2nd Look: 2012-2013 Rossignol Squad 7

Rossignol Squad 7, Blister Gear ReviewSki: 2012-2013 Rossignol Squad 7, 190cm

Dimensions (mm): 146-120-127

Turn Radius: 29.5 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 186.5cm

Weight Per Ski: 2,400 grams / 5.3 lbs.

Boots / Binding: Lange RX 130 / Look PX 12 (DIN at 10)

Mount Locations: +1 of recommended

Test Locations: Taos, Niseko, Alta

Days Skied: 8

I just went back and reread Jason Hutchin’s excellent review of the Rossignol Squad 7, and I agree with pretty much everything he wrote. Jason and I also had nearly identical experiences with the Rossignol S7 and Super 7, which is why, when Jason found out that I was skiing them at Taos this past January, he was eager to hear the report.

The text exchange went like this:

Jason: How are those new Squads?

Me: :)

Me: No more S7 balance issue.

Jason: Nice. Stiff?

Me: Stiffer, but not demanding. The Super 7 is officially obsolete.

OK, well yeah, that last sentence is too strong.

For example, if you ski the S7 or Super 7 and have no idea what I mean about the “S7 balance issue,” then you can dismiss my claim that the Super 7 is obsolete. You can still find lots of people on mountains everywhere who swear by their S7s and Super 7s. So if you love those skis, there’s little reason to think that you’ll undoubtedly love the Squad 7 more. But if the S7 / Super 7 left you wanting, you are in luck.

Instead of simply repeating much of what Jason has already reported, I’ll try to say a little more about who will be drawn toward the S7 and Super 7, and who might want to look at the Squad 7. I’ll also compare the Squad 7 to a couple of skis in the same class: the 190cm Moment Bibby Pro and the 191cm ON3P Billy Goat.

Back in January at Taos, I skied the Squad 7s primarily off the ridge, both Highline and West Basin. The skis felt intuitive right from the start; as my text message stated, there was no issue of trying to find a balance point on the Squads. You can ski them centered, but you can drive the shovels hard, too.

As Jason noted in his review, the tail of the Squad 7 feels (to us, anyway) like a significant improvement, provides a more stable platform for landings, carves well, but still allows you to break free easily and (with any sort of speed) smear turns. The pintail of the S7 may be even easier to smear, but the tradeoff is a less stable ride.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Rossignol Squad 7, Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth, Juarez, Taos Ski Valley.

65 comments on “2nd Look: 2012-2013 Rossignol Squad 7”

  1. You guys need to get your hands on the new Dynstar Cham 117 for a faceoff with the Squad. I think those skis will be really close to each other from what i’ve heard. As for the Super 7, its still the King of powder tree skiing as far as I’m concerned. Skiing at Mammoth in the blower March storm I literally could do no wrong on that ski. That alone makes it worth keeping in my quiver.

    • Hi, Joel – not sure whether that was a Freudian slip or a typo: The Cham doesn’t come in a 117, but a 107 and a 127. (Kind of surprising to me that Dynastar skipped the 117….) But if you’re proposing a 127 Cham to a Squad 7 faceoff, then yes, could be interesting, though the two skis don’t seem to me to be a clear apples / apples comparison. But I guess we’ll find out!

      And thanks for your comments re: the Super 7. It’s a ski that didn’t click with Jason or me, so it’s interesting to hear from those who are digging them.

      • I agree that 117 seems like the sweet spot for the Cham, but they obviously didn’t want to make 107, 117, and 127 due to extra cost.

        I think liking the Super 7 may be predicated on liking a centered stance on skis. For example, on my old gold goats, bindings were oringally mounted at the recommended line, didn’t like them much. Moved the mount up +2, for a more centered stance, bam, whole new ski, loved it. Either way, the S7 has its limitations, but what it does well, it does really well.

  2. I really didnt love the S7 so I’m interested to see how different these skis feel.

    Is the DPS 138 Lotus review far away?

  3. Jonathan, I don’t know if you have any time on it, but how would you compare the feel of the squad 7 to kastle’s BMX108? I’ve been using the 108 in the PNW(usually crystal or bachelor) for everything from deep pow to groomers and really like it, but will be moving to SLC for the next couple years and wanted something that will float in the lighter snow.

  4. Thanks for the comparison to the 190 Bibby. I just got a pair and figured they’d be along the lines of the new crop of big-mountain oriented rockered skis (Squad 7, Automatic, Helldorado, etc.). I’m glad to hear I’m not off and that the Bibby, which has been around for a couple of seasons, can still boogie with the best of the newer offerings. It sounds like my money was well-saved by finding a deal on this older model.

    BTW, I agree that the Bibbys kill it.

  5. Have you guys skied the Patron or Helldorado. If so how does it compare to the squad 7’s. Looking to replace my 195 S7’s with a ski that can handle higher speed GS turns in the crud and powder that is still somewhat playfull.

  6. Can you guys speak to the weight of the squad 7 as opposed to a 188 S7 or Super 7? I have a pair of 188 S7’s for sidecountry and 195 Super 7’s as my powder day/big mountain charger, and I was thinking of selling them both for some Squad 7’s.

  7. Mike – I have 195 Super7’s and 188 S7’s and skied the Squad 7 a few weeks ago in some deep, but heavy PNW powder/crud. The Blister guys are spot on with their reviews. The Squad strikes a nice balance between stability and playfulness. It felt much lighter than the Super 7’s, or at least the swing weight felt lighter. The only place that the Super 7 performed better than the Squad was on the groomers, where the tighter turn radius of the Super lets it rail and the larger radius Squad felt good, but not so locked in. If you like to charge, the Squad is a much better option than either the S7 or Super 7, while not demanding much more from the pilot.

  8. I really enjoyed this review. My 191 bg’s are way too much work in really tight trees (though not impossible). It is really the only time I miss the s7’s. The squad 7 really does sound like a nice compromise between the two. Though, I am also playing with the idea of seeing how the 12/13 186 bg’s perform in this type of terrain. Bottom line, my wife is going to kill me when I attempt to explain to her why I need a tree specific pow ski… Thanks guys!

    • Dear Jeff’s wife: while I’m sure that Jeff can be impossible sometimes—maybe even a complete moron most of the time—I imagine that you don’t wish him any actual harm, right?

      Trees can be dangerous, but it’s really not his fault that they are SO much fun to ski; they just are. So please, while he may be impossible, you do want to keep him around, don’t you?

      Really, Jeff’s new Squad 7s (or 12/13 BGs) are an insurance policy. Jeff just wants to ensure that he is around for many years to come, helping to make your brief time on this big planet as wonderful as possible. These Squad 7s / 186s BGs are really about you and your well being, and we are moved by Jeff’s loving act of acquiring these new skis.

      You are a lucky lady, clearly worth every penny of a new Squad / BG, and you have a great guy.

      The Idiots at BLISTER.

  9. Wondering if anyone has any insight into Lib Tech’s NAS Magic Horsepower 188cm? Looking for a ski to replace my S7s…something that can handle greater speeds and wind blown crud at Mammoth.

  10. i posted this in the comments for the first review so i thought i’d repost it here too. hope it doesn’t bother anyone too much…

    Hey Jason (and Jonathan), you should check out the 2011-2012 Surface Live Life 191′s. They have nearly an identical looking camber profile at the tip, tail, and underfoot as well as a very similar shape throughout the ski as the squad 7′s. They feel pretty damn stiff, are a little bit wider (156-120-135) and don’t have quite as much taper in the tip and tail as the Rossi’s however. I just got myself a pair for a great deal and I’d be interested in reading your comparisons of the two. BTW, Love your guys’ site! No one from around the PNW though?


  11. Hi Jonathan, I am holding the new powder magazine (thank you Logan Airport) in my hands and came again across the dimensions of the Squad 7. It may be a bit (actually extremely) geekly, but I have to do this: Waist to tail sidecut of the Squad 7 is 7mm. Now I quote from Ryan Caspar’s review of the DPS Lotus 120:

    “(Editor’s Note: Typically, a ski is regarded as “pintailed” if there is less than a 10 millimeter difference between its waist and tail. In the not too distant future, we’re going to be running a piece on pintail design, so, you’ll probably want to start gettin’ psyched for that now….)”

    I know the Squad 7 widens out the way you like it in the tail, but by definition, there is actually a “pintailed” ski you like!

    • Perhaps, Hannes. Though to be honest, I’d like to put a pair of calipers on the Squad 7s, because I’m not fully prepared to believe that the narrowest point of the waist and the widest point of the tail is only 7mm…but that’s another story….

      p.s. – On a related note, you’ll probably want to read my upcoming preview of the Moment Governor….

  12. Hey guys,
    This winter I seem to have got myself into a pickle (though a fortunate one to be in). I’m in possession of a new pair of 12/13 ON3P Billy Goats (regular construction), and a used pair of team-issue Soul 7s (Squad 7s). I also have a pair of dukes and fks 180s. Realizing that these skis are very similar (but having never skied either pair), do you have any advice as to which should be used for resort skiing and which for touring/resort skiing?

    • It should also be noted that I only tour on deep snow days, while the inbounds ski will encounter more variable conditions, along with deep snow.

      • Hi, Mike – if it were me, (and without reiterating everything I’ve said above re: Squad 7 vs. BG) my decision would be based more on resort terrain vs. bc terrain. As I noted, the BGs can be a lot of work in really tight trees. But in relatively open terrain, they are a blast. The BG + Duke will be a pretty heavy setup, but I don’t get the sense that you really care about that, and it probably won’t be a huge weight savings if you put the Duke on the Squads.

        So if you take tight trees out of the equation, I don’t think there is a clear rationale for going one way or the other. You’ve got 2 fun skis.

  13. Thanks for the excellent side-by-side comparisons.

    After a season riding tele on my S7s (178cm), I found them wanting in the same ways (not fully stable at speed, in crud, when landing). Squad 7s sound right up my alley: fast, stable, fall line-loving, crud-busting, fast (did I say fast twice? I did) goodness.

    The only problem? I am 5’6″ & 140 lbs. The Squad 7 190cm (and for that matter the 188cm Super 7) is just physically too big for me; it’s fully 10 inches taller than me. Any recommendations for a similar ski available in short girl-friendly sizes? I have been drawn to Rossi because their very-stable-while-not-stiff feel has suited my old school deep knee tele stance.

  14. Hi,
    Thanks for the great reviews on this site. Very helpful!
    I might be in the market for a new pow-ski after a considerable amount of one the bases on my Liberty Double Helixes has been peeled off. The Squad7 looks really enticing, but it only comes in 190 which is too long. I tour about 90% of the time and being only 5’7 with short legs make kickturns really hard with a long ski. My DH (and my 4frnt Turbos) are 182 and I can concievably manage a couple of cm more. So my question to you is; any recommendations for a 5’7/210ibs (built like a treestub, i know…the 300ibs benchers you guys refered to in a Moment-review are weaklings…grin ;) ? I’m by no means an expert skier, but I like to ski fast GS-turns in the pow when the terrain is open. The birch forrests up here north in Norway is often somewhat tightly spaced, so I need something that turns. Any suggestions for a ski at 180-185 with a waist of 120ish, not a fullrocker and somewhat “light” since I mainly tour?

    I like the way both my current skis ski, and I like their medium+ flex, but since I probably have to buy new skis it would be nice to try something new. Well, thanks for any response! :)

    • Hi, Kjetil – given everything you say you’re looking for, I think you ought to hold on for a little bit for Will Brown’s review of the Armada Norwalk. That ski could fit the bill. If you’re not an expert skier, I would hesitate to recommend the Squad 7 as a ski for tight trees. As i note in my review, it can be a handful. The 13/14 Squad 7 might be great for you, but we haven’t skied it yet so can’t say. But see what you think of the Norwalk….

  15. Hi Kjetil!

    You might consider the Squad 7 since it´s a real nice pow- and crud-shredder and measures about 186 cm! I think if you mount your bindings a little bit forward they should be managable for you. I´m not really convinced tough about the Squad´s touring capabilities (even tough they´re lighter than both, the S 7 and Super 7).


  16. I just finished a fantastic week of skiing in the French alps (Paradiski, La Plagne), with about 2 foot of fresh powder, on my new Rossignol Squad 7′s, which I bought thanks to the fantastic reviews on this fantastic site ;)
    These ski’s are absolutely amazing!!! They’re perfect for the French alps, they ski well in chopped up snow in the beginning of a route, then they absolutely charge the open fresh powder, and when you arrive at the tree line they still are super!
    They also handle really good on the slopes, especially short turns. One thing though, I suddenly have the sides of my legs bruised up because of the effort it takes to put them on the edges on the slopes :) , good thing I work out up to 4 times a week!
    After skiing powder on Rossi 9S (slalom) for a long time and then full camber twin tip Blizzard Titan Chronus for about the last 8 years, I noticed I had to change my technique completely! No more backseat skiing! I wiped out the back about 3 times this week :) mostly on harder snow, but I like it because on the slopes I’m used to pressure the front a lot, so now I just have to do that everywhere.
    There is only one thing I really didn’t like about these skis, when on very icy slopes, when turning/slipping they would start flapping very violently!! Maybe it has to do with the edges I’ve set, at 0.75 base (which im going to change to 0.5, I think) and 2 side angle???
    but overall, I’m in love :)
    Do you guys sometimes ski in Europe??? I’d love to join if possible :)

    Oh yeah and one more thing, those squad 7′s turn on a dime in powder, which absolutely awesome for the technical routes!! :p

    thanks for the awesome reviews

  17. Blister guys, many thanks for the great reviews. I am currently looking to change my old (2005) 189 K2 Maide’n AKs which have been great for a number of seasons but I am now looking to a more rockered pow ski. I am used to the stiffness of these skis but reading your reviews in the 186 atomic automatic or the squad 7 which do you think would be better as an all round tree / fall line pow ski if you could have one?

    Many thanks for the reviews,


    • Thanks, Nick – in short, the Automatic is easier in trees (lighter, quicker) and the Squad 7 is the better fall line ski (more stable, stiffer).

      If you’re putting a premium on tight tree skiing, then the Automatic. But if you still want to rage in variable conditions, then the Squad. The Squad is much better in variable, the Automatic is a really fun, quick POW ski. So it really does come down to what you want most…..

  18. Jonathan, please compare the 2013 Squad 7 with the 2014 model. I am curious about comparisons between the 2013/2014 models in differing conditions,terrain, and skier input. Does the air tip technology make for a livelier/quicker ski and how does the lighter 2014 construction affect stability and crud performance? Any info will be appreciated. I read your initial 1st impressions of the 7 series makeover and was hoping for more details. Thanks. Kevin

  19. I’ve skied the 2014 Squads most of the winter in every condition. Super ski. Very stable, great float, doesn’t get bounced around, no tip flap/flutter at any speed, very quick and maneuverable for a ski this wide. Better than 2013 Squad 7 in all aspects.

    • Thanks! From the review, it sounds like the old Squad 7 is a ski you can ski forward and driving hard with the tips as opposed to having to ride it with a centred stance. For me, forward is a must. Is that correct of the old Squad 7 and has that changed in the new one?

      • Ian, it depends what we mean by “drive.” I’ve got to say that (while it’s early) my first impressions are more similar to Jason’s comments below than to Kevin’s. I may revise this opinion, skis like the 191 Katana set the bench mark (for me) for skis that can be driven. The 13/14 Squad 7 is not a Katana, and it’s not a bulldozer. It requires a lighter touch, and it requires a lighter touch than the 12/13 Squad 7.

  20. I have both the 12/13 and 13/14 versions of the Squad 7 in 190cm. I am 5’10″/178cm and weighing about 155lb and have skied both models 10 days+. Just hand flexed side by side for the first time and would say the difference is subtle but the 12/13 feels slightly more solid in the forward half of the ski, I think it feels slightly more progressive and damp.

    My ski experience is that the 12/13 worked amazing in Haines last year, much better than the longer skis I’ve used in the past up there, Atlas 191 and Bodacious 196. They have 95-98% of the top end but are much more practical when you get into more challenging terrain and more fun on spines. For a baseline the ski I’ve skied the most days on in the past five years is the Rossi RC112 in 188cm. Based on reviews here am thinking that for my first dedicated AT pow ski rig I may be looking at a DPS 138 Spoon with a tech binding.

  21. G’day guys,
    I’ve just discovered your site and appreciate the time and detail that is put into your reviews. I am trying to round out my quiver with a dedicated powder ski. I am 5’10”, I weigh 175 pounds and am 39 years old. I grew up skiing, snowboarded for 12 years, then switched back to skiing about 5 years ago (initially just to keep up with my friends in the backcountry). I live in South Lake Tahoe, consider myself pretty strong/athletic, and do most of my skiing at Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe (mostly trees and out of bounds), and Heavenly (Nevada side trees and steeps) with about 20% of my skiing in the backcountry. At the moment my quiver consists of a pair of 2013/14 Volkl Mantras (177cm) and a pair of Line Influence 105 (179cm). I was on the fence when choosing both of these pairs of skis as to whether I should size up, but ultimately chose the shorter skis. Previously, I was on a pair of 184 Atomic Janaks which is an AT ski I believe. In the past I have skied 30-50 days a year, but the last few years I’ve dropped off to only about 10-15 days with plans to pick up the pace again. I don’t feel very confident in evaluating my own skiing, but if I had to, I would say that I am not the most technically skilled skier but I like to charge pretty hard, go fast, and am competent pretty much anywhere on the mountain (advanced to expert I suppose). I live for powder (trees, steeps, open bowls), do some smaller sized drops (5-10ft), and also enjoy bombing down runs when there’s no fresh snow to be found. I like to get some air, but I don’t really jib and I never really ski switch. For my dedicated powder ski, I have whittled the decision down to two skis. I am trying to decide between the Atomic Automatic (186 or 193?) and the Rossignol Squad 7 (190). I’ve never been on skis longer than 184 or wider than 105 under foot. I understand that for a powder ski it is normal to go a bit bigger. I guess I’m just wondering whether I can handle the Squad 7s or if they will be too much for me. I gather from your review (and others) that the Atomic is an easier ski to handle. Is the Squad 7 only for aspiring pros, people dropping big cliffs, and heli-skiing in Alaska, or can a normal charging Joe appreciate them? How much of a difference does the side-cut radius (significantly different) between these two skis really make (especially in powder or soft snow)? Also, would putting Salomon Guardian 16 AT bindings on either of these skis have any significantly negative effect on their performance (in terms of negating the camber)? Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

  22. “I understand that for a powder ski it is normal to go a bit bigger”. When I said “bigger”, what I meant was longer. I guess that part of my question is, how much longer? How much longer is too much longer?

    • Short answer for now, James – if you’re talking about the current Squad 7, you can handle the “190”. It straight tape pulls at 186.3cm, and it is not a super burly ski. It does, however, have a lot more tail than the Atomic Automatic. You can read my reviews of the 186 & 193 Automatic. For what it’s worth, in that case, I didn’t feel that going longer gave me what I’m always looking for by going longer: a significant increase in stability. Same was true for me w/r/t the 185 Blizzard Cochise vs. 193 Cochise.

  23. I really like the way the 12/13 Squads go, the 13/14 is a different ski not necessarily better. When I’m hiking I like the new ski with a Lord binding and my Vulcans, but the old ski with an FKS and in my 150 Dobermanns is FULL ATTACK.

  24. Skinny bastard input (5’8″, 135#s): It took me a LONG time to develop chemistry with these (mounted on the line). They LOOK like they should flick around with subtle heel rolls and a centered stance like a funshape (Wailer 112, S7), but with the longer sidecut, all that weight, and my chicken legs, it’s not to be in anything other than deep, open pow.

    On the other hand, with the center mount (there’s a TON of tail) and tip rocker, mashing the front of the boot cuff like you would a traditional charger ski in crud didn’t quite work either. I was literally a day away from selling them.

    It was on their last-chance day (~6 inches or so of dense new snow at the resort) that I figured out a middle ground between the two approaches and gave them a lot of speed that the Squad came alive.

    Once things clicked, they did in a big way and became addictive. I love this ski. They smooth out inconsistencies in the snow remarkably well and make getting back to the lift on a groomer fun. It’s definitely a charger ski at my weight and height. I can get it to play, but only in deep snow or with a lot of effort. I liked them so much I toured a bunch on them, despite the weight. Glad I picked up the 12/13 version as the 13/14 doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.

  25. Jonathan, I hate to seem critical, but any balance issue of the ‘7’ series is the pilot not the plane. You guys have a backseat bias that is clear and you never will get over it. thus the love of long skis, so you don’t have to have fore and aft skills. sorry boys, truth.

    • As I wrote to Ian above:

      The “balance issue” died the day Rossi discontinued the S7 / Super 7. No other ski in Rossi’s lineup had that issue, because no other ski in Rossi’s lineup had that tail. See my review of the Rossi S3 for more info on that.”

      We have never been critical of the “7 Series” – we have been critical of a single ski shape: the old S7 / Super 7. Please actually read our reviews of the S3, the Soul 7, the previous Squad 7, the current Squad 7, the Savory 7. The tail shape + tail rocker profiles of those skis are all great.

      Furthermore, Jason Hutchins and I had the exact same assessment of the S7 / Super 7, and Jason is one of the most balanced skiers you will ever meet, as anyone who has actually skied with him will attest.

      And finally, if the shape / rocker profile of the old S7 / Super 7 is so great, then why didn’t Rossignol ever use it on another ski? Instead, they discontinued that shape. Every ski in their current “7 Series” now shares a new, common shape, and it is excellent.

  26. If I can pick up a brand new pair of these for just over $200 is it worth it? I have this years 117 Automatics in a 186 which i got for back country touring but tbh I am too heavy ( least 250lbs in kit) and aggressive to ride the 186 on the steepest lines here in Cham without it folding. The Automatics are awesome but for those days I just want to point and shoot will these be better?


      • Jonathan, thanks for the awesome website and reviews. I’m new to SLC and am quickly becoming a ski gear junky…your site is fantastic for a dude with my kind of gear issues!

        I’m an athletic 6’3″/240 lbs. who mostly skis PC and the Canyons with my preference being dropping into the trees (most of which I would classify as “low angle”).

        I have a my choices narrowed down to the 12/13 Squad 7 or the Armada Norwalk…the theory being that the more traditional tail will give me the necessary support to get my weight back a bit for some float in deeper snow. In a perfect world I’d love to be able to have a more forward stance in the pow but I’m not sure that is an option for a guy my size on shallower slopes.

        Being a bigger guy, I’m wondering if I should be leaning more towards the 12/13 Squad 7s or the Norwalks, and if given my size I should do anything different with the mount point than you mentioned in your reviews.

        Thanks in advance!

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