2020 Lib Tech UFO 105 Review: Surprisingly FUN!

Greg Obernesser | | Gear ReviewGear Review
Lucas Wachs shredding the UFO 105s. Credit: Lib Tech

I recently got my hands on a pair of Lib Tech’s UFO 105 and I’m pretty impressed initially with the ski. New for the 2020 ski season, the UFO 105 is Lib Tech rider Lucas Wachs’ go-to all-mountain charger. At first, I unboxed the skis and didn’t really know what to expect and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much. The first thoughts I had were “Isn’t this a snowboard company?” “Does Magne-Traction even work?” “I wonder how soft these are and if they can really hold an edge?” I got them mounted and skied them 7 days around Vail. After giving them a shot, I was very, very surprised and wrong about my initial impressions of the ski.

About the Ski and Set-Up: I chose the 185cm (also comes in 171 and 178cm) ski because I typically like to ski fast, make bigger turns, and run over choppy snow like its a groomer. I am 5’11” and weigh 175lbs. If you are more interested in a “park” ski, I would recommend sizing down to the 178cm if you are around my size. I mounted a pair of Tyrolia AAtack 16’s and skied them in a pair of Atomic Hawx Ultra 130s. I mounted the ski at recommended or the “sweet spot” labeled on each ski. The stated dimensions of the ski are (tip to tail in mm) 137 / 105 / 128 with a turning radius of 18m, a flex of “7” (10 being firm), and weighing 1814g per ski. I put a fresh coat of Purl all temp wax on and detuned the tips and tails about 2-3cm from where the edge begins.

materials
Lib Tech Ski Construction. Credit: Lib Tech

The Lib Tech UFO 105 seems like a really well-made ski. Some people think they are getting really nice made stuff until they snap their gear, their sidewall explodes, edges rip out, or they get a core shot that goes through the ski. I have owned many skis and over time I have understood which ones have/had better components. Lib Tech skis have the good stuff. Sintered UHMW bases are tough as nails and fast! I’ve already hit a bunch of early season junk (trees, rocks, ice, god only knows what else) and the skis are still in great shape. The sidewalls are huge and seem beefy. The top sheets have an interesting corrugated top layer so snow doesn’t stick to the ski at all. After some hard-charging days, the ski has nicks from a couple of days of use but has not delaminated at all. Finally, they are Mervin Made, which means they are the most eco-friendly made skis on the planet. Just some of the environmentally friendly attributes are zero hazardous waste, non-toxic lacquer, renewable eco woods, and recycled sidewalls. 

edges
Magne-Traction explained. Credit: Lib Tech

These skis shred hardpack, period. Most of the skis I like and own are big, directional, heavy, and unforgiving. Naturally, these skis seemed like they wouldn’t fit in with my quiver. I skied a classic groomer at Vail and tried to ski them as aggressively as possible; linking big turns and trying to really lay down a hard carve. The first thing I noticed was the ski was very quick edge to edge. Surprisingly, they weren’t chattery, felt very stable under my feet, and were somewhat stiffer than I initially imagined. Edge hold through turns felt solid and was able to really drop a hip at speed. Lib Tech products come with “Magne-Traction” or serrated edges. The purpose of this is for superior edge hold and seems to work. Upon further inspection of the edges, the Magne-Traction wasn’t terribly noticeable, but its there and can be seen when you look down the edge of the ski. I’m curious as to how this holds up over time across conditions. Overall, the shape is fun for groomers because you can smear or scrub speed very quickly and the ski holds a solid edge at speed.

The UFO 105 performed surprisingly well on various terrain and snow. The conditions at Vail are early season snow. Which means runs consisted of mixed variable conditions with old heaps of powder, man-made, crust, and sugar. Everything was dry and fast. I was thinking that the UFO 105 would wash out turns because of the shape and softness in the tips and tails. I was pleasantly wrong again. Crud, bumps, baby trees in the run, and just junk snow, they still were fun and performed. There is a speed limit on the ski, but it was a lot higher than I originally thought. The speed limit might also just be a function of how much effective edge I am used to skiing. All-in-all, the ski performed well in mixed snow and was an energetic ride.

Power through powder. Due to the playful shape of the ski, I could not wait to take them into some softer snow. Luckily, Vail scored some fresh snow (+4 inches and significantly deeper in spots) and opened some new terrain for the 2020 season. The UFO 105 was just as much fun in soft stuff as it was hauling on groomers. The ski floated pretty well with its large shovel upfront (137mm) and at 105mm underfoot the ski didn’t really feel like it was bottoming. Granted, a 105mm underfoot wouldn’t be my go-to on a huge day, but I could totally see how this ski would be consistent fun for softer conditions or days after large storms. I skied a fairly steep run that had diced up pow and, even at speed, the ski didn’t feel unstable or like it was washing out. It held its own though mounds of chopped up powder and its playful shape made it easy to spin and air bumps.

What type of skier is the UFO 105 for? This ski is perfect for a surprisingly wide spectrum of skiers. Like I have said a bunch, I really don’t ski this ‘type” of ski. I ski directional chargers and prefer those over twin-tip freestyle orientated skis. But having some days on them (in various conditions) I really have a ton of fun on the ski. It charges but is playful. It rails turns but doesn’t washout. I could see this ski as a perfect fit for someone who likes to ski everything but also likes to make their mountain their terrain park. Natural lips, cliffs, drops, whatever are a ton of fun in the UFO 105. The swing weight is pretty great on these and you can basically put them wherever. 

Bottom line: If you are looking for an all-mountain ski that rips and has a fun shape then the Lib Tech UFO 105 is the ski for you! The Lib Tech UFO 105 made me question a lot of my assumptions about “all-mountain freestyle skis” and I am already thinking about getting another pair as soon as these ones are done. At first, I really didn’t think I would like these skis because the shape and flex of the ski was in direct contrast with what I knew I liked in a ski. However, after giving the ski its shot I’m happy to report that I am pleasantly surprised.

Ski Profile Pictures:

Lib Tech UFO 105 Tops. Credit: Greg O
Lib Tech UFO 105 Bases. Credit: Greg O
Lib Tech UFO 105 Rocker Profile. Credit: Greg O

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7 thoughts on “2020 Lib Tech UFO 105 Review: Surprisingly FUN!

  1. I’m looking for a pair of all mountain skis for my wife. She’s a high level intermediate and needs something smooth, stable and kind of laid back. She already has a pair of volkl 108’s and wants something less chattery. I was looking at the libstick 88 of 98. Do you have any thoughts or advice? I’m between those, the volkl yumi and the blizzard black pearl 88. I’ve been riding Lib boards since the 90’s, so I’d like to give them a chance…but I know nothing about skis. Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. Thanks for stepping out of the box and giving Mervin Products a go. All the shapes do have something different to offer, and you guys are on it.Wunderstick is the charger, with a baby swallow for skins. Wreckreate charges to with more traditional shape. Groms like these mounted fwd.
    I am a big fan of the UFO 115 here in the NW, due to the kinda tight spaces and the playful feel. Firm snow going 98-105 and riding them all at 2020 demos. Check the new KooK Stick 179 experimental. I think 98mm under foot. R A D technology camber/rocker. So much fun

    1. Tory,

      No problem! The more and more I ski it, the more and more fun I have on it. It is perfect for a wide range of conditions and terrain. Its light, playful, and somewhat stiff underfoot- so you can carve somewhat hard. Overall, very fun and can’t wait for spring skiing on them!

      -Greg

  3. Great review…any chance you can give the Wreckcreate a review? I’m riding their Wreck 90. Debating a 102 Wreck or 105 UFO for softer days and trees.

    1. Hi Dez,

      Greg here… I have not skied the Wreck 102. I am just guessing here… Looking at the product description, I would bet that the difference is in the shape of the ski. The Wreck is more directional. The feel for that ski would be more traditional. The UFO, from my experience, has a very freestyle oriented feel. Like I said in the article, I ski more of a traditional directional ski.

      You mentioned the soft snow aspect… The Wreck has a 140 tip in the size I would ski it. That’s pretty large so I don’t see why that would be a bad soft snow ski. The UFO has a 137mm, which isn’t that different. 102mm vs a 105mm underfoot isn’t that huge of a difference as well.

      All-in-all, I think it would just depend on what type of ski shape you would like, freestyle vs. a traditional directional shape. Both I bet are a ton of fun!

      -Greg

        1. Dez,

          Thanks for the heads up and glad you got your hands on a pair of Libs. While I have not skied the Wunderstick, it seems like a fun ski for some backcountry/sidecountry adventures. Enjoy!

          -Greg

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