2nd Look: Rossignol Squad 7

Jason Hutchins reviews the 2014-2015 Rossignol Squad 7, Blister Gear Review

Rossi Squad 7 190cm

Ski: 2015-2016 Rossignol Squad 7, 190cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 145-120-126

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 145-118.5-127

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 186.2cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2286 & 2326 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 30 meters

Core: Poplar

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 4

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Squad 7, which was not changed for 15/16, except for the graphics.]

Jason Hutchins and I don’t ski the same, don’t weigh the same, and don’t have the same personal preferences when it comes to our favorite skis. So it was a bit surprising when he and I didn’t merely size up the original Rossignol Squad 7 the same way, but both of us actually really liked that ski. And so far, he and I are in large agreement on the new Squad 7, too. Jason’s review of the new Squad 7 is excellent, and you should start there before reading this.

Flex Pattern

I actually skied the Squad 7 before Jason got on it, and found the ski to be quite frustrating. The shovels of the new Squad 7 are simply too soft, something that wasn’t an issue on the original Squad 7. Jason agrees. I don’t know what led Rossignol to make this change, assuming that change was intentional.

The stiffness of the Squad 7 underfoot is substantial, and while the skis soften up a bit as you move toward the tail, it is a smooth, unabrupt transition that makes sense, and that I have found to work really well on snow. The tails don’t feel overly stiff and punishing, nor do they feel too soft. Plus the camber and rocker profile of the Squad 7 is also really nice.

So while Rossignol does characterize the new Squad 7 as a “100% powder ski,” tweak those shovels and the Squad 7 might go back to being a really good pow ski that works well in variable conditions, too.

Now here’s the big caveat: Jason found that by moving the mount point back behind the recommended line, he was able to counteract some of that ‘walling up’ / folding effect of the shovels in variable snow. So I’ll be getting back on the Squad and seeing how much backing up on the ski fixes the issues I was having. Jason tells me it’s a pretty night and day difference, so we’ll see.

Having said that, I’d like to set down my experience of the Squad 7 when skied on the recommended mount point, because I did find the Squad 7 to ski well on groomers, in deep pow, and in steep trees. When I do get on the ski again and move the mount position back, if the Squad 7 maintains its performance in those three areas but becomes better in variable conditions, then that’s good news. But still, Rossi, please tweak those shovels.

Ok, these are my notes from my time on the Squad 7 at Taos, and you can now read my Update at the end of the review.

Pow / Cut-Up Pow

In soft snow in Taos’ K1 and K3 chutes off of Kachina Peak, the Squad 7 felt light, with quick shovels and a fairly stiff tail. I found the Squad to provide a very smooth ride in untracked pow. And this proved to be true all over the mountain. In deep, untracked snow, the Squad 7 was at its best, and the deeper the snow gets, the more I’d prefer to be on the Squad 7 than the 14/15 Moment Governor (the Governor has less tip splay), or the tail-rockerless 13/14 Praxis GPO and 14/15 Dynastar Cham 117.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Rossignol Squad 7, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Rossignol Squad 7, Taos Ski Valley.

But in cut-up, tracked snow, the tips of the Squad 7 begin to feel twitchy. If I wasn’t pointing the skis straight down the fall line, those tapered tips would tend to get knocked around—more so than the Moment Governor, and somewhat similar to the Praxis GPO.

Variable Conditions, Bumped-Up Terrain

Moving from deep untracked to cut up pow, and then to variable snow in bumped up terrain, these difficulties were compounded. As Jason notes in his review, the Squad is still pretty substantial underfoot and through the tail and it has a big sidecut radius (30 meters), so it’s not all that tolerant of slowing things down and making short, quick turns. Yet the shovels aren’t substantial enough to lean on them and drive through variable conditions and bumped-up terrain.

If you’re going to make a fat ski with a big sidecut radius, it’s probably going to require the pilot to get the ski up to speed and be able to drive the shovels. The original Squad 7 allowed you to do this, and it was great. On the new Squad, when you look at the heavily-tapered, lightweight tips and soft shovels you think, “This ski wants me to bang out a ton of short, quick turns.” Then you look at that 30-meter sidecut radius and stiffness underfoot and through the tail, and you think, “This ski wants me to just go real fast.” Unfortunately, the new Squad doesn’t really make it particularly easy to do either.

But again, if you’re going to stick to 100% powder conditions, then to be fair, all of this is a moot point. In good powder, the shortcomings of the new Squad 7 are hidden pretty well. And I’ve still got to move back the mount position to see how much this improves performance in variable…

Steep, Bumped-Up Trees

This might sound like a bit of a contradiction given what I’ve just said above, but I found the Squad 7s to work quite well in steep terrain with trees (e.g., some of the sections around Taos’ Werner’s, Pierre’s, and Pollux). With a steep enough pitch, where big, fast turns aren’t an option, I could depend less on the soft shovels of the Squad and rely more on the stiffness and straightness of the ski underfoot to provide a very stable platform to make smaller airplane turns down the (steep) fall line. When it comes to the back half of this ski, I don’t have a single issue with the new Squad 7.

Groomers

On softer, smooth groomers, the Squad 7s felt powerful and precise, and they carve well for being nearly 120mm underfoot. By comparison, the tails of the Moment Governor felt even more powerful. And while I would rather ski the Governor as conditions get icier or more and more bumped up (where the Governor has better edge hold than the Squad 7 ), the Squad 7 felt very smooth, and some will find it easier to bend and a cleaner carver than the Governor.

So if on your pow days you tend to ski good pow stashes that dump you out onto good groomers, the Squad 7 is likely to be a really fun ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Rossignol Squad 7, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth, Zdarsky, Taos Ski Valley.

Bottom Line—For Now

If the Squad 7 is going to be your dedicated, deep-day pow ski, then you are probably going to enjoy it quite a lot. And if you are lucky enough to regularly ski in an area where you regularly go from getting deep, off-piste face shots to carving up smooth groomers, then you’ll like this ski even more.

But the current iteration of this ski (when mounted on Rossi’s recommended line) struggles in variable, bumped-up conditions. As soon as possible, I’ll get back on the ski, move the bindings back, and see how far that goes to improving things.

Update

I got a few end-of-the-season storm days at Alta on the Squad 7, and skied the Squad both on the recommended line and also 1.5 centimeters behind the line. And the skis definitely performed better at -1.5cm. The walling up effect of the shovels was reduced, definitely. The ski’s felt a bit less quick, but the Squad’s shovels aren’t heavy / cumbersome to begin with, so a loss in quickness is a price worth paying for the reduced folding-up action of the shovels. Pow performance was still good, groomer performance seemed largely unaffected, and variable performance was much improved.

Note: Jason Hutchins recommended going back 2 centimeters behind the line. I was only able to get back 1.5cms on our bindings. Still, we can say that our clear recommendation is to mount this ski 1.5 to 2 centimeters behind the recommended line.

And for what it’s worth, if I were drilling a binding into a new pair of Squad 7, though I only skied these at -1.5cm, I would follow Jason’s lead, back up an extra 5 millimeters, and mount at -2cm.

Still, we’d love to see Rossignol adjust the flex pattern of the shovels. Moving the recommended line back feels like a good way to mitigate the issues of the flex pattern, but I think the Squad 7 would feel most balanced mounted on the recommended line if the shovels were stiffened up a bit.

 

NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS

 

4 Comments

  1. Mike P August 12, 2014 Reply

    I skied my friends 13 squads and loved them. I then bought the 14 squad as I was having the same sweet spot issues on rossi super 7s in variable / cut up powder. It took me 3 turns to realise these had the same instability issues and it didn’t feel like you could ski round the problems if conditions were not perfect or soft. I tried to love them but they did not charge, they just felt undamped and unstable. I had some great runs on them when snow was great but 2 hours later I wanted to sell them….then I bought 195 moment governors. Now they do everything the squad is meant to and have no top speed. I love the governors, they are quite playful but also have the stability to make you go for it in all conditions.

  2. Waldo Perez August 27, 2014 Reply

    Again very good review. I’m a fan of your page since Jason released the review of the Rossignol Sickle. Unfortunately it is not available to buy.
    Currently I have the Rossignol S7 and I have had some problems with the performance of the skis. Lack of adherence to medium and high speeds and on steep grades. Lack of support in the tail and lack of pop. In their favor is that they are quick edge to edge and very playful with her versatile and easy to use small turning radius. I am an advanced skier and I’m skiing most of the time away from the road, I prefer medium short radius turning and playful skiing. I am thinking about renewing my skis and I have the following candidates:
    Atomic automatic
    Salomon Roker 2108
    Salomon Q-115
    Armada JJ
    Gunsmoke Blizzard

    I also like the Moment Bibby Pro and Exit Worldt, but can be too much ski for me in terms of stiffness and forgiveness.

    My height is 188 cm and weight 81 kgs.
    Please your help

    sorry for my bad english

    Greetings
    Waldo

  3. bertrenolds February 23, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for the update on mounting -2cm, geting mine mounted today and will take your advice. It seems rossignol skis like the S7 have always performed better when mounted -1.5 to -2cm behind the recommended line. I have my S7’s at -1.5 behind the line.

  4. Antonio September 13, 2017 Reply

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry for digging up this page. I am concerned about choose myself a paire of these squad 7. I deeply hesitate between the two length 180 and 190 ? I weight 67 kg and I am 1m75 tall (148 lbs and 5.47 ft). I like everything from charging big turn to skiing forest. I don’t want to be frustrated when charging but I don’t want to suffer the skis on quick turns. What do you think? Many thanks for the advices.

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