As of today’s date of publication, April 28, 2020, there are just a few more days to enter our #StayHomeHappy contest sponsored by Rossignol! The winner will receive a pair of the “men’s” version of the ski we’re going to talk about today. The grand prize is the Rossignol Sender but the ski we are going to look at today is the Rallybird.
Both these skis are part of the new expanded BLACKOPS line from Rossignol. This article marks the 4th 2021 BLACKOPS ski we’ve talked about, and each one has been quite impressive in its own right. If you watched or read our review of the men’s Sender skis, the majority of that information holds true to the Rallybird, but there are some slight differences too.
Let’s consider the BLACKOPS collection as a whole. The Sender and Rallybird (non-Ti) can both be considered the flagship models of the collection in some regards. Chances are there will be more skiers picking up these two models than any others, and they’re also arguably the most versatile. The Rallybird comes in 3 sizes: 154, 162, and 170 cm. It’s just about 100 mm underfoot exactly, ranging from 100 to 102 mm respectively across those lengths. It has a rocker/camber/rocker profile with quite a bit more rocker in the tip than the tail. The camber height is relatively low. Before we get into construction or performance, just by looking at the shape of the Rallybird, you can tell it’s going to be a versatile all-mountain ski.
While there are a lot of similarities between this ski and the Sender, Rossignol is committed to ensuring each length of each ski performs as intended. We see the same materials in the Rallybird as the Sender, but the way they are used varies from length to length. The Rallybird also gets its own mold. This is a departure from previous Rossignol freeride skis. Take the Soul or Sky 7 from past seasons. Those skis essentially used the same construction across each length and for both men and women. By fine tuning the construction of each length, Rossignol is keeping the overall performance more consistent across the board. The 154 cm is going to perform as Rossignol intends the 154 cm to perform, it’s not just going to feel like a shorter version of some 180+ cm men’s ski.
So what are those materials, you might be wondering? Rossignol starts with a lightweight Paulownia wood core. We also get Diago Fiber, a cross hatching application similar to Carbon Alloy Matrix that boosts torsional stiffness. Then there’s the Damp Tech, which is a staple to these BLACKOPS skis. Rubber is used in the tip of the ski, which drastically reduces vibrations and chatter. For the Rallybird, Rossignol also uses rubber as the Line Control material. Line Control refers to two vertically laminated struts running the length of the ski. We’ve seen Rossi use metal for this, like in the Experience 94 Ti or their Hero carving skis, we’ve seen ABS in some other models, and now we get rubber. It also has an extended core, compared to the 7 series skis it’s replacing, although there is still an Air Tip, it’s just much shorter than what we’re accustomed to seeing in skis like the Sky 7 W.
How do they perform? As we’ve talked about before on the men’s side, the Rallybird is much smoother, damper, and more powerful than the ski it’s replacing. In this case, the Sky 7 W would be the closest comparison. On groomers, the ski feels smoother, has longer edge contact, more torsional stiffness, and generates more energy out of a turn too. The tail is certainly more powerful than the Sky 7, and the flex pattern is a little stiffer too. Anyone who liked skiing the Sky but found it a little unstable at speed or too twitchy will really enjoy the improvements of the Rallybird. There are some differences among each length, however. On the 170 cm, you can make a combination of turn shapes pretty easily. That length has a 16 m turn radius. You can gas pedal it into shorter turns, but it also makes big long arcs too. As you go shorter, to 162 and 154 cm, the turn radii change to 13 m and 11 m. Those two lengths are going to feel a little quicker, and have more preference for shorter, rounder turns, which makes sense. Most skiers opting for the shorter length skis likely prefer that style of skiing. It’s all specifically engineered to work right for each size, and the change in turn radii and subtle changes in construction are a perfect example of that.
When you take the Rallybird off trail, you start to feel more similarities between it and the Sky 7. The Rallybird is still relatively lightweight, coming in at around 1800 g per ski in the 170 cm length. There is much, much less early taper compared to the Sky, but there isn’t a huge difference in rocker profile. That means when you’re riding a flatter ski and making slipping, smearing, or pivoting turns, you still get a lot of maneuverability. That was one of the highlights of the previous 7 Series skis, so it would’ve been kind of disappointing if we lost that characteristic entirely.
You also get good powder performance out of it, which is another thing we would’ve missed, as the Sky 7 was quite good in that regard too. The Rallybird, however, floats better. It’s not much wider, only a couple mm, but the tip shape keeps the ski above the snow more effectively. This gives it a less catchy feel, which is quite a feat as often it’s the skis with lots of taper that have the smoothest edge release.
We think a lot of women are going to be really excited about the Rallybird. It shares a relatively similar shape with some other skis from other brands, but the unique construction gives it a feel that’s all its own. The combination of being damp, quiet, but also lightweight is perhaps its most impressive achievement. It’s perfectly appropriate as a resort all-mountain ski, as more of a powder ski for an eastern skier, or even as an alpine touring ski for really anyone regardless of where you live. Sure, it’s a little sad to see the 7 Series go away, but these new BLACKOPS skis are the real deal.