Rossignol Boots 1998


Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

As journalists who regularly carry around big backpacks of skepticism, we tip our cap to Rossignol, the only major boot manufacturer not to market a boot with a carving label. Rossi’s contention: Top-level boots already are carving boots. The company is quick to point out, though, that its Inverted Overlap and Asymmetrical Lateral Band (Course boots) and Circular Band (Energy models) concepts were specifically engineered to provide a solid link and energy transfer to the medial side of the boot. Just what all the new carving boots are trying to do. To be on the safe side, Rossi has added optional carving inserts to the medial side of its cuffs. Rossi continues to turn out three excellent series-the Course, the Energy and the Vision-regardless of what designation gets hung on them.

Course Series
Course KX $619 Mountain Viper/L $559 Course X/L $509
Going on its fifth season, the Course line is elegant, efficient and explosive. New this year is a women’s version of the Mountain Viper with a lower cuff height.

“It’s at home in full-on speed mode and can dig a silky carve,” said Gleason of the KX, “yet it is full of life in short-radius turns.”

The women loved the Viper. “Fun, fun, fun,” said Karnopp. “Confident feel with a smooth, even flex. You are the boss of your turns.” The men dug the snake, too. Scholey had the Viper “slithering quietly through the bumps, crud and hardpack. It handles whatever you throw at it,” he said The Course X doesn’t give anything away to its higher profile siblings. “There’s plenty of pop and the stable platform makes the edges seem like they’re linked to the snow,” said Cohen. Thoren was similarly impressed. “Rossi proves a women’s high-performance boot doesn’t have to be high, stiff or uncomfortable,” she said.

Key Features Inverted overlap directs turning force to inside edge, and a reinforced Lateral Band promotes quick power shifts. A flex insert stiffens the shell.
Thumbs Up A relasted toe box offers more height, and the fat power strap stays in place.
Beware Cuff adjuster has limited range. Buckles can be testy.
Who They’re ForKX: Racer, All-Mountain Expert Viper, X: All-Mountain Expert, Executive

Energy Series
Energy STX/L $459 Energy ST/L $389 Energy S/L $319
The Energy Series may be friendlier than the Course, but don’t underestimate these powerhouses. Said Gleason of the STX: “It flexes enough to accommodate the exaggerated motions of Aspiring Carvers, but is not a mush bucket. It’s supportive, resilient and responsive.” Added Hoffmann, “Rossi really undersells this boot. It’s versatile and satisfies a wide range of skiers.”Cygielman had a similar reaction to the ST. “It draws out great turns from improving skiers. It’s quick in the racecourse and smooth through the powder.”

Key Features Inverted overlap, diagonal power-direct band and cuff cant.
Thumbs Up Easier to flex than the Course series yet stiffer than last year’s models for better performance.
Beware Cuff adjuster has limited range. Buckles can be testy.
Who They’re ForSTX: All-Mountain Expert, Executive, Player ST: Executive, Player, Aspiring Carver S: Player, Aspiring Carver, Newcomer

Vision Series
Vision 12/L $419 Vision 10/L $359 Vision 8/L $299This year’s Vision models have a new liner and an updated lower shell designed to provide more rebound without changing the forward flex. The new Vision 8 uses a two-piece shell instead of the three-piece design used by the 10 and 12. The Visions lack some of the all-mountain pop of the Energy series, but they are comfortable and get the job done.

The 12 is “perfect for anyone starting out on a shaped ski,” said Wetherbee. “It hugs your foot like a warm blanket,” said Cutter. “A good combination of comfort and performance..”

“Where was this boot when I was learning to ski?” Thoren asked of the 10. “It held well and inspired confidence on hard, early-morning snow.” She found the 8 a “groomed-run delight. It cruises without a care.”

Key Features Inverted overlap, walk mode. The 8 has only two micro-adjustable buckles.
Thumbs Up Gets the job done with little fanfare.
Beware Buckles are difficult to adjust.
Who They’re For12: Executive, Player, Aspiring Carver; 10: Player, Aspiring Carver 8: Aspiring Carver, Newcomer