In case you missed it, Fischer is scrapping its award-winning Ranger FR and Ranger Ti skis next season and replacing them with an entirely overhauled Ranger series. And while it may not be the headliner of the series, the new Ranger 90 is likely to become a staple at resorts and on retail shelves as the most approachable, intuitive ski in the lineup.
What’s new in the ’22-’23 Fischer Ranger 90?
The new unisex Ranger 90 replaces the ’21-’22 Ranger 92 Ti, one of the narrower skis in the brand’s all-mountain line featuring a beefy Titanal construction. Our gear testers appreciated the double layer of Titanal in the Ranger 92 Ti and in the wider Ranger 99 Ti for how stable, precise, and damp it made those skis, but admitted that the heavier construction made them almost too stiff and unforgiving for anyone but advanced and expert skiers to enjoy.
To correct that, Fischer revamped the construction throughout the new Ranger line, integrating its new Shaped Ti technology in place of the double layer of Titanal in the old Ranger Ti models. Thanks to Shaped Ti, each new Ranger now features an individually cut Titanal plate to suit the ski’s designated purpose—the narrower skis get a longer Titanal insert to promote better responsiveness and precision on groomed terrain, while wider models feature less Titanal along the length of the ski to make them softer and more forgiving.
Learn more: What is Titanal and what does it do in skis?
The result is that the new Ranger 90, though it features a longer Titanal insert than the wider skis in the new Ranger lineup, still has less metal in it than its Ranger 92 Ti predecessor. At 90mm underfoot, it’s also slightly narrower. All this translates to a ski that’s significantly lighter, softer, and more forgiving.
- Dimensions: 129-90-114
- Available lengths: 156, 163, 170, 177, 184
- Radius: 17m (177cm length)
- Weight: 1,850g (177 cm length)
- Price: $750
First Review: How does this new construction translate to performance?
Though the Ranger 90 technically evolved from the Ranger 92 Ti, it’s a completely different ski. I had the chance to test the Ranger 90 on three separate occasions this season—twice during the early season in Vail and Winter Park, Colo., and once in St. Anton, Austria.
Conditions were firm when I first skied the Ranger 90 in Vail and Winter Park in December. At that point, only a few runs were open at either resort and they were covered with mostly man-made snow. I skied the Ranger 90 in the 170cm-length and was immediately struck by how light they felt on my feet—an entirely unfamiliar feeling from a Fischer ski.
The weight didn’t inspire confidence considering the hardpack conditions—I, like most skiers I believe, prefer the feeling of something sturdier underfoot when conditions are firm. But the Ranger 90 held its own when I tested it on edge in medium-radius turns. When I opened up to larger radius turns and picked up more speed, I did detect a speed limit; this ski doesn’t have the same knack for smoothing out the ride and instilling confidence at speed as the old Ranger Ti models.
Where the Ranger 90 shines, however, is how effortlessly it initiates and exits turns, and how agile it is. Switching from longer radius turns to short turns doesn’t require the same amount of effort or willpower as the old Ranger Ti models demanded. Those models were built for precise edge performance, and while they would grudgingly tolerate different turn shapes and styles, they preferred ripping longer-radius turns on edge and at speed. The new Ranger 90, on the other hand, accommodates skidding and pivoting, making it far more versatile and accessible to skiers still working on their skills.
That was especially obvious when I put the Ranger 90 to the test off-piste in St. Anton, Austria. Would it have been my first choice to ski a 90mm-waisted ski in powder? No, but that’s what was available to me, so I went with it. At the end of a day chasing Fischer’s European athletes around the steeps of Austria’s freeride mecca in mid-January, I was glad I was on something as forgiving and lightweight as the Ranger 90. It was enough to keep me above the fray in the 10 inches of days-old powder, and quick and agile enough to make navigating trees and natural obstacles in the high alpine a piece of cake.
Now, North American skiers reading this review may immediately discredit me for recommending the Ranger 90 for off-piste skiing. Let me be clear: The Ranger 90 is not the ski I would normally choose for this type of skiing; I still prefer something around the 95mm-105mm waist mark for those conditions. But the fact that the Ranger 90 held its own in more technical terrain off-piste as well as on the hardpack groomers of the early-season proves that Fischer accomplished what it set out to do with the new Ranger series: to make all the skis in the line more effortless, more versatile, and more forgiving.
What type of skier should consider the Fischer Ranger 90?
I used to only recommend Fischer skis to advanced and expert skiers who would be able to tap into the power and precision the Fischer skis of yore demanded. But anyone can ski and enjoy the new Ranger 90, which is why you’re likely to see it all over resorts next season.
Thanks to its narrower waist-width and lighter construction, it’s a more accessible and less intimidating all-mountain ski for intermediate skiers who are just starting to dabble off-piste. It won’t punish skiers who don’t know or care to actively drive a ski, instead allowing them to smear and pivot turns with a more relaxed stance in both groomed and ungroomed terrain.
Advanced and expert skiers who gravitate towards stiffer, sturdier skis that allow them to ski fast and charge through variable snow conditions may find the Ranger 90 too light and accommodating. Anyone who relied on that second layer of Titanal in the old Ranger 92 Ti or 99 Ti to dampen the ride and offer stability at speed will notice a loss in those areas, especially on groomed terrain.
But here’s the thing: The Ranger 90, despite its narrower waist width, is not a groomer ski. It’s the very definition of an all-mountain ski, designed to coax everyone off the groomed terrain and begin exploring the terrain off the beaten path. It’s best described as a teaching tool or confidence-builder, making it a great one-ski quiver for intermediate or advanced skiers looking to grow their skills off-trail.