Rating: 3.30 / 5
Waist Width: 88
Stability at speed: 3.70 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.71 / 5
Crud performance: 3.39 / 5
Flotation: 2.44 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.33 / 5
Overall: 3.30 / 5
The returning Experience 88 is no stranger to the top of the rankings; testers have always loved its combination of speed-loving dampness and can’t-miss carveability. Note that two of its highest scores are for Forgiveness and Hard Snow—two normally opposing characteristics—so it’s ready to be as aggressive or as lazy as you are. Just not too lazy, we hope: It loves to be tipped and bent, and smooth round arcs are your reward. Gleason: “A crisp, energetic feel without being overpowering.”
NOTES: Significantly narrower than the top-of-the-line 100, the 2016 Rossignol Experience 88 is appreciably quicker edge-to-edge. And while it lacks the metal used in the 100, its basalt fiber laminates (yes, fiber made of rock) act much like metal to calm high-speed vibrations. The 88 is only slightly lighter than the 100, trading some soft-snow flotation for hardpack edginess that will serve Eastern and Midwestern skiers.
It's part of Rossignol's All Mountain collection, designed for maximum versatility in all terrain and snow types that resort skiers encounter. The Experience line splits the difference between the powder/soft-snow smeariness of the famous 7 Series and the groomer/hard-snow carviness of the Pursuits. Waist widths range from 100 mm in the flagship model down to 75 mm in the value-priced Experience, with target abilities decreasing with size (fatter models for experts, narrower ones for intermediates and novices). All feature Rossi's Auto Turn Rocker-early rise in the tip and tail for shock absorption and soft-snow float, camber under foot for hard-snow carvability. Rossignol's Extended Sidecut design moves the widest part of the ski beyond the fore and aft contact points: The ski won't feel hooky or unmanageable at low speeds and edge angles, but when pushed to higher speeds and edge angles the sidecut engages more edge for maximum stability. Air Tip-a translucent honeycomb of empty pockets-keeps the swing-weight down for enhanced quickness. All are wood-core, laminate constructions with reinforcing laminates of different weights and densities, including metal (Experience 100), basalt (88), carbon fiber (77) and fiberglass (75 and 80). All have vertical sidewalls for maximum transmission of energy to the edge.