The XDR 88 Ti is the widest ski in Salomon’s new All Mountain Resort collection. These skis seem to fall into a frontside carving category, but at a closer look you’ll notice they have some design characteristics that are more common on freeride all mountain skis like tip rocker, some slightly early taper, and metal laminates that also taper as they reach the tips and tails. The idea is to make a more versatile all mountain ski that can still carve turns at a high level, but provides the forgiveness, versatility, and playfulness to venture into ungroomed terrain. It would seem that the 88, being the widest, would accomplish this better than the rest of the XDR line, but what did our testers think?
Benny Wax skied the 172 cm length and was quick to point out that he thought the XDR 88 Ti was the “best of the XDR” line. Benny thought it skied “narrower than it is,” although he did find them to have reasonably good float and playfulness, scoring the ski highly in those two categories. He felt it was relatively forgiving considering the stability it also provided, describing the ski as “turny when you want it to be, but stable if you choose to charge.” This “turny” performance is likely what prompted Benny to mention that he “would like to try these in the bumps,” and we agree, the XDR 88 Ti should be a fantastic bump ski.
Steve Sulin scored the XDR 88 Ti 5 out of 5 for forgiveness (something not many other 88 mm all mountain skis with metal can claim), although he also noted that “the more you push it the better it gets.” So, despite being relatively forgiving, it still responds well to high speed, aggressive skiing. Steve thought it “loves to carve” and also found them impressively “easy to ski” after spending some time on the 179 cm length. What a great combination of performance characteristics: forgiving, easy-to-ski, but likes to be pushed hard.
Michael Rooney seems to have felt this forgiveness and ease-of-use. He found the XDR 88 Ti to be “good for cruising on wide open slopes,” which we can certainly understand. Because the tips and tails are a little bit softer and suppler than if they had full length, full width sheets of metal it does allow the skier to relax a little bit more than on one of those stiffer, heavier skis. Michael also thought they were pretty forgiving, “quite forgiving, good on varied snow conditions,” which is impressive considering Michael was on the 186 cm length. This again goes back to the softer flex in the tips and tails; it provides a nice feel in ungroomed snow conditions.
Justin Perry found the XDR 88 Ti to be “a little more versatile than the 84, but with the same edge hold” after testing the 179 cm ski. This makes sense to us as the 84 and 88 share the same construction and there’s not a huge difference in torsional stiffness between skis that are 84 and 88 mm underfoot respectively. Justin did, however, find the 88 to have more flotation than the 84, which certainly plays into them being more versatile.
Ultimately the XDR 88 Ti is a relatively unique all mountain ski. It gives a skier the ability to carve relatively aggressive turns at relatively high speeds, but retains more forgiveness and versatility than most competitors’ skis. The idea is to ask yourself whether you prefer a more powerful ski or a more versatile, forgiving ski and it should help you choose between (for example) a ski like the Volkl RTM 86 or this Salomon XDR 88 Ti.