2nd Look: 2011-2012 Rossignol Scimitar


On groomers, the Rossignol S3s are very good, and the 188cm Rossignol Experience 98 is phenomenal—still the most capable, locked down, all-mountain 98mm ski I have ever skied on groomers. The Scimitars fall between these two other skis on the spectrum. Having said that, I feel like they are substantially better than the S3s on groomers, and I can’t recall whether the Experience 98 is as easy to get up on edge as the Scimitar. So if carving is truly your thing, the Experience 98 is the most comfortable at speed, but the Scimitar is incredibly easy (and  fun) to get up high on edge. The S3s are fine and really fun, it’s just that these other two skis really are that good.


In 12-16″ of fresh, the Scimitar did fine, but its subtle rocker profile provided a less surfy feel than the S3. Of the S3, Experience 98, and Scimitar, the S3 will probably be the most fun on pow days—it has the most tip and tail rocker of the bunch, and its softer flex than the Experience 98 and Scimitar promotes good floatation in all but very wet, heavy snow. Finally, the Experience 98 has the most conventional / traditional feel in pow. It is a stiff ski with minimal tip rocker; it’s not going for that overly surfy, playful feel in soft snow.


The Scimitar has a longer running length and isn’t quite as quick as the S3s, but they are more substantial, and the shovels won’t fold up like the S3’s will when things start getting steep and firm. The Scimitars are also less work than the Experience 98s, and pivot more easily. But the S3 is the ski I would recommend if you’re into skiing really tight trees. It has the shortest running length of the three skis, and is very quick and very easy to pivot. However, the steeper and more bumped those tree lines become (as on Taos’ North Face), the more quickly I would reach for the Scimitars.


This one is a tough call as to which is the best ski for bumps, and it’s pretty much a coin flip between the S3 and the Scimitar. I found the S3s to be a bit quicker and slightly easier than the Scimitars to get the shovels moving fast. Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned, with their subtle, full reverse camber profile, the Scimitars ski longer than the S3, and longer is rarely better in bumps. But the Scimitars feel more solid, which is good if you’re flying, and if you are flying, you might appreciate that the Scimitar has a firmer tail than the S3. If you’re skiing bumps more slowly, you will likely prefer the softer tail of the S3s.

While the Scimitar pivots well, I found myself carving more than pivoting in bumps; alternatively, the S3s are a pivot machine, and its rocker profile and flex pattern allow it to negotiate easily big, tight bumps or tight trees. (Again, my biggest caveat here is that, in steep bump lines, I’ll take the more substantial shovels of the Scimitar.)

Skiing some end-of-the-day bump laps on Taos’ Al’s Run, I found myself wishing that the Scimitars were slightly quicker, but still appreciated their ease and relative stability. They felt good here.

I didn’t have the opportunity to mess with mount position too much, but I did move the Scimitars forward one centimeter of recommended and didn’t notice much of a difference, positively or negatively. So if you’re inclined to get a bit forward of recommended, neither Will nor I found that to be a problem.


If you are primarily looking for a ski to bust through crud, ski ice, perform well in resorts on a 1″-6″ storm day, and perform really well days after the storm, then the Rossignol Experience 98 might be the ticket. Again, the feel of the Experience 98 is like that of a very good traditional ski: It isn’t designed to pivot, it’s designed to carve and fly. It will certainly perform the best of the three skis on very hard snow, and it will smooth out the ride the most. But the Scimitar is impressive on firm and is more fun than the Experience 98 in fresh and in bumps. In short, the Scimitar provides an attractive compromise between the soft snow-oriented S3 and the hard snow-oriented Experience 98, so it really does depend on where you’re looking for a ski to excel.


I can see a lot of people at a lot of different mountains being quite happy with the Scimitar. There is a lot of overlap with the S3, but there are some distinguishing features that hopefully make it clear which will be the better choice for you.

If you are looking for a ski that is incredibly easy and quick at slow speeds, or if this ski is going to be what you break out in deeper pow, the S3 is probably the better call.

The Scimitar is more stable at speed than the S3 and is more capable in variable conditions and bumped up terrain. In short, it can be pushed harder. And while it isn’t as good on bulletproof ice—and it might not be as ridiculously stable and fast—as the 188cm Experience 98, it is less demanding than the Experience 98 in bumps and tight trees.

So if, like Neil, you’re looking for a capable off-piste ski that can handle icy faces and still be fun in a foot of pow, the Scimitar seems like a very good choice, and definitely represents one of the best values in the ski industry.

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.

Leave a Comment