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Rossignol Black Ops 98 - Women's Review

This ski is a jack of all trades, master of none
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Rossignol Black Ops 98 - Women's Review
Credit: Rossignol
Price:  $750 List
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Manufacturer:   Rossignol
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 15, 2023
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 5.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 5.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 6.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 4.0
  • Bumps - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

Coming in at nearly the dead middle for every metric, the Rossignol Black Ops 98 does everything respectively well, but not well enough to medal. Our testers were obsessed with the previous Soul 7 line, but none of the replacement skis in the Black Ops line have impressed us very much. This 98 mm-waisted ski perked up a little carving short-radius turns, and nudged above the average when powering through crud. Generally speaking, the Black Ops 98 is a fine ski – no more and no less – that simply doesn't stack up very well against some stiff competition in our review of the best all-mountain skis for women.
REASONS TO BUY
Predictable
Solid for short carves
REASONS TO AVOID
Generally not exciting
Lacks playfulness
Sub-par carver
Editor's Note: We added the Black Ops 98 to our lineup on December 12, 2023.

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Star Rating
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Bottom Line Nothing stands out in particular about this ski in either the positive or the negativePerfect for those looking for a single ski to rule them allLively and nimble, but also stable and grippyA blast to ski in fresh snow, mogul fields, and popping around on groomersFor intermediate and advanced skiers looking for something that’s easy on the snow and on the wallet
Rating Categories Rossignol Black Ops... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Elan Ripstick 94 W Salomon QST Lumen 98
Stability at Speed (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Carving Ability (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Powder Performance (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
5.0
Crud Performance (20%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
4.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Bumps (5%)
5.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Rossignol Black Ops... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Elan Ripstick 94 W Salomon QST Lumen 98
Waist Width 98 mm 98 mm 96 mm 94 mm 98 mm
Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width) 131-98-121 mm 132-98-120 mm 129-96-118.5 mm 136-94-110 mm 132-98-120 mm
Available Lengths 160, 170 cm 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm 150, 156, 162, 168, 174 cm 154, 162, 170, 178 cm 152, 160, 168, 176 cm
Length Tested 170 cm 172 cm 174 cm 178 cm 176 cm
Turn Radius 17 m 16.3 m 16 m 18 m 16 m
Camber Profile Progressive rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair 7.6 lbs 8.1 lbs 7.9 lbs 7.4 lbs 8.2 lbs
Construction Type Rectangular full sidewall Energy Ti W W.S.D. Fluxform Duramax sandwich full sidewall SST sidewall Double sidewall
Core Material Poplar Performance Wood & Metal W.S.D. Trueblend Free Woodcore; Beech, Poplar and Paulownia Tubelite wood Poplar
Ability Level Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Advanced

Our Analysis and Test Results

Evidently, the English language has shortened and changed the meaning of the expression “Jack of all trades and master of none.” Originally, the idiom continued to say, “but oftentimes better than a master of one,” and the full saying is the best way to describe this ski. The Black Ops 98 makes a strong argument for generalists. Rather than risk specializing in certain areas and falling short in other metrics, it thrives in the all-encompassing average.

Performance Comparison


rossignol black ops 98 for women - the black ops feels solid at medium speeds on groomers.
The Black Ops feels solid at medium speeds on groomers.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Stability at Speed


The Black Ops 98 is a sturdy ski in the medium to mid-high speed range. Its construction offers middling stiffness – not too soft and not too burly. If you push it into the red zone, it will start to shudder underfoot. For an all-mountain ski, the progressively rockered tip doesn't offer much stability on hardpack: it flaps a bit at medium speeds and flops around wildly at higher speeds.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - the black ops carves decently on groomed snow, and feels like it has...
The Black Ops carves decently on groomed snow, and feels like it has a tighter turn radius than claimed by the manufacturer.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Carving Ability


The turn radius of the Black Ops 98 felt much tighter than the 17 meters listed by the manufacturer. (It's also interesting to note that this information is not written on the ski, as is commonplace.) Bringing the ski up to optimal speed it feels like it skis with a radius closer to 15 meters, and it has a knack for making a really nice short-radius turn. Rossignol's proprietary Rectangular Full Sidewall provides solid edge hold through a carved turn, and the Black Ops 98 feels equally comfortable carving as skidding. Despite its middling score, this ski is fun and lively to carve.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - "jack of all trades and master of none - but oftentimes better than...
"Jack of all trades and master of none - but oftentimes better than a master of one." The Black Ops does everything respectably, all over the resort.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Powder Performance


The Black Ops 98 can comfortably handle around 6 inches of fresh snow, surfing on top or occasionally sinking to make contact with the base underneath. When it gets deeper than that, however, the performance is a little hit or miss. Even considering its 102 mm waist width, this is understandable for an all-mountain ski. But we admit that we were hoping for a bit more when the snow started to stack up.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - in knee-deep snow, our testers were desperately hunting for the...
In knee-deep snow, our testers were desperately hunting for the Black Ops beneath the surface.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Crud Performance


The Black Ops 98 has enough heft in its construction to blast through most choppy conditions. Even though poplar tends to be a lightweight core option, the full sidewall offers enough structural support to navigate variable snow conditions. This full woodcore ski was damp enough to cruise through chunky snow but doesn't offer the same blasting power as other models we tested.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - the black ops cruises through an average amount of chunky snow...
The Black Ops cruises through an average amount of chunky snow conditions.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Terrain Playfulness


This iteration of the Black Ops is much less exuberant than the Soul 7 of old, which continues to hold our testers' hearts. The Black Ops 98 makes a sprightly short turn but only has a small amount of rebound at the end. This ski never felt too heavy underfoot, but it never felt that lively, either.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - the black ops' tight feeling turn radius helps in bumps and trees.
The Black Ops' tight feeling turn radius helps in bumps and trees.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Bumps


The Black Ops's ability to make quick, short-radius turns makes it a competent bump ski. The camber underfoot provides it with enough rebound energy, while the progressive rocker in the tail allows it to confidently skid and slash. It never felt too heavy or unwieldy and its tight turn radius makes it reliable in the bumps.

rossignol black ops 98 for women - with a quick, snappy turn, this ski is a bit more fun in bumps than...
With a quick, snappy turn, this ski is a bit more fun in bumps than its middling score might suggest.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Should you buy the Rossignol Black Ops 98 W?


If you like reliability and hate surprises, you might appreciate the Black Ops all-around average performance. This ski opts for a safe style: it never goes above and beyond, but that also means it never falters in any one metric either. This ski is a bit bland for our testers, but predictability isn't always a bad thing.

What Other Women's All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?


There are some skis in our review that excel in one type of terrain and then stumble down the charts in a contrasting metric. However, there are several other skis that manage to perform better in every metric across the board. If you're on the hunt for a versatile all-rounder, consider the Nordica Santa Ana 98. If you want a more exciting, much more playful ski, our top choice is the Blizzard Sheeva 9.

Renee McCormack