From the chalky steeps of Telluride and Taos Ski Valley, to the slushy, wide-open terrain of A-Basin, Brian Lindahl and I both spent time on the new Experience 94 Ti this past season (and didn’t entirely agree on it), so we’ll both be weighing in here.
Smooth, Clean Groomers
Brian Lindahl (5’10”, 180 lbs): In his First Look, Jonathan commented on how the Experience 94 Ti looked like a very piste-oriented ski, and that it might perform well on groomers. But while the Experience 94 Ti hasn’t exhibited any unusual behavior on groomers, I personally haven’t found it to be particularly exciting, either.
Loading up the Experience 94 Ti in a turn didn’t create much pop or energy (which was a bit surprising given its 8 mm of traditional camber underfoot). And while the Experience 94 Ti’s tail grips nicely, its shovel didn’t really pull me into a turn. Its shovel actually felt a bit loose and didn’t track as well as the rest of the ski, which could feel a bit disconcerting at higher speeds.
Overall, I’d say that the Experience 94 Ti does best on groomers when not being pushed from turn to turn at high edge angles — investing this sort of energy just feels kind of wasted since the ski doesn’t return much of it back. It’ll get you to the bottom of a groomed run in a pleasant and laid-back manner, but it’s not the most dynamic or engaging ski on groomers.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs): While Brian didn’t find the Experience 94 Ti to feel all that exciting on groomers, I really liked it. To be clear, I agree with Brian that the shovels of the ski weren’t quick to initiate a turn, but the upside here is that the shovels work pretty well in moguls and in other off-piste scenarios. That said…
Even on pretty firm groomers, I found that the Exp 94 Ti felt more comfortable at very high speeds than I would have guessed. No, we’re not talking about the kind of stability you get from a ski with an extra 400 g (a la the HEAD Monster 98), but I was pushing the Experience 94 Ti hard. And while I didn’t always feel comfortable committing to high edge angles on firm, steep groomers, I did not feel compelled to check my speed that often. And given that this is a pretty light ski for its length, that was impressive to me.
And then, on softer groomers, this ski kills it — if you’re into big, fast GS turns. The Experience 94 Ti’s wide, strong tails and subtle tail rocker made this ski a joy to carve. On very firm slopes, the skis were quite compliant, so if you didn’t feel like committing to a hard carve, it was easy to feather and slide turns at slow speeds. But no question (and perhaps especially in the 187 cm length) this ski likes speed.
As for those 8 mm of traditional camber underfoot, I’d mostly agree with Brian in that I thought the Experience 94 Ti’s rebound out of a turn was more predictable than eye-popping. I don’t think I’ve yet to feel like I was being catapulted out of a turn on the Experience 94 Ti. Instead, I’d say that it has good energy out of a turn, but I never worried that the ski was going to buck me / that I was going to be sent flying.
Brian: At the end of the day when pristine groomers become marred by piles of pushed-around snow, the design of the Experience 94 Ti has some advantages and some disadvantages. Its shovels don’t track quite as well as skis with more engaging shovels (e.g., Atomic Vantage 97 Ti or the Head Kore 99), so navigating around these piles doesn’t feel quite as precise on the Experience 94 Ti.
However, the Experience 94 Ti’s fairly forgiving shovel did provide some suspension to the ski when I did hit patches of snow. I found that the Experience 94 Ti’s shovels didn’t deflect as much as some lighter or stiffer skis. At slower speeds, the Experience 94 Ti was manageable, though breaking it out of a carve doesn’t feel as smooth as it did on some skis with looser and / or more heavily rockered tails.
Jonathan: Hmmm, I’m not sure I totally agree with Brian here. He might be right, but I’d say that the differences here are fairly subtle rather than really pronounced.
My primary takeaway: the softer the roughed-up groomer, the more at home this ski feels. The more we’re talking about really firm, frozen chunked up coral reef, the less at home.
I guess if I pushed, I would (overall) say that the Experience 94 Ti is more powerful than precise. It has a pretty forgiving shovel (as Brian notes), but the back half of this ski is pretty strong.
Variable Summer Snow
Brian: In variable summer snow and particularly at higher speeds, skis with good suspension really shine. While the Experience 94 Ti doesn’t have best-in-class suspension, I’d say it absorbs / dampens impacts pretty well for its relatively low weight. When the clumps of snow were firmer, larger, and almost mogul-like, the Experience 94 Ti’s shovels did a decent job of absorbing the bumps without bucking me like a ski with a stiffer shovel might have. However, when the clumps were smaller and softer (i.e., to the point where I would rather ski through them than around them), the Experience 94 Ti’s shovel also doesn’t offer much support when really laid into, so it doesn’t inspire quite the level of confidence that stronger shovels can at high speeds.
But at lower speeds in variable summer snow, the Experience 94 Ti performs very well. The soft snow makes it easier to release the tail, and its shovel offers plenty of support when not pushing the ski super hard.
Jonathan: Yeah, I can live with this description.
Deep Chop & Steeper, Tighter Spaces
Jonathan: These were the only scenarios where I really didn’t like the Experience 94 Ti. Basically, if you have the room to keep the Experience 94 Ti pointed more down the fall line, you’ll have little issue. But in pushed-around piles of chop on steeper slopes or in trees — terrain where you really have to get the skis moving much more side-to-side than directly down the fall line, those tails could slice into the snow and get caught / hung up.
Brian: In moguls the Experience 94 Ti was confidence inspiring, yet also fairly forgiving for how stiff the ski is overall. Its tails could be a bit punishing if I got too far back on my heels, but I had to screw up in a pretty major way for that to happen. Its shovels did a good job of absorbing the impact of each mogul, like they did with clumped-up variable summer snow, while also pushing back just the right amount to provide support when skiing with an aggressive stance. Overall, the Experience 94 Ti is one of the better mogul skis I’ve been on in a while.
Jonathan: I’m with Brian on this one. For advanced mogul skiers, the Experience 94 Ti offers a really nice combination of a fairly forgiving tip, pretty powerful tail. When zipperlining moguls, I thought the Experience 94 Ti’s strong tails were fantastic, and I loved the shovels of the Experience 94 Ti in moguls. Pretty quick up front, strong in the back. Mess up at speed and the tails will punish you, but in good bump lines, I think advanced skiers will like the Experience 94 Ti.
Equally important, I found these skis to work well at slow speeds on slightly soft bumps. It was pretty easy to slide the ski through the troughs — though this becomes a lot less true in moguls made up of pushed-around-piles of chop. In steeper chop bumps (I think we just invented a new term?), I found that the tails of the Experience 94 Ti would slice into the piles of snow and get caught. Skis with more tail rocker and less stiff tails will fare better here.
But if you are looking for a ski that is particularly easy and forgiving in bumps, the Experience 94 Ti will likely be a bit too much ski.
Jonathan: I quite like the 187 cm Experience 94 Ti, but I am also quite curious about the 180, and (assuming that it has a strong tail that’s similar to the 187’s), I can imagine that a lot of skiers will get along well with the 180. I think the 180 will be even quicker and a good bit more manageable in bumps, but those who are most interested in the top-end performance of this ski probably should stick with a longer length.
Who’s It For?
If you are an advanced skier who likes moguls or shallower, variable snow and you don’t tend to really lay into the tips of a ski, then I think the Experience 94 Ti should definitely be on your radar. And I think expert skiers who want a pretty strong ski that’s a solid all-mountain performer (as opposed to a ski that isn’t as comfortable off-piste but maybe offers more precision and carving performance) will really enjoy the Experience 94 Ti. Beginner and intermediate skiers, however, might find the strength of the tail to be a bit too much to manage.
The Rossignol Experience 94 Ti is a little bit like a reverse mullet — there’s a smaller party in the front (it’s not a full-blown rager), and there’s some fairly serious business being conducted in the back. It’s strong tail is supportive and will be appreciated by those who have the technique to put it to use. But expect the front of the ski to feel a bit more easy-going, loose (good for moguls and off-piste action) if a bit disconnected when carving hard.
So yes, you can find more precise carvers, but you’ll likely have less fun on them in moguls and around the rest of the mountain. And you can definitely find looser, more forgiving skis out there, but those softer, more rockered skis (in most cases) won’t deliver the power or the precision of the Experience 94 Ti.
Deep Dive Comparisons: Rossignol Experience 94 Ti
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Experience 94 Ti to see how it stacks up against the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, HEAD Kore 93, DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, Nordica Enforcer 93, Blizzard Brahma & Bonafide, Liberty Origin 96 & V92, and J Skis Masterblaster.
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