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.]
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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