Skier: Spencer Smith
Skier Height: 6’6″
Skier Weight: 205lbs
Ski Length: 192 cm
Ski Dimensions: 130-98-120
Ski Radius: 21m
I’ve been skiing the Rossi black ops 98’s for over a year now and I can say that I am just excited to click into them now as I was on my first time out—although part of that excitement might just be my body getting a break from my race skis (ha-ha). Nonetheless, this ski is a thrill in almost any situation you might find yourself in on the mountain. I think while reading this review it is important to understand what this ski is meant to do. As an all mountain ski—this is what you would call ‘the one ski quiver’ – a ski that can cruise, rip arcs, float in pow, and lap the park. Although I would say park laps are less common for a ski like this. While it is good at all of these things, it is by no means great. I’m going to assume that everyone that comes to this page to see reviews is better than the average skier or at least somewhat serious about the sport. So I can tell you this: If you are looking to pipe turns on this ski and hold an edge on that gnarly east coast ice, It’s not for you. If you are looking for that gravity-defying ski that floats effortlessly on top of the fresh pow after that big nor-easter, it is not going to do that either. I’m not even going to comment on the park capabilities because that’s just not the kind of skiing I do—But I can tell by the dimensions and profile this is probably an decent park ski… Again, not great. So while this ski does not wow me in any category, it is good. But many goods make a great in terms of an all- mountain ski. Add up everything good about ski and what you get Is a versatile, do it all, GREAT all mountain ski.
To get more into the actual experience of this ski, it is important to highlight some of the physical characteristics. Actually the first thing I noticed about this ski was how heavy it is. Anyone that has had race skis in the past or maybe some ‘cheater’ carving skis knows that they are the heaviest skis on the market. When comparing these to my race skis they were definitely lighter, but not as much as I thought they would be. So kind of surprising in terms of weight especially considering they are a full wood-core. This is definitely a beefier ski suited for stronger dudes. The width is right in line for what you would expect for an all mountain ski at 98mm underfoot. The dimensions are 130-98-120, with a full twin tip and the rocker is a freeride rocker, so It has that rocker tip and tail with a bit of camber underfoot.
Another thing that I do really like about this ski is that it does not have any of that gimmicky marketing garbage thrown on the top sheet claiming to “increase performance”. Instead you are presented with a bare-bones, minimalist looking ski. I wouldn’t say the graphics are the most aesthetically pleasing, but what you see is what you get. I think real skiers who know most marketing stuff in the ski business is just fluff and see through it will appreciate the simplicity of this ski. The tight radius and weight were intriguing to me in terms of carving performance. But in reality I found that the ski was a little bit clunky to roll over on edge and takes some work. Once it tipped over it hooked up nicely, but the flex was pretty damp so it was not giving me a ton of rebound. I felt like I just kept sinking further and further into ski throughout the turn, kind of a bottomless feeling—but I am used to race skis so my perception might be a bit off. It had some wobble higher speeds, but was really good at slicing through any chop or moguls at average speeds. Anyone that tends to ski later in the days when the trails are beat down will benefit from this ski.
One type of condition that I really think is relevant but maybe isn’t talked about enough in terms of performance is that corny, granular snow. The kind you tend to get really hot days late in the season. The generous side cut and dampened flex allows you to just rip turns without digging in too deep or throwing you over the handlebars. For me it is hard to imagine a ski better than this for in that kind of snow. In powder the ski is fine, especially if you live on the east coast. It does not make 4 inches of powder feel like 10 or give you the weightless feeling but it is close enough. You will not have any trouble keeping up with your friends no matter what skis they are on which I think speaks to the versatility of this ski. Another benefit of not being a full blown powder ski is its ability to maneuver in and out of the trees. If we are being honest here, the wind blows a lot of the east coast storms into the woods anyways so naturally that is where most of us end up on powder days. This is a huge added benefit to this ski.
Score: 8/10 I scored it at an 8 because it does what it is supposed to. My biggest criticism and where this ski loses points is the carving component—but that is also where I tend to be the most critical. I just do not think the weight of the ski is fully justified. I think that you could make a ski with the same turning performance with less weight. I wish they just made it a bit stiffer, but again that might diminish some of its powder capabilities.
What you need to know: This ski may not fit everyone’s needs, but for skiers like me it is perfect. If you don’t want to mess around with having 2 or 3, even 4 pairs of skis for all different kinds of conditions then this ski is great. If you ski in a place where the conditions are variable (groomers, ice, powder, chop all in the same day) then this is as good as it gets. If you understand what you are getting and the limitations before you buy this ski, then you will love it. Hopefully this review helped.
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