Ski Reviews

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review: // Ski Reviews

Right around this time last year, we looked at the new Liberty V-92. In that review, we introduced the company's new VMT construction, also known as Vertical Metal Technology. A similar concept to what we're seeing from some other brands right now, this construction technique is designed to deliver the performance benefits of metal, without needing to use full horizontal sheets. Vertical strips are lighter, which minimizes the total mass of the skis, while giving us power, stability, and vibration damping. If you missed the review of the V-92, check it out, as a lot of that information carries over to this review, the new 2020 Liberty Evolv90.

The best way to think of the Evolv90 is that it's somewhat of an offspring of the super-fun, maneuverable Origin collection and the more firm-snow-oriented, ripping V-Series. It blends the shapes of these two ski collections, and also uses somewhat of a hybrid construction technique. Let's look at shape first. The Evolv90 has a more versatile shape than the V-Series, but it's not as rockered as the Origin, especially in the tail. In fact, we only get 15% tip rocker in the Evolv90, and no tail rocker whatsoever. The V-Series, on the other hand, get 10% tip rocker. The Evolv90 also has a little more early taper in the tip than the V-Series, which use very blunt, wide tip profiles. The increased rocker and tip taper boosts versatility and gives the ski a smoother overall feel in softer snow conditions. The tail shape, however, is quite similar to the V-Series, which is a nod to the fact that these skis are built for powerful, aggressive skiing. The Origin series has more rocker (20% in the tip, 10% in the tail), the tail has way more taper than the Evolv90, and it's also lighter and has a softer flex pattern, which brings us to construction.

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review: Ski Spec Image

This new Evolv90 uses the same VMT technology we saw for the first time in Liberty's 2019 collection. The Evolv90 differs from the V-Series skis, however, as it uses 2 vertical struts, not 3, and just uses 2 carbon stringers, instead of 2 carbon stringers plus a full carbon layup as we see in the VMT. So, compared to the V-Series, the Evolv90 is going to be a little softer flexing, but overall it's a very similar construction. The Origin collection uses Liberty's Speedcore Carbon construction, which eliminates the vertical metal entirely, just relying on those carbon stringers. So, you can see how the Evolv90 falls in between the V-Series and Origin skis based on both shape and construction, and performance follows suit.

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review: Full Camber Image

If we were to pick one word to describe the performance of the Evolv90, it would be smooth. These skis are incredibly smooth. They're damp, stable, and quiet. On groomers they feel incredibly planted to the snow, perhaps even more so than the V-Series. We already knew it from testing the V-Series and other skis using similar construction concepts, but these vertical metal struts do a fantastic job achieving the performance we're looking for out of skis with metal. They're smooth, damp, and powerful. They don't feel particularly energetic out of a turn, however, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Some skis in this category feel almost too energetic, always wanting to pop you in and out of the next turn. The Evolv90 responds to skier input very accurately. If you want to just link casual, smooth, high speed, almost Super-G-style turns, you can certainly do so. Getting the ski to flex into shorter turns with quicker edge to edge feel does require some input from the driver, but in our opinion, that's a good thing for a ski that's intended for advanced to expert level skiers. The V-Series feel more like a traditional carving ski with a little more energy and pop out of a turn, which we imagine comes from the full carbon layup, but the Evolv90 definitely rips on the hardpack.

While achieving high performance and an impressively smooth, quiet, powerful feel on firm snow, it also can handle un-groomed terrain reasonably well. This is where it really starts to make sense that these skis fall in between the Origin and V-Series collections. The Evolv90 is way more powerful than the Origin on firm snow, but it's not as easy-going in trees and moguls alternatively. The more squared off tail makes it more challenging to pivot and smear your turns than on the Origin. Intermediate skiers might struggle on the Evolv90 if they decide to take it into tight, un-groomed terrain. The shape and flex pattern asks for a skier with fairly accomplished technique. Even an expert skier, however, may find some limitations. We skied it in literal Volkswagon-sized moguls, and it was a bit much. To be honest, however, those moguls were a bit much for any ski, but we undoubtedly would've had an easier time on the Origin 96. I also skied the Evolv90 on a 60 degree spring day, and if I wanted to quickly throw the skis sideways to dump speed, it definitely required some skier input and solid technique. If I was lazy, which I often am on skis, I felt a little bit punished. I couldn't just slash the skis into skidded turns to dump a little speed as easily as I can on skis with more tail rocker. That said, skis with more tail rocker don't hold a candle to these in terms of stability through choppy snow.

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review: Wide Action Image 1

If your idea of un-groomed, off-piste skiing involved more high speed, wide open turns than short turns and tight terrain, you'll absolutely love these. They have that tank-like performance that a lot of aggressive skiers like. You can point them down the fall line, even on steep, un-groomed terrain, and you certainly won't be disappointed. I never felt like I was pushing them anywhere even close to their limit in terms of overall speed and the ski's stability. A much heavier skier might, but even our heaviest tester on the Evolv90, coming in around 215 lbs, felt the same smooth, damp, stable feel that I did through a variety of terrain.

So, when it comes down to it, the Evolv90 makes a lot of sense. It complements existing Liberty skis really nicely and provides a new option for an all mountain ski out of all their skis. The Origin series is distinctly more playful, but it does leave something to be desired if you're a really aggressive skier that doesn't care about pivoting, smearing or slashing turns. At the same time, it's more versatile than the V-Series. Even though the V-92 is wider, I'd rather take the Evolv90 into just about any kind of off-piste terrain.

The Evolv90 is entering into a highly competitive market that sometimes feels flooded with all mountain skis around 90 mm, but it's going to make a little niche for itself, in our opinion. It's kind of like a burlier Nordica Navigator 90, which is kind of nice because the Navigator 90 is discontinued for 2020. It has a similar mix of a versatile shape in the tip, with more a carving-oriented tail. It's not quite Brahma/Kendo 88 levels of power, but it's not far behind those skis and does have a unique feel. Another ski we would compare it to in terms of versatility would be the Experience 88 Ti, but like the Navigator 90, the Evolv90 feels like a little more ski than the Rossi too. Of course, as we often mention here on, being "more ski" does not equate to a "better ski" for everyone out there. Rather, the Evolv90 is further rounding out this category of ~90 mm all mountain skis, which only enhances the idea that there is going to be a ski that's right for you and your own personal skiing style.

2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review: Available Soon Image

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Written by Jeff Neagle on 04/23/19

22 thoughts on “2020 Liberty Evolv90 Ski Review

  1. Did you guys get to spend any time on the Evolv100? If so, did it exhibit similar performance characteristics?

    1. Hi Scott!
      We did not get a chance to ski the 100 this year unfortunately. As a huge fan of the 90, I'd love a crack at the wider version. The extra width will put it in the same conversation as a Blizzard Bonafide or a Nordica Enforcer 100 as far as wide all-mountain skis are concerned. I'd assume it has the same stability and smoothness, but with a bit more heft. Hopefully we'll get on it next year!

    1. Hi Teddy!
      Good comparison! The K2 feels lighter and more maneuverable. I'd rather ski moguls and trees on the K2 and groomers on the Evolv. I was pretty blown away with the stability of the Liberty, but that came at the price of a more sluggish off-trail personality, so there is a compromise there. But overall, they're both very competent all-mountain skis with that Liberty being exceptional on smoother terrain. Have fun!

      1. Between the two skis, is what you give up in E90 for off-piste that much better than what you give up in MB90 for on-trail?
        I'm deciding between the two. I want something that's good for mogul and tree, without giving up too much for groomer (I don't have to lay trenches).

        1. Hi Ace!
          You sound like a Mindbender skier to me. I loved that thing in the bumps as well as the groomers. That said, the Evolv90 was a superior carver, but not by a whole lot. You'll certainly like either one, but I'd say you're leaning to the K2. Have fun!

  2. Thanks so much for the thoughtful, comprehensive reviews. I am curious how you think this ski compares to the Enforcer 88. I am looking for something thats a bit more playful and versatile than the Brahma (yet still powerful) and both of these skis would seem to fit the bill.

    1. Thanks, Tim!
      I agree that both models are more playful than the Brahma, and I'd put the Enforcer slightly ahead of the Evolv in terms of versatility. I loved the Liberty on the groomers more than any other ski I've ever been on, and that is not an exaggeration. It is the quietest ski I've ever skied. That said, if I were going to have only one, I'd take the Enforcer 88--it's no slouch either on-trail, but has that all-mountain mentality that I just didn't find in the Liberty. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks that's quite helpful. Actually makes me lean towards the Liberty as i do value groomer performance a bit more highly than off-piste, trees, etc. and i like the sounds of that uber stiff tail. One last ques - an industry friend who was at one of the demo days just recommended to me the new FX86. how is that one similar / different to the Evolv? I gather that the new 86 is quite a bit different from the old 85. As always, thanks again for the stellar reviews and comments. Will send you guys an order(s) soon enough...

        1. Hi Tim!
          Quite a bit different, I'd say. The FX 86 has a lighter, more all-mountain feeling to it, even though it's a bit narrower. It feels like you can make any turn shape or style at any point while the Evolv takes more focus, muscle, and determination. The FX is certainly easier to ski, but doesn't have the same quiet and stable character as the Liberty. If you value groomer performance, you'll prefer the Liberty. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi guys,
    I'm 6'1", 190lbs, advanced, 80% on piste, like to charge and ski fast. Currently on a Navigator 90 which I like a lot, but looking for something a bit more aggressive. I know it's probably pretty close to a wash between these three skis based on your excellent reviews, but any thoughts on whether the Evolv90, Enforcer 88, or Kendo 88 might be better suited for my size and style? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sean!
      On an aggressiveness scale, I'd go Kendo, E88, Evolv90. The Kendo has the more "metallic" feel while the Evolv is the "woodiest." The Enforcer is a good mix of the two, and a pretty nice step up in terms of stability from the Nav 90 (which I love, by the way). So if you're looking to split the difference, I'd go with the Enforcer, but you're right, they're all pretty awesome, so that's a good thing. Have fun!

      1. Thanks for the reply! Decisions, decisions! (Fun one's at least!) My Nav 90s are 179-based on my height/weight/style and the characteristics of all the skis below, think I should bump up to a longer length or stay put? Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions I should already know the answers to! Ha!

  4. Hey there Jeff, and Bob! How would you guys compare your skiing experience on the Blizzard Rustler 9 vs the Liberty evolv90? I know the Rustler 9 has tip and tail rocker, so there's a difference in the design, but what about the way they ski? Is the evolv90 as versatile? And what about their deeper snow characteristics? Or, on-piste groomer performance?
    Write as much as you'd like, I've got time on my hands these days!
    Take care; be well.

    1. Hi Frank!
      Rustler is more versatile than the Evolv by a pretty decent margin. The Evolv is much more directional and on-piste versus the turned up tail and more freeride personality of the Rustler. Deeper snow goes to the Rustler thanks not only to the rocker profile, but also the lightness of the carbon in the tips and tails--this helps with flotation for sure. On-piste, the Rustler can't touch the Evolv90 and its edge grip and energy. The Evolv is one of the smoothest and most silent skis I've ever been on, as that vertical metal technology really seems to work well at keeping the ski glued to the snow. It has a lower tip splay, leading to a more precise transition between turns while the Rustler is more slidy and skidding-oriented. The only real redeeming quality for the Rustler on the groomers is the fact that it has a partial metal laminate that gives the ski some energy underfoot and some decent rebound. For moguls, trees, and general all-mountain skiing, I'd go Rustler, but if you're on-piste and hammering groomers all day, there's not much better than that evolv90! Take care!

  5. Hi guys, how would the Evolv90 compare to the Rossi EXP 88 on both the top of Nose Dive and the mid section, and then on Chin Clip? Do you carry the Evolv84's, and how would that ski compare to the EXP 88's on the same trails? Is there any difference between the men's and women's versions other than top sheet graphics? Thanks for all your great reviews!

    1. Hi Steve!
      I'd take the Evolv90 over the Experience 88 on any groomer any day. I just found it to be so incredibly smooth and quiet. The Experience has better hard snow performance, mostly due to the higher camber as well as the shorter turn radius. If the Liberty had more of a traditional tip splay and taper shape, I think I'd like it more in the bumps on Chin Clip, but as it stands, that tip is wide and non-tapered, as well as very low-profile, making it a bit unnerving to point into the belly of the next bump. Even though a bit stiffer, the Experience 88 is a bit more confidence-inspiring in the moguls. The men's and women's skis are a bit different, in that the men's uses bamboo and poplar while the W uses bamboo and paulownia, making it a bit lighter and more flexible. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for that feedback. If the Experience is better on hard snow performance, would you say it's a better Eastern ski than the Lberty's if I was just using them on the front side? I like carving short to medium radius turns, but like the idea of how smooth and quiet the Liberty's are. If the snow was soft and I wanted to ski both on piste & bumps I could always take out my twin tips or my Mindbenders. I was looking for a second ski to use with my family at Magic while leaving my regular pair in my ski locker up north. As another option, what do you think about the DPS Pagoda Piste 90 RP? I know they are in a different price league, but wonder how they would compare with the Experience's or Liberty's? Thanks again! Steve

        1. Steve,
          Certainly a different feel with the DPS and the carbon versus the more organic feel of the Liberty. You get better snap out of the turn with the DPS, but the quiet is gone. It's more of a personal preference at that point versus performance, in terms of what you want the ski to feel like and do. So you get the top end performance, but in a very light package, and for some skiers, that's the beginning and end of the conversation. Not to say the Evolv or the Experience are heavy, but there is a difference for sure. You're paying for the weight savings and the carbon with the DPS. I think I'd still lean to the Liberty just because it's such an interesting ski--different than anything else I've been on, and just pure carving bliss. Have fun!

  6. I know this is an older thread, but I'm looking at these and the Brahma 88's.They both look like a solid choice on carving groomed trails, how do they compare off piste? We don't get a ton of powder. Thanks!

    1. Hi KC!

      The Brahma is definitely a solid choice for an all mountain frontside carver. Off trail however its a little unwieldy and less maneuverable than other 88 underfoot skis on the market. The Brahma is really at home laying down trenches in icy hardpack and groomers and less so in bumps and trees. The Evolv 90 on the other hand is a little more forgiving with its construction making it much more suited for off trail applications. If you want hard fast carving with supreme edge hold, go for the Brahma. If you are looking for a more off trail focused ski, go for the Evolv.

      Have fun out there!

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