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2015-2016 Rossignol Experience 100

Review of the Rossignol Experience 100, Blister Gear Review

14/15 Rossignol Experience 100

Ski: 2015-2016 Rossignol Experience 100, 182cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 140-100-130

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 138-98-128

Sidecut Radius: 18.0 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 180.8cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2036 grams & 2063 grams

Core: Poplar / Titanal

Mount Location: recommended line

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Experience 100, which was not changed for 15/16, except for the graphics.]

If you haven’t read our preview of the new Rossignol Experience 100, you might want to start there. I’ve now put seven days on the 182cm Experience 100, and another three full days on the 13/14 184cm Volkl Mantra, so it’s time to talk about the Experience 100’s on-snow performance and how it stacks up against the very good Volkl Mantra. There’s no question that the Experience 100 and the 13/14 Mantra occupy the same niche. And for good measure, I’ll be drawing some comparisons to the more-different-than-similar 180cm Blizzard Bonafide, too.

Flex Pattern

Stout. Especially the tail. The Experience 100 hand flexes similar to the 13/14 Mantra. The rather subtle differences are that the Experience 100 has a slightly stiffer tail than the Mantra; tips that are similarly stiff; and a forebody that is a bit softer than the Mantra’s. Again, all of these distinctions are subtle, but those slightly stiffer tails and slightly softer shovels actually feel a bit more pronounced on snow.

FYI, Some Stats: Blister’s Measured Weights of Some Relevant Skis

• 182cm Rossi Experience 100: 2036 & 2063 grams

• 184cm Volkl Mantra (13/14):   2058 & 2071 grams

• 180cm Rossi Experience 98:  2002 & 2109 grams

• 180cm Blizzard Bonafide:       2088 & 2085 grams

As you can see, we’re working in a close range here, with no outlier. So the distinguishing factor of these skis isn’t their overall weight.

Groomers

The current Rossignol Experience 98 is our benchmark all-mountain, ~100mm-underfoot carver (see the Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards), and the new Experience 100 is the early front runner in this category for next year’s skis. Reviewer Charlie Bradley and I spent a day A/B-ing the 180cm Experience 98 and the new Experience 100, and both skis are extremely fun, powerful, and impressive carvers.

In my preview, I guessed that the hammerhead tip shape and extended sidecut of the E98 might make it the smoother, cleaner carver with quicker turn initiation. I guessed right. Charlie agreed, but we also both agreed that the performance difference is pretty subtle.

I have not yet skied anything in the ~100mm-underfoot range that would unseat either the 180cm Experience 98, the 188cm Experience 98, or the new 182cm E100 when it comes to making very high speed, high angulation turns. These skis have very powerful fat tails that finish turns with authority and do not wash.

Lighter skiers might find the Nordica Hell & Back easier to bend and generate (even) more rebound out of a turn, but the metal of the E98 and E100 keeps the ride very smooth.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Rossignol Experience 100, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Rossignol Experience 100, Taos Ski Valley.

With respect to edgehold, the Experience 100 is decidedly better than the 13/14 Mantra. But this isn’t too much of a surprise, given the Experience 100’s shorter sidecut radius and fatter tail that is a full centimeter wider than the Mantra’s. (And just in case you’re wondering, the gap in carving performance is even greater when it comes to the 180cm Blizzard Bonafide.)

So if what you’re really looking for is a powerful, ~100mm, all-mountain ski that carves well, is relatively easy to bring around, and has outstanding edgehold, I haven’t skied anything that I can recommend more highly.

Steep, Firm, Bumped-Up Off-Piste

This is the environment where I probably most love the 13/14 Mantra, and I have quickly come to really appreciate the Experience 100 here, too, for similar reasons: the stable platform and confidence-inspiring edgehold.

When dropping into steep, wind scoured entrances (e.g., West Basin’s Stauffenberg, Turbinator, Zdarsky), the E100’s fat tails allowed me to carve hard around steep bumps and make the next turn without washing out the tails.

When making airplane turns in steeps over big bumps, I am just as happily making such moves on the E100 as I am on the 13/14 Mantra. The Mantra’s shovels feel a little more damp, but I didn’t notice any performance gain over the Experience 100 in this situation.

And when things get steep and narrow (e.g., the exit of Turbinator), the E100 isn’t the easiest, quickest ski to bring around, and those fat tails don’t easily let you smear and pivot your way through tight chokes in the way that the Mantra will, and the Blizzard Bonafide will even more. All of this should be obvious, but in steep and very tight situations, the E100 will probably make you commit a bit more to the fall line than let you just smear-turn your way down.

Steep, Smooth, Wind scoured, Off-Piste

This point should already be clear from the Groomers section, but the Experience 100 excels here. I’ll say more about this below, but the smoother, icier, and steeper things get, the bigger the advantage gets for the E100 over the Mantra and Bonafide.

17 Comments

  1. mikep February 21, 2014 Reply

    what about those of us who think the Mantra isn’t damp enough?
    what ski do you think would be next up in the 100mm catagory?

  2. Roder February 22, 2014 Reply

    I hope you discuss comparisons with the Praxis 9d8! Very curious

  3. Blister Member
    Paul March 9, 2014 Reply

    Thanx for the review. I had a chance to ski it 2 weeks ago on really firm snow and icy sections and I thought it ripped. It’s definitely a charger that requires you to be on it at all times, but totally rewards you for it.

  4. Matt March 13, 2014 Reply

    the kastle fx94 should be on top of your radar! I find it to be leaps and bounds better than the bonafide, etc.

  5. Richard March 16, 2014 Reply

    Everybody else in the world, including Blister seems to think that you should be riding a combination pony, quarter horse and thoroughbred, so I picked up a pair of Experience 98’s at the start of the season. Found they did everything pretty well, and carved OK for a fairly wide ski. Not much energy, and the fat tip definitely made them harsh running through frozen chop. However there never is a groomer day when I would bring them out in preference to the 188cm Head World Cup GS @ 28 meter radius that are my all time favorite whip. The difference in energy, power, and dynamic edge hold between the two is almost as if you were engaging in a different sport. Likewise the E98’s never left the rack on a powder day— not when my Lahasa Pows were available.

    My conclusion: If you are a skilled skier and don’t have a pair of real race boards you are missing out on one of the best sensations in skiing. So how about including some skis at the performance end of the spectrum in your tests? And I’m talking about the real thing, not the 12 meter fake race carvers that many manufacturers use to puff out their range.

  6. Chris Gravel April 24, 2014 Reply

    Nice review and the experience 98/100 is the gem of that line up and is a skiers ski. My coworker raves about it. That said you guys really should get a Kastle MX98 as others have suggested. Spent a few hrs on them over two days and was extremely impressed. It rips hard snow is incredibly precise and has an obscene speed limit for how accessible it is.Gonna see if I can borrow the demo and swap out with my coworker and see what our layman’s take is.

  7. Duncan July 11, 2014 Reply

    Great review Jonathan – after your guidance for 6’1″ and 194lbs experienced/upper advanced who skis mixed radius fast carving on piste, but also likes to ski freshies on the side/off piste. Will be skiing Big White/Sun Peaks in 2015. Currently ski 175 Rossi Strato 80s which are 100% on piste rippers but tip divers off piste. Demoed a pair of 188cm Kastle MX 88s at BW in February and had no problem with the length. Thinking either Experience 100s or Volkl Kendo 89s would be suitable. Your thoughts on ski choice and length would be appreciated.

  8. Rob P November 7, 2015 Reply

    Love your reviews. I’m a west coast skier (50yo, grew up racing, 200lbs, 71″) looking at a two ski setup. I’m currently thinking the moment blister pro 190 and Rossi exp 100 182. My go to mountain is Mammoth with trips to Utah and BC. Thoughts on this combo?

  9. Luke November 28, 2015 Reply

    Rob, currently skiing a 180cm E98 (pair of E100s on the living room wall waiting), hoping to pair with 190 Bibbys as well for big sky shredding

  10. Drew January 3, 2016 Reply

    Helpful review, but I’m still trying to figure out if this ski has the power I’m looking for. Here’s my quiver:

    ’12 Rossi Squad 7 (190): Used for powder days exclusively. Makes a decent low-angle turn in groomers.
    ’12 Volkl Katana (184): Daily drivers. Love the rebound and power with high edge angles.
    ’15 Volkl Mantra (177): Can’t figure these skis out. Can’t get a clean turn out of them.
    ’14 Rossi Masters GS (180): Never had a bad day on these.

    Looking for a ski with a race feel that has LOTS of rebound and power. Also looking for something a bit skinnier and shorter-turning than the Katana. Off-piste performance is less important as these would be intended for something just a bit more versatile than my Masters GS, which aren’t allowed off-piste. Ultimately, I need a ski for what I hoped the Mantra would be.

    Anyone think the E100 will actually have that powerful of a rebound with high edge angles like I’m hoping for? The in-store hand flex seemed way too weak for that where my Mantras and Katanas are as hard as a diamond in an ice storm.

  11. Rob March 12, 2016 Reply

    I had the exp 98 in a 180 that were a little short. Sold them for the 188cm which was perfect.

    Need to replace them and don’t know weather to go 190 or 182cm in the 100. Thoughts? I didn’t really wanna go over the 188cm size of the 98’s I have.

    Do you guys have the actual length dimensions of the 188cm 98 and the 190cm 100 for me to compare?

    Cheers

  12. Jeff C November 28, 2016 Reply

    Kind of a late comment to the discussion but with all you’ve said about this ski and the Salomon X-Drive 8.8, they seem to overlap each other a bit. Am I wrong, are these totally different skis? I LOVE skis that carve, regardless of terrain, but I don’t want my next pair so narrowly focussed that I’m either limited to groomers/steep/icy or washing out of every turn I try to carve. FWIW: advanced skier, 80% inbounds, 5’8″, 175lbs. My favorite skis of all time are the Olin Racing SL (195) and the Rossi 3G (205), but no body will touch them other than me… Thanks.

  13. hindvik December 15, 2016 Reply

    Jonathan (or someone else), I was wondering if you’d been able to ski 190cm and could compare it to the 180? Same ski just a bit longer? Maybe more stability in the tips in chop? Would live any comparison.

    • Drew December 16, 2016 Reply

      I haven’t skied the 190s but I just purchased the 182s and I can confidently say that the 190 is really just intended for a big guy. Most of my skis are 184-190 and the 182s felt just as comfortable/stable as any of those. I also mounted at -1.5, so I’ve got a bit more ski in front of me.

      For reference, I’m 185 and 6’1.

      On another note, I found thiese skis to be fun, but not too terribly powerful. Coming off of Mantras, Katanas, and race skis, I’ve come to love very stiff skis with a ton of rebound. This skis have some good rebound, but you need some major edge angles and some hard skiing to get them to respond similarly to a Mantra, for example. My personal thought is that 1 more layer of titanium and maybe a bit more tip rocker would’ve made this ski just about perfect.

  14. Brad January 13, 2017 Reply

    I am athletic 6’1, 250 intermediate skier who skates as well. I ski East coast. I am just coming off Rossi Rentals at 158cm and purchased the 166cm, E100s. The local ski shop said the E100s have an outstanding reputation for a smooth ride and versatility at 100mm if I wanted to explore. They also advised the shorter length would give me much better control over the ski as I progress and would act more like a intermediate ski for me to grow into.

    I am wondering if you feel the E100s will be biting off more than I can chew and wear me out? Some of the reviews online suggest the ski is for expert or serious advanced skiers — clearly out of my league but most tested are the 174’s and up. Any insight would be helpful. I was also considering the Smash 7 at 170cm.

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