The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Dynastar Legend W 96 Review

A very capable ski in a variety of environments, but missing the energy of its predecessor, the Cham.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $750 List | $649.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great in soft snow, tight turn radius, good in chop
Cons:  Lacks the finesse and liveliness of older Dynastars
Manufacturer:   Dynastar
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 24, 2018
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 16
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7
  • Carving - 20% 5
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Powder - 20% 5
  • Playfulness - 15% 5
  • Bumps - 5% 5

Our Verdict

We had very high hopes for the Dynastar Legend W96, after falling completely head-over-heels for their precursors, the Chams, a few years ago. Sadly, they didn't provide the joy we felt while ripping on the originals, but the Legends are still a respectable ski. They thrive in powder, soft snow, crud, and even bumps; when it comes to on-piste carving, edge hold, and stability, they fall somewhat short. They are nowhere near as sprightly and fun as the Chams, but maybe it's unfair to compare them to their older sister.

New Graphics

Dynastar freshened up the topsheets for the Legend this season; the updated graphics are pictured above. The construction of the ski itself remains unchanged.

October 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $649.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$679.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$749.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$649.95 at Amazon$599.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
58
100
0
92
100
0
92
100
0
91
100
0
84
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Great in soft snow, tight turn radius, good in chopIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityUnparalleled stability at speed, crud-buster, lends you strengthA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powder
Cons Lacks the finesse and liveliness of older DynastarsNot the perfect powder partnerMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsVery pricey, prefers faster straighter linesNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crud
Bottom Line A very capable ski in a variety of environments, but missing the energy of its predecessor, the Cham.One of the most versatile skis on the market, this new Volkl is a Goldilocks ski - strong enough to battle in the crud, but soft enough for lighter mellower skiers to bend it.A great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snow.If you like to go fast and want a one-ski quiver, this ski is absolutely worth the extra funds.Ripping skis for ripping chicks, or those on their way to becoming one, so fun and flexible.
Rating Categories Dynastar Legend W 96 Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Carving (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Crud (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Powder (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Playfulness (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Bumps (5%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Dynastar Legend W 96 Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7... Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Intended Purpose Off-piste All mountain All mountain powder All mountain stability All mountain play
Ability Level All levels All Levels All levels All levels All levels
Available Lengths 158,165,171,178 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 164, 172, 180 173, 181, 189 156, 163, 170, 177
Shape 132-96-112 130-92-113 136-106-126 126-95-115 135-95-110
Waist Width 96 92 106 95 95
Radius 17 17.9 18 18 16.2
Rocker Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge
Weight Per Pair (Pounds) 7.55 8.16 7.7 9.62 6.725
Construction Type Sandwich and full sidewall Full sidewall Sandwich Sandwich SST sidewall
Core Material Wood Beech & Poplar, multi layer Paulownia wood silver fir, beech, Titanal, fiberglass Tubelite wood
Tested Length 171 170 172 173 170

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Dynastar Legends have so much going for them. It's just a shame they have to live in the shadow of such a favorite and thrilling ski, the Cham. If we hadn't found ourselves constantly comparing them, we almost certainly would have rated them higher.

Performance Comparison


We found the Legends to be a competent ski that can take ripping ladies all over the mountain.
We found the Legends to be a competent ski that can take ripping ladies all over the mountain.

Stability at Speed


The Legends fall towards the middle of the bunch in this category, with decent edge hold in the steeps, but some floppy tip fluttering on high-speed groomer turns as well as in the crud. While they perform better in this arena than the Icelantic Oracle 88s, they don't feel quite as secure as either the Blizzard Black Pearl 98s or the Rossignol Soul 7HD Ws.

The Legends held their own at speed  with minimal tip flapping and mostly good edge hold.
The Legends held their own at speed, with minimal tip flapping and mostly good edge hold.

Carving


The Legends have a 14m turn radius at the 171cm length, giving them quite the tight curvature regarding turn shape. They are, however, surprisingly happy to make big swooping pow turns, but back on the groomers, they can be convinced to make nearly a slalom-style arc when you bend them. With a heap of rocker at the front, leaving the skiable edge feeling shorter, some of our taller testers felt they might even enjoy the 178cm ski more.

We found that the Legends were fun to carve on  but occasionally skidded out. In addition  their turn radius felt not to be quite as tight as stated on the ski  at 14m.
We found that the Legends were fun to carve on, but occasionally skidded out. In addition, their turn radius felt not to be quite as tight as stated on the ski, at 14m.

Powder


The shape of these skis makes them a perfect powder machine, but again, a longer length than you might normally ski is recommended, especially if you're considering them to be a powder ski with benefits. The beautiful rockered spatula at the tips kept us tearing across the surface of the soft snow, feeling invincible.

The Legends were total legends in the pow  but if you plan to ski a lot of it  go a size up to account for the big rocker on the fronts.
The Legends were total legends in the pow, but if you plan to ski a lot of it, go a size up to account for the big rocker on the fronts.

Crud


The Legends were legendary in the crud, zinging from slick glacial ice into wind-scoured sastrugi without hesitation and without bucking their rider. Even when driven through grabby breakable crust, the Legends were stiff enough to cut through and continue in the desired direction. Some testers did feel a bit of kickback from the saggy tips ricocheting through chunky conditions, but most were surprised by the self-assurance they felt in awkward snow.

We loved how secure we felt in the crud  not getting bucked around by varying terrain.
We loved how secure we felt in the crud, not getting bucked around by varying terrain.

Playfulness


This is the sphere in which we missed the old Dynastar Chams and their liveliness. The Legends were powerful, but not playful. We yearned for the Chams and their sprightly rebound, as well as their love of flight. The Legends would rather stick to the ground and plow through things, rather than hopping over them.

The Legends can be coerced into airborne revelries  but they don't take flight naturally like the Chams did.
The Legends can be coerced into airborne revelries, but they don't take flight naturally like the Chams did.

Bumps


Very enjoyable and resourceful in the bumps, the Legends are happy to smear and pivot their way around moguls and trees alike. We loved their quickness to turn and lack of lag time between edges, despite their 96mm waist. Earlier, we recommended a longer length in this ski for those planning on mostly making fresh tracks on them; if you're expecting to take them to Mary Jane at Winter Park, however, stick to your normal ski length.

Because they love to make a short turn  the Dynastars did well in bumpy terrain.
Because they love to make a short turn, the Dynastars did well in bumpy terrain.

Value


With a moderate price tag, these skis fall in the middle of the pack concerning cost. Full vertical sidewalls bring strength and lasting durability to the ski. For something cheaper and nearly as adaptable, check out our Best Buy, the Icelandic Oracle 88.

Conclusion


The Legends are well rounded and capable, just like their predecessor, the Chams. However, we just didn't adore them like we did their older sister. They lack the pure energy and pizzazz that we felt in every moment on the Chams.


Renee McCormack