2022 Rossignol Experience 86 Basalt

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lengths: 149, 158, 167, 176, 185 cm
radius: 16 m at 176 cm
sidecut: 132/86/120 mm at 176 cm
price: $ 849.95

Rossignol took their Experience collection of all-mountain skis and completely redeveloped it for the 2021/22 ski season. This Experience 86 Basalt is one of two widest skis in the line. They use the same exact shape, although one has titanal construction and this one basalt. That makes this ski a little more approachable and more forgiving than the Ti model, although it still feels like a performance-oriented ski. Rossignol uses a lightweight paulownia wood core that’s supported by their basalt laminates. We also get Rossignol’s new Drive Tip Solution, which uses a complex blend of fibers and visco in the tip to absorb vibrations and impacts and turn it into useable, smoother energy once it reaches the underfoot portion of the ski. The shape of the Experience skis has been tweaked for 2022 as well. This Experience 86 Basalt has more extended sidecut than the previous generation, but with similar rocker lines in the tip. This increases effective edge length when in a carving turn, but if you’re skiing a flatter base, you still benefit from the maneuverability aspects of rocker.

Rocker / Camber
Basalt Construction
All Mountain, Groomers, Powder

Jeff Neagle skied the 176 cm length in the Experience 86 Basalt and compared it directly to the Experience 86 Ti. “I do like the Experience 86 Ti more than this Basalt version, but I’m also pretty impressed by this ski. For $799, you get the ski paired with an SPX 12 binding. For comparison, the Ti is $799 without a binding… so you’re essentially saving over $200 by going Basalt. It probably helps that I’m a lighter weight skier, but I didn’t find any major limitations to this ski. It’s not quite as stable at speed as the Ti and doesn’t have as much vibration damping, but it’s the same shape, and to me the shape is probably the biggest reason these skis are so good. Easy to initiate a carve, but then you get a lot of grip. The basalt kind of has a snappier, quicker feel than the Ti too, so if you ski at more moderate/conservative speeds, it’s probably the better option.” Jeff’s highest scores for the Experience 86 Basalt were for quickness/maneuverability, forgiveness, torsional stiffness/edge grip, and overall impression, all earning 4 out of 5 scores. Dana Allen also skied the 176 cm length. Jeff felt that length was fine, although Dana commented he would ideally like a longer length. He too focused his feedback on comparing to the Ti version. “The biggest difference between this ski and the Experience with the Titanal plate is engagement and stability. While this ski is generally less stiff both torsionally and longitudinally, making it slightly easier to engage in turns, the basalt fiber doesn’t dampen the ski as much as the metal. As such, it tends to get pushed around more. It does make for a lighter ski and easier to engage for smaller skiers.” Smaller skiers, intermediates, and less aggressive skiers will certainly have an easier time initiating turns on the Basalt version of this new Experience 86.

Marcus Shakun also skied the 176 cm length, and for his large frame, that was pretty short. Marcus would be happier on the 185 cm length, which is the longest available size in the Experience 86 Basalt. He had a very similar reaction to Jeff and Dana. “A forgiving vision of the 86 Ti. That intermediate to less aggressive advanced skier will love this ski. This ski is for the guy that doesn’t need the TI version, but wants a versatile frontside 86 underfoot ski. Versatile as it is not super stiff and can flex through the bumps.” A more forgiving version of the Experience 86 Ti is a perfect way to think about this ski. They have very similar characteristics overall, but the Basalt version is lighter, not as demanding due to a softer flex, and actually feels a little more energetic when skiing at slower speeds, so across the board, it will better support an intermediate level skier.

It’s always easy for skiers to gravitate towards the flagship model of a new ski line. The Experience 86 Ti will certainly be a popular ski in the coming ski season(s), but this Basalt version certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. A lighter weight, less aggressive, or more intermediate level skier will find the performance of the Experience 86 Basalt better matches their own ability level and skiing style. You also save some considerable money, which can be put directly towards your next ski trip!