2nd Look: 2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar

Ski: 2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar, 185cm photograph of the Rossignol Scimitar

Dimensions (mm): 128-98-121

Actual Tip-to-Tail length (straight tape pull): 181.3 cm

Turn Radius: 21.3 meters

Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 /  Rossignol Axial 120 (DIN at 10)

Mount location(s): recommended line

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Alta Ski Area

Days Skied: 7

Recently, a reader named Neil wrote to say that he was thinking of picking up the Rossi S3 or the Rossi Experience 98, because he is an advanced skier looking for something “more off piste biased” than his current ski, “with more float in powder and better in crud, but still able carve down an icy face in Val d’Isère!”

But given everything that Neil is looking for, all indicators actually point to a third Rossignol ski, the Scimitar. So Neil, please consider this review an answer to your question….

First of all, Will Brown’s review of the Rossignol Scimitar is spot on, so if you haven’t read it, you should begin there. My intention here is just to flesh out the picture a bit then discuss how the Scimitar compares to those two other 98mm skis made by Rossi, the Rossignol S3 and the Rossignol Experience 98.

I first got a little time on the Scimitar back in October, and was immediately impressed by the Scimitar’s ability to carve. Well, I’m even more impressed now, pretty blown away, actually.

Will mentions in his review how easy it is to put the Scimitar up on a very high edge angle, and he’s right. Really right. I haven’t skied the Rossignol Experience 98 since last season (so that might be an exception to what I’m about to write), but there is no other 98mm+ ski that I’ve been on that is easier to get up on edge—high on edge—and keeps you feeling completely locked in to the turn. The subtle, continuous rocker profile of the Scimitar is certainly responsible in large part for this, but it’s still somewhat surprising because the Scimitar is not some incredibly stiff, demanding racestock ski. It’s a medium/soft, pretty forgiving flex overall, with a very high speed limit and excellent edge hold.

The other quality I find most surprising about the Scimitar is that, given it’s relatively soft flex, this ski is a pretty capable charger.

On March 9 at Taos, John Gwynn and I ripped down a groomer for a warm up run, and I was once again extremely impressed by how exceptionally well the Scimitar carves, how much angulation it encourages.

Our second run, however, was down West Blitz, on a section that I had been skiing a good bit recently on the Rossignol Squad 7 and MOMENT Belafonte. I hated the Scimitars; they felt way too soft, they weren’t holding up at speed in bumps like the Belafonte had, and I was ticked off. I told Gwynn that I was going to go switch these out. (Admittedly, this is a terrible confession to make, but I didn’t have the patience that day to ski a tool that wasn’t right for the terrain and the conditions.)

But for some reason that I don’t remember, we decided to hit Chair 2 one more time before heading to the base, and we skied Reforma. The run went much better, and I made some casual comment that we might as well do another quick lap before heading down to the bottom.

The third lap? Even better. And that was the ongoing story of the day: With every lap in firm, bumped-up conditions, I kept putting more trust in the Scimitars, and kept pushing them harder, increasingly surprised at how much they could hold up to. (This is yet another example of why skis really need to be tested for multiple days, and not just for a couple of runs.)

On Reforma and West Blitz, I was skiing diagonally over steep bumps, turning in the air, landing hard, repeating. There was a lot of bashing going on here, a lot more bashing than finesse. The Scimitars aren’t some super damp, obviously solid platform, yet they were definitely getting the job done. Such faith is easy to place in a ski like the Belafonte—it’s simply burlier—but to a lot of skiers, it might also feel like too much. The Scimitar is a softer and more playful ski, and as Will Brown wrote, the Scimitars “don’t exactly blast through crud and chopped powder, but they are able to get through it without a problem.”

Lapping Stauffenberg, I continued to place more trust in the Scimitar, skiing it faster and faster and making fewer turns. Then, just as I had been doing on those Belafontes, I started straight-lining the entire apron and feeling increasingly comfortable doing so. The Scimitars didn’t smooth out the ride nearly as much as the Belafontes, but they handled it, and they handled it better than the S3.

Speaking of the S3, I’ll try to round out the picture of the Scimitar by comparing its performance directly to the S3 and to the Experience 98.

22 comments on “2nd Look: 2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar”

  1. Great reviews. I want to maintain or improve the performance of the S3 in powder, But add good performance on groomers or hard snow. I am thinking about the sickle. What do you think? I am not an aggressive skier and I ski at average speeds, but all over the mountain. Thanks.

  2. I really enjoy my scimitars all over the mountain, but I also feel that its performance on overnight-frozen-piste-after-a-warm-day isn’t that good. It feels like trying to carve off the mountain with ice skates. In the beginning of the turn the part of the ski that is in contact with the surface is relatively small (due to the full rocker), and the weight of your body is focused on this small part of the ski. In this phase of the turn, it seems like the ski has too much grip on a too small spot which makes slipping over ice really hard.
    If I do try to make the turn high speed, I get tossed over quickly. However I learned that by hanging backseat, I can increase the length of the ski touching the surface, but it doesn’t ski very comfortable and it looks silly :)

    Have you experienced this same feeling on the scimitars? I was thinking about detuning the ski a bit underfoot, so the grip of the ski will build up slowly when the ski angle increases. Do you think detuning would be a solution for this? This may also undo the unsettling behaviour of the skis when I’m pointing the tips down the fall-line (the skis want to get on edge).

    BTW, As you can read English is not my primary language

    • Hi, JP – I have to say that no, I haven’t had the same experience as you on the Scimitar. As I mention, there certainly are skis that handle ice better (e.g., the Rossi Experience 98), but I found the subtle, full rocker to work fairly well here, and that, put on edge, I was engaging more of the edge of the ski than other tip and tail rockered skis. For ice, of course, I’d prefer a ski with no rocker at all and a lot of camber, but that will be less fun in most other conditions.

      I would definitely play with the tune if I were you. It does sound as if your ski’s shovels are too dull, too far down the ski, and that the edges are too sharp underfoot. Will Brown and I both found the Scimitar to be very smooth and predictable, and I’d think a proper tune would provide the same feel for you.

  3. Hi Jonathan,
    Another comprehensive review thanks! I think the Scimitar will be a good all round ski for me, Given the number of powder days we have in europe, more of a compromise has to be made towards firmer or chopped conditions. I will try and ski at least the S3 and Scimitar before I buy , maybe even the exp98, it is a feel thing and it seems they are quite close. Length maybe an issue having skied relatively short skis for a while now 158’s, so moving to 171 maybe the compromise for me rather than 178. Any advice on bindings for this type of ski?
    Thanks for the advice and keep writing these great reviews.


  4. Jonathan, two quick questions.

    1) How much does the 185 cm Scimitar weigh? You guys are normally great at posting weights, but I can’t seem to find it for the Scimitar. I was thinking about the Scimitar as a sidecountry/backcountry options, so weight is key.

    2) Is the Scimitar the exact same ski as the old Rossignol Sickbird, but with subtle reverse camber instead of traditional camber? The wood/microcell design, 185cm length, the 30 degree ABS sidewalls, and the 128-98-121 dimensions all match perfectly. I only ask because I own a pair of original 185 Sickbirds, and I am in the process of trying to decamber/rocker them myself to create my own pseudo-Scimitars.

    • Hi, Dan. The 11/12, 185 Scimitar weighs 8.84 lbs. per pair.

      Rossignol is switching up the Scimitar (and the Sickle) a bit for 12/13, and they will come in at 8.4 lbs / pair. The Scimitar and Sickle will have blunted tips and tails to reduce swing weight, and the Scimitar gets slightly wider: 129/99/122.

      I spoke to Rossignol re: the Scimitar / Sickbird, and they’ve sort of confirmed your suspicion: “Up until this new 12/13 model, dimensions and construction were pretty consistent with the S5 and Sickbird but with 100% full rocker.”

      So yeah, you might want to pick up a pair of Scimitars; but if you don’t, you’ll have to let me know how those pseudo-Scimitars work for you!

  5. Hi Jonathan,

    For the last 3 years I’ve been riding Line’s Sir Francis Bacon 182’s (before they were rockered) and have been incredibly impressed with how agile a ski they are considering the 115mm underfoot. Last spring, however, I made the mistake (according to my wallet) of demo-ing a pair of Rossi Experience 98’s and had a BLAST on them on the corny spring groomers. I was completely sold. After reading your review of the Scimitar’s, however, I’m a little torn on which way to go. I’m looking for a more responsive all-mountain ski to use in more everyday fresh-snow conditions (trees, 6-12″ dumps, soft groomers, etc.) while I wait for the few and far-between “deep” days we get in New England to pull out the SFB’s. While I really enjoyed skiing the Experience 98 on the soft spring snow, and I’m sure they’d edge nicely on hardpack and even icy conditions, I wonder how they would handle in semi-deep powder…especially in the trees. From your review, I gather the Scimitars would be best of both worlds? Do you think the Scimitars would be different enough from the Bacons? Also, how would you compare the Moment Belafonte’s or Tahoe’s?

    • Hey, Andrew – you write, “I’m looking for a more responsive all-mountain ski to use in more everyday fresh-snow conditions.” If you really mean everyday fresh snow, then I think you want the Scimitar. Hard / firm conditions? Experience 98. Alternatively, this is old school feel (E98) vs. new school feel (Scimitar). Both skis are fantastic at what they are designed to do. So if you know how a good, traditional, serious ski handles semi-deep powder, then you have a good sense of how the E98 will feel.

      Also, I haven’t skied the 115 Bacon, but given that we’re talking about a 98mm fully rockered ski vs. a 115mm ski with no rocker, I feel like we are squarely in apples / oranges territory here.

      And I’m not sure what you want the Belafontes or Tahoes compared to, the Scimitars or the Bacons? I don’t have much to add beyond our 3 reviews of the Belafonte, but I will say that I don’t think that the Tahoe is a ski that you need to worry about given what you say you’re looking for. For that matter, nothing you’ve written inclines me to think that the Belafonte is what you’re looking for, either. Neither the Belafonte or Tahoe carve like the Scimitar or Experience 98. The Belafonte destroys chop and goes very, very fast.

  6. Hi Jonathan!

    Im looking for a a new pair of skis to extend my quiver. So far Ive been riding pretty much park only. Got K2 Fujatives 05 for the park and Rossignol Scratch Ghetto 08 for everything else. I want to something wider to replace the Rossi. I really like the flex and feel of the Fujatives. Looking for something to ski powder and still beeing able to ski groomers. I want something playful to jib groomed ski runs but beeing able to carve, too. When skiing groomers I normally let the ski do all the work and just push the ski onto the edges. It’s not aggressive carving but more letting the skis run. Never had problems with the Fujitave doing that and it’s known for the soft flex. Is the S3 able to handle that kind of thing? From your comparison I’d say the Scimitar would be better for this kind of stuff? Is it as playful as the S3 when it comes to spinning and jibbing?

    The S3 was my favourite till I found out about the Scimitar. Sad thing is I cant find a shop over here in Germany selling the Scimitar. Now I’m pretty much torn apart…

    Please enlighten me ;)

  7. Hi, Andreas – I assume you’ve read my S3 review as well as my DPS Wailer 99 review where I mention the Scimitar. Long and short, I think either the S3 or Scimitar would be great for you, and since you already KNOW you like the S3, go with it. They will definitely be able to handle the sort of skiing you’ve described. Just mount them forward of the traditional line, and you ought to have a great time on them.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Do you think the 186 would be long enough for me? Im at 186 myself (about 82kg think thats about 185lbs?) and the S3 are like 182(?) tip to tail?
      You skied them on +3 and on the 0 line. Do you know how far away that would be from the tail or center? Just to compare it to my older skis.

      Thanks in advance!

  8. I’ve read that you almost did not see any difference, but where should I mount the bindings if I am going to use it mainly off and on piste, and if going to the park just making a few jumps, no rails?



  9. Jonathan,
    Quick backstory: my only pair of skis to date have been your favorite (judging by the amount of reviews they are mentioned in) skis – the Shredditor 112. I love them. They were a gift from a friend, and I have been merciless in running them throughout the tight trees here in New England. However, 90% of my turns are of the pivot variety, and I find the length of the K2s (179), and the weight of the shovels make them tough to really snap from side to side. I’m 6’2″, 220, and ski really tight, loopy lines through whatever trees I can find. I am currently running a factory mount point. I’m looking for something shorter for the tight glades in Maine, and something that can really be whipped from side to side. Groomer performance is only necessary to get me back to the lift, and I’m not much of a “charger”. Recommendations? My instinct was to demo the Sickles, but I can’t seem to find a pair to run. My other option was to try and re-mount the Shredditors about 2 cm forward, but I’m a much better skier than technician. Not opposed to dropping cash either, but good demos are often hard to come by near me, so picking your brain seemed a reasonable option.

  10. I know that this is an old thread, but I’m having an impossible time finding a ski that is similar to these old Scimitars! I bought them on the Blister recommendation, loved them alpine, put 22 Designs Tele bindings on them when I wanted to learn that discipline and haven’t found any ski since that I like as much for telemark. I’ve tried Black Diamond (I forget the model, but they were traditional, non-rockered) Liberty Variant 97s (too stiff, I really had to work them).

    The Scimitars are on their last legs at this point, but I’m afraid to buy another ski to replace them. It’s incredibly hard to find telemark demos, so I’m going to be buying blind to how they actually ski. Can you point me in any direction? I can’t seem to find much in the soft/forgiving, full-rocker but not totally park oriented ski that can hold an edge and rewards balanced skiing.

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