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2014 Rossignol Soul 7 - the Spork of Skis - WINTER REPRISE

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Product:

Length Tested: 180cm

Dimensions/Turn Radius: 17m

Camber: Rocker/camber

Binding: Axial

Mount point: Suggested (boot center) 

 

Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Sugarloaf, Maine

Number of Runs: All day

Snow Conditions: Packed powder/crud

OWN

 

Tester Info:

Username: Deliberate1

Age: 57

Height/Weight: 5'9/177lbs

Ski Days/Season: 20+/-

Years Skiing: 50

Aggressiveness: Moderate(Finesse)

Current Quiver: Active: Kastle MX98/78, Hart Phoenix/ Pulse, Blizzard Titan Cronus

Preferred Terrain: Wherever the snow is the best

 

 

 

Last weekend was my first of the season. Since spending a day on the Soul 7's on a late spring "corn-u-cop-ayah" Maine day, I waited all summer to see how these skies would fare in full-on winter conditions. I found out, and it was good.

 

Saturday was a fast groomer day on the Kastle MX 78's. The snow gods to that point had been most stingy. All blow and no snow other than the human made kind. But it was a great "reintroduction" day. The Kastle's were, as usual, the perfect tool for the job. You just never know how it is going to go on the first day. It could be heaven and it could be hell, as the man said. I was in a new pair of boots as well - Lange 130 RX LV. While I will soon share my thoughts on these splendid boots, let me just say that the combination of a more upright boot with progressive flex was just right.

 

For once, I have been a good boy in anticipation of the season. Did all manner of leg routines for about a month, and the conditioning paid off. I had such a good time with the Kastle/Lange combination Saturday that I felt only a small twinge of regret as I walked by the DPS demo tent set up at the bottom by the lift station. Well, truth be told I was being inexorably drawn to those seductive, minimalist neon graphics when that old verse "and lead us not into temptation" miraculously popped into my head. I spun around and headed towards the lift feeling just a bit holier than thou. Perhaps it was a bit of unintentional "Soul-searching." But the state of my own soul is not what I wanted to talk with you about.

 

Sunday morning awoke to a different world and presented the skiing faithful with the first real snow of the year. Cold (0F) air did its magic alchemy and spun water vapor into that white gold we lust for. I do not know who was quivering more - me or the Souls, as we loaded gear into the car. After spending the previous day on a pair of traditional, full camber, metal infused German carving machines, I was immediately surprised how little readjustment was necessary to reorient to the Souls which are at the opposite end of the geometric and construction spectrum. And that, it seems to me, is one of the beauties of this ski. It requires no meet and greet time. It behaves, when you want it to, like a "normal" ski. And then, on demand, it instantly morphs into something quite different.

 

I did not have quite the same experience with the skis the Souls are often compared with - the DPS Wailer 112. I had just a wonderful day on those unique boards during my trip to Powder Mtn (Shhhhh....) last February (http://www.epicski.com/t/118883/powder-mountain-february-19-26). To be sure, I was utterly smitten by those skis in the conditions and terrain du jour - blower powder in the trees. I had never before experienced the sensation of floating with effortless, intuitive direction changes. But on the flats or groomers to the lift, they were not intuitive at all. Managable to be sure, but with a "wandering" soul. While this might have been a size-dependent experience, (I was on 178’s) I needed to be on edge all the time when not in floaty conditions. Skiing them on packed terrain was acceptable but mostly a necessary evil to get back to the powder playground.

 

With this experience in mind, I wondered how the Souls would fare in snow that I would likely encounter here in Maine when relegated to typical front-side conditions. Very well, indeed, I quickly determined. While about a foot had fallen over night and throughout the day, there was virtually no untracked to be found given the high concentration of many people on very few trails. But that was all good, because this is rather typical of Eastern powder days on piste. And you should buy skis for what you will ski, not what you hope to ski.

 

I spent the day riding the Souls on wide and not so wide traditional Eastern-cut trails. The surface was crud and packed powder with rapidly forming, close-cropped moguls fashioned by skiers testing their ski legs for the first time in months. Frozen lips bitched about aching muscles from a carpet that mottled more with each run. It is ironic that those below leave their carved signatures for others above to navigate, who, turn by turn, leave their own deeper marks for those who follow. This collective sin is only undone at night by the magical corduroy-maker.

 

As I wended my way down these well-trod trails with increasingly complicated surfaces, I appreciated how versatile the Souls are, with few discernible compromises. And my thoughts turned to an alternative dimension in which I am skiing the same terrain on some other ski in my active quiver, whether the Kastles, or Hart Phoenix/Vist DEMO’s, which are 66mm scalpels. Surely, they would be more capable on a turn or stretch of trail that would benefit from a traditionally cambered metal made ski. But I never, for the entire day, wished that I was on any of them, or anything else. And the reason, one again, is that these skis, as I discovered last spring, are a carbon and glass chameleon. On mottled or flat snow surfaces, lean forward and drive them as you would a conventional ski. They hook up and hold on. Not once did I feel the ski balk or twitch, even on uneven surfaces. But in the bumps, they become a very different animal. Sashaying back and forth with pivot slips over icy patches descending to powder mounds, I skied the bumps as well as I ever had. As if on a ski with no edges or tail, until you shift gears, engage and carve around the next one. A very intuitive experience, much as I had on the Wailers in Utah powder. Never a missed or botched turn from a tail that refused to yield or edge that had other plans. And I said to myself, this is almost cheating. Cheating with a ski spork.

 

And that kindled another topic for lift-time rumination. I have the preverbal box ‘o skis. And I love each of them, more or less, in different ways and on different days. Some may be, by virtue of their geometry and constitution, “better” in certain conditions. Certainly, on a hard-packed day, give me a Kastle or Hart with a razor edge. But after spending two days on the Souls, I can think of few reasons that that I would reach for anything else on a soft snow or packed powder day.

 

A few technical details. My skis are mounted on the line. But the 306mm boot sole is in bindings that were originally mounted for my Dobermann’s that have a 305mm sole. I found the forward/aft to be  ideal in the conditions du jour. And the more upright stance and flat angle of the Lange’s was a perfect complement to this ski that likes to be driven centrally. That being said, pressure the cuffs and the tips engage. Suddenly, you are riding most of the length of a 180mm ski that is as stable at the speeds I ski at as any metal ski I own. The only time I sensed that the fore/aft was not optimal was in a brief run in untracked powder on the side of the bunny. Running the skis straight and flat, the tips did not uniformly float, but porposed in and out. They certainly did not dive, but neither did they surf. On a full-on powder day, I would want to have these mounted a bit back. As I am deeply invested in the VIST system which permits instantaneous binding adjustment forward and aft, I may just pull the Axials off and mount a VIST TT plate.

 

In the end, I plan to enjoy the Souls every day that it makes sense to pull them out. They are just that much fun. They are easy to ski, willing and elegant. A thorough bred for certain, but not a one-trick pony. And I cannot help but think that they make me look better than I am. But that is a flaw I can live with.

 

D1


Edited by deliberate1 - 12/18/13 at 1:25pm
post #2 of 18

I wonder if the typically tighter trails back there lend this ski to be a better EC ski than out here?  I loved it in tight spaces, but it totally fell apart at speed (I therefore sold my pair in favor of a beefier ski that handles junk snow at fast speed better,).  I think if trails were tight, and bumps present everywhere, this would have been about perfect (this design in a 95mm waist just screams "tree ski for mixed snow".  Just so easy to ski in tight trees and bumps; almost does what you want it to with almost no input.  Maybe the downside of that is lack of feedback; easy to ski, not as rewarding when you do exit a turn with leverage, unlike a more demanding ski, which is tougher to initiate and gives you feedback when you screw up, but also has more juice when you do it right.  

 

What do you think? More of an East Coast or mid-speed ski?  I had a pair of Super 7's, and was surprised how much lower of a speed limit these had. I ordered them last spring on the early release, and was expecting a narrower Super.  

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

I wonder if the typically tighter trails back there lend this ski to be a better EC ski than out here?  I loved it in tight spaces, but it totally fell apart at speed 

 

Oh, no.  So, opposed to being a "big mountain" ski, the Soul 7 might be a.... um, cough, "little mountain" ski?     

 

I ask ducking and running away...

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

 

Oh, no.  So, opposed to being a "big mountain" ski, the Soul 7 might be a.... um, cough, "little mountain" ski?    

 

I ask ducking and running away...

Here in Maine, Sugarloaf is a "big" as it gets.

But to Dawg's point, I have no experience on this ski in wide open bowls at nostril-flaring speeds. But for where I ski, the ski works very well for the very reasons he describes.

D1

post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

Here in Maine, Sugarloaf is a "big" as it gets.

But to Dawg's point, I have no experience on this ski in wide open bowls at nostril-flaring speeds. But for where I ski, the ski works very well for the very reasons he describes.

D1


I don't have the inside scoop on Rossi, but I wouldn't be surprised if they added a "pro" model with some metal for next season!  Seems like it would be a good option to have the mid-flex ski, and the stiffer ski both available.

post #6 of 18

I've finally gotten enough days on my Soul 7s to throw few comments in...

 

Me: 61 yrs old,175 lbs., 30 years skiing,"gentleman" beer league and Masters racer. Home hill- Bristol Mountain NY.

Skis: Rossignol Soul 7 180 with FKS 140 binding

 

I ordered these in the fall under the local shop's race/pro program. First pair of Rossi's in a long time, but with all the positive writeups, and the description of how they skied, I figured I'd give them a try (as they seemed to be this year's hot ski they'd be easy to sell if I hated them). They are a replacement for a tired pair of 2nd generation Atomic Snoops in 176. A good portion of my time during the prime of the winter is spent on my various pairs of GS,slalom, and SG skis as I attempt to make a slow old guy slightly faster.......

 

We've had a good start to the season here in Upstate NY with an opening manmade WROD, but we've gotten some storms including 8-10" last Saturday night, so I've had a chance to ski the Souls in a  variety of conditions and surfaces. Hold on firm surfaces is decent, especially if you can get them up on edge and the 17m turn radius makes them fairly quick (for a 106 cm waist ski). Last week we had soft moguls from the fresh snow along the sides of a few trails, and they were stellar in those-quick turning, easily released tails, and forgiving enough to not punish mistakes (which I make lots of!). On groomers they do have a speed limit, but it's high enough not to be a damper on fun.

 

Conclusion: No buyers remorse. They are just about exactly what I was looking for-a ski for fresh snow/powder days, trees, occasional trips out west, and anytime I feel like dialing it down and just skiing. They're a good combination of performance and forgiveness.

post #7 of 18

Sorry-happy fingers-double post.

post #8 of 18
I'm with Dawg on this one. I bought them based on the reviews and because I was so impressed with the Exp 98... I expected they'd share DNA, some of the stability & power. Not so much. Light & agile, absolutely...First turns in deep powder were pretty great, we just havn't seen much of it yet. I'd hesitate to call this ski all mountain- I was expecting something like an update on the pre- rockered Gotama, but it's just not that burly. Still, they're a lot of fun, and as we get more deep snow, we'll see how they handle it.

P.s. I'm 170#, 5' 11" and pretty energetic, skiing the 188 @ PCMR & Alta/Bird
post #9 of 18
My demo experience at 220 and 6'1"...

I tested back to back the blizzard peacemaker 186 and the soul7 188. I was looking for a general all Mtn ski - I own an elan 88xti for groomers in 186 and a volkl one 186 for pow. Rossi sickle has been my go-to all Mtn ski.

Groomers: peacermakers by a mile. Instilled much more confidence on edge. Could lay them over on a pretty high angle and they held strongly. The soul7 was certainly manageable, just no where near the bite.

Bumps: flip a coin. Both pivoted well and were very maneuverable. No real issues at all with either. The 188 length of the Rossi was a non issue in tights. Felt like my old 186 s3. Rossi felt like a softer ski than the blizzard - not sure if it actually is - maybe a bit better in hard bumps.

Crud: I personally felt the peacemaker was much more powerful in crud than the Rossi. For my size, the Rossi felt way too light and flimsy - not enough power to plow through stuff. On the other hand - for a light weight skier it would probably be great. The older sickles handled crud much better. The blizzard surprised me in crud - it's no heavyweight either but something about the flex made it ski "light" but feel powerful - no hesitation in chop. Mind you it's no Cochise but it surprised me.

Playfulness, jumps, jibbing: both were very playful and make any moutain a playground. For me, the tails of the peacemaker were more supportive providing very comfortable landings. The tips held better jibbing in medium pow at higher speeds whereas the rossis encouraged slower speeds at my weight. Felt like I was gonna go over the handle bars if I hit stuff too hard.

Pow: slight nod to the Rossi - more width and length - so seems obvious. But is anything up to 18 inches both would be fun. Neither are deep pow skis but that's a duh.


All in all - peacemakers were better for a guy my size. Faster speed limit, better hardpack grip, more supportive tip and tail, reasonable pow performance, slashy/pivoty in tight spots. A phenomenal all Mtn tool for "not sure what I'm gonna get" days. As fun as an s3 but more power in all conditions.

Regards.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeebum View Post

My demo experience at 220 and 6'1"...

I tested back to back the blizzard peacemaker 186 and the soul7 188. I was looking for a general all Mtn ski - I own an elan 88xti for groomers in 186 and a volkl one 186 for pow. Rossi sickle has been my go-to all Mtn ski.
 

 

Thanks for the comparison!   

 

I'm curious to hear more if either the soul7 or peacemaker makes you want to switch from your sickle as your go-to all mtn ski?  Is the next generation really that much better or should we be snatching up sickles and similar old stock skis cheap?   Do 5mm narrower skis make them much better than the sickle on firmer days and in bumps?   Thanks!

post #11 of 18
If I had to decide between the 186 sickles and the 188 soul7s, for my riding style and size - the sickles win out easily for me. They are more damp in chopped up snow, better at railing on hardpack, equally solid float in pow and just as easy to pivot in tight spots. The only advantage of the soul7s in my book is the the larger rockered tip and tail for use in harder deeper bumps. In that regard they felt more like an s3. But I hate deep hard bumps anyway. Soft bumps - they are even. I like being able to fly through crud or pow and then carve HARD back to the lift on hardpack. The sickle is amazing at that. The soul7s aren't anywhere near as stable at high speeds IMO at my weight. I'm sure for lighter riders that is less of an issue.

Now the peacemaker? Different story. It's an interesting ski that felt much narrower than 104. The sickle "feels" 110 underfoot which is good most of time. On a harder - hasnt snowed in 10 days - day, while is can certainly be ridden hard in groomers, I find myself working harder on a wider platform as the day wears on - more knee strain. But the peacemaker "performs" like a wider ski, but "feels" narrower than a bonafide - more like a 95 width. Both are jibby, both are comfortable is snow up to 24 inches, both can rip on Hardpack, but the peacemaker has the edge as conditions get harder while giving up little if anything in new snow.. It was just SO easy to ride hard in all conditions with SO little effort. No knee pain, no muscle fatigue, just fun and effortless.

So I'd say if you want an all mtn ski and are in pow/soft more than groomers - go sickle. If you are on groomers more than pow but love to play in side stashes and tree nooks and in and out of tight spots - go peacemaker.

I own both. And will keep both. I actually have a backup 186 sickle new in my office - such a fun ski and when they discontinued it I bought an extra pair just in case.

Enjoy the ride!
post #12 of 18

D1, your reviews are always a delight to read!  Thanks!!

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeebum View Post

If I had to decide between the 186 sickles and the 188 soul7s, for my riding style and size - the sickles win out easily for me. They are more damp in chopped up snow, better at railing on hardpack, equally solid float in pow and just as easy to pivot in tight spots. The only advantage of the soul7s in my book is the the larger rockered tip and tail for use in harder deeper bumps. In that regard they felt more like an s3. But I hate deep hard bumps anyway. Soft bumps - they are even. I like being able to fly through crud or pow and then carve HARD back to the lift on hardpack. The sickle is amazing at that. The soul7s aren't anywhere near as stable at high speeds IMO at my weight. I'm sure for lighter riders that is less of an issue.

Now the peacemaker? Different story. It's an interesting ski that felt much narrower than 104. The sickle "feels" 110 underfoot which is good most of time. On a harder - hasnt snowed in 10 days - day, while is can certainly be ridden hard in groomers, I find myself working harder on a wider platform as the day wears on - more knee strain. But the peacemaker "performs" like a wider ski, but "feels" narrower than a bonafide - more like a 95 width. Both are jibby, both are comfortable is snow up to 24 inches, both can rip on Hardpack, but the peacemaker has the edge as conditions get harder while giving up little if anything in new snow.. It was just SO easy to ride hard in all conditions with SO little effort. No knee pain, no muscle fatigue, just fun and effortless.

So I'd say if you want an all mtn ski and are in pow/soft more than groomers - go sickle. If you are on groomers more than pow but love to play in side stashes and tree nooks and in and out of tight spots - go peacemaker.

I own both. And will keep both. I actually have a backup 186 sickle new in my office - such a fun ski and when they discontinued it I bought an extra pair just in case.

Enjoy the ride!

 

 

This is an interesting review.  Because, my buddy in Big Sky has been skiing on his Soul 7's, and his son on his Sickles. They weigh about the same but about a 40 year age difference. They both love their skis. They realized they could swap skis and did so for a day this week. Neither one liked the other ski. My buddy likes the Souls for their quickness and thought the Sickles were a lot more work to turn. The son thought the Souls turned too easy and were too light.

So, once again, shows that skis should be demoed before buying and reviews should be a starting place not the last word. It's too bad that demo skis are not more readily available everywhere.

post #14 of 18
Well said JW...
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

D1, your reviews are always a delight to read!  Thanks!!
My pleasure. Glad you enjoy my ramblings.
Now if you have a favorite pair of skis you would like me to review please feel free to purchase them and send them to Maine.
Happy trails.
D1
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JW MN View Post


This is an interesting review.  Because, my buddy in Big Sky has been skiing on his Soul 7's, and his son on his Sickles. They weigh about the same but about a 40 year age difference. They both love their skis. They realized they could swap skis and did so for a day this week. Neither one liked the other ski. My buddy likes the Souls for their quickness and thought the Sickles were a lot more work to turn. The son thought the Souls turned too easy and were too light.
So, once again, shows that skis should be demoed before buying and reviews should be a starting place not the last word. It's too bad that demo skis are not more readily available everywhere.
So what I take away from my personal experience on this ski and this discussion is the inescapable conclusion that Rossignol designed the Soul for scrawny old farts.
Bingo.
D1
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post


So what I take away from my personal experience on this ski and this discussion is the inescapable conclusion that Rossignol designed the Soul for scrawny old farts.
Bingo.
D1

Not just scrawny ones.

post #18 of 18

Well, we finally got some new snow in the Wasatch and the Souls really shine in steep & fluffy. Love 2 turn. 

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