16 December, 2009

Dynafit Manaslu Review

I've had the chance to ski alot of skis over the past few years, everything from World Cup downhill skis to insane powder boards like the Movement Fly Swatters.  The Dynafit Manaslu's are skis for the hard charging skier who tours a lot. 

We started our day out touring out in deep snow conditions.  We had just received what the Whistler was calling 30cm of fresh snow, but was more like 60-80cm in the backcountry, what good days in the mountains are made of.  Skinning out and up, it wasn't hard to notice that this ski was super light, and that it was unbelievably easy to move.  Because of it's weight, my speed was immediately faster, as it vastly improved my cadence which was a treat with a fat ski on my feet.  The real beauty of the weight didn't come into play until it was my turn to break trail.  It effortlessly plowed through thigh deep snow on the up hill, on always came out on the surface due to its extra long shovel, making it way easier to climb faster. Even the pivot point of the toe piece was in the right place, allowing the ski to balance when hanging at the peak of a kick turn, without the heel dropping or catching. 

On arrival to the top of the run, after easily doing a race transition which was made possible by the Dynafit tip loop system on their speedskins, we were ready to get some sweet turns in.  Race transitions, where you  can take your skins off without taking off your skis, and usually ripping from the front rather than the back is way faster than taking your time and taking your skis off.  The beauty of this is it keeps you moving and shaves a lot of time of your travel time.  The Manaslus, and all Dynafit skis, have this shovel slit which accepts the speedskin rubber tip attachment allowing you race transition just like a pair of rando skis. 

With the avalanche danger high, we chose a suitable line and dropped in to bottomless powder and faceshots.  The skis were unbelievable.  They loved being pushed hard, and pivoted with ease, the 23cm long shovels bowing up and out of the powder beautifully.  It's nice to find a ski that you can open your turns up and go fast but yet still feel stable.

Trees, alpine, meadows, anything you throw at these skis they will happily tear it up.  The long tip is beneficial on the climb up, and the ski down, and really is a defining feature on this ski.  Every detail is flawlessly designed.  The 187cm was as stable as a 190cm team ski, and as easy to flick around as a 175cm touring ski, making all kinds of terrain fun to ski.  If you want something fat, but something that tours inconcievably well, this is it.  I'm going out for more turns on it, because of these reasons, while my other skis sit at home gathering dust.
(photo left:  Ty Petrusic wishing he had some Manaslu's) 

Dynafit Manaslu 187cm 
Dimensions:  124-95-109
Weight:  1525g (no binding)


  1. Thank you for that review Alex! I actually just ordered a pair of Manaslu's and although I was allready sold on these skis your review has me really reved up! Espically after truging through bottomless pow with the skinny sticks today!

  2. Just wait till you break trail with these, they are like little race sticks on the way up, and burly strong on the way down. You'll charge it!!

  3. I'm getting a pair of these too. Alex, was the 187cm by choice? I am struggling with whether to get the 178 or 187cm. 178cm is right at the bottom of the range for me but I thought I would go with the shorter size for tighter ski-mountaineering situations. However, I do go over 200lbs with my "big day" pack and gear so maybe the 187cm will be a better choice. Reiner: what size are you getting?

  4. The 187cm skied shorter, as the early rise tip makes it look longer than it is (the skis running length is smaller). That being said it was a charger, however for true ski-mountaineering I would actually recommend a Mustagh Ata Superlight or Guide ski, rather than the 178cm shorter size. That being said, 178cm for ski-mountaineering, and 187cm for mostly skiing and powder.

  5. I was also torn and to be honest and at first I was looking at the 169's. After much thought and trying different lenghs of skis I came to the conclusion that my best bet is the 187. For the super tight coular days I will bring out my old 170s or the race set up. I suppose if I had only one pair of skis I would go with the 178 but I really notice espically in varaible conditions the extra 10 cms makes it much more chargable!

  6. Yeah, what Alex said.
    I've been out ~5 times on mine and love them. They make the up so enjoyable as well as the down. I like to charge hard so 187cm is the size for me as I'm definitely over 200# with a pack.

  7. Hey Alex,

    I was wondering if you could compare these to the DPS Wailer 99mm Pures? I know they're in a completely different price class. They seem both seem to have about the same weight (actually manaslu is about 300g lighter). Both a bit rockered it seems, with normal camber under foot. Right now you can pick these up at escape route for $495.00 vs $1200.00.

    I know the DPS Wailer 99mm are sick, but are they worth an extra $700.00 and 300g of weight?

  8. Hey Andrew,

    I did like these skis, but after feeling the difference that the Wailer's had over them I was immediately sold. Ice and skiing fast was a whole other game, and even just the way the Wailer's deal with variable conditions and breakable crust I would easily pay the $700.00 and pay the weight penalty. Just my opinion though.

  9. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the quick response, really cool of you. Hmm... You've given me a lot to think about. I was originally thinking about getting the 112mm wailer, but they're sold out everywhere until next season. Right now I've been skiing my resort ski (Armada JJ) as my sidecountry/backcountry ski, and I love it on the down (heavy on the way up). It has about the same dimensions as the 112mm wailer. About how much float do you loose dropping down to 99mm? It's a hard choice for me, because I do a lot of powder skiing, but also a lot of long spring/summer touring. Will I be pining for the 112mm if I'm skiing the 99mm on a deep January pow day? I know I'd prefer the 99mm for the spring/summer tours.


  10. Hey Andrew,

    Sounds like you need two pairs of skis, which I think is the way to go. That being said, you could continue using your JJ's and purchase a Wailer 99 if you installed Quiver Killers to swap the binding back and forth, thus still skiing what you want with no loss in float or edge holding power.

    The 99 does float really well, but if you have a bigger and longer ski it will float better, because of the surface area. I think the Quiver Killer setup will solve all your problems.

  11. Hi Alex,

    That's really interesting, I'd never heard of the quiver killers before! Would it be possible to be able to swap both Plum Guides and Marker Barons between the same ski? Would I be able to ride my Baron's and downhill boots on resort/slackcountry days on my JJs/DPS 99mms, then swap to Plum Guides and AT boots if I was doing a long Tour?

  12. Hey Andrew,

    Yep you could easily swap back and forth between Guides and Barons on the same ski as many times as you want, and with multiple skis. It's a great way to save your cash buying multiply bindings and skis and always ski the right ski and binding system for the conditions and the areas you want to go. I'd look into it, may be exactly what you're after.

  13. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the help! Just demoed and bought a pair of DPS Wailer 99mms today, and am going to mount them with QK/Binding Freedom inserts and Plum Guides. Excited to get out there and tour with my new setup!


  14. It seems these could not be better for powder and late spring corn... Unbelievable.. but are rather poor on ice.. no other way to say it. catch an edge easy, not good iniciating the turn and don't hold well on ice... you can't have it all but on a pow day I'd tour with no other

  15. My curiosity got the better of me and I tried these out as well as the DPS Wailer 99mm. The Wailer is just so much better of a ski in every way. Alex, you were definitely right, it's worth the slight extra weight and money.

    I grew up skiing freestyle oriented skis, and I couldn't stand how far back the Manaslus forced you to be mounted (They have predrilled holes). Snow also stuck to the topsheets and made them heavy anyway when I was touring. I also tried them on a spring powder day, and the tips dove like crazy. All I could think about was that I was very sad I didn't have my DPS Wailers.

    Thanks for all the help by the way Alex!

  16. Nice! I gotta tell you though, snow sticking to your topsheets is an issue with the Wailer 99's for this year as well. Specifically when you move from Solar aspects to shade with cooler snow that is beginning to warm up, cold snow is not so much an issue. I have tried a number of things, but will continue testing, but hopefully will have a solution up on the site soon. Worth it for sure, stoked your on them. Shred on!