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Fischer Ranger 98 Ti Review

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Price:  $750 List | $447.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, stable
Cons:  Recommended mounting point
Manufacturer:   Fischer
By Mike Phillips ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 25, 2016
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65
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7
  • Carving - 20% 6
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Powder - 20% 7
  • Playfulness - 15% 6
  • Bumps - 5% 3

The Skinny

The Fischer Ranger 98 Ti is an eye-catching ski. It has the most unique shape of any of the skis in our review. We found it to be strong and capable on firm snow and on groomed terrain, but preferred to ski them in soft snow overall. This is one of the top scoring skis in our Best Men's All Mountain Ski Review because it is consistent, versatile and predictable.

The Fischer My Ranger 98 - Women's is featured in the Best Women's All Mountain Ski Review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Ranger 98 Ti was a surprisingly stable lightweight all-mountian ski.
The Ranger 98 Ti was a surprisingly stable lightweight all-mountian ski.

Stability at Speed


Normally we would assume that a lightweight all-mountain ski would lack some of the stability at speed that we would expect from a heavier pair of boards. Some extra weight helps to keep skis firmly on the ground, and can add a degree of dampness. The Ranger 98 Ti surprised us though. For the most part it is stable and confident at speed. Part of that we attribute to the mounting point that was used. Our skis were mounted at the recommended point, which leaves a lot of tail on the ski.

Andrew pushing the Fischer Ranger 98 Ti in some good wind buff at Mammoth Mountain  CA.
Andrew pushing the Fischer Ranger 98 Ti in some good wind buff at Mammoth Mountain, CA.

We tested the 188 cm length which is plenty of ski. The 180 cm version is obviously lighter, and our experience may have been different with that size. It would be much easier to ski but most of us seem to think that we'd get thrown around a lot more on a ski of a shorter length and low weight. Our only qualm with the weight of this ski is in firm, variable conditions at speed when the tip tends to flop around. Although that vibration wasn't transmitted very easily to the skier, it felt kind of weak when pushed hard on firm snow.

Carving


Once we got used to the extra tail on the Fischer Ranger 98 Ti, it was a smooth carver on groomed terrain. At more moderate speeds the chatter in the tip is absent and the ski feels damp. At around 18 meters, the turn radius for them is fairly small for a ski of this length. In our testing it seemed to prefer longer radius turns, gently pushed into big turns. The Rangers are more ski to move than some of our on-piste centric all stars, like the Dynastar Powertrack 89 and the Rossignol Experience 100. It isn't as quick edge to edge as either of those competitors. However, it is lighter and more user friendly than even the 182 cm Rossignol. The wider waist makes the Ranger better suited for railing turns in chopped up conditions than the Dynastar, which weighs about the same.

The Ranger 98 Ti was smooth and predictable on piste. Here Brian carves smooth turns.
The Ranger 98 Ti was smooth and predictable on piste. Here Brian carves smooth turns.

Powder Performance


In fresh powder conditions, the Ranger 98s are impressive. They are smooth, predictable, and have enough float for a fun ride in the soft stuff. The extra length certainly helped us out with a little bit more surface area for staying on top. The more rockered skis in this review such as the Top Pick award winning product, the DPS Wailer 99 and the K2 Pinnacle 95 have a more surfy feel and obvious penchant for powder. For how well the Fischer handles the groomed terrain, it strikes a better balance between hard and soft snow than other strong on-piste inspired skis.

Throwing up some spray with the Fischer Ranger 98 in a soft stash at Mammoth Mountain  CA.
Throwing up some spray with the Fischer Ranger 98 in a soft stash at Mammoth Mountain, CA.

Crud Performance


The weight of the Fischer Ranger 98 Ti worked against them in refrozen crud conditions. The lightweight carbon tips got thrown around more than the other ski in our review that has that feature, the Blizzard Bonafide. The Bonafide is a heavier ski that uses its weight to break through tough conditions like refrozen crud. Again, the extra tail length on these turns into more ski to manage when conditions get tough, and more than a few times we were forced to either reconsider the long length or the mounting point of the ski.

The Ranger 98 is agile enough for variable conditions  but its weight and our 188s worked against us in tough snow like this sun crust.
The Ranger 98 is agile enough for variable conditions, but its weight and our 188s worked against us in tough snow like this sun crust.

Playfulness


We didn't give high scores to the Ranger 98 Ti in the playfulness category. Skis that are more maneuverable and full of pop scored well in our overall review category for being fun, playful skis. The Rangers aren't boring by any means, they just lack some of the energy that we enjoy in a playful ski.

Andrew  taking it back a couple decades; throwing a truck driver on the Ranger 98.
Andrew, taking it back a couple decades; throwing a truck driver on the Ranger 98.

Bump Skiing Performance


The extra tail length of the Ranger 98 is a lot to move around in tight moguls, and required us to be mindful of how much ski is behind us when in the bumps. Just when we thought we had transitioned into the next bump, the tail was prone to catching the previous terrain as we were ready to adapt to what was ahead. Shorter skis that are a little bit heavier handle moguled terrain better.

Best Application


This is a versatile, all purpose, all-mountain ski. It could adequately be someone's one quiver tool.

Value


The Ranger 98 Ti came in a close second to the Dynastar Cham 2.0 97 for the Best Buy award in our review of all mountain skis. It is certainly versatile and consistent across our 6 ratings metrics, but it is more expensive than the Cham. It did not handle the real crud as well as the Cham and was not quite the dreamy carver that the Cham is.

The Ranger 98 is a versatile ski that skis well in all types of terrain; seen here charging through the trees at Mammoth Mountain  CA.
The Ranger 98 is a versatile ski that skis well in all types of terrain; seen here charging through the trees at Mammoth Mountain, CA.

We still feel that a ski like this is of high value because it can be brought out on most days at the hill and be a solid performer.

Conclusion


The Ranger 98 Ti ranked high on our list overall in the Best Men's All-Mountain Ski Review. Consistent and versatile, it was given high marks by most testers, but couldn't stand up to the Editors' Choice award winning Volkl Mantra or even the Best Buy award winning Dynastar Cham 2.0 97. It's a techy product that can handle conditions all over the mountain. Next time we would consider trying a smaller size to make it more maneuverable in tight terrain and variable conditions.


Mike Phillips