Rossignol Experience 88 (2014)
It's hard to go wrong with either of the top two models in Rossi's Experience line, which have ranked at or near the top of the Mixed Snow East and West categories for three years. You can spend more for the extra width and metal of the 98, but if you prize quickness, the 88's for you. There's little sacrifice of high-speed calm - the 88 still feels dense, supple, solid on edge. But the lighter weight is unmistakable. Both models rank high for Forgiveness, but even against the narrower waists of the Mixed East category, the 88 is notably quicker. Rogan: "A wide slalom ski - quick and snappy."
The 88 is similar in construction to the Experience 98, but is a centimeter narrower, which makes it quicker edge-to-edge and grippier on hard snow, and has basalt-fiber reinforcement, which dampens vibrations like metal but is lighter. With its shorter sidecut radius, it prefers tighter arcs. It's part of Rossignol's All Mountain collection, designed for maximum versatility in all the terrain and snow types that resort skiers encounter. Waist widths vary widely in the series, from 98 mm in the flagship model down to 74 mm, with target abilities decreasing with size (fatter models for experts, narrower ones for intermediates). All feature Rossi's Auto Turn Rocker - early-rise tip and tail for shock absorption and soft-snow float, camber under foot for hard-snow carvability. Extended Sidecut moves the widest part of the ski beyond the fore and aft contact points: The ski won't feel hooky or unmanageable at low speeds and edge angles, but when pushed to higher speeds and edge angles the sidecut engages more edge for maximum stability. All are wood-core, laminate constructions with reinforcing laminates of different weights and densities, including metal (Experience 98), basalt (88 and 83), carbon fiber (78 and 74) and aramide fiber (76). All have vertical sidewalls (with the exception of the Experience 76 and 74) for maximum transmission of energy to the edge. Most also feature Rossi's distinctive Cascade Tip design: like a leaf spring in a car, the ski gets thinner, lighter and more flexible near the tip, reducing swing-weight and promoting easy turn initiation.
|Level||Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||162, 170, 178, 186|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.39 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.53 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.53 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.17 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.55 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||2.52 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.30 / 5|