Fans of Dynastar skis rejoice — the brand long known for hard charging, high performing skis has brought its performance approach to lightweight touring. The Dynastar M-Tour 99 is a fully featured ski that joins a growing collective of mid-waist skis built for downhill prowess with a minimal weight penalty.
The M-Tour 99 closely follows the shape of its slightly heavier, much loved predecessor, the Mythic, but the Tour construction places it in its own class. It features a hybrid core — a combination of lightweight paulownia and PU reinforced with basalt fiber. This keeps the ski weight down (1200g for the 162cm length I tested), while adding dampness and stability to avoid the hard snow chatter that commonly plagues lightweight touring skis.
It has a full sandwich construction and full sidewall, allowing for precision, balance and grip. Both the tip and tail are rockered with a slight shovel in the tip. Tails are flat and good for buttering.
I wanted a fun and playful powder ski that wasn’t cumbersome in its waist or weight. I’d heard good reports on the Dynastar Mythic, which the M-Tour 99 promised similar attributes to. Stable, playful, and damp all sounded like ideal characteristics for a backcountry ski that charge on less than ideal snow days. I also spend the majority of my time on sub 1000g touring and race skis and was curious to see if the M-Tour really cut chatter the way it claimed it could.
The 162cm is the smallest offered (also available in 170, 178, 186) and was an ideal length for my 5’5”, 120lb figure and advanced/expert skiing abilities. The tip rise does detract from effective edge, though I never found myself wanting for more length.
Uphill and downhill performance
My first day on the M-Tour was a midwinter powder morning in Marble. We started before dawn, shuffling up the steep skin track by headlamp. It was cold that morning, single digits, and my feet felt it but the road to the trailhead was covered in a half foot of fresh snow and that meant the bowl, 2300 feet above, would be deep and soft. The M-Tours were easy underfoot, their mass not dissimilar to the DPS Cassiar 95 Tour 1 I usually ski (mounted with the same Dynafit ST Radical binding and paired with Dynafit TLT 8 boot on that particular outing. I also tried the M-Tours with the Fischer Transalp and Scarpa F1 LT).
By the time we reached the usual regroup spot 600 feet below the summit, the sun had risen but its warmth and rays were obscured by cloud. Wind pulsed out of the west, loading more snow onto our objective and so we opted to tone down the ambition and descend soft glades from the regroup spot.
I’m always a little timid when taking a first turn on a ski I don’t know but I quickly discovered I didn’t need to be with the M-Tours. The skis arced gracefully on the soft snow, floating just enough and rebounding energetically from turn to turn. I was impressed at how promptly I could snap the tails around to finish a turn with style and then drive the ski for a long slow arc on the next one. It was akin to playing an instrument — listening to the notes struck by a little pressure here, backing off there, and finding what the ski needed to make a harmony.
Days like those in Marble were most notable on the M-Tour 99s. The ski seems to shine most brightly in soft snow that is not so deep it leaves me wishing for more float. That said, I was impressed on other days out when conditions were variable — hard, steep bumps in Highlands Bowl, sun crust and wind board on long tours in the Elks. The skis were noticeably damp and sturdy when snow turned hard or chunky. And I did not miss the chatter I’ve come to anticipate in lighter skis.
I was also impressed with how well the ski held an edge in more consequential and steep hardpack. I could easily whip the planks around for jump turns and then open up the throttle on open slopes in less ideal snow.
While most of my outings with the M-Tours were remarkably pleasant, I did notice a couple of shortfalls worth mentioning.
The playful energy I discovered on my powder day in Marble does not translate into tight maneuverability. In thick, tracked-out trees midwinter, I found the skis arduous and sluggish if I tried to push the speed envelope. They did not want to do the fast work of edge to edge tree swerving around obstacles, or at least I couldn’t quite push and release them in a way that felt resonate.
Similarly, I often found that if I got lazy and popped into the backseat ever so slightly, the arcing turns became unmanageably long and it was all too easy to feel like the ski was running away from me. Some degree of diligence was required to keep my weight centered and my body actively working the skis. Unlike some skis (the Cassiars, for instance) the M-Tours aren’t so forgiving if you get sloppy. The performance rewards are worth it though for skiing well.
Additionally, the Sintered HD bases weren’t as durable as I would hope. I’m coming out of the season with a handful of deep gouges that’s surprising for how few rocks I remember encountering.
The M-Tour 99 is in line with other mid-weight touring skis that prioritize performance over mass while keeping things light weight. They fall into an emerging freetouring category for hard charging skiing in a variety of conditions similar to the Scott SuperGuide 95, Volkl Rise Beyond 98 and Dynafit Beast 98.
The Dynastar M-Tour 99 do what we often want out of mid-waist planks — the skis float adequately and handle a variety of conditions (mostly) gracefully while not weighing you down on big climbs and long outings. In the right conditions though, the ski does offer something more — a rare sensation of elegance and deftness. It is an ideal fit for the emerging majority of ski tourers who want to ski hard on gear light enough for multiple laps, and have fun doing it.
Available lengths (cm): 162, 170,178, 180
Mass (g): 1200 (162cm)
Construction: Sandwich, full sidewall, paulownia PU, basalt fiber
Profile: rocker, camber, rocker, flat tails
Skin attachment: notched tail
Dimensions (mm): 125, 97, 115 (162cm)
Turning radius (m): 15
Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.