Rossignol Experience 98 2012
Rossignol’s Experience 98 is an off piste biased all mountain charger with more than the odd surprise up it’s sleeve.
Ski Statistics - Length (cm) / Sidecut (mm) / Radius (m)
172 / 139-98-128 /
180 / 139-98-128 /
188 / 139-98-128 /
The new Experience 98 is the superhero of all-mountain skis for advanced to expert skiers. Just imagine -ski pow all morning, rip groomers all afternoon, both on one super-powered ski. This new breed of wide all-mountain ski will let you float through the deep pow like a big-mountain rock-star and charge the groomers like a racer. The turn shape has a round feel with tons of grip but you never feel locked into the turn and have easy ability to change your trajectory and speed at anytime. Traditional camber underfoot delivers power, energy and edge grip with rockered tip and tail that dramatically improve the turn initiation and floatation in any condition. With a 98mm waist, it glides through powder, yet busts through relentless crud with amazing ease. Bowls, glades, and frozen hard-pack are no match for this new breed of all mountain Do-It-All-One-Ski-Quiver. “2800 carved turns. 450 Powder runs. 31 groomer days. 12 sunburns. 1 SKI.” Anything else? 40% Groomed / 60% Un-groomed.
Ski Review's Verdict:
There are a lot of skiers, in a certain age bracket, who’s skiing would be transformed by a ski like the Rossignol Experience 98 (or I suspect the Experience 88 for that matter, if not more so - not to mention similar skis made by a handful of other mainstream brands). The problem is that the Experience line, like the Zenith’s before it, look a little too “race” or traditional and piste oriented, while the masses want cool fat twins, with topsheets depicting skeletons eating babies. It’s not the brand (nobody can argue about Rossignol’s pedigree) as you see plenty of people on the S3’s or S7’s who’ll manage about 1 run a week off piste.
I happen to think the Experience 98 and narrower siblings siblings look great. It’s a modernised version of a classic look in a modern (or versatile) ski shape. It’s 98mm wide for crying out loud!
I took the Experience 98 out during a week of massively variable snow conditions with a complete range of terrain around the Portes du Soleil ski area available to test this ski. I’m 180lbs and 180cm and managed to try both the 180 and 188 version of the 98 and had the bindings set to the recommended mount on both occasions. Bear in mind this ski is aimed at those at 3 out of 4 on the groomed to powder usage scale.
Tip rocker, almost non-existant tail rocker, and camber underfoot in a 139-98-128 package. Some titanal reinforcement mean these are not bullets but I would definately use the term “beefy” to describe their flex and overall shape.
Slightly wet powder and fresh snow was charged through. I had literally bags and bags of confidence after 2 turns on a realtively steep pitched side stash. Same for crud. As expected, I got on a lot better with the 180 for inconsistent snow, tight lines, and the slightly softer bumps in the afternoon, whereas the 188 felt a lot more balanced and accomplished in the nicer end of the deep snow spectrum. After about 2 runs, they felt like they were on auto pilot. They do need a bit of drive to get the best out of them - not a lazy days skiing for sure. On the piste, they are smooth, solid and rewarding and edged like a piste carver after a morning of getting used to 98mm underfoot everywhere else. During skidded turns the Experience seems to disappear thanks to rocker (or Rossignol’s “Autoturn”), with super easy turn initiation, but it’s hard to find a ski without a similar shape (I refuse to call rocker a technology) anymore.
I’d take a 180 for an every day ski, the extra length of the 188 just was not worth it.
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