The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2016-2017 Dynastar Powertrack 89

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Dynastar Powertrack 89 for Blister Gear Review

15/16 Dynastar Powertrack 89

Ski: 2016-2017 Dynastar Powertrack 89, 186cm

Available Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186 cm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 185.4cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 126-89-110

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 124-87-107

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2070 & 2051 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Core Construction: Poplar + Titanal (2-Layer) + Fiberglass Laminate

Tip & Tail Splay: ~64 / ~7mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm

Mount Location: Recommended Line (86.5cms from tail / -6.2cms from true center)

Test Locations: Canterbury Club Fields of New Zealand; Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our on-snow review of the Powertrack 89 appears on page 2, but we encourage you to begin with our Preview. This review was conducted on the 14/15 Powertrack 89, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]

 

Preview

Here is Dynastar’s own description of the new Powertrack 89, with a few key points highlighted:

“The all-new Powertrack 89 introduces a new era of all-mountain performance for expert skiers. Combining the best elements of modern freeride and all-mountain ski design, this breakthrough new one-ski-quiver provides a huge sweet spot…. Moderate tip and tail rocker provide balance, float, and control through variable snow, while traditional camber underfoot retains the power, energy, and edge grip for solid hard-snow performance. A progressive five-point sidecut allows for powerful carved turns that engage quickly and release with ease in any snow condition, providing the consistent yet playful versatility and control that sets a new all-mountain standard.”

It’s clear that the Powertrack 89 is a hybrid design, and hybrid designs tend to make us a little nervous.

In general, it’s safer to design a ski to excel at one or two things, since it’s impossible for a ski to shine in every type of terrain and in all conditions. So when a manufacturer claims to have pulled off “a new one-ski quiver” for experts, we get intrigued, and we look forward to sorting out the Powertrack 89’s particular strengths and weaknesses.

Here are some of the standout traits of this hybrid:

Stiff Tails

I was not expecting the tails of the Powertrack 89 to be all that stiff given the rest of the ski’s shape. The tails don’t hand flex as stiff as the Salomon X-Drive 8.8’s, another sub-90mm-waisted ski that I recently raved about, but the Powertrack 89’s tails still feel stout and supportive, pretty comparable to the 13/14 Volkl Mantra’s.

If the X-Drive 8.8’s tail is a “10” on the stiffness scale, the Powertrack 89 is about an “8”.

Also worth noting: Dynastar says that these have tail rocker.

They don’t.

Or at least, not by any conventional standard. Check out the rocker pics on the next page. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: these are barely turned up at all.

In Dynastar’s defense, it’s not like there is some established definition of tail rocker, so if they want to defy convention and define “rocker” as, “any tail that is not perfectly, 100% pancaked to the ground,” I don’t care.

But yeah, these aren’t tail rockered. Which is a good thing, for reasons I’ll get to in a little bit.

Lots of Traditional Camber Underfoot

Dynastar has never shied away from throwing a ton of traditional camber on their skis, and the Powertrack 89 is no exception. The stout tail combined with a significant amount of camber underfoot has me inclined to think that these things are going to be able to hold a pretty serious edge.

But as Dynastar’s product description makes clear, there’s obviously more to this ski than a stiff tail and a lot of traditional camber, which by themselves aren’t that unusual on a sub-90mm underfoot, directional all-mountain ski.

But Wait…

Heavily Tapered Tails?

While I’m a sucker for stiff tails, I’m also a sucker for fat tails—I like how supportive they are, the edge hold they tend to provide, and how they help to power through and finish turns.

But the Powertrack 89’s tails are seriously tapered—the widest point of the tail (at 107mm) is 18cms in front of the very end of the ski (which tapers all the way down to 83mm). But the widest point of the tail (107mm) is still quite wide relative to the ski’s waist (87mm). This, combined with the tail’s stout flex and the ski’s generous camber underfoot, inclines me to think that  it still could provide a nice amount of energy and power, and still finish a turn well.

And remember how I said that these tails aren’t actually rockered? Thank God, because tapering the crap out of a tail and also rockering it means that you don’t actually have anything back there to support you anymore. In my opinion, the more heavily you decide to taper a ski’s tail, the flatter you ought to make that tail.

So I, for one, am glad that the Powertrack 89’s tapered tail is also a “rockered” tail, where “rockered” is understood to be synonymous with “truly quite flat.”

Soft-Snow Shovels?

Here’s where things get interesting with the Powertrack 89. The ski’s shovels have a medium flex, a deep rocker line, and a lot of tip splay—a whole lot for a ski that’s only 87mm underfoot.

On the one hand, this could again help make them fun carvers—stiff tails to finish turns; softer-flexing shovels to allow you to easily bend the ski to quickly initiate tighter turns; and lots of camber underfoot to provide a good amount of rebound and enable solid edge hold.

But on the other hand, the shape of the Powertrack 89’s shovels suggests that this ski will plane well in pow for its width. If you’re the sort that tends to say things like, “I like to be in the pow rather than on top of the pow,” the Powertrack 89 might let you have the best of both worlds: you aren’t likely to be riding high in pow on this ski, but you also might not have as much trouble with tip dive as you would on most other sub-90mm skis.

In sum, the Powertrack 89 presents one of the more interesting hybrid designs that we’ve seen in a while.

But Wait Again…

Having said all that, you wouldn’t be wrong to point out that the Powertrack 89 looks a whole lot like the Dynastar Cham 87, right down to the fact that they both are actually 87mms underfoot.

But the Cham 87 is listed, at least, as having slightly tighter sidecut radius (16 meters); it is far lighter than the Powertrack 89 (by about 400 grams per ski); and it has no metal in its core construction.

Apparently all those differences are enough for Dynastar to say that the Cham 87 as best suited for less advanced skiers, while they categorize the Powertrack 89 as most suitable for those with an “Expert/Pro” skill level.

See why we’re intrigued / pretty confused / certainly curious?

Bottom Line (For Now)

Ultimately, the biggest question I have is whether the Powertrack 89 will live up to Dynastar’s claims that it exhibits a balanced feel on snow and has a “huge sweet spot,” or whether it will feel like a ski with a split personality—Dr. Jekyll in the front seat, Mr. Hyde in the back.

There’s no way to know till we get the Powertrack 89 on snow, but if it does feel balanced, Dynastar may have created a versatile ski that ought to appeal to a whole bunch of skiers out there, and probably not merely experts.

We shall see, down in NZ.

NEXT: Review of the Dynastar Powertrack 89

33 Comments

  1. sam August 20, 2014 Reply

    Hello,
    Looks very interesting for what I am looking for!
    Could you tell me what kind of ski design will perform best off-piste when snow is still soft but without pow, like when it has not snowed for several days and every inch of the mountain has already been skied?

    I feel stiff tail (like what I have on my old salomon xwing fury) is not a good thing but I still want a supportive tail. Any advice?

    Thanks for all your reviews!

  2. Bob Loblaw September 9, 2014 Reply

    You sound like a good candidate for the Bonafide or Bushwacker. The Blizzard flipcore has a wee bit of rise for a medium amount of splay, the tail is there when you need it, but releases almost before you tell them to.

    I have a pair of Bones that love to drag tails in berms, sides of cat tracks, and bumps, they are a bit demanding until you move the boot center forward 1cm or less, then they are a playful stable ride unmatched on the market IMO.

    These Powertracks look very similar and I’m hoping to get a pair of the 89s this fall.

  3. Steve willis September 18, 2014 Reply

    How would you compare this ski to the Legend 8000? Mine are getting some age on them….and I have new ski itch.

  4. Andre November 19, 2014 Reply

    I demoed this ski last week. Out of the 9 pairs I tried, I felt the powertrack 89 skied the best. It had snowed two feet over the previous week so there was a lot of fresh powder on the trails. Given the width of the ski it was surprising how well it handled in the fresh snow.

  5. Bob Loblaw November 19, 2014 Reply

    I found some Powertrack 84 for sale for $500.

    This would have to be the best value on a new ski, the savings account approaches critical mass to seize those 84s before Backcountry comes to their senses.

  6. Aaron December 8, 2014 Reply

    You mention in your post:

    “For me personally, if this was going to be part of a 2-ski or 3-ski quiver, I would probably opt to have a sub-90mm ski be more of a dedicated firm-snow ski…”

    Do you have any first-hand experience or initial impressions of a ski like the Head Titan? Presumably it’s far more of a groomer-oriented and firm snow ski than this one, and in turn more stable at speeds. Do you suppose the Titan would have the same snappiness in and out of turns that the Dynastar has?

    • Author

      Hi, Aaron – I don’t have 1st hand experience with the Titan. But the tips and tails of that ski are basically the opposite of the Powertrack 89, and I’m willing to bet a whole lot of beer that the Titan doesn’t have nearly as much tip rocker as the Powertrack. As for “snappiness,” I can’t comment, because I’d have to be able to compare the flex patterns of the two skis.

      My understanding is that the Titan is a pretty stout ski, and if you wanted to build a ski that optimizes carving performance, you would give it a shape that is pretty similar to the Titan. You would not heavily taper the tip and tail, like the Powertrack 89’s – Dynastar’s aim was to design a true 1 ski quiver to handle everything. Versatility / all-around performance in firm and soft snow was the goal. Anyway, sorry that I can’t answer your question more specifically.

  7. eric December 9, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the (as usual) insightful review. A couple of questions–first, the measured dimensions differ quite a bit from the stated dimensions, is this some indication of quality control issues, changes made to design mid-run, something else? Also the weight difference ski to ski does seem to be noticeable, again, should we suspect some quality control issues? Second, sometimes you read something and think you understand it, and suddenly you realize you do not! What is this “huge sweet spot” that is mentioned here (and in other reviews)? I now know I THOUGHT I knew what this meant, but do not! Does it refer to the wide range of pressures, angulations and weightings you can give this ski while still having it perform optimally, or does it refer to the range of conditions and terrains that the ski is appropriate for, some combination of the two, or something else? As always, thanks!

    • Author

      Thanks, Eric. I definitely wouldn’t call the differing stats an issue of quality control. I should have said this in the review, but the Powertrack 89 looks and feels like a really well built, solidly built ski.

      As for the weight differences, etc, it’s a good question and a big topic, so I’ve decided to move it to our ‘Topic of the Week’ column and respond at greater length there. (You can find that series under the “Features” section on the nav bar.)

      As for “sweet spot” – it means that the ski is not sensitive / overly sensitive to body position and balance. So if you get back on your heels, the ski still offers a forgiving and supportive ride rather than punishes you for being out of position. Other skis will punish you if / when you really get on the shovels – the tails tend to wash out. But a ski with a big sweet spot will let you ride it forward, centered, or from a bit of a heel-weighted position. In short, big sweet spots make skiing really easy. Skis without big sweet spots can be super fun, too – but for different performance reasons: e.g., either they are too stiff to tolerate backseat skiing (but they come with very high speed limits) or they are too soft to allow you to drive the shovels (though they are super easy to trick and spin.)

  8. Derek Hawkins December 9, 2014 Reply

    I had been skiing on 186 Dynastar 66 skicross since 01 and loved them but was looking to get into something a little shorter with the newer technology. Last season I picked up the Rossi Experience 88 mostly due to all of the rave reviews but wasn’t loving them, except in the deeper snow. Not sure if it was just too different/wider than what I was used to or just the way I like to ski but the Rossi’s were not as quick turning edge to edge as I was hoping. I grew up east coast skiing with a tight parallel form and like to bounce between lots of quick turns to wide sweeping carves and then maybe in and out of the trees. I know I need to change up the tight style a bit with the wider underfoot but the Powertrack seems like it may be a better fit. Would you agree? If so, I hover around 205lbs, could I get away with something less than 180? Also looking at the Blizzard Brahma. Thanks!

    • Author

      Hi, Derek – as I write in my review, I would not down size this ski. I think there is no particularly good reason to – these skis are quick.

      So at your weight, I think you should be looking at the 186 Powertrack, but I suspect that you might prefer the 180 Blizzard Brahma over the 187. But I’m not sure that I can make more specific recommendations with confidence. Would be great if you could demo the Powertrack and the Brahma, and I’d be interested to hear which you preferred.

  9. Bob McBob December 9, 2014 Reply

    DYNASTAR

    Bring back the Legends!! The last series 105s were dialed like no other.

    I don’t want to ski a Cham (pun intended).

    • Bob Loblaw December 10, 2014 Reply

      It appears the big mountain full tail charger is a thing of the past, even the Mantra has gone full rocker.

      Are there any other new skis with a big flat tail?

      That was my impression of the Legend, it was too much for my surfy style.

  10. David December 12, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    I’m looking for new skis. I currently ski Rossi S3s as my everyday ski. I’m an expert with a race background. I use the S3’s to ski lots of zipperline bumps and trees in VT and all over out west, with the exception of really deep pow. They’re decent on these surfaces and can even carve ok. I recently read the reviews for the Atomic Theory and Dynastar Powertrack 89. How would these skis compare to the S3? Do you think one would be better for me in the bumps and trees, and generally out west than the S3 I’m currently on? Is there something else that comes to mind you think might work? Possibly one of the K2 shreditors? Thanks!

    • Author

      Hi, David – I’m hopefully going to be getting a bit of time on the Theory next week, but haven’t yet. But for a directional skier, I can pretty easily imagine that you would like what the Powertrack 89 has to offer over and against the S3. I.e., the S3 will clearly feel a bit surfier and looser than the Powertrack 89, but the 89 can be driven harder than the S3, and finishes turns more cleanly and more powerfully than the S3 — the S3 is easy to bend and fun to carve, but as I recall (it’s been a while since I’ve been on it) I needed to stay more centered on the ski, while I can ski the Powertrack centered or really drive the shovels.

      As for bumps and trees: the Powertrack is substantial and quick, and has more tip rocker than the Theory. I can’t imagine that you’d really dislike either ski in bumps and trees … and I really shouldn’t speculate beyond that. (Except that I am tempted to say that I don’t really believe that you’d prefer the Theory to the Powertrack … but again … haven’t skied the Theory yet.)

  11. Walker Allen December 17, 2014 Reply

    How would you compare the top end of the powertrack 89 to the kendo? Sounds like the powertrack might be a little more nimble but how do they differ at speed?

    • Author

      Hmmm, good question. I haven’t been on the Kendo in a while, but given its design, I’m inclined to think that it would have the higher top – it doesn’t have a heavily tapered tip, and I highly doubt it has as much tip rocker as the Powertrack 89. On smooth, clean groomers, the difference would not be very pronounced, but as those groomers get roughed up, I suspect that the Kendo would hold together better. As for off-piste soft chop or firm crud, I think the issue is less about which ski has the higher top end, and more about skiing style: when skied centered and dynamically, I was pretty impressed by how hard I could push the Powertrack 89s. The Kendo would probably better tolerate a more forward, driving stance in those off-piste conditions. Finally, I think you’re right to assume that the Powertrack will feel a bit quicker.

  12. David December 19, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for all the detail in your answer. Can you comment on the metal laminate in the powertrack. I’m alway a little hesitant with a ski with metal in the bumps….

    Thanks again for all the info.

    -David

    • Author

      Hi, David – I’m not quite sure what your question is – are you worried that these will feel too stiff? Too slow / sluggish?

      Now that I’ve been putting more time in bumps on the 184 Salomon X-Drive 8.8 and the 187 Blizzard Brahma, I’ll try to get some time again on the Powertrack and say something more definitive here. But right now, I’d say that the Powertrack is FAR easier and quicker in bumps than either of those two skis. And while I tend to like skis with metal, I’d say that this is one of the easiest / least demanding “metal” skis out there – perhaps comparable to the 180cm Blizzard Bonafide, which I regard as a fairly substantial but quite easy bumps ski.

  13. Carlos Gonzalez January 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, Thaks a lot for the review on the powertrack 89.
    One quick question. I’m 179cm and 165 lbs. Which one should I buy? The 179cm or the 186cm lenght?
    I like to do GS turns allthough some time also like doing shorter turns.

    Thanks again, Carlos

    • Author

      Hi, Carlos – I honestly think you could go either way. I’ve been skiing and writing more than eating, so was probably weighing 170-175 when I put time again on the 186 Powertrack at Taos. As I wrote, I have no interest in going shorter. Having said that, our bootfitter Charlie Bradley has been skiing the 179 and enjoying the ski, so I think you would find the 179 to still be substantial while also being even more conducive to shorter turns than the 186. But the faster and harder you like to ski, and the more advanced you are, the more I would encourage you to move toward the 186, because you won’t need these skis to be quicker. They’re already quick.

  14. Blister Member
    Jack Boerner January 19, 2015 Reply

    Great review, and much appreciated. I love skiing the moguls at Mary Jane, but spend a lot of time on steeps on Aspen Mountain, and some on the bowls at Vail. Sounds like the perfect 1-ski quiver for me. I am 5- foot 9-inches, 150 pounds. Would you recommend the 179 or the 186, or any other ski to consider instead?

  15. Gord Atkinson January 25, 2015 Reply

    Been reading through this thread. I just picked up a pair of the Powertrack 89’s (179 cm) and love them. Extremely nimble and fast skis on the hard pack. Quite stable as well. Haven’t had them out in other conditions yet but feel they will be good skis for all conditions. I’m 160lbs, and about 5’9″. I like to ski fast and hard with lots of turns and carving through the terrain on the groomed runs. This will be 80% of my skiing. However I wanted something that could deal with chop/crud and pow as well. I’ll let everyone know when I get back from Fernie in March.

  16. Pat Cash February 2, 2015 Reply

    Great review. I considering this ski for an all mountain East coast quiver (NH, VT, ME, Cannon, Killington etc). I am 5’10” 190lbs, a bit older but still fit! I would say I am a good intermediate who likes to go fast on the groomers, steep cruddy stuff but still needs to learn the trees and bumps more. The other ski I was advised to look at is the Head Venturi or Blizzard Bushwacker a bit wider but maybe a bit more forgiving as no metal. Wondering what you think between the two or if there are others to consider as well.

  17. Blister Member
    Nick March 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan. Thanks for the great review. Couple of fairly quick questions:
    1) Did you ski these with a standard binding (Look or otherwise) or with the Fluid System (integrated with SPX 12) that they can be bought with?
    2) You mentioned the recommended mount point was -6.5 cm from ski midpoint. Do you mean forward or towards the tail? Some reviewers have mentioned that the manufacturer mount point is more forward than most skis on an equivalent length. Did you ski it at the recommended mount point? Did you wish it was further back or would you recommend getting the Fluid system to be able to adjust the binding position?
    3) I realize you said you would never wanted to downsize this ski. I am 6’1″ (183 lbs body weight) and an aging expert skier who prefers off-piste but would use these as a western daily driver. Normally I like skis in the low 180-184 cm although I have narrower skis in 178. Would there be any benefit for going to a 179 rather than 186 length for me or would you recommend against it?

    Thanks.

  18. Ben January 16, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I am looking for a do-it-all ski, good on grooms but not out of place in the trees, moguls or powder. At 5’10” and 155 lbs, I demoed the Brahmas in 173 and 180 sizes and found the 180 was too long. If I am a 173 Brahma, what size would I be on the Powertrack 89? I get to ski in CO, CA and OR; between the Brahmas and PT89, which would be the best choice?

    Thank you!

  19. Ky February 7, 2016 Reply

    Hi, great review and threads. I have the Dynastar Outland 2013 and it’s been a fabulous all mountain ski and looking to pick up a pair of the PowerTrack 89’s. I currently have a 172 cm in the Outland, and wondering if I should stay with this length or go up to a 179? I’m 5’9″ and around 160-165 and although not an overly fast rider, ski technically for all mountain use from teaching and clinics to riding in the NW and Midwest ski areas. Appreciate your thoughts.

  20. Tom S December 10, 2016 Reply

    I loved this review… I was laughing the whole front page while trying to help my friend decide on what skis to get.

  21. James February 21, 2017 Reply

    I got the power track 89’s about a month ago and have been very happy with my purchase. I think this review is very accurate would like to add my own observations, which are redundant but I think would make me not choose these for a 1-ski quiver. I would probably go to something a bit wider for a one ski quiver like a Blizzard Bonnified or Volkl Mantra.
    1. If you have any wider options this is not the ski you take when there is >4″ of fresh snow. Due to their narrowness they cut right through the snow to the base and you miss the smooth butterieness of the soft snow. My other skis a set of 186 Line Influence 105’s are way more fun on fresh snow days.
    2. If you like to rip corduroy they skis are fantastic. Just freaking fantastic. You can pretty much make any kind of turn you want at any speed desired and they just perform. Like the review said they are very quick edge to edge so lots of loading up the ski and using it’s energy to pop into the next turn.
    3. Finally they are very easy to ski, I have had no learning curve and was instantly comfortable on these skis on my home mountain skiing familiar terrain. I was worried that the tail would be overpowering but it has not been and the skies feel very well balanced.

  22. Steve April 18, 2017 Reply

    Great review! Curious whether you think this ski is appropriate for lighter weight advanced intermediates or whether the PT84 is a better fit. Thanks.

    • Author

      We haven’t skied the Powertrack 84, but if you like the sound of this ski’s strengths and weaknesses from the review, I’d have no reservation recommending it to a lighter weight advanced intermediate.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*