2nd Look: Rossignol Experience 100

Review of the Rossignol Experience 100, Blister Gear Review
14/15 Rossignol Experience 100

Ski: 2015-2016 Rossignol Experience 100, 182cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 140-100-130

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 138-98-128

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18.0 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 180.8cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2036 & 2063 grams

Core: Poplar / Titanal

Mount Location: Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro / Marker Jester (DIN 11)

Test Locations: Alta Ski Area, Snowbird

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Experience 100, which was not changed for 15/16, except for the graphics.]

Jonathan has already written both a preview and a review of the Rossignol Experience 100, so I’m just going to highlight a few of his key points, discuss the E100’s performance in pow (which Jonathan didn’t), and draw new comparisons between the 182cm Experience 100 and the 186cm Line Supernatural 100.

Flex Pattern

The Experience 100, as Jonathan notes, is a stiff ski with an especially stout tail. I never had the chance to hand flex the Experience 100 side-by-side with the Supernatural 100, but on snow (which is what matters most anyway) the Experience 100 felt slightly stiffer underfoot, slightly softer in the shovel, and stiffer in the tail compared to the Supernatural 100.

Sidecut and Rocker Profiles

At measured dimensions of 138-98-128, the Experience 100 has a significantly shorter sidecut radius (18m) than the Supernatural 100, which has measured dimensions of 131-99-120 and a sidecut radius of 23m. So while both these skis fall into a broad ~100mm underfoot category, they certainly aren’t the same.

There are also some key differences between the Experience 100’s and Supernatural 100’s rocker profiles. The shovels are fairly similar, with the Supernatural 100 having a slightly deeper rocker line and a bit more tip splay. But the rocker line on the Supernatural’s tails is significantly deeper than that of the Experience 100. (See the rocker profile pics of each ski at the end of our reviews.)

Groomers

Jonathan has already properly lauded the Experience 100’s carving ability on groomers, and I 100% agree with him. Every part of the ski works to make the Experience 100 a great carver, but what separates it from every ski I’ve ridden since my racing days is its fat, powerful tail.

The tail of the Experience 100 boosts its carving performance in two ways:

1). Its stout flex allows energy to build in the tail throughout the turn, causing the Experience 100 to finish turns powerfully, and providing energy to propel the ski into the next turn.

2). The tail’s fat width and minimal (negligible) rocker keep it from washing out. The result is truly confidence-inspiring edge hold.

Compared to the Supernatural 100, I found the Experience 100 to be equally capable of arcing turns of a wide variety of shapes. And while the Supernatural 100 is capable of holding an edge well, the Experience 100 provides an extra level of confidence when laying over a high speed, high angle turn. This difference becomes more pronounced when conditions get icier or more chopped up, as the Experience 100’s fat, stout tail really shines in these conditions.

The Supernatural 100 does have an edge over the Experience 100 in its ability to break its tails free and smear turns on groomers. When trying to smear a turn on the Experience 100, rather than carve one, ski’s tails work against you, unwilling to break out of their clean arc. The Supernatural 100’s softer, slimmer, more rockered tails make smearing, sliding, and slarving turns much easier and more intuitive.

And that difference between the two skis (whether you want more of a locked-down tail, or prefer a ski with a slightly looser tail) will go a long way toward determining which is the better choice for you.

Brett Carroll reviews the Rossignol Experience 100, Blister Gear Review
Brett Carroll on the Rossignol Experience 100, Alta Ski Area.

Soft Chop

Like Jonathan, I found that I was getting more feedback than I would have liked from the shovels of the Experience 100 when skiing fast through soft chop. The shovels feel a little too soft and not quite damp enough to make me feel confident skiing fast in these conditions. This lack of stability was pretty subtle in soft, shallow chop, but became much more pronounced as the chop got deeper and heavier. The Experience 100 feels much more at home carving short to medium radius turns at moderate speeds in these conditions than it does making big turns at top speed. When skied in this medium turn shape / moderate speed style, the Experience 100 feels stable in shallow soft chop, but the tips still begin to deflect a bit in deeper, heavier chop.

The 186cm Supernatural 100 feels better suited for skiing fast through soft chop, as its shovels create a smooth, stable ride in all but very deep, heavy chop.

In chop, the Supernatural 100 also feels more versatile in its ability to make a wider variety of turn shapes than the Experience 100. The Experience 100 prefers to arc turns in soft chop, and I found it difficult to get its fat, stout tails to break free and smear a turn. The Supernatural 100, on the other hand, is much more willing to break its tails free to smear down the fall line.

Powder

The weeks that I spent skiing the Experience 100 in mid to late-April happened to line up with an epic, late-season storm cycle in the Wasatch, so I was able to spend quite a bit of time testing its powder performance.

Dropping into ~15” of medium-density powder in the aptly named Powder Paradise at Snowbird, I found that I had to keep my weight slightly back of center to keep the tips floating, and that even in a neutral stance, the Experience 100 is prone to tip dive.

I had expected that the Experience 100’s slightly softer and wider shovels would help them float better than the Supernatural 100. It turns out that I found the Supernatural 100 to perform better than the Experience 100 in powder, as the Supernatural’s shovels seem to float better and be less prone to diving. My guess is that the Experience 100’s stiffer tail pushes the fore body of the ski forward and downward, while its slightly shorter length reduces the shovel’s surface area and ability to float. That said, I would be very interested to try the 190cm Experience 100, as I have a hunch that the extra length might help the ski’s powder performance.

As in soft chop, the Experience 100 prefers to arc turns through pow, whereas the Supernatural 100 provides a bit more versatility in terms of turn shape. Even in untracked powder, I struggled to get the Experience 100’s tails to break free from an arc and smear down the fall line. Smearing turns in soft snow feels much more natural and intuitive on the Supernatural 100.

10 thoughts on “2nd Look: Rossignol Experience 100

  1. The E100 and the Q-Lab sound pretty similar; powerful tail and softer shovel, not as damp as something with stronger shovels (like the Belafonte) in crud. Are there notable differences between the E100 and the Q-Lab?

    • I haven’t had a chance to put any time on the Q-Labs, so I can’t speak too specifically. Having read Jonathan’s review of the Q-Lab it sounds like you’re right about the similar flex pattern, but with its wider width and longer sidecut radius I’d imagine there are some key performance differences. Jonathan Ellsworth has reviewed both, so he’d be able to provide a more detailed answer. If you comment on his review I think he’ll be more likely to respond soon. Cheers

  2. This question pertains to the mount point of the ski. I have already commented on the Cham 107 and 117 skis being alternatively mounted at -2cm, and I wonder if the Experience series would benefit from the same mount position? These skis are not a 5 point dimensions design and have a shape that is conventional and traditional, so why did Rossi choose to place the recommended mount so forward and central on the ski? I also have the EXP 88 mounted at the rec. line and I find the ski to be very responsive and super easy to carve and hold an edge on the groomers and flatter- harder snow in general but slightly squirrelly in chop and crud especially if you really pressure the front of the ski. In a previous test on the EXP 98 you tried the ski at -1 cm behind the rec line and found that the ski responded more favorably at this position. Balance and positioning is paramount for optimum ski control so please comment on this technical query and try the EXP 100 at -2cm so that a comparison could be made.

    • That’s a good question David. Unfortunately I haven’t played around with the E100’s mount point, and as far as I know Jonathan hasn’t either. There’s a decent chance that moving the mount point back 1-2cm would improve the E100’s performance in chop and pow, but I can’t say for sure. If we do ever get the chance to ski these mounted further back, we’ll be sure to let you know.

    • I’ve skied the 182, mounted -2cm from centre line for over 20 days in variable Australian conditions. Just amazing: carves, smears, blasts, rocks edges. All the above comments about too stiff a tail and tails that hang up are gone! I have mounted my Soul 7s, 180s -2cm as well. Skied them all season in Red last year, just great. Fantastic skies, both of them! I passed up demoing the new Mantras, 177cm with full stiff rocker in the tail all the way up to under the boot, no thanks. Cheers

    • I think David Jensen has a really good point and am bummed you guys didn’t mess with the mount point, especially considering your experience with the E98 being better mounted back. This seems like something that should definitely be done. How does the mounting point compare to where the Mantra and Line were mounted? Mounting point seems to be really critical to how a ski performs these days.

  3. I owned and sold a pair of Exp 98’s. Nice every day groomer ski when you want to be lazy. Not a powder ski. All i can say is that if you think any ski of this type carves with the power and dynamic energy of a race ski you haven’t been on a true race room GS race ski like my 188 Heads @ 28m radius. Something like the difference between a Subaru and a Ferrari.

    • Richard, sorry if there was a bit of a misunderstanding in terms of the E100’s carving performance. When I said that the E100 carves better than any ski I’ve been on since my racing days I was trying to communicate that it is not on par with a true race ski, but that it carves very well for a ski in its class. I doubt a ~100-waist all mountain ski will ever have the carving performance of your Head GS skis, but relative to comparable skis I found the E100 to be very stable, energetic, and fun on groomers. Using the car analogy, maybe more like the difference between an Audi and Ferrari?

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