? [Thomas] In powder, we didn't get it to ski powder, but these are going to be great. They're not super wide, but they do have a lot of rockers. And at 99 under their foot, that's plenty for a lot of people to be able to get the float that they need. For someone that's skiing on a day where there are three or four new inches of snow, these are going to be fantastic.
What terrain is the ski ideal for? [Thomas] These are all-mountain freeride skis that... Sorry. These are all-mountain freeride skis that are going to be ideal off the groomers in virtually anything else, for someone that's looking to ski relatively hard.
[Theo] On a small, medium, and lower-end large powder day, I wouldn't necessarily hesitate from taking out the M-Free 99. However, if you're skiing two feet in a mineral basin in that calamitous rope drop scenario, this is not what you're going to want to be on.
What terrain is the ski not ideal for? [Thomas] These are not ideal as just a groomer ski or a carving ski. They'll do the park all right, but these are super versatile, as long as you're not looking to arc with huge turns on a groomer.
Is there any location around the world that you would pack these skis for? [Theo] These are great skis to pack for someone that's going anywhere in the West and they need to potentially ski ice, potentially ski powder, and want one ski that's going to do well.
Who would you recommend these skis to? [Thomas] These skis are for more aggressive skiers looking to free ride, bounce around the mountain, ski the trees, ski the bumps, basically anyone who's looking to ski relatively hard and doesn't care about carving.
[Theo] M-Free 99 is a really good option for a skier who doesn't want to compromise anywhere on the mountain. They enjoy carving on groomed runs. They want to be able to go into any trees they might find. They want to be able to ski East Coast powder and lower-end lesser days on the West Coast in terms of fresh snow. And they want to be able to ski switch and land switch and have the extra float that a full twin provides. This is not a great ski for someone who's spending all their time in the park.
Who would you not recommend these skis to, there are other better options for them out there?
[Thomas] This is not a good first ski. This is not a great carving ski. And if you're looking to make smooth turns on groomers and not spend too much time off of them, this is not going to be good for you.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you want help finding the right skis for you, reach out to Thomas, Theo, or another Ski Expert on Curated for free, personalized recommendations.