The Experience 88 HD from Rossignol has become a favorite among all mountain skiers who value good performance on groomed slopes, but want something they can take off trail now and then. It has an 88 mm waist width, Rossignol’s Auto Turn rocker profile, a poplar wood core, and most recently has been updated to include Rossignol’s Carbon Alloy Matrix which has given it increased torsional stiffness, edge grip, and a little bit more energy in and out of a turn. The new graphics of the Experience 88 HD are, in our opinion, the best yet and we expect the ski to remain a popular all mountain ski for the 2018 season.
Justin Perry tested the 180 cm length and thought it was a “great ski for anyone looking to carve out the groomers and hard pack.” Although it’s significantly wider than most dedicated carving skis, the entire Experience collection draws more influence from carving skis than anything else in terms of their shape. Full width tips and tails give the ski excellent edge contact with the snow, unlike a ski with more rocker and early taper where you have a shorter effective edge than the ski’s length when skiing on firm snow. While Justin found the ski to be impressively stable for not having full metal laminates, he did notice that the ski was deflected a bit in really choppy snow conditions thanks to the light swing weight achieved by the air tip. “Although it was incredibly stable at any speed, it had a hard time cutting through the crud.” A heavier ski will track better through choppy snow conditions (the Experience 100 HD that uses metal, for example). The light weight of the tips and tails, however, is what gives the Experience 88 HD such a quick, maneuverable feel.
Jake Inger, who skied the 188 cm Experience 88 HD, thought it would make a great “all around ski.” Although that sounds relatively vague, he’s right. If you’re only buying one pair of skis the Experience 88 HD is definitely a contender. Because it’s relatively light you’re able to ski it all day without major fatigue, but the Carbon Alloy Matrix gives it enough power and torsional stiffness for relatively aggressive skiing, then the 88 mm waist width completes the versatile nature of the Experience 88 HD. No matter where you live and ski this ski will get you out on the slopes and allow you to explore just about everything.
Matt McGinnis was impressed by the power provided by the Carbon Alloy Matrix, and noted that it’s not a ski for beginners despite its relative light weight. “The right customer for this ski is someone looking to ski with power and isn’t afraid to commit to a hard carve. Beginner skiers might be overwhelmed by the 88 and should opt for a narrower, less aggressive Experience ski. Any other skier looking to progress their skills would love this ski.” Matt was skiing the 180 cm length.
Our testers seemed most impressed by the stability and power generated by the Carbon Alloy Matrix in the Experience 88 HD. More than one of them referred to it as a “powerful frontside carver,” which is saying a lot considering it has an 88 mm waist width and doesn’t use any metal. While it does carve a turn well, it wouldn’t really compare to the power of a narrower carving ski that uses more metal. On the contrary it is tremendously more versatile and less fatiguing than such a ski and allows you to enjoy a full day of skiing over a variety of trail and terrain choices.