The new Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti performs just above average in powder and not particularly well in any other metric. We, like many others, hopped on this ski, hoping for an improvement on the old Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, which carried our Editors Choice award for many years in a row. We were deeply disappointed that the Black Ops Rallybird Ti was a significant step in the wrong direction. 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.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti on March 6, 2022, to include an unbiased take on value and suggest other comparable ski options.
Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti Review
Cons: Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playful
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Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti
$479.95 at Amazon
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|Pros||Stiffer in the tip than most, floats decently in powder||Crud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability level||Carving machine, powerful yet accessible||Awesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable price||Great stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than others|
|Cons||Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playful||No wow-factor, not a lot of rebound||Sinks a little in powder, too beefy for bumps||Gets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectly||Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them|
|Bottom Line||Doesn’t ski as well as the discontinued Rossignol Soul 7, but it still handles powder ok||A great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiver||Accurate and easy to carve, this ski is a dream on the groomers||A fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tag||This model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skier|
|Rating Categories||Rossignol Black Ops...||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Kastle FX96 W - Wom...||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Faction Dictator 2.0X|
|Stability at Speed (20%)|
|Carving Ability (20%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Crud Performance (20%)|
|Terrain Playfulness (15%)|
|Specs||Rossignol Black Ops...||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Kastle FX96 W - Wom...||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Faction Dictator 2.0X|
|Waist Width||102 mm||98 mm||96 mm||94 mm||96 mm|
|Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width)||137-102-127 mm||132-98-120 mm||133-96-119 mm||136-94-110 mm||127-96-117 mm|
|Available Lengths||163, 171, 178 cm||151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm||156, 164, 172 cm||154, 162, 170, 178 cm||155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 cm|
|Length Tested||171 cm||172 cm||172 cm||178 cm||171 cm|
|Turn Radius||16 m||16.3 m||16 m||18 m||18 m|
|Camber Profile||Rocker tip and tail, low camber underfoot||Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot||Progressive rise, dual rise, low camber||Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech||Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot|
|Weight Per Pair||7.9 lbs||8.1 lbs||8.0 lbs||7.4 lbs||7.9 lbs|
|Construction Type||Full rectangular sidewall||Energy Ti W||Powerzone, sandwich-sidewall construction||SST sidewall||Sandwich|
|Core Material||Paulownia||Performance Wood & Metal||Paulownia, beech, poplar||Tubelite wood||Paulownia & Poplar|
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 Black Ops Rallybird Ti 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.
Stability at Speed
We could feel right away that the Black Ops Rallybird Ti has quality construction. In particular, we felt that designers built the tips of the skis 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 it began to chatter when we brought it up to higher speeds and larger turns. It feels stable in a tight turn in the steeps and less stable in a bigger, faster turn.
The Black Ops Rallybird Ti feels true to its publicized 16-meter turn radius; it prefers to make a tight turn. In this type of turn, it feels reliable to tip it on edge and hold it. Unfortunately, when we turned up the tempo and tried to carve a larger turn, it didn't hold the edge as well. However, we appreciated the feeling of solid tip construction in a short turn, 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.
When we took the Black Ops Rallybird Ti 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 Black Ops Rallybird Ti 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.
Rossignol has used an "extended core" in the Black Ops Rallybird Ti, which might account for the ski's stability extending to the tip, unlike many of its competitors. The more reinforced tip doesn't get deflected and pushed around in unpredictable snow. Overall, the ski's performance as a whole in choppy conditions was good but not mind-blowing.
Our testers agreed that this is not the Black Ops Rallybird Ti'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.
While the Black Ops Rallybird Ti 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 as some others, so there is still enjoyment to be had in moguls.
Should You Buy the Black Ops Rallybird Ti?
At this point, can you tell that we miss the old Rossignol Soul 7? The Black Ops Rallybird Ti simply does not hit the mark as a replacement for that legendary ski. Not only is this ski expensive, but it isn't versatile as an all-mountain ski, nor does it even excel as a powder ski. We believe it is better to spend your money elsewhere.
What Other Women's All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?
Even though the Black Ops Rallybird Ti is one of the widest skis we tested, the more narrow Elan Ripstick 94 W is our go-to choice for powder skiing – not only is the Ripstick 94 W more playful in the light and fluffy, but it is much more versatile as an all-mountain ski. For those who enjoy the stability of metal, the K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance also includes two sheets of titanium.
— Renee McCormack
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