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Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti Review

Doesn’t ski as well as the discontinued Rossignol Soul 7, but it still handles powder ok
Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti
Photo: Rossignol
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Price:  $800 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Stiffer in the tip than most, floats decently in powder
Cons:  Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playful
Manufacturer:   Rossignol
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2021
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 6
  • Carving Ability - 20% 5
  • Powder Performance - 20% 7
  • Crud Performance - 20% 5
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 2
  • Bumps - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The new Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti performs just above average in powder and not particularly well in any other metric. Since we (and likely many others) were going into this experience hoping for an improvement on the old Rossignol Soul 7, which first won our Best in Powder award and later our Editors Choice for years running, we were deeply disappointed that this ski was a significant step down. If you've never skied the Soul 7, you won't know what you're missing and be able to appreciate its flotation and tip construction. For the rest of us, this new iteration just bummed us out that our favorite ski has such a poor replacement.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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71
Star Rating
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Pros Stiffer in the tip than most, floats decently in powderCrud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability levelAwesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable priceGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than othersSuperbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold
Cons Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playfulNo wow-factor, not a lot of reboundGets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectlyOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide themToo burly for lighter gals, not nimble
Bottom Line Doesn’t ski as well as the discontinued Rossignol Soul 7, but it still handles powder okA great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiverA fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tagThis model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skierA good choice for hard-charging speed demons that still performs decently off-piste
Rating Categories Rossignol Black Ops... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Stability At Speed (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
Carving Ability (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Powder Performance (20%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Crud Performance (20%)
5.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
7.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
2.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Bumps (5%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
Specs Rossignol Black Ops... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Waist Width (mm) 102 98 96 96 96
Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm) 137-102-127 132-98-120 136-96-111 127-96-117 135-96-119
Available Lengths (cm) 163, 171, 178 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 154, 162, 170, 178 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 149, 156, 163, 170
Length Tested (cm) 171 172 178 171 170
Radius (m) 16 16.3 16.2 18 27-16-22
Rocker Style Tip and tail, low camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Amphibio tech Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair (lbs) 7.9 8.1 7.4 7.9 8.5
Construction Type Full rectangular sidewall Energy Ti W SST sidewall Sandwich Full sidewall
Core Material Paulownia Performance Wood & Metal Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar Beech and poplar
Intended Purpose All-Mountain All-Mountain All-Mountain All-Mountain, Big Mountain All-Mountain
Ability Level Advanced-Expert Expert Intermediate-Advanced Advanced-Expert Advanced-Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

Rossignol seems very enthusiastic about their new Black Ops line of skis, but we are left wondering why they would discontinue the Soul series when they were obviously onto such a good thing. The old Rossignol Soul 7 HD W hit the very top of our charts in powder and playfulness and handled incredibly well in every other metric. This new Rallybird is only just above mediocre in the powder and frustrated us elsewhere. It can be relied upon in soft, fresh snow but doesn't provide the versatility to compete in other terrains.

Performance Comparison


We missed the pure ecstasy we'd felt on the old Rossi Soul 7.
We missed the pure ecstasy we'd felt on the old Rossi Soul 7.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


We could feel that the Rallybird does have quality construction, and in particular, we felt that the tips of the skis were built solidly; we could move to the front of the ski and feel supported, and we didn't experience much of the dreaded tip-flap. It holds an edge well in a short turn, but when we brought it up to higher speeds and larger turns, it began to chatter slightly. It feels very stable in a tight turn in the steeps and less stable in a bigger, faster turn.

In a short turn, the Rossi feels stable with no sloppy tips.
In a short turn, the Rossi feels stable with no sloppy tips.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving Ability


The Rallybird feels true to its publicized 16-meter turn radius; it definitely prefers to make a tight turn. In this type of turn, it feels reliable to tip it on edge and have it hold. Unfortunately, when we turned up the tempo and tried to carve a larger turn, it didn't hold the edge as well. In a short turn, however, we appreciated the feeling of solid tip construction, allowing us to get the turn started with confidence. While it rolls from edge to edge with relative ease, there is not much rebound to help ping you into the next turn.

The Rallybird holds an edge well in short, slower speed turns, but...
The Rallybird holds an edge well in short, slower speed turns, but there's no real rebound factor.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder Performance


When we took the Rallybird in boot-top lightweight powder, it stayed afloat well and easily buttered across the surface. However, when one of our testers took this ski to Alaska for some properly deep pow, it struggled. She told us she didn't believe the ski had a progressive enough flex pattern to handle any inconsistencies in the snow texture; she felt it was a bit of a dead plank, bucking her into the backseat. For the rest of us mere mortals skiing resorts in the continental country, though, the Rossi was more than adequate. It stays on top for the most part in 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow. We just missed the ever-present honeycomb tips of the old Soul 7, rising to the surface every turn without question and guiding us through the powder field.

Soft fresh snow is where this ski has a mastery over the terrain.
Soft fresh snow is where this ski has a mastery over the terrain.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud Performance


Rossignol has used something called an "extended core" in the Rallybird, which might account for the stability of the ski extending all the way to the tip, unlike many of its competitors. This means the more reinforced tip doesn't get deflected and pushed around as much in unpredictable snow. Overall, the ski's performance as a whole in choppy conditions was good but not mind-blowing.

Its strong tip construction helped us blast through chunky snow.
Its strong tip construction helped us blast through chunky snow.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Terrain Playfulness


Our testers agreed that this is not the Rallybird's strong suit, especially compared to the old Soul 7 which shined in this metric. It doesn't have much zip or energy, and the rebound exists but isn't outstanding. It did feel light enough to get in the air and provided a stable landing afterward. The pick-up-and-go feel just wasn't present.

Bumps


While the Rallybird makes a respectable carved short turn, it doesn't seem to love a softer edge, making skidding and pivoting through the bumps a little harder than we expected on a 16-meter turn radius. That said, it isn't as heavy and planky as some others, so there is still enjoyment to be had in moguls.

Not a terrible ride in the bumps, but the Rallybird didn't give us...
Not a terrible ride in the bumps, but the Rallybird didn't give us much feedback in general.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Value


At one of the higher price points of the group, the Rallybird isn't versatile as a one-ski quiver, nor does it excel enough in one metric to make it worth a specific-condition purchase.

Conclusion


Not a particular stand-out in any category, the Rallybird is a disappointing substitute for its shining star of a precursor.

Renee McCormack

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