2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti Ski Review: // Ski Reviews
Fischer has really turned a corner over the past few years, and we here at SkiEssentials.com like what we see. With the addition of the Ranger FR series last year, they splintered the amazingly popular Ranger series into a couple of different factions. The FR (presumably Freeride) series gave us a more playful Ranger, with less metal and a turned-up tail. This all-mountain ski had versatility written all over it, and a new generation of Fischer fans flocked to see what the buzz was all about. This left the Ranger 98 Ti perhaps a little caught out in the dark, because it got a sweet makeover this year, morphing into the Ranger 99 Ti. Whereas the Ranger FR series dialed back the intensity a bit, the new 99 Ti ramps it right back up. There is now a much clearer distinction between the more off-piste oriented FR series and the now burlier and more responsive Ranger 99 Ti. Advanced and expert level skiers will love the newfound power and agility of the 2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti.
The nuts and bolts of the ski aren't that much different from year's past; they've simply extended and widened the titanal laminate to increase the dampness and power. We're still getting the sandwich sidewall construction that delivers power and precision to the edge, and we still have the carbon nose that lightens the front of the ski and gives us fantastic maneuverability for such a stable ski. The tip is a bit less tapered than the Ranger 98 Ti of yesteryear, and while it'll still cut through the fresh quite nicely, it's a bit more piste-oriented of a tip shape, and therefore helps with turn initiation on flatter terrain. Although Fischer calls it the 99, they're stating a 97 mm waist width at the 181 cm length, indicating that the ski shape changes with the length in order to keep the turn radius uniform between sizes. As such, the 181, or the 174 for that matter, will ski narrower than the 188, and this puts you closer to a 95 mm waist than a 100, so for ski shoppers looking for a ~95 mm underfoot ski, make sure to put the Ranger 99 Ti on your list. Numbers and technology aside, how does it perform?
It feels great on your feet as an initial reaction. It doesn't take long to realize that this is a beefier version of the previous Ranger 98 Ti, and that extra heft pays dividends as soon as you lay this thing on edge. The more traditional tip hooks up quicker than before, and the precision and power of the edge grip is noticeable and welcome, especially on firm snow. It feels like a much more trail-oriented ski when you're on the groomers, but don't let that stop you from taking this thing all over the mountain. The tail is flat on the end (and even has a skin notch) and it digs in and completes carves with aplomb. The metal laminate that extends towards the tail kicks into high gear at this point, and it rockets you out of one turn and right into the next. For a groomer and on-piste ski, the Fischer Ranger 99 Ti is taking direct aim at traditionalists like the Blizzard Bonafide and the Volkl M5 Mantra and is hitting a lot of the right notes.
But this ski is meant to range. It's in the name, after all. The Ranger 99 Ti is built to handle any and all conditions. Off-piste, the carbon nose still does its job by leading the way through and around any tricky or technical spots. Simply point and shoot, and the Rangers follow the nose. The skis handle trees with exactitude-the tails keep you right on course thanks to their responsive nature. The tips are fun and floaty while the tails are very business-like. This translates well into good maneuverability in tight spaces, but the Ranger seems to be able to handle it easily, never balking or hesitating, but rather plowing right through. Whereas the Ranger FR series is more of the dancer, the Ranger 99 Ti has more battering-ram tendencies. We are thankful that Fischer has differentiated these models, as it makes it clearer as to the intended audience.
The new shape, rocker profile, and construction of the 2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti puts it right at the top of the wide all-mountain ski class. You could also call it a narrower freeride ski, but it is best not to get too caught up in labels, but rather enjoy the Ranger 99 Ti for what it is: a fun, powerful, and precise ski that can crush anything on any mountain. There are not a lot of skis out there that can stake that claim, and the Ranger 99 Ti plants itself squarely at the top of the conversation.