The new React series from Rossignol takes over the recreational and performance front-side category, and puts a pretty nice stamp on it. The React R8 HP is on the upper-end of this new line, and is a great combination of a lightweight feel and stability. Built with a Poplar wood core and a carbon/alloy laminate, the skis also boast Rossignol’s Line Control Technology (LCT) which keeps the forebody of the ski stiffer and more vibration absorbent. As a result, Rossignol gets away with having a light weight ski perform like a much heavier board. With a 73 mm waist width, the skis are narrow enough to hold an edge on firm snow, and the tip-only rocker gives the ski a strong on-piste persona. The 14-meter turn radius is pretty short, so be prepared to make a bunch of turns. Our testers mainly loved the quick and forgiving nature of the React R8 HP, and found that intermediates will have the most to gain from this nice little setup.
Bob St.Pierre skied the 177, and although he would prefer a longer length, he still found them to be a lot of fun. His high marks of 4 out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, and torsional stiffness are not surprising given the shape and build of the ski. At 73 mm underfoot, it better be quick! “A great little carving ski! They loved to be put on edge and they held the turn in a clean, round manner. Very poised for a mid-level cruiser.” Bob goes on to comment on the lightness, an overwhelmingly popular characteristic, by stating that he “loved the lightness to stability ratio, as I’d imagine a lot of skiers will find it approachable but with a high-performance ceiling.” Good point here, that just because it’s suitable for intermediates doesn’t mean that more advanced skiers won’t enjoy it.
Spinning a run on the 177, Phil McGrory liked the length as well as the forgiveness, with that category earning a 5 out of 5. He didn’t find it that versatile, as we suspect that the narrow waist keeps it pretty one-dimensional. “Quick, nimble, and predictable. Carves well. Very stable in variable terrain. I’d say it’s good for a beginner to high-intermediate skier.” For advancing skiers, having a ski that is predictable is a huge advantage and will certainly assist in technical improvement.
Michael Rooney loved the stability and the forgiveness of the 177. He found it to be the appropriate length, and as a carving aficionado, we’d expect Michael to like the new React R8 HP. For a light ski, Michael comments on how it feels like so much more than just that: “The Rossignol React R8 HP is stable and forgiving. It likes to stay on the snow.” This is telling of a ski that has tip rocker and camber throughout. When you add the LCT to the equation, it’s easy to see that Rossignol has really hit the nail on the head with the React R8.
Rick Randall found the 177 to be very forgiving. It’s difficult to not read “soft” into that score, and at the end of the day, it’s just not a planky and stiff ski. As Rick says, the React R8 HP is “good for softer groomers and intermediate level skiers. Predictable—can make short and long turns. The tips chatter on firmer snow but will be fine for advancing skiers.” Again, we see that word “predictable,” and that is a good sign for a ski that will help a huge swath of skiers improve their carving and turning skills.
The new Rossignol React R8 HP is a great ski for aspiring carvers and skiers who are looking for a light, yet stable ski to rip the front side of the mountain. Our testers big takeaways were that the skis were forgiving, but that also made them predictable, so they’re really well suited for their intended audience of the aspiring carver.