Expert Review: Dynastar M-Free 99 Skis · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Dynastar M-Free 99 is an awesome ski for advanced and expert skiers who are looking for a solid, all-mountain option to add to their quiver. It floats well in powder for its width and performs equally strong in trees and bumps and can still hold a great edge on the groomers.
About the skis I own
- Model: 2022 Dynastar M-Free 99
- Size: 171cm
- Height: 5’8”
- Weight: 135lbs
- Experience: 28 years of skiing
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days tested: 15
- Mount position: Recommended
- Boots: 2019 Salomon 120 S/Max
- Boot Size: 24.5
- Bindings: 2022 Look Pivot 14 GW
- Where I’ve used it: Montana, Utah
- Terrain: Trees, bumps, groomers in powder and packed powder, chop, and spring conditions
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a pair of skis to replace my tired 2016 Dynastar Slicers (predecessor to the popular Dynastar Menace) and 2018 Dynastar Legends. I’m a Dynastar gal through and through, so I was psyched to learn about the new M-Line collection, introduced for the 2021–2022 season. I wanted a capable all-mountain ski that would turn easily and hold a deep carve, but would also be nimble in bumps and trees.
Why I chose this gear
I learned of the M-Frees and M-Pros and waffled a bit between the two, hearing that the M-Pros were a bit more comparable to the Legends. However, the slight rocker and twin tip aspect appealed to me for my Mountain West skiing, so I went for the M-Frees and I don’t regret it. In addition to considering the M-Pros—which are a bit stiffer—and ultimately deciding on the M-Free as a slightly more playful option, I had also been seriously considering the Rossignol Black Ops Stargazers, which I had demoed for a day the previous season. Ultimately, I feel these two skis perform pretty similarly, and it came down to price for me (I was able to find the M-Frees at a lower price than the Stargazers at the time). I don’t regret my decision at all and am very happy with the M-Frees, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t buy the Stargazers in the future…one can never have too many skis, right?
What I love about them
- Speed: I’m very impressed with how well the M-Frees perform at high speed. As a former ski racer, I was worried that the slight rocker profile of these skis would cause chattering when going fast, but that’s not the case at all. I feel very confident at speed on these skis.
- Edge hold: Similar to my concern with the speed, I was worried that the rocker profile (and thus the shorter effective edge length) would detract from the skis’ ability to hold an edge. Again, I was impressed with the M-Frees; I can hold a very deep carve with them and not be worried that I’m going to slip out.
- Turns: With a 15m turning radius on the 171s, I’m really happy with the skis’ ability to take tight turns. However, they also perform well in the turns when I want to open up and take over the whole trail.
- Groomers: It’ll come as no surprise when I say that these skis perform well on groomers. Is it as carvey as a race ski? Of course not. But for an all-mountain ski, these are pretty great on groomers.
- Trees: I love tree skiing, so a ski that is agile and performs well in the trees is very important to me. These skis live up to that wish. I immediately felt very confident in the trees, even the first day I took them out.
- Moguls: The short turning radius and flexibility of these skis make them a strong performer in the bumps. I felt like they upped my game in the moguls compared to some of my other skis. I definitely felt a lot more graceful and surefooted.
- Park: I’ll be honest, I haven’t tested these in the park beyond some baby jumps, but the twin tip aspect of the skis makes them a solid park candidate.
- Backcountry: I’ve taken these skis off-piste, though I haven’t taken them touring. I would say they would make a good backcountry ski, as they are fairly light and do perform so well in variable conditions. However, there are other even lighter skis out there that I might consider if I was looking for an ultra-light setup.
- Durability: These skis are surprisingly durable. Big Sky Resort is essentially a pile of shale, and I took these up expecting them to be toast by the end of day one; though they came out with a few scratches, I was so impressed with how well the base of these skis held up. A season in and my skis are still in nearly like-new condition.
- Switch riding: Though I’m not much of a switch rider myself, the twin tip feature of these skis certainly make switch riding an option.
- Stability: The M-Frees have little to no chatter, even at very high speeds. The hybrid poplar & PU core make these a bit of a damper ski.
Issues I’ve Encountered
- Powder: For my all-mountain ski, the M-Free 99 does a great job in powder, but I would hesitate to pull them out on a day of fresh powder if I had a wider option. They do particularly well in powdery chop, so they’re great later in the day, but if I had a 110+ underfoot ski available when there was a fresh dump of snow, I’d still grab those over the M-Frees.
- Weight: Though a reasonable weight, I wouldn’t consider these skis notably light (the 179s come in at 1850g).
Favorite moment with this gear
Last season was a particularly low tide and rocky season at Big Sky Resort, my home mountain, so I was pretty nervous about taking my fresh skis out and risking destroying them. However, I needn’t have worried so much—these skis are surprisingly resilient against the vicious shale. Of course, they didn’t come out scratch-free. But while others in my group were doing base repairs, I was sipping a latte in the base lodge—my skis eagerly awaiting our next run.
Value for the money vs. other options
Besides graphics, the M-Free 99s and the M-Free 99 Opens are virtually the same—and even the graphics are pretty similar. For their price, I think these skis are a screaming deal. Even at a slightly higher price, I’d still consider them a solid purchase, and I’m certainly a deal hunter when it comes to my skis and gear.
The Dynastar M-Free 99s are certainly one of my favorite skis (and I’ve owned and tested a lot of skis). Their versatility and great performance in many different types of terrain and in a variety of snow conditions made it a really easy ski to feel comfortable on immediately, and one that makes me feel like I ski more gracefully with.