Ski: 2013-2014 Rossignol Soul 7, 188cm
Dimensions (mm): 137-108-127
Sidecut Radius: 18 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 186.7cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2012 & 2000 grams
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots: Salomon X-Pro 120
Days Skied: 4
We’ve already done a quick overview of the Soul 7 and Rossi’s new 7-SERIES line in our SIA Coverage, so you might want to start there.
But by now, you’ve probably already heard a thing or two about this ski, since the Soul 7 has probably had more buzz than any other ski of the 13/14 season.
Here’s Rossi’s own description, with a few key words that I’ve highlighted:
“The all-new Soul 7 is the most versatile freeride ski we’ve ever designed. Powder Turn Rocker’s been redesigned, virtually eliminating “tip flap” while retaining effortless floatation, fatigue-free maneuverability and instant speed control. New athlete-driven innovation, including patented Air Tip technology and a lightweight paulownia core reduces weight by 20% for easier touring, enhanced agility, and ultra-light swing weight. At 106mm underfoot, the Soul 7 is a backcountry and freeride “quiver-killer” whether charging all-mountain, attacking long ascents, or poaching backcountry pow. [Uses:] 80% Powder / 20% All-Mountain“
Versatile, maneuverable, effortless, light. These are four of the best descriptors of the Soul 7, and I’d add three others: (1) smooth (2) intuitive (3) well-balanced.
We’ll be updating this review as we get more time on the Soul 7, and we still need to get this ski in some deep, heavier pow and deeper chop. But in my first four days on this ski, the Soul 7 exhibited no quirky behavior, and no surprises or hinge points in its flex pattern. It feels really well designed, in that its individual parts (camber profile, shape, flex pattern, rocker lines, splay, etc.) work together as a whole. A lot of skiers across a wide range of ability levels are going to have a lot of fun on this ski this season.
If some of what I’m saying here sounds familiar (and if some of what Rossignol has written about the Soul 7 sounds familar), it’s because I (and they) wrote very similar things about the Rossignol S3.
To be clear, this isn’t simply a fatter S3—the Soul 7 has less tip and tail rocker than the S3, and the S3′s tail was more conducive to skiing switch, while the Soul 7s tail is a better shape for a directional ski that will finish turns well. But one of the most impressive things about the S3 was how broad of a range of skiers it could serve, from beginners to experts, and the same is true of the Soul 7.
And while it somehow manages at once to be both an extremely specific statement and yet a somewhat vague one, I like Rossi’s guidelines for the best uses of the Soul 7: “80% Powder / 20% All-Mountain.” If you keep in mind that this is a soft-snow oriented ski and use it as such, you are not going to be disappointed in the Soul 7. That is, if you break out the Soul 7 in 2-24″ of soft, relatively good snow, you’re going to have a good day on the mountain.
And I hope I don’t regret saying this because I think Rossi is smart to keep the emphasis on the Soul 7 as a soft-snow ski, but I found the Soul 7 to handle well in and on anything soft—not just 6-12″ of pow, but on soft groomers to spring slush to 4-5 centimeters of wind-deposited snow on top of hardpack.
Carving / Edgehold On-Piste and Off
The club fields of New Zealand don’t do any grooming, but I did get the Soul 7 on some groomed runs at Treble Cone. As you can see in the rocker profile photos on the last page of this review, the Soul 7 has a good bit of camber underfoot, and the ski exhibited good edge hold and carved well when conditions were the least bit soft.
On wind-scoured, icy groomers, the Soul 7 worked fine when subtly put on edge, but the skis would lose their edgehold (albeit in a consistent, predictable, unabrupt fashion) if I tried to set high angulation carves. And that’s basically in keeping with most other tip rockered-traditionally cambered underfoot-tail rockered ski, because of the short effective edge.
In fresh snow, I could drive the shovels quite hard, or ski from a more neutral, centered position. The Soul 7 accommodated either style.
In beautiful, open sections of wind-deposited, light powder at Craigieburn, the Soul 7 was a ton of fun, and was happy to make quick, short turns, happy to make very fast, big turns, happy to run bases flat, happy to make high angulation turns.
They just did whatever I wanted them to do, and it was extremely intuitive and easy. I was never fighting the ski.
The skis tracked well, yet it was extremely easy to break the tails loose whenever I wanted. I could slash hard and scrub a lot of speed in an instant, or subtly feather the tails out to make any turn shape I wished.
I haven’t yet skied these in really deep pow. I’m confident that the Soul 7 will handle 24″ of light, dry pow with ease, but I can’t yet say how well the skis will do in 2′ of really dense, wet pow. We’ll update when we can.
We didn’t ski many moguls in New Zealand, but when I did get the Soul 7s in bumps, they were quick. Not as quick as the narrower S3 with its looser tail, but the Soul 7 is very manageable in bumps for a 108mm ski, feels quick even at slow speeds, but has enough stiffness underfoot and through the tail to zipper line, too.
The reduced weight in the tips were great for slicing and dicing mogul sections. Other tip shapes will be more suitable for bombing over and through moguls, but if your style is to negotiate bumps rather than nuke through them, you’ll enjoy the Soul 7.
For the reasons just listed, the Soul 7 is going to be a good tree ski. We haven’t been skiing trees in New Zealand, but if everything else about this ski sounds good to you, I am confident that you’ll like them in trees. In any sort of decent, soft snow – or even firm conditions, so long as we’re not talking about refrozen chunder – these skis will let you ski trees with confidence and quickness.
In deeper, cut up snow, the Soul 7 requires a pretty light touch. At 2000 grams per ski, you can’t count on the weight of the Soul 7 to blow up everything in its path. The faster I was skiing soft chop, the more I would take a bases-flat approach to deal with the conditions. If you tend to make more turns rather than fewer turns when the snow gets cut up, you’ll be skiing more in line with the strengths of the ski.
The Nordica Soul Rider is good for playing anywhere on the mountain, including in the park, moguls, crud, and pow.
If you are looking for a ~100mm wide, poppy, twin-tipped, all-mountain ski that feels very comfortable on both very firm and soft snow, the Nordica Soul Rider should be near the top of your list.