2020 Fischer RC ONE 86 GT Ski Review: // Ski Reviews
Back in February we released a video and article featuring Mike Hattrup presenting the 2020 Fischer alpine ski collection. Since then, we've taken a closer look at both the Ranger 94 FR and the Ranger 99 Ti, but now it's time to go narrower. The RC One collection of skis has replaced the Pro Mountain series from years past. We went over some of the changes to the skis with Mike Hattrup, but we wanted to spend some time giving this new collection, and specifically the RC One 86 GT, a little more attention. Simply put, they deserve it.
The RC One 86 GT is the widest ski in what Fischer refers to as their Piste category, commonly referred to as frontside. These skis are more focused on firm snow and carving performance than their wider Ranger brethren. The narrower models, those dropping below 80 mm underfoot, will prefer to stay on trail whenever possible, but the RC One 86 GT has some versatility in it. Fischer's All Mountain rocker profile works in some subtle rise into the tips and tails, and there's even some early taper as well. It's more pronounced in the tail, although it's not very long. In the tip, it's more of a straightened portion going into the tip rather than drastic taper, but it's enough that it helps make the ski feel catch-free in softer conditions. It also uses Fischer's Triple Radius design with shorter radii found in the tip and tail and longer radii underfoot. This is a similar concept as we've seen from other manufacturers, but actually has opposite positioning of short vs long radii than we've looked at in some recent reviews.
The shape of the RC One 86 GT is undoubtedly responsible for its versatility. It's power, precision, and frontside prowess, however, comes more from its construction. This ski uses the same thickness metal as Fischer's world cup race skis, a full .8 mm thickness Titanal. That's really thick. It might not seem like it if you don't pay close attention to ski construction, but it's pretty rare to see anything go over .7 mm in a consumer ski, and even that is thick. It's the thickest metal in the line, and also more than we saw in any of the Pro Mountain skis. Metal is a proven material, and the RC One 86 GT has a lot of it. To shed some weight, however, Fischer integrates a material into the tip called Bafatex. Popular in high-end race sail construction, this ultra-light material helps reduce swing weight and overall oscillation of tip (chatter and tip flap) and tail, but retains good torsional stiffness for powerful turn entry. On paper, the RC One 86 GT is not exactly what you'd call a lightweight ski, but by removing some of the weight in the tips and tails and focusing it closer to your feet, it feels lighter when you're skiing it than it actually is.
As it sits in Fischer's Piste collection, let's start by talking about how it performs on the groomers. Simply put, it performs very well. The overall turn radius of the 175 cm length is 17 m, but with that longer portion underfoot, if you're charging hard, you can make some pretty long carving turns on it. The torsional stiffness, powerful vibration damping, and overall feel provided by that .8 mm thick metal is hands-down impressive. You can give it everything you've got and the ski stays quiet and composed, yet also responsive. Some heavy skis with a lot of metal feel like they require a tremendous amount of skier input, but the RC One 86 GT somehow achieves an easier feel overall, yet has a very high performance ceiling (I certainly never found it). The first time I tested this ski I had been skiing on much narrower, more frontside-specific carving skis throughout the morning. Switching to the RC One 86 GT was impressive as it held up to, and even out-performed, some of those narrower models. I was a bit weary of the shorter effective edge provided by that All Mountain rocker profile and the early taper in the tail at first. Admittedly, I didn't expect this ski to hold an edge as well as it does and feel as powerful as it does. It's a pretty significantly step up from the Pro Mountain in my opinion. It's a stiff, powerful ski. The Pro Mountain had more flex to it, which took away some of the raw stability compared to the RC One 86 GT that replaces it.
So, it's stiff, it's pretty heavy, and it's a powerful ski on the frontside. We've all been down that road before, right? It's going to be a handful in anything un-groomed and just generally not that much fun. Well, if that's what you're thinking, we're here to set the record straight. For how powerful it is, the RC One 86 GT is a whole heck of a lot of fun off-piste too. We're not really sure why it feels as quick as it does. Just based on its listed weight, it shouldn't. That Bafatex material integrated into the tip and the shaping concept of this ski give it a much smoother, easier feel in soft snow and tight terrain than you'd expect. Sure, if you line it up against a ski like the Ranger 94 FR, it's going to be harder to ski in those situations and require a more skilled skier, but it drastically outperforms a ski like that when you're back on the groomers. It doesn't feel particularly floaty, but it is pretty easy to make quick slashing or pivoting turns. It absolutely blasts through crud and chop too, almost just as well as some of the wider, more freeride-dedicated Ranger models.
Most skiers spend most of their time on groomed runs, that's just the truth. We all like to think about blasting pillow lines and skiing chest-deep powder, but realistically that doesn't happen very often. If you live in a place that receives over 600 annual inches of snowfall, please forgive our generalizations. The RC One 86 GT is an absolute blast to ski on firm, steep, groomed runs. It'll put a smile on an advanced/expert level skier every single day regardless of whether there's fresh snow or not. You'll be riding the lift next to someone on a super-rockered, over-100-mm-underfoot ski on a boilerplate groomer. He or she will be complaining about the lack of recent snowfall, and you'll just be sitting there smiling to yourself about how much fun you're having.
Is the RC One 86 GT a good replacement to the Pro Mountain series? Absolutely. Does it step up the performance? Yes. Does it rival existing, popular all-mountain skis in the mid-80 mm range? Well, yes it does. In fact, it's a significant new player in arguably the most popular category of skis right now. Anyone looking for versatile all-mountain performance with strong frontside carving ability should at least be considering a Fischer, that's for sure.