I began skiing the Origin 106(182cm) in February of last year. If you don’t know, last season was one of the lowest in Colorado’s history for snowfall. Not the best year for testing out what is essentially a big mountain powder ski. I had my fair share of decent days though and was impressed with the ski’s dexterity in the low tide conditions I usually skied. And then spring arrived early and I switched to my lighter mountaineering set up. This season has been much better than all of last year. I have been skiing these exclusively since the snow began to fall, and there’s a good reason for that.
Liberty Origin 106 Review
I have a belief that the 106-108mm waist is the ideal size for everyday winter backcountry. On super deep days, it’s nice to have a wider ski. Likewise, when it gets boney out there a narrower ski means less effort. However, most people cannot afford a multi-ski quiver for all the conditions they’ll venture out into. Finding a one quiver ski is like finding the golden ticket.
Backcountry setups need to be able to handle all conditions because it isn’t always faceshots and kittens. You may encounter crusts, ice, slabs, sastrugi, and even bumps in the more popular zones. A backcountry ski must be versatile. Powder may be the goal of your tours but in the mountains, you get what you get.
I initially mounted the ski on the factory line but ended up moving it forward about 1cm. The original mount was great for powder exclusively but given the low snow year, I found that being a little forward helped when I needed to throw them sideways on the hard stuff. I also detuned the tips and tails to the top and bottom, respectively, of the effective edge. The twin tipped skis have a pronounced early rise and a lower standard rise tail. This is great, sometimes twin tips can trip you up, not the Liberty Origin 106. The early rise makes for effortless turn initiation in the powder.
The flex pattern makes perfect sense; softer at the tip, stiffest under foot and stiff at the tail. The tip softness isn’t too much; you’re not going to get too much tip hooking or deflection. The tail has enough stiffness to hold up under fire when the skis go sideways on the steeps. Underfoot you have great, responsive edge control and hold. With so much early rise you do have a shorter effective edge so that stiffness gets put to the test; it succeeds when the going gets icy. I don’t usually ski the area but last season I took the skis into the bumps on Pali at A-Basin and I was surprised at how well they handled. On the scraped-off steep lines, they also did great. Turn initiation was fantastic and they have a snappiness to them, it felt like they were reading my mind. On really hard snow you will get a little tip chatter but the grip isn’t deflected by this. If you expect to use this ski a lot in shallow/firm conditions you can put a sharper edge under the bindings, this will give you a little extra gripping power.
Durability is always an issue with skis. How will they stand up to low tide conditions? They’re called the Rocky Mountains, not the Snowy Mountains. Early this season when we didn’t have a base we went up to one of the passes for some turns. We hit so many rocks, zero core shots received. My partner that day was sure there would have been from the hits I was taking. The bases are solid. Likewise, the edges are still true after all the carnage.
You aren’t going to win any ski-mo races with this set of sticks. They have a heft (1975g @182cm) to them and that’s due to their solid bamboo, poplar, and carbon fiber construction and real sealed sidewalls. You will blast through crud because of this. If you are all about the down then you’re willing to make sacrifices on the up. Most of the ultra-light skis are kind of scary for me on the downhill. These skis make all the effort of the up worth it.
Every tour, I look forward to the turns to come as I strap on the skins. I feel at one with Liberty’s Origin 106 Ski ($649) and know what it’s going to do almost before I ask. I highly recommend them to anyone searching for that quiver of one.
DIMENSIONS 138-106-128 @182cm
RADIUS 17m @171cm, 18m @176cm, 20m @182cm, 21.5m @187cm
WEIGHT 1975g @182cm