Rossignol S6 Jib (2011)

Yes, it’s part of Rossi’s “jib” collection, and yes, it’s a full twin-tip, but the sensibly priced S6 impressed testers (most of whom never ski backward—at least on purpose) with its combination of powder-day surfiness and everyday skiability. This year’s version is rockered tip-to-tail, so it has a pleasing, buttery feel in soft snow. But its rocker and sidecut work together to lay a nice long edge on hardpack. You have to be patient, but it’ll carve. Testers clearly preferred Rossi’s S7 (p. 69) for pure powder applications, but the S6 offers more all-mountain versatility. “Best in deep snow, but handles all surfaces nicely,” said Garrett.
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2011 Rossignol S6

Rating: / 5
Price: $800.00
Year: 2011
Level: 3
Gender: Male
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 140/110/133
Lengths: 186

Stability at speed: 3.70 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.84 / 5
Crud performance: 3.85 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.71 / 5

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Rosignol S86

Rossignol S86 Freeride (2011)

Rossignol had a great test this year, and here’s the poster child of the Rooster’s fully fledged return to relevance. The S86 is an accomplished generalist. Sidecut and traditional camber underfoot combined with a wood-core, metal-reinforced construction make it surefooted on hard snow. But rocker and reverse camber tip-and-tail make it fun and easy in powder, crud, even bumps. It pivots, skids, smears, carves—whatever is asked of it—making it a great choice for anything but the deepest powder or hardest ice. “Hungry for fun in all conditions, especially crud and bumps,” said Scholey.

Rosignol S86

Rossignol S86 Freeride (2011)

Rossignol had a great test this year, and here’s the poster child of the Rooster’s fully fledged return to relevance. The S86 is an accomplished generalist. Sidecut and traditional camber underfoot combined with a wood-core, metal-reinforced construction make it surefooted on hard snow. But rocker and reverse camber tip-and-tail make it fun and easy in powder, crud, even bumps. It pivots, skids, smears, carves—whatever is asked of it—making it a great choice for anything but the deepest powder or hardest ice. “Hungry for fun in all conditions, especially crud and bumps,” said Scholey.

Rossignol S110W (2011) thumb

Rossignol S110W (2011)

Rossi was among the first to incorporate rocker into a women’s ski (Voodoo Pro BC110). Now it unveils the S110W Freeski, one of the first women’s skis with rocker and reverse sidecut. Hence its funny shape: The tapered tip and tail smear better in the deep. With roughly the same dynamics as the hugely popular S7 (No. 1 in Men’s Deep Snow), the S110W is not built for versatility; it’s built to float effortlessly through feet of velvety powder, where it handles speed so well you hardly notice the trees are a blur. For deep-snow purists, it can’t be beat (No. 1 in Overall Impression). “It could float the Titanic,” said Dawson.

2011 Rossignol S7

Rossignol S7 (2011)

Think you’re not a very good powder skier? Don’t decide till you try the category-crushing S7. There’s nothing special about the construction: A sheet of Titanal gives it just enough power and dampness; 30-degree sidewalls take a beating. The secret’s in the shape. Traditional camber and sidecut underfoot provide a comfy home base. Tip and tail are rockered and reverse-sidecut. The tip is smeary, floaty, undemanding; the tail sinks readily when you need to dump speed. The S7—No. 1 in six criteria—forgives almost any mistake; and we tested the 195 cm. Ski as aggressively as you dare; it bails you out every time. “The ultimate powder tool,” said Preston.

Dynastar Sultan 94

Dynastar Legend Sultan 94 (2011)

Here’s a super-sized version of the Sultan 85 (see No. 2). Dynastar gives it the same burly construction (it scored a shade higher in Stability); the differences are simply width (94 mm instead of 85) and rocker (about 23 cm in the tip instead of 18), plus a slightly longer sidecut radius that prefers going down the hill instead of across it. The result is a surfier, floatier feel that’s more at home in soft snow and a little less versatile for frontside applications, though it’s still among the favorites. Testers gave it the top score in Crud Performance. “Strong, well balanced; perfect for rooting out the last pockets of powder,” said Elling.

2011 Rossignol Avenger 85Ti

Rossignol Avenger 82 Ti (2011)

In a category of race-bred Type A carvers, the Avenger isn’t afraid to let its fun, playful side show, and testers universally loved it for that. Talk about balance of skills: The Avenger earned the top mark in only one criterion, but was so strong across the board that it earned the No. 1 ranking overall. That one criterion? Forgiveness. Sure, it’s a race-ready, wood-core construction with two sheets of metal and stout sidewalls, but it never forgets that skiing is supposed to be enjoyable. “Easy, smooth, creamy feel,” said Preston. “An all-around winner.”

2011 Volkl Gotma

Volkl Gotama (2011)

The original backcountry twin-tip returns with minor modification this year. It’s fully, but subtly, rockered, with a long, gradual tip-to-tail bend. Völkl takes care to make sure rocker and sidecut work together: Tip a Gotama up on groomers, and there’s plenty of edge-to-snow contact for easy carving. But it’s built for soft snow. It surfs and smears readily in powder and smoothly manages crud. There were more dynamic skis in the test, but the Gotama won accolades for versatility and mellow user-friendliness. “A versatile tool for powder and crud—even carves on hardpack; fun and easy,” said Casey.

2011 Blizzard The Answer

Blizzard The Answer (2011)

The Answer is a rockered big-mountain twin-tip that’s as lively as a fat ski can get (No. 1 in Rebound) thanks to the subtleness of its rocker profile. In deep powder, some testers wished they had the 191-cm length for extra float, but the 184 was zippy in crud and pleasingly energetic on the groomed. The Answer comes with Blizzard’s Slider binding interface, which accepts any binding, dismounts in seconds (so you can swap in another Slider-mounted binding), and allows the ski to flex roundly fore and aft of its single mounting screw directly underfoot. “A versatile, all-around performer,” said Malone.