Liberty V76 179cm 2018-2019
P.O. Box 4555
Avon, CO 81620
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Frontside recreational carving
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9+ for medium-to-firm density recreational groomer carving with near zero effort. Not a race ski.
8+ for boilerplate hardpack - needs reduced base bevel out of the wrapper for best ice performance
7+ for cruddy conditions and cut-up surfaces due to narrow width
7 for off-piste powder conditions or spring snow due to narrow width
"The narrowest ski in our line comes equipped with all the details you would expect from a precision carving machine, including VMT core, bamboo, and full carbon layup. Smooth and quick, with just enough early-rise in the tip to ease turn initiation, the NEW V76 will lay down tracks at any speed you can handle. Full-length vertical metal struts sandwiched between bamboo stringers create a damp and powerful ski without the weight of traditional horizontal metal construction. Additional layers of poplar or poplar/paulownia wood keep the weight down, while spring steel plates inlaid underfoot add resilient flex and steering accuracy."
- Website November 2018
Technical Ski Data:
Sizes available: 165, 172, 179cm (179cm tested)
Dimensions: 126-76-106 @179cm
Radius: 13m @165cm, 14m @172cm, 15m @179cm
Bamboo/poplar wood core with vertical aluminum alloy ribs
Core is surrounded by carbon fiber cloth in the wet-layup stage of production use 2-10mm wide stingers of pre-cured carbon the full length of the ski as reinforcement on top of the core
Poured PU sidewalls
Spring steel binding mount plates inlaid into core topside
Machined aluminum tip and tail protectors
Claimed weight: 1800 grams
Measured weight: 1745 and 1727 grams
Bindings and Boots Used:
Tyrolia PowerRail PRD 12 bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Beautifully finished and base-prepped out of the wrapper. Nice stoneground base structure. Impressively machined and fitted tip and tail protectors. Textured, vibrantly colored topsheet. Hand flex shows somewhat soft tip progressing to moderate stiffness midbody and tail with rounded arc, no hingepoints. Damp feel, torsionally strong. Long-tapering forebody to moderately squared tail. Slight tip rocker in a very flat tip leading to essentially traditional cambered midbody and tail section. This one looks and feels like a hardpack tool, but not in a race-ski sense. It looks like a technical tool instead of a racing thoroughbred. Nicely attractive graphics. Unusual quality and superb performance for the moderate price point.
Late spring through mid-winter. Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers & boilerplate. Some shin-deep and knee-deep powder sections, skied-out afternoon powder, 2-3 day old skied out powder, crud, crust, bumps, open areas and trees. Spring condition snow...pretty much everything.
Liberty's description of the V76 is pretty much spot-on. If anyone had a doubt about small ski companies only making fattish freeride and powder boards for western terrain, Liberty's V Series should wake them up with a seriously deadly shot across the bow. The Liberty V76 is the prime example of a small ski company previously known for its surfy, fun and addictingly friendly and effective freeride and powder skis creating a stunningly elegant, compelling, high-performance carving tool equalling or surpassing the dedicated carving designs from the "Big 10" brands. Everyone who tried this ski had the same thing to say - "Wow....this is a Liberty? Holy crap, this thing arcs!...". The words "elegant", "silky", "sensuous", "curve-inducing", "automatic", "auto-pilot" kept appearing from not only our testers, but reviews from all around the other ski blogs, test websites and ski-geek sites around the World. The VMT 76 is one of those skis we want to keep in our demonstration fleet (instead of returning to the ski company) to loan to people to show how good some of the designs from small ski companies can be.
Liberty nailed several things right out of the gate:1) Chassis feel, response and vibration frequency control.
(these two observations apply not only to the V76 tested in detail here, but the V82 and V92 I took several runs on - E.Edelstein)
- Chassis feel, response and vibration frequency control.
- Elegant carving ski shaping geometry and camber profile
This is not a race ski, but a high-performance recreational carver capable of intense, high-angle, high-pressure carving execution as well as lower-angle, gentle cruise-carving at various speeds and radii with a remarkable low level of effort from the pilot. The key here is low-level input requirements for high-performance ouput. Liberty has suceeded in designing a ski to deliver a full range of carving experiences across a wide spectrum of turn shapes and sizes, but requires a grin-inducing low level of effort from the skier. This means you can crank out superbly crafted carved turns all day without burning up your energy reserves by lunchtime. That's a wining combination. Ski instructors and ex-racers looking for a tool to execute technically superb etchmarks into the groomers will probably fall in love with the V76 (and its wider siblings for softer surfaces). Heavyweight or hard-cores looking for a race-ski should look for a pure race ski. This is a ski for people who want a confidence-inspring narrow-ski feel underfoot to auto-magically arc left and right by just tipping the ski over left and right. The VMT chassis construction allows this friendly, low-input carving ski to achieve race-like speeds and pressure levels while maintaining a surpirsingly quiet, stable, superbly composed feel. Similar to a much heavier-handed pure race-ski, the V76 stays quietly on-track, even across rutted, hard-boiled surfaces without loosing its grip or directional integrity. It feels relatively light, so it can feel a bit quick at highest speeds, but you quidkly realise it is perfectly stable and inspires confidence. The best way to describe it is that the VMT 76 has a voracious appetite to lay down eleganty executed arcs into groomed surfaces without requring a lot of effort from the skier.
Overall, the Liberty V76 sets a reference standard for how effective and enjoyable a high-performance groomer carver can be, no matter how large the ski company. The fact this comes from a small Colorado USA company shows there is a bright future for skiers everywhere, and the larger ski companies need to watch their backs. Liberty has a pretty faithful crowd of retail shops and skiers who love their Helix and Origin lines of freeride and powder skis, and once people get out and demo the V series of skis, the carving crowd will have a new object to lust after. Nice work and kudos to Dan Chalfant and the crew at Liberty for making such a fun and effective carving tool for those days when there's been no fresh snow and a playday of carving on groomers is just the ticket when people want to get out on skis.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
First things first. The Liberty V76 does not handle like a race ski, nor does it have the same laser-like deathgrip on rock-hard boilerplate like a race ski. It's not meant to mimic a race ski, but is instead designed to deliver intensely effective and efficient carved turns through a variety of turn shapes, edge angles and speeds with very little input from the skier. The V76 is impressively quiet on hard surfaces and dampens unwanted vibrations from the hardpack incredibly well without feeling like you are isolated from the snow. The same control of frequency delivery to the skier from the hard surface works at slow or high speeds, and maintains the degree of dampening throughout the range of pressures you will exert upon the ski in various mellow or intensely-pressured turns. This is a nice feature. We assume this is a result of the combined properties of the vertically-oriented Titanal metal ribs in the poplar/paulownia core with bamboo stringers, flanked with the unique poured polyurethane sidewalls. Whatever the cause, the "feel" of this ski's chassis underfoot across hard surfaces is excellent, delivering feel and feedback without transmitting harsh and distracting vibrations or isolating the skier from the feel of the snow with an overly-damped filter.
The combination of the geometry of the V76 and its camber profile means it will begin engaging the snow as soon as you pressure the ski either flat underfoot or when tipped on edge. You can feel the forebody grip the snow and deliver a carving grip down the length of the ski to the midbody which craves a bit of weight or pressure to dig in deeper and deliver a tighter radius as you go, then instantly, but smoothly replicating the initiation and feed-through as soon as you tip the sks to their opposite edges. This automatic feed-and-carve is addicting and remarkable because it happens so smoothly in transitions. It's the smoothness of transitions through the carving sequence that grabbed me over and over with the V76. Instructors will love this ski because they will feel like technical heros without having to watch their every movement and weight transfer as with some other carving skis. The tail of the V76 can be ridden under constant pressure to deliver a GS-like arc (despite the narrow radius of the geometry), or punched to deliver the SL-like bang-bang-bang feeling (but without the ejection-seat behavior which might send you into the weeds with a pure race ski). While the V6 gives up some grip on the hardest boilerplate surfaces in its stock tune, a quick basegrind and race tune to nearly-flat base bevel brighten's up the grippy undefoot feel on icy conditions without sacrificing its easy han7dling traits. Once you get off the bowling-ball conditions onto any snow you can leave a visible mark in (which are most conditions), the V76 rips elegantly silky arcs into the snow in easy-to-intense modes with a nearly sensual transition feel. This is where the V76 shines all day long on the groomers. The Liberty V76 is the kind of ski you should give to a friend who wahts to learn how to carve turns, and to a friend who already loves carving turns. The long, drawn-out transition from tip to midbody delivers a smooth-as-butter and auto-engaging edging behavior which leads to the tail finish allowing several kinds of turn completion options. Liberty nailed it.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
These days, a ski with a 76mm waist is considered a dedicated groomer tool, yet the V76 actually has a bit of tip rocker (or "early rise" for those who prefer that term) which helps it not only start turns on hardpack easily, but allows the narrow-bodied ski to encounter soft snow or piles of snow gracefully instead of feeling like it's hit a pile of wet laundry in the middle of the trail. The technique to skiing a narrow ski in mixed surface conditions has alwyas been the same: step lightly so you don't submerge too deep and get sunk into a trapped feeling. The easy-handling V76 is actually pretty fun since the tip is compliant and doesn't beat you up when cutting through crud and skied-out materials, and is super quick to change directions on demand, so you can put your feet where you need them, when you need them. The response of the ski is lively and quick, yet controlled, so you don't feel like a pinball in an arcade machine or feel like you're driving a truck though a muddy road. While it's a true carver at heart, the V76 dances through mixed material densities pretty well if you remember you only have 76mm of platforum underfoot. Deflection is minimal. Overall, the mixed snow performance is impressive considering how voraciously the V76 eats up its native habitat of groomed surfaces. Wise skiers should take some demos of the V82 and V92 out in mixed conditions and see what the buzz is all about (leave your credit cards at home if you want to preserve your financial situation after trying the wider siblings in the V series lineup...you've been warned).
The Liberty V76 is failry friendly in bumps...up until you get deep into the flex of the ski where it begins to become a little resistant...acting more like a dedicated carver than an all-mountain ski. The friendly bump behavior is due to the slight rocker in the relatively compliant tip section that absorbs bump entry fairly well. The narrow waist lends itself to an agile, quick-to-pivot handling feature. Rebound is spunky and responsive. The somewhat stiffer tails can hang slightly when warbling through bumps, but the more you hit bumps head-on and the less you try to snake your way through the troughs, the better. Overall, the V76 handles frontside bumps pretty well for such a superb carving ski....just don't force the ski into a deep flex in the bumps...you'll have a smoother ride.
Sadly, the V76 really sinks like a 76mm-waisted ski in powder conditions and there's really no reason to take it into deep snow unless you have no choice. It doesnt' handle poorly, but it's too narrow to have much fun compared to having a wider, more suitable tool for the job...but you knew that already.
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The V76 intitates turns without effort on groomers. Period. The geometry and camber profiles deliver a ski behavior that begins to grab the surface and change direction as soon as you put weight on it or tip it on-edge (or both for maximum response). You don't have to "drive the front of the ski" or "get it up on edge" to get an automatically engaged carving sequence started. Once you get the ski engaged, it's up to you to dial in how tight you want the turn radius, and when you reach an apex and then release the turn off the tails and determine the trajectory of your new turn. Liberty has designed a really stellar example of how a carving ski can engage the surface with minimal input without feeling twitchy, darty, hairtrigger or nervous. This behavior allows the V76 to be skied by nearly anyone with a little bit of carving skill instantly with almost no learning curve (so to speak). Testers remarked how they didn't need to "learn how it wants to be skied" like some skis do. You just get on them and go, and in two or three turns (not two or three runs), you have total feel for how the ski works best and what you need to do to get your desired turns executed. That impressed us. The V76 might feel a bit quiet and underpowered, but get it bent ito a turn and load up the tail with pressure, and it will zing you across the hill nicely without feeling like you've been shot out of a cannon with too much black powder. High levels of edge-to-edge agility and sporty response curve are the trademarks of the V76. Totally fun, totally effective. Pure racer-types will be underwhelmed by the V76 unless they being their runs on this ski knowing it's not a racer, but a silky technical carver for a wide variety of skiers on hardpack.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
A well-honed boning knife with superb balance and feel capable of executing surgically precise movements across a surface with little or no effort from the chef. It's not a cleaver to chop your way through heavy jobs, but an elegant tool for technical addicts. Anyone using it will appreciate how well it does its thing. You'll caution people you loan it to to take good care of it.
Notable Tester Comments:
"V76: As I said before, this is going to be the skinny ski that is the antidote to buying another 90 mm or so all mountain board.
Initial impressions: she has a very nice top sheet that is texturally and tactilely nice feeling., This looks like it should take years of beatings without chipping or wearing down excessively. I like that it doesn’t have a smooth finish. Again they should hold up quite well.
Groomers: 9.5 out of 10 every day. On the front side, the ski was able to capably handle any turns and reminded me quite a bit of the Head Titans. If the Titan was an Ford or Chevy, this is a Acura or Alexis. Very smooth and supple. Nice balance between pop and calm at the end of the turn.
Bumps: I would give this a six out of 10, it really does lack some pop. It helps to stay forward in the bumps.
Euro carving: 8.5 all day long
Woods: I would give this strong 7 1/2 and it would be higher but I did feel that we came a little bit unwieldy at my size and their size. This is the only place where I would say the 179 doesn’t serve me very well
Crud: I would give these a strong 9. They were very simple and capable. They turned easily with the nice radius and also were able to be stood on the heels and ripped like a freestyle rockstar.
Charging: I would give these a seven out of 10 they just don’t have the top in power, yet most people are not looking for this.
Likelihood is that I would buy a pair these, oh hell yeah. If I can get them on form I’ll purchase a pair in the 179.
Overall they were balanced, the mounting points seemed absolutely where they needed to be and they handled very well. The number one comment that I kept getting while I was skiing them was that people couldn’t believe how I was working the angle so much.
Really nice ski and if you’re looking to step away from the head or K2 or Rossignol, this is a nice direction without going full into the craft beer style of skis.
I’d be interested to see if the V76 in a smaller size could have a proportional radius. I would think that a 170 with a little bit more side cut would be hot shit. I’d be really interested in skiing their smaller size. And as you know, that’s something I’ve not said about any pair of boards and last five years."
"Elegant arc shapes"
"Quick and so easy to lay into"
"Craves to be turned up on edge and pressured all the way around..rinse and repeat..."
"Smoothy at any speed"
"Can I keep them?"
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing. Maybe, just maybe offer a "Pro" model with hardwood sidewalls or extra metal flat sheet in the layup
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Liberty V76 is one of the best frontside groomer carvers on the planet right now. Super smooth, silky and sporty without needing a ton of effort or vigilance from its pilot. Really friendly, really effective, really fun.
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
The ex-racer or technically-inclined instructor who loves to carve at slow or high speeds on the frontside groomers with immediately love this ski. Aspiring intermediates who want a ski to take them to their next level of carving proficiency should try this ski...it will take them a long way, starting immediately on their first run. Heavy-nanded brute-force skiers will find the V76 too compliant and light-feeling to their taste. Skiers looking for an all-mountain carver shold look at the V82 or V92 instead of the 76mm version.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
If you want to learn to carve, get an instructor or friend who knows their stuff to teach you how to use this new tool. If you're getting off a race-oriented ski, learn to relax and get more finesse into your turn movcements. This one skis pretty true to length...so size accordingly.
Ski Essentials (a retailer selling Liberty skis)
I skied the entire VMT line in February here in our home base in Vermont, and was impressed with the continuity of the personality across the whole VMT line. Smooth, excellent vibration control, excellent power handling and silky turn behaviors mated with a surprising amount of grip at speed on hard surfaces for a non-race ski design. Full review here
The behavior that earned the V76 a succulent 9.0 for Forgiveness/Ease is its large performance envelope and therefore suitability for a considerable slice of the skiing public. It transitions from short, sinuous tracks to medium to long without the slightest indication it prefers one over another. It responds up and down the speed range, whether pressured at a low edge angle or leaned into on a high one.
Tester: Drahtguy Kevin
"Smooth and eager to please" describes this ski to a T. Getting in and out of turns is quick and energetic. A secure feel underfoot made me want to go faster and faster on the groomed and off. Whatever I threw at this ski was devoured with ease and comfort. One of the surprises of the testing season for me.
Pics: (click for larger versions)
Machined tip protector detail
Machined tail protector detail
Liberty V76 topsheet + poured PU sidewall mating detail
Liberty V76 tip detail with full-wrap poured PU sidewall
Base structure out-of-the-box