The New My Ranger 98
Fischer updated the graphics for this ski and changed the name from the Ranger 98 to My Ranger 98. We were informed that everything else remains the same.
The new 2018 My Ranger 98 next to last years Ranger 98.
Hands-On Review of the Ranger 98
Fischer uses technology called Women's BPM, a "Forward binding mounting point to make turning easier for energy-saving skiing." We were not a fan.
We found that the changes in the Ranger from the men's to women's version did nothing to improve this ski, and in some ways these differences feel like they could hold a woman back from becoming the skier she's meant to be. The Ranger W98s
have a mounting point that has been moved forward, theoretically because women need help getting their weight forward. For women who ski aggressively and do lean into their skis, this position makes them ski extremely short and they feel like they're washing out. For others, this feels like it could be a crutch, and not encourage women to become better skiers. We suggest just getting a shorter ski if you are more of an intermediate skier.
All-mountain skis should carve groomers, stay stable at speed, handle choppy conditions, and float reasonably well in powder. Many sacrifice a little skill in one area to shine in another.
Stability at Speed
The Fischer Ranger fell short in this category. The excessively rockered tips combined with the soft ski made for floppity-floppity-flopping all the way down. They are simply not built for high speed on groomers. But that's okay — just like the kid who's always last at school field days — they're better at other things. Their stability in steeps feels compromised for the same reason. There is too much of a raised floppy tip that doesn't assist in control, it only adds flotation in soft snow.
Not to say we don't love a good rockered ski, the Head Great Joy and the Nordica Santa Ana are both stellar rockered skis. When one of our testers went out with them on the very first day she felt like they were very stable and damp in super chalky steeps, but this may have been due to the perfectly new, sharp edges. For a ski that likes to go fast on the hard pack, check out the Volkl Aura.
The Rangers were not meant for high speeds on groomed runs; they are a soft ski with floppy rockered tips.
The Fischer Rangers have decent edge hold underfoot, but will get to chattering if you force them to do something they don't like.
The Ranger 98 are not built for carving, but they have regular camber underfoot so that you can bend and engage the part of the ski that is in contact with the snow. The 17m turning radius puts them in the middle of the pack for "turniness." They don't feel particularly powerful in a carve because they are so light and don't have much edge engagement given their design. This ski is almost fully capped with a slight sidewall underfoot, and thus has less edge hold than a ski like the Blizzard Samba that has a full sidewall construction. The Ranger 98 is definitely more of a buttering ski than a carving ski. You want to twist them more than tip them.
We had a lot of fun skiing the Rangers in fluffy powder; their rockered tips had great float.
Powder is what these Fischers are made for, and where their rider will be happiest. The fat tips and ample rocker make these skis feel creamy in the turns on any fresh snow. A number of testers described these skis as "buttery" in soft snow. They perform best in six inches of soft powder over a firmer surface. We think that the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W and K2 FulLuvit 95 are even more fun in deep powder, earning a 10 and 8 out of 10, respectively.
As variable as the conditions on the mountain was the variability of the Ranger's crud performance. We like the way we can butter around on these skis in all types of soft snow from slush to chopped up powder. Unfortunately, once we got into anything that was tracked out, bumpy, or heavy, the Ranger became an unwieldy beast. They bucked us around and sprang us forward — resulting in at least one faceplant. Since the tails are extra long because of the forward mounting point, the tails felt hooky and hard to bring around when things got heavy.
Most of the time the Fischers were maneuverable in tight spaces, but sometimes their long tails would get hooked up and made it difficult to turn.
Our testers struggle to find the right balance point on these skis in the crud. It seems awkward to keep our weight as far forward as we would like and instead intentionally have to keep our weight in the backseat as the long tails want to push you forward. Our testers want a ski that can plow through the crud and provide a smooth ride, like the Blizzard Samba, which scored a 7 out of 10. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Volkl Aura brought home the only 9 out of 10 in this metric.
These skis can be playful at times, and our testers enjoyed booty wiggling 80s style through soft snow with them. Their long tails could make turning in heavy snow difficult but allowed the skier to sit in the back seat and wiggle when conditions allowed. They're not dull heavy planks like the DPS Nina 99 Foundation, but they're also not particularly responsive either. They are light and buttery, which makes them fun in the right conditions.
Bumps Sking Performance
The Ranger 98 had mixed reviews in this category; because they are so light and super flexy, you have to think about pointing your tips down at the end of a bump or they will propel you over or into the next bump. If the moguls are cruddy, chunky bumps, you will get tossed around, but in smooth, soft bumps that you can pivot quickly around, they perform well. Again, their ability to butter and bend helps in this category.
When the snow was soft these Fischers performed well in the crud and chopped up powder.
These skis are so lightweight, soft, and rockered they lend themselves to soft snow, powder, or backcountry skiing. This could be a good choice for a skier who is lightweight themselves — or a good choice for someone who wants a decently light backcountry ski that can handle most variable snow conditions you find out there. The Nordica Santa Ana is even lighter and recommended for these applications as well.
The Fisher Ranger W98 is a decent value at $650. It has quality construction and craftsmanship, although we don't think it is as durable as a heavier ski with more metal and full sidewall construction like the Head Great Joy. We have already noticed some topsheet damage, although the bases seem to be holding up well.
If you are looking for a buttery lightweight ski that you can mount with some backcountry bindings but take in bounds as well, the Ranger W98 may be the ski for you. Otherwise, it is not the most versatile ski in this review and we were disappointed with its on-piste performance.