Ski: 2013 Dynastar Outland 87
Length: 178cm, mounted 2 notches (15mm) behind the "recommended" line (which is still 4cm forward of an on the line MX88 in 178cm)
Conditions: Steamboat, soft bumps, a few crunchy bumps (it was warm on south-facing slopes) the 20-turn chutes up top, end of day groomers
Video: none, I was skiing solo today.
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year
Tune: ski was horrible out of the box. Totally railed, couldn't get the thing off edge. Required a full grind, 12 passes, to get the tip and tail flat, and I put a 1 degree base on the tip and tail, and 2 degree side. Under the ski was over-beveled, and I still wasn't getting to the base edge even at 12 passes, but was starting to hit it. I didn't want to run any more passes on the ski, figured it would ski OK if it was just a little over 1 degree at underfoot, as long as it was 1 degree tip and tail.
I brought the Outland 87 with me in 178cm for this ski trip. for those of you unfamiliar with this ski, it has a bit of rocker tip and tail, a slightly tapered tip, pretty wide at 132/87/114, 19m radius. No metal, fairly soft tip and tail, pretty stout laterally though, mounted with a Fluid PX12 binding. 178cm is a pretty long ski, the rocker is low, the tip is low, and you are skiing most of that length. Mounting position is pretty wacky: the "recommended" mount is nearly 6cm forward of where a recommended mount on a similar MX88 is, and 3cm forward of a 177cm 888 from Elan. I bumped it back as far as I could with that binding, which still felt short in the tip, but not outrageous. I considered bringing the Outland 80 (likely a better bump and firm snow tool) but this ski is probably closer to what my everyday type ski in the PNW would be.
I skied mostly soft/hero bumps all day, a few tree runs (Shadow area primarily). I did a lot of laps on the Storm Peak, White Out, and Tornado bump runs, some of the liftline bump runs, chutes off Mt. Werner, and the big "to the base" groomer at the end of the day, which alternated between choppy and skied off really firm snow.
First off, I want to note that I think a ski like this should be in every skier's quiver, at least those that ski off-piste and want a high performance ski that can handle any conditions. Something with a tip this wide and a profile like this is going to do well in all but the deepest snow, and still be a great ski in skied out trees and bumps, groomers even. I saw a lot of people up there today struggling on big skis like JJ's, S7's, Surfaces, and although those are fun in new snow, there wasn't much to be had today. Maybe they weren't very good skiers to begin with, but I can't figure out for the life of me why you would want to ski bumps all day on a heavily rockered 115mm ski (or a race carver for that matter, although I didn't see any of those in the bumps). A ski that is more nimble and has a good long edge and flex pattern for off-piste skiing will be far superior.
Review: I was impressed with this ski! It took a couple of turns to get used to the super short tip length, but it was a well balanced ski. This ski was the epitome of versatility. It is an excellent bump ski. Certainly having soft, hero-style bumps was a plus, but I was skiing bumps more aggressively than at any time before in my life. The 87 just had a great blend of flex at the tip: I could really drive it down into the trough, get long between bumps, which allowed me to suck up the transitions and take them faster and more aggressively. The tail was easy to release, smooth, never grabby, but I could just punch that tip right into the bump if needed, and it would bend and allow me to suck it up. Sure, it is wide for a bump ski, but worked just fine.
New snow: the very few turns I was able to get confirmed that the 87 has a really nice flex for soft snow. The tip, being tapered, rockered, and fairly soft, was easy to ski. Not enough time to really say how much float one would get, but by looking at the dimensions, it should be solid for all but pretty deep days. 132mm is a pretty wide tip, and the flex certainly is good.
Trees: this is a quick, easy ski. I find that skis that are good in bumps are also good in trees: the ski needs to be able to execute a quick edge change/foot pull back/tipping move with some down unweighting in even snow. The Outland was super easy here, and when I made a mistake and was stuck in the backseat, I wasn't punished. A lot of skis are scary in the back seat: this, I can recover on. I was making some sweet, 12 meter carves, swooping around the trees that were fairly skied out, but not really bumped up too much. Tons of fun.
Groomers: the Outland 87 punched above it's weight here. Due to the tip rocker, there was a little flap, but I was really hauling on a rough, end of day groomer that was bumping up, and just laying these over with tons of confidence. No worries pushing it at I don't know how they would do on pure ice, but I couldn't complain. Plus, I was getting decent energy out of the ski, especially at aggressive edge angles. The more active I was in releasing that outside leg and sending energy down the hill, the more pop in the tail I was getting. It was a really fun carver, not just an average carver. As I was getting tired toward the end of the day (not used to skiing 2000 vert of bumps!), I did a few one-legged drills on the ski, just to see how it performed. Not ideally, but good enough that someone could use it as a teaching ski.
Overall feel: damp, smooth, not too aggressive, perfect for steep and variable off-piste skiing. I loved the light flex in the tip especially: it was very good for my weight. Most similar in feel probably to maybe a 2012 series Peak 84 or 90 Head: solid, but not overly aggressive.
Summary: one of the best skis I have ever tried. Great flex for me, awesome sizing for a go-to ski for a variety of conditions, no one area where it didn't ski well. Money road-trip ski, just one of those skis that can make you smile in just about any condition. Just make sure you give it a full grind and tune first.
Note: this ski returns for 2014. I haven't heard much buzz about it: Dynastar gets overlooked a lot. I feel that in comparison to it's sister ski, the Rossi E88, the Rossi is the better groomer ski. I would grab the Outland 87 for off-piste skiing and bumps: it has a softer tip and longer rocker profile, making it more off-piste oriented.