If this review looks rather rich for an un-Recommended model, it’s because it’s a reprise of last year’s review when the XDR 88 Ti squeaked past the velvet rope and into our VIP room. A few new ballots from unadoring fans pushed it below our threshold, but it’s still the same ski and last year’s remarks still hold up, even if it’s scores have tumbled a tick. The Salomon XDR 88 Ti delivers what the All-Mountain East skier is looking for: easy navigation in any condition. Its behavioral profile fits that of a full-figured Frontside ski with a penchant for medium to long turns. Its relatively deep sidecut and noticeable light weight contribute to an overall impression of agility. Because it feels at once snappy and secure, it embodies some of the best properties of both Power and Finesse skis. The XDR 88 Ti gets its even flex and damp suspension from a cross-hatch carbon/flax weave and the addition of basalt to the construction recipe. Alert readers of these pages may note that the prior year’s XDR 88 Ti didn’t rise to the ranks of the Recommended, but that was before Salomon doubled the dose of carbon and flax and folded basalt into the lay-up. A Titanal plate lends added bite in the ski’s cambered midsection. One tester declared the revised XDR 88 Ti a “Great ski for this footprint. Holds speed well and quick edge to edge. For the skier that likes long fast turns.” Credit the construction upgrades for the enhanced confidence at speed, which in turn improves the ski’s response to pressure. The improved torsional rigidity of the current XDR 88 Ti tilts its personality to a hard snow aficionado, but it isn’t intimidated by new snow and has the reflexes for bumps and trees. As the headliner of a Frontside family, the XDR 88 Ti is naturally predisposed to etching arcs in groomage and its scores underscore this bias. If the worst one can say about a ski is that it holds so well on hard snow that it raises doubts about its off-piste credentials, you know it’s a solid performer. “Quick and snappy, a Frontside ride for sure,” confirms Rob from Boot Doctors.
Full Review with test scores available on members’ site.