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2015 Fischer Ranger 88ti long-term review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ski: Fischer Ranger 88ti

Conditions: great snow at Copper (4-8" of fresh over a soft base); Spring snow day at Bachelor (6-8" of new over crust); warm 50 degree April stunner of classic spring snow

Skis: Fischer Ranger 88ti, 178cm. Mounted with Tyrolia Attack 13 Demo bindings.  Tune: ground once flat.

This ski was kind of off my radar until seeing the ski in person. It brought back memories of the old Watea, but with a thinner profile, titanium reinforcement, bit lighter in weight.  Still the same meat-size 178cm length available.  Tip profile is updated, similar to the Motive: quite a bit of rise, fairly steep, not that long, with a non-tapered tip. Definitely not designed as a 5-point type ski.

FWIW, the Watea was really a great ski for the skier who primarily lived off-piste, but wasn't interested in getting beat up like those Mantra skiers, or just a lighter, more finesse oriented skier.  It really was superb for it's day.  

First up, at Copper, light, blower pow that was tracked out, and good, well spaced bumps. This was really the best ski I was on in 2 days of demoing for these conditions.  Tight trees; easy.  Very quick to change direction; the ski never felt like it was fighting me.  I had just been on the Progressor 900 the run before in the trees and was fighting it.  Got on this ski and was instantly on top of my game.  So forgiving.  Rolled it out to some softer, cut-up bumps, and had the same feeling.  Almost floaty in the bumps, so easy to handle the tail of this ski.  Early but not aggressive tip engagement.   Smooth.  This ski was made for bumps; very impressive overall feel.  Just the kind of off-piste technical ski I would want on my feet. Opening it up in bigger turns off-piste, a speed limit was found, at maybe around 35mph.  Not unstable, but also not containing the super high top end of a stiffer ski.  I particularly liked how this ski handled the top of the turn: the tip was everything you want in a good off-piste ski. Not super aggressive, but not vague either. No tip flap; if you can tip and get early top of the turn edge, you will find the ski to be very confident.  With just a bit of tipping and cuff of the boot pressure, it loaded easily.  Predictable but not dead.

2nd new snow day at Bachelor was more of the same.  Skiing more familiar terrain, I opened it up more off Northwest lift, in some bigger, wide open west bowl turns; windpack up top, blower snow down low.   The ski was a little narrow for punchy windpack, and came into it's own once down in the trees.  So much fun ripping through those steep little pitches, where a nimble ski comes in handy. The trees come up on you quickly there. Again, this reminds me in feel and performance of the venerable Elan 888/999 (Apex/Spire).  Maybe not quite as stable as the Apex, even more nimble though.  I just think "turn" and it happens: if I actually down-unweight and move my feet like I should be doing, the ski just rips around.  At speed in cut-up snow, stability was about average.

Last day at Bachelor: sun and spring snow.  In icy spots, the edge grip was fine.  Not a shark-bike edge like a stiffer ski, but had a predictable loading and solid grip once you have the edge angle and countering. Skiing the top of the cirque, it was pretty firm the first few turns, and I actually felt very confident on a 38 degree pitch that was just starting to thaw.  I could commit to releasing myself down the fall line and know the ski would hook up as soon as I loaded it.  Down below, on the sun-baked snow, the tip had plenty of surf, and was a great choice for any type of turn. Bachelor allows you to really open things up and rip at speed off Summit, and above a certain speed, the Ranger became a touch nervous. The Motive would have been better here.  This isn't a ski for 40mph+ excursions, it can do OK, but lacks the beef of some other options out there.

On the lower hero groomers; it was a zoomy ski in these conditions:  The tip, with a bit of soft snow to bite into, really pulled me through the turn.  Much more groomer fun than some of the other off-piste oriented skis I have been on recently, especially in this width.  Compared to the Brahma from Blizzard, I felt this ski gave up some stability and crud-crushing ability, but gained in softer snow edge engagement and tip and tail release/fun factor; as well as overall ability in tight spaces and bumps.  I could easily run the Ranger as my groomer mid-energy ski.  I could run the Brahma too: the power on edge is substantial, but the ski was more vague at the top of the turn and at the finish; more even flex on the Ranger, more on/off on the Brahma.  Completely different feel, and the Brahma is more stable, the Ranger more nimble.

This was a super impressive ski.  We bought a bunch to add to our "Performance rental" ski category; which is basically a demo ski but that doesn't need to be replaced yearly.  A ski for a decent to good skier that wants a versatile tool for the hill, but isn't interested in purchasing a new ski and therefore doesn't want to pay the "demo" premium.  Seemed like a very versatile choice that won't push anyone around, but is capable in the hands of even top skiers.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 18

Great review (again)!  I had hoped to demo these at Killington this week but they were all out when I checked the Fischer tent.  Tried the Head Rev 90 and 85, neither of which I though was as good as my Motive 88.  How would you compare the Ranger 88 to the Motive 86 and 95 and Head Rev 85 and 90?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
 

Great review (again)!  I had hoped to demo these at Killington this week but they were all out when I checked the Fischer tent.  Tried the Head Rev 90 and 85, neither of which I though was as good as my Motive 88.  How would you compare the Ranger 88 to the Motive 86 and 95 and Head Rev 85 and 90?

Hi,

 

Ranger 88: light on snow, forgiving, solid in most conditions, nice lively snow feel.  Tracks well in bigger turns.  Really awesome off-piste, solid on groomers if you aren't going gonzo.

REV 85: snappier, more sidecut, softer tip, very turny, kicked around in crud a bit, quick. fun moderate speed groomer and bump ski.

REV 90: similar, a bit more damp and heavy, touch more stable, still lively

Motive 86ti: stiffer than the others, more deliberate tip than the REV, more power on edge, still playful, more stable in a straight line

Motive 95ti: Also a bit stiffer, smooth, a bit more damp, confident, very smooth in crud, not as turny, bit stronger ride, best to compare to Bonafide/Mantra/E100 type of skis

 

I feel like the REV is a great ski, but if you don't want something that turny with a soft tip, it isn't for you.  The 85 especially is not a charger. The 98 is much less turny and a more traditional all-mountain feel.  A REV is either the ski you are looking for or it isn't.  The Motive feels a bit more traditional. 

post #4 of 18

Thanks dawg.  I was a little surprised having loved the Head Rally when I demoed them last year that I didn't feel the same about the Revs.  I do like a more traditional ski so maybe that's why I like my Fischer Motives.  FWIW, the Fischer rep described the Motive 95 as a "wide GS ski" and suggested the Ranger would be a better fit for me. 

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
 

Thanks dawg.  I was a little surprised having loved the Head Rally when I demoed them last year that I didn't feel the same about the Revs.  I do like a more traditional ski so maybe that's why I like my Fischer Motives.  FWIW, the Fischer rep described the Motive 95 as a "wide GS ski" and suggested the Ranger would be a better fit for me. 

 

The REV is pretty soft in comparison to the Rally.  I think if they had made the REV more along the lines of the Rally, in terms of flex and whatnot, it would have been a really sweet ski. l liked it, but it is not a ski I personally would purchase. Too much sidecut, too easily deflected at speed.  

 

If you like the Kastle MX series, you will like the Motive.  If you are looking for something a bit softer and with a more relaxed nature, the Ranger is a better fit. 

post #6 of 18

What do you think compared to Steadfast?

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

What do you think compared to Steadfast?

Much different skis. You should compare the Steadfast to the Motive. Although the Steadfast is stiffer, more aggressive in feel; the Motive a bit more damp, more forgiving tip.  The Steadfast hooks up earlier and is more powerful.  

post #8 of 18

this ski the same as my wife's new KOA 88, Scott?

 

She had her first day on it today, and wow! Best turns in awhile, heavy rained on and skied out sierra cement, and this ski just worked and gave her the confidence. when I first looked at it, I thought maybe too much tip rocker, maybe too light, but in a tough conditions, Molly just loved it!

 

Fischer's lighter offering have always been ahead of the pack, ever since the watea 94. Watching Molly ski today, made me think maybe I should try a ranger 96.

 

Thanks Scott!

 

Cheers,

Holiday


Edited by Holiday - 12/21/14 at 7:03am
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post
 

this ski the same as my wife's new KOA 88, Scott?

 

She had her first day on it today, and wow! Best turns in awhile, heavy rained on and skied out sierra cement, and this ski just worked and gave her the confidence. when I first looked at it, I thought maybe too much tip rocker, maybe too light, but in a tough conditions, Molly just loved it!

 

Fischer's lighter offering have always been ahead of the pack, ever since the watea 94. Watching Molly ski today, made me think maybe I should try a ranger 96.

 

Thanks Scott!

 

Cheers,

Holiday

 

Sweet!  At her weight, I figured it would be money.  The Ranger and Koa are basically the same ski, tweaked in flex.  I really liked the Ranger 96 last season too.  Just had an uncommon ease about it for the level of performance available. 

post #10 of 18
Is this ski closer to the Bushwacker or Brahma in feel?? Light/lively or damp/stable??
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lott42 View Post

Is this ski closer to the Bushwacker or Brahma in feel?? Light/lively or damp/stable??

 

It is more damp than the Bushwacker.  The Bushwacker is fairly light, but has more feedback on snow; the Ranger is quieter, and a touch more stable.  The Brahma is way stiffer and much less forgiving, at least at my weight.  Sweet spot seems only half as big as the Ranger. The Brahma is more stable, snappy, powerful for sure, but it is a ski I can't really bend at my weight the way I can bend the Ranger. I would say in terms of performance, the Ranger is 2/5 of the way between the Bushwacker and Brahma, as forgiving as the Bushwacker, much different snow feel.  The Flipcore series and also the Hell n' Back/Steadfast were always light and lively on the snow. Fischer has traditionally been a quiet, very solid power feel, GS dampness, but not dead. .  

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

 

Sweet!  At her weight, I figured it would be money.  The Ranger and Koa are basically the same ski, tweaked in flex.  I really liked the Ranger 96 last season too.  Just had an uncommon ease about it for the level of performance available. 

 

 

and another condition, spring type snow, some wonderfully soft, some hard scraped out, Molly shined on all of it.

 

sweet ski! 

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

It is more damp than the Bushwacker.  The Bushwacker is fairly light, but has more feedback on snow; the Ranger is quieter, and a touch more stable.  The Brahma is way stiffer and much less forgiving, at least at my weight.  Sweet spot seems only half as big as the Ranger. The Brahma is more stable, snappy, powerful for sure, but it is a ski I can't really bend at my weight the way I can bend the Ranger. I would say in terms of performance, the Ranger is 2/5 of the way between the Bushwacker and Brahma, as forgiving as the Bushwacker, much different snow feel.  The Flipcore series and also the Hell n' Back/Steadfast were always light and lively on the snow. Fischer has traditionally been a quiet, very solid power feel, GS dampness, but not dead. .  

Hey Dawg, what about the same comparison but with the Ranger 96 Ti instead of the 88. Thanks!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenmonkey View Post


Hey Dawg, what about the same comparison but with the Ranger 96 Ti instead of the 88. Thanks!

 

The 96 skis identical to the 88, just wider.  The 88 was better in bumps and crusty stuff, the 96 better in softer snow that I got to try it on.  My 2 best bump runs of the day at the Copper demo were on these 2 skis.  3rd best was ironically on the Stockli GS, probably because I had to ski super well in the zipper line to get them to work.  

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

The 96 skis identical to the 88, just wider.  The 88 was better in bumps and crusty stuff, the 96 better in softer snow that I got to try it on.  My 2 best bump runs of the day at the Copper demo were on these 2 skis.  3rd best was ironically on the Stockli GS, probably because I had to ski super well in the zipper line to get them to work.  

Thanks, continuing on your comment that the 88 is 2/5 the way between the bushwacker and the brahama...is the 96 similar between the Kabookie and the Bones?

Sorry for the slight veer in topic people's:)
post #16 of 18

I'm still on the Watea, 192 cm with a 101 mm mid.  Heavy as hell but not packed out and budget considerations.  Still also on Elan 666's on the packed snow ski but not much left in them.  Both good skis although old.

post #17 of 18

@dawgcatching would you say that the Motive 86 TI is better at higher speed and harder snow than the Ranger 88? I have the Rangers, but would love to have a bit more grip and power on hard snow here in the Alps. Would the Motive 86 be the ski I'm looking for? Hard to find demo possibilities. And since I love the Fischer feel and there are some great deals right now.... The Motive would be my daily driver/hard snow ski.

 

I think I'll keep the Rangers and make a rock ski out of them, or put some AT bindings on them. And I have my Atomic Automatics for the deep days.

post #18 of 18

And does anyone know if the 2016 and 2015 models of the Motive 86 TI will be the same, apart form looks?

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