2025 Fischer Nightstick 97 Ski Review

JULY 25, 2023 | WRITTEN BY Jeff Neagle

I remember hearing the rumor close to 2 years ago at this point. A new Fischer twin tip in development? It certainly grabbed my attention at the time, which was around the same time some Fischer skiers started lamenting the loss of the Ranger 102 FR in exchange for the new, slightly-more-directional, celeste-colored Ranger 102. Fast forward to this past March and I finally had a pair in my hands. The new Nightstick 97 (there was some rumor about calling it a Night Ranger, but I think that got caught up in some kind of trademark issue…) carries the Nightstick name forward to classify Fischer’s twin tip offering, but with a completely shape, construction, and attitude. In the past, those Nightstick skis were very, very park focused. Great shapes for a slopestyle skier, but quite one-dimensional in their performance. Not, by any stretch, the best as all-mountain skis.

This new Nightstick 97, on the other hand, is quite well-rounded. According to the team over at Fischer, this new ski is “ideally balanced for regular and switch riding.” The word “ideal” feels very subjective, but I like this concept a lot. I feel like we can take “ideal” and apply it somewhere along the lines of “ideal for most skiers who would consider it.” Another tidbit of information from Fischer is this was specifically developed by their freestyle team athletes. Sometimes I feel like athlete-developed skis are too focused on one attribute or characteristic, and sometimes they can be a bit much for the rest of us, but I think Fischer nailed it with the Nightstick 97’s development and I think it was important to make sure this ski satisfied their athletes, now that they have more limited options for switch-skiing-capable skis.

At a Glance:

2025 Fischer Nightstick 97

163, 170, 177, 184 cm17 m @ 177 cm132 / 96 / 122 mm1,950 g @ 177 cmTBD

The last bit of information, aside from specs, I got from Fischer is the Nightstick 97 is intended to have “excellent wear properties.” It feels like there’s a renewed focus on durability in twin tip skis, and I’m here for it. Over the past decade, there haven’t been tremendous developments in park ski durability, but just in the past year, we’ve seen some interesting new stuff from Armada, Elan, Line, and now Fischer, just to name a few. They achieve this extra durability through some fairly simple construction. We get a poplar wood core that’s milled with Fischer’s Air Tec technology to bring overall weight down just a bit. Then we get some fiberglass, referred to by Fischer as Fiber Tech. Admittedly, I don’t exactly know what’s special about Fiber Tech, but it sounds cool. Finally, Fischer adds in a layer of Titanal above the edges underfoot. It’s not full width metal, at least that’s not how it was described to me, it’s just to support edge durability. It's simply referred to as “Ti-Reinforced Edge.” Quick math… I skied 8 straight days of park in Whistler recently. Let’s call it 6 rail slides per run, with an average of 20 runs per day… By my math, that’s a total of 960 rail slides in just my trip to Whistler. Tack on a few extra days at Stowe bopping through the park and we’re easily over 1,000 rail slides on these skis just in my testing so far. While the bases show significant signs of wear (in the form of rail paint staining the beautifully colored bases), I don’t have any edge cracks and genuinely feel like there’s less overall wear on my edges. Cool! Lastly, to wrap up construction, this build means a 1950 g weight for the 177 cm length. From a flex perspective, the ski is softer in the tips and tails and more robust underfoot, although overall, I would describe it as a softer overall flex pattern. Certainly not homogenous, however, as the tips and tails are noticeably bendier.

Then there’s shape, which is important. Fischer calls it “Freeski Rocker.” Remember, this ski is intended to be balanced for both forward and switch skiing, so you wouldn’t expect it to be perfectly symmetrical, and you’d be right. The 177 cm length I was testing features a 132/96/122 mm sidecut profile, and the tip rocker on the Nightstick 97 is easily a couple cm longer than tail rocker. That makes sense when you analyze the recommended mount points. The furthest forward option (marked +2) is actually about 3.5 cm back from true center. As a stubborn park skier, I actually tried to go further forward to about 2 cm back from true center, and, well, don’t do that. It definitely messed the ski up a little bit. Switching to the +2 line made a world of difference, and it still feels plenty balanced for park skiing. The less you’re using them in the park, the further back you can go. The Recommended “0” line is approximately 5.5 cm back from true center, so still more centered than a true directional ski. Fischer does, however, include a -2 line, which obviously goes back to 7.5 cm back from center. That’s more in line with traditional directional skis, so something to keep in mind if you’re choosing this ski for yourself and what your specific application will be. Last note on shape, in the 177 cm length, we get a 17 m turn radius. 184 is the longest option, and we also get a 170 and a 163 cm length.

Moving on to performance, I feel like it’s fitting to start with park. The Nightstick 97 isn’t the lightest ski in the world, and considering the amount of testing I did on ARVs and Playmakers this past season, I expected to find it a bit heavy. Interestingly, even doing little technical rail tricks, the ski feels much quicker than you might think. I have to give a lot of credit to the shape, although I also wonder if focusing a bit of metal underfoot makes the tips and tails feel lighter in contrast. Not sure… I do know, however, that they felt snappy and quick on rails. This 37 year old park skier even got some double switch ups around on down rails. Not the front swap, front swap nonsense, the classic blind swap to front swap double switch up. For me, and I’d say for anyone, that requires a ski that you can swing around pretty darn quickly. The other thing I loved about them on rails is the shape. The tips and tails never feel catchy, and even just looking at them gives me a bunch of confidence in the park. The shape tells me I don’t have to be perfect and the ski will allow for it. You can wash things around when you need to. If you mess up, it’s not punishing, which is an awesome characteristic in the park.

On jumps, the stiffer flex pattern underfoot helped a ton. I didn’t notice swing weight as much on jumps. Not super light, not super heavy, just felt normal to me while spinning. That probably says more about the shape than the build, actually…. Being 3.5 cm back from true center makes me a bit nervous doing spins over 720, but I happily landed a couple 900s. Come to think of it, those might have been the most “directional” 900s I’ve ever done, if we’re talking about where the ski was mounted. Somewhat surprisingly, they felt perfectly balanced to me. Anyways, back to that stiffer flex underfoot… that really gives the Nightstick 97 a nice feel on landings. The softer tips and tails are your first contact point when landing (generally), and they kind of ease you into the landing where once your feet hit, you feel solid. It’s a great feel for a park ski. Also, once again, it’s not a catchy shape, so slight under or over-rotations aren’t a huge concern. Similar to how they perform on rails, you’ll just wash out a bit and be fine. I’d rather have that than high-side myself and slam…

Outside of the park, I find their playfulness and off-piste prowess far more impressive than their on-piste performance, and that’s perfectly fine. In softer snow and off-piste situations, the same catch-free feel in the park translates to superb maneuverability. Edge release is super quick and easy, allowing you to make subsequent short turns with minimal effort. Bumps runs, trees, even some decent powder, it’s all in play on the Nightstick 97. Yes, there are lighter and even more agile skis, by a long shot, actually, but this definitely still leans more to the playful, maneuverable side of the spectrum than the other way. To bring up some of those other new skis in this category again, Playmakers and new ARVs, those skis feel lighter and quicker. It’s not a crazy difference, but definitely noticeable. What the Nightstick 97 has going for itself, however, is a smoother and more damp feel than either of those skis, and really any other ski that’s lighter and quicker in these off-piste formats. That puts it in a nice place in the category. Not as strong or precise as something like a Nordica Unleashed 98, nor as quick as a Playmaker 101, but a nice blend of those two characteristics, resulting in a very well-rounded ski.

On a groomer, this is where I found the biggest difference in the different mount points I tried. My first round of testing is kind of unfair as I definitely had the bindings set too far forward. Moving back to the +2 line fixed that, but the ski still isn’t tremendously powerful or responsive on a groomer. That’s not surprising either, especially if you really analyze the shape and flex and form realistic expectations. The tip is pretty soft, has a good amount of rocker, and some early taper. It’s not ripping you into a carving turn, nor is it designed to. I made the mistake of skiing the Nightstick 97 through the lens of a Ranger 96, which for me, absolutely rips on firm snow. The Nightstick is not a Ranger. That’s for sure, but why should it be? As I mentioned in the video, if Fischer created a new twin tip and the masses just used it for carving, that’d be kinda sad. What’s great, however, is not many park skiers care that much about carving, or at least don’t have wild expectations out of their skis in a carving application. For those skiers, it will do just fine. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, edge release is easy once again, so you can make shorter skidded turns with ease, slide a 180 to switch, back again, the other way, etc etc. On a groomer, it’s a playful ski, not a serious ski.

Overall, I think Fischer did a great job with these new skis. This fall, there will be about 140 pairs available for a special early release. After that, you’ll have to wait until a 2025 announcement. Sometimes those can come as early as January (in this case 2024), and sometimes you have to wait until August/September of the same year. Time will tell, but if you’ve read this and decided you want a pair, you should get in line for those 140 pairs this fall.