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2nd Look: Rossignol S3 W

Rossignol S3W, Blister Gear ReviewSki: 2011-2012 Rossignol S3 W, 168cm

Dimensions (mm): 124-96-114

Turn Radius: 17.5 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 164.7cm

Boots / Bindings: Technica Diablo Race 110 / Rossignol Axial 120 / DIN (7)

Mount Location: Factory recommended

Test Location: Summit County, Colorado

Days Skied: 3

After reading Julia Van Raalte’s review of the Rossignol S3 W, I was a little anxious about reviewing these skis. I’ve raced Rossi’s for the past decade and prefer a stiffer ski, and Julia mentioned how the softer S3 W could feel like a noodle in rougher sections. Plus, I’m a bigger and taller skier than Julia.

On my first chair up, I saw nothing but hard packed snow, conditions in which I’m a very aggressive skier, so I questioned whether the S3 W would be a good fit for me here. At first, my uncertainty got the better of me: I lightly pressured the front of the ski and made only small turns. As I carved into my first real turn, however, I found that I could put as much weight on the ski as I wanted. And once I got some speed, I found that not only could I pressure as aggressively as I needed, but that my experience was very similar to Julia’s: the soft S3 W was quick and responsive. I was surprisingly able to go as fast and assertively as I do on my stiff racing Rossignol Worldcups, and the S3 W felt as agile and smooth as ever.

Once I realized I could haul down the mountain on the S3 Ws while still having a sense of comfort, I couldn’t help but spend some more time on those runs, enjoying every one. The S3 Ws certainly proved their top-to-bottom capabilities on hard-pack and groomers.

But I was most curious to see how the skis would perform in powder, something that Julia unfortunately wasn’t able to do during her time with the ski. I ventured off the main hill and, after a little exploring, was lucky enough to find some untouched sections in the woods. Fortunately for me, these skis were awesome in the powder.

I found a small open section, and the skis glided over and through the snow amazingly well. They were graceful and smooth and didn’t feel too heavy. As I got farther into the woods, the S3 W was easy to maneuver around the trees and turned exactly where my body told them. As I weaved in and out of obstacles, I found I wasn’t making any extra effort to stay balanced; the S3 W made me feel light and agile. Though I can’t say I’m completely surprised (these skis were designed for powder, after all), the S3 W’s low camber underfoot and high, spoon-shaped rocker at the tip certainly aided the ski’s floatation.

1 Comment

  1. katharine montstream April 7, 2012 Reply

    great review. I really feel like I was skiing right there with you. I liked that you were able to review in different conditions; hard pack, ice, woods, and choppy snow, too.

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