Review: 2016 Fischer Ranger 98 180cm
The Ranger is all new for 2016. Full carbon laminate, big rocker in the tip, metal underfoot, almost looked like something Goode would have produced. Super light, looks like a too-light AT ski that won't ski well. I was honestly a bit sceptical that it would be a good ski for an alpine setup. It was mounted with the outstanding Attack 13 demo setup.
Testing conditions: 2 runs, a steeper groomer, followed by a section of decently spaced trees, and then into 4-6” of new snow, windpack, mixed with bumps. Cruddy groomers.
Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, can ski the entire mountain competently, prefer steeps, bumps, trees, and groomers, in that order. I tend to ski with a fairly modern, athletic style these days: relaxing at the end of the turn, pulling the feet back to move my COM forward, extending into the belly of the new turn by tipping and getting long in the outside ski, and relaxing that length to re-direct energy as I complete the turn.
REVIEW: Easily the biggest surprise of the test. We had just come off the Kastle FX95 HP and the Stockli Stormrider 95. Hop on the Fischer, and we were both thinking “is this for real?” Stability was incredible; it just tracked and handed the cut-up groomer snow like few other skis I know of. Zero deflection. Amazing edge hold. Above average carver, it finished the turn as you would expect of a ski made by Fischer, primarily known for their race skis. Fun, lots of energy. In windpack, the tip was as surfy as any ski tested; it punched above it's weight for a 98. I personally would have no need for a ski with more float in the tip than this model. Boy, it was quick: it liked modern cross-under technique, relax, pull the feet back, then extend by naturally getting edge angle, not “standing”. Even though it was such a great carver, it didn't have that edgy, wide race-ski feel that some brands are pushing. I loved it in the trees: it was like a big, soft bear hug. There wasn't an instance where I felt out of control or overwhelmed by the ski; it was much like the current Ranger in that it had a very nice ease of use to it. Overall feel was of a smooth, powerful, light, wood-core ski. I wouldn't have guessed it was carbon had I not see the obvious cosmetic carbon weave on the ski. The Ranger kept the best attributes of the current ski, which are friendliness and predictability, yet added more stability, much less deflection at the tip, better grip, more float, and even more of a quick nature in trees. I did not like this in steep bumps: SSH's comment was that it was for a rounder turning bump skier, not a zipper line guy. The tip to me was in a pre-formed rocker, it did not flex well beyond that. Pushing back in a deep trough. I guess that is what the Motive is for.
The only thing I would change on this ski is the zipper line bump performance. Everything else tested as good as any ski we tried in the category. Truly a home run, considering the $599 price. Will they sell? Doubtfully, it doesn't have the right name on the topsheet. For those doing their homework here on Epicski, don't forget that I told you first to try this ski before you buy anything in the category. It is that good. I should add that it fit my skiing style very well.
Similar skis tried; feel free to ask for comparisons.
Blizzard Bonafide 98
Fischer Motive 95
Head Monster 98
K2 Pinnacle 95
Kastle FX94 HP
Stockli Stormrider 95.
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Edited by dawgcatching - 2/7/15 at 9:22pm