Rossignol Experience 98 (2014)
With its metal reinforcement and wider waist, the Experience 98 lacks the quickness and liveliness of its brother, the Experience 88 (see Mixed Snow East). But for supple, fluid, quiet calm at high speeds, it's an entirely acceptable trade. The 98 thinks it's a frontside carver, with the Hard-Snow Integrity scores (No. 4 in the category) to prove it. But point it off-trail, and its pleasing heft and dampness give you confidence to go faster in deep chop. It's a well-balanced package for everyday Western conditions. Dodge: "Easy, comfortable, confident at speed."
The returning Experience 98, an expert level ski for all-mountain conditions, continues to impress testers with its nonchalant versatility. It's wide enough for soft-snow flotation but carves hardpack effortlessly too. 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||Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||172, 180, 188|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.81 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||2.74 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.71 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.69 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.47 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.27 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.42 / 5|