Ski reviewed: Fischer Progressor P900, 175cm, 2012 model.
Conditions: groomers were boilerplate with crappy grooming (ice marbles on top, cat operator was moving too fast for tilling. 10 out of the 12 groomers at Bachelor are rookies this year, I was told). Off-piste was ice, with maybe 1cm of soft snow on top that had blown in. Some little bumps. Crappy snow all around; an ice event had occurred 2 evenings before and ruined what little decent snow we had.
About me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, athletic. Can ski most anything, prefer off-piste terrain, bumps, and steeps. Ski 30-50 days a year. Skis I own: Kastle RX12, Kastle FX94, Kastle BMX98, Blizzard Bonafide, Head Inferno (AT setup), Elan Olympus Mons, Kastle BMX128
Skis: the new Fischer Progressor 900: 2 sheets of .5mm metal, softer than the old 9+, very similar to the 10+ from last year. It has the single-flex plate with pre-drilled holes. Not a super burly or heavy feeling plate. 14/18m radius in the 175cm. Softer in the tail than your typical carver. Camber profile is very traditional.
Review: I have skied this a couple of days, probably logging about 35k vertical. The snow was very poor, and it was very good that I had a carver on my feet with some beef to it. I had been skiing my Infernos and Bonafides in this crap, and neither were really up to the task. Too much work, and had to ski too conservatively on them. Enter the P900. I have always liked the Progressor lineup, and was excited to try this one.
Groomers: It was really hard to open it up on groomers on this ski. In the video, I am skiing pretty conservatively; normally I am more active and can get on top of the new turn with a more aggressive release. In this video, I am sitting back a little, waiting for the release to happen instead of skiing dynamically. This is totally a product of the conditions: with those ice marbles on top, the skis can give way at any moment, and I just didn't have a ton of confidence. So, don't read too much into that. As far as the skis go, they held admirably, and were a great flex for me. Out of the wrapper, they felt a touch railed tip and tail. A good mini-tune does wonders for them. These don't have the race finish of the P1000 or the WC lineup, so they aren't quite as dialed as they need to be. As far as how they ski, I could easily work the ski, even at my weight. Tip was quite soft. They released well, and powerfully, but not as aggressively or with as much pop as the Omeglass ti I skied from Dynastar the previous day. Exiting the old turn was easy: I found that if I released across the skis, instead of down the hill, I was able to get out of the old turn with more energy. There is enough tail on this 175 that I could really let the tail run out at the exit, and almost let the ski run into an arc during the transition and be on top of the tip coming into the next turn. That is a super fun (and high level) move that I have been working on. The tail is moderately stiff, and gives you a bit of pop. The really cool thing about the P900 is the variable turn radius: unlike the Omeglass ti (which is somewhat nervous in GS arcs, and really is demanding; you have to be on the ski, ready to keep it under pressure), the P900 has more stability in bigger turns. I can do as small of a fall line arc as the Ti, but really open this ski up as well. 20m arcs are really fun, and I still can work the ski alot and get more energy out of it, vs a GS race ski. It isn't a lot of work to ski; it is a good cruiser as well, but a ski like this deserves some energy. Engagement at the top of the turn is not aggressive: if you have to slide and then load it up, you can easily do it. It is more GS in nature about how it engages and releases.
Off-piste: This was a nice contrast to the Bonafide I skied later in the day. This ski is definitely more "precise" than the Bonafide, and the tail grabs more, as it engages much more cleanly and easily, but in bumps, it can be a bit too aggressive. You can see I am skiing somewhat tentatively in the video off-piste on this ski, but was much more confident here than on the much wider Bonafide. In shorter radius turns, I didn't find this to be a problem: it was something I noticed the first couple of turns, and then was used to it. It is quick, and holds like mad on that surface. Good in some smaller bumps (not shown in the video); a touch too aggressive perhaps, but not bad, and certainly skiable. The Bonafide was the opposite end: not quite aggressive enough, too slarvy for ice, and a lot of work; I ended up trusting the ski less on a downward release, and using more pushing movements (to be fair, the Bonafide isn't designed for ice, so it isn't as criticism as much as it as an observation). Ideally, for those conditions, I would have something in the middle of these 2: not quite as aggressive as the P900, but more aggressive than the Bonafide, but given the choice, I skied much better on the P900 on icepack. It wants to still be skied tip to tail for release and engagement, even more so off-piste, as you can't rely on simply tipping or park and ride movements there; you have to be equipped with a good release to get it out of the turn. If you nail the top of the turn and have room to work, you can lay over the ski almost like a GS ski on a groomer. It is very predictable, if not a little aggressive, but again, I got used to it. Perhaps not the ideal off-piste ski, but very manageable, and much better than the old Progressor 9 or 9+, which were almost Master's GS skis. I could easily ski it day to day for hardpack conditions.
Skill building: for slower speed skill-development skiing, the P900 is also very solid. Being a slow or fast ski, it works well as a coaching/instructing ski, or for playing around on and working on improving as a skier. It is responsive enough with regards to feedback for drills, yet won't run away from you like a full-on race ski could. I did some one-footed skiing on it, and it was instructive as to the feedback I was getting on my balance. A ski that rewards good skiing, but doesn't punish (too badly) errors.
Overall: this is a well balanced, frontside oriented, but versatile ski. More forgiving than the old lineup, easy to ski, yet as powerful as one would ever need for a frontside carver and off-piste hardpack ski. Stability is great; it feels at home in a wide variety of turn radius, and holds well on really crappy snow.
Comparisons to similar skis
Kastle RX12: similar in feel, Kastle has more top end, a bit more aggressive grip underfoot, and is a touch more forgiving tip and tail. Kastle is more damp, not as much energy in the tail unless you really work it, but does have a gear that the P900 can't match.
Dynastar Omeglass ti: The Omeglass is much less of an all-around carver and more of a fall-line carver. Fischer much more at home bigger arcs, more stable in bigger arcs, less energy, less demanding. Not as good for fall-line, dynamic turns as the Ti, which is a pretty special ski in it's element. P900 is also more versatile off-piste.
Blizzard Supersonic: Blizzard is heavier and a touch more aggressive underfoot. Blizzi is perhaps the more exciting carver, P900 is more damp, easier to ski, and better off-piste. Both are super fun.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, or you can post feedback here. I feel these type of skis can get overlooked, but for a lot of people; these are the every day conditions they see, and ski like this really works well. I like to have a narrower all-mountain type carver in my quiver as well. They have been money for years like this season.