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.
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.
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.
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 SkiEssentials.com, 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.
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