Advanced all-mountain skier
Craig's rating of this ski:
Considering his skiers profile:
"All-mountain skis will be my choice when conditions vary from firm to 6" of fresh snow. Better edge hold and carving capabilities should be expected compared to my powder skis. They should be competent in crud and soft bumps."
Weight:82 kg180 lbs
My favourite all-mountain skis:
1. Renoun Endurance 98
2. Liberty Variant 113
2. Rossignol Experience 88 HD
To all my reviews
Late summer skiing at "Timberline" Oregon-USA
The Place:it's August 23rd 2016 at the beautifully maintained Timberline Lodge built by our federal government under Roosevelt's "new deal" program in the early 1930s. Skiing began in 1939. Located on Mt Hood, approximately one hour outside of Portland, or Hood River Oregon.Timberline had a great 2015-16 season, and the "Palmer Snow Field" at 8540 vertical feet, and two lift rides above Timberline Lodge, had superb coverage, and spring conditions. Frozen corduroy in the morning starting at 7:30, and soft spring conditions by late morning, to closing at 2:00. Race clinics, and mogul-freestyle clinics are available through the summer, including kids. Hiking from the lodge, through the high alpine meadows is also popular. During our visit, several groomed runs were open to the public, as well as the mogul course. I would rate this terrain, as blue to single black in difficulty. The snow field begins at the second chair, where you can put on your skis. By late morning the bumps were medium in size with good rhythm, and soft, which some would reference as "hero bumps". There was a good size kicker in the bumps for aerials.
I was fortunate to spend some time with Rossignol's tenured, and very knowledgable representative-distributor for the Northwest US. He described the skis perfectly before I took them out. As I was leaving with the new Experience 100 HD Ti in my hands (see my separate review), he said, "now, if I was going on vacation to a resort, and could only take one ski" as he pointed to the rack of skis and the Experince 88 HD, "this is the ski I would take." I then remembered, as a local and frequent skier at Vail, my home resort, there were many instructors that skied on the previous generation 88, and said they loved it. My local Vail ski bud, and ripper, also skis the previous 88 in any, and all conditions, including the deepest days, and bumps. He skis it long for his size, and rarely tunes them.
This years Experience 88 HD uses Rossi's new "carbon-basalt (isn't Basalt a rock?) weave, instead of the titanal used in the 100 HD ti. As the rep explained to me, prior to heading out, the Basalt adds damping to the pop of the carbon. I tend to shun carbon skis, due to the common (but not always) lack of damping, increased stiffness, and pop when the ski rebounds from compression. Generally, I find these characteristics are better suited to flat on-piste terrain, and I spend most of my time off-piste and in bumps.
Well.....the rep was right again The 88 has great damping, and is very stable, even when transitioning from skied off areas to piles. The "Basalt weave" is a winner, and tames the carbon pop! Does it have the edge hold, and carve GS turns like the 100? Not quite, but this ski is very good at all turn shapes, and quick edge to edge, and forgiving. Get in the back seat, skid or smear your turn, ski a flat edge....no problem. However, if you want to lay down tracks, put it on edge, and this ski will do it.
The bump run kept calling me, while I was on the 88. Forgiving, and quick, with great damping and even flex. You will be glad your on the 88s when you end up in a bump field with your buds! Just point-em down the fall line.
The thick corn piles of warm spring skiing can give you some feeling of a skis performance in powder, and these seem to have decent float for this width underfoot, with good stability. A narrower ski like the 88 will produce more face shots, and that's always a plus in my book. As I mentioned earlier, one of my Vail ski buds uses the previous generation 88 in the deepest conditions. I have asked him a number of times during those killer pow days, how the 88s perform, (when I'm skiing 141mm wide underfoot), and his response is always the same, " they do everything I ask them to". Enough said!
Long term update
I now have this ski in my personal inventory, and have skied it in a wide variety of conditions.
-"Cream-Of-The-Crop" for this approximate width underfoot
- Perfect mate to your wide pow ski, for the "ideal" two ski quiver that should cover "all" conditions
- Superb carver at all turn radius
- Very forgiving, with large sweet spot on flatter terrain
- Excellent edge engagement
- Very good edge hold, but this ski (in its second season) has lost much of its original edge grip, even with frequent tuning and increased edge angles to 1 degree bottom, and 2 degree side. All skis break down, and lose edge hold over time.
- Excellent stability and damping at high speed, and in variable conditions
- Even flex pattern
- Excellent float in pow for this width, with its wide tip and tail (better than many skis in the approx 100mm underfoot width). I will use this 88mm underfoot ski up to approximately 4-6 inches, before switching to my powder ski, with some overlap in performance at this depth, depending on snow type.
- I skied the 88HD in 7-9 inches of medium density Colorado powder, that fell on top of a couple inches from the previous day. With its great float (for this width), even flex, quick turn initiation, and superb stability, this Rossi was excellent in powder bumps, particularly those wider spaced bumps, where I could carry more speed, to let the tip float. Many face shots, and great memories!
- Very good in soft bumps, firmer bumps require a correct, and balanced body position, in a narrowed sweet spot (balance point on ski), due to this skis stiffer flex
- Rossignol uses a aluminum add on piece to the tip of this ski, and others in their line, including the women's version "Temptation 88" which my wife owns. This added metal probably adds damping, and torsional stability to the tip, which is a bonus. However, it is attached to the ski with protruding round head screws on the bottom outer edges of the piece. When skiing with your feet together (as you would in bumps), the wide tip overlaps (which is not a problem), but the round head screws catch on the upper side edge of the aluminum, on the opposite ski. This will get your attention! This is a poor design, that Rossignol can easily rectify. I am going to replace these screws with flat head stainless, and recess the hole in the aluminum, so that it is a flat surface. In addition, I may taper the abrupt top edge of the aluminum with a filler, or bevel it with a grinder.
- Tested Length: 180cm
- Edge angles: 1 degree bottom, 1 degree side factory recommended. These may have been tuned to the reps optional 1/2 degree bottom, and 1 degree side, that he often uses on his demo fleet. ( I used 1/2 bottom and 2 side on my Rossi Super 7s for several years with good results)
- Weight: 2100g per ski blank
- Length: seemed ideal, but error towards longer
- Flex: medium stiff
- Bindings: Rossignol demo
Who is this ski for
- Great one ski quiver
- If you ski the whole mountain
- If you like more face shots, and a deeper ride in pow
- If you want a forgiving ski, that can still lay down tracks on groomers
Rossignol about the Experience 88 HD
"Amplified with Rossignol's new Carbon Alloy Matrix, the all-new EXPERIENCE 88 HD is the undeniable all-mountain benchmark for expert skiers. With its award-winning versatility intact, the new Experience 88 HD blends the heart of a high-performance carving machine with a smooth, effortless freeride feel. Carbon Alloy Matrix increases edge grip, stability, dampness, and drive for a finely-tuned fusion of damp, "planted-to-the-snow" edge grip and loose, playful mobility. Combined with our patented Air Tip technology, Auto Turn Rocker profile, and Extended Sidecut, the new all-mountain standard delivers high-definition performance across all terrain and snow conditions. It's racing DNA meets freeride. Precision and power meets effortless float. It's everything you need for the ultimate one-ski-quiver. The entire mountain awaits – EXPERIENCE MORE. 50% Off-Trail/ 50% On-Trail", says Rossignol.