2019-2020 Rossignol Black Ops 98

Ski: 2019-2020 Rossignol Black Ops 98, 182 cm

Available Lengths: 172, 182, 192 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 179.2 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2019 & 2022 grams

Stated Dimensions: Rossignol ain’t sayin’

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 130.4-97.4-120.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: Rossignol ain’t sayin’

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 38 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5-6 mm

Core: Rossignol ain’t sayin’

Base: Rossignol ain’t sayin’

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -4.7 cm from center; 84.9 cm from tail

Luke Koppa reviews the Rossignol Black Ops 98 for Blister
Rossignol Black Ops 98
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

A few weeks ago, we published our review of the Rossignol Black Ops 118 — Rossi’s mysterious freestyle pow ski. I called it my favorite resort pow ski ever, and Blister editors / reviewers Sam Shaheen and Jonathan Ellsworth have also become very fond of it, too.

This year, Rossignol added a narrower ski to the Black Ops lineup — the Black Ops 98. Since Rossi is still withholding a lot of info about the ski, we wanted to shed some light on the Black Ops 98’s design and specs, and will be getting it on snow very soon.

What Rossignol says about the Black Ops 98

“The perfect platform. A progressive all-mountain gunner. Stomp and smear. Arc and carve. Boost and blast. Grease your ‘stache. This is the do-it-all, legit quiver-killing, weapon-of-one designed for givin ‘er hell all over the hill. “

My first question is whether or not one needs to have a mustache to ski these. If so, I’ve got some work to do.

Apart from greasy ‘staches, Rossi’s description puts the Black Ops 98 squarely in the 1-ski-quiver category. And more specifically, they’re placing it in the more playful / freestyle end of that category.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Black Ops 98 looks a lot like a narrower Black Ops 118, which, well, makes sense. The Black Ops 98 has very little tip and tail taper, with its tips being just slightly more tapered than its tails. But compared to skis like the Moment PB&J, J Skis Vacation, and Faction Prodigy series, the Black Ops 98 has much less taper.

The Black Ops 98’s rocker profile is similarly conservative — it’s got a bit of tip rocker and a bit of tail rocker, but less than many skis in its class. The Black Ops 98’s tips are pretty high, and its tail is basically a twin, though its a bit lower than the “twin” tails on most freestyle skis. Given that Parker White has been stomping huge switch tricks on the Black Ops 98 (see below), I’m not too worried about the ski’s slightly lower tail splay.

All in all, the Black Ops 98’s shape and rocker profile look like they’ll translate to a lot of effective edge, so I think Rossi’s talk about it being able to “arc and carve” seem sensible. I think the bigger question will be how well it can smear and slarve turns. The Black Ops 118 is a ski that combines both of those traits really well, but it has much more rocker than the Black Ops 98.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Black Ops 98:

Tips: 5.5-6
Shovels: 6-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Tails: 7-5.5

The Black Ops 98 has a symmetrical flex pattern that starts quite soft at the very ends of the ski, but then quickly stiffens up as you move toward the middle. In this regard, it’s just like the Black Ops 118 — both skis are soft at the ends (basically where the tip and tail spacers are), but are otherwise very strong, especially compared to other freestyle skis like the new Line Sir Francis Bacon, Nordica Soul Rider 97, and Faction Candide 2.0.

Mount Point

The Black Ops 98’s recommended mount point of around -4.7 cm from center seems in line with Rossi’s description of it as a “progressive all-mountain” ski. The Black Ops 98’s recommended mount point isn’t as far forward as the Black Ops 118’s (-2.4 cm from center), but I know some of Rossi’s athletes are skiing the Black Ops 98 with the bindings around -1 cm from center. So as always, we’ll play around with the mount point during our testing of the Black Ops 98.

Weight

The 186 cm Black Ops 118 is one of the heaviest skis we’ve reviewed. So I kind of expected the 182 cm Black Ops 98 to be similarly hefty. But our pair is coming in just over 2000 grams per ski, which puts it right around the middle of most playful ~100-mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed. So I’m very curious to see if the Black Ops 98 retains the Black Ops 118’s stable and damp feel.

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)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
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)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2002 & 2014 J Skis Allplay, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2022 Rossignol Black Ops 98, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2031 & 2038 Faction Candide 2.0, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
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)
2067 & 2074 Line Blend, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
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)
2126 & 2136 ON3P Magnus 102, 186 cm (18/19)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) One of the standout characteristics of the Black Ops 118 was that it felt both loose and strong on edge. So will the Black Ops 98, with its much more subtle rocker profile, retain that “sharp / loose” feel?

(2) The other defining characteristic of the Black Ops 118 is how stable it is. So will the much lighter Black Ops 98 be similar in this regard?

(3) We just got the 181 cm Dynastar Menace 98, which is a ski that weighs and looks very similar to the Black Ops 98. So how will the two compare?

(4) The Black Ops 98 basically looks like a fat park ski, so will more directional skiers still get along with it? And what about all-mountain performance?

Bottom Line (For Now)

While Rossignol’s marketing about the Black Ops 98 has been very mysterious, the actual ski doesn’t look that radical. But neither did the Black Ops 118, and we ended up loving that ski. So we’re getting the Black Ops 98 mounted ASAP and will report back with updates.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Black Ops 98 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.

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Rocker Pics:

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Tip Profile
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15 comments on “2019-2020 Rossignol Black Ops 98”

  1. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about the Black Ops 98 vs the new ON3P Kartel 96. Specs seem fairly similar.

  2. These skis are so fun! Awesome all mountain ski in northern Vermont. Great in trees and bumps but will carve really well.

  3. Am in the process of looking for a new all mountain ski for Utah and am looking at these, the Rustler 9, Masterblaster, Dictator 2.0, Commander 98, and maybe the Helix 98/Origin 96.

    Got these out and about on demo from the Rossi yurt at DV in various spring conditions (firm to starting to slush up). Mount was just on the recommended line as per the usual demo setup. Skied the 182cm.

    The flex is deceptively stiff from hand flexing to on snow. The tips and tails are soft but once you get to snow contact and into the camber the ski is freaking stiff. Super fun on the groomers as it just rails any size turns, takes some work to make short turns as to be expected. The ski does get knocked off track on occasion in cruddier snow like midday corn chop, I don’t think it’s that bad though. In shallower (<12") soft snow they would absolutely plow through it and probably be a ton of fun if you had room or could keep up speed.

    In the air it's good but again to be expected from a more twin style ski. I didn't find it super poppy for jibby type hits but I'm also not a freestyle skier. On run transitions or side hits I could absolutely send it with confidence though.

    My one huge gripe with these skis though is in the moguls. I won't say they're bad but the tails are stupid catchy no matter where you ski them, forward or neutral, big or small bumps. They don't want to ski moguls in a more traditional zipper line. They want to air over the bumps and feel much looser in moguls than I'm used to.

    In the trees they weren't bad but had to be driven fairly aggressively in order to get the tips around and not get hung up. They just don't like to pivot. I'm sure with more time I'd be able to figure out how to ski them better off piste but first impressions is that these are fun but take a lot of work to ski off piste comfortably.

    My 2 cents.

  4. Did you ever play around with the mount point on the black ops 98? I’ve got the 18/19 mounted on the line and am considering putting them 1-1.5cm behind. Would love your thoughts on how the ski performs if you have tested it.

  5. Best all around skis I’ve ever been on. Playful in bumps, maneuvers easily, but then can charge through crud and moderate powder. Oh wait, and they also can carve a turn. Very impressive.

    • We haven’t yet posted a full review, though we did talk about the ski in our 19/20 Winter Buyer’s Guide: https://blisterreview.com/winter-buyers-guide

      The main reason we’ve had to hold off on this review is because — seriously — our pair of the 182 got struck by lightning. We sent the 182 to our park-ski reviewer, Scott Nelson, and while they were stored in a garage, that garage got struck by lightning and the skis melted / burned to a pile of ash and plastic. No joke.

      Regarding the 192, I actually ended up preferring it to the 182 since the 192 gave me more ski to push into and I felt that mitigated the punishing nature of the 182 (where I had to ski very centered and therefore ended up in the backseat more often). But overall, the two lengths felt pretty similar in terms of general performance — strong, fairly light skis that best suite advanced or expert skiers seeking a powerful, fairly playful platform and who do not want a very damp, inherently stable ski.

  6. When I got the 179cm 2012 K2 recoil, I wondered why I loved it so much compared to all the other park and all-mountain skis I had owned. When I purchased the shreditors, I hated them, even though they were basically the same skis but the latter didn’t have urethane in it. Then I got the line Supernatural 115 and 108 and loved both of them but not so much the older 2013 Line influences that I thought was the same ski. The former has rubber in them, the latter does not. Skis I liked at first but soon realized how much better other skis were were the Volkl One’s, although the Volkl two’s are far damper, I found they chattered and folded easily, and were not stable at fast speeds. Same with the old 108 LINE SFB’s, they were fine but the tips chattered often and I never really felt like I could progress on the skis. I always had to be on edge for I felt like the fronts could washout. The new 104 SFB’s are even worse and have a speed limit that makes them useless for me.

    So, then I starting demoing some 4 x 4 Blizzard skis and really loved how well they charged and plowed through crud.

    I’m only 5′ 8 140lbs but it seems like most skis I’ve demoed have never given me a lot of confidence at speed.

    I realized that the k2 recoils have rubber and urethane in them and are full side wall. I loved them back then and hated nearly every other park see I demoed. I then realized that the Supernaturals also have rubber in them to dampen chatter and some
    metal in them.

    So, it seems rubber in the core or over the side walls, urethane and applications that dampen chatter in skis really inspire, for me at least, confidence at speed. I would also say denser wood cores would help with this dampness like fir, or yellow pine.

    It seems that the heavier the ski is, the more I like it. So, I was wondering if the black ops 98 or black ops 118 is a good, damp alternative? I read that the reason they plow through crud so well is that they also have metal AND rubber in the tips and tails.

    • So, yeah wondering if the 98’s are in anyway similar to a ski that uses rubber or urethane to dampen vibrations. I’m not someone who likes to feel every bump and vibration. The heavier the ski, the better, as long as it is somewhat damp and has no speed limit.

      • Once we get a ski on snow, we don’t really think about the construction — we just think about how it actually skis. So I don’t place that much weight on the inclusion of rubber, urethane, etc. in a ski’s construction, but I’d definitely say that the Black Ops 118 is an exceptionally damp and stable ski (which I think just comes down to how heavy it is). Conversely, the Black Ops 98 is not. While the two are similar in terms of shape, the Black Ops 98 is nothing like the 118 when it comes to suspension / damping / stability. While the Black Ops 98 has metal underfoot and some sort of rubber or urethane material at the tips and tails, it does not feel very damp or remotely close to the 118 in terms of suspension.

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