ProView – Liberty Skis Origin 96
Liberty claims the Origin 96 is a “one-ski quiver from east to west”. As an east coast skier who has moved west, I wanted to ski the Origin 96 in a variety of conditions from resort to backcountry to put this to the test. In addition I wanted to include a backcountry tour to see what the uphill performance of this ski would be for those who may be interested in it as a backcountry ski.
Liberty Skis Origin 96
Product Description: The award-winning Origin series is the new freeride benchmark in skiing; Origins are designed with a playful personality but retain the power and edge grip for varied and hardpack conditions. The target skier is someone who seeks the ideal blend of resort and powder but wants a playful freeride ski.
Offer price: MSRP: $750.00
Firm Snow Peformance
Soft Snow Performance
The Liberty Origin 96 is a well rounded freeride ski for firm snow conditions. It’s medium-lightweight design is playful yet remains stable at high speeds and it will continue to remain a favorite of those looking for a ski in the 95mm-100mm width range.
- Easy Edge Initiation
- Uphill Performance
- Poor Float
I tested this ski both on-piste and in the backcountry of northwest Montana to see the full spectrum of this ski’s capability. Over multiple days (including a day with freezing rain) I tested these skis on fresh groomers, wet/heavy powder, and packed powder conditions which led to a handle on how the Origin 96 handles in a variety of conditions.
The Origin 96 is built with a bamboo and carbon fiber core that keeps the ski from being too heavy but remains damp to charge through variable conditions. The ski has a camber underfoot with a 70% effective turning edge with some tip and tail rocker (less rocker than the models from 2018/19 and earlier). This gives it the ability to have a lot of the edge engaged on firm snow and some floatation in shallow powder.
This ski is going to perform best on conditions where the snow is firm. I enjoyed it most on groomers and packed powder where it could ski fast and initiate turns easily without getting thrown around by bumps that are present. In deeper powder the ski doesn’t have quite enough float to stay on top of the snow, especially in wet and heavy powder. I would recommend a wider ski in the Origin series if you will be skiing powder more than firm conditions, but the 96 definitely will get the job done.
This is the largest area of improvement for the Origin 96. They are a little heavier than a lot of touring skis in a similar width which will slow a skier down on the uphill. In addition the rounded tail doesn’t work great with a lot of skin tail clips – my tail clip slid off frequently. Flattening out the tail a little would help greatly with this. If you plan on spending most of your time in the backcountry these are two factors I would consider before purchasing this ski.
While I haven’t put a full season on these skis, I see no issues with the durability of the ski and expect it to last for many seasons. Liberty backs up their skis with a three year warranty to give you peace of mind that you’ll be riding these skis for years.
Friendliness to the Earth
Liberty has been running 100% off of wind power since 2006 (the first ski company to do so) and constructs their skis out of renewable materials such as bamboo. They are setting a great example for the ski industry in trying to have the smallest impact on the earth as possible in their production.
The Final Word
The Origin 96 is a great freeride if your primary snow surface is groomers and packed powder — fantastic for people who spend a lot of time on-piste. With Liberty’s 3 year warranty you can ensure you have a ski that is going to keep you charging on the mountain for years to come.
All photos by @forest_harmon_ on
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About the Gear Tester
Paul Fotter is a Ranger within Glacier National Park during the summers where he works in the backcountry permit office, completes boat inspections for invasive species, completes backcountry patrols, and assists with search and rescue as needed. In the winter, he is a volunteer with the Flathead Avalanche Center where he assists the forecasters with their field work. He is a backcountry skier, climber, and trail runner. Connect with him on Instagram @paulfotter!