2021 Fischer Ski Brand Profile






If one were to distill Fischer to its essence, the resulting elixir would be made of equal parts precision and speed.   Rigorous quality control has been the defining feature of its corporate culture going back to the days of Vacuum Technic that ensured even distribution of glue in an era of loosey-goosey QC.   The infatuation with speed comes with the territory, namely Austria, where winning World Cups is considered a national necessity on a par with strudel and snow.

Despite the recent spectacular results of American racers on the World Cup, American interest in alpine racing remains a pale shadow of Austria’s national obsession with the sport.  As skiers, we gravitate towards models that are more forgiving than precise.  Except where Fischer is concerned.  Over the course of the past decade, the Fischer models our panelists have preferred ran contrary to the Zeitgeist of the smeared turn; they were unapologetically accurate and geared to run smoothly on the Autobahn.   In the language of Realskiers, Fischer has had its greatest success making Power models that reward speed and technical skill.

Fischer’s fortunes in the American market found a fresh foothold when the brand introduced its first boot a couple of decades ago. Fischer capitalized on its opportunity when it created a moldable shell material it could vacuum-fit around the skier’s forefoot. Overnight, Fischer went from being a bit player in the boot world to a market force.  As other brands with more market penetration entered the heat-molding fray, Fischer gradually lost ground to more convenient methods.

A brand is only as good as the people it can attract, and two years ago Fischer added one of the most admired men in the equipment world to its roster, Mike Hattrup. (BTW, 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of Greg Stump’s magnum opus, The Blizzard of Aahhhs, in which Hattrup teamed up with Scot Schmidt and Glen Plake to create celluloid magic.) Hattrup is well known for his work in the backcountry arena, and his connection to American ski culture can only improve Fischer’s product development.

The 2021 Fischer Season

For 2021, Fischer has a new product story without any actual new products. The story is simply told: all 2021 Fischer women’s skis are identical to their unisex counterparts, save for a change in color and extended size selection at the short end of the scale. What new women’s skis there are, such as the RC One 82 GT WS and the Ranger 94 WS, still hew to this guideline as they are all escorted into the line with a male model by her side.


Fischer’s rationale is also simple: as far as the skis can tell, advanced women and men of equal size and ability feel the same to them, so what’s to change? A delightful side benefit to this philosophy in action is that men can choose a 191cm Ranger FR 102 in blazing, flamingo pink. (I think the shade was flamingo; my retinas are still recovering from the impact.)


Other changes to 2021 Fischer collection occurred in categories Americans rarely consider. The carve-centric Curv series was given a decent if poorly attended interment and 3 new Non-FIS Race models that bear the timeless RC4 imprint have been nudged a step closer to true World Cup performance.  The headliner is the RC4 Worldcup CT, with a svelte 113-65-98 figure that can arc turns of any shape at speeds that will warp your perception of time.


There’s every indication that Fischer’s fortunes in the American Alpine ski market are ascending. Given my professional preoccupations, I naturally look at a brand through the prism of its products, like a fortuneteller inspecting tea leaves. I like what I read in Fischer’s leaves.


Ranger 102

The qualities that made the 102 FR the star product of the old Rangers were its smeary, playful baseline, its metal-free construction – making it lighter and torsionally softer – and the fact that it had the most distinctive snow feel compared to its competition in the Big Mountain genre. As Fischer made the transition to the new Ranger series that adds a dab of Titanal to every model, preserving the on-snow properties of its …READ MORE

Ranger 102

When Fischer made the decision to be gender neutral in its 2023 Ranger ski line – meaning men’s and women’s models would use the identical recipe and even the same names – it did so by blending the constructions (and consequent behaviors) of its existing Ti and FR designs. The 2024 Ranger 102 is a product of this design union, retaining the loose and smeary extremities of the old 102 FR, with a patch of …READ MORE

Ranger 108

Now that the Fischer Ranger series share a common construction, they also share a similar behavioral profile. Nothing affects a modern ski quite as much as the addition or subtraction of Titanal, so when Rangers were made both with and without Ti laminates, their performance profile would change radically from one model to the next.  In 2023, Fischer homogenized the Ranger line by doling out a measure of metal in every model. By dint of …READ MORE

Ranger 90

Last year, after several seasons of toil behind the R&D curtain, Fischer rolled out a completely overhauled Ranger line of off-trail models.  The new clan consisted of  hybrids that blended the two branches of the previous Ranger clan, the surfy FR series and the more connected Ti models.  All the new Rangers received a dose of .5mm-thick Titanal underfoot married to a fairly loose tip and tail.  As befits the family name, they all possess …READ MORE

Ranger 90

[Fischer’s Ranger women’s models are identical to their unisex counterparts.  It’s in this spirit that we reprise our unisex review of the Ranger 90, whose every word is as applicable to its “women’s” version.] Fischer has spent the last few seasons behind the R&D curtain re-imagining its entire Ranger collection of off-trail models.  The result is a family of hybrids that blend the two branches of the previous Ranger clan, the surfy FR series and …READ MORE

Ranger 96

Prior to last season, Fischer had subdivided its Ranger family of off-trail models into two distinct clans, indicated by their suffixes: Ti, for those with metal in the mix, and FR, for those without. Like the Ti’s of yesteryear, there’s metal in the latest hybrid Rangers, just not as much as before.  The metal is confined to the area underfoot, and while there are some changes in how the metal part is configured across the …READ MORE

Ranger 96

Given that its double-rockered baseline is biased towards soft snow that gives the tip and tail something to push against, the Ranger 96 is more at home off-trail than on. Skiers who possess a more upright, centered stance may share the reaction of Peter Glenn’s Mark Rafferty, who pondered the question, “How can a ski be both playful and hard charging? Magic, I guess. But the Ranger 96 has all the carve that the Ranger …READ MORE

RC One 82 GT

Frontside skis and World Cup, FIS-blessed race skis both allege they’re on their best behavior on hard snow. That much is true, but don’t think for a minute that they handle prepared slopes the same way. The fact is, the gulf between race skis and recreational skis made for the same (or at least, similar) surface has never been deeper or wider. Race skis don’t just require skills that 95% of the ski population don’t …READ MORE

RC One 86 GT

The Fischer RC One 86 GT is to all intents and purposes a hard-snow carving specialist with a waist just plump enough to put it in the company of a bunch of all-terrain generalists. In an effort to blend in, the RC One 86 GT has a tiny splay of tip rocker, and a tail rocker so tiny it should be called a rockette. This masquerade lasts only as long as it takes to get …READ MORE