2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Ski Review

MAY 3, 2023 | WRITTEN BY Bob St.Pierre

The 2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 represents a new direction in the Dynastar line, combining smooth and engaging all-mountain performance with an eco-friendly design. The impressive part is that if you weren’t told that this was an environmentally conscious ski, you’d have no idea. It’s an incredibly fun, rewarding, and versatile ski for a wide range of skiers. The fact that they’re able to pull this off with a lower resource footprint is just a huge bonus. The big story here is the Hybrid Core 2.0, taking notes from the original Hybrid core and adding modern twists to make the skis smooth, light, and insanely responsive. Within the new “Cross” line, we are getting an M-Cross 88, 82, and 78 and E-Crosses (women’s) of the same widths and builds, just available in shorter sizes and with different graphics. This review focuses mainly on the highly versatile men’s 88, as it takes square aim at other insanely approachable and versatile skis in this range.

Dynastar’s Hybrid Core, in the past, has consisted of a central wood core flanked by two strips of Polyurethane that run along the sidewalls. This PU material is a lightweight plastic that’s fairly akin to what’s used in 120-flex alpine ski boots. This material has delivered a smooth, energetic, and damp feel in all of Dynastar’s Hybrid Core skis in the past, and that overall composure does not change for the 2024 M-Cross. What they’ve done to make it the 2.0 version is added a Tri-Directional Poplar core to the mix, and this not only adds to the snap and pop of the ski, but it also reduces the amount of adhesive materials, lowering the energy and harmful byproducts that are normally used to bond wood stringers together. With two transversal layers of wood on the bottom of the core, Dynastar basically interlocks their vertical stringers on top of the lower laminates. This gives the ski more vertical stiffness and energy. We’ve seen this style of core configurations in some other skis lately, namely the Nordica Steadfast and Spitfire skis that are using two horizontal wood laminates separated by a metal layer. Additionally, DPS has used this type of inlayed wood arrangement, combining the vertical and the horizontal. By joining these different threads of wood together, they’re basically using friction and pressure to solidify the ski rather than glue and a press. This Tri-Directional wood core sits between those two strips of PU, and all sits under a uni-directional fiberglass laminate. On top of that laminate sits an H-Shaped titanal layer, extending full-width underfoot and slightly into the forebody and tail of the ski. These H-Shaped metal “arms” serve as a performance booster, adding grip as well as energy to the underfoot portion of the turn. To their credit, this minimalistic design also keeps weight down, and while we’re dealing with a mostly metal-free ski, that’s still an important consideration. The 176 tips the scale at 1750 grams per ski, putting it just slightly heavier than something like the Elan Ripstick 88 which is just shy of 1700 grams.


2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis






159, 168, 176, 184 cm

14 m @ 176 cm

135 / 88 / 117 mm

1,750 g @ 176 cm


Aside from the unique construction of the ski, we’re also seeing a pretty interesting shape. We’ve been on a lot of really fun and turny skis this year, like the 13-meter Black Crows Mirus Cor, and have definitely been turned on to the rewarding carving character of these models. This M-Cross 88 sits at 14-meters in the 176, so it’s right there with the shorter-turning skis of the world, and we’re all about it. The 88 mm waist is partnered with 135 mm tips and 117 mm tails. This wider shovel allows for easy and intuitive initiation paired with a smooth tail release. It’s not terribly catchy in the aft portion of the ski, but it certainly grips tight if you remain engaged—that's the fun part of having a shorter arc. The combination of taper, width, and sidecut create what Dynastar calls their “Adaptive Sidecut,” but what we’ve gleaned is that this really means that the ski is smooth and predictable in a variety of turn shapes and styles. In terms of profile, it’s markedly more of a directional ski with directional intentions, so it’s no surprise that there’s a bunch of positive camber underfoot and somewhat minimal rocker in the tips and tails. For an 88, it’s about average in the shovel, combining well with the wider shape to create a floaty feeling, but in the tail, it’s mostly there for smoothness of release rather than a playful, smeary character. This makes sense, as the flexibility of the ski pairs well with that profile, allowing for creative energy without being overpowered. If you were to implement this profile into a stiffer or heavier ski, then the resulting turn completion would be very demanding. As it stands, the ski strikes a fantastic blend between snappy energy and smooth, dynamic release.

2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis: Top Sheet Closeup 2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis: Tip Rocker Closeup

This all leads to performance, of course, and from the first turn, it’s evident that this ski is a sharp turner with an impressive speed limit. On the groomers, the wider shovel hooks into a turn with predictable intensity, and the greater the edge angle that you create, the more the ski will dive and drive into that radius. This is not just some short-turning easy-going ski—you can make it go, and for a ski with strategically placed metal, it handles these speeds quite well. Similar to the Mirus Cor, it prefers to make the intended arc, but when asked, it’ll mix it up as well. The stability is surprising, with minimal chatter and deflection. Much of this performance can be attributed to the PU material along the sides, but it’s worth noting that the wood joinery has a lot to do with it as well. The power band of the ski is definitely found underfoot, thanks to the H-Shaped glass laminate. Right when you feel like you’ve given the ski enough energy to complete the turn, it kind of asks for more, and this is where it really starts to light up. Once you hit the middle of the radius, the M-Cross feels like a different ski. Sure, you can keep it shallower and skidding more, but if you’ve got more of a true carving preference, the central portion of the ski, while articulating and flexing, is really where you feel the liveliness and power come through. On the 176, I initially felt it was going to be on the short side, and I was a bit skeptical of the ski’s ability to hold and not fold, but those fears were quickly assuaged. Even at 6’2 and 225 pounds, this shorter length was plenty of ski on firm snow, pushing pretty hard through a carved turn. Personally, I’d still opt for the 184, but had little to no issue putting the shorter test model through the paces.

2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis: Full Width Action Image 1 2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis: 2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis Action Image 4

It’s in the off-piste zones that I think I’d definitely prefer the longer length. The soft spring snow we had was relatively easy to push around, but it was fairly evident that in order to really access the top end of the performance spectrum, I’d need some more surface area overall. The ease of turning on-trail translates quite similarly to that in an off-trail format as well. In the trees, this ski is super-easy to get around. For where we are in Vermont, and other zones that aren’t super-deep snow in the woods all the time, it’s very beneficial to have a quick-turning ski that can stand up to more packed-out glades and skied-out woods. Oftentimes, these gladed zones get some bumps in them as well, so having the ability to be quick and agile makes a whole lot of sense. Like most skis on the lighter side of the spectrum, mogul performance is fantastic, with the added bonus of solid edge grip for more icy zones in between said moguls. We often view the bump performance through the lens of what we deal with on a daily basis, and ski performance like this usually comes in handy for a large portion of the ski population. Most skis work just fine in packed powder, it’s when the chips are down, and the ski needs to hold tight to the surface that the cream rises to the top. In this light, the M-Cross 88 is a top performer, and will not only aid in the progression of a lot of skiers, but will also satisfy the needs and wants of more demanding skiers who value precision and power in a variety of conditions and terrain. This is, after all, a very pure all-mountain ski—equally at home railing carved turns on the groomers as it is dancing through the trees or hammering down the bumps. It’s supposed to be seamless when transitioning between avenues and applications, and in that sense, this ski is more than successful.

There’s a lot to be said in the ski world when it comes to balance. You need to balance performance with accessibility, weight with stiffness, shape with profile, business with pleasure, and so on. Dynastar has done a great job with all of these, with the added bonus of creating a greener ski. If manufacturers can get an equal amount of performance with a lower carbon footprint, then so much the better. By utilizing technology that aims to improve both ski performance and environmental impact, the overall balance of the ski can be seen as improved. What we’re left with, as skiers, is a wonderfully fun and engaging all-mountain ski that can stand with the best of them while offering a manageable and smooth character from top to bottom.

2024 Dynastar M-Cross 88 Skis Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Bob St.Pierre on 05/03/23