Expert Review: Dynastar M-Free 108 Open Skis · 2023
This review is my honest opinion of the Dynastar M-Free 108 Skis, which I bought with my own money in December 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 December of 2022.
The Dynastar M-Free 108 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 gear
- Model: 2023 Dynastar M-Free Open Ski
- Gender: Men’s
- Note the smallest size these skis come in is 172cm, which is why they are considered a men's specific ski. However, I am a woman and ski these in the 172 length.
- Size: 172cm (also available in 182cm and 192cm)
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 120lbs
- Experience: 20 years of skiing
- When I bought these: December 2022
- Days used: 15
- Size: 172cm
- Where I’ve used it: Resorts in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.
- Terrain: Powder, hardpack, moguls, and trees.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I had a pair of the 2022 Dynastar M-Free 108 and was looking to replace the ski this year. I loved the M-Free and wanted another pair. See my review of the 2022 Dynastar M-Free 108 here. Lucky for me, Dynastar did not change the construction or geometry of the ski at all. The only difference between the two models is a slight change in the graphics and different colors on the bases. 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 to take in the tight trees and moguls that could also charge down an open bowl with minimal chatter.
Why I chose this gear
After testing many skis, including the Fischer Ranger 102, 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. Unfortunately, I had to choose between stability and maneuverability with all the other skis I tested. With the M-Free, I feel I have both.
What I love about them
- Maneuverability and Responsiveness: With a generous amount of rocker and tip-and-tail splay, this ski can pivot and turn 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: The M-Free 108 has a relatively significant rocker and an aggressive tip and tail splay. This gives them great float in deep snow. They allow me to float on deep snow without being a wide powder-specific ski. This float allows me to maneuver super well in tight spots when the snow is deep.
- 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 having a layer of metal. They are relatively stiff underfoot, while 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 good for landing jumps and cliff drops.
- 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, and the M-Free is just that.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: Durability is not really an issue I have encountered; however, I wanted to make a few notes regarding the longevity of these skis. Someone may wonder why I purchased a new pair after only one season. Many people may not have felt the need for a new pair; however, with the number of days I ski, I thought this was worth the money. Last year, I skied 75 days and put a beating on my skis. My bases were a bit scratched, and my edges had some damage from hitting a few rocks. But even after 75 days, the skis still feel responsive and have no chips on the topsheets.
- Groomers and 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. If groomers are a big part of someone’s day, this is probably not the ski for them. If one finds themself occasionally on a groomer when conditions are bad off-piste or for a warm-up run or two, this ski does the trick on-piste. If someone is looking for a more stable, directional ski that will hold up better at high speeds on icy groomers, I recommend the Dynastar M-Pro line. This line of skis has a layer of metal to provide additional stability.
- Heavy: In the middle size (182cm), these skis weigh in at 2,175g per ski, which is a bit on the heavy side which initially scared me off. However, I can hardly notice once I am clipped in due to their super playful and maneuverable feel.
- Sizing: These skis only come in three lengths: 172, 182, and 192. This is a fairly significant size jump which can be difficult if someone is between sizes. Due to their generous rocker, these skis feel shorter than other similar options. If one is in between sizes, I recommend sizing up.
Favorite moment with this gear
I knew what I was getting when I purchased these skis because I had the 2022 model last year. However, I was still super excited to take this new pair out. I let my sister try my old pair when I bought a new pair for the 2023 season. She immediately fell in love with the ski and bought her own pair.
Value for the money vs. other options
These skis are around $800 brand new. This may seem a little steep, but for a high-performing ski that can really be someone’s one ski quiver, I think they are a good value. They are very comparable price-wise to some of their top competitors, such as the Salomon QST 106 or the K2 Mindbender 108. They are more affordable than some high-end brands, such as Black Crow or DPS. I find these skis are more versatile and unique than many of its 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 compared to some competing big mountain/freeride skis. However, I would stray away from these if someone is looking for a super stiff charging ski, as they have more of a playful and forgiving feel.