2017 Rossignol Sky 7 HD Ski Review: With Versatility Unlocked, the Sky's the Limit // Ski Reviews
Rossignol is changing things up for 2017 in their "7" series of freeride all mountain skis. You may have seen our review of the new Soul 7 HD from a few weeks ago, and we thought we’d follow it up by giving some attention to its "younger brother" and arguably the more versatile Sky 7 HD. Rossignol listened and responded to the feedback they’ve received over the past few seasons with their popular 7 series and have tweaked them accordingly. What was once the Sin 7 is now the Sky 7 HD. Although all the skis in the line have seen construction changes, the Sky 7 HD is the only one who has received a completely new name. Did Rossignol do this on purpose? Are the changes to the Sin 7 more noticeable in the new Sky 7 HD than in the Soul, Super, or Squad 7? We sent a team of testers out to answer these questions and to report on the differences between the old Sin 7 and the new Sky 7 HD.
Before diving into our experiences on the ski, let’s take a look at the changes in construction. Over the past few seasons we’ve seen Rossignol construct their 7 series "freeride" line using pretty straight forward design and materials. They’ve used a poplar wood core, and with their "air-tip" being a slight exception, didn’t have any really unique technology, concepts, etc. Sometimes, however, a ski doesn’t need to be packed with bells and whistles to be a great ski, and this was certainly the case with Rossignol’s skis. The Sin, Soul, Super, and Squad 7 all gained loyal followers over the past few seasons due to their versatility, ease-of-use, performance, and slick graphics. So, why change a good thing? Just like what we discussed in our review of the Soul 7 HD, Rossignol set out to address the downsides of their skis while retaining or even improving upon the characteristics that have made them so popular.
Rossignol decided the way to do this was a complete overhaul of the skis construction. Instead of using a poplar wood core they have switched to a Paulownia wood core (similar to bamboo) combined with what Rossignol is calling Carbon Alloy Matrix. This technology weaves carbon fiber into the core of the ski, which adds torsional stiffness. This was the most common negative feedback on the previous version of the ski. Aggressive skiers felt it lacked a bit of edge hold at high speeds and also was a bit unstable through variable conditions. Carbon helps give the ski more strength than it had before, helping it hold an edge much better in firm conditions and also giving it a little more stability at speed. Because the carbon is woven into the ski, instead of using a full carbon laminate, the overall weight of the ski is actually 20% lighter than previous versions. Lighter, stronger, faster, now it just sounds like we’re talking about the Six Million Dollar Man...
Claiming all these things, saying carbon a lot, and spouting a bunch of technology mumbo-jumbo and percentage weight savings is all well and good, but does it actually work? If you read our review of the Soul 7 HD you know we were pretty psyched about the changes to the Soul 7. It really did improve the negative characteristics of the previous version without sacrificing what made the ski so popular and fun to ski. The Sky 7 HD, in our opinion, is an even bigger improvement over the previous version, the Sin 7. With its 98mm waist width the Sky 7 HD sits more in the all mountain category than the Soul 7 did, and we think the downsides of the skis were more prevalent in the Sin 7 than they were in the Soul 7. An all mountain ski with a 98mm waist, in our opinion, should retain some pretty responsive performance on groomers. We think this is really where the Sin 7 fell short. It was a ton of fun off-piste, in moguls, and even cruising groomers at slow speeds, but most of our staff felt the ski lacked some energy, responsiveness, and stability when you start pushing it harder and harder. With the new construction, however, the ski is much more responsive and has a lot more stability. It certainly does, however, retain the maneuverable, playful feeling that made this ski so popular. Turn initiation is still extremely easy, but we found turn completion happens much more naturally on the Sky 7 HD than it did on the Sin 7. A lot of our testers commented that the Sin 7 seemed to get a little lazy half way through a turn. It would enter a turn easily, but the ski didn’t have enough torsional stiffness to really bring the tail around as quick as we’d like.
The extra stability really helps everywhere you take it. Because the ski is actually lighter than the previous model, it’s still super fun to take into tight terrain and to play around on at slow speeds. Unlike the Sin 7, however, you can confidently take lines directly down the fall line without excessive tip chatter or an overwhelming feeling of instability. More aggressive skiers will really appreciate the changes to the ski, while less aggressive or intermediate skiers will still love the ease-of-use, lightweight, and playful nature the ski has retained.
So there you have it! We like the new Sky 7 HD very much and think it’s an even bigger improvement over the previous version than we saw with the Soul 7 HD. We’re also digging the graphics and name change, although we can’t really put a finger on why. Perhaps it’s because the Sin 7 never really had characteristics that matched its name. "Supple 7" or "Kind-natured 7" might have been more appropriate with the previous ski. With the new version, however, the Sky is the limit!