The Liberty Origin was one of my favorite all-mountain/big-mountain skis for 2015-2016. Then I had the chance to ski the new Origin 106 in February and fell in love all over again. There was nothing this ski couldn’t do for me, and I could easily see the 106 being my go-to everyday ski in the mountains. Liberty also shrank the Origin down to a 96mm version. The Liberty Origin 96 has the same bomb rocker profile as the other two, but in a narrow front-side waist width. I was very intrigued to see how well a stiff narrow ski would hold up on groomed terrain given its significant amount of rocker. On the other hand I was also intrigued how playful and maneuverable the ski could be in soft snow given all that rocker. The big takeaway for me was that the Liberty Origin 96 is a fun, energetic, and powerful carver with a very fun, smeary, and playful side. If you like the feel of the Origin 106 or 116, but prefer the hard pack friendly waist width, the 96 may be the way to go.
Liberty Origin 96 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith I/O
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia Aaattack 13
Conditions: Soft Chop, Tracked Out, Groomed, Hard Pack
Ski Personality: The Liberty Origin 96 is an energetic carver with a playful and slashy side.
On the Snow Feel: I would call the Origin 96 semi-playful. On edge this ski is powerful and energetic, but when bases were flat it’s easy to pivot and turn.
Powder: I absolutely love the Origin 116 in powder, and the 106 is certainly capable. The 96 has the same Bomb Rocker profile, and is maneuverable and easy to pivot in deeper snow. Unfortunately with a 96mm waist, it’s not going to have fantastic float. Still, this is one of the better skis in this waist width, and if you don’t see a lot of days that get above 6” or so, it should hold up pretty well.
Turn Initiation and Carving: One of the most surprising things for me with the 116 Origin was just how easy it was to initiate and how fun and energetic it actually is for its size. Knowing that, I was extremely excited to test out the Liberty Origin 96. With all that Bomb Rocker, the 96 is easy to pivot. It has a fun, loose, and smeary feel to it at slower speeds and lower edge angles. At the same time, the ski actually hooks up pretty quickly. The 187cm was a touch on the long side for me, but even so, I found the ski to respond well. It wasn’t quite as willing to bend as the 182cm would have been given my smaller size, but with a little work I could certainly get it to dive as much as I wanted. The ski is lively and energetic. There is just enough carbon to feel snappy, but this ski is also stiff and powerful. I had a lot of fun making long radius turns at speed, but when I wanted to slow it down and make a few more turns I could. The ski held an edge really well through the turn as well. I was a bit nervous given the amount of rocker in the tail, but this ski gripped the snow really well. I really like the combination of power and energy in this ski, and with the playful rocker shape it’s easy to vary turn style and shape. I’d probably opt for the shorter 182cm if buying the ski for myself, but the 187cm will probably hold up pretty well for larger guys.
Speed: The Liberty Origin 96 has a lot of torsional stiffness and when on edge feels surprisingly powerful. I had no concerns when making long radius turns at high speed. I was a bit worried the tip would flap a bit since a lot of it is off the ground when flat, but I never had any issues with chatter. I was pretty impressed with the stability given the lack of metal laminates. I would note that it doesn’t feel quite as stable as a ski like the ON3P Wrenegade 98, but for a ski that has this much rocker and is this playful, I think people will be very pleasantly surprised with the ability at speed.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: I never had a chance to ski the Liberty Origin 96 in snow deeper than 6” or so. In this depth of snow, the ski is really capable and a lot of fun. Even as conditions began to get more and more tracked out, the Origin 96 felt perfectly at home. All of that Bomb Rocker really makes it easy to maneuver and pivot the ski and I never felt like it would catch or get hooked up. The tip also does a good job staying above tracked out snow and with all that stiffness underfoot, the ski does a nice job of smoothing out the terrain. Still, I don’t think I’d want to get the Origin 96 in now much deeper than that. I did find the 187cm to be a bit of a chore to maneuver in heavier chop, and the deeper it gets, the more challenging that would become. I also think that if you encounter deeper snow more often, then there’s no reason not to size up to the Origin 106. So I think if you’re more likely to stay on groomed terrain and only occasionally ski off piste in shallow to moderately deep soft snow then you could go 96, but if you’re more likely to ski off piste and in deeper snow then go 106.
Edge Hold: On hard packed groomers the Liberty Origin 96 felt perfectly at home. I’m a bit surprised at how well the ski grips given the amount of rocker in tip and tail, but the side-cut must work really well with the rocker shape. The effective edge seems larger than you’d expect, and I never once hesitated to go fast on hard snow.
Bottom Line: The Liberty Origin 96 just reiterates how much I love the Origin line. It’s a ski that is powerful, energetic, and fun on groomers, will still being playful, maneuverable, and approachable. With the 96mm waist it seems more at home on piste than off, but thanks to a Bomb Rocker profile it’s easy to play in shallow chop or variable snow. It’s not super quick from edge to edge, but is fun and exciting on groomed. I think you could use it as a bump ski, but would take a bit of work. For me the 187cm was a bit of work, but probably more stable at longer radius and higher speeds. If you’re my size and want to access more of the playful side, I’d opt for the 182cm. Bottom Line, this is a ski that is fun, energetic, and playful, but when you want to get on it, it rips.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.