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After creating one of the most game-changing skis—the Soul 7—of the last two decades, it took Rossignol a while to find its juju again to replicate that success in the all-mountain charger category. But in 2020, the brand once again struck gold with its new and improved Black Ops freeride series.
Encompassing 10 skis for men and women and ranging from touring skis to powder boards, the 2021 Black Ops line offers something for everyone in every ski category. But the standouts from the line on the women’s side are the Stargazer and the wider Rallybird TI.
With waist widths of 92mm and 102mm respectively, both the Stargazer and Rallybird TI (not to be confused with the Rallybird without Titanal, which is simply called the Rallybird) are women’s-specific all-mountain skis that offer great versatility. But while the skis are two birds of the same feather, they ski quite differently. Here, we outline the main differences between Rossignol’s all-mountain Stargazer and Rallybird TI, and how these translate to on-snow performance.
Rossignol Stargazer vs. Rallybird TI: Construction
- Available lengths: 154, 162, 170
- Dimensions: 127-92-117 (162)
- Radius: 14m (162)
- Core: Paulownia wood with Diagofiber
With a 92mm waist width, the Rossignol Black Ops Stargazer could be considered a narrow all-mountain ski (or even a frontside ski) for skiers in the West, whereas it fits squarely into the all-mountain category for skiers of the East. However you choose to classify it, the more modest waist width makes it a versatile all-mountain ski that’s designed to tackle the groomed as well as conditions you’re likely to find off-trail.
The Stargazer’s core is made up of paulownia wood reinforced with Rossignol’s Diagofiber, which keeps the ski lightweight while offering the responsiveness and pop of skis with metal in the core. The ski features an early rise tip and slightly rockered tail, but traditional camber underfoot means there’s still plenty of effective edge for frontside carving. Rossignol’s Damp Tech helps reduce vibrations and chatter at speed, while the brand’s Air Tip in the Stargazer lightens the load up front, making the ski quicker and easier to engage in turns.
Rallybird TI specifications
- Available lengths: 163, 171, 178
- Dimensions: 137-102-127
- Radius: 16m (171)
- Corer: Paulownia wood with carbon alloy and Titanal beam
The Rallybird TI also features a paulownia wood core, but in this wider all-mountain ski the wood is combined with carbon alloy and a Titanal beam underfoot, which makes it both heavier and stiffer than the Stargazer. Featuring a bigger shovel and wider tail than the Stargazer, the Rallybird is built to perform in deeper snow and crud while still holding its own on hardpack thanks to a no-nonsense sidewall construction and the same Damp Tech found in the Stargazer.
Rossignol Stargazer vs. Rallybird TI: Performance
- The Rossignol Black Ops Stargazer is a great one-ski quiver option for fans of playful, quick skis
- The Rossignol Black Ops Rallybird TI is a no-nonsense wider all-mountain ski that can carve up the groomers but really shines in large radius turns off the groomed
From the difference in waist width alone, it’s safe to assume the Rallybird TI performs better off trail than the Stargazer. And while that’s true, the Stargazer is no slouch in the trees, moguls, and beyond. Thanks to its tip and tail rocker, the Stargazer is perfectly happy boppin’ around in the bumps and sliding through glades. The skis will even keep you afloat in 3 to 6 inches of fresh.
Because it’s lighter underfoot, the Stargazer is easier to swing around and therefore more effortless and forgiving in moguls and tight spots. On the flip side of that coin, it’s not as beefy as the Rallybird TI and so doesn’t inspire the same confidence at speed or in heavier snow and crud as the Rallybird TI.
Testers loved the Stargazer for its quickness and playfulness, calling it a snappy ski that does pretty much everything well, but really shines on frontside conditions and when asked to make short turns down the fall line.
And while you might assume that the Rallybird TI’s wider waist means it won’t hack it on those same frontside conditions, you’d be wrong. Despite its wider waist and more generous rocker profile, the Rallybird TI can be trusted on edge and at speed even on hard snow.
In fact, because of her beefier construction, the Rallybird TI is most in her element when railing larger radius turns down the fall line—whether that’s on groomed snow or crud. Thanks to a wider waist width, the Rallybird TI will perform better in powder than the Rallybird, but it’s still not exactly a powder ski. Testers called the Rallybird TI a crud crusher—a ski that will let you plow over and through choppy snow as if nothing were in your path.
More detail: Full review of the Rossignol Black Ops Rallybird TI
Rossignol Stargazer vs. Rallybird TI: Skier Type
- The Rossignol Black Ops Stargazer is better suited to intermediate and above skiers who more often than not stick to groomers, but also occasionally venture off-trail
- The Rossignol Black Ops Rallybird TI is a versatile all-mountain ski for advanced and expert women who know how to bend and drive a stiff ski
Testers agreed that pretty much any woman can have fun on the Rossignol Stargazer. Because of its lighter construction and shorter available lengths, it’s more approachable to intermediate skiers who are looking for a ski that will coax and coach them off the groomers. Because of its versatility, the Stargazer would make a great one-ski quiver for intermediates and above who primarily stick to frontside terrain and conditions, but occasionally dabble off-piste.
As versatile as the Rallybird TI is when it comes to terrain and snow conditions, it’s not as versatile when it comes to skier ability. Because of its heavier construction and longer lengths, it’s better suited to strong advanced and expert skiers. Intermediate ladies might enjoy its steadfastness on groomers, but are likely to find it too unforgiving and unresponsive off the hardpack. Advanced and expert women who know how to bend and drive a ski, on the other hand, will find the Rallybird TI an exciting and formidable all-mountain playmate.
Whichever you decide is right for you, rest assured that both the Stargazer and Rallybird TI are some of the best women’s-specific all-mountain options currently available. What’s more: Rossignol’s Black Ops line is made with sustainably sourced materials in a factory that uses 100 percent clean energy. So whatever your decision, it’s one you can feel good about all-around.