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Rossignol Experience 88 TI Review

This ski is redesigned to handle all conditions well, but it requires and expert pilot and we still like it best when we're carving up the groomers.
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Price:  $650 List | $649.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Turny, quick edge to edge
Cons:  Requires an expert skier
Manufacturer:   Rossignol
By Andrew Pierce ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 9, 2019
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 9
  • Carving - 20% 8
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Powder - 20% 6
  • Playfulness - 15% 6
  • Bumps - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Rossignol redesigned the hard-charging Experience 88 TI to make it a more versatile all-mountain ski. While it is still not your go-to powder or soft snow ski, some design and material changes have made it a more enjoyable ski in a range of conditions. It still prefers groomers and firm snow, and it excels in those conditions, but it also improves in most of the areas it used to lack. We tested the Experience 88 TI in a 187cm length, and it was plenty of ski for all of our testers. Sporting a unique use of titanal and a new progressive sidecut, this revamped ski surprised some of our testers with its significant improvements. Still, it's best suited to an East coast, on-piste skier who doesn't see a lot of powder and loves to rail groomers.


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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.

Performance Comparison


Making quick tight turns on the Experience 88 TI feels natural. This is where this ski belongs  ripping a wide-open groomer on a sunny day.
Making quick tight turns on the Experience 88 TI feels natural. This is where this ski belongs, ripping a wide-open groomer on a sunny day.

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 and the K2 Pinnacle 88 TI.

The Experience 88 TI can also be fun and controlled when going only Mach 4, unlike the Blizzard Bonafide, which requires 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.

Laying the Experience 88 TI over on edge is what this ski was designed to do. It is right at home on the hard pack and easily carves beautiful turns  especially at high speeds.
Laying the Experience 88 TI over on edge is what this ski was designed to do. It is right at home on the hard pack and easily carves beautiful turns, especially at high speeds.

Carving


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 the K2 Pinnacle 88 TI. Both have a similar radius of around 17m. The Experience felt slightly less poppy than a ski like the Volkl Mantra M5, but skied just as smoothly through a turn.

The Experience 88 TI can bust some crud. Thanks to its layers of titanal  this ski is able to absorb impacts from a variety of snow conditions.
The Experience 88 TI can bust some crud. Thanks to its layers of titanal, this ski is able to absorb impacts from a variety of snow conditions.

Crud


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 like the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, and the tail catches like the Line Sick Day 94. 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 Editor's Choice, the Mantra M5.

The newly redesigned Experience 88 TI has a tip shape similar to its more pow-oriented brother  the Rossignol Soul 7 HD. The Experience is not a great pow ski  but obviously  some fun can still be had in the soft stuff.
The newly redesigned Experience 88 TI has a tip shape similar to its more pow-oriented brother, the Rossignol Soul 7 HD. The Experience is not a great pow ski, but obviously, some fun can still be had in the soft stuff.

Powder


Rossignol changed the shape of the tips in the Experience 88 TI to more closely match their powder oriented Soul 7 HD. While this makes the ski slightly more floaty and easy to maneuver in powder conditions than earlier versions, it still dives into the fresh in similar fashion to the wider Blizzard Bonafide. 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.

While the Experience 88 TI is not the most playful ski we tested  we put it through the wringer just like the rest of the skis.
While the Experience 88 TI is not the most playful ski we tested, we put it through the wringer just like the rest of the skis.

Playfulness


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 like the Blizzard Bonafide, but it is unforgiving and demanding like the K2 Pinnacle 88 TI. 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 ski like the Black Crows Daemon or Blizzard Rustler 10.

The Experience is not the best ski we tested in the bumps  but thanks to its light weight and narrow waist  we successfully navigated most mogul fields.
The Experience is not the best ski we tested in the bumps, but thanks to its light weight and narrow waist, we successfully navigated most mogul fields.

Bumps


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, like the fully rockered Black Crows Daemon with a little softer flex, 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.

Experts will enjoy the Experience on groomers and will be able to pilot it off-piste. Less experienced skiers will want to stick to the corduroy.
Experts will enjoy the Experience on groomers and will be able to pilot it off-piste. Less experienced skiers will want to stick to the corduroy.

Best Application


The best place for the Rossignol 88 TI is on the feet of an expert skier who prefers to carve fast turns on steeply groomed pitches. It has the ability to venture off-piste and still be fun, but if the conditions aren't predictable, the ski tends to take control. The redesign made this ski less catchy and more floaty, but not to the point where it can compete with award winners in the men's all-mountain ski category.

Value


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.

The Experience 88 TI isn't playful by nature  but you can get it in the air. It's just that it takes the job a little too seriously.
The Experience 88 TI isn't playful by nature, but you can get it in the air. It's just that it takes the job a little too seriously.

Conclusion


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