2024 Rossignol Experience 86 Ti Ski Review

JUNE 22, 2023 | WRITTEN BY Bob St.Pierre

It’s always nice to revisit a ski after a few years, especially one that made such a splash upon arrival. Even then, the new Experience 86 Ti was the culmination of years of Experience 88 success in Rossignol’s world, so we’re getting close to a decade in on these skis, and each time we get on them, we kind of like them more and more. Back in 2021, we hit the hill with Rossignol and their new 2022 Experience lineup, with this 86 Ti serving as the flagship model. The consensus was unanimous, at least among SkiEssentials personnel, that this new Experience 86 Ti was, by far, the best ski in the line that Rossignol had ever made. Surely there are some naysayers and originalists out there who enjoy the previous versions, but for what the ski is designed to do, and how it accomplishes those intentions, this new version is pretty tough to argue against. For 2024, we’re getting a graphic reboot, but the nuts and bolts stay the same.

To recap on said construction, the 2024 Rossigonl Experience 86 Ti starts with a full poplar wood core. By having a consistent wood throughout the ski, we’re getting an even and consistent flex and feel from tip to tail. Poplar is a great blend of light weight and high energy, allowing the ski to be maneuverable, agile, and steady regardless of speed and aggressiveness. The nice thing about using lighter wood is that you’re able to bolster that build with multiple sheets of metal, and that’s exactly what Rossignol does with the 86 Ti. By sandwiching the wood core between two titanal laminates, we’re really getting to the power band of the ski. This build, already, is sturdy, damp, and strong, all with energy in mind. Rossignol then incorporates their Carbon Alloy Matrix to the mix. This cross-hatching method of weaving carbon and basalt stringers is an advanced method of increasing both torsional and longitudinal stiffness without adding much weight. This comes in handy when the ski is pushing 2000 grams in the 185. The 176 clocks in a bit lighter at 1800, but still feels quite sturdy underfoot and through the tips and tails. While most of the ski is a full sidewall, it does taper twice as it goes from thick underfoot, to a first step down to a semi-cap, and then thirdly to a thin cap in the very tips and tails, mainly aligning with where the rocker profile begins. This lightens the swing weight at both ends and contributes to the all-mountain versatile nature of the ski. Finally, Rossignol’s Drive Tip Solution is applied to the shovel of the ski, combining directional fibers with a visco material to smooth and dampen the ski’s tip. It basically serves as a radiator for unwanted vibrations, and whether it works as they say or not, it’s simple to “experience” the smoothness of turn initiation on this ski. This is all part of the high-end feel and precision of the ski, putting it squarely in the category of premium products in the industry.

At a Glance:

2024 Rossignol Experience 86 Ti

167, 176, 185 cm16 m @ 176 cm132 / 86 / 120 mm131 / 84 / 119 mm$899.95

One of the interesting parts about the shape is that this ski actually measures 84 mm underfoot instead of 86. Sometimes companies will refer to their reference size as the width, with the shape changing as the ski gets longer or shorter, but that is not the case with the Experience 86 Ti, as each of the three sizes all share exact measurements of 131/84/119. Instead of changing the shape, these skis change radii, ranging from 13.5, 15.4, and up to 17.2 meters respective to their 167, 176, and 185 cm lengths. So, why advertise a ski as an 86 when it’s really an 84? From a marketing perspective, does this take it out of all-mountain and put it in front side? Perhaps a fear of alienating those skiers who are looking for a mid to upper 80’s all-mountain ski will gloss over anything labeled sub-85, and our guess is that they’re not wrong about this. Either way, we found that it skis wider than an 84, mainly due to the rocker profile. The running length is about average while the sidecut length is long, so if you take the rocker out of the equation, it’s pretty much a tip to tail effective edge ski, and that leads to smoothness and precision, and we’re all about it. In the 176, the ski gets 15% tip rocker and 7% tail rocker with an amount of splay that’s conducive to pure versatility and all-mountain skiing. Back to the taper for a second, in the tail, the ski’s widest point is very much at the back, so unless you’re skiing this thing at a pretty high edge angle, you’re not going to hit that widest part. This makes the ski a bit more swively at low speeds and more precise and stronger at higher speeds and in deeper carves. It’s an interesting way to shape a ski, and when you think about it from a power band standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. The shovel is low and wide, with quite a bit of front-side look to it, but when you’re skiing it, the flex of the front isn’t so stiff that it prohibits friendly skiing and approachable character.

This all adds up to performance, and it’s in this realm that the Experience 86 Ti leaves a striking impression. Since the ski is getting up there in price—flirting with the $1000 mark—there should be some resulting performance coming out of it. When we’re talking about Stockli skis, and others with a premium tag, it’s not like they have a higher performance ceiling than other skis at that ability level, rather, they do all of the same things, just smoother. This is where the 86 Ti finds itself. Interestingly, with the Stockli comparison, this ski, at 84 mm underfoot, is actually more akin to the Montero AR versus the Stormrider 88. As such, the groomer performance of this ski is off the charts fun. The initiation is clean, quiet, and exacting. The underfoot zone, with the full sidewall, is grippy, precise, and energetic. In the finish phase, at speed, the ski rockets you into the next turn with confidence. There’s minimal waver, chatter, or complaints from the ski whether you’re using the full range of performance or just a middle zone of speed. Personally, at 6’2 and 225 pounds, I had a lot more success in the longer length and with the 17.2-meter radius. In the stated turn shape, though, the 176 was fine—maybe a bit quick for my tastes in shorter turns. I felt like I got going a bit too fast for the shorter ski with the 15.4-meter arc to make clean carves, but on the longer length, there were no such issues or speed limits. I’d have no qualms about using this ski in our local race series—it's that composed of a carver.

Off-piste, it gets a little more interesting. Even though this thing measures as an 84, it’s still quite capable in softer snow and variable terrain. Sure, given the stiffness of the ski and the shape, it’s not going to be a fantastic floater, but it does have some attributes going for it that make it a whole lot of fun when it comes to fresh and broken snow. First, the tip shape is pretty wide, and while there’s not a lot of taper for smoothness, it does turn easily in softer snow. Additionally, the rocker profile is relatively dramatic for the ski’s shape, giving it a slight leg up when it comes to flotation. The same can be said for the tail—there's some splay there! It’s not a pure cambered ski with a squared-off tail by a long shot—this has a freeride flair to it, albeit not a lot, but it exists! The fact that the widest part of the ski is further back from the rocker allows the ski to release somewhat easily when faced with tight trees or moguls with soft snow. That said, there’s still quite a bit of underfoot camber, and this does ground those tips and tails in anything deep. This makes for a far better option in front side and all-mountain use rather than fresh freeride zones. In packed-out trees, there’s a lot of room for success, as the camber helps skiers get from one turn to the next with ease and quickness.

Finally in terms of off-piste skiing, there’s the touchy subject of moguls. Jeff and I differ quite a bit when it comes to how we feel about the Experience 86’s bump prowess. While I found instant success and comfort, Jeff did not. For a lighter skier, at about 160 pounds, Jeff didn’t quite seem to have the mass to bend the ski in a mogul format. He did just fine in a carved turn, but the weight and flex were somewhat prohibitive for him when trying to bend the ski through a mogul line. I had no such issues. The tail is supportive, the shovel is predictable, and the waist is quick. These three aspects put this ski at the top of the list for me. That said, it’s not quite as easy to ski bumps as a Volkl Kanjo or an Atomic Bent 90, so there does have to be some input on the behalf of the skier. It seems that the success of mogul skiing with the Experience does have something to do with the weight of the skier, so if your focus is on bumps, there are some better, lighter, and more flexible choices out there.

Looking back to when we first skied this new Experience 86 Ti many of us simply assumed it was a burlier version of the outgoing 88, and while some of that may be true, the ski really changed a lot more than that. By taking a bit out of the middle in terms of width and adding more power and strength overall, this ski became more of a front side performer. It’s considerably more crisp and agile in terms of carved turns, and if you can get past the camber, stiffness, and weight, it’s actually quite a bit of fun off-trail. The caveat here is that in order to access that performance, you do have to have some power behind the turn, so this ski does sit right at the top of the spectrum when it comes to skier input—it rewards aggressive and confident skiing with relative performance. Now that it’s entering the premium price zone, it has to have the gumption to back it up, and we’ve found that it fits that description perfectly. Comparatively, we do have to put it closer to a Montero AR or a Deacon 84 versus a Stormrider 88 or a Kendo 88, and that’s a big change from where this ski used to be. It’s always fun to re-visit and re-think a ski after a season or two, as often you get a slightly different lens to look through. In the case of the 2024 Experience 86 Ti, we’re now viewing this ski as a front side crusher with exceptional poise and power.