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2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar, 185cm

First Impressions:

Ski: Rossignol Scimitar, 185cm

Dimensions (mm): 128-98-121

Actual Tip to Tail length (straight tape pull): 181.3 cm

Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS/ Rossignol Axial 120 Demo ( DIN at 8 )

Mount location(s): Factory recommended & -3 from center

Test Location: Arapahoe Basin

Days Skied: 12 (see the Update)

 

Rossignol Scimitar

2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar

Arapahoe Basin picked up seven inches of fresh snow this past week. The lift lines were long and only two groomed runs were open, but this was pre-Halloween skiing on a layer of fresh snow. Nobody was complaining; it was October, and there was skiing to be done.

The first day after the storm, conditions consisted of mostly soft groomed snow with occasional patches of firmer, man-made snow that you could feel underneath. Legitimate moguls were nowhere to be found, but small, side-of-the-run bumps and jibs were there to play around on.

At this point (given the conditions and limited terrain), I can only speak fully about the Scimitar’s low speed feel, carving performance, and on-edge stability. Frankly, I think those are some of the most interesting performance aspects of this ski, and ones that deserve some real attention. The Scimitar has no traditional camber underfoot. It sports a very gradual, fully rockered, reverse camber profile running from tip to tail.

I’ll pause for a moment to mention that I’ve had some experience with this flavor of all-mountain board before: the 11/12 Völkl Bridge. I found that ski insanely easy to ride at slower speeds and in soft snow, but the Bridge seemed to have a discernible speed limit when laid over in a high angle carved turn. At a point, the ski’s edge stability began to waver with increasing edge pressure. I don’t see this as a problem with the Bridge, but a potential limiting factor that might make it less substantial for people looking to mach on these things. (Having said that, I’d like to revisit the Bridge again, this time on a longer length and in a greater variety of conditions, to see if this holds true of the longer Bridge.)

I started out with the Scimitar mounted at Rossignol’s factory mount point, 2cm forward from traditional / standard (-5cm from true center). This is slightly further back from where I typically prefer to mount a ski, but in no way did I feel it made the Scimitars slow or sluggish in initiating a smeared turn. Flat underfoot, with relatively little taper from tip to tail (only 7mm), they are very easy to turn across the fall line, and have a nice, balanced, and predictable feel through skidded turns.

Throwing the skis sideways to make slash turns over ridges and bumps on the side of the trail, the Scimitar’s playfulness at low speeds made their 98mm waist feel much narrower. So far, one thing was certain: this ski is nimble and a ton of fun at slow speeds. So it was time to open things up.

Given my experience on the Bridge, I have to admit that I had some preconceived concerns about how the Scimitar would hold up to some fast, aggressively arched turns on firm snow. After four days of lapping groomers on the ski, I can definitely say that I was wrong in those assumptions.

Carving performance of the 185 Rossignol Scimitar

Laying it down on the Scimitar.

I don’t consider the Scimitar to be particularly poppy or energetic. Without traditional camber to drive the ski out of a turn as you roll the edges over, carved turns are not explosive, but smooth and dependable; no real surprise there. Most importantly, I could put the Scimitars up on a very high edge angle and they remained comfortably locked down. I was impressed.

With such gradual rise in the ski’s rocker profile, the Scimitars don’t exhibit any discernible chatter or inconsistent pressure along the ski’s tip and tail during a carve. I didn’t notice any real stability threshold on the Scimitar. With added speed, the skis simply become more willing to move from edge to edge. The extended sidecut makes any shortened running length (as a result of the full reverse camber profile) difficult to detect.

There were moments when the outside ski’s edge slipped out slightly while running over a patch of brutal bulletproof ice (which I encountered more of as the fresh snow got skied off). Honestly, in those conditions, I can’t say a fully cambered ski would have performed much better, unless we’re talking about a GS race ski.

Out of curiosity, I moved the skis’ mount point forward to -3cm from center, to see how this would affect their carving performance. The adjustment made the skis slightly more nimble from edge to edge and more sensitive to pressure driven through the boot cuff, but didn’t seem to hinder their edge hold if skied from a more centered stance. With this new mount, the Scimitars skied very well switch, and were a lot of fun to pivot around through high-speed reverts and 180s.

The Scimitar is incredibly versatile in terms of smeared vs. edged turns. At lower speeds, it’s happy to make quick and snappy maneuvers. Choose to engage the edge, and the ski is ready to pick up speed and carve without sacrificing much stability. Decide what sort of turn you want to make, and the Scimitar can probably pull it off with impressive precision.

Knowing that the Scimitar is more than capable on hardpack and groomers, I look forward to showing it the rest of the mountain. More time in variable and chopped conditions (with more things to jump off of) will allow me to assess the skis’ swing weight, flex pattern, and dampening characteristics. While a 98mm waist strikes me as a little wide for park riding, with their low speed agility, they should be a blast in moguls.

With its mid-fat width, I expect the Scimitar to do well for an all-mountain ski in powder. If it can hold up to some charging through chop, they should prove to be a great all-mountain ski for the beginner and advanced / expert skier.

Update:

I’ve got another eight days on these skis, check out my update of the Rossignol Scimitar.

 

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