Ski Reviews

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: // Ski Reviews

Ski season has all but wrapped up here in Vermont, at least in terms of lift-serviced skiing, but that doesn't mean we're slowing down on 2020 ski reviews. Back in February we released a preview of the 2020 Fischer ski lineup and we're excited to dive into more in-depth reviews of their new skis. Before we start, however, April is the Fischer month for our SkiHappy Photo Contest! For this month, Fischer is awarding a pair of 2020 Ranger 94 FR skis to the winning photo. That's right, another month where you can win next year's skis! Big thanks to Fischer for providing an awesome prize for the contest. Head on over to the contest page if you're looking for more details and get those photos submitted by the end of the month for a chance to win!

With that said, it's time to take a closer look at this 2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR. Last summer, we reviewed the then-new Ranger 102 FR. It marked a new style of ski from Fischer, essentially taking their Ranger Ti line and tweaking it for more freeride-inspired and playful skiing styles. We saw less metal than in the Ti, with just a sheet under the bindings along with more rocker in the tail of the ski, arguably a twin-tip shape. We still got the carbon nose that we've become accustomed to seeing in Fischer's all mountain or freeride skis. All of those construction techniques are carried forward for the 2020 season, and now we get a narrower option too, the Ranger 94 FR.

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: Ski Spec Image

The Ranger 102 FR has been a successful ski in its first season, so much so that Fischer felt the demand for a narrower option with the same overall feel. Ski manufacturers in general are noticing the interest in narrower versions of popular existing skis. This Ranger 94 FR is a perfect example. There are a lot of skiers out there that want a playful, freeride-inspired feel in their skis, but don't necessarily need something 102 mm underfoot for a daily ski. Of course, depending on the terrain and conditions where you ski, you might, but 102 mm is starting to get pretty wide if you spend most of your time on firm snow. The new Fischer Ranger line, from the FR models to the Ti models, now offer a bigger ranger of performance than ever before, and does a fantastic job covering the demands of just about every different type of advanced to expert all mountain skier out there. If you want to read or watch a description of the differences between the FR and Ti skis, we invite you to check out that 2020 Fischer Preview article. For this article, we're going to focus on the performance of the 94 FR.

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: Full Camber Image

With its twin-tip, freeride-inspired shape, you might not expect the Ranger 94 FR to be that great on groomers. It's understandable to fall into that assumption, as the construction and shape of the Ti models is obviously geared more towards typical on-trail performance. That said, the Ranger 94 FR does quite well. I was skiing the 177 cm length in this ski, which is a very reasonable length for my size (5'10, 150 lbs), even a little shorter than what I'm used to in certain skis. So, having a 177 cm Ranger 94 FR on my feet, especially considering the noticeably light swing weight when you first click into it, I wasn't expecting ripping groomer performance. Fischer's construction, however, is impressive. Their carbon nose has been proven to deliver stability and good torsional stiffness. Carbon is often the culprit for a ski feeling too twitchy and not particularly smooth, but the application in the tips of Fischer's skis does a really good job reducing tip flap and chatter. The torsional stiffness provided allows you to initiate a turn with more power than you might expect. It's smooth and responsive in and out of a carving turn. You're not getting a tremendous amount of energy out of the turn, much in thanks to the tail rocker shape, but it's also not sluggish. For many skiers, the Ranger 94 FR will satisfy carving demands for a daily driver ski. Those focused on precision, powerful, high-speed, race-inspired skiing will be better off on a Ranger 92 Ti, but those with less tendency for power and more of a smooth style won't be disappointed. Another way to think about it is the 94 FR does have a high performance ceiling. You can keep pushing and pushing and it keeps feeling like there's another level of performance to unlock.

As well as they link carving turns, they release their tail edge and pivot even better. They're incredibly intuitive when you're skidding or smearing your turns. The amount of torsional stiffness through the ski is perfectly matched with the tail rocker and subtle early taper. The shape of the ski lets you essentially do whatever you want, but the torsional stiffness and edge grip of the ski underfoot keeps you in check. You're not going to feel too sloppy on the Ranger 94 FR, something that can happen on softer-flexing skis with inferior construction and less edge grip. It has a perfect blend of feeling precise, but still easy, playful, and smeary when you want it to be.

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: Wide Action Image 12020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: Wide Action Image 2

That is, in my opinion, a perfect way to think about it as an off-piste ski. Like skiing moguls? You'll be hard-pressed to find something more fun than this ski, unless you're version of skiing moguls requires a super-stiff GS ski. Let's be honest, however, not many of us can ski like World Cup athletes. The Ranger 94 FR is pretty much perfect for the majority of mogul-enthusiasts out there. Again, it has such a nice blend of stability and precision underfoot with a more forgiving shape overall. The swing weight achieved by their Carbon Nose construction becomes more noticeable in off-piste terrain than anywhere else. On that 177 cm length, I felt like a Rockstar in moguls. The same can be said for trees, especially the east coast trees we have here in Vermont. They're so easy to flick around and maneuver, yet they feel supportive and stable underfoot. Sometimes on skis with this much rocker I feel a little bit unbalanced and find myself getting lost in the backseat, but the Ranger 94 FR never felt that way. Balanced, easy to stay on top of, yet enough support out of the tail that it'll help you get forward again if you technique takes a turn for the worse. It's also really fun in soft snow conditions. Not as much float as you get in the 102, but the same fun feel. Fischer's done a great job with the shape of this ski. You get good float out of the tips and tails, but the subtle, smooth early taper also gives it a smooth, non-catchy feel in deeper snow conditions. Most skiers who spend a lot of time in soft snow will likely prefer the 102, but this 94 FR does quite well in softer snow.

When the 102 was introduced, we couldn't ignore the obvious freeski/freestyle influence in its shape. The same can be said about the Ranger 94 FR, but its perhaps even more true than with the 102. I'm going to give you an example: I am a part-time freeski coach focusing on slopestyle and other park-skiing for Green Mountain Academy here in Stowe. Our head ski coach, Noah, has been skiing on Fischer for years. Before the 102, his options were true park-style twin tips (narrower, more camber, etc) and wider skis with flat tails. The 102 provided him a ski that he can ski in the park, but can still ski around the entire mountain. The 94 follows that same trend, but definitely ups the performance in the terrain park. It's lighter, it's quicker, it's easier to throw around, it's easier to initiate switch spins, it's just easier. Noah was lucky enough to get his hands on a 94 a few weeks ago and has been skiing it ever since. In talking with him, he's mostly just blown away how with easy it's making park skiing for him, and keep in mind that Noah is pushing 40. There's really nothing easy about being a park skier that age, but you wouldn't know that watching Noah on the Ranger 94 FR. Will he still ski his 102s? The answer is a resounding, undoubtable, yes. Will he spend more time on the 94? I think here in Vermont, and certainly in the terrain park, that's another easy yes.

In my opinion, the Ranger 94 FR really helps round out the Ranger line. After they added the 102, it definitely felt like there was room for a narrower version of the same thing. As all-mountain skis go, you'll have a tough time finding a ski that's more versatile, especially for skiers with a more playful, freeski style and attitude. Another interesting note about the Ranger 94 FR is the flat spot on the tail. Fischer is really thinking about their target market and the target skier here. Carve turns, maneuver through moguls, play in the terrain park, and even do some touring all on the same ski? Sounds pretty good to us.

2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review: Available Soon Image


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Written by Jeff Neagle on 04/16/19

19 thoughts on “2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR Ski Review

  1. JUST placed an order for the 102 from skiessentials.com late last night. Now this has me wondering if I should switch to 94 before it ships... "Of course, depending on the terrain and conditions where you ski, you might, but 102 mm is starting to get pretty wide if you spend most of your time on firm snow" - what if I spend most of my time on soft snow at tahoe/utah, BUT its in the trees? With that said, are you guys taking the 94 or 102 in a 2 ski quiver with a 115ish waist ski? Thanks again for your reviews!

    1. Hi Jeff!
      For your application, in tahoe/utah, I'm sticking with the 102. The 102/115 is a great split for a western quiver. It's amazing how well those 102's perform on hard stuff, too. I think you're good!
      SE

    1. Hi James!
      Bob is 6/2 215 and was on the 185, Jeff is 5/10 and 155 and was on the 177. Both felt they were on the correct size. Have fun, it's a great ski!
      SE

  2. Been looking forward to this review as I'm quickly becoming a fan of the Fischer skis. I'm sure somebody's asked already but how does it compare to the Mindbender 90ti? Your review of the MB 90ti is very similar to this review. Is one more firm snow/soft snow biased than the other?

    Great job on the review and thanks for posting!

    1. Hi JB!
      Good comparison in those models. Aside from the width, which actually might not be that much of a difference depending on size, as the Fischer's get narrower as they get shorter, while the K2's stay at 90 mm underfoot throughout the sizes. So a Ranger 94 in a 177 is actually 92 mm underfoot, so the width difference gets negligible as the skis get shorter. That said, I was still more impressed with the K2's carving ability as it's built like a more directional ski. It's a bit stiffer than the Ranger, especially in the forebody and underfoot, while the Ranger had a more playful overall feel. I'd prefer the Ranger for soft snow and the K2 for hard snow. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi SE

        Thanks for the quick follow up on my MB90ti vs Fischer FR94. Would then, a better comparison be the new Fischer 90ti and MB90ti? Seems like these two skis would be very similar with the Fischer still being a bit more soft snow biased because of the tip/tip rocker?

        Thanks!
        JB

  3. Hi Guys, I have the 102fr so I am excited to see this ski coming out. I have been very happy with the 102's and used them every time out. The only time I had a little trouble with them was in very tough tree skiing (for example, Timbuctu at Jay Peak, on a day that was particularly bumpy). I have the 184 length, I'm 6'2" and 230 pounds (Though I have been losing weight consistently for a couple of years, trying to get back into good shape and ski better) (I will probably be about 200-210 by next ski season). I really am a skier who switches from hard charging to trying to have fun off trail. I struggled to maneuver quick enough in a couple of really steep/tight/bumpy terrains, though most glades this year I was fine in. I found myself going over bumps instead of around and catching tips a few times. In the end, I'm not sure if it was the length or I just need to continue to get into better shape, or if it's both. I am considering adding the 94 to the quiver. For me would you recommend 177 or 184?

    1. Hi JB!
      That's probably a better comparison in that they're both more directional than the 94 FR. Of those, the Ranger has a bit stiffer of a tail but lighter tips, and this makes it finish strong turns. The K2 is a bit more consistent tip to tail, but I don't think by much. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. HI Shawn!
        The 94 is pretty sweet. I am 6/2 215 and I think the 184 is pretty much perfect although I did find it to be a handful in the tight stuff as well, but was willing to make that compromise. It'll certainly be easier to manage in the narrower version, but I don't think you should size down given your stats and style. Have fun!
        SE

  4. Hi SE, I thought I had my next skis down to 3 picks then I saw this review, I've been deciding between the Fischer Ranger 98Ti, the Armada Tracer 98 and the Liberty Origin 96, but then I saw this review on the Fischer Ranger 94 FR. Of these 4 skis does any one of them stand out to you? I ski 50/50 50% on trail 50% off trail and occasionally go in the park, I like steep technical terrain whether in the trees or in the open but I also like to hit the groomers too. Thanks for any info.

    1. Hi Steve!
      I think the Ranger 98 and the Tracer are better 50/50 skis, but then when you mention park, the Origin jumps out at me. It's a bit wider than the Ranger 94, but also a bit more sluggish. If you're looking for something that's quicker edge to edge, the Ranger 94 is a pretty sweet ski that also has that park capability. Hope that helps!
      SE

  5. Hi,

    I'm looking to buy new skis to replace 15yr old K2 carvers. Living in Australia, I ski mainly here and NZ: which means some hard snow, ice, with rarely any significant powder (although it did snow 100cm here over 2 days last week!). I'm a smaller guy at 171cm and 65kg (around 140lb), a strong intermediate/ advanced skier (but not expert): like some fast runs carving turns down groomers, a bit of switching around and skiing backwards, off-piste exploration when there is fresh snow. I also have small kids, so the end of the day features slow skiing with them too.

    Having recently demoed and a liked a 163cm Volkl Kenja (90mm) from a year or two ago: but that is also the first more modern ski I have tried in many years.

    Wondering whether the Ranger 94 could be a good option (perhaps in 169cm length?). Other contenders that I can easily get locally include the Volkl Kendo (163 or 170cm), Volkl 90eight (170cm), and of course many others. Another option from Fischer would be the Ranger 90ti from last year that seems quite could value on special at the moment...as you guys have directly skied many of these skis, I'm keen for any tips.

    Appreciate your thoughts

    Thanks

    1. Hi Remi!
      I like the overall performance of the Ranger 94, while the other options sound pretty good, too. If you can get that Ranger 90 in your size at a price, it's a bit more forgiving than the Kenja/Kendo, but still a great all-mountain performer. But as far as a versatile, fun, ski that you don't have to think too hard about, the 94 is an amazing ski with high-performance and won't tire you out like the Volkl may. The 90Eight is a great choice, just on the wider side. I'd say the 170 range is appropriate for your size and application. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks guys,

        One last question- another option I can get at a good price locally has come up: a pair of Kastle FX95 HP from 2019...

        As such- I wonder what your thoughts would be given my details from the previous post between the Fischer Ranger 94FR in 169cm, vs the Kastle in 173cm (Or maybe the Kendo 88 in 170cm). Plan on going shopping over the next week to be sorted before the next trip to the snow in 2 weeks time.

        Thanks again

        1. Hi Remi!
          All great choices! If you can get that Kastle at a good price, that might be your best option. They are a bit stiffer than the 94FR, but are less demanding than the Kendo 88 which is a stronger on-trail candidate as well. The overall quality of that Kastle product is incredible. They're incredibly smooth and stable. Not quite as playful as the Fischer, so keep that in mind. Sizes sound right to me! Have fun!
          SE

  6. Hi!
    I am looking to change my Renoun Endurance 98 because they are too long (178) and "numb" for my taste. I am looking for an everyday ski for tight trees (I ski the East, in Quebec), bumps, but I also want something that performs well on groomers. I like short radius carving. No park for me! I may use them for touring. I am 5'8" 165 lbs, pretty good skier, but not that aggressive. I once had Fischer Big Stix 98 176 that were lots of fun, but not so good on piste on the hard stuff.
    My choices would be, as of now:
    Line Sakana 174 (seems like a fun ski, but I am scared of the hard snow behavior)
    Blizzard Rustler 9 172 (tried the Bonafide a while ago: too stiff)
    Fischer Ranger 94FR 177 (tried the Ranger 98Ti, not nimble enough)
    Nordica Enforcer 100, probably 169.
    I value fun and nimble/agile over stable/damp/hard charging. I don't need a piste or powder ski, as I already have dedicated skis for these conditions.

    I have watched all your great videos but am still undecided. It is also hard for me to try these skis before buying 🙁

    What would be your advice?

    1. Hi Eric!
      There's a lot out there for sure!
      In that 95-100 category, there's a lot to like. For quick, fun, and nimble, it sounds like you're describing the Rustler 9. Not on your list, I'd look to the Elan Ripstick 96--really fits all of your categories quite well. The Black edition is stiffer than the Green one, but both are great. Also worth a look are the Black Crows Captis, Armada Tracer 98, or Salomon QST 99. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks for your advice!
        Now, is there a big difference between the "normal" Ripstick and the Black Edition?
        I understand that the Black has more carbon/rigidity/damping, but is it still fun and playful at low speeds?

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