Dimensions (mm): 124-96-114
Turn Radius: 17.5 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 164.7cm
Boots / Bindings: Rossignol Radical World Cup 110 / Rossignol Axial 120 / DIN (7)
Mount Location: Factory recommended
Test Location: Summit County, Colorado
Days Skied: 4
(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 S3 W, which is unchanged for 12/13.)
After many years of racing on Rossignol skis, I felt like a bit of a traitor last season when I decided to purchase the Volkl Kiku. During this past year, however, I have heard a lot of buzz over the S7 and S3 on the men’s side, so was pretty excited to see what Rossi had to offer to the women. I was also hoping to redeem myself for my initial betrayal.
It doesn’t get too much better than to start the season off on a sunny October day in Colorado with lots of friends and a new pair of skis. Everyone can relate to the early season excitement of finally getting back on skis after a never-ending fall of ski movie premiers; my excitement was sky-high. I figured I would wait out the couple weeks of bulletproof, early season snow, get some miles under my belt, then ski some deep powder in December to have a complete review by Christmas.
However, Mother Nature had other plans, as I am sure most of the country (except Taos) can attest to. So far, I’ve seen about two inches of freshies this season, so this review will be a first look, with a more complete review to come when the snow decides to fall.
Even though the S3 W is described as the little sister to the S7 W, it is still considered an all-mountain powder ski. It is on the narrower side for powder skis-96mm underfoot-ideally allowing for more versatility in all conditions. The S3 W is designed with a combination of high rocker at the tip and tail and low camber underfoot, which should provide good flotation in powder, as well as the ability of the ski to hold an edge while carving. The ski also has a unique spoon-shaped tip to aid in the ski’s flotation.
After my first couple of runs on the S3 W I was extremely impressed. It was a sunny, cold day of hard-packed groomers with some patches of ice. Despite being slightly rusty and having to dodge a lot of slow-moving joeys, I was able to get going pretty fast.
I had initially been a little concerned about how sturdy the skis would be, especially at higher speeds. They felt pretty heavy, but something to keep in mind was that the demo bindings I had were very heavy, significantly adding to the overall weight of the ski. Without the bindings, I could imagine the skis would be a bit lighter than what I am used to and when pushing on them, they flexed easily.
To my surprise, however, the skis carved beautifully. I was comfortable going fast, really standing on my outside ski and getting deep angles. It was easy, once the ski got going, to roll the edges over into a carve and link my turns fluidly.
This ease diminished slightly when I tried to carve at lower speeds, but it was not a huge issue. What was important to me was that they had the stability to rip and make some fun, fast turns.