The Rossignol Experience 88 HD is the updated Experience 88. The biggest change is the Carbon Alloy matrix of carbon and basalt, giving the ski more stability and dampness, while still retaining that pop and energy we loved from last season. While I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the HD versions of the freeride line (Sky 7, Soul 7, etc..) I have noticed a difference in the 88 HD and 88. To me the ski doesn’t feel quite as easy at slower speeds, but does seem to handle speed and variable snow better. Bottom line, I still feel like the Experience 88 HD is one of the most energetic all-mountain front-side skis this season, and is a lot of fun carving the front-side. At the same time, the ski has a little more power and stability, allowing the ski to be a little better in tracked out snow.
Rossignol Experience 88 HD On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith Squad
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Riders: Matt and Brian
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack
Ski Personality: The Rossignol Experience 88 HD is a very fun and energetic carver with a damp feel.
On the Snow Feel: The Rossignol Experience 88 HD is locked-in on edge, but is able to disengage when needed. I definitely would not call it playful or loose, but there is a semi-stable feel when on flat edges.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Rossignol Experience 88 HD is a carver. This ski feels precise and it wanted to be on edge. I found I had to really drive the ski, but when I did it was super responsive, very energetic, and a whole lot of fun. I do remember last season’s 88 being more forgiving, but I can’t say that’s a bad thing. I really like that this ski feels a bit more substantial. Is it the HD? Maybe. No matter what it is, the ski feels more stable and damp. It does seem to take a bit more work to swing it around and get it to perform, but the harder you push it the more it rewards you.
Speed: The Rossignol Experience 88 is in the same category of skis as the Blizzard Brahma, Head Monster 88, Kastle MX89, and Dynastar Powertrack 89. All of those skis have a damp and stable feel. The Experience 88 HD doesn’t seem to be quite as damp, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good at speed. It just has some stiff competition. I actually really like the feel of the Experience 88 HD because it doesn’t feel as burly, and it makes it seem so much more energetic and lively. The new carbon alloy matrix helps to reduce negative vibrations and increase stability. I found I could push the ski pretty fast without hesitating. Sure it doesn’t have the same “smooth” feeling as some of the others, but it’s still stable.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: Again, I’d say that the Rossignol Experience 88 HD feels different than the other skis in this category in tracked out snow, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. I actually really like the Experience 88 HD for tracked out snow. It’s not as damp or quiet as the Kastle, nor is it as burly or powerful as the Brahma. However, it is more responsive and energetic. I’m not going to try and blast through tracked out snow, nor am I going to try and cut though chop. Instead I’m going to slow down and pick my way through variable snow. The ski is maneuverable and responsive, making it easier to pick your way down the run. I didn’t notice the ski getting hooked up much, except in really deep tracked out snow.
Edge Hold: The Rossignol Experience 88 has a precise feel on edge. I had no problem taking this ski down fast and firm groomers. I’d probably go narrower for ice, but if you’re looking for a more versatile daily driver that can handle firm snow and soft snow, this may be a good option.
Bottom Line: The all-mountain front-side category has produced some of our favorite east coast daily drivers with the Kastle MX89 and the Blizzard Brahma. I think the Rossignol Experience 88 HD would be another ski to add to that mix. It’s a precise and energetic carver that does require some input, but the reward is big. This is probably the most energetic ski of the three. If you’re the type of skier that likes to make a lot of fast and quick short to mid radius turns down the mountain, this ski may be the best option. The only downside is that it doesn’t feel quite as smooth as the Kastle at speed, and not as stable in variable as the Brahma. If you’re spending more time on groomed, the Experience may be the better option, but if you’re spending more time skiing super-fast or in tracked out snow, the other two may be the better option.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.