2018-2019 Rossignol Black Ops 118

Ski: 2018-2019 Rossignol Black Ops 118, 186 cm

Available Lengths: 176, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.2 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2438 & 2492 grams

Stated Dimensions: 145-118-140 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 145.7-117.6-140.4 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: Rossignol ain’t sayin’

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 72 mm / 60 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5-6 mm

Core: not available

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -2.4 cm from center; 89.7 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Nordica Strider 120 & Dalbello Lupo SP I.D. / Marker Jester

Test Location: Crested Butte, CO

Days Skied: 12

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 118 for Blister
Rossignol Black Ops 118
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

A few seasons ago, Rossignol started putting out extremely vague and mysterious posts about a new freestyle pow ski. The result was the Black Ops — a 118mm-wide ski designed with the input of backcountry-freestyle icons Parker White and Chris Logan. Not familiar with them? If so, I’d highly recommend setting aside some time to watch their recent film:

For the 18/19 season, Rossignol announced a narrower addition to the Black Ops line — the Black Ops 98. They then renamed the original Black Ops the Black Ops 118, added a 176 cm option for the 118 (in part to give the extremely talented Tatum Monod a ski to shred on), and we’ve now been getting time on the 186 cm model. The Black Ops 118 is reportedly the same as it was upon its release (apart from graphics), and we will also be getting on the Black Ops 98 soon.

Given Rossignol’s secretive stance with respect to the Black Ops line, we wanted to offer a closer look at the ski’s specs and to see how it compares to some of the other pow skis on the market. And given how the market has changed since the ski was originally released two seasons ago, the Black Ops 118 now stands out even more than it did then.

What Rossignol says about the Black Ops 118:

“The full-send mode, tool-of-choice for blasting through anything in your path. The ski that stays solid when others call it quits. Stomp and smear. Float and bounce. Solid when needed. Playful all the time. Backcountry booter and big mountain approved by C.LOGAN and P.WHITE.”

The phrase here that sticks out for me is “Solid when needed. Playful all the time.” Based on the ski’s specs, that seems like a pretty believable description…

Shape / Rocker Profile

As Jonathan noted in his First Look of the 16/17 Black Ops, this ski has almost no tip or tail taper. And this is pretty unusual these days for a 118mm-wide ski that’s designed to be able to pivot and play around in powder.

The Black Ops 118’s rocker profile is more typical for a freestyle pow ski — fairly deep tip and tail rocker lines, high, nearly symmetrical tip and tail splay, and a very even, symmetrical look overall. If anything, the Black Ops 118’s camber is the main thing that stands out — with around 5-6 mm of camber underfoot, it’s got more camber than we typically see on most skis this wide.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Black Ops 118:

Tips: 5.5-6
Shovels: 7-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Tails: 7-5.5

This is an interesting flex pattern. The last ~15 cm of the tips and tails (basically just where the tip and tail spacers are) are quite soft.

However, the flex then ramps up a lot, and does so pretty quickly. Apart from the very ends of the ski, the Black Ops 118 is quite stiff.

So you’ve got a very strong platform throughout the vast majority of the ski, and then soft extremities.

Weight

Take a quick glance at the list below. Of the currently available, ~110-125mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed, the Black Ops 118 is the second heaviest.

Of all the skis we’ve ever reviewed (including those not currently available), there aren’t many that are heavier than the Black Ops 118. We may have forgotten one or two, but the only heavier skis we can think of are the 184 cm Head Monster 108, the 192 cm Dynastar Pro Rider, the 194 cm 4FRNT Devastator, 190 cm Salomon Q-Lab, the 178 cm Fischer RC4 The Curv (w/ bindings plates), and the old 186 cm Blizzard Bodacious. It’s also worth noting that, apart from the Devastator, those are all very directional skis.

That said, I don’t want to over-emphasize the weight of the Black Ops 118. The ON3P Kartel 116 is also over 2400 grams, and it is a very, very good ski that we’ve still found to be quite playful.

So the main point here is just that the Black Ops 118 is not some featherweight jib ski that’ll probably only perform well in perfect snow. And that’s good news for many of us since, we assume that you too probably end up skiing a lot of not-perfect snow even on a pow day.

For reference, here are a whole bunch of our measured weights (per ski, in grams) for a number of notable skis. As always, note the length differences to keep things apples to apples.

1710 & 1744 Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm (18/19)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
2013 & 2099 Moment Wildcat / Blister Pro, 184 cm (18/19)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2083 & 2097 Line Magnum Opus, 188 cm (15/16–18/19)
2102 & 2137 Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (17/18–18/19)
2126 & 2173 Rossignol Super 7 RD, 190 cm (17/18–18/19)
2130 & 2130 Moment Wildcat / Blister Pro, 190 cm (18/19)
2133 & 2133 Salomon QST 118, 192 cm (17/18–18/19)
2161 & 2163 Faction Dictator 4.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2183 & 2190 Black Crows Anima, 188.4 cm (17/18–18/19)
2196 & 2199 Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm (17/18–18/19)
2220 & 2252 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
2222 & 2278 Prior CBC, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2228 & 2231 Blizzard Spur, 192 cm (17/18–18/19)
2230 & 2250 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 115, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
2246 & 2265 Fischer Ranger 115 FR, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2267 & 2270 Whitedot Ragnarok 118, 190 cm (16/17–18/19)
2296 & 2309 Liberty Origin Pro, 192 cm (17/18–18/19)
2297 & 2317 K2 Catamaran, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2341 & 2357 Dynastar PR-OTO Factory, 189 cm (18/19)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (18/19)
2346 & 2351 Nordica Enforcer Pro, 191 cm (17/18–18/19)
2370 & 2387 Volkl Confession, 193 cm (17/18–18/19)
2382 & 2395 ON3P Billy Goat, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2408 & 2421 ON3P Kartel 116, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2418 & 2433 ON3P Wrenegade 114, 189 cm (18/19)
2429 & 2437 Kingswood SMB, 188 cm (16/17–18/19)
2438 & 2492 Rossignol Black Ops 118, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2490 & 2529 K2 Catamaran, 191 cm (17/18–18/19)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious about

(1) Does the Black Ops 118 feel more like a stable (variable conditions) charger, or more like a surfy, playful (pow) ski? Or does it somehow manage to feel like both?

(2) How well does the ski accomodate a more forward or a more set back mount point?

(3) Related to #2: how well will more directional skiers get along with the Black Ops 118?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Rossignol Black Ops 118 is a big, heavy, and pretty strong ski that’s also got a very centered mount and nearly symmetrical rocker profile and shape.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Black Ops 118 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.

Sam Shaheen and I have now both spent time on the Black Ops 118, in conditions ranging from straight hardpack to more than two feet of snow at Crested Butte this past week.

And after all that, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Black Ops 118 is my all-time favorite resort powder ski, and one of my favorite skis in general.

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 118 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Rossignol Black Ops 118, Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

Quick Note on Mount Point

The Black Ops 118’s recommended mount point is around -2.4 cm from center. At that mount point, it definitely felt best when skied with a neutral, centered stance. I could pressure the front of the ski a bit, but it seemed like the ski wanted me to just stand in the middle and let it run.

I like skis with a balanced feel, but I also like having the option to drive a ski hard — particularly when the snow is variable, since driving the front of the ski often helps it track better at speed. So I ended up spending most of my time on the Black Ops 118 with the bindings at -4.4 cm from center. There, the Black Ops 118 offered the exact combo I was looking for. I could ski it centered and it felt balanced in the air, but I could also drive it pretty hard when skiing fast.

I think directional skiers who are always laying hard into the front of their skis may still prefer skis with more rearward mount points. But I think those who ski with a very neutral stance will get along well with the Black Ops 118 at the recommended line. And skiers who still want a balanced feel but who also want the option of driving the front of the ski will like the Black Ops 118 with the bindings moved back a bit.

Powder

This is what the Black Ops 118 was designed for, and it’s certainly a ton of fun in powder.

One of the things that stood out to Sam and me was how the Black Ops 118 felt solid on edge, but also very loose. Sam called it “sharp loose” on our recent GEAR:30 podcast, and I agree.

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 118 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Rossignol Black Ops 118, Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

In all depths of fresh snow, the Black Ops 118 was very easy to throw sideways. I didn’t have any trouble piloting it through CB’s many tight chutes and trees, and I loved how solid and balanced it felt when making lots of small turns down steep terrain. I think the ski has a huge sweet spot, and it required a major mistake on my part to feel like I was too far forward or back on it.

While the Black Ops 118 does feel very loose, it’s important to keep in mind that it weighs almost 2500 grams per ski. So you can definitely slash it around, but it takes a good deal of physical input to do so. After about a half a day on the ski, I got used to the weight and did not think the Black Ops 118 felt sluggish, especially given its weight. But if you want to be able to make super quick turns — and particularly if you want to do that all day — you’d probably be better off on a lighter and / or more tapered ski. My legs definitely feel pretty tired after skiing hard all day on the Black Ops 118.

In terms of float, the Black Ops 118 was very good. As I noted above, the ski felt best when skied from a centered stance when mounted on the recommended line. But when it was mounted -4.4 cm from center, I could drive the front of the ski more and I never had the tips dive on me. That said, if you are accustomed to very directional pow skis with mount points of -10, – 11, etc., you might feel differently, and should expect to need to adjust to the more forward mount, or just stick with more directional pow skis.

All in all, the Black Ops 118 is a blast in powder. It’s far from the quickest ski, but its weight becomes much more of a benefit when that fresh snow starts to get tracked out.

Soft Chop

The Black Ops 118 feels like a freaking monster truck in chop. I found myself skiing faster, going bigger, and otherwise just skiing more aggressively on the Black Ops 118 in chop than I have on any other ski. It’s big, rockered, and fairly soft tips absorbed impacts when I’d punch through to the firm base, but the ski is strong enough in the middle that I could just blow up all of the soft patches.

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 118 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Rossignol Black Ops 118, Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

I think directional skiers who ski with a very aggressive, forward stance will prefer skis with stiffer tips and more rearward mount points. But with the bindings at -4.4 cm from center, I could drive the Black Ops 118 quite hard, and I never found its speed limit in chop. Of all the skis I’ve been on, I think the Black Ops 118 is the most stable in soft chop.

Since my resort powder days often only consist of a handful of truly untracked turns and much more of my time is spent skiing chop, I absolutely love the Black Ops 118 as a resort “pow” ski. It makes mobbing through chop almost as fun as skiing untracked snow, and not too many skis this wide pull that off.

Firm Chop / Crud

When the snow firms up, the Black Ops 118 maintains that monster-truck feel — it’s incredibly damp, and it does not get deflected easily.

That said, the Black Ops 118’s mass and size does make skiing fast through firm crud pretty tiring, and my ankles and knees definitely felt the impact of that after a long day of skiing fast on the Black Ops 118 on firm snow.

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 118 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Rossignol Black Ops 118, Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

I mentioned earlier the Black Ops 118’s “sharp loose” feel, and that combo proved to be a huge asset on days when the snow varied from soft to quite firm. The ski held an edge well for its size on the firm sections, and then I could easily slash every little stash of fresh snow that was left over. For a 118mm-wide, 2400+ gram ski, the Black Ops 118 is surprisingly versatile. Which takes us to…

Groomers

I had way too much fun laying over hard carves on the Black Ops 118. This ski is stupid good on fairly soft groomers for how big it is. I would prefer a narrower ski for days where conditions are brutally firm, but if the groomers were soft at all, the Black Ops 118 held an edge, initiated turns easily, and I was pretty blown away by how hard I could carve it.

Of course, I don’t think many people are too worried about how hard they can rip groomers on their 118mm-wide pow ski. But since I know plenty of people that ski 115mm+ skis as their daily drivers, I think it’s worth noting that the Black Ops 118 is far from some niche ski that is only fun in perfect, untracked, deep snow.

Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain

The Black Ops 118 is a lot of work in tight spots, but I wouldn’t call it a punishing ski. I think you need to be physically strong to ski it, but you don’t need to have perfect technique.

As I noted above, the Black Ops 118 has a big sweet spot. That, combined with its forgiving tips and tails and loose feel make it pretty easy to ski in bumps, trees, etc. You just need to keep in mind that it’s a very heavy ski, and is not nearly as quick as many other skis in its class.

Despite its hefty weight, I still really liked the Black Ops 118 in tight terrain. It’s very easy to slide around, and I got used to the weight pretty quickly. It was only after I switched back to other skis like the Faction Prodigy 4.0 and K2 Mindbender 116C that I noticed the weight of the Black Ops 118.

Playfulness

The Black Ops 118 is a very playful ski that feels like it’s designed to spin, slash, and flip. But it’s also a very hefty ski, and that affects how playful it feels.

Spins and shifties on the Black Ops 118 required significantly more effort than other freestyle-oriented skis I’ve used. The Black Ops 118 feels very balanced in the air, but you really need to initiate tricks hard and early to get it around, rather than being able to decide to throw something mid-air like you can on lighter skis.

So if you’re looking for a ski that you can toss around with ease, this is probably not the best option. But if you’re not doing huge rotations, or you’re willing to put more thought and effort into takeoffs, the Black Ops 118 is a great option. And it should be even more appealing if the in-runs and runouts you hit tend to be choppy or rough. Because before and after it’s in the air, the Black Ops 118 feels extremely solid, even at high speeds. And when you’re coming back to earth, the Black Ops 118 provides a really big, supportive landing platform.

Who’s It For?

Hard-charging, playful skiers who find more traditional, directional skis to feel bland or boring, but who still want to be able to ski really fast through chop and variable snow.

Very aggressive directional skiers may want a ski with a stiffer tip and a more rearward mount point. And skiers who prioritize quickness and a low swing weight over high-speed stability should check out lighter skis (see the “Powder Skis – More Playful” section in our Winter Buyer’s Guide). But if you want a ski that is loose and balanced, but that’s also capable of mobbing through chop, we think that the Black Ops 118 is one of the best options on the market.

Bottom Line

“Solid when needed. Playful all the time.” That’s how Rossignol describes the Black Ops 118, and I have to say, they pretty much hit it spot-on. The Black Ops 118 is a ski that feels very stable and composed at high speeds, yet it’s also easy to slash and feels balanced in the air. It’s far from the most nimble ski, and it does require a good deal of input to ski. But for those who are willing to put in the effort, the Black Ops 118 offers a phenomenal blend of playfulness and stability.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Black Ops 118 to see how it stacks up against the Moment Blister Pro / Wildcat, K2 Catamaran, Icelantic Nomad 115, Blizzard Spur, and Prior CBC.

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20 comments on “2018-2019 Rossignol Black Ops 118”

  1. I could have sworn the Dynastar Factory Proto is the heavier ski, having picked up both skis (Proto & Black Ops) at Snell Sports, Chamonix, where both of these skis were on display side by side. But, interesting…

  2. Skied the Black Ops for a season when they first came out.
    Now riding a Faction CT 5.0. There is an intriguing comparison.
    I won’t give my own report as you guys are more adept at reporting and better skiers than me.
    There are some elements that each share like lack of serious or any taper.
    There are also things that stand out about the Faction CT 5.0 (152 122 140) like weight (much lighter).
    Love to see you guys get your hands on a pair or just jump on mine if ever in Bend.
    Prior CBC’s on the way thanks to your awesome reviews I don’t feel like I am rolling the dice at all. Anxiously waiting.
    Just need to throw down for another Blister membership (it kind of pays for itself)

    • Ran these through a long groomer, a punishing mogul run, and steep powder and fell in love with them. Very surprising how well these performed on the scraped off groomer, did not expect that. At 186, they were also more nimble in the mogul than I thought they would be. I was able to ski these at a demo day last weekend, I would’ve bought them on the spot if they were for sale.

  3. Did you get this ski out in deep, heavy, wet snow? Maritime snowpack has taught me to be leery of pow skis w/ this much camber. You can manhandle any ski profile in blower, but I’ve never skied a pow ski w more than 4mm camber that didn’t drive contact points down into sticky snow causing “hooky” behavior when pivoting In deep, wet conditions.

  4. Sweet ski. I’ve been riding it since it was released, as my pow ski of choice for deeper days at Kicking Horse and sled skiing. I think unless your using this to spin off BC booters, mount at least -2cm to -4cm behind the rec line, giving distance of -5 to -7 from true center. I agreed with Jeff above, they need a longer length for the big guys out there, I’m 135lbs 5’9 and the 186 is great for me. Now if only Rossi made 1 more ski in the blackops line to bridge the gap between the 118 and the 98. Something around 110mm underfoot, very slightly full reverse camber, 21m turn radius, damp, stiff underfoot and no taper. That would be a great everyday ski right! Or just re-release the sickle and call it good!

  5. It’s (also) too wide (, too!…)
    My alltime favourite ski remains the (last version of) Sickle 181 and although it’s simply royal compared to anything else under my feet, I could’ve enjoyed even more a </=108 waisted one…
    I look fwd to the next year's Black Ops 107 on which I've already planned an 'extraction'…

  6. Great review including your impressions of the Pros & Cons of the Black Ops ski. When I was reading about the good points (especially re crud busting, stability at speed and ability to carve) I thought that sounds just like the Moment Blister/Wildcat/Bibby Pro…an amazing big mountain, resort powder ski in my opinion.
    Anyone yet test both skis back to back… (A/B), same runs, same day?? Curious as to impressions, as for me at me weight (205 lbs) I’ve also found no spped limit on the Bibbys (crud or groomers) while finding them remarkably nimble at slow speeds in steep, tight spots for a 190cm, 118mm ski.

    • Yep — I ended up skiing on the same day the Black Ops 118 and current 190 cm Blister Pro / Wildcat. I’d recommend checking out our Deep Dive of the Black Ops 118 for some info on that comparison.

  7. Funny, this ski has a very similar weight, shape, width, flex and rocker/camber profile to another ski, the Nordica Helldorado, that Blister somewhat panned in the from several years ago. Have you been on those and if so, how would you compare the 2?

    • I haven’t skied the Helldorado, but based on Jonathan’s review, it sounds like the main differences are in the flex patterns and rocker profiles of the ski. The Black Ops’ tips and tails curl up much more than the Helldorado’s, and maybe as a result, I’ve never had any issue with the Black Ops “spearing” into the snow or diving in deep pow like Jonathan and Jason did on the Helldorado.

      The other main issue Jonathan had with the Helldorado was its flex pattern — it had very soft tips and tails, and it sounds like they stayed softer longer than the Black Ops’ do (the Black Ops is really only soft in the last ~15 cm of the tips and tails, and is quite stiff everywhere else). Jonathan has said that the Helldorado had a pretty small sweet spot that made it hard to stay balanced in variable conditions and terrain, but I would say the Black Ops 118 is the opposite — it feels like it has a huge sweet spot, and I always felt pretty balanced on it.

      • I don’t know, the flex pattern you listed above for the Black Ops…

        Tips: 5.5-6
        Shovels: 7-8
        In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
        Underfoot: 10
        Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
        Tails: 7-5.5

        …would pretty much be exactly how I’d rate the Helldorados. They really don’t stay soft for very long and are super stiff and damp as you get closer to center. Would really love to try the Black Ops based on your review though, sounds great.

    • I haven’t skied the S7, but based on what others have said about it, I think the two skis would feel very different. The S7 has a much more tapered shape than the Black Ops 118, and as a result, I imagine the Black Ops 118 would not feel nearly as quick and easy to pivot in tight spots. But on the other hand, the Black Ops 118 should feel much, much more stable at speed and hold an edge better on firm snow. I think the two skis suit different skiing styles — if you ski a lot of trees or tight terrain and prioritize quickness over stability, then the S7 probably makes more sense. If you ski a bit of everything and appreciate a ski that you can ski extremely fast on through chop and variable snow, then the Black Ops 118 is a better option.

  8. I got the 118 last year and agree with your entire review. Unfortunately, there were no reviews when I got them, and I mounted at factory recommendation, and it sounds like the way I like to ski is similar to you Luke.

    I’m east coast, and when I heard the BO 98 was available, I ordered it. I just need to decide where to mount. I’m fairly sensitive to mounting points, and I hate remounting.

    Luke, do you have any objective or experiential info regarding this? I got the 180ish length. Would you go factory rec less 2 on these as well?

    I’m grateful for your insight.

  9. Ski the black Ops in the last 2 weeks at Whitefish, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse and catski Mustang Powder. The Black Ops 118 is exactly as described by Luke. It is a fantastic powder ski for resort and even in catski in deep powder. I mount it on the recommended line and very happy with it. Very stable and balanced in air too. Even i am having a slightly preference for the Armada Magic J for catski, the black Ops is so strong on edges in steep couloir with hard/icy snow. Much better than the Magic J. Yes, heavy a bit in tight trees but great charger ski. Yes as many comments a 192cm will be a good option.

  10. I’ve demoed the Black Ops ski over two periods, back in November at Loveland and recently at Copper Mt., in maybe 2-4” of powder only, with wind drift and crud, but also groomers. I demoed both the 98 (sometimes called the Black Panther), and the 118. The first time, both were the personal skis of the Rossi rep – his daily driver and powder skis respectively. And I liked both skis also, which had a lot in common in terms of skiing “feel”.

    As usual, I found your review great, detailed and almost entirely accurate for myself also. To me, you really “got” this ski – how it works, and what it’s about. Thanks!

    So thanks for your review of the 118 Black Ops 186 (186; pull length 184.2). But I have to add, you are wrong in saying that this ski has no ski to compare it to of equal weight (and ability). Believe it or not, your entire description (past a few spec details) might as well be covering one of my other favorite skis, the 189 (for me pull length 190/191) K2 Pettitor 120, discontinued last year, when that ski is mounted at the right mount points, e.g., corresponding to the two points mentioned in your review for the Black Ops 118 (the rec. mt. point, where tip drive feel is maybe there but minimal; and the other point 2 cm back, where tip drive potential becomes greater; depending on the skier, for the 189 (90/91) Pettitor, the first is at about +3.5 to +4.5, the second at +1.5 to +3.5, in my (our) experience).

    Actually, explored at the correct mount points, and for myself and friends, these two fatter skis, Rossi and K2, could have been different year versions or further development of the same ski, and the similarities in design, feel, usage and performance in detail are so great that just the different lengths and widths could account for most differences (both playful, fine-floating, heavy, easy, forgiving powder/crud tanks; either charger or laid back, that carve and tear up groomers also, turn rounded quick, but are a bit heavy for big bumps or tight trees – at least for me/us. And both do Sean Pettit turns.)

    (I could give more detail on the comparison, but almost enough. Both rely on soft-stiff-soft, and turned up tips and tails. Tip/waist/tail dimensions are proportionally close: 145-118-140 Bl.Ops, 147-120-141 for longer Pets. The 186 (184.2) Black Ops fits in nicely in size between the 179 (180) Pettitors of Sean and the 189 (190/191, for mine) at times of Seth.

    You guys rarely miss the boat on an incredible ski (except for race skis and some near race skis). But with the fore-runner – and equal, to me – of the Black Ops 118, you did. So I’m glad you found the Black Ops 118s and “got” it.

    (Unfortunately, the 189 Pettitors are, in my/our experience, a bit unstable and mostly mediocre at +5, the mount you reviewed back when the 189 Pettitor was first being made.)

    I’d love to say more about both skis, but I’ve probably said too much already.
    Gad, but you are a favorite website, and yet you’ve missed out on such a great ski – until now with the new Black Ops reprising the Pettitors, and one of your new favorites too.

    (Note: I like the shorter, 179 (180) “Sean” Pettitors too – and maybe would the shorter 176 Black Ops, but they have a different dynamic due to length.)

    Not sure you will believe me, but, if not, try

    https://silvertonmountain.com/shop/rentals/k2-fat-skis/

    “K2 Pettitor – 120 Underfoot -Sean Pettit’s pro model. The most well-rounded powder ski on the market.”

    – (a quote from the Silverton Mountain website. Maybe it could now apply to the 118 Black Ops also.)

  11. Hi all – i am relatively new to the site, but own a pair of Rossi Black Ops 118, so thought I might have some perspective here on a relatively new ski. Me: 6’4″, 220 lbs, 47 yrs old, advanced / expert skier, west coast.

    Now about the ski. When I bought the ski, I was interested in finding a great powder ski, in particular one that I could use for heli / cat skiing. I’d be lying if I said that I was not also intrigued by the “mystery” of this ski, so when I saw them on sale at the end of last year (in the original black guise I, which was pretty cool too I thought), I bought them. I have now skied on them periodically for a season, and thought I might offer some perspective on the Blister review.

    Big picture, I feel like I should start by saying that in many ways I feel let down by the promise of this ski. That said, if I’m honest about it, I think this was more a case of “buyer beware” than anything with the product itself. Which is to say, you need to read the fine print on what this ski is and isn’t. Even the Blister review headline starts with “our managing editor is calling the Rossignol Black Ops 118 his favorite resort pow ski of all time…” Interestingly the review also ends with “my main takeaway from this ski though is that it feels like a purpose-built tool with a very specific end user in mind — a pow ski for physically strong advanced to expert skiers who ski with a neutral stance and like to jump off stuff, but not necessarily spin/flip.” I guess I see how both of these statements are true, but you really need to pay attention to the word “resort” here. The fine print. This is not a general purposes tool for “powder” IMO. But I digress….

    Yes, I agree this ski is a very good resort powder ski, but with some real caveats. Note I say “resort” because at least for heavier folks like myself, you need to find the bottom the of snowpack for this ski to work, even with a neutral stance, or risk excessive tip dive. Here’s my experience:

    The first time I used these skis, we had 12″ of fresh snow (heavy PNW snow) on top of hardpack / ice. Even then, I felt like I was getting too much tip dive, and would just get launched forward when I didn’t want to. As a result I spent a lot of time and effort that day driving from the back seat. Not so fun.

    So that night I remounted the ski to -2 of recommended to give them a little more float. The next day I took these skis into the side country to find some leftovers from the prior storm, and I had a blast. IMO opinion, this is the sweet spot for this ski. Mount them a bit back (although I think you need to be careful about how much, or risk screwing with the camber / flex), keep a neutral stance, and make sure the snowpack has some bottom to it, and I think you can’t go wrong. In those conditions, these skis felt super playful, damp, stable, held an edge when needed, and inspired a lot of confidence, especially as things got tracked out. I felt like I could plow through just about anything – crud, bushes, small animals, children, the lodge, etc. I might also add that I am too old anymore to really launch off anything, but on these skis, on that day, I felt like I probably could have, and I would have been fine.

    But then I took the skis heli-skiing, and that was my mistake. Tip dive returned in spades. I spent a lot of time that week driving from the back seat. Things got better on steeps, where I could slarve the skis a bit more, but anything low angle was work. I still had fun I guess, but every turn started with the tail, not the tip. And I was exhausted every day by noon as a result. Maybe I should remount them again to -4 of recommended per the Blister review, but I think for someone my size that will not really change the fundamentals of the ski in the deepest snow.

    All of which is to say…. for bigger folks like myself, I think these skis are best kept in the resort for “powder” days, but are far less suitable in the bottomless snow you can find on heli / cat trips.

    My $0.02.

  12. Bought this ski last year before this review was published. I mounted at -5 from true center. I bought this ski with the intentions of it being just my pow ski, but the more I skied it, the more I liked it and realized how hard it could be pushed. I ski Alta/Bird and I had been primarily skiing on Gunsmokes as my everyday driver, and this ski does everything I liked about the gunsmokes, better, and raises the limit by a few notches. With this ski, I felt like I could really ski as hard as I wanted without worrying about the ski folding or getting sloppy with speed. I haven’t felt more confident skiing hard on any ski I’ve ever been on.
    I ended up finishing the last half of the season using nothing but this ski. It kills it in all conditions. Awesome to make big hard carves, can be driven in bumps (where I mounted them (I only weigh 145 as well)), and never had an issue with diving in pow. Spring slush was great. This season I was able to hit a lot of features I hadn’t felt confident hitting in the past, and they made it seem easy.
    I’d say if you want a wide, non-directional ski, that can legitimately carve as well as slash with a bit of effort, and can charge hard through any type of decent snow, that will allow you to be a better skier… you won’t find something better than this. I skied 190 Wildcat’s for a day, and although I loved them too, for me, the Blackops are the exact ski I’ve been looking for (though very similar to my day on the Wildcats). Mine are still in great shape, and I just bought another pair, that’s how good I think they are!

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