The Liberty Variant 87 is new for 2015/2016. It’s the same design as the Variant 113, and Variant 97, but in a narrower package. The Liberty Variant 87 is a fantastic frontside oriented all-mountain ski that is capable in variable terrain, but is most at home on the frontside groomers. It’s an energetic carver that is a whole lot of fun. It’s approachable, but powerful enough to put a smile on the faces of advanced skiers.
Conditions: Soft Chop, Roughed Up Groomers, Soft Groomers
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack 13
On the Snow Feel/Personality: The Liberty Variant 87 is a frontside oriented all mountain ski that is stable, smooth, and very predictable. It felt pretty locked in on groomers, and wasn’t very playful or surfy. It’s approachable, but catered a bit more to aggressive advanced skiers.
Powder: The Liberty Variant 87 has a hammer rocker profile that for increased versatility, but it’s not going to be great in deeper snow. I loved it on groomers with a little bit of fresh, but anything more than a few inches and you’ll have to work pretty hard to keep it afloat.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Liberty Variant 87 is a fun all-mountain frontside ski that likes to carve up groomers. The hammer rocker profile and multi-radius tip help to keep it easy to get on edge, but it does take a bit of speed. It does have an aggressive sidecut, but turns are very smooth, fluid, and predictable. It felt locked in, but never catchy or hooky. It did take a bit more work to get it to bend into the turn, but once it does it rebounds pretty well. It was lively, and quick, but I didn’t find it overly powerful. It didn’t really snap me from edge to edge with a lot of force, but it transitioned really smooth and predictably from edge to edge. I found it was happiest making medium to long radius turns and I had a lot of fun speeding down groomers at higher speeds.
Speed: The Liberty Variant 87 is pretty damp and stable and I had a lot of fun speeding down soft and smooth groomers. It has a lively bamboo and poplar core that is enhanced with a metal laminate. This helps to dampen negative vibrations and I never noticed any tip chatter at high speeds.
Uneven Terrain: The Liberty variant 87 is most at home on smooth frontside groomers, but it does offer the versatility to tackle variable terrain. I wouldn’t be taking this ski off piste very often, but when those groomers get roughed up a bit (maybe after a powder day), it can handle it pretty well. I found it relatively damp at speed, and never noticed any tip chatter or instability. The Hammer Rocker and stiff flex does help to eat up rough terrain, but really only if it isn’t too deep. Once the runs get really roughed up, or you plan on tackling more runs off piste, you’ll probably want to look for a more versatile ski.
Edge Hold: I didn’t ski the Liberty Variant 87 on anything too hard or firm, but feel that it would do pretty well in most snow conditions. It has a significant amount of camber underfoot, a stiff torsional flex, and relatively flat tail that helps the ski hold on edge.
The Variant 87 would be a great ski for those who like to ski groomers, but don’t want to feel out of place when things get a bit chopped up. It has a relatively lively, fun, and predictable ride, but I would like to see just a touch more camber underfoot. It was very fun at speed, and with a moderately long turn radius that really makes you want to open things up. The Variant 87 is a smooth, predictable, and fun frontside all-mountain ski.