Ski: 2016-2017 Dynastar Pro Rider, 192 cm
Available Length: 192 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 191.2 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2603 & 2604 grams
Stated Dimensions: 132-105-122 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132-104-120.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 27 meters
Core: Poplar + 2 layers of titanal & full-length vertical sidewalls
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 50 mm / 15 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -13 cm from center; 82.6 cm from tail
Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: +1 of the Recommended Line
Bindings: LOOK Pivot 18s
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, NM
Days Tested: 10 and counting
Till now, I’ve managed to keep my ‘I’m jonesing to ski!!!!’ levels in check, even while being inundated with such posts by my friends.
And then these arrived at Blister HQ.
Dear snow, Please Hurry.
If you recall our SIA coverage from last February, you might remember that the brand new ski that I was most giddy about wasn’t, actually, a brand new ski at all. It was this, and the Pro Rider received the coveted SIA award of “Product I Most Wanted to Steal.”
Well, this ski has arrived, and I’ve barely been able to stop fondling or ogling it. (I apologize for the creepy language, but it’s true.)
This ski is gorgeous; clean graphics, clean bases, very nice-looking and solid construction. And kudos to Dynastar — they are running with this Factory Team graphic on all of their race skis and frontside skis, and we are not complaining.
But beyond the looks and construction of this ski, it is pretty wild just how much of a ‘throwback’ ski the Pro Rider feels like. I mean, this ski isn’t from the 80’s or 90’s — it’s last year of production was the 2011-2012 season. And yet, as I’ll describe, it feels very old school (refreshingly old school) compared to current trends.
The Return of the Pro Rider
Here’s how Dynastar describes it:
“A dominant presence on competitive freeride podiums for over a decade, the Pro Rider is the athlete-developed, Factory Team-approved, competition freeride ski for the most aggressive skiers on the mountain. Featuring moderate Early Rise tip rocker and 3D poplar wood core construction with two layers of titanal and full-length vertical sidewalls, the Pro Rider is a powerful, no-frills, fall line seeking missile.
Available only in a 192cm, the Pro Rider is designed for charging hard through deep and variable snow conditions with a long turn radius designed to redline, and a 105mm landing pad underfoot for stomping the mandatory. 80% Powder / 20% All-Mountain. Recommended Binding: LOOK Pivot 18.”
Well that all sounds pretty damn rad. But maybe also a little bit intimidating…
So should you be excited, or scared? Maybe a little of both?
Let’s highlight a few more things about the ski to help you decide…
Hand flexing the ski, here’s how we would break it down:
Behind the Heel piece: 8
The 192 cm Pro Rider has a fairly stout tail, yes. But overall, this isn’t an insanely stiff ski. In fact, when flexing this ski, I was reminded a lot of a quite different brand new ski that I’ve been writing about for our 16/17 Buyer’s Guide, the new Salomon QST 99. To be clear, nobody out there has been talking about how burly the QST 99 is — and to be extra clear, that’s precisely why I’m bringing it up: the 188 cm QST 99 is a strong, lightweight ski, and it’s actually a bit stiffer behind the heel piece and through the tail than the Pro Rider. So strictly based on flex pattern, the Pro Rider isn’t the meanest ski out there. And given pretty much every-single-other-thing about the Pro Rider, that seems like a good thing.
At just over 2600 grams per ski, I believe this is the heaviest ski we’ve ever reviewed. On weight, it narrowly beats out the 184 cm Head Monster 108 — which may actually say more about the beastliness of the 184 cm Monster 108, given that it weighs almost as much as the 192 cm Pro Rider.
And I have to say, it’s pretty exciting to see such a switch up given the industry’s current trend to lighten everything up. I’m not saying that “heavier” automatically equals “better,” but I am definitely saying that lighter is not always better.
And yes, I know that Dynastar isn’t trying to reverse the whole current weight trend and go sell a million pairs of 192 cm Pro Riders, but I think they deserve big kudos for making a ski like this available, and (as I said on our ‘Summit on Ski Design’ podcast) I hope other companies follow suit. More limited runs of bigger, heavier skis is campaign platform I can get behind this election season.
Stated sidecut: 27 meters? Hmmm … I’m not sure I believe you, Dynastar. Stated sidecut numbers are always worthy of a bit of suspicion (that’s a big can of worms best saved for another day), but if I had to take the over or the under on “27” … I would bet heavily on the over.
Anyway, I don’t really care about some stated number, but what intrigues me is that this is basically a long, pretty straight ski. And you know what tends to be good at “charging hard through deep and variable snow conditions?” Long and straight.
Tangent: this is why I never fully understood a seemingly-similar ski to the Pro Rider, the 190 cm Salomon Q Lab. The 190 cm Q Lab was a heavy ski with a strong, beautiful tail that had a lot of tip shape. It planed well in deep snow, and it was an insanely powerful carver — I would be willing to bet right now that it is a much better carver than the Pro Rider. But its significant sidecut (while fine in good pow and terrific on piste), reduced its effectiveness in variable conditions. I do not expect the Pro Rider to have the same struggles.
As a generalization, it seems like today’s “big mountain chargers” frequently have pretty wide shovels. Wide shovels (especially tip-rockered wide shovels) plane well in deep snow, but wide shovels that taper down to narrower waists re-introduce the problem of too much sidecut in variable, grabby snow.
Go look up skis in this category, and you’ll see that the Pro Rider’s 132mm-wide shovels are on the narrower end of things. And that makes me want to go find some variable and chop; I think this ski is going to track really well through it.
But what about deep pow? Dynastar talks up the Pro Rider’s “deep snow” performance, but I think we need to be careful here.
Keep in mind that this ski is only 105 mm wide, which isn’t terribly wide by today’s standards. And honestly, nothing about the Pro Rider’s shape is optimized for deep snow — it has massive amounts of traditional camber underfoot, zero tail rocker (just a slightly turned-up tail), and very minimal tip rocker. I don’t really suspect that anyone psyched about this ski will be like, “Sweet! I can’t wait to go take this heavy, straight, 192 cm ski and go noodle around through some low-angle pow!! But just in case you’ve hit your head hard too many times and you are thinking that … stop it. This ski is going to do ok-to-well in pow if (and only if?) you are skiing fast. Which is what you are supposed to be doing on this ski.
Anyway, I’m going to assume I’ve said enough about this and we’re all on the same page. If you like to slash and slarve and McConkey turn your way down the mountain, look elsewhere.
Oh, and back to the flex pattern real quick: given the very minimal tip rocker on this ski, I wouldn’t vote right now to stiffen up the shovels. The ski’s weight and shape ought to make it shine in variable. Its softer shovels ought to help it plane a bit better despite the very subtle tip rocker. I think we’re good here.
-13 cm from center! Some of you just stopped reading and clicked to another page. Others of you just started smiling. No newschool mount points here. And if you aren’t sure whether you get along well with traditional mount points, then this is probably neither the time nor the ski to try to figure that out.
(FWIW, the 184 cm Head Monster 108 has a -12.75 cm mount, and for all its from-the-future construction, the 184 cm Volkl V-Werks Katana kicks it even olderschool with a mount of -13.9 cm.)
Blister’s Big Mountain Shootout — Old vs New
I mentioned this in my Deep Dive article on the Head Monster 108, but this season, we are going to do some direct comparisons of some of the ‘burly chargers’ of yesterday to the “burly chargers” of today. How similar or different do they feel? Are today’s skis easier to ski (spoiler alert: Yes), while having the same high top-end of older chargers?
We’re still deciding which skis will be included in this shootout, so feel free to chime in. A factor here will certainly be which skis we can get our hands on, but for now, here’s what will likely be include. We kind of like the idea of trying to limit each group to a top 5, and it’ll be fun to see which skis make the final cut.
(I would also bet exactly zero dollars on our ability to limit this to a top 5 in each category….)
• Dynastar Pro Rider, 192 cm (sort of counts as both past and present)
• Head Monster 108, 184 cm
• Liberty Variant 113, 186 cm – Note: the 17/18 Variant 113 is a bit different from the Variant 113 we reviewed, but we should be getting on the 17/18 Variant 113 in the coming weeks.
• Kastle BMX 105 HP, 189 cm (we talk about the BMX 105 on this podcast)
• Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (and ideally also the 193 cm)
• Dynastar XXL, 187 cm
• Volkl Katana (the metal one), 191 cm
• Rossignol RC 112, 188 cm
• Head Monster 103, 183 cm
We’re pretty sure that is the first time that a review publication has done a serious test of a bunch of skis that don’t exist anymore, but whatever. This is going to be rad.
Dear snow, Please Hurry.
NEXT: Our Full Review of the Dynastar Pro Rider