Top All-Mountain Skis 2013: Rossignol Experience 98
A grippy edger with big backcountry potential
ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 98
Now in its second year, the Experience (which encourages you to "experience" more of the mountain) combines the soft snow performance of a fat ski with the precision edging of a much narrower carver. It gets its float using early rise in tip and tail and 30% rocker, and Rossi's Extended Sidecut—which engages more sidecut as a skier leans into an edge—gives it top-notch edge grip. It's a stiff, smooth ski, with traditional sandwich construction that includes a full wood core and a titanium sheet. SKI, which bestowed the 98 with its Gold Medal Gear award, thought it was ridiculously versatile, saying: "Its natural habitat is Western resort conditions: powder mornings, cruddy afternoons, chalky bumps, and velvet groomers between storms. But the E-98 will also thrive in all but the worst Eastern conditions (stay-home-anyway days)..." Powder, for its part, said it's "a race-car-feeling, everywhere, everyday kind of ski." Those are no small endorsements.
Best For: On- and off-trail versatility, but it may be too grippy for glades and moguls.
Overall: 3.75 | Carving: 3.99 | Float: 3.31
Length (cm): 172,180,188
Tip/Waist/Tail (mm): 139/98/128
$800; rossignol.com (on sale for $700)