2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W

Ski: 2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W, 174 cm

Test Location: Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

Days Skied: ~12

Available Lengths: 154, 161, 168, 174

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 174.1 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1697 & 1742 g

Stated Dimensions: 126-90-108 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 126.2-90-108 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (174 cm): 18 m

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 12 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm

Core Materials: Poplar / Karuba + Titanal (2 layers) + C/FX inserts + fiberglass laminate

Base: Sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: 77.5 / -9.55

Boots / Bindings / Wax: Nordica Promachine 115 W, Tecnica Cochise Pro W / Salomon Warden MNC 13 / mountainFLOW All-Temp

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 20/21 Stance 88 W, which returns unchanged for 21/22 & 22/23, apart from graphics]

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Salomon Stance 88 W (20/21–21/22 Top Sheet)
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

For the 20/21 season, Salomon emerged back into the directional, all-mountain, metal-laminate arena with their Stance series. Over the past two seasons, we’ve been spending time on several of the men’s and women’s Stance skis (which return unchanged for 22/23, apart from graphics), and it’s now time to discuss the women’s Stance 88 W.

Women-Specific Aspects of the Stance W Series

The women-specific Stance W series is built with similar technology as the men’s versions, aside from a slightly different wood core composition. The women-specific Stance W series is built with a poplar / karuba wood core, whereas the men’s skis are built solely with a poplar core. According to Salomon, this is intended to lighten the women’s Stance series slightly, while still delivering the same benefits of the metal laminate and C/FX (carbon / flax) layup that is shared across both versions.

Both the men’s and women’s Stance feature two sheets of titanal, with one above and one below the wood core. The bottom layer of titanal runs the length and width of the ski, but for both the men’s and women’s Stance skis, the top layer has cutouts in the tip and tail, which are filled with Salomon’s C/FX fiber, which is a mixture of carbon and flax that’s designed to decrease torsional rigidity in front of and behind the bindings, in an effort to make the tips and tails easier to release / get off edge. The C/FX layup has been utilized in Salomon’s QST and MTN lineups prior to the introduction of the Stance series, but the Stance skis were the first Salomon skis in quite some time to feature full layers of metal.

The women-specific Stance series consists of the Stance 94 W, Stance 88 W, and the Stance 84 W. The Stance 84 W and Stance 84 do not feature the second layer of titanal with the cutouts.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

What Salomon Says about the Stance 88W

“A women’s specific, all-mountain, the Stance 88 is a resort shredder powered by edge-gripping Metal TwinFrame technology. Confidently go wherever the mountain takes you with the ski’s C/FX and karuba woodcore and a progressive, easy-to-navigate frontside sidecut.”

Shape and Rocker Profile

The Stance 88 W features a bit of early taper at the tip and tail, comparable to that of the Head Kore 85 W or the Nordica Santa Ana series. The Stance 88 W’s tip and tail rocker lines are pretty standard for an all-mountain ski of this width, with slightly longer rocker lines than, say, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88, as well as most piste-oriented skis around the same width.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Stance 88 W:

Tips: 6
Shovels: 6-7
In front of toe piece: 7.5-9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind heel piece: 9.5-8
Tails: 7-6.5

The flex pattern of the Stance 88 W is intriguing to me because it’s a little softer than several of the other skis I have reviewed lately, such as the Volkl Secret 96 and Blizzard Black Pearl 97, but I wouldn’t say it felt particularly soft on snow (especially the tail; more on that later). The tips and tails are on the softer side, especially for a metal-laminate ski, and the ends of the ski actually flex pretty similarly (which is not always the case for directional skis). However, there’s still a substantial stiff section through the midsection of the ski.

2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W, BLISTER

Weight

The Stance 88 W is slightly on the lighter side of the spectrum when compared to other skis with layers of titanal. For example, the Stance 88 W is slightly heavier than the Blizzard Black Pearl 88, but notably lighter than the Nordica Santa Ana 93.

1545 & 1553 Head Kore 85 W, 170 cm (21/22)
1556 & 1575 Liberty Genesis 96, 165 cm (19/20–20/21)
1572 & 1575 Head Kore 91 W, 170 cm (21/22)
1592 & 1637 Head Kore 97 W, 170 cm (21/22)
1622 & 1638 Blizzard Black Pearl 88, 165 cm (20/21–22/23)
1638 & 1639 Atomic Maven 93 C, 172 cm (21/22–22/23)
1687 & 1695 Elan Ripstick 102 W, 170 cm (20/21–22/23)
1693 & 1710 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (21/22)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18–22/23)
1742 & 1697 Salomon Stance 88 W, 174 cm (20/21–22/23)
1762 & 1801 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, 168 cm (19/20–21/22)
1792 & 1792 Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, 172 cm (20/21–22/23)
1797 & 1839 Rossignol Rallybird 102, 170 cm (20/21–22/23)
1812 & 1817 Salomon Stance 94 W, 174 cm (20/21–22/23)
1831 & 1852 Rossignol Rallybird 104 Ti, 171 cm (20/21–22/23)
1833 & 1842 Volkl Secret 96, 163 cm (21/22–22/23)
1881 & 1895 Salomon QST Lumen 99, 174 cm (19/20–21/22)
1903 & 1917 Nordica Santa Ana 93, 172 cm (20/21–22/23)
1917 & 1935 Nordica Santa Ana 98, 172 cm (20/21–22/23)
1933 & 1975 Volkl Secret 96, 170 cm (21/22–22/23)
1955 & 1990 Coalition Snow SOS, 173 cm (19/20–21/22)
1969 & 1988 4FRNT MSP CC, 171 cm (20/21–22/23)
2015 & 2024 Blizzard Black Pearl 97, 171 cm (21/22–22/23)
2104 & 2115 Volkl Secret 102, 170 cm (19/20–21/22)

Now, onto how this ski performs on snow:

2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W, BLISTER 2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W, BLISTER

FULL REVIEW

Groomers

Kara Williard: (5’9”, 167 lbs / 175 cm, 75.7 kg): The 174 cm Stance 88 W feels both lively and supportive while on groomers. For an 88mm-wide ski, it’s not extremely precise or locked-in while on edge, but this also makes for a ski that isn’t overly demanding and can offer a slightly more forgiving ride, especially when transitioning between turns. It’s a pretty easy ski to steer and roll onto edge. The Stance 88 W is an accessible option for skiing at slower speeds, and because it doesn’t demand to be on edge, the Stance 88 W is easier when it comes to skidding and smearing in and out of turns, relative to many skis around this width.

When the Stance 88 W is on edge, it feels quite damp and stable and doesn’t provide much excessive feedback at speed. At the same time, I found the Stance 88 W to be pretty energetic and lively when transitioning out of faster, more aggressive turns.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

While there are skis that feel slightly more stable at high speeds on groomers, such as the Blizzard Black Pearl 97, the Stance 88 W performs in a way that is both confidence-inspiring at speed, but not overly demanding. It might not be my top pick if I was skiing super icy, steep groomers, but I still enjoyed taking it out during the early season when we were only skiing firm, man-made snow.

Compared with the Head Kore 85, the Stance 88 W feels more composed at high speeds and produces more energy when coming out of carved turns. Compared with the Stance 94 W, the 88 W is just a little quicker and snappier on groomers, but their stability and suspension feel quite similar.

Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain

It took a bit of time for me to figure out the Stance 88 W in tight terrain and moguls. Not because it isn’t lively or maneuverable, but because of its flex pattern. While its fairly soft tips make it pretty easy to initiate a turn, it takes a bit more effort to properly finish the turn through the tail, which is especially noticeable in tight terrain. The tail feels like the most powerful and unforgiving part of this ski, so it takes a bit of finesse to feel as though you are smoothly finishing a turn and not getting stood up by the strong flex behind the bindings. As I alluded to above, the very end of the Stance 88 W’s tail is actually pretty soft, but the cambered portion is quite strong and that’s the area I most often notice when skiing tight bumps and trees.

The Stance 88 W will let me ski it with a fairly centered stance, but it feels a bit more balanced and easy to control when driving its shovels with a more forward stance. When executing really tight turns, the Stance 88 W doesn’t feel super stiff or demanding. The ski also feels lively and energetic underfoot, while being fairly easy to pivot — especially for a sub-90mm ski.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

The Stance 88 W provides a middle ground between some of the stiffer and more demanding skis out there, such as the Blizzard Black Pearl 97, Volkl Secret 96, and the 4FRNT MSP CC, while also feeling more damp and supportive than some quicker, lighter options like the Atomic Maven 93C.

Steeps

The Stance 88 W has been a great option for when the steep terrain is firm, but I don’t want an extremely demanding ski. It initiates turns quickly and easily, and feels relatively light and easy when making quick maneuvers. It doesn’t demand a forward stance or perfect tip pressure when engaging a turn, which is nice in variable and technical terrain. On edge, the Stance 88 W feels damp and supportive, especially given that it’s not a very heavy ski when compared to some other metal laminate skis.

Not surprisingly, the 22/23 Salomon QST Stella 106 feels better in a more centered stance and has a much more forgiving tail, but the Stance 88 W also feels more stable on firmer conditions and in consequential terrain. The slightly heavier Stance 94 W feels just a bit more planted and stable when the steeps are firm.

The most unforgiving component of the Stance 88 W in steep terrain is the stiffness of its tail, and I sometimes felt myself feeling a little tentative to power a turn on edge through the tail because it felt like I might get stood up / punished by the tail if my technique wasn’t ideal.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

On grippy, chalky, and smooth conditions on steep terrain, the Stance 88 W is an excellent choice. I appreciated that it had a fairly low swing weight for hop turns but still felt pretty stable and damp. The Stance 88 W feels great when making quicker, shorter turns in these conditions, and as long as you keep some pressure on its shovels, it’s easier to release and pivot than many similarly narrow or narrower alternatives.

Powder

As you might expect, the Stance 88 W isn’t the best choice for deep snow. I found it fun and nimble when there were a few inches of fresh snow over a supportive, firmer base, but on any substantial powder (6” or more), the Stance 88 W doesn’t offer great flotation or maneuverability. For more versatility across conditions, the Stance 94 W offers better flotation and easier pivoting through soft, even heavy snow.

Soft Chop

In soft chop, the Stance 88 W provides a stable platform while also being on the easier side (for a ski around this width) when it comes to maneuverability. As mentioned in other conditions, the Stance 88 W’s tail feels powerful, which can be nice for riding out soft chop with speed, but it can also punish mistakes if you get really far backseat in chop. However, I think the Stance 88 W’s combination of agility and support will be appealing to many folks who feel caught between heavier, stiffer skis and softer, lighter ones.

Compared to the Head Kore 85 W, the Stance 88 W feels considerably more damp and planted. And while the Atomic Maven 93C feels a little easier to steer and maneuver through soft chop, the Stance 88 W feels more stable here.

Particularly in deeper chop, I prefer the Stance 94 W, which feels just a bit more stable and planted while still being highly maneuverable. But for shallower chop, the Stance 88 W performs admirably, given its width.

Firm Chop / Crud

In firm chop, crud, or generally less than desirable conditions, the Stance 88 W again strikes a nice balance of maneuverability, suspension, and stability. I appreciate that I can ski the Stance 88 W in a manner that is slower and more controlled, making a lot of tighter, slower turns, which is how this ski best handles these conditions.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

It is certainly not as planted or damp as the Blizzard Black Pearl 97 or Volkl Secret 96, but both of these skis feel most stable at higher speeds and in larger turns and are not as easy to casually slide and carve around at moderate speeds. Compared to the Head Kore 85 W and Atomic Maven 93 C, the Stance 88 W provides better suspension through these rough conditions.

Length

In my experience, the Stance 88 W is a ski that won’t require much special attention when it comes to picking the right length (i.e., most should just go with their usual length), except for that its tail can feel a bit stiff and demanding. As someone who has enjoyed skis from 170 cm to 180+ cm, I was pleased to find that the 174 cm Stance 88 W felt both plenty stable and quite agile in tight terrain.

Who’s It For?

As far as ability levels go, the Stance 88 W is an excellent choice for plenty of skiers. It felt accessible when I needed to slow it down and it didn’t force me to be on edge in order for it to feel stable or balanced. For this reason, I think many upper-intermediate to expert skiers could get along well with this ski. If you’re an intermediate skier looking to use this ski in a lot of tight moguls and trees, just know that its tail can feel a bit stiff at times.

Kara Williard reviews the Salomon Stance 88 W for Blister
Kara Williard on the Salomon Stance 88 W (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

For its width, the Stance 88 W handles groomers and firm conditions quite well, but definitely has its limitations when it comes to offering enough flotation to really charge through deeper chop. So if you plan on skiing a lot of fresh snow and/or deeper chop, the Salomon Stance 94 W is a more versatile all-mountain ski that still shares a lot in common with its narrower sibling. Overall, the Stance W series is a great option for skiers who gravitate toward more stable skis, but who are looking to get something that’s a bit lighter, quicker, and more forgiving than the heavier, stiffer, more charging-oriented options in this class.

Bottom Line

The Salomon Stance 88 W is a versatile ski that excels on firm snow, with a preference for groomed terrain but the ability to make quick work of off-piste lines — especially for skiers with fairly good technique. It fills a sweet spot in the category of sub ~90 mm all-mountain skis, being pretty stable but not overly heavy, making it worth a look from many skiers.

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1 comment on “2022-2023 Salomon Stance 88 W”

  1. Nice review, Kara.

    Deep dive coming? My wife’s aging Black Pearl 88s (OG, before there was a wider version) are pretty banged up, but she loves them. I worry a bit that the new version might be more ski than she enjoys.

    Thanks!

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