Hands-on Gear Review

Dynastar Powertrack 89 Review

By: Mike Phillips, Nate Greenberg, and Scott Donaghey  ⋅  Jan 25, 2016
Price:  $750 List
Pros:  Easy turning, carvy, smooth
Cons:  Rocker tip, narrow waist
Manufacturer:   Dynastar
62
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7
  • Carving - 20% 8
  • Crud - 20% 6
  • Powder - 20% 5
  • Playfulness - 15% 5
  • Bumps - 5% 4
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The Powertrack 89 is Discontinued as of 2017
We had more interest from friends and colleagues in this ski than any other ski we had for our all-mountain test. No one who skied the Powertrack for us was overly impressed with it as an all around all-mountain ski, yet there were few very poor reviews of this ski. It is the slimmest waist width of our eleven ski selection and one of the more on-piste-centric skis also. Some felt it lacked the fortitude for steep, firm conditions but enjoyed the short turn radius and easy to control nature of the ski. Others reported it feeling stable at speed despite the floppy rockered tip. It was mostly revered as a good choice for railing medium radius turns on piste. Overall, it fell into a similar sub-genre of skis in our review that were somewhat stiff, quicker edge to edge, and favored firm snow and on-piste skiing; like the Blizzard Bonafide and the Rossignol Experience 100. Amongst those skis, the Powertrack 89 was slightly more playful but less stable than the aforementioned skis.

We have awarded the Powertrack 89 a Top Pick award this year for carving and firm snow performance. It balances fluid and fun carving on the groomers with agility and adaptibility in off-piste terrain.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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We tested the 186cm size of the Powertrack 89 which is the longest available size. This is a wood core ski that is stiffened with two layers of titanal and two layers of fiberglass. It has big tip rocker, pretty significant camber underfoot, and slight rocker in the tail. It is 89 mm underfoot with an 18 meter turning radius. The tails are somewhat tapered and the shovel of the ski is relatively wide.

Performance Comparison


The Powertrack 89 right at home on a medium radius turn on consistent conditions.
The Powertrack 89 right at home on a medium radius turn on consistent conditions.

Stability at Speed


The rocker tip of the Dynastar Powertrack 89 is more dramatic than that found on the Blizzard Bonafide and Rossignol Experience, which also scored well with testers for groomed terrain performance. This shortens the effective edge of the ski and has the tendency to flop around a little bit at speed and in tracked up snow. This led to a lower score for stability from us. But, if kept at more moderate speeds and on edge carving, the Powertrack holds an edge pretty well. This ski is damp and does not transmit a lot of vibration to the skier.

Skiing fast on a windy day on the Dynastar Powertrack 89 while wearing the Lange RX 120.
Skiing fast on a windy day on the Dynastar Powertrack 89 while wearing the Lange RX 120.

The stiff mid-section and tail of this ski are the saving grace for making nice, complete turns on them. It is however, easy to turn and control at more moderate speeds. The 18 meter turn radius of the Powertrack coupled with the rockered tip make for smooth turn initiation and excellent small radius turn shape in consistent snow conditions.

Our favorite for a day spent primarily on groomed terrain  here the Dynastar Powertrack 89 takes on steep and firm snow.
Our favorite for a day spent primarily on groomed terrain, here the Dynastar Powertrack 89 takes on steep and firm snow.

Carving Performance


The Powertrack 89 is preferred by most of our testers on groomed terrain. The Powertrack is a great ski for linking carved small radius turns in consistent snow. This is where it shines, but it is actually a turn-off for some skiers. Although testers could tell that the ski is really good at doing that kind of skiing, they think it is a little boring in that those turns are what the ski wants to do over and over. To take personal preference out of the equation, this ski is fun for those perfect groomer days where easing into nice carved turns is the pleasure of the day.

The Powertrack has the smallest turning radius of the 11 skis we tested. As you might expect, it is quick edge to edge and the rocker tip makes for smooth and easy turn initiation.

Powder Skiing Performance


In checking out our line-up of skis against a wall, the Powertrack would probably be the least likely choice of the modern powder skier for that perfect bluebird day. Having the narrowest waist of all the skis in this review, we don't expect it to be the best ski to float on. It does have some design attributes that help it out in the soft stuff, but we weren't surprised when we were wanting a bigger ski for deeper days. The rocker tip and quick turning nature of the Powertrack are its biggest assets in powder. The rocker allows for deflecting chopped up snow and keeping the tips up in shallow pow. The short turning radius, narrow waist, and shortened effective edge make it agile in steep terrain. It did struggle with much deeper snow where it sank more than wider skis. Of the three skis that skied the best on-piste (Rossignol, Blizzard, Dynastar Powertrack), we all agree that the Dynastar is the best in soft snow. It is reported as feeling a bit softer than either of those other options, and is more forgiving when you hit the old snow surface after small storms. Also a bit of a softer flex allows for a better feel of the changing snow consistency and makes for a more interactive experience than just plowing through everything with a stiff ski.

Crud Performance


The rockered tip of the ski helps to keep the ski on top of variable conditions and afloat in soft snow, but proved to be a bit soft for variable conditions off-piste. We like how quickly the Powertrack 89 responds to changing conditions. Good edgehold and dampness are an asset in firm and refrozen conditions. Quick edge to edge transfer is great for when the snow wants to pull the ski in a direction that the skier doesn't intend.

The Powertrack 89 has pretty dramatic rockered tips for a ski of its size and shape.
The Powertrack 89 has pretty dramatic rockered tips for a ski of its size and shape.

Playfulness


The Powertrack loves to carve turns in consistent conditions. Although repetitive for some skiers, it does this really well. If this is as much fun as you want from a ski, look no further. Friends that are looking for a little bit more variety/liveliness from a ski found the Powertrack boring. We think that what makes this ski playful at all is its agility; quickness edge to edge, easy turn initiation, and smoothness in the turn. More pop, less early rise in the tip, and a wider width would help the Powertrack be more playful.

Although not the most playful ski  the Powertrack wasn't too shy about playing around on some natural terrain features.
Although not the most playful ski, the Powertrack wasn't too shy about playing around on some natural terrain features.

Bump Skiing Performance


These quick turning skis handle moguls fairly well. If they were a little bit softer we would be more impressed.

Best Application


This is an all-mountain ski for for advanced skiers with a slight firm snow and on-piste bias. The Dynastar Powertrack 89 is best suited for someone who skis primarily on groomers or prefers firm conditions. It lacks the width underfoot to compete with some of the wider skis in this review in powder conditions and variable snow. The Blizzard Bonafide and Rossignol Experience 100 are our other sub 100 mm all-mountain skis that are stiff, like to carve, and are more fun on-piste. It does not fit well into the cliched category of the one-ski quiver. The Editors' Choice Award winning ski, the Volkl Mantra has the easy turning qualities of the Powertrack 89 but skies powder and crud much better. Consider a slightly wider ski if you would like to balance powder fun with skiing groomers.

Value


The Powertrack 89 is not as versatile as wider skis like the Dynastar Cham 2.0 97 or the Volkl Mantra. For the purposes of this review, skis that were regarded as being versatile were preferred. If you are going to put the money into one new pair of skis, why not buy one that does many things well? With that said, for the right skier in the right conditions, we believe that the Dynastar Powertrack 89 is an excellent ski. It is well constructed and Dynastar has a reputation of making durable skis. As a second (or 3rd or 4th etc.) pair of skis we really like the Powertrack 89.

A narrower waisted all-mountain ski like the Powertrack 89 is quicker edge to edge than wider skis.
A narrower waisted all-mountain ski like the Powertrack 89 is quicker edge to edge than wider skis.

Conclusion


The Dynastar Powertrack 89 is easy to ski. Its fun on-piste and can be used off-piste if the conditions are consistent. If you prefer a more narrow waisted ski this is a good choice. A few of us would buy this ski to use for work day to day. There are no real surprises with this thing in the right conditions and its well constructed. It fits well into a selection of skis to be used for certain conditions.

We awarded the Powertrack a Top Pick Award for carving and firm snow performance. The Blizzard Bonafide and Rossignol Experience 100 were also strong contenders in this category, but they did not balance their taste for carving and firm snow with any other terrain or snow type as well as the Powertrack. In keeping with our goal of finding versatile all-mountain skis, the Powertrack is the best candidate for this award. Consider our choice to honor the DPS Wailer 99 with a Top Pick Award for powder performance. When compared to the other best powder ski in the review, the Armada TST, it has other attributes that make it a stronger all around ski than the TST.

Mike Phillips, Nate Greenberg, and Scott Donaghey

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 27, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Skier

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   Jan 27, 2016 - 08:23pm
Rummaged · Skier · NYC, NY

I bought a pair of these last year and they have been my go to skis for all non hardpack / icy days.

I strongly disagree with the review as labeling these as primarily carving skis for firm snow performance. In fact I think they handle poorly in super hard pack and icy conditions. Where I find they truly excel is off piste in the bumps, trees, and bowls of soft, but not huge pow days.

One thing I've found with the flat and light (woodcore?) all mountain skis is that they really do soften up as you use them and the p89s are no exception. I can understand why the reviewers initially thought of this as a carving ski, but I can tell you that after 45 - 50 days of use mine don't have quite the stiffness and resulting edge hold they had on day one. I have a pair of k2 Chargers for those truly firm days as the p89s immediately lose edge hold on any sign of ice.

Why I love these skis is that they are super playful and quick, and have enough float to handle anything below 4 inches of untracked snow. Bumps are a blast in them as they aren't too firm to be unforgiving, but aren't too wide or too soft either. The narrower shovel is great because it doesn't deflect off things that those super wide shovel skis do. Being so quick edge to edge makes them great in the trees as well. They handle crud and a couple of inches of powder without any problems.

They aren't powder skis, but after spending a month out in Summit County CO there were really only a handful of mornings where I wanted a wider ski, but even then by the middle of the day once the snow gets pushed down and around they handle great.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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