Ski: 2021-2022 Rossignol Blackops Rallybird Ti, 171 cm
Test Location: Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado; Sun Valley, Idaho; Taos Ski Valley & Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico
Days Skied: 15+
Available Lengths: 163, 171, 178 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 170.2 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1900 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1831 & 1852 grams
Stated Dimensions: 137-102-127 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.4-101.9-127.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (171 cm): 16 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 53 mm / 17 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: paulownia (FSC certified) + titanal underfoot + “air tip” insert + carbon & fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6.5 cm from center; 78.6 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Salomon S/Max 120 W / Tyrolia Attack2 13 AT
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 20/21 Blackops Rallybird Ti, which returns unchanged for 21/22.]
There’s a good chance you already know that Rossignol discontinued their “7” series of skis for the 20/21 season and you are also likely aware that they didn’t exactly replace it. Or at least, replace it with something super similar. I don’t want to start a review by kicking a dead horse, so if you want to know more about why they removed an extremely popular ski collection from their lineup and more about the collection that replaced it, you should definitely check out the Rossignol Brand Lineup video from our 2021 Blister Summit:
Long story short, for the 2020-2021 season, Rossignol introduced a new line of freeride skis that include the Blackops Rallybird Ti and Blackops Rallybird, which are the widest women’s specific skis in the new series. Despite outward appearances like dimensions, weight, and rocker profiles, the Rallybird and Rallybird Ti ski quite differently and each one will appeal to a different audience.
I’ve now spent a lot of time on both of these new Blackops skis, so it’s time for a more in-depth review. First, we’ll discuss the whole collection and the design of the Blackops Rallybird Ti:
Rossignol Blackops Women’s Lineup
We’ve already written a bit about a few of the men’s / unisex Blackops skis, but the women’s-specific line contains 6 skis. These skis, which were introduced for 20/21, will remain unchanged for 21/22, other than some graphics updates.
- 86mm-wide BLACKOPS W Trailblazer
- 90mm-wide BLACKOPS W Dreamer
- 94mm-wide BLACKOPS W Stargazer
- 98mm-wide BLACKOPS W Blazer
- 102mm-wide BLACKOPS W Rallybird
- 102mm-wide BLACKOPS W Rallybird Ti
According to Rossignol, each ski in the lineup was designed individually, which is to say Rossignol reportedly didn’t just “shrink it and pink it.” Core thickness and waist width were apparently altered to make the flex patterns and ultimately the skis behave similarly across the various lengths.
What Rossignol says about the Rossignol Blackops Rallybird Ti
Rossignol has a lot to say when describing the Blackops Rallybird Ti and I won’t include it all here, but this snippet should provide a good summary:
“Step on it. The women’s Blackops Rallybird Ti is a full gas, go-anywhere ski for skiers who share the first-to-last-chair attitude. Powder missions and resort shred sessions alike, it delivers a full edge arc and plenty of float to harness gravity’s pull in all conditions. It fuses a lively wood core with vibration dampening tech to deliver a playful balance of energy and control that sets you free to ride at will.”
I don’t think their description is that far off or out of place, with the exception of the word playful. In my opinion, the Rallybird Ti is a ski designed to charge, and in the right length it might be playful, but that was not my experience in the 171 cm length (which is generally my preferred length for skis of this width). I do want to note that nothing in their description mentions beginners getting along with the ski. For a more beginner / intermediate level ski, the non-Ti version of the Rallybird is a better choice and I will discuss why later on.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Rallybird Ti’s shape and rocker profile are essentially identical to the standard Rallybird, and the two look very similar to the Blackops Sender Ti and Sender. These skis are drastically different than the old Rossignol “7” skis, with the Blackops skis having far less tapered tips and tails, and shallower rocker lines.
Overall, the Rallybird and Rallybird Ti’s shapes and rocker profiles are on the more traditional end of the spectrum, looking fairly similar to skis like the Nordica Santa Ana 98 and the Blizzard Black Pearl 97.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the BLACKOPS Rallybird Ti:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Overall, this is a pretty strong flex pattern, particularly around the middle and tail of the ski. It’s a whole lot stiffer than the old Rossignol Soul 7 HD W.
And for reference, the flex pattern of the standard Rallybird is nearly identical to the Rallybird Ti, with the non-Ti version having very slightly softer shovels.
Despite its more traditional, directional shape and rocker profile, the Rallybird and Rallybird Ti have recommended mount points that are a bit on the more forward / centered side of things. At -6.5 cm from true center, their mount point isn’t as close to center as freestyle-oriented skis (such as the Blackops Blazer), but a bit closer to center than skis like the Volkl Secret 102 and Nordica Santa Ana skis.
When it comes to weight, the Blackops Rallybird Ti sits squarely in the middle of the class for skis in the 93-106mm-wide range, and the standard Rallybird isn’t very far off.
1366 & 1440 Line Pandora 110, 170 cm (20/21–21/22)
1626 & 1645 Line Pandora 104, 165 cm (18/19–21/22)
1651 & 1669 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (17/18–20/21)
1687 & 1695 Elan Ripstick 102 W, 170 cm (20/21–21/22)
1699 & 1753 Head Kore 99 W, 171 cm (20/21)
1706 & 1784 Liberty Genesis 106, 171 cm (19/20–20/21)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18–21/22)
1711 & 1772 DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2, 171 cm (19/20–20/21)
1735 & 1740 K2 Mindbender 106C, 175 cm (19/20–21/22)
1762 & 1801 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, 168 cm (19/20–21/22)
1792 & 1792 Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, 172 cm (20/21–21/22)
1797 & 1839 Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird, 170 cm (20/21–21/22)
1812 & 1817 Salomon Stance 94 W, 174 cm (20/21-21/22)
1831 & 1852 Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird Ti, 171 cm (20/21–21/22)
1881 & 1895 Salomon QST Lumen 99, 174 cm (19/20–21/22)
1903 & 1917 Nordica Santa Ana 93, 172 cm (20/21–21/22)
1917 & 1935 Nordica Santa Ana 98, 172 cm (20/21–21/22)
1941 & 1948 Salomon QST Stella 106, 174 cm (19/20–21/22)
1955 & 1990 Coalition Snow SOS, 173 cm (19/20–20/21)
1968 & 1969 Atomic Maven 93 C, 172 cm (21/22)
1969 & 1988 4FRNT MSP CC, 171 cm (20/21–21/22)
2015 & 2024 Blizzard Black Pearl 97, 171 cm (20/21–21/22)
2104 & 2115 Volkl Secret 102, 170 cm (19/20–21/22)
2106 & 2097 Volkl Secret 96, 163 cm (21/22)
Alright, now onto how the Blackops Rallybird Ti actually performs on snow:
Powder & Softer Snow
Somehow I managed to ski the Rallybird Ti on several moderate to very deep powder days this season. Between not currently having an alpine setup wider than 106 mm underfoot and knowing that the Rallybird Ti performed reasonably well in powder after having tested it once in it, I tended to reach for it on powder days.
My first powder day on the Rallybird Ti consisted of about 10 in / 25 cm of untracked new snow. As expected from a 101mm-underfoot ski with fairly minimal tip and tail rocker, they floated okay if I had my weight more back than centered or forward. Eric Freson noted in his Blackops Sender Ti review that the skis have a tendency to find themselves in the middle of the snowpack, and I’d agree. They offer some float but not so much that you’ll find yourself surfing on top on most powder days.
In heavier snow, I was able to get the Rallybird Ti to surf on top of the snow when skiing in a centered or slightly backseat stance, and when I was skiing fast. On the Rallybird Ti, this skiing style really only works for me in more wide-open terrain, since turning the Rallybird Ti from the backseat is not recommended or easy to do, particularly in tight terrain.
In hot, spring pow, I noticed the tips had a tendency to dive, except when I was going fairly fast, at which point they maintained some float.
Overall, the Rallybird Ti performs pretty well for its width in fresh now, but there are better options in this width if you prioritize flotation and / or maneuverability, such as the Blizzard Sheeva 10 and Nordica Santa Ana 104.
Chop / Crud
In soft chop (chewed-up from fresh snow), if I’m not weighting the Rallybird from a forward, aggressive stance, its tips will chatter a bit. As someone who typically spends time on (and gets along well with) skis with more rearward mount points, I think the slightly more forward mount position of the Rallybird Ti made the ski feel a bit short in choppy snow conditions.
That said, if I increased my speed and maintained an aggressive stance, the Rallybird Ti smoothed out the chop and crud quite well. And unlike the very stable Volkl Secret 102, the Rallybird Ti was easy to shut down when needed and I never felt out of control when I let them run, since I knew I could rein them back in if needed.
To this day, the best pair of skis I’ve been on in chop was the older version of the Nordica Santa Ana 110 in a 177 cm length. That ski’s heavier weight and long length kept me stable as I comfortably flew over / through heavy chop. That ski is still my gold standard. I haven’t been on the updated version of the Santa Ana 110, but the new Santa 98 does a reasonably good job in the chop. I think it’s fairly comparable to the Rallybird Ti when it comes to blowing through chop, but the Santa Ana 98 is a little bit more maneuverable. All in all though, if you stay over its shovels, the Rallybird Ti can be skied quite hard in choppy conditions.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
The Rallybird Ti isn’t the easiest ski for making short, quick turns, but despite this, I still found myself often skiing them in moguls, glades, and tight chutes. Its tail rocker line isn’t super deep and the tip of the ski is fairly stiff, which meant it required more effort on my part to initiate each turn. This made tight, big moguls a bit tiring to ski, but when the moguls were more spaced out, it was nice to have a stable ski that I could comfortably elongate (i.e., slide and skid) turns on.
The Rallybird Ti is not the most forgiving ski and this was very apparent to me when I tried making tight turns off-piste. On occasion, I found myself in the backseat, and on the Rallybird Ti, it was challenging to recover. I had one instance when one ski got away from me while in the backseat (thankfully no image of this messy form exists) and I really struggled to stay on my feet. It was a bit scary but nowhere near as terrifying as when something similar happened on the heavier, stiffer Volkl Secret 102.
The Rallybird (non-Ti) is definitely a more forgiving ski and one that I found lends itself to quicker turns. For me, I found it easier to maneuver and ski the bumps compared to the Ti version. I think a stronger or heavier skier might get along better with the Rallybird Ti in this terrain. And to be clear, I enjoyed skiing the Rallybird Ti regardless of the terrain or snow conditions. If I maintained good body position and didn’t get lazy with my skiing, I was rewarded.
The Rallybird Ti is confidence-inspiring on groomers. It isn’t the easiest to initiate a turn nor the snappiest carver, but it also doesn’t feel dead and didn’t leave my legs feeling tired on groomers.
The Rallybird Ti holds an edge nicely and I felt comfortable charging down the mountain, regardless of whether the groomer was soft and smooth, firm and choppy, or some combination of the two.
To me, the Rallybird Ti doesn’t feel like it produces a lot of energy when finishing each turn, which was fine, especially since skis that do create a lot of pop at the end of the turn tend to put me in the backseat for a split second. The Rallybird Ti does have supportive enough tails that whenever I found myself in the backseat on piste, I could recover without too much effort.
Rossignol describes the Blackops Rallybird Ti as playful, and while that term can be pretty ambiguous, it is not a word I would use to describe the ski. When we refer to a ski being playful, sometimes we’re referring to the general “snappiness” or energy of a ski and sometimes we think of playful skis as being ones that are loose / easy to throw sideways, and sometimes they’re skis that allow you to ski them with a centered stance without needing a lot of pressure on the front of the ski. It could have something to do with the length of the skis I tested, but none of those definitions / interpretations of the word playful come to mind when describing the Rallybird Ti.
I tend to get along well with skis in the ~171cm length, but if given the opportunity to test the 163 cm length, there’s a good chance I would find them to be more playful in the “easier to throw them sideways” and “ski in a more centered stance way.” But for me, the 171 cm length felt very directional and required a more forward body position.
I never felt myself gravitating towards quick, snappy turns on the Rallybird Ti. It felt a bit weighed down and heavy on occasion and didn’t create as much energy at the end of each turn like I enjoy on, say, the Nordica Santa Ana 98. If you’re looking for a generally more playful ski, it seems like the twin-tipped and more forward-mounted Blackops Blazer would make more sense.
Overall, I found the 171 cm Rallybird Ti to work great for me. Long enough that I could open them up on and off piste, but short enough that it didn’t feel like I was driving a tank. Anything longer, and I think I would have struggled with maneuverability.
I gravitate toward skis that are easy to initiate on edge, and while the 171 cm Rallybrid Ti is not the easiest to initiate of the skis I’ve tested, I was still able to turn every time I wanted to — it just took a bit more effort than a slightly softer ski like the 172 cm Nordica Santa Ana 98.
So, as someone who typically likes skis around 170 cm, I think the Rallybird Ti skis pretty true to length.
Rossignol Blackops Rallybird Ti vs. Rossignol Blackops Rallybird
When comparing the Rallybird Ti and standard Rallybird, the first thing to discuss is the design differences between the two, which basically just comes down to their core constructions.
The “Ti” in the name stands for titanal metal and unlike what I initially thought, both skis actually have metal underfoot — not only the Ti version. The difference between the two is that the titanal in the Rallybird Ti extends out farther than that it does in the (non-Ti) Rallybird (the regular Rallybird’s metal plate is basically just for better binding-screw retention). The larger titanal layer provides noticeably more damping in the Rallybird Ti without adding nearly any extra weight. The Rallybird Ti also features Rossignol’s “carbon alloy matrix,” which is essentially an additional layer of carbon fibers designed to add torsional stiffness, while the standard Rallybird has a more traditional fiberglass laminate. The longitudinal flex patterns are also almost identical between the two pairs of skis.
The sidecut dimensions and stated sidecut radii are the same for both skis and our measured tip-to-tail lengths are within 0.1 cm of each other, even though they are listed as being 170 and 171 cm lengths. The Rallybird is offered in 154, 162, and 170 cm lengths whereas the Rallybird Ti is offered in 163, 171, and 178 cm lengths, so beyond the 154 cm and 178 cm, the lengths are almost identical.
Even with all the similarities in outward appearance, the skis do perform differently. The Rallybird is a much more approachable ski for intermediate to expert skiers. It is easier to initiate turns, but on the flip side, it isn’t as damp, it doesn’t hold its edge quite as well, and overall, it doesn’t feel as comfortable charging down the mountain at high speeds. The non-Ti version feels like it wants to complete the turn for you and it feels more intuitive, especially on groomers. The Rallybird Ti rewards good skiing with better stability, but can be punishing if you find yourself in the backseat.
Who’s It For?
Women looking for a ski that can handle speed on and off-piste, that isn’t too heavy or too light, and that provides a predictable experience should check out the Blackops Rallybird Ti. The Rallybird Ti likes to be skied hard with more speed than finesse but it is a ski that rewards good technique and body position. Advanced skiers who are looking to dial up their ski game might find the smooth ride and predictability it provides to help them push their limits.
The Rallybird Ti lands smackdab in the middle of a class of ~100mm waist skis, from the heavy, demanding, and often punishing Volkl Secret 102, to the more playful and lightweight Elan Ripstick 102 W and Line Pandora 104. The Rallybird Ti’s more traditional shape, minimal tail rocker, and midweight design can handle most conditions on the mountain and it can make for a great ski for the right person. The Rallybird Ti doesn’t stand out in any particular condition or terrain for being exceptional or terrible — it can handle them all quite well if you are in control.
For those skiers that prefer a ski that won’t leave your legs tired, or that is generally “easy” to ski, I would take a look at the Elan Ripstick 102 W, Ripstick 94 W, or the Blizzard Sheeva 10, to name a few.
I wouldn’t recommend the Rossignol Blackops Rallybird Ti for beginners or even expert skiers who tend to take a slower, more casual approach to the mountain. Tired legs and passive, backseat sliding are likely to be exposed, and backing off the accelerator could result in a frustrating ski day.
But if you have good technique, want a ski that is predictable, stable, and holds an edge when you ask it to perform, the Rallybird Ti is an excellent option.