Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Review
Cons: More expensive, slightly lumbering in bumps
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of our favorite skis to take out on a deep powder day, the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W is also incredibly competent in all other snow conditions. The tapered tip and tail shape make this ski easy to bring around in most environments and make it surprisingly quick for its girth. The Soul 7, despite its attributes elsewhere, is most at home in deeper snow and off-piste. This ski could certainly become an excellent one-ski quiver for a woman who is also most comfortable in variable terrain, but who wants something which offers a kick on-piste as well.
Stability at Speed
This was one of the arenas in which Rossignol really upped their game and caused us to choose this ski as the Editors' Choice.
Rossi's use of their Air Tip technology, matched with a new Carbon Alloy Matrix, creates a ski that is as dependable as your favorite coffee mug. Despite the enormous rockered tips, which look like they would want to flap like a swallow's wings, there is amazing steadiness along the entire length of the ski. Not only does this ski love high-speed groomers, but we found it was confidence-building when gaining momentum in the steeps and off-piste conditions.
This ski's dampness absorbs rippling terrain and allows you the freedom to go as fast as you'd like. All of our testers loved going their top speed on these babies! Relatively small amounts of tip flap and secure edge hold made us feel confident to fly down any pitch.
Since this ski does sport some voluminous tip rocker, most women will want to opt for a size up from their normal length. Our tallest tester, at 5'10", wished we had tested the 180-centimeter length. That being said, our shortest tester, at 5'4" also wanted the same — but she packs a ton of energy into her tiny form!
One of the most impressive aspects of this ski is how easily you can engage the edge and carve a beautifully clean arc — despite the slightly obese waist of 106 millimeters.
We couldn't believe how much fun we could have on such a fat ski on groomed runs! We found that when we made an effort to flip the ski over quickly, it responded well and rewarded us handsomely for getting a higher edge angle earlier in the turn. When you push it to engage earlier, it can feel like it has a tighter turn radius than 18m. We were thrilled with the rebound it provided when you pressure and then release it just the right moment. It feels like it springboards you into the next turn.
While this ski loves to carve when demanded, it is also happy to skid and butter its way through tight trees, and this versatility mesmerized us. This model came out close to the top of the pile in the carving metric, but it also happily released its edges and pivoted whenever we asked it to.
As the winner of the "Best in Powder" category in previous reviews, we expected this ski to charge in the deep, and it did not disappoint. Given its enormously rockered and spatula-style tips, it's no surprise that this beauty glides above any texture of fresh snow.
The chubby midsection of the Soul 7 allows the skier to maintain lift in deeper snow and butter the skis into the direction of her choosing. It is burly enough to plow through cruddy snow, but also pliable enough to bend in light powder.
The Soul 7 solidly beat out all the competition in this particular category. There is really no comparison when it comes to powder performance. given its wider waste and substantial rocker.
Something magical happened when Rossignol incorporated their Air Tip Technology and weaved the Carbon Alloy Matrix through these boards. The deflection we previously felt from the tips in the crud virtually disappeared. Instead, we found ourselves bombing fearlessly through whatever the mountain tossed at us — churned up powder, avalanche debris, breakable crust down into elephant snot below, chundery death cookies, and even wind-scoured sastrugi.
The Soul 7 has certainly improved vastly in recent years. There were many strong competitors in this category this season, with many skis reaching for the top slot. This is one area in which the softer skis sit at the bottom of the pack; they will do alright in gentler crud, but if you want to charge it's worth trying something a tad stiffer.
We had a blast popping off of moguls, small jumps, and little rock drops on the Soul 7. This ski is light enough to get airborne with ease, and it creates a solid platform for landing.
We found that we could get this ski to bend easily and that it had had a fun rebound when we released the pressure. It's surprising that a ski with such bulk could be so giddy, but it won us over in this metric as well.
The skis which performed really well in crud, due in part to their stiffness, also seem to have a bit of a stiff upper lip when it came to playfulness. Not so for the Soul 7. Despite its ability to cruise through chunder, it also was the life of the party in the park and in the air.
Bumps Skiing Performance
With the zippy and quick-to-turn nature of the Soul 7, it is no slouch in the moguls. However, it is still always going to act a bit like a bull in a china shop in delicate and precise terrain like the bumps.
Most women will want to select a larger size in this ski than they are accustomed to skiing, due to the extreme rocker at the fronts, which brings the skiable edge back quite far. Thus, when you take these massive planks into the moguls, they are going to feel slightly more cumbersome than a more traditional ski that might be easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
At a loftier retail cost, the Soul 7 isn't shy about its worth. Because this model packs so much versatility into a potential one-ski quiver, we think it's worth every penny. We would think of it as buying a powder ski with benefits.
So much sprightlier than you would envision given its weight and width, the Soul 7 surprised us at every turn, literally. It sailed smoothly on top of powder and wind-buff, cruised through chop, and laid down beautiful tracks when we got back to the groomer at the bottom. It popped around like a (predictable) jack-in-the-box and was so fun to get airborne. Despite its bulkiness in the bumps, it is still nimble enough to compete in the moguls. If you are a ripping chick who wants a new all-terrain vehicle or are hoping to become one, the Rossignol Soul 7 might be your new Soul Mate.
— Renee McCormack
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