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Dynafit Tour 88 Review

Classic, all around backcountry skis whose only request is that you adjust your definition of what width numbers describe all around backcountry skis.
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Price:  $600 List | $479.96 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light, sweet dimensions, classic stout BC ski construction
Cons:  Smaller than is trendy
Manufacturer:   Dynafit
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 23, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Stability at Speed - 15% 4
  • Firm Snow - 20% 9
  • Powder - 20% 6
  • Crud and Poor Snow - 20% 6

Our Verdict

We really love these skis. The dimensions are smaller than is trendy, but the performance is excellent. Set aside your expectations, especially coming from big resort all-mountain skis, and give these a chance. Read our full review below for our expansion on all this great pair has to offer.


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Pros Light, sweet dimensions, classic stout BC ski constructionLight, well-balanced downhill performanceAll around ski performance, hit what we consider to be the weight ‘sweet spot’Solid all around downhill performance, compatible with excellent Dynafit SpeedSkinsLight and versatile
Cons Smaller than is trendyExpensive, ski “short”Grabby firm snow performance, expensiveHeavier than averageLimited poor snow performance
Bottom Line Classic, all around backcountry skis whose only request is that you adjust your definition of what width numbers describe all around backcountry skis.Excellent, all-around backcountry skis in nearly all conditions.Excellent backcountry skis for the majority of applications.Touring skis for he or she that prefers downhill performance to uphill efficiency.All around choice for beginner to advanced backcountry skiers on a budget.
Rating Categories Dynafit Tour 88 Kastle TX98 Volkl VTA 98 Dynafit Beast 98 Fischer Hannibal
Weight (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
Stability At Speed (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
Firm Snow (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Powder (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Crud And Poor Snow (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Dynafit Tour 88 Kastle TX98 Volkl VTA 98 Dynafit Beast 98 Fischer Hannibal
Weight Per Pair 4.9 lbs 6.2 lbs 6.4 lbs 6.8 lbs 6.2 lbs
Measured Length 173 cm 177 cm 185 cm 183 cm 183 cm
Manufacturer Length 174 cm 178 cm 184 cm 184 cm 183 cm
Available Lengths 158, 166, 174, 182, 189 cm 168, 178, 188 cm 156, 163, 170, 177, 184 cm 170, 177, 184 cm 162, 169, 176, 183 cm
Claimed Dimensions 123/88/107 mm 128/98/117 mm 133/98/116 mm 136/98/117 mm 126/96/114 mm
Measured Dimensions 121/87/106 mm 122/97/116 mm 132/98/111 mm 126/97/116 mm 127/97/113 mm
Weight Per Ski grams 1358g, 1351g, average: 1355g 1394g, 1400g, average: 1397g 1454g, 1449g, average: 1452g 1541g, 1553g, average: 1547g 1421g, 1388g, average: 1405g
Weight Per Pair 2709g 2794g 2903g 3094g 2809g
Weight per Surface Area Ratio, g/cm^2 0.75 0.71 0.69 0.75 0.69
Construction Type Sandwich Cap Hybrid Sandwich Cap Hybrid Sandwich Cap Hybrid Sandwich Sandwich Cap Hybrid
Core Material Poplar paulownia Karuba Wood Beech, poplar & paulownia Ash/poplar wood Paulownia wood with carbon stringers
Waist Width 88 mm 98 mm 98 mm 98 mm 97 mm
Radius 18 meters 22 meters 22.3 meters 21 meters 21 meters
Rocker/Camber Tip and tail rocker Low camber Tip rocker Double Ellipse Rocker Tip rocker

Our Analysis and Test Results

It wasn't that long ago that 88mm underfoot was considered the sweet spot for human-powered wild snow skiing. Our lead tester's "daily driver" skis were 88mm in 2009; trends move around, and recent consumers want bigger skis. Regardless of fashion and progress, skis this size are super relevant. It is telling that Dynafit themselves refer to this as "the most versatile model in the Dynafit collection"; we can't get fully behind that assertion, but our very experienced test team understands the value of what are now considered "small" skis. We didn't hesitate to use these skis in any and all conditions and found overall great performance.

Performance Comparison


Firm snow  sunrise transition  headlamp still on head; must be a springtime "dawn patrol". For fast missions like this  where being there is the priority and turns are secondary  the Tour 88 is excellent.
Firm snow, sunrise transition, headlamp still on head; must be a springtime "dawn patrol". For fast missions like this, where being there is the priority and turns are secondary, the Tour 88 is excellent.

Weight


All else equal, smaller skis are lighter than big ones. As compared to other backcountry skis, we wouldn't call the construction of the Tour 88 "ultralight". The wood core, full steel edges, carbon insets, and aluminum tip and tail reinforcements are fairly typical of backcountry ski construction. No corners have been cut, but the result is a pair of skis that are decidedly lighter than almost all of what the North American BC ski market is using.

Pair your Tour 88 skis wisely. Ride 'em with big boots for more control  or pair with glorified skimo race boots for a transcendental fast tour.
Pair your Tour 88 skis wisely. Ride 'em with big boots for more control, or pair with glorified skimo race boots for a transcendental fast tour.

We weighed the Tour 88 to be 1355 grams per ski. We consider all-around backcountry skis to weigh between roughly 1250 and 1450 grams per ski. These are right in that sweet spot. The smaller dimensions mean you can use smaller skins, further saving weight.

Stability at Speed


Our test pair of Tour 88 wasn't anything special at speed. These are designed for short-radius, conservative ski touring and ski mountaineering. We tested a relatively short pair. For the most part, we aim to test skis at or just over 180cm. With the Tour 88, to optimize its light weight and ski mountaineering maneuverability, we chose the 174. Our long and deep experience suggests that the next size up (182cm), for our test team (chosen to match our lead test editor's profile; 5'10", 165 pounds, skis very well), would be at least a little more stable at speed. However, you wouldn't be choosing these skis for high speed wide open ripping. They're for noodling in trees and chutes.

88mm isn't as narrow as you fear. These skis serve as solid all-rounders  if you really do ski all the seasons.
88mm isn't as narrow as you fear. These skis serve as solid all-rounders, if you really do ski all the seasons.

Firm Snow


There was a time when 88mm underfoot was a "fat" ski. At that time, that we'd be lauding a ski like this for firm snow performance is somewhat comical. Relative to big powder skis, these tear up the hard stuff. The flex is stiff, longitudinally, and torsionally. The sidecut and materials work together to grip smoothly and firmly. We had little to no chattering in steep Teton couloirs on icy spring mornings.

Powder


We will say it over and over again and reiterate it here. In truly good powder snow, ski dimensions don't matter nearly as much as so many think they do. Yes, you can ski soft snow faster on bigger skis. But, especially in the backcountry where the consequences of high-speed tumbles go through the roof, fast skiing isn't the "be all, end all" of powder riding. Short, bouncy, flowing powder turns are a special sort of heaven, and totally accessible to these "small" skis.

We actually really, really enjoyed the Tour 88 on big Teton Pass storm runs, in trees and open bowls. We also really enjoyed that the small form, light weight, and feathery skins got us uphill faster and with less energy. We got more powder turns in the Tour 88, partially because of the shorter radius with which we spun them and partially because of the greater amount of vertical we were able to shred.

The Dynafit Tour 88 is a better powder ski than you would first guess. If the snow truly is good  these are great fun.
The Dynafit Tour 88 is a better powder ski than you would first guess. If the snow truly is good, these are great fun.

Crud/Poor Snow


We didn't have particularly poor experiences on tough snow with the Dynafit Tour 88, but we weren't blown away by the smoothness either. For the dimensions, they do well. For the weight, they are a little behind. In this weight class, we know that you can get skis that handle tough snow with more smoothness than the Tour 88.

In tough snow  we found the Tour88 to suffer a little  especially considering its weight class.
In tough snow, we found the Tour88 to suffer a little, especially considering its weight class.

Value


Dynafit skis aren't particularly expensive, and these specifically are often available discounted. If you insist that a pair of skis in this size category is only for firm snow and ski mountaineering, they are a good budget choice for your quiver. If you are one of the growing few that realizes how good these dimensions are for all-around human-powered skiing, you might just find the Tour 88 to be a best buy for you.

Conclusion


We liked these skis, and look forward to further testing them. We found all the representative conditions in early 2019, but we haven't yet gotten the mileage we like to have. We'll keep at it, riding them as soon as the Tetons' late autumn snowpack allows.


Jediah Porter