2019 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti Ski Review: // Ski Reviews
We're seeing some exciting new products for 2019, and this week's review is certainly no different. For 2019 Rossignol has developed a brand new Experience line of all mountain skis and this week we're taking a closer look at the new Experience 88 Ti. The Experience 88 has been around for a long time now. While it has undergone some changes to construction over the years (check out our 2018 Experience 88 HD review), its shape has basically remained the same. For 2019, however, Rossignol has a brand new Experience 88 that features a new construction, a new shape both in sidecut and rocker profile, and really is a whole new ski that carries forward the legacy of the Experience 88, but with more of a modern design.
Let's take a quick moment to look at the 2018 version of the Experience 88 and that shape that's been around for quite a while. This version of the Experience 88 used what Rossignol called Extended Sidecut. This actually set it apart from a lot of competitor's skis in this category as the tips and tails of the ski were quite wide. There wasn't any early taper at all, which gave it a long effective edge. A relatively low rise, minimalistic rocker profile only enhanced this feel. It gave the ski excellent edge grip on firm snow and a fantastic connection to the snow, but in softer or variable snow conditions if you were trying to pivot or smear the ski it would feel a little bit catchy and challenging to maneuver at times. That being said, not many skis in this category matched its responsive, energetic carving performance thanks to the effective edge and the energy and snap provided by the wood core and Carbon Alloy Matrix construction.
This new version of the Experience 88, now the Experience 88 Ti (not HD, although Carbon Alloy Matrix does remain) takes the ski in a pretty different direction overall. First let's look at shape. The Extended Sidecut is gone and has been replaced with a new Progressive Sidecut. This new shape has much more early taper in the tips and tails, or what Rossignol calls a rounder tip and tail. It's especially noticeable in the tip, which is much straighter and more tapered than the previous version. There's some obvious influence here from Rossignol's freeride skis like the Sky 7 HD and Soul 7 HD. While it's not as drastic, a similar tip shape is carried over to these new Experience skis. There is a difference in the tail as well, but it's a little bit less pronounced. The idea of this new sidecut shape is to give the ski quicker turn initiation, while making it easier to release the tail edge giving the skier more ability to make a variety of different turn shapes and styles. You don't feel so locked in to a carve as you did on the previous version. There is also a new All Terrain Rocker Profile, which uses a higher rise rocker that's more pronounced, especially in the tip. The sidecut and rocker are specifically designed to work together to achieve a more versatile ski.
The changes to construction are also significant. Rossignol has a whole new concept called Line Control Technology. There is multiple versions of this new construction, but the Experience 88 Ti uses the HD Core Ti version. This is a Carbon Alloy Matrix and Titanal "infused" construction and is also found in the Experience 94 Ti, the widest ski in the line. A vertical strip of metal runs through the center of the core, as opposed to horizontal laminates that we see in lots of other skis. The idea behind this construction is to balance power, dampness, stability, and drive with a lively feel, and the ability to adapt to different snow conditions. The center strip of metal helps eliminate counter flexing and retains a really smooth connection to the snow without feeling too heavy. This all translates to, 10 points if you guessed it, more control over your line choice. There is also a new version of Rossignol's Air Tip, called VAS. Rossignol has integrated visco dampeners into the tip which calms and stabilizes the ski, somewhat similar to what they did to the Soul 7 HD or Sky 7 HD for 2018.
So, what did we think of the new Experience 88 Ti? We've been lucky to be able to test this ski in a wide variety of terrain and snow conditions and we're excited to share our experience. Let's start with performance on firm snow. Remember that we thought the previous version of the Experience 88 HD was a fantastic carver. This new version definitely is too. It would have been a big disappointment to a lot of skiers if Rossignol didn't retain the same level of performance on firm snow. You might be thinking that there's no way they did because of the different tip and tail shape and thus shorter effective edge. Very astute of you, and normally we would be right there with you, but that isn't necessarily true on the new Experience 88 Ti. The feel of the new Line Control construction really gives it a strong feel through the cambered portion of the ski. Stronger, in fact, than the previous version, so even though the effective edge is shorter you retain similar power and performance on firm snow. The metal strip through the center of the ski also gives it better vibration damping than the previous ski, but doesn't add too much weight. A slightly shorter turn radius gives the ski a very responsive feel, but isn't so short that it feels too different or doesn't let you make longer turns when you want to.
In soft snow you really start to get a sense of why Rossignol made these changes. The new Progressive Sidecut and All Terrain Rocker Profile really give it a better feel in soft snow. It's much more maneuverable than the previous version. It doesn't ever feel catchy where the old ski used to and that translates to a smoother feel and the ability to make quicker movements without requiring huge amounts of skier input. It's one of those skis that's just a whole lot of fun to ski in soft snow. We found ourselves bouncing around in 4-6 inches of fresh snow on the Experience 88 Ti on a surprise powder day at Stowe and really had an absolute blast. No, it's not a powder ski, but in that amount of snow it performed really, really well. I definitely would be quick to take this new Experience 88 out on a mini powder day like that, where I probably would've shied away from the older version due to its lower rise rocker and Extended Sidecut. It definitely is easier to release the tail edge, which gives it a confidence inspiring feel in trees, moguls, etc. It really is drastically more versatile then the old ski. Also, although it's quick and maneuverable, it still feels stable in variable snow conditions.
If you can't tell we're pretty impressed by this new Experience 88 Ti. We think there are a fair amount of skiers out there who have been patiently waiting for a new version of the Experience collection. Now it's here and we can't imagine it being much better. What we mean by that is we think anyone who liked the previous version will probably still really like the new version. It still carves like a dream and still has that energetic, responsive feel that has always made it so fun. Now, on the other hand, it hits a whole new target market of skiers looking for a more versatile ski. Could it be a one ski quiver? We think so. Could the old version? Really only if you were the type of skier who spent the majority of your time on groomed snow. Now you can take your Experience 88 absolutely anywhere on the mountain and you'll feel like you have an appropriate tool for the job. After quite a few days testing the ski in different snow conditions we now totally understand why the first sentence in the Rossignol catalog is, "Cross every boundary, know no limits."