Dynastar Legend W96 ReviewNovember 27, 2018
- A true all-mountain performer
- Pivots and carves
- Great Resort Float
- Same construction as unisex ski may be too beefy
- Can chatter on edge at speed
- Lacks the smooth feel tip to tail of old Legends
The Dynastar Legend W96 has good terrain adaptability, plus the ability to tackle what skiers encounter on big mountains including bumps, tight trees, and variable snow conditions. “This is a do-all ski for chutes, trees, mild pow, and frontside groomers,” says one tester. The With a 96-mm waist, the Legend W96 received its highest tester scores for Stability and Float, followed by Versatility, Responsiveness, and Carving. “This ski lacks the complete smoothness that the old Legends had,” says one tester. “I can feel the wide forebody of the ski in long turns.”
The Dynastar Legend W96 fits into the “Free Mountain” category, a category that Dynastar says blends “freeride” and “all-mountain” together into a more modern and progressive ski approach. The Legend W96 has the same construction as the men’s Legend X96, just offered in one addition shorter length and different graphics. That is to say, this ski is not weight-reduced for women. Testers agreed that the ski would be too much for less confident skiers, and indeed Dynastar recommends the ski to experts in skill level. “This ski is beefy yet agile,” says one tester.
The Dynastar Legend W96 has Powerdrive Free technology, which is a combination of a paulownia wood core with a visco material designed to absorb vibration layered with ABS material. Reinforcement comes from a layer of Titanal. The traditional sandwich construction and what Dynastar calls “a directional shape” provides the performance, while the 5-point sidecut and tip and tail rocker adds playfulness and enhanced float.
The Dynastar Legend W96 can both pivot and carve, according to testers lauded the ski for its blend of all-mountain skills. “The construction and flat tail really accelerates out of the turn,” says one tester. Other adjectives included, as one tester wrote: “predictable, playful and smeary, yet with strong edge hold.” Overall scores showed high marks for Stability and Float, helped by the fairly wide tip and even wider forebody. Though the ski has a relatively small turn radius (14 m at 171 cm), testers felt that the ski performed well in short or long turns, thus being fairly responsive in tight turns or trees. However, some testers felt that the ski chattered on edge at speed while others felt an interruption from tip to tail in long turns. “I can feel the forebody of the ski when on edge,” said one tester. “It lacks complete smoothness like the old Legends had.”
The Dynastar Legend W96 received above-average scores for Responsiveness and though one tester called it “beefy yet agile,” testers felt that the ski gives back energy when energy is put in, and that advanced to expert level skiers would reap that benefit. Testers say the ski performed well in both long and short turns and that, according to one tester, “the flat tail accelerates out of the turns.” Slight point deduction came from the “beefy” construction—one made out of wood, visco, titanium—that means skiers need to actively ski the ski, and not be taken for a ride.
The Dynastar Legend W96 received high tester scores for Stability, even receiving descriptors such as “beefy yet agile,” “predictable” and “smeary yet strong edge hold.” Ultimately, the ski felt stable in a variety of snow conditions including soft snow. The construction includes Dynastar’s Powerdrive, which includes a multi-layer sidewall construction with a light wood core as well as a titanium and fiber reinforcement. One tester said, “this ski has more density to it and would be too much for a beginner.” But all in all, the Legend W96 provided stability in variable snow and terrain.
Testers gave high scores for the Dynastar Legend W96 in the Resort Float category. The rocker profile (tip and tail rocker) plus the 5 point sidecut design allowed the ski to both pivot and carve, while also float well on soft snow. Testers felt the 96 mm waist provided a wide enough platform for flotation, while the sidecut design added performance on the hardpack. Along with directional, fall line skiing on the frontside, the Legend W96 also has a playful side and adapts well to terrain changes.
The Dynastar Legend W96 received above-average scores for carving, however, it was outshined by tester scores for Stability and Flotation. Testers commented on the strong edge hold along with a progressive flex, which allowed the ski to carve well, “as the flat tail accelerates out of the turn,” says one tester. The Carving score was slightly lowered because testers felt the ski chatter on edge at speed. All in all, the ski shows strong carving ability, and according to one tester, “the more you put into it on the frontside, the more it gives back.”
The Dynastar Legend W96 received above-average scores for Versatility and testers appreciated the ski’s ability to perform well on the frontside as well as the backside in variable conditions. “This ski can tackle what big mountains have to offer and it’s good for bumps, tight turns, and flotation in light powder,” said one tester.
The Gear Institute Women’s Ski test took place over three days at Snowbird, Utah, in March of 2018. Six female testers skied each of the skis in the test and completed a detailed test card after each test run. Testers ranged from Olympians, to former racers and coaches to ski instructors and skiers who prefer backcountry/off-piste conditions. Categories were concluded on the same day so that skis were tested during similar conditions and on the same terrain. An in-depth look into construction and performance of the skis took place in Vail, CO, during a December industry event where testers skied on all test skis under similar conditions.
Testers were instructed to view each ski as a “Tabula Rasa,” or blank slate. Test cards included initial rankings of Favorite, Excellent, Good and Awful. Testers were asked to list three things they both liked and disliked about each ski as well as answering the question, “Who is the ideal customer?” Lastly, testers rated the criteria in terms of best to worst in the following mini-categories; Responsiveness, Stability, Float, Carving and Versatility.
Krista Crabtree- Skiing
Passionate about women’s ski camps and women-specific gear, Krista organizes women’s ski programs at Eldora and Vail, including her own camp called She Skis. A former editor at SKI Magazine, she currently runs the ski test for OnTheSnow.com.