There were many design elements that also piqued my interest. First, it has a big, fat tip that tapers down to a skinny pintail. This design seemed to offer options: (1) drive the front of the ski and feel like you’re on a super shaped carver. (2) Stay balanced over the middle and you’ll probably find a nice, longer radius smear. (3) Those skinny little tails looked pretty light, so ripping tight trees ought to be cake.
Another design element that had me fired up was how well the rocker/camber profile coincided with the side-cut, which Rossignol calls Amptek. I’ve had skis with early taper and I’ve had skis with various amounts of rocker, but none of them blended the two together as well as I thought Rossignol had done with the S7 and Super 7.
Skis with early taper were great in most conditions, but as soon as I got into severely chopped up snow or snow with a sun or wind crust, they often felt like the skis would want to deflect and run in a direction opposite to where I was going. This is a super weird and confidence-killing trait, especially when you’re on a high speed run-out and trying to lay down some trenches.
On the other hand, skis with long tip and tail rocker and a long continuous side-cut are great in many conditions, but when skiing steep terrain on hard snow, you get this weird sensation of a variable length ski: put the ski on a subtle edge and it feels like a snowblade. And for every bit you increase the edge angle, you increase the effective edge length. This really gets weird when the ski has different tip and tail rocker profiles, because, in most cases, you are adding more effective tail edge than tip edge. This creates the sensation of having a different length ski for almost every turn.
The other problem of the long, continuous side-cut is that, when skiing in pow, they can feel a little hooky, especially when skiing switch.
So at this point I know I want to buy the S7, but what length do I want? I’m skiing at Alta so the snow is usually deep. I love the tight trees of Eagle’s Nest and surrounding techie zones, but I also love to open things up on areas like Eddie’s and West Rustler’s wind buffed slopes. Then there’s the whole jumping and trickery thing to add to the equation. So with all this I’m torn between the 195 Super 7 and the 188 S7.
The 195 Super 7s have two layers of titanal to stiffen the ski slightly while also adding more energy to the ski. The 195’s offer a bit fatter dimensions and a little less taper through the tail compared to the 188 as well. This ski would cater to the deep pow and the charging-through-crud side of my skiing, while the standard non-metal baring 188 S7, being tighter-turning and lighter, would cater to the tight trees and jibby end of the spectrum. At that point, BAM, out comes the new for 2012 188 Super 7. Rossignol throws in the dual layers of titanal, just like the big 195, but keeps the shape identical to the regular S7. My decision suddenly feels easy and I throw down all my saved up cash for a pair of the 188 Super 7s – and some P14’s.
The skis arrive and I immediately start my inspection. The graphics are sick. The longer you stare at the skis the more hidden images you find. I have to say that my favorite graphic up to this point on the S7 had been the Barras, the second year of the S7, the purple, white, and black graphic. The 2012 Super 7 definitely trumps that graphic. I then take a look at the edges, sidewalls, bases, and topsheets to check out Rossi’s quality control. Despite what I have heard of older model S7’s these 2012’s look amazing. I couldn’t find a flaw anywhere. The bases were flat, edges looked perfect, and sidewall/edge/topsheet junctions smooth and clean. The workmanship was top shelf.
Next I have to figure out where I’m going to mount the bindings. After doing a bunch of homework on the internet and talking to a friend who skis for Rossi, I settle at +1cm from the zero line. I chose +1 to keep the ski floating in pow but also to keep the swing weight as balanced as possible for that playful, jibby feeling I love.