2023 Fischer Ranger 96

Ski Stats

Sidecut 129/97/120
Radius 18m @ 180cm
Lengths 173,180,187
Weight 1950g @ 180cm
MSRP $849
Power Score: 8.44

Finesse Score: 8.59

For the past several seasons, Fischer has 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 new 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 line, none possess enough Titanal to suppress the loose extremities that appealed to FR fans. Because the metal is mostly underfoot, the tip and tail feel lighter, easier to pivot sideways and generally more genial than a ski with tip-to-tail Ti laminates. 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 series has been great at for years with an easy-going feel.” Experts who are accustomed to driving into the tip of a race-bred ski may not adopt such a sanguine attitude. Bobo’s top technician, Theron Lee, whose low stance has been lifted from the slalom course, found that “The tip didn’t have a whole lotta reaction to it. I couldn’t drive it into the turn, which began from the mid-body. Made more for off-piste skiing, it had plenty of tip rocker, so it floated pretty well in this kind of cruddy, spring snow.” While T Lee is doubtless correct that the Ranger 96 has a forebody built for off-trail travel, there’s equally no faulting its edge grip and stability from the mid-body to the tail, that even a skier as talented and strong as Jim Schaffner appreciates. “A big improvement over the Ranger 102,” opines the Start Haus owner. “More predictable and higher stability. Still easy to drift and slarve, but with a much more consistent behavior on hard snow.”

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