Note: (This review is of the 2015 Liberty Origin ski. Nothing major has changed on the 2016 Origin has except the graphics and the core has been updated from the previous year.)
About Liberty the company:
“Liberty makes high performance skis rooted in functional innovation and respect for the environment. Every material we use, and design we produce, is done with the ultimate goal of elevating your experience on skis. Liberty skis perform so well because they are designed and built without regard to marketing hype or the latest trend. We test all our designs and materials ourselves to see if they improve the way our skis ride in a variety of conditions. If they do not improve the ski experience, then they don’t go in our skis. A great example of functional innovation is our exclusive use of bamboo laminate cores in our skis. Liberty was the first and remains the ONLY ski company to use bamboo in all our skis. Bamboo is strong, light, eco friendly, and gives our skis a unique stability and liveliness not found with any other material. Bamboo helps you ski better. Combining unique designs and the best materials available, we hand build skis to exacting standards, allowing Liberty to offer the best warranty in the industry at 3 years. We hand select bamboo from southern China, edges from Germany, bases from France, adhesives from the US, high tech composites from Germany, topsheets from Austria and plastics from Japan to create the most fun and versatile skis available.”
About the Liberty Origin 174 (I mounted these with the Liberty/Tyrolia Attack 13 Bindings to keep the weight down)
- Dimensions(mm): 145-116-136
- Radius(m): 19
- Weight(g): 2190
"The NEW Origin reminds us all why we love to ski. Playful tip and tail Bomb Rocker is combined with a hard-carving midsection and the perfect waist width of 116mm. Quick and easy turning from the rocker and carefully matched multi-radius sidecut, the Origin makes any terrain your personal playground."
Here’s a little bit about me and what I ski:
- Me: Chica, 31 years, 5’9″, 135lbs, love deep fluff, fast groomers, and wide powdery glades!
- Location of skiing: Mostly Western and Central Colorado
- Type of skiing: Downhill-mostly resort, some side and backcountry
- Skis I own:
- ’13 Liberty Helix 176,
- ’14 Liberty Variant 97
- '15 Liberty Jinx 168
- '15 Liberty Origin 174
- Boots: Salomon Quest 10 25.5
- Binding/AT Setup:
- Liberty/Tyrolia Adrenaline 15 A/T
- Liberty/Tyrolia Attack 13
- 4FRNT Gr8ful Deadbolt 15
At the start of last season, there was a bunch of hype already forming around Liberty's new super playful powder ski from the Origin's debut at SIA and all the on snow and magazine gear tests. In addition to up-ing the anty, Liberty had begun to sport a few new top sheet designs as well. The Origin was a lucky winner, featuring a beautiful design by (at the time) Liberty's Creative Director, Shannon Kennedy, lovelifecreative.com. Shannon brings a fresh new look featuring more patterns to Liberty Skis that are crowd pleasing with both men and women alike.
Freeskier Magazine's review said it best with, "The Liberty Origin skis had our testers howling all across Aspen Mountain, and it wasn’t just because of that snazzy coyote topsheet. 'These skis eat chunder for breakfast. They blasted through everything,' said one tester. The ski’s full rockered tip and tail, along with a smidgen of camber underfoot, help it perform equally as well in the powder as in the chop. Testers agreed that the bamboo and poplar core provided a 'stable yet lively' feel, and when taken into unpredictable conditions the ski had 'unbelievable control and stability.'”
The Origin also scored big marks in Powder Magazine's 2015 Gear Guide making Skier's Choice in the Fantasy Land Category. One reviewer had this to say, "This lightweight, forgiving ski (2190g) takes the learning curve out of powder skiing. The full tip and tail rocker with slight camber—termed Bomb Rocker by Liberty—give these skis exceptional flotation so you can keep your tips up and eyes down the fall line. You’ll want to choose a smooth line because throwing her into high gear in hard snow produces some chatter. The attractive top-sheet is easy on the eyes, and there’s a feel-good component knowing that your boards are made with sustainable bamboo construction."
The season here in the San Juan's started early, but the good snow took a good long while to really take off. Most of Telluride Ski Resort was open by Christmas, but there wasn't a whole lot in the way of good powder. With early season conditions typically being hideously rocky, I waited quite a while before bothering to mount my new Origins.
After a few weeks, a few inches here and there added up to enough that I felt confident that I wouldn't endure a major core shot the first few days out on these skis. My first day out on the Origins was the first weekend of the new year when the fellas from Loki Gear out of Grand Junction came to town to do a photo shoot for a few of their new jackets and fleece hat. I thought it was a perfect time to unveil my new skis and maybe get them featured elsewhere. It was a bit of a nasty day, only a little new snow over night and hardly any visibility. We took off straight up to Telluride's Revelation Bowl hoping to score that dramatic Bear Creek background in the shots. I skied with extreme caution knowing that the rocks in Revi Bowl would be deceptively covered. The snow underneath was crusty as it had for weeks been baking in the sun. But even with the slight dusting on the surface, the Origins stuck to the mountain, held their line and carved through the nasty crust without any skidding or chatter. Out on the groomers the snow was a little softer and they carved in such a playful, buttery way I felt I just had to make as many turns and spins as I possibly could!
The season continued to drag on with very little snow. Over the next couple weeks, maybe a foot of new snow fell and Telluride finally decided to open some of the hike-to terrain in Black Iron Bowl. FINALLY! My first chance to see how the Origin's perform in some actual powder! I took them for a run down Mountain Quail which was filled with hard avi debris as well as some soft new snow in the main chute. The Origins cut and turned through that choppy bumpy mess with incredible ease and when the chute opened up at the bottom, I was making super creamy, dreamy, floating turns in what was easily 2 feet of hardly tracked powder. I was amazed at the fact that I didn't actually have to charge as straight and fast as I could go to stay afloat. I could cruise merrily at whatever speed I wanted and still be on the surface, able to turn on a dime. My legs and especially knees couldn't have been any happier! Quail stayed decently soft for the next week or so, although the untracked powder quickly disappeared. But it allowed for a few more good hikes and some uncrowded soft bump turns. I quickly learned that The Origins were just about my new favorite bump skis, weird! Even though they are quite wide, they pivoted remarkably easily through any size of bump in any snow condition. I felt this was because their perfectly rockered profile did something for the swing weight, making pivoting and swinging them through the bumps a breeze. Again, the knees were super happy about this!
So, a few more weeks go by. No new snow in the forecast for weeks out meant I had to put the Origins down for a bit to keep them safe from the rocks that were beginning to reappear. Around the middle of February, Liberty's National Sales Manager, Tim Dyer made a trip to Telluride to give the Jagged Edge, local Liberty shop in town a peak at next year's Liberty models. (They all look super awesome btw, STOKED!) One of the managers, Dave and I decided to take Tim out and show him a few highlights of the mountain, seeing as he had never skied Telluride before. I left the Origins behind and grabbed my Liberty Jinx skis from this year, knowing that we would likely find zero soft snow. Dave decided to try out the new Schuster Pro model and Tim took this next season's Origins out. We took him on a tiny hike up into Black Iron Bowl, and down Genevieve where we found tons of rocks but ultimately found a few good stashes of maybe 5 inch deep soft stuff near the bottom, deep in the trees. Then we took him over to Gold Hill and down Chute 7 where there were also a ton of rocks near the top. Once the chute opened up the snow actually became quite deep with snow that had blown in with the wind and kept things filled in. I was wishing I had my Origins because my 94 waisted Jinxs weren't quite cutting it. We cruised to and fro, actually getting some really great, mostly untracked, buttery turns in, even with there being what seemed like no new snow for months. I had a blast skiing with Tim and Dave. Both are very good skiers who make beautiful turns. They were super fun to watch! After that we zipped back down to town, just about the fastest I had ever zipped. I couldn't believe how fast Tim was flying, (and I say flying because I'm not actually sure his skis ever stayed on the snow) dude rips! He charged down Lookout faster than I had ever seen anyone ski without making hardly any turns. I could barely keep up with him on my little Jinxs which actually can charge pretty dang fast (I hit 73mph on them once)! To me, I couldn't believe he was doing it on a powder ski. I really had no idea the Origin could handle going that fast, I would have figured it would get super jittery and wiggly. They definitely did not. That bamboo core kept it just stiff enough and when Tim laid over into a deep carve, the whole edge dug into the snow and gave him immense stability and control. I will say, after I saw him to that, you bet I was out trying it for myself! I charged as fast as I could go, laying down some huge arcing turns and never once did these skis ever feel like they would do me wrong!
Now for the good stuff! As usually happens in Telluride, toward the end of February and into the beginning of March, we get hammered. This year was a one-two punch which brought two big storms over a two-week period that dumped somewhere around 5 feet of snow. It was go time for the Origins! The first round was actually very dense, heavy snow and I really struggled to get enough speed to make turns, but the Origins still stayed afloat! After that the snow lightened up and turned into that super soft and fluffy, champagne-like Telluride gold. There really isn't anything more to say about how amazing they ski all over the mountain in every condition. But when they get to open up in endless powder is when the magic really happens. Days upon days of rope drops and hiking for turns was rewarded ten fold by these skis. I have never in my life truly experienced anything that floated and turned on a dime and opened up and just felt so dreamy. I felt like I could ski any way I wanted, wherever I wanted and however I pleased and they would do it all, with no hesitation. It was so great when I thought, "Ooooo I wanna go this way." And right then we were going this way!
After that incredible storm, It literally didn't snow again. At least not till after the mountain closed. There was still plenty of coverage, so the Origins got to play quite a bit. They actually became my go-to ski for just about the remainder of the season. It was hot, down right hot at the end of the season. I swore by midday, the snow turned easily into 6 inches of creamy corn slush. Oh man, the Origins LOVED this! They slayed that corn like it was wet powder! The last day of the resort's season was so warm and so creamy, it was easily one of the funnest days I had on these skis! Now that we are halfway through August, all the weather folks are predicting a Godzilla El Nino and pow shots from South America are invading my social media, I am beginning to crave some soft snow and dreamy turns on my Origins!
Below is a video of my 2014-15 season. Skip ahead to :35 and 1:05 to catch the Origins in action!