This review comes from Alexandra Malloy, one of Evo Denver’s best ski-slingers, especially when it comes to serving women. I’m so excited to have her contributions. She’s skied a *ton* of skis, knows her shit, and adds so much value from a size and shape perspective, especially since she can solidly dabble on both sides of the gender lines. Go give her a follow because Femignarly’s only currency is still stoke and a deep passion for getting women on the right gear.
An ode to the Dynastar M-Tour 99
When it comes to skis, weight and stability tend to trend together. Lightweight beginner foam core skis hit max speeds on green groomers. Heavy metal laminate skis dampen out vibrations from variable snow or high speeds for a smooth, predictable ride. Given that trade off, I’ve always reached for a heavier touring ski like the WNDR Alpine Intention 110. If I’m planning to sweat it out in the skin track, you bet I’m looking to rip on the downhill and enjoy those turns as much as possible. But with bigger objectives and longer days in mind, I took a gamble on a true lightweight ski with the Dynastar M-Tour 99, and I can’t believe I’ve been lugging a 3,324g set up (mounted with Market Kingpin 13s) up the mountain for the past two seasons. Truly, I couldn’t be more impressed with these ski’s performance – they are exceptionally versatile across different types of snow conditions, and their stability rivals that of inbound skis. Sorry to my other touring setup, but the weight difference is too damn good and my WNDRs will be be taking a back seat for the foreseeable future.
I’ve skied these about a week in the 178 size both on the resort and in the backcountry. An additional note, I’m 5’7” and about 180lbs. I’ve mounted these with Fritschi Tecton 12s, which are 550g per binding without brakes. I chose these specifically because they were lighter than the Kingpin but maintained 9mm elasticity in the toe which mimics a traditional alpine binding to a degree and has a fully DIN certified toe and heel. This binding by no means saves knees, but it certainly offers the elasticity of an alpine binding in release, and the DIN certification and full alpine heel is great for skiers who may may be intimidated but a true pin binding, ot for those who are looking for some added security in your equipment.
Construction (Size 178)
MTour 99 & Ability Level
Looking at the lengths available, weight and turning radius, I think this ski really shines for intermediate to advanced skiers. If you’re a shorter, more petite person who is looking for a lightweight, all mountain ski – or maybe you’re recovering from a hip injury – this ski has enough stability to provide a comfortable and fun ride down icey or hard pack groomers on the resort. The rocker length and angle allows this directional ski to be incredibly versatile in where it can go on the mountain. The first day I ever actually skied the MTour was on an icy groomer and through some bumps and the trust was immediate.
In the backcountry, I’d say this would follow into a similar ability category and is a confidence inspiring, lightweight touring ski. Personally, as an advanced resort skier and intermediate backcountry skier, the MTour 99 has been really helped me grow in confidence not only because it’s a lightweight ski great for longer days, but also is sturdy enough to be supportive to get me through truly any backcountry snow condition.
Performance in Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain
This ski is absolutely directional, but as I’ve mentioned, its versatility lies in its rocker profile. In resort moguls, I felt the ski was really agile and poppy despite feeling like there is a bit too much nose. In the backcountry setting, there’s a fun section out of the Current Creek trailhead in Berthoud Pass, CO known as the Berthoud Bobsled. The bobsled is basically a well traveled (read: firm/icy) skin track that’s used by backcountry travelers on the up and down, and travels over an active creek bed with trees making it relatively narrow. As a New Englander and someone who doesn’t really love tight trees, these skis were a blast racing down the bobsled – which is in fact one of my favorite exits to get back to the car. Despite the amount of nose, they were surfy and washy where I needed them to be around corners and trees, and quick and responsive when I needed to throw on the brakes. For a mid-range turning radius, it doesn’t show.
The MTour 99 has a nice, directional flex profile that creates an optimal balance between maneuverability and stability with a sotter tip and stiffer tail. The softness in the tips tip makes the ski easier to bend and turn, plus it helps absorb the bumps in variable, inconsistent snow. The stiffer tail provides stability and makes it harder to overpower the ski at high speeds. However, a stiff tail also means you need to have solid, confident form with your weight leaning forward to bend the softer, front end of the ski. The tails lack the flexibility of some more forgiving skis that will still bend and steer from a backseat or defensive position.
My apprehension with lightweight skis comes from a perceived lack of stability. With the MTour 99, my perception has been totally changed. The medium turning radius was super versatile, feeling most at home making longer carves and the softer tip really lets you get this ski on edge. Honestly, although this is marketed as a backcountry ski, if I knew I was heading to a hard-packed resort day, this would probably be my ski of choice. Even if you’re dipping from deep snow back to the cat track, the taper from tip to waist (127mm in the tip and 99 in the waist depending on size) really lets this ski float and surf without a greater under-foot surface area.
I’ve luckily been blessed to not have to ski these through chop yet but will update accordingly. I have however skied these in refrozen suncupped snow with a 50 lb. pack on and I was still able to link at least seven turns.
As a diehard fat ski fan and someone who weighs 180lbs. I was a bit worried about the flotation with these. Luckily the sizable rocker in the tip really helps to keep you above and cruising through deeper snow. This ski is certainly not for the deepest of days but I’d say anything under 10” and you’re golden. I will note however that when mounted at factory recommended, the nose on this ski feels really long and I find myself routinely having to maneuver it a bit more going uphill in deeper snow.
The MTour 99 skis pretty true to size. Even with the sizeable amount of rocker in the tip the 178 length feels really stable even though it’s a tad intimidating when you look at it head on. It still feels nimble and maneuverable in tight terrain. For clarity’s sake I now normally ski from a 170 to 180 depending on the rocker profile.
Who Should Buy it?
Anyone looking to save some weight on the uphill without compromising on performance on the down! I would say if you’re a beginner skier this is one to pass on (you definitely need to be in the front of your boot to ski this), but if you’re in the intermediate range and up you will not be disappointed. Also, if you’re looking to have one backcountry setup that isn’t going to fail you as conditions change throughout the season, the MTour is one worth considering. Although it’s not the widest, flotation on deeper days comes in the tip rocker, while the 99 underfoot waist width makes this ski a crud, bump, and corn buster. Ranging from 1200g to 1350g depending on the size, it’s light enough for big vert days whether it’s Quandary Couloir in Colorado or Pahto/Mount Adams in Washington. Although I still have yet to put some serious vert and mileage on my own pair, I love taking this ski out for pre-work laps at Berthoud (think a tight and steep tree line before opening into a rocky, and open alpine) and letting the ski open up from bench to bowl.