Ski: 2019-2020 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm
Available Lengths: 161, 169, 177, 184 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.8 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1900 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1937 & 1945 grams
Stated Dimensions: 127-93-118 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 127.1-92.3-117.7 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 18 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 39 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm
Core: Beech/Poplar + Titanal Binding Reinforcement + Carbon Fiber Tip + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.4 cm from center; 84.5 cm from tail
- Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs
- Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 175 lbs
Test Location: Crested Butte, CO
Days Skied: 9
Last year we were pretty blown away by the Fischer Ranger 102 FR. It’s a very strong ski that you can push very hard, but it’s a bit more playful compared to most other directional all-mountain skis.
Well, apparently Fischer was also pretty happy with their creation because, for 19/20, they’re adding a narrower version of the 102 FR — the Ranger 94 FR.
So just how similar is the new Ranger 94 FR, and how does its design compare to the other options in its class?
Shape / Rocker Profile
The new Ranger 94 FR looks very similar to the Ranger 102 FR. In terms of the skis’ shapes, they’re basically identical, apart from the width differences. The Ranger 94 FR and 102 FR both have a bit more taper than most directional skis in their respective classes. The Ranger 94 FR has more taper than the Volkl Mantra M5, Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, and Blizzard Brahma & Bonafide, but not as much as the Dynastar Legend X96 or Moment Commander 98.
The Ranger 94 FR’s rocker profile also looks nearly identical to the Ranger 102 FR’s, but the Ranger 94 FR’s tip and tail rocker lines are a bit shallower (which makes sense, given that the 94 FR is supposed to be more firm-snow oriented). Compared to the skis mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Ranger 94 FR’s tip rocker line is on the deeper side of things, and to a slightly lesser degree, so is its tail rocker line. And, like the 102 FR, the Ranger 94 FR’s twinned tail makes it stand out from those other skis, most of which have flatter, more traditional tails.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ranger 94 FR:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
The Ranger 94 FR’s flex pattern feels basically identical to the Ranger 102 FR’s. The Ranger 94 FR is still a very strong ski. It’s not quite as stiff as the new Ranger 107 Ti, but there’s still not any part of the Ranger 94 FR that’s very soft.
Compared to the J Skis Masterblaster, the Ranger 94 FR is notably stiffer at the ends of the ski. Overall, the Ranger 94 FR feels pretty similar to the Mantra M5 when it comes to flex.
The Ranger 102 FR that we tested had a recommended mount point of around -10 cm from center. The Ranger 94 FR we have came with a recommended mount point of around -7.4 cm from center.
When I was reviewing the Ranger 102 FR, I ended up moving the bindings a few cm forward of its recommended line, eventually settling on -6 cm from center as my preferred mount point for how I ski. Now, I think there are plenty of people (mostly directional skiers) who will still like the Ranger 102 FR on the more traditional recommended line, but I think it’s interesting that Fischer went a bit further forward with the mount point on the Ranger 94 FR. Since the Ranger 102 FR was a ski that I felt worked well at a variety of mount points, I’ll be playing around with this on the Ranger 94 FR.
Like the 102 FR, the Ranger 94 FR sits around the middle of the spectrum when it comes to weight — it isn’t some portly beast of a ski, but it’s not crazy light, either. The 184 cm Ranger 94 FR comes in a bit lighter than the 177 cm Mantra M5, 184 cm ON3P Wrenegade 96, 181 cm Masterblaster, and 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide. But the Ranger 94 FR isn’t quite as light as skis like the 180 cm Elan Ripstick 96, 178 cm Moment Commander 98, 180 cm Blizzard Rustler 9, and 183 cm Black Crows Daemon.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. As always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1829 & 1838 Faction Prodigy 2.0, 184 cm (18/19)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2022 Rossignol Black Ops 98, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2118 & 2139 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Ranger 102 FR stood out due to its combination of very good stability and just enough playfulness to make it stand out from the other directional options out there. So will the Ranger 94 FR retain this characteristic?
(2) As a narrower version of the 102 FR, the Ranger 94 FR should be better on firm snow. So just how much better will it be, and will it retain enough versatility for some deeper / softer days?
(3) The Ranger 94 FR is a stiff ski, so how forgiving vs. demanding will it feel?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Fischer Ranger 102 FR is a very good ski, and it looks like Fischer didn’t stray too far from a proven recipe while designing the new Ranger 94 FR. Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review linked below, and then stay tuned for our full review.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Ranger 94 FR 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.
Jonathan Ellsworth, Drew Kelly, and I spent time on the Ranger 94 FR all around Crested Butte this year, so let’s go ahead and get into it.
Steep, Chalky Conditions
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): I’m going to start here since this is where I really came to love the Ranger 94 FR. This ski is pretty stiff, offers good edge hold, and has a very low swing weight. In steep terrain, that combo equated to a ski that was very easy to whip around when needed, but that was strong and stable enough to hold up when I got some room to let it run.
There are lighter skis out there that are a bit easier to flick around, and there are also several other heavier skis that are more damp, calm, and composed on really firm, rough snow. But because it was (1) so nimble, (2) felt so precise on most firm snow, and (3) has a strong, round flex pattern, the Ranger 94 FR had me skiing steeps more aggressively than most of the skis I got on last year.
Like the Ranger 102 FR, the Ranger 94 FR is not the “smoothest” ski compared to heavier options, and it’s also not the most forgiving as its tail is quite strong. But I think advanced and expert skiers who value both quickness and strength will get along well with the Ranger 94 FR in steep terrain.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~175 lbs): I want to chime in here to underscore Luke’s three paragraphs above, and especially, his first two paragraphs in our Full Review. As someone who typically likes a bit of weight in my skis when it comes to navigating steep, chalky moguls (I like skis that provide good suspension) it always hurts my heart a little bit when Luke says things like “There are lighter skis out there that are a bit easier to flick around,” because while he’s technically not wrong, I want everyone to have the immediate reaction of “Yeah, but those lighter skis will probably feel worse and will be twitchier and sketchier than the ski in question, so I don’t care, Luke.” That would make me feel better if you all had that reaction.
Anyway, back to the main point: when Luke talks about the nimbleness and the precision of the 94 FR, I agree in full. And just to put a finer point on this, we might think of this (for lack of a better term), as “freeride precision.” Like the Ranger 102 FR, on chalky steeps (even chalky, super-moguled-up steeps), the Ranger 94 FR let’s you put the ski exactly where you want or need it to go — which is to say that it will allow you to either (1) carve hard, precise turns when you need to, while also allowing you to (2) slide and smear turns when you need to or want to. And it allows you to do both without over-pulling you into a turn. (“Over-pulling” — I’m not sure whether that’s a new term, but it might be. In any case, I think it’s a useful one.)
Where I’m going with this is that the 94 FR feels a whole lot better on steeps than the Fischer Pro Mtn 95 Ti. (And I suspect that a lot of Fischer aficionados will be wondering how the Ranger 94 FR compares to the Pro Mtn 95.) With its big hammer head and flatter tail, the Pro Mtn 95 does not let you modulate turns nearly as well as the 94 FR. It is far more likely to pull you into a turn harder than you want, making it more difficult to get out of a turn to set up for the next one. And in this sense — basically any off-piste situation — I’d argue that the 94 FR is the “more precise” tool than the … what do we say here … ‘overly precise’ Pro Mtn 95 — again, when talking specifically about off-piste skiing, and especially in variable conditions. (But if we start talking about groomers, that Pro Mtn 95 absolutely rails, and I would call it the more precise carver than the 94 FR.)
In sum, the Ranger 94 FR allows you to vary your turn style and shape with a lot of modulation and precision, without ever feeling sloppy or too loose. And for those reasons, I’d argue that, for truly all-mountain skiing, it’s a better “Pro Mtn” ski than the Pro Mtn 95.
Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain
Luke: The Ranger 94 FR’s nimble and precise feel also made it a lot of fun when the terrain got tight. Again, this ski is very easy to get in the air and turn quickly, which had me doing my best Marcus Caston impression in bumps (which consequently led to some spectacular crashes). I’d launch off the top of a bump, pivot in the air, and drive the shovel through the trough of the next mogul. Combined with the very energetic feel of the ski, this made the Ranger 94 FR a ton of fun in bumps.
As I’ve stated in other reviews, I usually prefer to slide and pivot my way through bumps, rather than pushing my skis dramatically up and over them. The Ranger 94 FR can certainly handle the former technique, and it’s a bit easier to slide around compared to many of the flatter-tailed skis in its class. But if easy pivoting and sliding is what you’re after, I’d look to softer and / or more rockered skis (see the “All-Mountain – More Forgiving” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).
But again, if you’re looking for a quick ski that won’t fold up when skiing hard in bumps and trees, the Ranger 94 FR seems like a great option. I’d probably prefer a heavier ski if I was skiing brutally refrozen conditions since the Ranger 94 FR isn’t super damp and I’d ski these conditions slower anyway (so the Ranger 94 FR’s quickness would be less valuable). But apart from super firm and rough conditions, I really, really liked the Ranger 94 FR in bumps and trees.
The Ranger 94 FR is definitely not the most forgiving mogul ski out there, but it’s less punishing than I would’ve guessed given its strong tail. Maybe this is due to its fairly round flex pattern or something else, but both the Ranger 94 FR and 102 FR feel surprisingly manageable for how stiff they are. You won’t want to sit back on its tails for very long, but I was still able to ski the Ranger 94 FR pretty centered / neutral without feeling like the tail was punishing me / taking me for a ride.
Jonathan: Yes to all of the above. And I’d only add that those who really like to carve hard through bumps should also get along well with this ski. I think it’s a very good mogul ski for advanced or expert skiers, and could work pretty well for heavier (say, ~190+ lb.) intermediate mogul skiers.
Luke: Jonathan doesn’t like it when we make lots of analogies, but skiing groomers on the Ranger 94 FR kept making me think of a performance-tuned sports car. The ski grips firm snow really well, transitions between turns quickly, and produces a ton of energy when bent. The Ranger 94 FR isn’t some ultra plush cruiser, but instead rewards aggressive skiers with precision, speed, and lots of pop.
For skiing fast on straight-up ice, I’d prefer a heavier ski that can stay more planted. But for ripping high-edge-angle turns on anything softer than ice, the Ranger 94 FR was a riot.
It’s also worth quickly noting that, unlike the Ranger 102 FR, I didn’t feel the need to immediately do a very heavy detune on the Ranger 94 FR. Its factory tune was sharp but not excessively so, letting me drive it hard on very firm snow while still letting me release the tails when needed.
Skiers who just want a ski that’s predictable, intuitive, and smooth on groomers might be better off on a softer and / or heavier ski. But if your idea of fun on groomers means carving GS turns and getting your skis in the air during turn transitions, the Ranger 94 FR should be on your list.
Jonathan: Yep. And just to go back and give credit where credit is due, the Fischer Pro Mtn 95 was a more “exhilarating” carver — if your idea of “exhilarating” is instant turn initiation and then being powerfully pulled across the fall line. On very clean, smooth groomers, I think the Pro Mtn 95 wins. But on a bit more roughed up groomers or on chunky, icier snow, I’d take the Ranger 94 FR. The Pro Mtn 95 really excelled on perfectly smooth groomers. I wouldn’t call the Ranger 94 FR amazing on beat-up groomers, but it’s a better tool for the job than the Pro Mtn 95.
And aside from all of that, I’d agree with Luke’s take on the ski — I’ll just skip the beat-to-death cliche about skis feeling like sports cars. (Insert smiley face emoji. Or the sigh- / grimace-face emoji.)
Chop & Crud
Luke: I didn’t get the Ranger 94 FR in any deep pow, but I did break it out for a couple of days following a storm.
In soft chop that hadn’t set up much, the Ranger 94 FR’s strong flex pattern and moderate weight let me blast through the snow with little feedback from the ski. Combined with its low swing weight and abundant energy, this made mobbing around soft chop a lot of fun.
When the snow did set up and get firmer, I definitely would’ve preferred a heavier ski. The Ranger 94 FR is totally comfortable taking things slower when conditions get nasty, but if you like to ski fast no matter the conditions, you’d be better off on a heavier ski that’ll do a better job of blasting through firm chop and crud.
Again, the Ranger 94 FR seems best suited for skiers who prefer a ski that’s strong and nimble, rather than some tank of a ski that’s most comfortable going straight through everything in its path (and not very comfortable making quicker, smaller turns).
Luke: I started on the Ranger 94 FR with the bindings on its recommended line (-7.4 cm from center). On the recommended line, the Ranger 94 FR feels like a directional ski that’s just a touch more playful than other, flatter-tailed skis in its class. If you’re a directional skier who likes to drive the front of your skis and who likes the sound of what I’ve described above, the Ranger 94 FR’s recommended line is probably the way to go.
Like the Ranger 102 FR, I also skied the Ranger 94 FR with the bindings in front of its recommended line. With the bindings around -5.4 cm from center, the Ranger 94 FR felt a bit more playful and balanced overall, but I could still drive it when needed.
As someone who likes to be able to drive the front of my skis but who also appreciates a balanced swing weight, I loved the Ranger 94 FR with the bindings around -5 cm from center. And if you think you want a slight increase in playfulness but -5 cm sounds too far forward, the Ranger 94 FR also felt great with the bindings around -6 cm from center.
Luke: As I just alluded to, the Ranger 94 FR feels a bit more playful than many of its directional counterparts. The Ranger 94 FR is still a pretty stiff ski with a directional shape, so if freestyle performance is a top priority for you, I’d look to the options in the “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide.
But for people who want a strong ski that’s still energetic, light in the air, and that can ski switch, the Ranger 94 FR makes a lot of sense. Don’t expect to surfing sideways down the mountain or easily bending the ski into extended butters, but the Ranger 94 FR offers enough playfulness to make it stand out from the other directional skis that are similarly strong.
Who’s It For?
High-intermediate to expert skiers looking for a narrower all-mountain ski that’s precise, powerful, fairly playful, poppy, and nimble. (And we’d feel increasingly confident about this the more you skew toward the advanced / expert end of the spectrum.)
Those who are willing to muscle around their skis in tight spots in order to gain max top-end stability should look to heavier options (see the “All-Mountain – More Stable” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).
And those who are willing to give up some stability in exchange for more forgiveness at slower speeds should look to softer options (see the “All-Mountain – More Forgiving” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).
But if you don’t want some noodle of a ski, nor some super heavy charger that’s a lot of work in tight spots, the Ranger 94 FR is worth a very close look. I think it could work well as a 1-ski quiver for lower-snow areas like the U.S. East Coast, or as the narrower ski in a quiver at higher-snow locales.
The Fischer Ranger 94 FR feels a lot like the Ranger 102 FR, and we’re not at all mad about that. The Ranger 94 FR is a strong ski that excels when under the feet of dynamic skiers who is able to put its low swing weight, energy, precision, and quickness to good use.
Deep Dive Comparisons: Fischer Ranger 94 FR
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Ranger 94 FR to see how it compares to the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Fischer Ranger 99Ti, Moment Commander 98, J Skis Masterblaster, Nordica Enforcer 100, Renoun Endurance 98, Armada ARV 96Ti, Rossignol Black Ops 98, Dynastar Menace 98, Liberty Origin 96, 4FRNT MSP 99, Blizzard Rustler 9, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, ON3P Wrenegade 96, and Blizzard Brahma.