2019 Liberty V-92 Ski Review: // Ski Reviews
You may remember back in January when we announced the addition of Liberty skis to the SkiEssentials.com selection of ski brands. If you happened to miss that article we invite you to go back and take a look as we go into more detail about the history of the brand and what they've historically been known for. To summarize, Liberty has been a company largely focused on freeride performance, lightweight skis, and twin tips. As the company ages, however, their focus and designs have shifted and expanded to cover more than just playful twin tip skis. The ski we are going to take a look at today is arguably the biggest and most significant change to Liberty's skis, brand identity, and overall target market. That ski is the brand new Liberty V-92.
The V-92 is part of Liberty's brand new V-Series. This new collection, consisting of a total of 5 skis including both men's and women's models, is the most frontside-oriented line Liberty has ever had, and by a long shot. We're seeing other, somewhat similar brands move in similar directions, but Liberty really has done something special here with a whole new construction concept. Have you seen our reviews of the 2019 Rossignol Experience 88 and 94 Ti? If you have it's going to be a little easier for you to wrap your head around this new construction. If you haven't, no worries, we're going to walk you through Liberty's VMT technology. It's also different than what Rossignol is doing, although they share a similar concept.
VMT stands for Vertical Metal Technology. Liberty has integrated vertical metal struts sandwiched between poplar and bamboo. There are two of these metal struts that are located symmetrically on either side of the center point of the ski. You may remember that Rossignol's construction has the metal right down the middle of the ski, so already we're starting to see a difference there. In addition to this vertical metal, Liberty has also used significant metal tip and tail protectors, which not only help increase durability, they also help reduce vibrations throughout the ski. There are also two steel plates underfoot for binding retention and increased power. Everything we just mentioned is then sandwiched in between two full sheets of carbon fiber from tip to tail. Yes, you read that right. Vertical metal, multi-wood core, steel plates, two full sheets of metal, and unique tip and tail protectors. That's serious construction for any ski manufacturer, and we'll go a little further to say that's exceptionally impressive to see from Liberty.
Let's talk about shape too. Liberty really put the focus on achieving frontside performance when they designed the V Series. They all use what Liberty is called Hammer Rocker. This uses 90% camber and 10% tip rocker, with no tail rocker whatsoever. Edge grip and a precision feel is what this rocker profile is designed for. The sidecut is designed to work along with this rocker profile. The V-92 is, you guessed it, 92 mm under foot, and has a 17.5 m turn radius in the 179 cm length. Contrary to what we're seeing from some other brands, however, the V Series skis don't use any early taper at all. They have full width tips and tails and the tip shape is quite blunt, so the widest point of the ski is very near the end. You get a better sense of this when you have a pair in your hands, but the tip rocker and the tip dimensions match nicely. As the ski rises off the snow it gets correspondingly wider, not narrower like early tapered skis. We've seen similar shapes in powder skis, but we're having a hard time thinking of a ski designed for firm snow with a similar tip shape. If the old version of the Rossignol Experience 88 had longer rocker, that would be about it, but it didn't have quite as long and not as smooth of a rocker profile as the V-92.
Liberty says the V-92 is for skiers who demand directional stability in a ski that can handle a wide variety of snow conditions, and we think that's a good way to think of it. I've had a few test days on the V-92 so far and it's definitely an impressive ski. The first day I skied it the snow conditions were relatively firm in most spots. I had been on a narrower, cambered frontside carving ski earlier in the day, then switched to the V-92. I was immediately impressed by the skis smooth, quiet nature. It really feels very, very smooth. The Vertical Metal Technology definitely helps boost the ski's stability and vibration damping, but it feels lighter than most skis that have a similar feel. It doesn't have an exceptional amount of energy out of a turn, but it does make a really nice turn shape when you're carving. You can also get the ski to flex and make a shorter radius carve if you really give it a lot of skier input, but in my opinion the highlight was linking medium sized carving turns. It's so quiet and confidence inspiring, even when the snow got bumpy. I also found it to be less fatiguing when linking carving turns than the more dedicated frontside ski I had been on right before. It doesn't require quite as much skier input to get a really high level of performance out of it, and I really appreciated that. It's fun skiing hard, but it's not fun being worn out after one run. I found that I could ski aggressively on the V-92, but it wasn't tiring me out.
I did my best to seek out the worst snow on the mountain during one testing session on the V-92. I absolutely loved the way you could slip and smear turns, even at high speeds. If you're familiar with Stowe one of our most famous trails is Nosedive, which starts out with three steep, relatively narrow turns. Because of the popularity of the trail those turns often get skied off, especially right in the middle of the trail. The V-92 was pretty much perfect when it came to skiing straight down the middle of Nosedive. It had enough edge grip that I could make movements and initiate turns on the icy snow, but it also let me slide my turns with an impressive amount of control. Definitely one of the most confidence inspiring skis I can recall skiing recently for that type of terrain.
On the sides of Nosedive there is typically softer snow built up from skiers skidding their turns along the sides of the trails. It gets pretty inconsistent by the afternoon usually, which again offered great testing conditions. The V-92 isn't the most playful ski in softer and more variable snow conditions, but it does quite well for performing at such a high level as a frontside carving ski. It's relatively forgiving considering it doesn't use any tail rocker or early taper anywhere. It really doesn't feel catchy in softer snow, which was surprising for me. It has a very predictable feel, which is pretty much how I felt on firm snow too. It's the type of ski that leaves you feeling confident in how it's going to react to changes in terrain and snow conditions. It's definitely not the most playful ski in the low-90-mm range, but not too many skis in that range match its precision on firm snow either, so it definitely has its place.
If you're the type of skier that likes the feel of a carving ski and really values a long edge contact and good grip, you'll really like the V-92. If you're that type of skier, but you want something a little more versatile than your traditional carving skis, you'll love it. We also think it's pretty approachable for a wide range of skiers. Because the VMT construction results in an overall weight that's lighter than skis with two sheets of metal, it's a little bit less demanding than some competitor's skis. A relatively accomplished intermediate can definitely ski the V-92. On the other hand, an expert skier will enjoy it as well. An expert will likely appreciate what Liberty has accomplished more than an intermediate, but both can thoroughly enjoy it. It's a relatively unique feel to have a ski that doesn't feel heavy, but is stable at speed. It doesn't use early taper, but it doesn't feel catchy or hooky in soft snow. There's some sort of magic going on here for sure. Or it just feels like magic because we as skiers aren't yet used to this new vertical metal phenomenon. In fact, in talks with Liberty, we expect to see this construction trickle into other skis in their line down the road. It really is that good.