Ski: 2021-2022 Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad, 194 cm
Available Lengths: 194 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 193.3 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2350 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2412 & 2426 grams
Stated Dimensions: 145-112-133 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 141.1-110.4-131.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 26 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3.5 mm
Core: PEFC-certified Poplar + titanal underfoot + Diago Fiber + ABS inserts + “Damp Tech” tip insert + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered, 30% recycled
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6.25 cm from center; 90.4 cm from tail
- There is another line that is -8.25 cm from center; 88.4 cm from tail
Rossignol overhauled their freeride ski lineup for 20/21, with the new “Blackops” skis replacing the long-standing “7” series of skis.
Now, before that happened, there had already been a couple “Blackops” skis — Rossignol just wouldn’t really talk about them. You’d see them under the feet of some of their athletes, hear industry folks whispering about them in back alleys, and occasionally see some specs with most of the info redacted.
With the full overhaul for 20/21, the Blackops collection dropped its cover, so to speak, and skis from the collection made a big, public splash.
That is, except for one: the Blackops Sender Squad.
During the initial launch of the series, the Sender Squad was technically a part of it, but info was limited and actual models were even harder to come by. But this year at the Blister Summit, we got our hands on a pair of these 112mm-wide, 194cm-long chargers (which return unchanged for 21/22). Similar to the original Blackops, the Blackops Sender Squad is a unique ski that’s designed for going big and fast, and it’s actually what sparked our GEAR:30 conversation about the skis with the best suspension of all time.
Below you can watch our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video (the Sender Squad comes up at 56:20) and Blister Members can check out Jonathan Ellsworth’s Flash Review for his initial thoughts on the ski, but while we wait for the snow to come back and get more time on this big gun, we wanted to lift the veil on it and dive into its design.
What Rossignol says about the Blackops Sender Squad
“Float, slash, or carve, send it on the Blackops Sender Squad. This is a limited-edition, full-gas freeride ski for pushing your limits. Athlete-driven design combines a wood core with race-developed layup and a wide 112mm underfoot platform for an energized ride that responds to hard-charging input for riding big lines and ripping at will. This beauty is handcrafted in our race room for limited-edition style.”
Interestingly, this description is pretty dang similar to the one that Rossi originally put out for the freestyle-oriented Blackops 118 (now called the Blackops Gamer). Some big differences include the Sender Squad’s narrower 112 mm waist, and apparently, its “race room” construction. That said, a lot of brands say similar things about their “athlete-driven” skis, so what actually sets the Sender Squad apart from its competition?
The foundation of the Sender Squad is a PEFC-certified poplar wood core, which is wrapped in Diago fiber (a sort of carbon fiber). There is a titanal layer for binding reinforcement, but it doesn’t extend very far outside the binding area. The ski also reportedly features Rossi’s “2LCT ABS” construction, which is essentially two ABS stringers that run longitudinally down the ski. There’s also a “Damp Tech” elastomer insert near the shovel of the ski for better damping. Lastly, it’s finished off with the usual fiberglass laminate.
It’s also worth noting that, like most of the other Blackops skis, the Sender Squad features 100% recycled steel edges, 30% recycled base material, and 15% recycled top sheet material. In addition to the PEFC-certified wood core, it’s cool to see at least some steps being taken to reduce the environmental impact of ski construction.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Blackops Sender Squad looks very similar to its smaller siblings, the Blackops Sender and Blackops Sender Ti. The three skis’ shapes are extremely similar, with very little tip and tail taper. The Sender Squad does have a slightly more rounded tail shape, but other than that, it’s obvious that these skis are part of the same collection (their top sheets are nearly identical, too).
The Sender Squad’s rocker profile does differ a bit, though. This is most notable in the tail, with the Sender Squad having a slightly deeper tail rocker line and a bit more tail splay than the standard Sender and Sender Ti. The Sender Squad doesn’t have a twinned tail and it’s mostly cambered, but it’s still notably more rockered than some more traditional chargers like the old Head Monster 108 and Dynastar M-Pro 105 (aka, the Pro Rider).
Overall, the shape of the Sender Squad isn’t too far off from some other big, athlete-oriented skis like the Nordica Enforcer 115 Free and the original-construction Blizzard Bodacious. The Sender Squad’s rocker / camber / rocker profile is a bit more typical for a modern, directional, hard-charging ski.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Blackops Sender Squad:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
One surprising thing about this “athlete-driven” ski is that it’s not an exceptionally stiff ski. Sure, it’s also not exceptionally soft, but even compared to the Rossignol Blackops Sender and Sender Ti, the Squad is not quite as stiff at the very ends. The Sender Squad is strong around the middle, but there’s a fairly slow and smooth ramp-down in stiffness as you move from that midsection to the tips and tails of the ski.
At a stated 25 meters for the single available length of 194 cm, the Sender Squad’s sidecut radius is pretty much par for the course for a big-mountain charger. There are others with longer sidecut radii, but Sender Squad definitely doesn’t look like an ultra-turny ski.
This was a big surprise when we measured the Sender Squad, and spurred some conversation in our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video with Rossignol. The Sender Squad’s recommended mount point (printed as “0” on the ski) is about -6.2 cm from the true center of the ski. That sort of mount point is what we typically see on more freestyle-oriented skis, though it’s not as close to center as the Blackops Gamer.
That said, there’s also another line on the Sender Squad that’s 2 cm behind the “0” mark, which puts that more rearward mount point at around -8.2 cm from true center. Still, that’s not nearly as far back as skis like the Dynastar M-Pro 105, Blizzard Cochise 106, or Head Monster 108
As we’d hope for a ski like the Sender Squad, this is not a lightweight ski. Our pair of the 194 cm Sender Squad is coming in at around 2420 grams per ski, which makes it one of the heavier skis around today. It is not the heaviest, and it’s actually a bit lighter than the 186 cm Rossignol Blackops Gamer, but the Sender Squad has the sort of weight we’d like to see in a ski that’s designed to stay composed at very high speeds in consequential terrain.
For reference, here are our measured weights for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples to apples.
1820 & 1821 Majesty Havoc, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
1850 & 1886 Head Kore 111, 184 cm (21/22)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–20/21)
1959 & 1975 Volkl V-Werks Katana, 184 cm (16/17–20/21)
1964 & 1972 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–21/22)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–21/22)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2116 & 2181 Faction Dictator 3.0, 188 cm (19/20–21/22)
2125 & 2134 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm (19/20–21/22)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21–21/22)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–21/22)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, 185 cm (17/18–21/22)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21–21/22)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2243 & 2287 Salomon QST Blank, 186 cm (21/22)
2295 & 2344 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
2302 & 2342 Dynastar M-Free 108, 192 cm (20/21–21/22)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–21/22)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2353 & 2360 Volkl Katana 108, 184 cm (20/21–21/22)
2397 & 2427 Volkl Katana, 191 cm (13/14)
2412 & 2426 Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad, 194 cm (20/21–21/22)
2438 & 2492 Rossignol Blackops Gamer, 186 cm (17/18–21/22)
2449 & 2493 J Skis Hotshot, 189 cm (20/21)
2495 & 2521 Head Monster 108, 184 cm (17/18)
2603 & 2604 Dynastar M-Pro 105, 192 cm (16/17; 20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Just how aggressive do you have to be — and what sort of terrain do you need to be skiing — to really enjoy the Blackops Sender Squad?
(2) The Sender Squad has a pretty forward mount point for a big, directional ski, so how will those accustomed to more rearward mount points get along with this ski?
(3) With its hefty weight, wide platform, and long length, how demanding does the Sender Squad feel in tighter terrain like moguls and trees?
(4) At 112 mm underfoot, should we be thinking of the Sender Squad as a powder-oriented ski, a wide all-mountain ski, or something else entirely?
(5) The Rossignol Blackops Sender Ti also comes in a 194 cm length, so who should be going with that ski, rather than the 194 cm Sender Squad?
Bottom Line (For Now)
As we’ve noted many times over the past few years, we’ve seen a decrease in the number of big, heavy, no-compromise chargers. The Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad is a refreshing shift away from that trend. It’s got the shape, weight, and rocker profile that make us think it’ll be very good for going very fast, but then adds a mount point and flex pattern that make us think it could be a bit more accessible than its specs would suggest.
You can watch our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video, listen to our GEAR:30 podcast on ski suspension, and read Jonathan’s Flash Review of the Sender Squad for some of our initial thoughts on the ski. Then, stay tuned for a full review in the future.
Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Sender Squad for our initial on-snow 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.