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Rossignol B78 and Volkl Tigershark 12 PowerSwitch

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
This gear review is excerpted and embellished from a trip report that I posted earlier this week.

Me: 49 year old Male, 6’0” 155 lbs. trim and fit, Level III skier. Spend most of my hill time off the groom, in trees, steeps, bumps, and in the deepest snow I can find. Current skis are 2004 Rossignol B2 Bandits. Skis demoed at Snowmass in outstanding conditions.

Knowing that my current skis are losing some of their original liveliness, I decided to stop in at the Gene Taylor shop in Snowmass to see what new all-mountain mid-fats were available. P.J., the big cheese at the shop shot the breeze with me and suggested that I first try this years B2 equivalent the B78. As I absolutely love my old boards, this seemed like a good place to start.

Rossignol B78 116-78-105 Turn Radius- 16m Length tested- 174cm.

Initial run on a groomed black, just to get a feel for the new sticks. Not surprisingly, they are very similar in all around feel to my old B2s, and the extra 4mm underfoot is barely noticeable. Nice and light, they listen to my clumsy commands and make turns of any shape with minimal effort. Getting up to speed, they hold long arcs securely on the hero-snow, the tips hook up smoothly and easily, and turns release with similar grace. A touch stiffer in the tail than my old boards, I sit back a bit and try and get myself into a bit of trouble. No worries, though a bit stiffer overall and more torsionally rigid than the B2s, the 78s are nearly as forgiving, and I’d need to make a major misstep to get thrown badly.

Next run finds me at the top of the Big Burn lift, and I head straight into the mellow trees, hoping to find a stash or two of recent freshies. In all ways, the new Rossis perform like old friends, doing what I ask, when I ask, in a trusted fashion. Nearing the bottom of the run, I turn hard right and catch a few hundred feet of vertical on the blue bumps beneath the lift. Again, the lightweight and easy swing of the 78’s are no sweat, and I mix fast and slow lines through the moguls with my usual aplomb, (or lack of same.)

Run three has me looking for the goods. Cirque Platter to the top gives me access to the gate I want, Roberto’s, where the day before I enjoyed some seriously deep snow, and enough pitch to keep my heart aflutter. Before I get to the first pitch, I come across some wind-blown crust, and the 78s cut through it effortlessly. Then it’s time for the acid test. The deep snow is well cut up, but still soft, and the new skis float through the soft stuff, and blast through the chunks with nary a flutter. Marvelous.

Day is interrupted by a delightful diversion. I meet up with my new buddy, a young Bear named Swing. A 22 year-old ex-member of the Austrian national junior team, Swing brings some serious skills to the table. Tired of the rigors of organized racing, Swing has developed a style of his own that is more akin to big-wave surfing or water-skiing than orthodox alpine ski technique. He’s graceful, extremely personable, and man is he FAST. He usually prefers to ski without poles, and spends most of his time on the groomers, so I’m more than glad to spend a few hours chasing him down the hill. Swing had the courtesy to stop frequently enough so that he could allow me the illusion that I was actually keeping up with him. He’s also got this way cool trick wherein he arcs high speed turns on only his uphill ski that in a less humble person would have me hating him as a show off.

We spend most of our time on groomers, and it is here where the new Rossignol skis start to make their attributes stand out from their older cousins. The extra surface area begins to show their relative strength, and the new boards exceed the old B2s in their stability at speed. I get to ski several laps at what is probably near the highest consistent speed that I’ve ever maintained, and the 78s didn’t show the slightest trace of wobble, shake, chatter, or shudder. Granted, this was on almost perfect hero-snow, but I did find a few bits of skied-off spots, and the edges held like magnets on iron plates.

Managed to cajole Swing to take a few black bump runs. Lack of poles slowed him up a bit, and I can’t blame the new boards for my lack of élan. Still and all though, the Rossis were just as responsive as anything I could hope for. They’d pivot, carve, slide, grip, or skid at my command. The only think lacking was my own particular artistry. The skis did all that I asked. Their rebound energy was definitive, and predictable regardless of turn shape or conditions, and turn initiation was simply a matter of applying a hint of pressure to the tips.

I’m very glad that I gave the new sticks a try. By doing so, I convinced myself to save several hundred dollars. The new 78’s are livelier than my old B2s, and have some more stability at speed. Still and all, their performance is not an order of magnitude greater than my current skis, so I’ll be happy to keep on loving skiing on the old Rossis for at least another season. The edges are still serviceable, and the cores, while a bit tired, still have a bit of life left, so they’ll do for now. I gave my candid review to P.J. and was a bit amused when he, the big cheese at the shop, confided that he too still skis on his old pair of B2s

Had I not convinced myself that my old boards still have some life in them, then the Rossignol 78’s would most definitely be on my short list of “must haves.” I’ll probably demo a few more skis this season, (possibly including the Rossi B83, Volkl AC30 & 40, Watea 84 and Head Monster 78 & 82.) maybe looking to pick up a bargain at years’ end, but would not be at all dissatisfied with a pair of these sticks.

Swing had to meet an acquaintance at the village mall, so I accompanied him down the hill and headed back to the ski shop. As the Taylor demo deal is good for multiple skis during the course of the day, the folks asked if there was anything else that I wanted to try. I explained that my demo was just fine regarding anything that I would seriously consider purchasing, but they said that was cool, and that I could try anything in the shop just for kicks. I then explained that I though that it would be fun to try a pair of moderately serious ripper skis. The day was coming to a close, and all that I would be able to access would be groomers, not my usual stomping ground. In order to illustrate the type of skis that I thought would be fun, I used the example of Wile E. Coyote on a pair of ACME Rocket Powered Roller Skates. P.J. sauntered over to the rack, and handed me a pair of shiny, chrome…

Volkl Tigershark 12 Power Switch 124-79-108 Turning Radius-15.5m Length tested- 168cm Note that this review is based only on two runs at the end of a long day.

I threw a few $ into the tip jar, and the tech guru did a quick binding adjustment. I scurried to the lift clutching these new glossy wonder-sticks, while trying desperately to fasten the boot that I removed in the shop, (Silly me. I managed to break the two outside toes on my right foot a few weeks ago, and without thinking removed my right boot to give the tech for sizing, helping to add a bit discomfort to my day,) hoping to make it to the top of the hill in time to make at least a pair of runs before the upper lifts closed.

Initial impression of the skis was apparent while carrying them to the lift. Man, these beefy Teutonic wonder-skis are heavy. Guess that helps to explain why they held a grip on the snow similar to that of a pair of pliers on a damp sponge.

Made it to the top of Big Burn six minutes before the lift was due to close. That turned out to be absolutely no problem. Wow. These skis want to MOVE. First run I left the switch in the “off” position. Made a non-stop run of linked short turns down to the lift and still had some time to spare before closing. On reaching the top again, I popped out of the skis and flicked the switches to the “on” position. Even more wow. They held incredibly well on the hero snow in fast, big turns. Would have liked to be on these babies while I was still skiing with Swing. I’m curious to know how they hold on real boilerplate. Guess that I’ll never know though. As a Floridian, my rock skis are also my powder skis, and are used for everything in-between as well. Besides, as long as I’ve got to fly in order to ski, I’ll head west rather than due north.

Down near the bottom of the hill, I’m immersed in a swarm of skiers, jibbers, riders, sliders, wayward pedestrians, kids, nannies, and some apparently clueless souls, heading to the bars, condos, ski school pick-up, shuttle busses, and jobs in the food service industry. Thrown into this human gumbo are a few young boarders stopped inexplicably amidst the throng, and several people who must be much more important than I am, because they assume that their cell phone calls are too urgent to put off until they are actually off the hill and away from the surging masses. What simple joy can I elicit from this flashy pair of skis in the midst of this organic obstacle course? Simple. By simply rolling my ankles smoothly, I’m able to effortlessly weave a pair of railroad tracks, at a responsible speed of course, through this living slalom course. Dang, these skis are slick.


As you may have surmised by now, unless my life changes drastically and I find myself in a mountain town for a season, I’m destined to live with a one ski quiver. These Tigersharks are much too specialized to fit that bill for a man who only gets to ski about 25 days a year in the western US and Canada, and has my preference for soft snow, bumps, and the like. However, I was mightily impressed with these tools. These skis are akin to sharp knives. They are much more efficient to use to cut with than dull knives, but are also much easier to hurt yourself with if you’re not paying attention. I would not want to find myself in the back-seat on the steeps at high speed on these puppies, or I might find myself using pine trees as toothpicks. Were I in the position of wanting a pair of front-side rippers though, I’d have to give this pair of ACME rocket-powered roller-skates some serious consideration.
post #2 of 4
Great reviews, thanks

post #3 of 4
AC 30 are nice. I'd try them b4 buying the B78...
post #4 of 4
Great review. I too am a B2 skier and love them as a really versatile ski. Really good for me in all conditions and all over the mountain.

You also should try the Dynastar Legend series (esp. the 8000 & Mythic Rider). They ski very similar to the Rossis, and maybe have a little more performance potential at high speed. Great in bumps and crud and would be great western skis.

Still, like you, there is no reason for me to buy now as the B2s are still in great condition and still work for me. I will definitely demo the B78s this year and see for myself.
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