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2016-2017 Liberty Origin 106

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Liberty Origin 106 for Blister Gear Review.

Liberty Origin 106

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

Intro

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.

Flex Pattern

I would classify the flex pattern of the Origin 106 like this:

Tips: 5
Shovels: 6
Underfoot: 9
Behind the heel piece: 8
Tails: 7

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…

Powder

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.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Liberty Origin 106 for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Liberty Origin 106. (photo by Kristin Sinnott)

Groomers

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.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Liberty Origin 106 for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Liberty Origin 106. (photo by Kristin Sinnott)

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.

Trees

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.

Moguls

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

Bottom Line

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

15 Comments

  1. billy January 16, 2017 Reply

    So Basically in any chop, hard groomers, skied out powder, the 3 things that most people deal with 99% at any resort, the ski will fold, and is not the best. but in perfect conditions its great. WOW, you guys have real round about way saying that the ski basically sucks in real word conditions, ever thought about being a politician.

    • Author

      The goal of every one of our reviews is accuracy. And this review is accurate. We then leave it to readers to decide whether the performance described is what they are looking for. The Origin 106 is the best deep-snow ski of this width we’ve ever reviewed. And we say that. We also say: “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.” That’s not being diplomatic or political … that’s being really accurate.

    • Blister Member
      Jamie January 17, 2017 Reply

      Interesting review. Probably a great ski to think about for Japan?

  2. Blister Member
    Jamie January 17, 2017 Reply

    Is “tip splay” the width of the tip?

  3. Blister Member
    Bruce Gamble January 17, 2017 Reply

    Hey Buddy,
    For the 181 Sickle, do you like this ski or the Meridian as a potential replacement? Moment will be at Mt Rose on Sunday so I can check the Meridian out hopefully.
    Thanks, Bruce

    • Author

      Hey, Bruce – the Origin 106 really isn’t a Sickle replacement, or trying to be. Pretty different skis actually. So if the only two options are Origin 106 and Meridian, the Meridian will be a bit closer – though, I think it’s also a pretty different ski in its own right, too.

  4. Ryan Ardron January 20, 2017 Reply

    After reading your review – thank you guys – I selected Origin 106s as my ski for this year and I am very, very happy. Coming off a SFB, I was looking for playful and manoeuvrable yet with much more directional, performance on-piste, as we all spend much time there and not always in great conditions. Origins feel very light and I am really happy with how fast they turn in trees and on moguls. Crazy fast in fact. They evened me out against hard charging friends that power down. I could take a quicker route. The best thing I like are the tips. When I hit bumps of loose snow at speed they just slice and float as if they aren’t even there. Adds to greater confidence in uncertain terrain. Rip and, in doubt, turn fast. The weakness, as expected, is on hard ice. They will slide out if trying to carve too aggressively on icy hardpack. Solution is just to straight line or take it easy. Thanks for your Gear Guide!!! Worth every dollar.

  5. Dave February 8, 2017 Reply

    For a 185-lb 6ft higher-speed skier who wants a daily driver, how would you compare the Origin 106 to the 96? Sounds like this ski is a little too soft-snow focused for a daily, and I already have Salomon QST 118’s for freshies, so maybe the 96 would be better for non-pow all-over-the-place skiing?

    • Author

      The 106 isn’t too soft-snow focused for some skiers, but if you already have a QST 118 for deep snow, then yes, I would recommend the 96.

      • Dave February 8, 2017 Reply

        Thanks Jonathan. I ski the QST 118 in a 185, got any thoughts on length for the Origin 96? If it’s my daily, was thinking 182 to make it a little quicker in tight trees and steep bumps. Was skiing the Head Motörhead Rock ‘n Roll in a 180 as a daily in previous seasons, and it seemed like a decent compromise do-all length (knowing that top end stability is generally lessened when not going with the longest length). Thanks for your thoughts on length.

  6. Danny February 24, 2017 Reply

    You say these “ski longer than you might expect” given the significant splay. Based on this, which length would you recommend for me at 6’2″ (188cm), 78kg (172lb), and intermediate skill level; 182cm or 187cm?

    Great review as always..Thanks for any reply :)

  7. Jacob April 12, 2017 Reply

    How do these compare to the Liberty Helix?

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