Lib Tech POW Skis Review
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Our friends over at Lib Tech, once well known solely for their quality snowboards, have now entered into the ever competitive ski market with a twist on how skis are shaped. When skis were first made, they were straight as an arrow from tip to tail. Fast forward many decades and skis started to add some shape to help carve and float in deeper snow. Today, Lib Tech has added another dimension to ski shaping through a serrated edge technology, which was developed to help hold a better edge on hard-packed snow and ice.
In total, Lib Tech has 6 skis in its product line as of the date of this review. We had the opportunity to test out the Lib Tech POW ski which is designed for the skier that hunts for powder in every crack and crevice on the mountain. yet wants a ski that can perform well on hard-packed snow.
Lib Tech POW Skis Performance in Powder
There is not a whole lot on this earth more fun than skiing in some deep fluffy POW. Have you ever heard “hey man, let’s get up early so we can get some fresh tracks on that icy crusty snow”? I think we all know the answer to this… My style of skiing has always been to get away from the crowds and search for fresh snow. For one reason or another, driving your sticks on top of deep fresh snow makes you feel like a kid all over again and at the rate we’re all aging, we need to hold on to being a kid as much as we can.
I tested out the Lib Tech POW skis in the 181 cm length, which provides 115mm underfoot, 147mm width at the tip, and 141mm in the tail. When trying to stay on top of the fluffy white stuff we call powder, having a ski that is wide enough in the tip, mid, and tail is essential. I’ve tested these skis out for about 20 days in Steamboat Springs, CO this year and even in a lower than average snow year. There is plenty of powder to be found if you ski in the right places, but I am also had to deal with groomed hardpack. I’ve tested the Lib Tech POW skis in powder ranging from 3 inches to 3 feet of fresh snow on certain aspects. In the deeper snow, the Lib Tech POW skis not only stayed on top of the snow, but they turned very well considering they don’t have much of an early rise compared to other big mountain powder skis.
Ski Performance outside of Powder
Finding a ski that can breeze through powder and carve like a performance ski is not an easy task. As skis continue to evolve, one quiver skis are not just word-smithing by crafty marketing teams, but they really do exist for many skiers out there. The Lib Tech POW ski is close to a one quiver ski, but I feel it’s missing some of the performance while carving with a 115mm underfoot cut. The Lib Tech POW was able to hold an edge on hard crust, but some responsiveness is lost given its’ width. I say this with a grain of salt as I would consider myself an advanced skier, not an expert skier. For the expert skiers out there that can rip with any ski on the market, this ski will be no different. If you are an intermediate to advanced skier, the 115mm underfoot can feel a little wide at times in tight quarters making them a tad much to turn with ease.
New to the world of skis, Lib Tech introduced the idea of serrated edges. They came out with this idea a number of years ago through their snowboard line and found the serrated edge to hold extremely well in icier conditions. The concept is similar to a serrated knife that can cut through harder material. The concept is that if you are diagonal on a slope, you have 4-6 points of contact that dig into the slope instead of one long flat surface. The change in edge shape is most noticeable near the center of the ski where the boots are mounted and they get smaller as you get closer to the tips. Through my testing, I found this to work well, but I feel it might work better with snowboards. The main reason for this is because snowboarders lead into turns with one edge vs two edges(two skis) which puts less weight on ski vs. snowboard edges for digging into ice and snow. I found that on steep slopes where the snow was completely skied off and very icy that the ski’s still slid.
Through testing out the Lib Tech POW Skis, I smacked them into trees, went over a few rocks, pushed as hard of turns I could, and threw them in and out of my roof box dozens of times. The POW’s have metal edges that go up to the tips and tails, but the edging does not cover the entire ski. So far, the edges of the ski’s have held up great with no separation from the skis’ tips and tails. As for the top sheet of the Lib Tech POW skis, I found the top sheet to get damaged quickly, considering I only tested them out for a half a season. This is most likely from the more eco friendly material that Lib Tech uses, but I prefer a top sheet that holds up better. For the park and pipe peeps who tend to be a little harder on skis, I see this as a big drawback.
Ski Top Sheet and Bottom Design
While I care much more about ski performance vs. looks, I found the Lib Tech POW ski’s to be a little blah on the top sheet and bottom. For a ski that is supposed to shred and rip, I was hoping to have the ski look the part as well, but that is just my preference. If you can’t ski the part, might as well look the part.
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Overall, I found the Lib Tech POW Skis to be a great ski for blending my need for powder, yet performing well on groomers and icier conditions. At a price point of $849, this ski is comparable to many others in its’ category. For more information, please visit www.backcountry.com/lib-tech.