2018-2019 Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Blister reviews the Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Ski: 2018-2019 Fischer Ranger 115 FR, 188 cm

Available Lengths: 178, 188, 196 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.7 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2200 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2246 & 2265 grams

Stated Dimensions: 144-115-134 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 144-114.5-134

Stated Sidecut Radius: 20.0 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 44 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Beech/Poplar + Titanal + Carbon Fiber Tip + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.25 cm from center; 84.1 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro & HEAD Raptor 140 RS / Tyrolia AAAttack 13

Days Skied (total): 11

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, & Loveland Pass, CO

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Ranger 115 XTi, which is coming back unchanged for 18/19, except for the graphics and a name change to “Ranger 115 FR.”]

 

Intro

The Ranger 115 FR is Fischer’s contribution to the very competitive class of ~115mm-underfoot powder skis, putting it up against a bunch of other skis that range from ultra-playful pow surfers to beefy, directional, big-mountain chargers.

Jonathan Ellsworth started getting time on the Ranger 115 last season, I’ve spent more time on it this year, and here’s what we said about the Ranger 115 FR in our 17/18 Winter Buyer’s Guide:

“The new Ranger 115 FR was super intriguing to us initially, because its specs reminded us a whole lot of the Moment Bibby / Blister Pro. And with time on the ski, our punchline is that, while it can’t be pushed as hard as the 190 Bibby, it has a lighter swing weight that will be of interest to a lot of skiers (and perhaps especially when making jump turns in fairly thick, deep snow). The Ranger 115 is a fairly strong ski that’s best suited to those who prefer a lighter touch. It is a super fun pow carver, and it’s also quite fun to lay over and carve on good groomers — which is also true of the Ranger 98, Ranger 108, and Fischer Pro Mtn 95. (If Fischer is building a ski that isn’t a very fun carver, we haven’t reviewed it.)”

With more time on the ski, we still stand by that description, and here, we’ll flesh out how the Ranger 115 FR has handled conditions ranging from firm and fast to steep and deep. We’ll also compare the Ranger 115 FR to its narrower siblings, the Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti, to see how similar or different these Ranger skis are. We found the other Ranger Ti’s to be precise carvers with strong torsional rigidity and good pop, and thought that they felt quite maneuverable and accessible to a wide range of skill levels.

Some of these traits do carry over to the Ranger 115 FR, and others do not. But we’ll get to that in a minute…

Here’s what Fischer says about the Ranger 115 FR:

“Fischer pro skier equipment: this absolutely top powder model has technologies that set new standards. Free Milled Titanium and Aeroshape for increased stability, extra-wide design, and special Titanal reinforcement in the binding section are everything you need for extreme situations.”

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ranger 115 FR:

Tips: 7-8
Shovels: 8-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 9
Tails: 8

Like the rest of the Fischer Ranger series, the Ranger 115 FR has a pretty even, round flex between the tips and tails, which produces a predictable feel when arcing turns. However, the Ranger 115 FR is a bit stiffer than the Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti, though the Ranger 115 FR’s tips and tails are still fairly accessible.

Compared to the new Ranger 102 FR (a ski that we’re currently quite high on), the Ranger 115 FR is quite similar, with a slightly softer flex at the tips and tails.

Shape / Rocker Profile

Brian Lindahl: The tip rocker profile of the Ranger 115 FR is a mellow, low-slung arc that’s complemented by a moderate amount of traditional camber underfoot. And the back of the ski consists of a shallow tail rocker line with a raised twin tip. I’ve come to really like skis that have similarly-mellow rocker profiles, as they seem to allow more of the ski’s edge to engage in a turn since there’s not a ton of tip splay.

The Ranger 115 FR has a little tip and tail taper, but nothing dramatic — noticeably less than skis like the Black Diamond Boundary Pro 115 and Rossignol Super 7 RD.

Groomers

Brian Lindahl (5’10”, 175 lbs.): We are big fans of the 180 cm Ranger 98 Ti and 182 cm Ranger 108 Ti on groomed snow. The flex pattern on those skis is accessible, and the skis generate a lot of pop out of the turn. They also both have a very grippy and precise feel when on edge.

While the 188 cm Ranger 115 FR exhibits some of these traits when carving, it lacks the pop and quickness of the narrower skis (which is not surprising given its increased weight and width). The Ranger 115 FR still has excellent grip and torsional rigidity, but it feels more at home arcing larger turns and isn’t quite as responsive to skier input. While the stated sidecut radii of the Ranger 98 Ti, 108 Ti, and 115 FR are all fairly similar at comparable lengths (all are right around 20 meters), the Ranger 115 FR feels significantly more inclined to make larger turns, while the Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti can easily be bent into smaller turns.

Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs): Yep, totally true. The Ranger 115 FR definitely prefers larger arced turns, while the (shorter) Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti are more versatile in terms of turn shape.

Powder

Brian: In untracked powder, the Ranger 115 FR again prefers large, high-speed arcs rather than slashing and playing around in tight terrain. It feels very traditional and doesn’t break free into slashes without a significant amount of effort. The Ranger 115 FR floats well, and tends to slice through the snow rather than fold up and plow (which I’ve found to be an issue on skis with softer flex patterns).

The Ranger 115 FR’s fairly strong flex in the tips and low-slung tip rocker profile creates a predictable feel when transitioning through different snow densities at speed. I haven’t skied the Ranger 115 FR in deeper powder, but I didn’t notice anything that would make me question its performance on big storm days.

Blister reviews the Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Brian Lindahl on the Fischer Ranger 115 FR.

Jonathan: My best powder of last season was on the Fischer Ranger 115, and I won’t forget it. Taos’ West Basin opened after a big storm, it was a full-blown bluebird pow day, and Alex Mueller and I pretty much had West Basin to ourselves. We were doing laps down Meatball and High Somewhere down perfectly clean, steep aprons. And it was on these laps that the term “fun pow carver” (that we used in our Buyer’s Guide) came into existence. More than any ~115 mm wide ski I can remember, the Ranger 115 felt like it wanted to approach pow as if it was a big groomer. I’m not saying that you can’t stay more neutral on the ski, I just know that on this ski in clean snow, all I wanted to do was rip big, fast turns on edge.

The only caveat here is that the snow was basically perfect. Not super light smoke, just a little bit more dense than that and perfectly clean. So I’m unable to say with certainty that in really dense maritime snow, the ski will slice through as effectively as it did that day.

But if you often are fortunate enough to find clean lines on your inbounds powder days and you still like to carve up pow rather than pivot through it, this ski should be on your short list.

Soft Chop

Brian: In shallow, soft chop, the Ranger 115 FR was excellent. The lower tip rocker and strong flex pattern once again created a predictable ride. Its performance was notably better in soft chop than skis with softer tips, such as the Ranger 108 Ti and Kastle BMX 105. In soft chop, the Ranger 115 FR feels a bit like the Whitedot Ragnarok, but the Ranger 115 FR feels more locked into the turn. With all that said, the Ranger 115 FR is still a fairly light ski (for its size), and will get bounced around a bit when the chop starts to firm up, or if the tracks are pretty deep.

Blister reviews the Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Brian Lindahl on the Fischer Ranger 115 FR.

Jonathan: I’m a bit less sure than Brian that the issue here is that the Ranger 115 is “still a fairly light ski (for its size).” There certainly are heavier skis out there, but ~2250 grams — especially these days, with so many skis coming in too light lighter and lighter — I think the bigger issue is its very thin, milled-out tips. As we said in the Buyer’s Guide, those thin tips reduce the swing weight a bit on this otherwise fairly burly ski, making the tips a bit less of a battering ram through chop. And given that the Ranger 115 doesn’t have a ton of tip splay, those tips don’t plane up and surf over chop quite as easily as skis that have more tip rocker.

One thing I will add: in deep, untracked snow (that was covering massive boulders and rocks) right down the middle of Stauffenberg Trib — the line looked too beautiful and clean to pass up, even though I was a bit worried that I was going to destroy these beautiful skis in the process — I very much appreciated the reduced swing weight of the Ranger 115s tips and tails as I was making some steep jump turns in fairly thick, deep snow. This is where I personally most appreciated the super thin, milled-out tips and tails.

Firm, Variable Snow

Brian: And when the snow gets really firm? The Ranger 115 FR does feel more stable than the narrower (and shorter) Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti, but it still doesn’t feel like it has enough mass to hold its line well at high speeds in variable snow. Also, the Ranger 115 FR’s preference for longer turns and its decreased pop / energy mean that it doesn’t work as well as the Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti at slower speeds.

Blister reviews the Fischer Ranger 115 FR

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Fischer Ranger 115 FR.

With the Ranger 98 Ti and 108 Ti, I was able to make short, quick carves to avoid the bigger clumps of crud. With the Ranger 115 FR, I needed to plan my line a bit more carefully as it still gets knocked around a bit in variable snow, but requires more input to force it into smaller turns and avoid the patches of crud.

Overall, the smoother and / or softer the snow surface, the better the Ranger 115 FR feels.

Trees, Moguls, and Tight Terrain

Brian: While the 180 cm Ranger 98 Ti and 182 cm 108 Ti encouraged me to make strong, precise carves through tighter terrain, the 188 cm Ranger 115 FR feels quite a bit more unwieldy (again, not all that surprising given its heavier weight and larger size). In both firm and soft snow, the Ranger 115 FR wants to bite and hold a longer turn, and gone is the snappiness and very easy maneuverability of the narrower Rangers. When skiing the Ranger 115 FR in tighter terrain, if I give it strong input, it’s definitely manageable. So just be prepared to give it more input than some other skis in this class.

Who’s It For?

While we think the 180 cm Ranger 98 Ti and 182 cm Ranger 108 Ti are great options for intermediate and advanced skiers, the 188 cm Ranger 115 FR requires a bit more skill and definitely more strength to ski than the narrower, shorter, lighter Rangers. It’s not as quick and agile, asking the pilot for strong input before breaking loose into slashes. For skilled skiers, this won’t be a problem, and more traditional skiers will likely appreciate how well the Ranger 115 FR arcs a turn.

So, if you’re looking for a super playful ski, I’d look elsewhere. However, if you love the feel of putting a ski on edge, riding it through the full turn, and don’t mind a bit of speed, you’ll probably feel right at home on the Ranger 115 FR. Just don’t expect it to provide quite as much stability in rough conditions as some of the heavier skis in this category. But overall, we think Fischer’s claim that the Ranger 115 FR is “designed for top pro requirements” matches up pretty well with the ski’s on-snow performance.

Bottom Line

Despite sharing the Ranger name, the Fischer Ranger 115 FR feels much more like a big-mountain ski than the 180 cm Ranger 98 Ti and 182 cm Ranger 108 Ti — though we’re hearing that the 188 cm of the Ranger 108 Ti is heavier and perhaps more in line with the Ranger 115 FR … and we are definitely intrigued.

When compared to other skis of this width, the Ranger 115 FR prefers being on edge and arcing large turns rather than slashing and playing around. This wouldn’t be one of the first skis I’d pick for skiing firm snow, tight trees and moguls. (Interestingly, I felt quite the opposite about the Ranger 98 Ti and Ranger 108 Ti.)

However, on wide, open, above-treeline terrain, (like the upper mountain at Breckenridge), arcing big turns with the Ranger 115 in windbuff and powder is tons of fun — as long as the snow is on the softer side.

We’ll be doing a Deep Dive on the Ranger 115 FR later this week, with comparisons to some similar skis, including the Blizzard Rustler 11, Icelantic Nomad 115, Moment Blister Pro, and a few others.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

2 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Tom May 4, 2018 Reply

    Great review. I own these in 188, mounted at minus one. Agree about 100% with everything you guys have written.

    My only caveat is that at 195 pounds, I find them plenty quick when needed, though they always seem to be begging to go faster — in a good way.

    It is SO nice to have a traditional feeling “pow carver”!

  2. Blister Member
    Antony September 2, 2018 Reply

    Deep dive still coming? I get the impression that the Ranger 102 has impressed quite a bit, but I don’t get that same impression about the 115, or am I wrong?

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