Ski: 2016-2017 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm
Available Lengths: 171, 176, 182, 187 cm
Actual Length (straight tape pull): 185.5 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1970 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1980 & 2016 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-106-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.5-106.5-128 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 21.5 meters
Core: Bamboo / Poplar / Carbon
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 78 mm / 47 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Recommended Mount Point: -8.25 cm from center; 84.5 cm from tail
Boots: Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum & Atomic Hawx Ultra 130
Bindings: Marker Jester
Test Location: Ski Santa Fe & Taos, NM; Arapahoe Basin, CO
Days Skied: 7
There are a whole lot of 105 – 108 mm wide skis on the market these days, but they certainly are not all the same. So what type of “106” ski is the Liberty Origin 106? And how similar/dissimilar is it to the two skis that it is sandwiched between, the Liberty Origin 96 and the Liberty Origin 116?
Here’s Liberty’s take on the Origin 106: “With a huge performance window and the right width to be an everyday driver on bigger, snowier mountains, the Origin 106 hits the sweet spot. Plenty of float for deeper days, and the torsional rigidity to carve harder snow at high speed.” Liberty also says that the Origin 106 is for “athletic, all-mountain skiers who want some width without giving up carveability.”
Let’s cut right to the chase: in our 16/17 Blister Winter Buyer’s Guide, we classified the Origin 106 as, “a very versatile pow ski that has a significant amount of tip and tail splay. But it is also a pretty capable and accessible all-mountain performer that actually skis longer than you might expect; its flex and rocker profile blend well so that, when tipped on edge, you get almost the full length of the ski in contact with the snow.”
Having spent more time on the Origin 106 recently, I can reaffirm all of the above, and we’ll flesh this out a bit further below.
I would classify the flex pattern of the Origin 106 like this:
Behind the heel piece: 8
This is a pretty easy-going flex pattern, and the front half of this ski is pretty soft. Combine that with its very deep tip rocker line, significant tip splay (see our Rocker Profile Pics on the next page), low weight, and -8.25 cm mount point, and this ski has been pretty optimized to plane up in deep snow. And it does…
In straight-up, deep pow, there aren’t many — and maybe not any — 106mm-wide skis we’ve been on that will out-float the Origin 106. In fact, the only ski that comes to mind that might challenge it in terms of flotation is the Whitedot Director, even though it has a much more forward mount (-4.55 cm) than the Origin 106. So if performance in deep powder is a priority for you for a ski of this width, keep reading.
Liberty talks up the carving abilities of the Origin 106, and on soft, clean groomers, the ski is certainly fun to carve. The 187 cm model felt at home making big, fast turns, and the shovels of the ski are easy to bend to really drive hard across the fall line. Shorter lengths will certainly be more conducive to shorter, quicker turns; the 187 is not a handful by any means, but when you get the ski up on edge, it does not feel particularly short.
On roughed-up, firm or icy groomers, the heavy tip rocker and light weight of the ski become a bit of a liability at high speeds. Zero surprise here. But in what will be a repeated refrain in this review, even when the Origin 106 is out of its element, the ski never becomes unpredictable or scary. You’ll just want to slow things down a bit on steep, icy groomers, or on chunked-up, end-of-day groomers. (And all of this should be obvious.)
Soft Chop / Deep Chop / Slush
In really thick, deep chop, the Origin 106 is not a steamroller. The best approach here is to stay light on your feet; if you try to GS-turn your way through deep chop, those soft, highly-splayed shovels will want to fold up a bit. This is a good thing in really deep snow (those tips are not going to dive on you), but in deep chop, there are other ~106mm-wide skis that have stiffer shovels that are better suited to powering through deep, tracked-up snow.
In shallow chop, however, the Origin 106 rides over it all just fine, and the ski is very compliant at both high speeds and more moderate speeds. Same goes for slush, where the Origin 106 is a blast.
Mixed / Variable Conditions
When hitting transitions from soft pockets of snow to firm or more set-up / sun-baked sections, the tips are a little too soft to simply power through, and once again, a ski with stiffer shovels (like the Moment Meridian) will fare better.
In really nasty, firm, chunked-up conditions, the Origin 106 behaves pretty well and predictably, but difficult conditions are not the forte of this ski; instead, consistent snow — clean groomers; wind-buffed slopes; soft, uniform moguls — and deep snow is where this ski shines. Still, I’ll offer the caveat that those who tend to operate at slow to moderate speeds will likely feel that the Origin 106 provides pretty satisfactory stability while also remaining fairly maneuverable.
Still, I’ll offer the caveat that those who tend to operate at slow-to-moderate speeds will likely feel that the Origin 106 provides pretty satisfactory stability while also remaining fairly maneuverable.
Given the caveats above, high-intermediate and advanced skiers will have an easy time working the Origin 106 through trees. It’s a compliant, light ski that has a pretty big sweet spot to stand on.
It’s also pretty easy to ski in good bumps, though when skiing hard and fast in firm moguls or in big, fresh moguls, I sometimes felt like I was folding up the 106’s softer shovels quite a bit. So I would say that the Origin 106 is totally “fine” in bumps, but compared to some other ~106mm-wide skis, the serious tip splay may take some getting used to if you like to slam the shovels of your skis onto the front or sides of moguls.
50/50 – Resort + Backcountry Use
Liberty doesn’t talk about the Origin 106 as a tool for both inbounds and backcountry use, but it’s worth bringing up. At ~2000 g per ski in the 187 cm length, I think the 106 is a particularly intriguing option for those who typically tour for — and find — untracked pow.
Who’s It For?
- Intermediate to advanced skiers who want a single ski to shine on groomers and in deeper snow.
- Those wanting a not-too-fat ski to serve as the soft-snow ski in a 2-ski quiver
- Those looking for a 1-ski quiver where they will privilege soft & deep snow performance over performance in really firm, difficult conditions.
- Those looking for a single ski to use inbounds and to hunt pow in the backcountry
The Origin 106 is a good all-mountain ski that is not going to be outgunned on big pow days. Those who want a ski of this width to rage in tough, firm conditions should probably look elsewhere, but the Origin 106 is still quite easy to control in difficult conditions — just slow down a bit, or don’t, and ski with finesse and stay light on your feet. It’s a user-friendly, easy ski to adjust to.
DEEP DIVE: LIBERTY ORIGIN 106
Become a Blister Members or Deep Dive subscriber to read our Deep Dive: Libety Origin 106, with comparisons to the Liberty Origin 96 and 116, Rossi Soul 7 HD, Salomon QST 106, Faction Candide 3.0, Black Crows Atris, DPS Foundation 106, J Skis The Metal, and the Black Diamond Boundary 107.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics