Ski: 2019-2020 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm
Available Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.8 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (177 cm): 2000 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (184 cm): 2101 & 2104 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-103-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.8-102.4-127.7
Stated Sidecut Radius: 19 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 35 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4-5 mm
Core: Beech/Poplar + Titanal Binding Reinforcement + Carbon Fiber Tip + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.9 cm from center; 82 cm from tail
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 18/19 Ranger 102 FR, which returns unchanged for 19/20, apart from the new 191 cm length option.]
Back in our coverage of the 2018 OR / SIA tradeshow, I noted that I was particularly excited about one ski at the show — the Fischer Ranger 102 FR.
As the twin-tipped and slightly heavier cousin of the Ranger 108 Ti and Ranger 98 Ti, the Ranger 102 FR immediately caught my attention as a playful-yet-stable all-mountain ski. We now have the 102 FR in hand, and will be getting time on it very soon. But for now, let’s run down why I’m excited about this ski.
What Fischer says about the new Ranger 102 FR:
“Offering an array of technology, the Ranger 102 FR is tough yet playful at the same time. Its stability impresses not just in extreme powder turns but also in less-than-ideal conditions as well as on seemingly impassable routes. Above all, its shape is what really shines. The Freeski Rocker with lightweight Twin Tip makes it agiler, more manoeuvrable, and allows big, beautiful, sweeping turns. The shortened linear contact area of the ski works well on the hard conditions typically found off-piste. That saves energy and makes for phenomenal performance on the descent.
Even when the best runs are on the other side of the mountain, you can rely on the Ranger 102 FR to capably navigate the route up and over. Its easy ride isn’t just a result of the Aeroshape construction. The Air Tec Ti wood core and unique Carbon Nose – a super thin shovel carbon fibre construction – also combine to provide minimal weight, effortless turning, and amazing stability. The Ranger 102 FR impresses in every area of performance, conquers the toughest descents, and makes every single trip an adventure.”
First Things First: How in the world did this marketing copy not win our 2018 SWAGGER award??? This ski should have been called the FR Kanye. And it’s probably worth noting that Kanye has been hanging out in Jackson Hole this spring. Rumor is that he is going to be dropping two albums in June, but we suspect that he’s also been hitting Corbet’s quite a bit on the Ranger 102 FR.
(Note: Our editor-in-chief added in that whole previous paragraph, so please don’t blame me for that.)
Ok, so we’ve got claims of the Ranger 102 FR being “tough yet playful,” statements about both firm-snow and soft-snow performance, and notes about it being agile and allowing for big sweeping turns. In other words, Fischer is talking a huge game about the Ranger 102 FR’s versatility, so that will certainly be one of our main questions for our full review.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Ranger 102 FR looks quite similar to the Ranger 108 Ti in terms of shape. They both have a moderate amount of taper in the tips, and the Ranger 102 FR has a bit more tail taper than the Ranger 108 Ti.
The rocker profile of the Ranger 102 FR is also very similar to that of the Ranger 108 Ti. Both skis have fairly deep tip rocker lines, but not very dramatic tip splay.
One of the main differences between the Ranger 102 FR and the Ranger 108 Ti and 98 Ti is the 102 FR’s “twinned” tail (it’s not a true twin, but the Ranger 102 FR has noticeably more tail splay than the 108 Ti — 35 mm vs. 17 mm). However, the Ranger 102 FR’s tail rocker line is not very deep, so we don’t expect it to feel drastically surfier / looser than the other Ranger skis, especially when you take into consideration its specs in the next section…
In Front of Toe Piece: 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
While Fischer is emphasizing the Ranger 102 FR’s playfulness, its flex pattern certainly doesn’t suggest that it’ll be some sort of noodly butter stick. This is a very strong ski, and it’s stiff through most of its length. The tips are just slightly softer than the tails, and the tails are pretty stout (they begin ramping up to “9” or “9.5” pretty quickly).
With such a stout flex pattern, we’re very interested to see how demanding / forgiving the Ranger 102 FR feels, and if we’ll be able to access that stiff flex when trying to pop off features or bend the ski into tighter turns.
At around 102 mm underfoot, the Ranger 102 FR occupies an increasingly diverse category of all-mountain skis that aim to provide a nearly equal mix of hard- and soft-snow performance. It’s going up against some tough competition, including the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, Line Sick Day 104, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, and a bunch of other skis. We’ll be A/Bing it against several skis in this class, and since Fischer hypes up the Ranger 102 FR’s ability to handle both pow and firm snow, we’ll be weighing in on where the Ranger 102 FR feels most at home when it comes to snow conditions.
When I first flexed the Ranger 102 FR, I lost a bit of interest, since I knew the Ranger 108 Ti was a pretty light ski (~1950 g for the 182 cm), and I don’t tend to get along very well with stiff skis that are also very light (I often find them harsh and unforgiving).
So I was excited to see that the 184 cm Ranger 102 FR is coming in at a weight of around 2100 grams. That seems like a pretty nice weight for an inbounds ski of this size, and to put it into perspective, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few other notable skis:
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
1941 & 1965 Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, 182 cm (17/18-18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18-18/19)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (17/18-18/19)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm (18/19)
2341 & 2318 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
With a pretty traditional mount point of -9.9 cm from center, the Ranger 102 FR definitely seems like it will prefer a forward stance and not feel particularly freestyle oriented (at least on paper). However, Fischer did put a twin tip on this ski and they are emphasizing its playfulness, and that makes me extra eager to push the bindings forward of the recommended line to see how the Ranger 102 FR feels. I’m excited to see if it falls in line with skis like the Bent Chetler 100 or Icelantic Nomad 115 that don’t feel very sensitive to mount point, or if people should really just stick with the Ranger 102 FR’s more traditional recommended mount point.
With its stiff flex pattern, pretty playful shape, traditional mount point, and solid weight, the Ranger 102 FR fits into an interesting space between stiffer and / or heavier directional skis such as the Nordica Enforcer 100, and softer and / or lighter skis like the Atomic Bent Chetler 100 and Line Sick Day 104.
So we’re not exactly sure where it will fall, but we’ll be comparing it to several of the skis listed in the weight section above in order to figure out where exactly it slots in when it comes to playfulness, stability, forgiveness, etc.
And feel free to let us know in the comments if there are any other skis you think would make for good / relevant comparisons.
Bottom Line (For Now)
On paper, the Fischer Ranger 102 FR looks like a very intriguing option for skiers looking for something with a playful rocker profile, but that prefer a much stiffer ski than many of the all-mountain freestyle options currently on the market. It’s not the most obvious ski to locate just based on its specs, so we’re gonna stop typing and start skiing it to see where exactly it falls in the category of 100-105mm-underfoot all-mountain skis.
Stay tuned for updates, and let us know about any questions you’d like to see addressed in the full review.
NEXT: The Full Review