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2012-2013 Rossignol S3, 186cm

Rossignol S3, Blister Gear ReviewSki: 2012-2013 Rossignol S3, 186cm

Dimensions (mm): 128-98-118

Turn Radius: 23 meters

Actual Tip to Tail length (straight tape pull): 182.5 cm

Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Marker Jester (DIN 10)

Mount Location: Factory Recommended & also at +3

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Alta Ski Area, A-Basin

Days Skied: ~50 days over 2 seasons

(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 S3, which is unchanged for 12/13, except for the graphics.)

I get asked about the S3 a lot, and with good reason: it’s a very good, playful ski that can be fun for a remarkably broad range of skiers, from beginners to experts. In this regard, it seems like one of the surest bets in skiing: when in doubt, you can grab an S3 and you’re probably going to have a good time, and depending on the terrain and the conditions, maybe even a great time.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the Rossignol S3. I bought a used pair of the 09/10 S3s (mounted at +3) and skied them two years ago, then skied a pair of 10/11 S3s a bunch last season (mounted on the line). Only the S3’s top sheets have changed from 10/11 to 11/12.

So the S3 has not been changed in three years, and I think Rossignol is to be commended for this. Given the intended purpose of the S3, the ski is pretty dialed. And though it’s been around for a while and so isn’t much of a secret, I think some light can still be shed on this ski’s strengths and weaknesses that will help prospective buyers know what they’re getting and what they aren’t.

One of my favorite things to do in a review is to look at the manufacturer’s own claims about a product, and Rossignol has this to say about the S3:

“The S3 is a narrower-waisted version of the S7. Sharing the same Powder Turn rocker as it’s big brother with low camber underfoot and high tip and tail rocker, the S3 is a versatile all-terrain vehicle. Powder Turn rocker provides amazing floatation, tracking and an efficient angle of attack that gives skiers effortless steering and instant speed control. At 98mm underfoot, the S3 is a functional and lightweight all-mountain powder ski that is incredibly maneuverable, easy-to-steer and forgiving. Whether using an Alpine, AT or Freeheel binding the S3 has the quickness and agilility perfect for poaching secret stashes in and out-of-bounds. It is a versatile adventure ski and the ideal lightweight powder tool for skiers who love exploring all of the nooks-and-crannies on the mountain.”

Rossignol’s own keywords here are: versatile, all-terrain, amazing floatation [I’d add: for a 98mm ski], functional, lightweight, instant speed control [i.e., they’re easy to scrub off speed], maneuverable, easy-to-steer, forgiving, quick, agile…an “all-mountain powder ski.”

And yes, that pretty accurately sums up the virtues of the S3. It also has a very poppy tail, and it skis switch great.

This is one of those rather rare occasions when a manufacturer’s own product description actually lives up to the product itself – and maybe even fails to do the product justice (more on that in a minute).

The S3 has a huge sweet spot, figuratively and literally.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Trescow Ridge, Taos Ski Valley. (photo by Ryan Heffernan)

On the literal side, I’ve skied the thing at +3 and really liked it, and I’ve skied it on the line…and really liked it.

To be honest, I didn’t notice a tremendous performance difference between +3 and 0, but I’m also not flippin’ and spinnin’. If you are spinning or skiing switch a bunch, I can easily recommend moving your mount to +1, +2, or +3, since there seemed to be little corresponding increase in tip dive.

Straight airs and landings felt very stable in either position. I can’t recall ever skiing anything at +/- 3 centimeters and not noticing really significant performance tradeoffs.

As for the S3s large figurative sweet spot, I’ll reiterate: I’ve seen beginners, intermediates, advanced, expert, and pro skiers on this ski, and the limitations of the ski really only seem to come into play when advanced / expert skiers are skiing in steeps, or charging in hard chop. (In softer cut up snow, the S3s are still very good.)

In fact, steep lines of ice bumps with deep troughs are the only condition where I hated the S3s. And in case you’re a little slow today, those conditions are going to be pretty damn tough for most skis.

Skiing steep, firm, bumped up tree lines around The North Face at Taos, the soft shovels of the S3 were simply the wrong tool – the shovels of the S3 would just fold when I’d cut hard against the bumped, steep fall line, and I’d get bucked forward, often overcorrect, and end up in the back seat.

In such instances, the 101mm, tip and tail rockered MOMENT PB&J’s stiffer shovels work better, but it’s stiffer tails will be less forgiving than the S3s if and when you do get tossed back….So I don’t see this as a design failure of the S3, just a design decision of the S3.

On semi-steep, more consistent bump lines (think Al’s Run, Taos), the S3s are great, and are my favorite bump ski in the 90mm – 100mm class.  And in lower angle bumps (think Hunziker Bowl, Taos) and trees, the shovels are great, the skis are fantastic, and they turn quick.

109 Comments

  1. Waldo Perez October 13, 2011 Reply

    As they are the advantages of the Sickle in comparison with the S3?

    • Author

      Hi, Waldo. The Sickle is stiffer than the S3 (but certainly not a demanding, stiff ski), and is 12mm wider. (They have very different rocker profiles, too, but I actually don’t think that fact translates into the largest performance difference.) I would rather ski tight moguls on the S3, but that is really the only scenario where, personally, I would prefer the S3 to the Sickle. But I like a bit of a stiffer ski, you might not.

      • Waldo Perez February 21, 2012 Reply

        Hi Jonathan, thanks for the comments. I have the S3, but I am thinking to buy the sickle and to give the S3 to my son. I like to ski in powder and groomers (70/30) and to explore all the mountain, but I am not an aggressive skier. I want to add a little flotation and versatility. Height 187 cm and weight 88 kg
        You recommend me to buy the sickle?
        Thanks for the very good information about skis.
        Pardon my English.

        • Author

          I think the Sickle sounds like a very good fit for what you’re describing, Waldo. Let us know what you think of it.

          • Waldo Perez February 23, 2012 Reply

            and the S7, you consider that also it is a good option, or definitively is a ski to powder and I lose hard snow and groomers yield. Jason mentions in its commentaries that Sickle > S7 and speaks very well of the Sickle, but it has repairs in the tail of the S7
            Thanks

  2. Mark December 2, 2011 Reply

    Do you think these would work well as a one-ski quiver for all-mountain riding in Tahoe? Also, I’m 165lbs, 5’11”, would you recommend 178 or 186? I realize this depends on my preferences, but just curious which length would make more sense as an allround ski for my size.

    • Author

      Hi Mark, at your height and weight, I would definitely recommend the 186cm. I don’t want to merely repeat what I’ve said in my review, so I won’t. You might also take a look at my DPS Wailer 99 review, and the MOMENT PB&J review – since I talk a bit about the S3s there, too. Really, my only concern is with heavier, wetter snow. The S3 is a fun soft snow ski, but if you’re getting into heavy Sierra cement, it might get too soft. If, however, you wouldn’t have the S3s out on really deep days, and you aren’t trying to ski at mach speed through chop, then you should have fun on the S3s.

  3. Tyrone December 25, 2011 Reply

    First off, great reviews!!! Glad I found this website, very informative.

    My question is I’m trying to decide between the rossi S3 and the moment pb&j (or any other suggestions you may have) for non-powder day skiing. I have the bent chetlers for powder and I love the way those things float and feel. If there’s new snow falling I’m taking those skis out, no question. I want this set for those other days, most days. I really am hooked on the rocker feel and how fun it makes the skis. I’m hoping to find a ski in the 100mm waist range that has the same playful/surfy feel as the bent chetler, but can still handle the not so nice conditions that occur on most days. I’m 6′, 200lbs. and ski mainly at Mammoth, probably intermediate/advanced. Currently I have prophet 100s, which I really like, but “unfortunately” I got those bent chetlers a couple years after the prophets and now I’m converted to rocker. I’m mostly concerned with having fun when I ski and having a playful/surfuy ski and I don’t usually mach down runs, but I would like a ski that would hold up in the steeps and be pretty stable if I do decide to open it up every now and then coming out of a chute or something. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

    • Author

      Hey Tyrone, given your size, weight, and what you say you’re looking for in a ski, this one’s easy: MOMENT PB&J, 188cm. Check out my review of it if you haven’t already, but I think it’s exactly what you’re looking for. It won’t be AS surfy as your Bentchetlers, but it will kick the Bentchetlers ass in all the other performance areas you’re looking for a narrower ski to cover.

  4. Sigurd December 30, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the awesome review, Jonathan. Love this site. Anyways, I was wondering what you meant by a beginner in your review? Do you mean someone who has never skied? Sorry if this is sort of a stupid question, but I was just wondering because there seem to be many different definitions of beginner.
    Thanks,
    Sigurd

    • Author

      Hi, Sigurd – not a stupid question at all. I know someone who had skied maybe 5-10 days in his life, then got on the s3s, and while he wasn’t instantly, miraculously shredding, he was having a good time. The S3s ski so easy, and release an edge so easily, too, that I think you could take someone brand new to skiing and they would probably have an easier time than if you put them on a traditional, skinny beginner ski with zero rocker. My only hesitation would be if someone is beginning to learn on boiler plate ice, where a skinny waist and sharp edges might help, but I bet they’d be hitting the deck more on this conventional beginner setup, and would have a harder time initiating turns. They could just smear turns on the S3 (though if you’re a good friend, you’ll make sure they quickly learn how to carve a turn, too!)

  5. Sigurd January 1, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the reply, Jonathan. I’m coming off rentals, so I think this should be a good ski for me. I have skied about 50 days already, though, and think I am a high intermediate to advanced skier, so these should be no problem.

  6. karl January 19, 2012 Reply

    hi jonathan. have you had a chance to ski the armada tst? i would love to hear your take on these two if you have.
    thanks

    • Author

      Hey, Karl, I haven’t had a chance to ski the TST, and don’t believe anybody else around here has, either.
      We’ll see if we can get on the TST sometime this spring.

      • Gary January 23, 2012 Reply

        I would LOVE to read a review on the Armada TST and your thoughts comparing it to the S3 since there seems to be quite a bit of similarity between the two skis on paper.

  7. Trevor January 24, 2012 Reply

    How does the S3 compare to the Scimitar for all mountain performance? What’s the main difference between Rossi’s 2 98mm freeride skis? Which has the edge in hard snow performance (no pun intended). Also maneuverability in tight tree’s and bumps? Lastly powder, does the amptek or u-rocker work better in soft snow? I love all your reviews btw, just hoping you could answer a few other questions!

    Thanks guys.

    • Author

      Hey Trevor, I’ve only had limited time on the Scimitar so far, but I intend to get on it quite a bit when I get back from our Niseko, Japan trip. In the meantime, you might take a look at my DPS Wailer 99 reviews, where I do talk a little about the S3 and the Scimitar. I’ve skied the S3 a lot, and the Scimitar a little, but if I had to choose one right now – for ME – I’d take the Scimitar. But like I said, I’ll try to confirm those impressions when I get back.

  8. Nate January 25, 2012 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,

    Great review. You’ve helped me decide to buy a pair of S3’s. My only question now is what size? I’m 5’6 and 130lbs, so I was thinking of going with the 168s, but I’ve heard that the S3s ski a little short. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Author

      Hi Nate – it would probably help if I knew more about what sort of terrain you ski and where, but honestly, I’d probably still tell you not to get the 168s and to move up a size. (Seriously, don’t get the 168s.) These skis are incredibly easy to ski, and they run shorter than the stated length.

  9. Max February 6, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Smokin’ good review; indeed, the best I’ve read out of dozens! Many thanks.

    I have remaining questions about the S3, prefaced by my own skiing context. I’m not looking for a single ski quiver, as I have Volkl AC30s for groomer, hard pack type days, and Volkl Gotamas for true, deep powder days. The AC30s are 124-80-107 at 177 cm. and the Goats are 137-106-122 at 186 cm. I’m ca. 195 pounds, an older and “cautious” level 9, where technique has largely replaced muscle and energy. I can ski e.g. Al’s Run in one piece (on either set of skis) and deep powder without problem.

    I’ve started to enjoy glade skiing, but find the generally mixed conditions in glades (some snow tracked, chopped, even bob-sled like channels, other areas untracked and deep) not perfectly suited to my present skis. Hence my search for a “tweener” such as the S3 at 128-98-118 to use on no “deep fresh” glade skiing days.

    I’m concerned that the S3 is too soft, so to speak, and too short for me even at 186 cm. Your opinion, please.

    I’m also considering the Volkl Mantra (also 98mm underfoot), but concerned that the Mantra requires more “aggression” and speed than I would enjoy in the glades. Again, please, your opinion on the Mantra or any other ski you believe might fit my “want list.”

    Many thanks.
    Max

    • Author

      Thanks for the kind words, Max. If you’re looking for a ski that falls between the Rossi S3 and the Volkl Mantra, the ski that springs to mind is the DPS Wailer 99. It is stiffer than the S3, but I believe that you will find it less demanding than the Mantra, while still rewarding good technique.

      I didn’t feel the need to ski it longer than the 184 length, and I’m not pushing you to go longer, but I believe that DPS will offer it in a 190cm length next season, if that’s of interest. (FWIW, the “186 S3 measures about 1/2 a cm short of 184.)

      Let us know what you decide to do, and how it works out.

  10. Filip February 17, 2012 Reply

    Hi, your website is very helpful, I really like it.
    Im actually after my second knee surgery and I’m looking for new skis for the next season. I used to ski Rossignol Scratch BC, model I think 2006, which is something like the S3, but full camber and quite a stiff ski, no rocker, of course.
    Im not looking for a ski to land switch, doing BC freestyle, but the ski should be still playful and a bit forgiving, while stable in crud and having some carving ability.
    The radius shouldnt be to much over 20 m. Width round 105-110mm.
    Im thinking of LINE Influence 105, LINE SFB, Volkl Gotama, or similar.

    Did U ride some of these?? Do U have any other suggestion?

    Thanks!! Safe down.Filip

    • Author

      Hi, Filip. I’m afraid that I haven’t yet skied any of the skis you’ve named, though I hope to get on the Influence 105 and the SFB sooner than later, and I really want to ski the Gotama, too….

      The ski that jumps to mind is the Rossignol Sickle, 110mm underfoot. And while it might not be as playful as some of the other skis you’ve listed, the Blizzard Cochise is certainly stable, forgiving, and a good carver. (You can read our reviews of both the Sickle and the Cochise on the site.)

  11. Max February 22, 2012 Reply

    Here’s an update on the Rossi S3, Jonathan. On the basis of your review, I pulled the chain on the S3s at 186 cm. with the Marker Schizo Jester bindings mounted “point dead center.” Geared up, boots on, I hit ca. 215 pounds on the skis (6‘3“ tall). To date I’ve skied them four days on varied terrain and conditions, including fourteen inches of new powder (with no setback on the Schizos). My impressions of the ski basically mirror yours. FWIW, here they are.

    Blue bumps: will track the trough line with minimal effort, something like auto-pilot in an airplane.
    Black bumps: feels like the skis are riding railroad tracks with easy turn initiation. (At my age, I ski over the top and down the back of these suckers.)
    Fresh powder (14 inches): float like a butterfly; sting like a bee (as Mr. Clay might say). Minimal, if any, tip dive. Rewards technique. Amazing, buttery smooth “S” turns, with turn initiation much like turning on groomers.
    Cut up powder (later that day): some deflection where the food tray crowd piled up the powder, but basically smooth and steady.
    Glades: amazing quickness and control across varied cut-up conditions.
    Groomers at speed: railed, keeping in mind I am a “dialed back L9“ who avoids adrenalin highs. Almost 70 and counting, healing is slow, eh?

    Summation: I bought these for glade skiing, but the S3 is amazingly close to filling the one ski quiver. Compared to my other skis: they’re quicker and lighter than the Goats, and require less energy while being far more versatile than the AC30s.

    Final note: as you observe, “it’s a very good, playful ski that can be fun for a remarkably broad range of skiers, from beginners to experts.” Uh huh!

  12. John March 4, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan…question, I’m 170 lb., 65 yo intermediate in western Colo., and was going with the 178, given my stats., unless you convince me otherwise. Where would you suggest the mounting position for all mountain/ w/ some chopped?

    Thanks for all your advice to the above posters.

    • Author

      Hi, John – while it would also be helpful to know your height and whether you’re looking for this ski to excel in tight trees, or deep snow, or firm bumps, or flying down groomers, given your weight…I’d go 186cm.

      I’ll say it again – these ski short, and they are crazy easy to ski. To go shorter on these is to give up more stability on a ski that is already soft. The only scenario I could imagine that you MIGHT prefer the 178 is if you were looking to just ski bumps all day. (And frankly, I don’t really believe that.) 186s measure on a straight tape pull at 182.5.

      I’ve yet to meet or hear of anyone who has said, “I love the S3, but I really wish I went shorter.” But who knows, maybe you’ll be the first?

      So having said all that, be sure to let us know what length you opt for, and how it works out.

  13. John March 5, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan, so what mounting position would you recommend? Assuming main use is crud/chopped/powder. And you’re right, not doing moguls unless I make a wrong turn. ;-)
    BTW, I’m 5′-10″.

  14. Max March 5, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, FWIW, here’s a quick follow up on my experience with the S3. I have ten total days on the S3s, including six of the last eight days, including three additional > 12″ powder days, plus glade and powder bump skiing. I essentially agree with all that you’ve said in the original review plus additional comments.

    I would add three additional notes to my previous comments: my 186 model handles frozen crud nicely at speed, especially skiing the fall line, which reduces the deflections. Plus, the incredible ease of maneuvering the ski has added a pleasureful hour or more of skiing time to my day. Finally, IMO only a fall line ripper like my son would find the S3 “not enough ski.”

    I now plan on selling the Goats and AC30’s, and add a “monster” powder ski (K2 Pon2oon? Volkl Kuro? Rossi S7?) for the next season. I do wonder if the Pon2oon is too radical a design for an OF like me. A Blister review of that ski would be most welcome.

    Max

    • Author

      Thanks for the update, Max. Glad these continue to impress. Now, for that “monster” pow ski, are we talking about for Taos, primarily? Because, while we definitely need to review the Pon2oon, I’m not sure that any of these three skis would be my first choice for Taos….Since you’re such a fan of the S3, I could imagine the Rossi Sickle, or the DPS Wailer 112RP, or maybe even the 12/13 Influence 115. But if you’re looking for fatter…well, we’ll discuss.

  15. Max March 6, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the note, Jonathan. Although I started skiing at Taos way back when, and have participated in two Taos Ski weeks, I seldom and only venture to Taos these days when there is a forecast for abundant and continuing fresh. Otherwise the notorious Taos hardpack just sucks all the fun out of skiing – which is totally what skiing is about for me. (I live in the mountains outside Albuquerque, btw. Taos is less than a three hour drive.)

    That said, I took up your implied question of just how “fat” should I go. I read and reread Jason’s reviews of the Rossi Sickle (140-110-133) and the Rossi Super S7 and S7 plus your reviews of the DPS Wailer 112RP (141-112-128) and the Line Influence (145-115-131). Great reviews, per the usual Blister standard.

    Three points come to mind. First, obviously, the S3 (128-98-118) totally rocks for me, skis powder like a dream (up to 14″ and likely more), has basically filled the bill for a one ski quiver, and rendered two skis that I absolutely loved last year to the museum of skiing technology .

    But, point two, what about deep, deep powder (say 20″ and more)? Jason notes that he skied the S6 in three feet of new at Alta, and was totally satisfied. I don’t doubt him for a moment. Nor do I doubt that he is a young, athletic, vigorous man in his skiing prime. Moi? A mere shadow of my former self, nearly 70. In my peer group I’m a beast, but otherwise part of the over-the-hill gang. So what Jason or you can do on an S6 or the other slightly larger underfoot than the S3 skis does not imply that I can do the same.

    Which implies, then, a third point: what toots my horn in a ski is something that virtually turns itself (like the S3), thus saving my precious energy and extending my time on the snow. The Volkl Kuro (164-132-139 w/ 26.3m radius @185 cm) and the K2 Pon2oon (157-132-122 w/ 30m radius @179 cm) are to me the two most obvious true deep powder boards. While I cannot find any reviews of either that compare to the quality of Blister reviews, both skis in their 2012 design tend to receive rave reviews from users, including ease of turning in the deep stuff as well as chowder.

    Looking only at width underfoot, the 110mm skis offer .48″ more than the S3, the 115mm skis offer .68″ more, and the 132mm skis offer 1.36″. Without doing the math and without factoring in the tip and tail variables, the big boards are going to more ride than sink in the deep pow, eh?

    What would seal the deal on snagging a pair of either of the Big Bad Boys would be Blister reviews of the Kuro and the Pon2oon. The key for me would be a comparison of the two in the glades. But I’m tempted to snag a year end close out deal on one pair or the other, especially since I have the Schizo bindings off of my Goats.

    Oh the pain of indecision. What do you think?

    Max

    • John March 7, 2012 Reply

      Max, thanks for your comments, as one (of the few) “senior” to another, the perspective of skill over strength is pertainent. I’m going to give the S3 a try, although at 170# and a perpetual intermediate, I still haven’t decided on length.
      Keep on keeping on!

    • Author

      The Sickle is light and easy to ski, it just isn’t AS soft as the S3.

      And no, the Pon2oon & Kuro are definitely not too radical for you, at all. I just wonder whether they will be heavier than you’re happy with. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. And while you could go even more radical and check out the DPS Lotus 138 in a pure construction (they are incredibly light), you could also flip a coin on the Pon2oon or Kuro…Hopefully, we can weigh in on one or both, soon.

  16. Max March 7, 2012 Reply

    Hi John,
    The good thing is we’re still looking down at the snow! My main skiing pal is 70, and he skis the 178 cm Rossi S3, purchased about two months ago. The S3’s have hugely expanded his skiing horizons to include bumps and powder greater than ego fluff. Physically he’s about 6′ weighing in at 175 pounds fully dressed and on the skis.
    With S3’s and a private lesson or two (I highly recommend PSIA L3 instructors at Wolf Creek) you could without question make a level jump or two.
    Max

  17. Sonia March 7, 2012 Reply

    Wow, these are the most in-depth ski reviews I have found, thank you!
    I am looking at buying a powder ski at the moment and that is how I found your webpage.
    I enjoyed Jason’s review of the S7 as when I demo-ed it a few years back, I wasn’t convinced either.
    And your review on the S3 is perfect…. This is what I ski. When I discovered it I was totally blown away! It’s a dreamy ski! Ideal for funky short turns on piste, great edge and power thru bigger turns and delightfully responsive in crud and powder. I am not looking to replace these, but to find a big powder ski.
    I find it hard to know what to choose. As a female, who at 5.11 is not a fly weight, I have almost never bought ‘womens’ skis. I am a strong skier, but not a cliff jumper! I had a huge 10 year gap of NO skiing after a few years teaching skiing in NZ in the late 90’s. I am now back into skiing and am currently skiing in Canada (on holiday) with way more powder than we experience at home. I am a confident skier, love doing short turns in steep crud and powder, big long turns on the piste. New to tree skiing! I am after something I can turn easily in powder, but not need a gym junkies thighs to control them, but strong enough for my size.
    I fell for the Vokyl Aura a few years back and have been skiing those in bigger snow days and love them. At the time I also tried the S7 but was unconvinced.
    After reading the review from Jason about the S6 Sickle I wonder if that is the ski for me :) it sounds amazing! the other one I was thinking is the Vokyl Mantra.
    What I find confusing, is being that ability between an advanced skier, but not wanting to drop cliffs or ski switch! A woman but a tall strong-ish one.
    Thanks for having such good feedback and ski reviews and I look forward to hear what you have to say
    Cheers
    Sonia

    • Author

      Hi, Sonia – thanks for writing, and we’re glad that you’re finding the reviews to be helpful.

      Since you say you’re looking for a big pow ski, and you seem to have boiled it down to the Rossi Sickle and the Volkl Mantra, given everything else you say you’re looking for, the Sickle is the better fit. The Mantra will be stiffer and a bit more work. It’s a great ski for what it’s designed to do, but the Sickle will be easier, more playful, and better in deeper snow. If these are your two main choices, this is an easy decision. You don’t need to drop cliffs or ski switch to have a great time on the Sickle. It’s a very versatile ski, it doesn’t require “gym junkie thighs” to handle them. But if you do decide to get them, you’ll have to follow up and let us know how they work out for you!

  18. John March 8, 2012 Reply

    First day on my 186’s, and only available snow was hard and crusty, however, I was shocked at how well the S3 handled these conditions. Wow, as others said, I’m selling my other sticks, after a back-to-back comparison.
    And Jonathan, you were so right about the 186 length. Yes, they flap a bit on hard snow above 35 mph, but you don’t really feel it, so it’s not a speed limit.
    Thanks to you, Max, and everyone else who has taken the time to post.

  19. Sonia March 10, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    Thanks for your reply. I have since taken out a Mantra to demo, they gave me a 170 which I have a feeling would be on the short side. I also tried a S7 178 in the avo.
    It wasn’t the ideal conditions to try a powder ski as the snow was mostly hard and the mountain had been skied out. But I feel that you should still be able to enjoy a powder ski in other conditions as, as we know, powder doesn’t always cover mountains from top to bottom.
    I loved the mantra on piste, was powerful and fun but in crud and bumps, I didn’t feel confident on it at all….so I swapped out for the S7 (no S6 in that shop). On piste it feels like skiing those ‘big feet’ things! But I felt great plowing over crud and soft bumps, and its very easy to do short turns, but it wasn’t there or me at all going into a faster turn.
    I chatted to a few staff in different ski shops with various advice…I have now tracked down a store with the S6 to demo! And the great news is, it’s dumping in Whistler, ALL week :) I am also going to try a S7 in the 186 and put the bindings forward slightly.
    Have learnt so much from reading all your reviews and the letters. Thanks again for the fab site! Will let you know how I get on.
    Cheers
    Sonia

  20. Sonia March 15, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    A further update on my search for my ultimate fat ski :)
    I have now tried the S7 in a 188, the S6 in a 186, the Armada JJ 185…. Phew! And still to go: the Atomic Blog 185 and Salomon Rocker2
    I definitely enjoyed the longer S7 but still not feeling the love. However, as soon as I put the Sickle on my feet, I was soooo happy! It burst thru the powder, but I felt so comfortable when bumps were underfoot or slightly harder snow. I had a dreamy day :)
    However…the reason I am still searching is..there are none available for sale in Whistler! Arghhh. I really want one…..really…..
    So the search continues and I do have to say, the process is not easy. The sales people are not that helpful mostly. We keep going from store to store to find the demo options/ availability for demo/ and actually available for sale if I like them. So far the combinations are not stacking up.
    I had a great few runs on the Armada JJ today. Was incredible in the deep ( Whistler is just dumping snow on us every day, it’s sensational!) but I am looking forward to try the Atomic Blogs as they sound amazing too. It’s that strength underfoot that I am searching for Vs easy turning in pow.
    I will get there….
    But if anyone knows where I can actually buy S 6’s…..you will make this girl extremely happy :)
    Thanks so much
    Sonia

    • Author

      Great snow + epic quest for the perfect ski. I like it. Glad to hear you loved the Sickle so much, looking forward to hearing how you think it compares to the Blog. (At this point, even if I knew where in Whistler you could get a Sickle, I might not tell you, since I want to keep hearing what you think of all these skis you’re demoing!)

    • Sonia Jones August 20, 2012 Reply

      Hi again.
      After reading about the post asking about the ideal ski for Japan from the man who has the S3’s I realized that I never wrote in my findings for my big pow ski research!
      After all those demo’s in Whistler I fell for the Atomic Blog :) It is an amazing ski – dreamy in powder, easy to turn, light but still amazingly powerful under foot. And after you have skied all the powder at the top of the hill and still need to get to the bottom of the mountain, they still ski really well on groomers.
      We have since bought a second pair (my man fell for them too!) and put touring bindings on so we can go play in the back country, a fab light fat ski for touring.
      And even better, the Atomic team were here in Wanaka and I have them signed by Sage Catabrigga Alosa, Benchetler and the Wells boys!
      Anyway, i would highly recommend them to anyone who wants a really fabulous fat ski even when you are not feeling super strong, but also when you are rockin it!
      We were lucky enough to Heli ski in the Mt Cook region two days ago and our guide was saying he wished he was on his Blogs that day too. So even small super-strong-mountain-climbing-guru-skiers like them.
      We are having a great season in NZ now :)
      Cheers
      Sonia

  21. Neil March 16, 2012 Reply

    HI Jonathan,
    I am thinking of getting S3’s , currently sking 5yr old B2 158, but want something more off piste biased, with more float in powder and better in crud, but still able carve down an icy FACE in Val’disere!. I am an advanced skier, what length should I get? I am 5ft5 58kg(130lb) and would I be better with a scott mission or rossi s98? Thanks in advance and thanks for writting great articles.

    Cheers
    Neil

    • Author

      Hi, Niel – I’m writing up a review of the ski that, given what you say you’re looking for, I think it’s perfect for you. The Rossignol Scimitar. I’d say more, but seriously, take a look at my review in the next day or two, and in the mean time, take a look at Will Brown’s excellent review of the ski. As for length, I think the 178cm Scimitar would work well for you. You could probably get away with the 171, but if this is going to be a pow ski and perform well on icy groomers, I would go for the extra surface area and running length.

  22. Annika June 8, 2012 Reply

    I’m a strong aggressive female skier, and unfortunately I can’t find the woman’s versions anywhere. What is the major difference betweent the two? Would buying the male versions be a good compromise?

    • Author

      Good news, Annika: the only difference between the Rossignol S3 and the S3″w” is the topsheet graphic. Same ski. Assuming you’ve read our S3w reviews (and mine) and like what you’re hearing, you should be all set.

  23. Jordan August 15, 2012 Reply

    Loved your review! I’m currently looking at buying my 2nd ever ski with a Niseko trip in mind. My current ski is a traditional park/pipe ski – super lightweight and flexy with lots of pop, and I love it… for park and Australian conditions (lots of ice!). Not too sure what skiing proper powder will be like, but I’ve been tossing up between the S3, the K2 Kung Fugas or the Armada TST or JJ for Niseko, and am looking for a ski that is similarly light, flexy and poppy, but with some rocker and obviously much wider underfoot for powder skiing. I’m 6ft 160 pounds, intermediate skier and enjoy trees, jumps and riding switch. Not interested in going fast. Any suggestions?

  24. Author

    Hey, Jordan – of the skis you’ve named, I’d go with the 185 Armada JJ, hands down. The JJ is as dumb easy (and fun) to ski as the S3s, and both the JJ & S3 have a rocker – camber – rocker profile. There’s no way I could recommend that you head to Niseko with a 98mm ski as your fattest. And even if you don’t catch big storms, the JJs are very good big skis for hardpack. Really, just think of them as fatter s3s.

    My only gripe with the JJs is that I would get some tip dive on them in very wet snow; but I’m 25 pounds heavier than you, and if that’s still a concern, you could mount them back a bit behind the recommended line.

    If, however, you want this new ski to be more of an everyday ski for Australia, then the S3 might be the ticket. I’m afraid I’ve only skied the 09/10 Kung Fujas (totally different ski now) and I haven’t skied the TST yet.

    • Jordan August 16, 2012 Reply

      Brilliant! Much appreciated Jonathan!

  25. Don August 28, 2012 Reply

    I read your review last year and decided on the S3’s as my fun everyday ski. Didn’t end up getting them but just scored an amazing deal on last years which is fine with me because the new Rossi’s are quite ugly in my opinion. The only slight concern I have is with the stiffness. I’m about 225, advanced skier. Currently I’ve been skiing Line Prophet 115’s @ 186 and old Dynastar Legend 8000’s @ 178. I ski mostly Vail in all conditions and all over the mountain. I have my aggressive days and my mellow days depending who I”m out with. In your opinion, do you think the S3’s might be a little soft for me?

    • Author

      Hi, Don – at 225, the the S3s definitely “might be a little soft” for you. (The 188 Moment PB&J would seem to be the easier call here.) But as I note in my review, the softness of the s3 will be most pronounced the faster you are skiing chop, and the harder you are pushing these skis on steeps. But if speed in chop and serious steeps aren’t a priority, I think you’ll be okay in bumps, ~12″ of pow, and lower angle trees. So it’s difficult for me to say without knowing more about how & where you ski, but I think you can still have a lot of fun on these in the right situations. Let us know how they work out for you.

      • Don August 30, 2012 Reply

        Thanks Jonathan! The Moment PB&J’s had definitely been on my short list. I think after some consideration I”m going to try the S3’s. I”m really happy with the Prophet 115’s on most days and they perform great in most conditions for me. Where I think I’d like the S3’s better is zipping through the trees and from what I understand, and what you mentioned, their playfulness will be great for that. If they are “a little soft” it won’t hurt. PLus, it’s hard to pass up a good deal too! I’ll let you know how I make out.

      • Don September 18, 2012 Reply

        On more quick question Jonathan. I was recently checking out the Rossi Scimitars as well. I picked up from your review of those that they might have a stiffer flex pattern than the S3’s, would you say that is correct?

        • Author

          That was my experience, Don. My only hesitation is that I haven’t skied the slightly tweaked 12/13 Scimitar, so I don’t want to guarantee that the differences between the S3 and the Scimitar carry over for this season. I have no information to suggest that their flex patterns have changed, just want to be clear. But yes, I found the Scimitars to “ski” a bit more substantially than the S3s.

          • Don September 22, 2012 Reply

            RIght on, thanks Jonathan. I was looking at the 11/12 models which is the one you reviewed. You can pick them up for next to nothing right now so I might give them a whirl instead. I was a little hesitant because of the lack of camber but from your review it seems they will still carve the groomers ok when needed.

  26. David October 1, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for such a useful review. I was recommended to buy S3s by my skier friend. I’m a beginner and I’m 6’4” and 200lbs, so the choice of the length seems tricky, would you recommend / suggest the length for S3’s?

  27. bonschorno November 28, 2012 Reply

    Great work, Jonathan and the others! A joy to read your reviews with plenty of Info, the Shop-assistants didn’t came up with. After reading a few reviews, I was searching for the sickle or the scimitar in my region. Then, a killer deal for the S3 came up on my eyes – couldn’t resist. I am pretty curious now about how they ski. I have some Atomic Crimson TIs and an Volkl Mantra in my tackle, so I searched for a soft snow, more Pow oriented Ski. The “fatties” are just to fat for the hole Season in average European Alp-Seasons. I will give the S3s a chance and think I will know after this season, if I will add a 110+ ski to my quiver. Keep up the good Work!

    • Author

      Thanks for the kind words, and let us know what you think of the S3.

      • bonschorno December 16, 2012 Reply

        First day on the S3 186 mounted with Dukes on -2. A good day in the alps with windpacked, few inches of not too light pow, small bumps, grippy groomers. Much fun. Friend ‘complained’ about the rooster tails – i like.
        At speed I’d like a lil bit more stiffnes in the tail for precision. But it’s funnier, quicker and much more felxible in the backcountry as my Atomic Crimsons. So, for my purpose it’s the better ski and seems a very capable ski for most conditions but the extremes. It’s so easy to drive, I already thought I could/should have gone fatter…

      • bonschorno January 2, 2013 Reply

        Time for a little Update: I (5’11”, 185 lbs) was now 5 days on my S3’s in pretty every possible condition, except real deep powpow. 90 percent in the backcountry, so I am not focused on groomers performance. Short: In the soft stuff, I like them very much. Floaty, easy, fun – everything you already heard about this pieces of wood. A propos woods: probably the place where they truly shine. I never had to force them even in the tightest spots. In the more open terrain, I found myself often doing midsize turns, that seems, where they naturally want to go.
        If it gets a little firmer, or icy, I was not as confident as on other, stiffer skis at higher speeds. Same thing for crud, where the S3’s go rather over it then through. They do OK in this conditions, but won’t be pushed to hard. By taking a little bit speed out, initiate the turn by sliding, I kept them working even on crud/ice.
        If going real steep (35°+) I needed just a little bit of softness under my feets, else they weren’t exactly the tool for this technical demanding terrain and I try to avoid this with the S3’s in the future. That said, for touring, the rocker in the tail is a plus for forgiveness and leg-power-saving, but as my only touring ski, I would prefer a flat(ter) tail. I liked them in the smaller, softer bumps and less liked them in steep, harder, bumped up terrain.
        So, up to know, I am happy with the S3’s, mainly because they are so damn versatile. But they are limited in technical demanding terrain and if you want to charge through mixed snow. So, two more skis to buy ;-)

        • bonschorno January 30, 2013 Reply

          Still enjoyin’ my S3s. As I describe, one little concern is, that sometimes I feel as a have not enough tail to engage – would it make a difference if I’d mount the dukes from -2 to zero?
          thx bonschorno
          ps. excited to try next years 7-series. As the promotion says, rossi changed exactly what could make their skis better (flatter tail, little less rocker, tad stiffer). Looking forward to read about these at blistergear.

  28. KarenB January 29, 2013 Reply

    Jonathon, great reviews of the S3. I’m looking to get some new skis. Demoed the S3s 168s at Mary Jane over Christmas and LOVED them. However, the conditions were fresh snow everyday (with a few rocks underneath) and I never got to try them out on packed powder/icy conditions. I’m wondering how they’ll perform at speed in those conditions. I’d say I’m an advanced skier and tend to follow our teenage kids thru the glades and down the bumps and found these to be really forgiving. However, as the kids pound the bumps all day, I also enjoy heading off and hitting a groomer or two for some carving and speed down the slopes. Plus, living in the Midwest with a few trips west each year, I don’t get to decide on which days to ski based on weather–we take what we get and ski every day so I know fresh powder every day is not a reality. How do you think these will work for me on those hard packed/icy days? Thanks.

    • Author

      Thanks, Karen. I don’t have a whole lot more to add beyond what I wrote in the “Hardpack Performance” section of the review. If those groomers are soft at all, the S3s are impressive. On ice, however, if you’re going for fairly high angulation turns, the S3s won’t bite like a ski with metal and a flat tail. It’s all manageable, but you’ll feel more of a controlled slide from the S3. The less you’re getting them on edge, and the less speed you’re carrying, the less of an issue it will be. But again, on even slightly soft groomers, these are fun to carve.

  29. John February 1, 2013 Reply

    Great review. Need a one ski quiver, only choice I have is between the S3 and a salomon shogun, don’t get to demo. Ski mostly skied out glades and ungroomed blacks/double blacks, but need something that can float well enough in heavy west coast pow when we get it, and groomers. Also like to jump off everything i can find, which is why the full(ish) twin on the S3 is appealing. 5’9”, 140 lbs without gear, more aggressive/expert skier and still growing which is why I was leaning towards the 186 S3, over the 182 shogun but wondering if that would be too much ski (they do measure short) ? I like the idea of being to mount closer to centre, vs the shogun which is almost 8-10 cm back from true, and looks kind of scary. I was thinking if I got the 186 S3, mounting +3, would that affect the float very much, considering it would be fairly long and I am relatively light? I understand the Shogun to be a ski more suited for crud and charging but im really drawn to the S3 because it sounds so playful. Thanks

    • Author

      Hey, John – I’ve never skied the Shogun, so can’t speak to that. But you should definitely get the 186cm S3 if you choose to go with that ski. Frankly, I wouldn’t let you buy the 178cm S3. It won’t be enough. And I think you’ll be fine at +3. If you’re not spinning, then maybe just go +2. But it won’t be too much ski.

      • John February 6, 2013 Reply

        Thanks for the reply

        Just put in the order for the 178’s but called to change it to the 186’s. Good thing I read this when I did, they would have shipped out in the morning. Can’t wait to get on these

  30. Mike February 15, 2013 Reply

    I’ve never read a review that came closer to my exact experience on a ski in my life. Just got back from 4 days of skiing in Utah. Didn’t bring my own sticks because they are really east coast ice skates. Atomic Black eye. Great ski for sunday afternoon hard pack back east but not what I wanted for my first trip to Utah. Demoed the S3 in Park City and had possibly my most fun day ever on skis. Was snowing pretty hard and there were still some patches of deeper snow in the trees if you really worked hard to find it. I was smiling ear to ear like an idiot all day. Next day was heading to Snowbird and based on reports was expecting to see some deeper snow. (Mineral basin had not been opened yet after a 28inch dump 2 days earlier) Fingers were crossed and I moved up to the S7. Well, they were still doing control work and never opened up the back bowl or some other untouched terrain the whole day. So skied bumped up trees and trails that had been well skied already. I hated the S7 and would have done anything to get back on the S3. Your comment about the tails being TOTALLY different was the key. I could not figure out how to ski these correctly. Had a similar issue when demoing the BBR on hard snow. Hated that too. I’m sure they are great for deeper stuff that does not requiring any work through the turn but on harder snow the S3 killed both of these. Now for the kicker. I skied the S3 may last 2 days at Snowbasin and Park City again and had 2 more amazing days. Deeper untracked snow still available at Snowbasin and the S3 did just fine in the deeper stuff. Tons more float than my Atomic ice skates.
    Here is the kicker. I had so much fun skiing that I spent the next few days trying to find a sale on Ebay or anywhere on these skis. Ironically I found a pair in my exact size in a local high priced retailer on a nice sale for last years model. Took them out back here on some Hunter mountain, man made, hard pack and much to my disbelief they were not THAT much off from my Atomics and high speed, hard pack carving and after a 10 inch dump one night massively outperformed all through the day as the fresh stuff went from 1st tracks to soft bumps everywhere. Not to mention the other stupid stuff I’m having fun doing like skiing backward, following my kids on boxes in the terrain park, etc. I know they have sold a bajillion of these things but as you said, I think even their own marketing undersells the fun to be had on this ski.

  31. Brandon February 28, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the excellent, as usual, review. I don’t know what I would do without my regular Blister fix.

    I am currently spending my time switching back and forth between some 190CM Wailer 112 Hybrids and a pair of Fischer Watea 94 in 186. In fresh snow I love my Wailers and would like to find a rockered replacement for the Wateas. Your review makes me think that the S3 would make a great complement to the Wailers but I am curious about how you think they would perform for someone in the 6’5″ 245lb range.

    • bonschorno February 28, 2013 Reply

      Hy Brandon, I’m skiing the S3 for about 20 days+ now in every possible condition. In my honest opinion I think you would overpower them even in the 186 length – if you are at least an intermediate skier. I’m around 185 lbs and I like the jibby approach of the S3. But there are several (mixed) conditions I’d very much like a bit more stiffness in the skis, especially out of the tails (I mounted them from -2 to the zero line but the differences were marginal). Maybe next years sin7 solves this issue, because they should have some more energy out of the flatter tails, but I haven’t skied them yet. If I were you, I would watch out for planks with more guts – maybe K2s Kung Fujas in a 188?

    • Author

      Thanks, Brandon. And I agree with Bonschorno that I don’t think that the 186 S3 will be enough ski for you. But it really seems like the 192cm Wailer 99 would be an excellent complement to your 112s, and the 99s offer many of the attributes of the S3 – but at a more appropriate length. While we need to get more time on this ski (I think the Wailer 99 is a safer bet if you like the sound of the S3), I think it might be worth your time to demo the Blizzard Bonafide.

      • Brandon March 5, 2013 Reply

        I demoed the 99s this last Saturday and am still on the fence about how they felt. Off-piste they where great, very quick to turn for a 192cm ski, back on-piste they felt weird to me. It was sort of like skiing on snot. However, it was a very warm day, mid 50’s, the snow was really wet and they looked like a well worn out pair of demos. I am hoping to try them out in some different conditions this next weekend.

        I have heard great things about the Bonafides but everyone in this area is sold out for the year.

        On a side note my 5’3″ 90lb 12 year old got himself a pair of 168cm S3s and loves them. But seeing how easy they are for him confirms that I would most likely bend the 186 in half.

        • Author

          Brandon, the 188cm Moment PB&J, and the ON3P Jeronimo are skis that will give you a lot of the playfulness of the S3 while being a bit beefier. I’m afraid that I’ve only skied the PB&J and the older Jeronimo, but if you aren’t sure about the Wailer 99s, you might take a look at these other skis.

  32. Chuck March 29, 2013 Reply

    I’m not sure how I missed this site before but what a great review! I’m 54 yrs old, 5’7″ and about 152 w/o gear. I’m an advanced/expert eastern skier looking for something to play in the east coast trees and bumps (when they’re not rock solid) and I really thought I wanted the 168’s but everything I’ve read here points to the 178. Do you agree? Also, my local ski shop (who are awesome!) are singing the praises for the new Soul 7 but I feel like the width along with the changed tail shape makes it not exactly what I’m looking for. Opinions on that (sorry if you’ve already reviewed it and I missed it).

    • bonschorno April 4, 2013 Reply

      Hy Chuck,

      I would even consider the 186…seems long, but my buddy, who’s about 5’8”, same weight as you, tried out my 186s and was pretty stoked. Go at least wit the 178, but remember, these are measured pretty short. For the trees, this is the best ski i’ve ever had, almost as quick turning in tight spots as my snowboard. I never wished for a shorter ski. Maybe Jonathan shares my opinion, maybe he’s telling you to give the sin 7 a try;-)…For my part, i am really curious about next years rossis – especially the new super 7.

      Have fun!

      bonschorno

    • Author

      Hi, Chuck – I do agree with bonschorno: don’t buy the 168. Go at least 178, and consider the 186, especially if you intend for this ski to shine on pow days. It’s dead easy to ski, length is not going to be the issue in bumps, and going shorter will sacrifice some stability. But above all … don’t go 168.

      • Chuck April 10, 2013 Reply

        Thanks to you both! I bought the 178 and have been skiing on it the last couple weekends in the best spring conditions we’ve had in years in southern VT. I *love* this ski. I do think I may have been able to go to 186 but I’m loving the 178! It was an end of season deal which makes it that much sweeter. Thanks again for the reply (and the great reviews!)

  33. Peter October 6, 2013 Reply

    Jonathan,

    I ski in the east and currently on a pair of Volkl supersports. I am looking for a versitle playful ski for days when it is not bulletproof and am considering the S3. I am curious about any thoughts you may have. Great review by the way. Thanks.

    • Author

      Thanks, Peter. I don’t know your height / weight, but the S3 is basically the definition of a versatile, playful, soft-snow, EC ski. No reservations here.

      • Peter October 6, 2013 Reply

        Jonathan,

        Thanks for the reply. I am 42 years old 6’2″, 200 lbs. (w/o gear) and have been skiing since a little kid. If that changes anything let me know if you would reccomend a different ski. I have always liked a stiff ski but would like to try something different. Thanks again.

        • Author

          The S3s definitely aren’t stiff, but at your height / weight, if you aren’t expecting them to firm, chopped up terrain at really high speeds, I think you’ll have fun on them. And there are enough really good comments from others in this thread in addition to my own review that, if you like the sound of what everybody’s saying, I’d say go for it and then tell us what you think.

  34. Damian October 7, 2013 Reply

    Hey Jonathan, short question:
    I’m going into my second season with my 181cm, 2013 Sickle’s this year and I’m very satisfied so far. Mounted with Salomon Guardian 16.
    Now the douchebag in my local store, mounted the binding at almost -3, despite we agreed on something else. I’m riding mostly off-piste, trees, touring, hitting features, some on-piste cruise. My problem: 1. Can I re-mount the binding close to factory center without any major problems (stability-loss or similar with 10 new holes??) if it’s done properly? 2. I’m 5’7”, 150 lbs, so flotation and stability at speed shouldn’t be a big problem with a more center mounted binding, right? With mounted at around 0, I just hope for some more support on tricks and jibs without loosing any other ability… thx alot for the support!

    • Author

      Hi, Damian – I’m a bit confused: your skis were mounted -3cm behind the factory recommended line? Or they were mounted -3cm of true center?

      It sounds like -3cm of the factory recommended line, so you should be able to mount “on the line” just fine. And frankly, neither Jason Hutchins nor I would ever suggest going 3cm behind the line anyway. Jason liked the 11/12 Sickle best at +2, and I was fine with them at 0.

      • Damian October 8, 2013 Reply

        Ok, perfect, that’s what I wanted to hear! So I’m gonna mount them at 0.
        Sorry, I know it’s a bit confusing. As there are three marks on the ski (+5, 0, -2). And -2 is about 2 cm behind the 0, +5 about 5 cm before the 0, which I guess is the factory line in this case.
        They mounted mine at -3. The guy in the shop told me he even rides about -6 or something… What an idiot…
        Thanks again, highly appreciate your work!

  35. Joe Gradone October 10, 2013 Reply

    Jonathan, quick question.

    So I’m about convinced on getting the S3’s, in part thanks to your great review. I’m 5″6′ 145 and I typically ski alternating pretty evenly between the park, groomers, and backcountry (keep in mind I ski primary at Colorado mountains such as Keystone). I think the 178’s are the right size for me but I wanted to get your opinion on how poppy these skis are (I want some pretty poppy-fun skis). I plan on skiing in the park again this year about 1/3 of the time like I did last year and I was wondering how these held up on rails and such. Furthermore, I was wondering if there were any setbacks with this ski in terms of skiing on groomers and in some light-moderate powder.

    Thanks in advance!

  36. Joe Gradone October 10, 2013 Reply

    Follow-up Question,

    I consider myself to be a moderately advanced skier. Would you recommend this ski for my skill set and/or would you recommend any other skis in a similar price range.

    • Author

      Thanks, Joe – and I think the S3 will work well for you, and given that you want to take them into the park, I think you’ll be happy with the 178. Can’t speak to their durability on rails, however. Similar skis would be the ON3P Jeronimo and the Moment PB&J – you can read our review of the PB&Js park performance.

  37. kendall slay October 13, 2013 Reply

    I’m an east coast skier, I’m currently on a Fischer Motive 88 which I love, 176cm, 5’11”, 200 lbs, moderately advanced skier, looking for a 100 mm ski for the 2-3 trips a year out west and that mid day crud here on the east coast and that will carve and just playful, ski 90% groomed, technique ski mostly, but on the Motive 88 I find myself at times charging, really looking at last year model of the S-3, any suggestions.

    • Author

      I’m afraid I’m not entirely sure what the question is, but on the playful side, consider the Moment PB&J or the S3. For crud, the PB&J and Nordica Hell and Back, or Atomic Ritual, and if you really insist on excellent carving performance (and can give up some playfulness), I’d check out the Hell & Back, for sure.

  38. EP October 23, 2013 Reply

    This review has solidly convinced me to get the 186 length.

    I am a 6′, 190ish lb, type 2 skier (DIN around an 8). There are three options for bindings: Marker Freeski 10, Squire 11, and Griffons from 2012. I do mostly the marked blue type trails (I will maybe do one or two black crud runs a trip to the mountain) and looking to use the ski as my go to ski. I am at a complete loss for which binding would be best.

    Freeskis are a great price, Squires and Griffons have a safer toe release, but at my weight/ability would griffons be a necessity?

  39. Dave Farrell November 16, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Great review, thanks so much. I just bought a pair of S3’s out here in Boulder, CO. I’m 5’9″+ and weigh 174lbs. and I chose the 178’s based on demoing a pair at Eldora last spring. Your review makes me think I should have chosen the 186’s. It’s not too late for me to switch them out. My big concern is with the longer length I’ll lose some playfulness and quickness in the trees and bumps. Any thoughts?

    • Author

      Thanks, Dave. I’d read the comments in this thread, and yes, I would tell you without reservation to go 186. But given that you already demo’ed the 178s and liked them … I would never try to talk someone out of a length they already have skied and KNOW he or she likes. But if you only skied a couple groomers on the 178s … then I’d still go swap them for 186s. Otherwise, ski your 178s and have a great winter!

  40. Gabe November 26, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for another awesome review!

    Here is my question:
    Im looking for a single ski for this year. Im in WA so we get some poop and some great days. I love trees whenever there is decent snow. But there always seems to be an ice sheet or some other nasy mixed in on the way to the good stuff. Im a pretty comfortable skier, I can do pretty much anything if I take it slow. 6’2′ 215lbs Currently on a old pair of Sin Machete’s.

    Now Im shopping used since my budget is not huge… I think Ive narrowed it down to the Rossi S3, the Line SFB or the Blizzard Chochise. Im not having much luck finding the Chochise, but the SFB’s and S3’s seem to pop up from time to time.

    What would you recommend for someone like me? I may spring for new if i cant find what will suit me well.

    • Author

      Hey, Gabe. For “nasty” conditions at your size, I’m not inclined to recommend the S3. I’d also think you’d need the 190cm Bacon. And I’m not sure about your skiing style, but I think the Cochise might be the best fit of those 3 skis – though the Cochise really doesn’t have anything in common with the S3 & SFB. I might also recommend taking a look at our reviews of the 188cm Moment PB&J or the 186 Blizzard GunSmoke – this year’s.

  41. Cody December 4, 2013 Reply

    Hi I am just fallingin love with freestyle and love skiing switch. I do like skiing the powder as well with my boarding friends. I am about to buy the 13 scimitar and was wandering where you suggest they be mounted. (If it doesnt mater id prefer closer to center because I think it looks much better anyways.) Thank you so much!

    • Author

      Hi, Cody – did you read Will Brown’s review of the Scimitar? For switch skiing, he preferred the Scimitar 3 centimeters back of true center.

      • Cody Schumacher December 6, 2013 Reply

        I just found it. Unfortunately Rossi quit making the 185 length in ’13 and cut them all down 4 cm. That is one thing that concerns me. being 178-179 cm myself.

  42. Tim December 12, 2013 Reply

    Hey there. Just want to throw my 2 cents in on this ski. Got a bit of time on it last year as my frontside/carver/park ski and let me say it is a damn good time. I was skiing the 186 version and had a blast. The ski is very stable landing jumps in the park, and is amazingly inspiring bringing spins in switch. The rockered tips merge into the snow very well for these landing. In the park the s3’s are really good on rails for such a wide ski too. Switch ups, spins on and off, and butters are very easy and intuitive. Also to focus on buttering a bit, THESE RULE! The soft rockered tips have the perfect flex to load your weight into on a good butter, throwing hand-drag butter 540’s off of knuckles was my favorite thing on these skis in the park, by far. All that park nonsense aside though, these are great all over the hill. The carving performance is top notch, they are a blast in bumps, are wide enough to get down in some fresh snow, and can survive some junky conditions. They are certainly not that great in harder conditions, whether its frozen groomers or refrozen crud/pow, but they really are not designed for that. Personally, I find them to be perfect in slushier conditions, which where I’m at in Tahoe, is spot on for any day there isn’t pow. BUY A PAIR WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

  43. Margot January 3, 2014 Reply

    What a great review and insightful comments! I’ve decided to buy a pair of S3 women’s skis, but can’t decide about size. Normally I would never consider a ski as long as 168 (I’m an intermediate skier, 5’3″ and about 115 lbs), but I demo’d them briefly and it was fine. I demo’d the159s for longer on a different day, and I’m positive they’ll work for me. I can pick up a lightly used demo pair of 168s for a great price, and figure I can probably improve on them. Advice would be much appreciated! I typically ski the blue groomers in Colorado, and sometimes hit the powder at Steamboat.

    • Author

      Thanks, Margot! And if you’ve spent time on both the 159s and the 168s and felt ok on both … then I would suggest going longer. As you improve, you’ll appreciate the additional stability at speed, and the increase in surface area will float better in pow.

  44. Don December 2, 2014 Reply

    Has anyone compared the S3’s to the Sin 7’s? Just curious, never ended up with a pair of S3’s but it seems like they Sin 7’s are an improvement with less of an “elf like” rocker profile. It seems Rossignol is billing them as a bit of a stiffer ski as well.

  45. ski-whore February 9, 2015 Reply

    I’m an advanced skier, big guy – 225 who loves to rip & explore all mtn on & off piste, glades etc… Bought new rossi s3 w axial 120s for $300 cdn installed ! Tried a few times on my local eastern hill and loved them on groomers, bumps, trees, a little pow & ice. Was worried they’be too soft for my weight/aggression. I pleasantly disproved that concern! Carved surprisingly well on eastern hard pack and very playfull in trees. Slight chatter during top speed but not bad. Can’t wait to try them in Jackon next month. Love them thus far!

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