2020 Liberty Origin 96

Back again for another year of all-mountain crushing, the Liberty Origin 96 takes square aim at the title of “ultimate one-ski quiver.” We all know it doesn’t exist, and that’s okay, but it’s fun to try anyway. The Origin 96 does try for the concept of doing everything well, but not excelling in any one particular area. With a bamboo and poplar wood core, the Origin 96 is light, stable, and poppy. Add to that a 10mm carbon stringer for stiffness, and you’ve got a fun, playful, and versatile ski that can do just about anything. While not a true twin-tip in the park and pipe sense of the term, the Origin 96’s turned-up tail does add to the fun-loving nature of the ski, and allows for switch riding and landings. In the woods, it’s pretty useful to have that tail, and especially in the east, it can get you out of a jam. The sidewalls are thick and beefy, and this instills confidence in the skier, especially when railing turns at high-speeds. The rocker is there, but it’s on the subtle side, with relatively short tip rocker and even shorter tail rocker. Testers were mainly positive about the playful character of the ski, and all saw it as a versatile tool for all-mountain shredding.

On the 187, Harrison Gorham not only found it to be the right size, but also a ton of fun. He gave top marks of 5’s out of 5 for torsional stiffness, edge hold, and versatility. Playfulness and stability both got 4’s, as did his overall impression. These consistent high scores are indicative of a strong-performing ski with a ton of upside. The 2020 Liberty Origin 96 is “light, nimble, lays rails, holds great edge, and has a beefy sidewall.” In terms of intended customer, Harrison notes that they’re “great for east-coast skier who rips it all day.” When talking about a downside, Harrison says that there’s “not really a downside. They chatter a bit at serious speed, but have great pop, though.” For a 96 underfoot ski, that’s a pretty nice compliment that it takes “serious” speed to make this thing waver.

Justin Perry, somehow, skied the 176, 182, and the 187. He’s still undecided as to which one is proper for him, but we’re guessing the 182 would be the way to go for Justin. He scored the ski 5’s out of 5 for stability, quickness, playfulness, and versatility. His overall impression of the ski earned a 5 out of 5 as well, and as a result, we’re thinking Justin likes this Origin 96. For the 176, he says “this is a fun ski. Shorter than I usually ride but stable and quick in all aspects. Cut through the crud, yet held a great edge. Super poppy and playful, this is a true all-mountain ski. Very easy to ski.” With no scores lower than 4, it’s safe to assume that this is that highly-versatile ski that loves being tested.

Michael Carroll-Sherwin got to ski the 186 and liked that size. Scores of 4 out of 5 were commonplace, and include the categories of stability, maneuverability, forgiveness, and overall impression. Michael did note that the skis had a speed limit, but it was a low one, not a high one. “Once they were in full-speed mode, they felt at home.” Usually this is not the case for a ski without metal, but the Origin 96 is no ordinary ski. In terms of that elusive title, Michael says the Origin 96 “could be a one-ski quiver if hard pack is the majority of conditions.” So it sounds like Michael loved the high-speed and hard snow performance of this ski, and again, for a ski without metal, this is pretty impressive.

Lessening the rocker profile from two years ago made this a much more on-trail friendly ski. For most skiers, that’s where they spend the majority of their time, so the move worked out really well for Liberty. Looking for that one-ski quiver? This is a strong choice.

Testers

Matt McGinnis

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Surfy freeride with a freestyle background

Mike Aidala

Age: 42Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: As fast as the terrain allows

Michael Carroll-Sherwin

Age: 30Height: 6'1"Weight: 185 lbs.

Ski Style: Quick and nimble with freeride influence

Mike Thomas

Age: 50Height: 6'3"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Upright, fluid, nimble, and powerful

Benny Wax

Age: 68Height: 5'6"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth and creamy, lots of turns

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Justin Perry

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive all-mountain freeride

Harrison Gorham

Age: 34Height: 6'0"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Heavily mustachioed and always watching out for the kids

2 Comments on the “2020 Liberty Origin 96”

    1. Hi Mike!
      Great triumvirate of skis you got there! Of the three, the Rustler is the only one with any type of metal laminate, and while you can tell when it comes to torsional stiffness on groomers, the other two are no slouches either. The Liberty, given its use of bamboo and poplar wood in the core, has a distinctively quiet nature to it, and while that’s great from a stability standpoint, it’s not quite as lively as the other two. The Rustler has some good snap out of the turn and the Ranger is kind of in the middle in terms of energy. If you like your skis smooth and stable, it’s hard to do better than the Origin, you just have to deal with the fact that it’s pretty damp (for better or worse). The thing I liked the most about the Ranger is it’s ability to do everything really well–it’s highly versatile and easy to use. Hope that helps!
      SE

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