This selection might come as a surprise to a lot of people.
The truth is, in our circles, folks don’t talk much about Fischer skis, and even fewer people are on them. This has increasingly come to strike us as bizarre.
First, Fischer is a dominant presence in the alpine and nordic racing world. Last year, almost 80% of World Cup podium finishes were by Fischer athletes, as were more than half the nordic medals won in Vancouver.
(Counter Argument: OK, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to race skis. But that doesn’t mean they know anything about freeride skis….)
Second, while the freeskiers we know may not be talking about Fischer skis, they are talking about Fischer boots, and virtually everyone wants to check out the exceptionally interesting Fischer Vacuum (see our review).
(Counter Argument: Well, yeah, so they make innovative and highly regarded freeride boots, but that doesn’t mean that they know how to make great freeride skis….)
We don’t think either of these arguments hold much water. The idea that Fischer is killing it on the race front but is just floundering when it comes to freeride skis—but not freeride boots—seems doubtful. So we started to take a much closer look at their freeride lineup.
And the closer we looked, the more intrigued we’ve become, and the crazier it’s seemed that Fischer hasn’t been a bigger part of the conversation.
For 2012-2013, Fischer’s entire freeski line is more specialized than in years past. It’s been separated into two dedicated groups: the Watea and the Big Stix series.
“Big Stix” has been stamped on skis throughout Fischer’s alpine lineup for a while, from 106mm underfoot boards considered “fat” in 2003, to 76mm-waisted carvers in following years. So the Big Stix name’s been around, but never in such a dedicated fashion. And we’re extremely curious to find out what the company is bringing to the freeride game this year with a couple of skis, starting with the Big Stix 110 (one of three skis in Fischer’s big-mountain line).
The build of the Big Stix 110 seems really smart and deliberate. It doesn’t look or feel like a ski that some race-stock company slapped together because they needed to make something fat and rockered, like everybody else.
The Big Stix 110 has a full wood core and an even, moderate hand flex. We like.
The 110 is rockered in both the tip and tail, but the rocker is subtle—the rocker lines don’t go nearly as deep into the ski as many other similar skis in the 110mm class. This isn’t automatically a better thing, but on the face of it, we dig the longer effective edge of the 110 and the prospects of increased stability.
The Big Stix 110 also has a good bit of camber underfoot, so if Fischer has managed to sync this up well with the modest tip rocker, minimal tail rocker, and relative stiffness of the ski, then this thing ought to provide plenty of bite in firm conditions, hold up well at high speeds, potentially handle chopped conditions better than most of the skis in its class, and still provide good float and a bit of playfulness.
You still wondering why we’re taking Fischer with us to Las Leñas? You still sure that they shouldn’t be on your radar?
So why are we taking the K2 Pettitor to Las Leñas? Because it's Sean Pettit's first pro model, that's why. Plus, six months ago in Japan, Sean very politely asked us to review the Pettitor, and we've kept him waiting. Read on for the full story.
A narrower version of the original Rocker 2,122, the Rocker 2 108 looks like a great backcountry jib tool and a versatile all-mountain ski (especially for the West).
Next up: the Kästle West XX110. Kästle goes new school with the West, and so far, they appear to be doing it proper. Very proper.