Rossignol Experience 88 TI Review
Cons: Requires an expert skier
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rossignol Experience 88 TI is an advanced-expert level ski that has the capability get you anywhere on the mountain, but still prefers to be on a freshly groomed piste.
Stability at Speed
As with most of our skis in the men's all-mountain category, the Experience 88 TI handles high-speed skiing very well. In fact, when you get the Experience up to cruising speeds, it is as consistently damp and stable as the Volkl Mantra M5.
The Experience 88 TI can also be fun and controlled when going only Mach 4, and does not require Mach 5 to shine. The ski ensures full edge contact throughout speedy turns with plenty of camber underfoot and a bit of rocker on the tip and tail. Even though the Experience 88 TI has what Rossignol calls an air tip, we didn't feel any of the minor chatter in the tip further down the ski. This ski's optimal operating speed is fast.
Previous versions of Rossignol's Experience line were known almost exclusively as stiff and fast carving skis. The new Experience 88 TI still has most of the carving capability of older iterations. The ski is quite quick edge to edge and feels powerful and responsive with input from an aggressive skier.
A less aggressive skier might experience slightly less performance when arcing turns on groomers but should still expect a fun short turn shape similar to other narrow-waisted skis. Our testers found that the Experience felt slightly less poppy than some other skis, but skied just as smoothly through a turn.
Overall, this ski is fairly damp. But the Experience 88 TI is best in the hands of experts when the snow conditions being to deteriorate. Despite a rounder tip and tale, the tip tends to deflect and the tail catches a bit. Still, the slightly pronounced tip rocker does put the ski on top of less than prime conditions.
The Experience 88 TI takes an experienced rider to direct it through chopped up powder and refrozen chunks. Those layers of titanal can take the abuse, but you have to be prepared to as well. Our testers found it takes more work and energy to keep this ski under control than our crud busting king and Editors' Choice.
Rossignol changed the shape of the tips in the Experience 88 TI to more closely match their powder oriented line. While this makes the ski slightly more floaty and easy to maneuver in powder conditions than earlier versions, it still dives too deep into the fresh. The Experience also felt too stiff to be playful in the fluff. It is not the ski to choose if you've constantly got pow on the brain.
This ski not forgiving or of flexy, which are two traits our testers generally seek out when searching for a playful all-mountain ski. The Experience 88 TI did not feel dead, but it is unforgiving and demanding. Our testers still hucked these skis off anything they could find for the sake of thorough testing, but they preferred to do so on a more forgiving set of skis.
The Experience 88 TI may be stiff and ski long, but its narrow waist and newly progressive sidecut allowed our testers to navigate smaller and medium-sized bumps well. Tightly spaced, bigger bumps tended to buck our testers out of control. More tip and tail rocker would make the Experience 88 TI more versatile. Anybody choosing this ski should not be planning on spending all their time trying to stick a zipper bump line.
Rossignol has dropped the price point on their entire experience line, and so the Experience 88 TI is a better value than it has been in the past. This ski is in the middle of the pack as far as price and performance.
Rossignol has made some significant improvements to the Experience 88 TI and, in our opinion, made a better all-mountain ski. It does certain things well, like staying stable at speed and carving. It's new sidecut profile, slightly increased tip rocker, and light swing weight add to the skis ability in pow, bumps, and playfulness. Overall, it is still a ski that performs better on than off-piste, and is better suited to an East coast skier who loves railing fast turns.
— Andrew Pierce