2nd Look: 2016-2017 Fischer Nightstick, 181cm
Available Lengths: 163, 172, 181 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 178.2cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 114-84-114
Stated Weight per Ski: 1950 g
Sidecut Radius: 22 meters
Mount Location: True Center
Boots / Bindings: Dalbello Krypton KR 2 Pro/ Rossignol FKS155
Days Tested: 14
Test Location: Stowe, VT; Bolton Valley, VT; Park City, UT; Sun Valley, ID; Mount Bachelor, OR
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Nightstick, which was not changed for 14/15, 5/16, or 16/17, except for the graphics.]
Fischer has made its way back into the freeskiing scene. After a two-year hiatus from having a symmetrical comp park ski in their lineup, the Nightstick has been born…or shall I say reincarnated.
For several years Fischer produced only the addict series that included the Addict & the Addict Pro—a stiffer version of the Addict, with carbon in the tip and tails to reduce swing weight. The new Nightstick, for all intents and purposes, appears to be a blend of the two, and I couldn’t be more stoked.
Scott Nelson is on-point in his review of the Fischer Nightstick regarding design characteristics, but I have a slightly different thoughts on the flex properties of the ski, since I am a little heavier than Scott (180 lbs). I enjoy a ski with a stiffer flex pattern that allows for good power transfer and response, and I expected that the Nightstick, marketed to the competition park scene, would do well in this respect.
Fourteen days in, the Nightstick hasn’t disappointed.
Durability is also a key concern of mine when considering park skis, and Fischers have consistently held up to abuse well in past seasons. The Nightstick is no different, showing only the typical chips and nicks expected with normal use of a park ski. Build quality has been top notch.
Caveat: Tuning / Detuning
Even though I have this ski for the intended purpose of skiing park I’ve kept a consistent 3 degree edge on the tip and tail. Underfoot I allowed the edge to roll over, only using a stone to remove any burs. This edge profile allowed the ski to maintain edge hold all over the mountain, but not get hung up while lapping the park. I cannot guarantee the ski will l perform as I’ve found if it is not tuned/detuned in a similar fashion.
Flex / Break In
Although the Nightstick is stiffer than the Line Afterbang or the Faction Kennedy,on the whole, it will break in a bit. I certainly felt the skis soften up slightly over the 14 days of testing. However, if you are a park skier who enjoys a softer, more buttery ski or are lighter, you’ll likely still find the ski to be stiff even after this initial break-in period.
On the east coast, early season jump lines are hard to come by during early season, so I had to wait until late December to get the Nightsticks out on some larger wedges at Park City.
Being that the Nightstick is fairly stiff, comparable to that of the previous Addict Pro, it is incredibly stable on takeoffs and can definitely rebound on less than ideal landings. The race-like ability to load up the tails enables a smooth and consistent pop on takeoffs.
While warming up (this was my first day hitting jumps of any size), I mistakenly took a little too much speed into the two jump line sending me deep into the landing. Even so, the Nightstick’s stability allowed me to ride away where a softer ski like the Faction Kennedy would have likely washed out.
Swing weight in the air was a non-issue. My setup comes in a little on the heavy side, due in part to the all metal FKS 155 I’ve mounted on the Nightstick, but even then I didn’t feel I needed to exert any extra effort to bring a spin around. The skis carried just enough weight to remind me they were still on my feet, also providing some momentum for larger spins.
If I was searching for a park ski but did not want to sacrifice the ability to hold an edge on even the iciest of conditions, the Nightstick would certainly fit the bill.
If you are familiar with Sun Valley at all you will know that the Challenger Lift provides access to 3,100+ vertical feet at a fairly steep, consistent pitch. Here the nightstick handled speed well, and lots of it, on a sheet of ice comparable to what you’ll often find Nosedive at Stowe.
The traditional camber profile loads up and snaps from edge to edge in a predictable fashion that can make you forget you are on a center mounted park ski.
Edge Deformities and Rails
Hand-flexing a ski and looking at its camber profile are good ways to get some sense of how the ski might perform on snow, but until you get the ski on snow (and rails), durability is never certain.
The Nighstick’s base is reinforced underfoot, and after 14 days of abuse, I can say I am pleasantly surprised that there aren’t any notable edge cracks or compressions to be found.
On rails, the Nightstick feels well balanced, as you would expect from a symmetrical ski. The ability to load up the ski also has its benefits when popping onto taller urban set features, and as noted by Scott, the rigidity allows the skier to stomp even the harshest of landings.
A park ski is going to get beat up. What I hope for is that it will last the 60+ days I ride in a full season. The topsheets of the Nightstick have held up well, as have the bases and edges, as mentioned above.
My only slight concern is that the ski’s sidewalls seem fairly soft, and may bemore prone to compressions when hitting a rail or jersey barrier. But to date I have only had a few slight indentations in the sidewall, nothing to be worried about.
“Stiff” does not necessarily mean lifeless, and the Nightstick is proof of this. It may not be quite as poppy as a Volkl Wall, but it certainly does not take much effort to load up the Nightstick. This would likely be desirable for a skier who, although pushing the limits in the park scene, doesn’t weigh quite enough to get the most out of the of the Wall’s flex. All and all, I would recommend the Nightstick to any park skier except for those looking for a true noodle. While it won’t butter, it is still rather forgiving despite being fairly stiff.
The Nightstick provides reliable and predictable stability while maintaining a standard of durability that other manufacturers don’t often match. I can imagine it as a favorite of a competition park or pipe skier who demands a ski that, though stiff, loads up and provides an ample amount of pop.
And if you aren’t a competition park skier, the Nightstick could still be an excellent choice. Someone who appreciates ripping groomers and the ability to hold an edge on icy of conditions would feel right at home on the Nightstick, too.