2021 Rossignol Ski Brand Profile


For most of the 1970’s, 80’s and into the 90’s, Rossignol was king of the roost, the most recognized trademark in a market crammed with brands that did not survive this epoch. It built a race department that was the envy of all, with stars like Alberto Tomba and what seemed like every significant female racer in the world.   Eventually, maintaining its race stable became too expensive, other companies innovated while Rossi held eroding ground and Quicksilver’s brief flirtation with ownership did neither brand any favors.

To recover from the Quicksilver debacle, Rossi needed a star product or two to restore the brand to retail relevance. The rebound began with the core of the line, the Experience series, led technically by the ultra-powerful E98 and in sales by a model that remains a mainstay to this day, the E88. In 2013, the French brand re-staked its claim to carving excellence with the HP Pursuit. In 2014, it knocked the cover off the ball with the Super 7, Squad 7 and Soul 7.

It’s rare for skis as forgiving as the 7 Series to also deliver OMG performance, but Rossi has found a fresh way to deliver the stability only length provides without making a Big Mountain ski feel big when flipping edge to edge. With the Super 7, Rossignol restored the word “playful” to the Powder ski lexicon, a nearly forgotten attribute among these tanker-sized skis.

No sooner did the Soul 7 set every sales record for a Big Mountain ski than Rossi set about improving it, not just every few years, but every season. It followed its game-changing Carbon Alloy Matrix by reconfiguring its alluring Air Tip, integrating Air Tip 2.0 into the forebody and moving the contact point further forward.

Last season, this impulse to innovate was channeled into Rossi’s cornerstone Experience series. The latest Experience collection is more homogeneous, in both technology and graphic presentation, than the line it replaced. To review, the previous Experience generation altered construction with every step down the price ladder. In contrast, the 2019 Experience 94 Ti and 88 Ti shared the same story, Line Control Technology (LCT). LCT is a vertical, central ribbon of Titanal, shrouded in a shock-sucking elastomer and embedded between wood laminates. It’s called “Line Control” because its role is to keep the ski from counterflexing, thereby maintaining snow contact and trajectory.

For 2021, Rossi again took a scalpel to the forebody of the Experience flagships, trimming down the sidecut dimensions so the ski behaves more like a sedan than a sports car, particularly at the top of the turn. The new Experience 92 Ti Basalt and Experience 88 Ti Basalt retain the same technology package, so the choice between them is more about terrain ratios (e.g., 60/40 on-trail/off-trail) than skier talent level. The returning Experience 84 AI, while it sounds like it might do the skiing for you, is made for a less aggressive skier, substituting ABS for Titanal in its version of LCT.

The big story for 2021 is the arrival of Blackops as a full-fledged family and the concomitant conclusion of the legendary 7 series. We may never again see a Big Mountain model dominate sales the way the Soul 7 did, but you can’t ride the same horse forever. The Blackops collection represents a clean break with the past, but to tell its tale properly requires a quick review of recent history.

The 2021 Rossignol Season

The Blackops project began in 2016/17 in response to athletes’ requests for a powder ski that didn’t oblige them to charge the fall line at warp speed. They asked for something more playful, supple and above all, twin-tipped; the ability to land backwards was essential. Another key component was a deeper sidecut that would allow a 118 to cut a short radius turn if it were laid over. Thus was born the Blackops 118, or as it known now that its cover has been blown, the Gamer.


The next step in the 3-year development of the Blackops clan was the creation of the Blackops 98, rechristened the HolyShred for its public unveiling. Like its big bro the 118, the Blackops 98 was a twin-tip, but to upgrade its in-bounds behavior a Ti platform was added underfoot. Altering the length and width of the Ti plate allowed Rossi engineers to dial in the ideal flex for each size of the new Blackops. (Sidecut and baseline are also re-modeled for each length.) The development process that began with the secretive, athlete-driven Blackops 118 and the underground Blackops 98 led to the expanded lineup that debuts this year.


As Rossi considered its options for a full line of Blackops to replace the 7 series, it became clear that not every advanced, all-terrain skier expected to be landing his or her airs in reverse, so the twin-tip feature isn’t found elsewhere in the new Blackops collection. Among the new unisex Blackops models, the Sender Ti (106mm @ 187cm) is certain to excel in its genre.


There’s a 5-model Blackops series for women that mimic the design and positioning of the key unisex skis, although the women’s Blazer (98mm) has a flat tail while the men’s HolyShred retains the twintip design it inherited from the Blackops 98.


The new Blackops series represents a calculated choice to make a clean break with the recent past. The changes to the revised Experience 92 Ti Basalt and Experience 88 Ti Basalt are far more modest. Trimming down their tip width opened up the sidecut radius of the ski’s forebody, so it pulls more gently into the turn, without the sudden tug of a Technical ski. It helps make the new Experiences feel smoother, damper and quieter on edge.


When I received Rossi’s first press release about the Essential, it sounded to me more like a publicity stunt than a product pitch. Demonstrating that the technology already exists to make a ski that is 77% recyclable sounds all eco-cuddly, but my jaded brain-filter filed the announcement under “Inflated Product Puffery” and turned its attention to concocting my next podcast. My blithe assumption that Rossignol’s new ski was designed to distract attention from the absence …READ MORE

Experience 82 Basalt

Because the Frontside category comprises the most complete price/ability range in the ski market, its membership includes models meant for both end of the skills spectrum. In other words, some models are made to assist the uninitiated along the path to conscious competence, while others serve those who’ve already achieved total carving awareness. The Rossignol Experience 82 Basalt is the rare bird that can serve both initiates taking the next step along their journey and …READ MORE

Experience 82 Ti

Rossignol has re-dedicated its core, Experience series to fit the lifestyle of the modern resort visitor for whom skiing is just a part of his Instagram vacation. The top model in the EXP series is no longer aimed at an all-mountain expert, but someone who wants to savor a bouquet of experiences of which skiing is only one scent. The Experience 82 Ti will make the new, all-resort skier feel like a world-beater. It eases …READ MORE

Experience 86 Basalt

The EXP 86 Basalt has been created to serve a new breed of in-bounds skier, which Rossi refers to as “All-Resort.”  Skiing is an important part of the overall resort experience, but it’s not the whole ball of wax for this resort visitor.  While this person is an avid participant, he’s not going to go wandering out of bounds and most of his powder runs will be on the side of the trail.  It’s probably …READ MORE

Experience 86 Basalt W

The Experience W 86 Basalt from Rossignol is part of a tiny minority of Women’s All-Mountain East models that headlines a mostly Frontside collection. Rossi has completely re-imagined its Experience series, long the mainstay of its core recreational models, to fit what it perceives as a new skier type, the “All-Resort” skier. Skiing is still an important part of the overall resort experience, but it’s not the whole ball of wax for this resort visitor.  …READ MORE

Forza 70o V-Ti

Unlike some of the power-obsessed avatars of the Carving clan that dominate the Technical and Frontside Power rankings, the Forza 70o V-Ti has a refreshingly open mind about turn radius. True, it’s 14m sidecut is made to cut a tidy corner when laid on edge, but a deeper dive into its sidecut dimensions reveals how its shape enhances the skier’s perception of its versatility. Shape is the defining design feature of every ski in the …READ MORE

Rallybird 104 Ti

The last few years have seen several off-trail series that have adopted a less-is-more approach to metal in their female model families. Rossignol’s carefully allocated measure of metal in its Rallybird 104 Ti fits neatly in this popular trend. When selecting the right metal dosage for the new Rallybird 104 Ti, Rossi elected to use the relatively shorter Ti plate of the new Sender 104 Ti, along with a bottom laminate of Carbon Alloy Matrix …READ MORE

Sender 104 Ti

There are several clear signals that the Rossignol Sender 104 Ti isn’t meant for the same skier as its big brother, the Sender 106 Ti+. While the only difference in their sidecut is the 104’s narrower waist, that’s about where the similarities end. The first hint that they aren’t equals is the plus symbol attached to the fatter ski. It’s meant to imply that there’s an extra dose of Titanal in the slightly more expensive …READ MORE