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. Now Rossignol’s star is not only ascendant, at least as far as the U.S. market is concerned, it’s in the highest orbit of all.
For brands that make technical gear like skis, a successful renaissance is always led by product. Several seasons ago, Rossi shored up the core of their All-Mountain offering with the introduction of the Experience series, headlined by the terrific E98 and E88. In 2013 it 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 this forgiving 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. In its 2019 collection, this impulse to innovate has been channeled into its cornerstone Experience series.
The new Experience collection is more homogeneous, in both technology and graphic presentation, than the line it replaces. To review, the previous EXP generation altered construction with every step down the price ladder. In contrast, the 2019 Experience 94 Ti and 88 Ti share 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.
By giving the E94 Ti and E88 Ti the same technology package, Rossi has inevitably made the two models behavior more similar, closing the performance gap so the choice between them is more about terrain ratios (e.g., 60/40 on-trail/off-trail) than skier talent level. The new 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.
Lest you think LCT is reserved for the commercially critical Experience series, it’s also the keynote technology of Rossi’s 2019 Hero race skis. No one prizes snow contact more than the race community. Citizens can get a taste of the real deal thanks to a collection of Hero models with more cast members than an Avengers blockbuster.