2018-2019 Salomon XDR 88 Ti

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Salomon XDR 88 Ti for Blister
Salomon XDR 88 Ti

Ski: 2018-2019 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm

Available Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.9 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1790 & 1831 grams

Stated Dimensions: 132-88-115 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132-88-114.9 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 15 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3-4 mm

Core: Poplar + Titanal Layer + Carbon/Flax Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.35 cm from center; 82.1 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Head Raptor 140 RS / Salomon Warden MNC 13 Demo

Test Locations: Taos, NM; Arapahoe Basin, CO

Days Skied: 8

Intro

Last season, Salomon replaced a perennial Blister favorite, the X-Drive 8.8 FS, with a new ski called the XDR 88 Ti. The X-Drive 8.8 FS was an extremely stable destroyer of worlds that encouraged high speeds and big, arcing turns, so we were curious to see how many of the X-Drive 8.8’s trademark traits carried over in the XDR 88 Ti.

The XDR 88 Ti comes back unchanged for 18/19, so we wanted to get some more information up on this ski, and say more about how it compares to the ski it replaced.

Here’s what Salomon says about the XDR 88 Ti:

“Say hello to unlimited possibilities in the resort. High speed morning groomers, fresh powder and crud, even zipper bump lines. With unmatched performance on hard and soft snow, the XDR 88 Ti is your new everyday, every terrain ski.”

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 186 cm XDR 88 Ti:

Tips: 6-7
Shovels: 7-8.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8.5-8

The XDR 88 Ti’s tips are very accessible, and its tails aren’t quite as stiff as some of this skis in this class (e.g., Head Monster 88 Ti). But the XDR 88 Ti is still plenty stiff around the middle of the ski.

Compared to the X-Drive 8.8 FS, the XDR 88 Ti has softer tips and tails (the X-Drive 8.8 was pretty consistently stiff through its entire length).

Weight

Compared to pretty much every other ski in its class, the XDR 88 Ti is very light. And what’s really interesting is the ~300-gram difference between the 186 cm XDR 88 Ti and the 184 cm X-Drive 8.8 FS. With a difference that large, it’s not that surprising that these skis don’t feel all that similar (keep reading).

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski, in grams) for some notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length differences to keep things apples-to-apples.

1585 & 1586 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1790 & 1831 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1839 & 1842 Black Crows Orb, 178.3 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19)
1920 & 1940 Volkl Kendo, 177 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19)
1936 & 1954 Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti, 182 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1943 & 1968 Liberty V92, 186 cm (18/19)
1959 & 1985 Renoun Z-Line 90, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Skis Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2077 & 2092 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2131 & 2141 Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS, 184 cm (16/17)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88 Ti, 184 cm (18/19)

What we said about the XDR 88 Ti in our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide:

“The XDR 88 Ti replaced the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS, but this is a very different ski. It is 300 grams lighter and has more tip taper, but on smooth (and, preferably soft) groomers, get the XDR 88 Ti on edge, and it’ll pull you right into a strong carve with a decent amount of energy. On soft groomers, the edge hold of the XDR 88 Ti is also pretty strong, but on harsh, frozen groomers, the low weight and stiffer flex pattern of the XDR 88 Ti make the ski scary at high speeds; all the heavier skis in this section offer much better suspension and less deflection in harsh conditions. So our recommendation is to consider sizing down to make it even easier to snap off quicker, shorter turns, as opposed to making fewer, faster turns. That will play to the strengths of the 88 Ti.”

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Salomon XDR 88 Ti for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the the Salomon XDR 88 Ti for Blister, Taos Ski Valley, NM.

Fans of lightweight skis may rejoice. Fans of excellent suspension, stability, and harsh, firm-snow-performance won’t. So whether you like or dislike the XDR 88 Ti will very much depend on the conditions and terrain you will be skiing most often. And our advice is to keep it on soft, smooth, consistent, and / or very forgiving snow.

Bottom Line (For Now)

While the Salomon XDR 88 Ti is not the ultra-stable ski that the X-Drive 8.8 FS was, the XDR 88 Ti could work far better for intermediate skiers looking for a light, snappy ski to use while making tighter turns on groomers and forgiving snow.

And if you have any particular questions about the XDR 88 Ti or any other gear, become a Blister Member, shoot us a note, and we’ll put together our personalized gear recommendations for you.

Deep Dive: Salomon XDR 88 Ti

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to get access to our upcoming Deep Dive of the XDR 88 Ti, where we’ll directly compare it to skis like the Blizzard Brahma, Volkl Kendo, Liberty V92, K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, Head Monster 88 Ti, Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, and Renoun Z-Line 90.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

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