Ski: Majesty Dirty Bear XL
Reviewer height/weight: 6’1” / 160lbs
Ski weights: 1989g/1995g
Length skied: 186cm
Actual length (with straight tape): 184.4cm
Radius: 20m @ 180
Mounted: -2cm From True Centre (Recommended: -4cm)
Bindings: Look Pivot 18
Locations: Falls Creek, Australia
Conditions Skied: Slush, Ice, Park, Aussie Pow
Days Skied: ~15
Majesty skis out of Poland have had huge success with their Dirty Bear shape over the years and have recently added a wider platform to their lineup, the Dirty Bear XL, coming in at 105 underfoot. This fits the space alongside many other similarly mid-fat all-mountain freestyle skis. An ever-increasingly popular width for park riding is commonplace for that hybrid park/all-mountain ski shape. Mount it center, ride it in the park, or mount at rec or minus-a-couple with your choice of CAST/Shift/Duke PT, and have a resort-bashing slack/backcountry weapon.
The challenge of building a ski in this shape/width with freestyle-oriented dimensions and sidecuts is that everyone is doing it - okay, there are a lot of ski manufacturers out at the moment, from stalwarts to independents. The Dirty Bear XL is a good-looking ski with lots of potential. So let’s dive in!
Out of the box, a few things leap out at you from the Dirty Bear XL, first is the minimal taper, the sidecut runs nearly the full length of the ski and the nose is very rounded off. The scoop is very spoony and the effective edge is very long - for something that’s an all-mountain freestyle ski designed for playful park riding and deeper days this seemed a little counterintuitive to me. The camber is pretty flat underfoot and the rocker profile is fairly sharp yet flat, somewhat reminiscent of the Fauna Omni I recently reviewed. The rocker profile is directional with a recommended mount point at -4cm and a 10mm difference in the widest points in the nose and tail.
In terms of flex, the Diry Bear is pretty solid underfoot with a playful nose and tail. 6-8-7 seems like a fairly reasonable reflection of its flex pattern if I were to put numbers on it, which is something I always find somewhat challenging but non-negligible in the review process. Other features are a full sidewall construction sintered bases and some pretty chunky edges, I'd guess 2.2mm. It’s a fairly beefy ski and not super light.
The Dirty Bear XL provides a playful yet stable platform for charging around and keeping elements of park riding in frontside laps - there was no backside to speak of in Aus and I’ll be honest from the get-go that 105mm underfoot may have been an optimistic choice of width for a season here. However, I quite enjoy that larger platform and when we did get snowed on, the Dirty Bear XL did prove itself as a ski for deeper days.
With the long effective edge and minimal (zero) taper, I did find the Dirty Bear XL took a fair bit of getting used to. The more I ski a variety of skis the more I build up my own shape/flex/construction preferences when it comes to skis and, as always, it’s impossible to keep subjectivity out of a piece such as this.
I imagine the long effective edge and grippiness a full sidecut provides would be perhaps more to some people’s tastes than my own. I like to throw my skis sideways a lot and play with slashy turns more than long edgy ones. I found myself fighting this a lot when I first got on the ski. However, as I got used to how they rode I did find myself working with the ski and getting a lot more out of it. In addition to the underfoot detune I have these skis I did give the contact points in the noses and tail a bit of a going over which helped to lessen the hooky nature of the ski I experienced from my first turns.
The platform was super fun for sending drops and rock hops as well as pinning it through Aussie pow and crud. As such, I found this way more fun to be in straight lines and with long arcing turns than throwing around a pivoting/slashing. The length of the effective edge creates a ski that rails turns and can be trusted a lot to hold you when you need it. The more I rode the ski the more I became in tune with how it performed and when riding through tight berms and gum trees in some of the funner spots in town I did find the Dirty Bear XL pretty nimble. I will say I had my reservations early on about the sidecut but with a little time on the ski I found them becoming easier to ski and work to my preferred style of riding. The long rocker and fairly flat camber seemed to negate the lack of taper and ceased to hold me back in ways I’d felt early on.
Try to ignore the window winding...
The flex profile made it super playful and buttery but for me lacked a little in that ‘surfy’ quality I enjoy. It must be noted that the pow in Aus is a lot heavier than many other spots which I think also contributes to some of my dislikes more than the skis themselves. One of my favorite skis in this category is the Kartel (now Jeffrey) 108 and that is about as surfy a shape as you’ll find so it’s no surprise I felt like I was fighting the ski in the early days.
The float was good and the only issue I had here was choosing to mount forward of recommended. Mounting at +2cm from rec is always going to hinder performance in deeper snow. If using this as a pure all-mountain ski I think the recommended mount of -4cm would have been preferable. There’s always a tradeoff here and I think -2cm worked for park riding.
On a personal note: I am becoming more in tune with narrower (87-90mm) park skis so these did feel heavy at times but that’s more relative than absolute, on days when I’d been used to them they were super fun in the park.
Having recently skied on the Revolt 104 I can say these are heavier than those skis and with some taper and mellower rocker lines and a more progressive flex, these felt a bit less at home than those in the park.
I did chose to take the Revolt 90 out on days where I was hitting rails and jumps for most of the day but the Dirty Bear XL was a fun and wide platform for tubes. Meaning I could lap the steeper zones and trees in the morning while the soft stuff was good and then go straight to the park without swapping my sticks out and not feel wanting.
One of my favorite jump shots, possibly ever.
During springy slushy laps, the big shovel-y nose shone and plowed through all things soft. The playful nose and tail made the DB XL a really jibby ski and was a real side hit weapon. However - and yes I am aware I’ve returned to this point ad nauseum - the hookiness of the ski would catch me a lot when landing off rails a little less than bolts and I found it fairly unforgiving in the park because of this. I’m not the cleanest skier so I need all the help I can get when I land a little off in the park and I didn’t find these provided that.
All this considered, I hit some bigger jumps (for me) on these and they were a blast. I find there’s something about a big platform that is really enjoyable on jumps and it creates a stability that feels greater than expected from the flex. Spinning 45ft kickers was fun as hell and only once did the size of the ski catch me out and that was trying to lay out a backie on a jump too small for it. I’ve attached the gif for your amusement/wince factor as well as one of the more successful jump hits I had on these.
This one hurt... alot
DB XL vs Kartel (Jeffry) 108
The Kartel is similar to this ski mainly in terms of rough dimensions but they do kind of end here. The flex of the Kartel is very consistently stiff through the ski, they have a fair bit of taper and a large amount of splay in the noses and tail. Because of this, they are a much surfier ski and require more effort to butter - although the rocker counteracts the stiffness in this respect. I preferred the K108 personally, it is one of my favorite skis in this category to date, as I liked how easily it pivoted and slashed due to the rocker/sidecut profile and found it super energetic to ski despite its short effective edge. I also mounted mine at rec and didn’t ride them at all as a rail ski so got more out of them as an all-mountain ski than I think I did the DB. I rode the Kartel a few years ago and put them through more pow turns than the Majesty’s ever got.
DB XL vs Revolt 104
This is probably the ski that rode most similarly to the DB XL in terms of front and backside performance. The softness through the noses and near-centre mount point on the Revolts behaves very similarly to where I mounted the DBs in terms of sometimes folding on me if I got a little overzealous in the front of my boots from time to time. Driving the shovels hard could cause them to fold a little, point Kartel here too. The Dirty Bear is less cumbersome when riding switch - something Twig and myself both found in the Revolt 104 - but more hooky at times on landings in the park due to the lack of taper. I definitely found the Dirty Bear more stable for charging and would rather be on that for more of the all-mountain side of an all-mountain freestyle than the Revolt, and vice-versa prefer the Revolt 104 as a park ski. For skis that come in at very similar dimensions and weights the Revolt 104 feels shorter (due to the effective edge) and lighter and easier to throw around.
DB XL vs ARV 106 (2018)
The ARV has since been stiffened since I rode them but the comparison still seems valid. Here, again, a forward mount point on a softer/wider all-mountain freestyle platform gave me issues when riding the ski all over. The Dirty Bear thrived when being pinned straight and putting in large turns on choppy steeper terrain. If I had my time again on these I would likely mount them as recommended and not use them as a park ski at all, I think they would thrive here. I never put my 106s through the park as the 96 was my park ski at the time but I imagine, as with the Revolt comparison that on a personal skiing level, the taper would be preferable for my style.
During my 10 or so days on the Majesty Dirty Bear, I didn’t have any issues with durability, standard topsheet dings occurred but there was no delamination or edge cracks to speak of. I didn’t ride these so intensely on rails but they did hit a fair few in their time. I have been giving my skis a more hearty detune than in previous winters as I seem to be starting to break things with more consistency. As always it’s hard to comment on durability in such a short testing timeframe but I have no complaints here!
The Dirty Bear XL does a great job of adding some freestyle DNA to an all-mountain ski but to me it is lacking a few things to make it work well as a crossover ski. Where skis like the ARV and Revolt have a playful nature that makes them a blast for jibbing but a little lacking for all-mountain riding I think the Dirty Bear XL is a little more on the all-mountain side of that spectrum. Favoring hard-charging and big turns than those two skis which are more your park ski that isn’t going to let you down when snow falls.
The Dirty Bear felt big at times but this was a positive when trying to ski hard on them, the big shovels bust through crud and keep you afloat. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this ski as sometimes I felt I was working with it and others very much against it. I understand the shape is similar to the Icelantic Nomad range (although I’ve never skied them myself) but with more stiffness underfoot. The ski balances a little playfulness and with quite a lot of charginess and would do anyone who likes a wider ski that they can point down anything and trust but maybe less for those of us who edge their turns a little less or want something with a more forgiving profile in the park. The Bear is a bit of a beast.