Dimensions (mm): 135.9-106-129.4
Sidecut Radius: 19.4 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 170cm
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Hot Rod / Look Pivot P14 (DIN at 6)
Mount Locations: +2 cm
Test Location: Alta Ski Area; Bridger Bowl and Moonlight Basin, Montana
Days Skied: 40
[Editor’s Note: We spend a lot of time looking at next year’s stuff, but sometimes it’s good to shine the spotlight in the other direction.
The 11/12 Rossignol Sickle is a ski that we’ve loved. For the 12/13 season, Rossignol made some tweaks to the ski (in short, they blunted the tip and the tail profiles to lighten up the swing weight, and they decided to make the longest available length 181cm, for some reason).
And next season … the Sickle isn’t coming back.
But this is a ski worth grabbing while you still can, and Stella Selden will now explain why.]
When I was looking to get a new pair of skis this year, I was looking for a ski that could do it all, something fun, playful, stable, and confidence inspiring that could conquer all snow conditions and terrain. I appreciate quiver skis, but I didn’t want multiple skis. I wanted one ski.
After trying about nine skis throughout the winter, I read Jason Hutchins’s review of the Rossignol Sickle. I also talked to many enthusiastic Sickle owners at Alta and eventually decided to go out on a limb and buy it, never having skied it.
My first day out on these skis, I was shocked that there was no time required to figure out how to ski them. The Sickle is so predictable, forgiving, and easy to ski that I could immediately concentrate purely on my skiing rather than acclimating to any quirky characteristics of the skis.
Since then, for example, I found I can lean into the front of my boots and charge down the hill in a forward, driving stance, and the ski responds quickly, accurately, and with energy.
I also found that in a more neutral stance I could smear turns while having the same confidence and sense of balance. And if I did get tossed into the back seat, the tails are supportive enough to get back into an athletic stance without noticing any loss of control.
This was a notable change after riding the 168cm DPS Nina 99. On that ski, I almost constantly had to pay attention to the skis and what they were doing; if I hit a bit of dense snow they would hook, or if I got just a little back seat, I would lose control.
The Sickle is incredibly versatile in both a variety of snow conditions and terrain. I skied the Sickle in as many different snow conditions as I can think of (besides a sheet of ice, East Coast style), and in each case I would not have picked a different ski.
On several powder days, I found that with only 106mm underfoot and a slight, continuous rocker, the Sickle floated surprisingly well and was easily maneuverable.
Compared to most powder skis seen at Alta, a 106mm waist is not very large, but I am small and light enough (5’2”, 120 lbs.) that the 174cm ski provided plenty of float for me. For example, last season I skied the 174cm H2O Gear Kodiak (120mm underfoot), and I don’t think the Sickle floated much less than these much wider skis. Plus, I live for face shots, so the Sickle gives me the perfect amount of float while still being able to enjoy the depth of the snow.
As the snow became choppy, the Sickle continued to accommodate the changing snow conditions. Because the Sickle has no camber underfoot and instead a slight, continuous rocker, the ski forms a subtle “banana” shape: from the center of the ski, the tips and tails slowly extend up. This makes it incredibly easy to pivot the ski using a neutral, balanced stance, giving way to effortless smeared turns on top of the chop, and providing an almost floating sensation across the snow.
Or, if I want to carve through chop, I can. The Sickle’s wood core and basalt reinforcement is damp enough to cut through a lot of the chopped-up snow, while still being light and soft enough to be playful.
I’ve also been skiing the 168cm Atomic Elysian this season, which performs well in a variety of conditions. The Elysian has camber underfoot and tip and tail rocker, but the main difference I have noticed between the Sickle and Elysian is that while the Sickle can carve and smear equally well, the Elysian prefers to carve.
As a result, while the Sickle can smear across the chop, the Elysian gets jostled around a lot more as it plows into, rather than across, the chopped-up snow. I am excited to continue to ski the Elysian to see if I can get the same results that I get with the Sickle as I get used to them more. But, as I said, with the Sickle I was immediately able to both carve and smear turns effortlessly.
In soft, chopped snow, the Sickle also remains predictable. The ski has continuous rocker, and there is very little splay at either end, so as the Sickle comes in contact with variable snow, the amount of ski engaging at any given moment changes very subtly.
When I skied the DPS Nina 99 in chopped-up snow, by comparison, it was incredibly hard to predict how much of the ski was going to contact the snow as I encountered each pile of chop. With a larger splay at the tips and tails, and the widest part of the ski being farther back, the Nina 99 transitions through variable snow much more abruptly than the Sickle.