The Latest from Rossignol: New Technologies for 2017 // Ski Technology
With the ski season rapidly approaching many of us are starting to finalize what we’re going to be skiing on this coming season. With so many new skis for the 2017 season, it can, at times, feel slightly overwhelming when trying to determine what new ski is right for you. Here at SkiEssentials.com we like to dig a little deeper into new ski technology and the results they have on performance to help make it easier to choose those new skis. This week we’re going to take a closer look at what’s new with Rossignol. For 2017 Rossignol has essentially retained all of their shapes from previous seasons, but we see big changes in construction that result in significantly different performance characteristics than the previous versions of the same ski.
What is this major construction change? If you’ve spent any time looking at 2017 skis, whether it be browsing here on SkiEssentials.com or perusing the latest gear guides, you may have noticed the term HD on the end of a few Rossignol models. This HD signification refers to what Rossignol calls High Definition energy, mobility, and strength. But how do they achieve this? When you see the HD tag on a Rossignol ski it essentially means it uses their new Carbon Alloy Matrix technology. Carbon Alloy Matrix is a diagonal weave of carbon fiber and basalt which results in increased strength and power with more elastic movement than pure carbon fiber, metal, or most other materials found in ski construction. Rossignol also integrates linear glass stringers that help absorb vibrations and add a very even, balanced flex from tip to tail.
So, what’s the result of this new Carbon Alloy Matrix material? Essentially, even though it sounds too good to be true, the material effectively increases edge grip, stability, drive, responsiveness, and even dampness, all without adding excessive weight to the ski. Where previous versions of their skis may have lacked a little bit of power and torsional stiffness, the new HD versions really do have noticeably different performance characteristics stemming from this new construction and its precision feel.
We see the Carbon Alloy Matrix technology in both the All Mountain and Freeride collections from Rossignol. In the all mountain series the new technology is found almost across the entire Experience line, from the 80 all the way up through the 100. The Experience collection is made up of relatively “traditional” shaped skis that focus on groomer performance, while still having enough versatility for off-piste skiing. In these more frontside oriented skis the Carbon Alloy Matrix provides the most noticeable difference in the skis responsiveness, energy, and quickness edge to edge. Take the Experience 88 for example. It’s always been a fantastic all mountain ski that loves to make carving turns down groomed slopes and even through chopped up terrain. It’s always been known for it’s smooth, easy skiing characteristics, but some have felt it lacks a little bit of energy and pop out of turns. With Carbon Alloy Matrix at its core, the new Experience 88 HD retains all of the smooth, easy skiing characteristics, but now more aggressive skiers can benefit from the increased power when entering and exiting a carving turn. It also gives the ski a little more stability for high speed skiing. It’s really an improvement across the board, without any noticeable drawbacks. It holds an edge better, will pop you out of a turn with more energy, and will handle high speed skiing much more easily than the previous ski.
On the Freeride side of things we see the same Carbon Alloy Matrix technology integrated into their already popular Soul 7, Super 7, and the new Sky 7 (replaced the Sin 7) on both the men’s and women’s side. The technology really does the same thing for the Freeride collection as it does for the All Mountain collection, but instead of the increased energy, pop, and power in carving turns, the most noticeable improvement in our opinion is the increased stability. The Soul 7, for example, has always been known as a highly maneuverable, very playful ski, but has lacked a little bit of strength and stability for skiers who like high speeds over chopped up snow conditions. Where the previous versions of these skis got kicked around a little bit by variable snow conditions, the new HD versions track much better and stay quieter through bumps and changes in the snow surface. We have full length reviews of both the Soul 7 HD and the Sky 7 HD right here on our Chairlift Chat blog and plan to spend more time reviewing both these and the All Mountain skis this coming winter.
Overall we’re really impressed with the new HD versions of their skis. The Carbon Alloy Matrix technology might sound gimmicky, but it really is an impressive material that does fantastic things to the skis’ performance. Not too long ago it was assumed impossible to make a ski damper and more stable without adding sheets of metal, which come along with drastically increased weight. With carbon becoming more of a common material in ski construction lots of manufacturers have played around with how they can manipulate the material to change its performance attributes, and Rossignol is absolutely helping to lead that charge in innovation.