Extensive testing last spring (and owning the Kabookie) allowed me to write a review comparing the 2 skis. The Ranger 96ti was a loaner in our demo fleet; 2015 model, 132/96/120, 22m radius, 178cm. The Kabookie is 180cm, 133/98/118, 21m. Weight on the skis are comparable: the Fischer is 120g lighter per ski (around 4oz). Running length is also comparable; the Kabookie has more rise in the tail, very slight and the Ranger has a steeper but shorter rise at the tip. Also, for the tip profile; the Ranger is traditional, the Kabookie more tapered.
Both of these skis are marketed as all-mountain/AT/Backcountry. Kind of whatever you want to use them for. Fairly light for typical lift-served skiing. But totally suitable for that as well.
Fischer Ranger 96ti: this was a new ski for me, I haven't skied the Ranger, but had fond thoughts of the old Watea, which was this ski's predecessor. The Ranger builds on the Watea, having a carbon laminate, as well as a titanium shell underfoot for stiffening up the mid-body of the ski. Rockered tip (the old Watea had this as well, long before it was called "rocker") but no boat-hull tip style like that ski. They share much of the same lineage though; and have similar on-snow feel. Light and lively, but not nervous. Mid-range stability; not huge snow hugging stability. Ease of use, especially. Ranger knocks it out of the park here: for a 96mm ski, there is no easier off-piste ride that I know of. Simply stunning, just ripping through bumps like they aren't even there Tight trees are cake as well. This ski was meant to motor off-piste. The way it handles soft snow; the tip is not only surfy, but doesn't hang. It tips easily from edge to edge, and is butter when pulling the feet back and pressing the ski. On edge, it carves a smooth, clean arc; the tip tends to engage with a bit of authority and help you into the belly of the turn. As far as forgiveness: it is an 8/10, so user friendly. It gave me confidence that I could make any turn I wanted, at any speed, and the ski would bail me out. On groomers, the ski was a little more "meh". Compared to the stiffer Motive, it doesn't have the power; more of a middle of the road cruiser with a bit of snap, but not overpowering and super stable like some skis. It won't wow you on groomers; the word here is competent. Get it off-piste though, and that less aggressive tip takes over. Also, at warp speed off-piste, it won't be the best choice. Despite the ti in the name, it isn't a burly ski. Think the old Elan Spire/999. The nature of it's forgiveness makes it a less than top choice for super chargers. Also, ease of use is your friend in bumps. If you ski a lot of tight bumps and trees, look at the 96 or it's little brother, the 88.
Takeaways from the Ranger 96ti: ease of use, smoothness, great snow feel, forgiving for even an intermediate; will make you feel like a hero off-piste and in bumps. Not a high energy groomer ski, easily enough ski for all but the top few % of skiers on the hill. More of a fun tree and bump ski at slower to medium-fast speeds, money in tight spaces.
Blizzard Kabookie 180cm: I know this ski well, having owned it the past 2 years, always been a fan. Felt it was a better choice for a light skier such as myself vs. the stiffer Bonafide, and skied it many days since then. Even though the layup on the skis is similar, the Flipcore construction and different attributes make this a very different ski on snow. First off, feels much, much more powerful. Has a lot of energy in the tail, like a coiled spring at times. Fun groomer ski arc to arc. Quite stiff and powerful. It is not quite as damp as the Bonafide, slightly softer at the tip, but other than that, quite similar in performance. Very good in trees, only decent in bumps compared to the outstanding Ranger 96ti. Seems like it has more of a crud-crushing capability at speed, just rips though fast lines at speed, very confident. Not near the forgiveness of the Ranger; both in bumps and tight spaces: the tail pushes back if you are not committed, whereas the Ranger was easier to pull of recoveries on. I felt like I had to ski the Kabookie cleaner; it was a touch more rewarding. Top of the turn is a little more vague on this ski. Overall, it had a stiffer, less pliable, more sprung nature, which led to a more aggressive and committed skiing style. In comparison, I would say wide open turns at speed are more fun on the Kabookie: tight trees are more stressful, bumps are more work, open trees ski with more energy, and groomers have more snap.
Takeaway from the Kabookie: more ski, more top end, rewarding. If I were skiing fast and a good skier, confident; the Kabookie would get the nod, especially in bigger turns and well spaced trees. It is so much fun. Average in bumps and tight spaces, not super forgiving for a lighter skier. You have to be on it a bit more.
Overall, I still feel these are 2 of the best do-everything rides around. The Ranger is a bit more unique: there are several top-end skis like the Kabookie with tons of performance, but fairly unyielding. I have skied very few skis like the Ranger, which are 90% of the most aggressive skis out there, but so easy to ski. We brought in the Ranger 88ti as our performance demo this year, based on the fact that you can put anyone on it and they will have a good time. With the Blizzard lineup, you have to step down to the Bushwacker to get to that point: the skis above that all seem like they need a skier with pretty solid skills to bend them. But if you have the skills, you will probably find the top end on the Blizzard to continue to be more rewarding. Then again, the Motive 95ti vs Bonafide would be a fun test as well!
Phil, want to chime in on that one? I skied them back to back last spring, haven't written a review yet. We had a Bonafide 180cm in the demo that went out 2 times; no snow, no customers last year, but I skied it in the spring a few runs along with a bunch of other stuff.