Rossignol ski picking recap
Last week on Monday and Tuesday, Adam Johnson and I traveled to Utah to select skis from the Rossignol US distribution center/race center for both customers on our pick list and for our base inventory at the shop. This was Adam’s first time to the area and I scheduled us one free day in the mountains to explore the Park City area. Adam had been researching all week about different iconic mountain bike trails in the PC area and was super excited to ride some single track. Unfortunately, and fortunately (I don’t have a safe history of mountain biking), it snowed on Sunday so we entertained ourselves with a 3hr hike up to Jupiter Peak. It was very exciting to tromp around in the snow and hopefully it was a good omen for snow to come this winter.
Adam is pumped, bagging peaks and arm-fulls of snow. Hopefully we get a lot of the natural stuff this year.
Monday marked the beginning of our 2 days at Rossignol. We scheduled some additional time since we had a few master skiers from Idaho drive down to Ogden to visit with us. We gave a quick tour of Rossignol to our mountain customers and then spent some time flex testing their fleets of skis and showing our process for selecting new skis to fill in gaps in their fleet or replace skis that were not up to standards. We also discussed grinds and took back home many of their existing skis for stonegrinding.
Once finished with some customer fleet analysis, we dove into the racks of Rossignol skis. Using our hands and eyes to sort skis into “worth looking at” and “this is not going home with us” we grew our ski pile. Next, Adam and I checked the potential pairs with our pressure/flex tester and a fitting bench to snag the very best-looking skis. The wonderful thing about Rossignol is their best skis stick out like a sore thumb. Rossi skis generally have a high resting camber and a lot on energy/spring to them. My best skier feedback on Rossi has always been to look for the lowest riding cambered skis they produce. These are tougher to find but they are worth me sorting through huge racks of skis to find them. Rossignol makes their skis a bit different from most and they start with a pre-cambered shape and then press the skis into shape. This gives a distinct feel, with a long and stable wheelbase and generally superior performance on medium to hard-track snow. I have had multiple skiers become more efficient when moving to a Rossi skate ski based on the stability resulting from the longer wheelbase/bridge. If you plan on ever skiing Hyland, Elm “ice” Creek or Wirth in the afternoon/evening you must consider a Rossi skate ski. Also, if World Masters happens on a fair amount of artificial snow at Wirth Park (fingers crossed we are on natural snow for Worlds) it would be very beneficial to have a Rossi ski. They can be rocket ships on Wirth’s artificial snow.
Rossignol Ski Models:
A few years back Rossignol added the S1 to their skate line up to fill a void. Rossignol knew its skis were maybe not the best in cold snow, especially cold soft snow, but the S1 is the answer and perfect solution. It has longer glide contact zones and a specially formulated base for cold squeaky snow. I have seen a lot of camber variation in S1 skis over the years and the pairs I find with limited splay and long contact in addition to low contact pressure are unbelievably good in cold snow across the board… both firm and soft snow. You must realize almost all Rossignol skate skis have great stability so the pairs with smooth pressure provide the best of both worlds… great stable platform and fast.
The Premium S2 is the universal skate solution. More splay and a universal base make this ski extremely versatile. Due to camber variations, I can pick pairs that handle cold snow all the way up into the mid 30s and warmer. A quick word about the “premium” tag: die-hard Rossignol fans know that their race skis come from 2 places, Spain and France. The Spanish skis are considered “production” skis and the French stock are considered “race” or World Cup level skis. The French skis are christened in champagne so they cost twice as much and are twice as fast, no… In reality, there was a large gap between the French stock and the Spanish stock a few years ago. With the introduction the Premium skis, that gap is no longer quantifiable. The best characteristics of the French skis: longer contact zones and lower resting cambers are now assimilated into the Spanish made Premium skis. The introduction of the Premium line of skate skis was a big step forward and now the consumer has access to the same level skis as the World Cup athlete. That said, the skis are still made from pressing wood (each piece of wood I’ve seen is unique unto itself) into shape using heat and pressure, so having a pair selected for fit and quality is extremely important.
The S3 “white” base ski, I believe, took more than a few podium positions at the 2016 Birkie in very warm and dirty conditions. The S3 base is designed for wet, wet dirty, artificial and frozen artificial snow. It is one of the most versatile wet snow ski bases on the market and is most certainly in every Rossi sponsored athlete’s quiver. The S3 has shorter contact zones to break suctions so you skis don’t figuratively and literally “suck.” Having a hand picked pair is important to get the splay just right so the range on the ski can be at its largest. S3’s with limited splay are rockets on frozen artificial snow and S3’s with massive splay are amazing “water” skis but finding a balanced pair allows a huge range of utility spanning across both of those conditions.
The standard World Cup Rossignol skate ski is ideal for skiers needing a little stability in their life, allowing them to stand easily on their skate skis. This is a very traditional Rossignol skate ski… long wheelbase, higher resting camber, lots of energy. I have fit many skiers on WCS skate skis and it has changed their outlook on skate skiing. The ease of edging and finding the ski underneath you is unparalleled compared to all other brands. If you ever ski on artificial snow after the local high school teams in the evenings, you know it can feel like Bambi on ice. The WCS gives you the ultimate control and if you find a well picked pair, the glide zone pressure is low enough to provide good performance across a huge range of snow conditions.
This is the hard-wax classic race ski in the Rossignol line-up: it has lower resting camber height, long contact and limited splay. This ski is very happy with Blue Extra and colder waxes. This ski is also a good choice for those skiers looking for “mule” like kick and as long as the pair is picked well, could handle even a bit warmer conditions.
The C2 is the go-to race classic ski if you can only have one pair. The tip and tail have a lot more splay, the resting camber is higher and the C2 ski has a huge usable range. The great thing about Rossignol and their production technique is the super long wheelbase. In classic skis, that means a very long wax pocket which is really advantageous in shearing snow conditions… conditions when your wax is gripping the snow, but that snow is not “tacking” to the snow underneath it. Rossignol wins in these conditions come from having an extremely long pocket. Another bonus from that long wax pocket is in good kicking conditions, you can shorten the wax zone and voila, you have skate ski like glide and great kick = winning.
Top of Jupiter Peak