Rossignol Soul 7 2015 – Review by A Better Ski
The Rossignol Soul 7 is back for 2016 mostly unchanged. This is a ski that has garnered a lot of attention and praise over the last several seasons, and you’ve probably seen it at just about every resort. The reason being is that this ski can be skied by just about anyone on any kind of terrain. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but this is truly one of the most versatile skis out there. That being said, I’m less willing to say that this ski is for everyone. Like most “quiver of one” type of skis the Soul 7 does have it’s compromises. It’s a ski that is much more at home in the soft snow than on hard pack. The same light-weight and forgiving feel that make it so approachable also make it less ideal for aggressive skiers. Sure you can push the Soul 7, but it’s not going to feel as stable as a directional charger. What the Soul 7 posses in maneuverability and ease of use, it lacks for stability and crud performance. This is a great ski if you plan on spending a lot of time in the soft snow, but less so if you plan on charging all over the mountain. This is still a fantastic ski though, and if you want versatility and ease of use, it’s hard to top the Soul 7.
Conditions: Hard Pack, Soft Snow (5”), Crud
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Rossignol Axial3 120
On the Snow Feel: The Rossignol Soul 7 has Rossignols Powder Turn Rocker. This consists of 50% camber underfoot, and 50% rocker in the tip and tail. Camber underfoot will give the ski more stability and power on the groomers. In addition, the light weight honeycomb tip and tail not only reduces swing weight but also helps to distribute more of the skier’s weight underfoot. This helps to improve stability and edge hold on piste. The ski still has quite a bit of rocker in the tip and tail allowing the ski to be playful when you want it to be.
Powder: Rossignol states on their website that this ski is 80% powder, and 20% all mountain. I have yet to ride the Rossignol Soul 7 in anything deeper than 5 inches, but it’s easy to tell that this ski feels at home in the soft snow. At 106mm underfoot, the ski should have plenty of surface area to float in the deeper snow. Combined with 50% rocker in the tip and tail, this ski seems built for powder. The rocker in the tip is quite long, but seems pretty stable, helping to keep you afloat, while the rockered tail allows you to smear turns with ease. I think many average riders will find its float to be significant enough, but those who are big powder hounds, or are heavier skiers, may knock the Soul 7 a bit, and go with a bigger, more substantial ski for those really deep days.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Rossignol Soul 7 has a very lightweight Paulownia wood core, and lightweight honeycomb tip and tail, helping to reduce swing weight. The tip and tail are also tapered in a way that create a relatively short sidecut, allowing for pretty easy steering and turn initiation (There is less ski in contact with the snow, and takes less effort to turn the skis). The downside, however, is that with a shorter sidecut you have less of an effective edge to get the ski up on when carving. The Soul 7 does have a pretty deep sidecut radius though, giving you quite a bit of power to make pretty snappy transitions from edge to edge. The tapered tail also allows you to release from a turn quickly, and scrub speed when necessary.
Speed: I think it’s important to remember that Rossignol says this ski is 80% powder, and 20% all mountain. What I mean by this, is that the ski feels much more at home in the powder and soft snow than it does on hard snow or groomers. The same holds true for how the ski performs at high speeds. In the soft snow, or powder, the ski is happy doing whatever you want it to. It can make quick snappy turns at slower speeds, or open it up and make long radius turns at high speeds. When you start getting in over your head it’s easy to smear the tails and slow yourself down. On the groomers, the ski rides completely different. The Rossignol Soul 7 is pretty light, and can get overpowered if skied to aggressively on piste (I’ll dive into this more in the next two sections).
Uneven Terrain: The Rossignol Soul 7 has a Paulownia core, and honeycomb tip and tail. This makes the ski pretty lightweight, and it’s important to remember this when you’re skiing in the crud and chopped up snow. The Soul 7 will not plow through the crud like a heavier ski would, but rather stays on top of the crud. Keeping the speed down here really helped the ski to feel more stable, but as I gained speed the ski definitely became a lot more playful and bouncy. I found myself wanting to smear turns and scrub speed a lot more the faster I went. This was especially true the harder the snow got. If you light bouncing around on the crud, you may enjoy the feel of the Rossignol Soul 7, but if like a more stable ride, there are definitely better options out there.
Edge Hold: The Rossignol Soul 7 has 50% camber underneath, making for a relatively stable platform with the snow, but the Soul 7 has a unique tapered design, making for a pretty short sidecut when on edge. This seems fine when you’re in the soft snow, or when you’re skiing at slower speeds, but when you really push the ski it just doesn’t have enough edge in contact with the snow to keep you from sliding out. This is even more apparent when on the hard snow. This isn’t all that surprising for a ski without metal, and a significant amount of rocker in the tip and tail. It’s hard to find a ski with that shape that can really handle the hard snow.
Flex: The Rossignol Soul 7 is a pretty stiff ski. You can get it to flex, but it’s not easy to butter.
Switch: The Rossignol Soul 7 is a directional twin that is happier going forward than it is backwards.
Jumps: The Rossignol Soul 7 is not a bad ski for big drops or jumps. The swing weight is very light, making it pretty easy to swing these around. You can land switch in powder, but not as well in harder snow.
Park: Not the best park ski here. The Soul 7 is happiest in powder and soft snow.
I think as long as you know what you’re getting with this ski, most people will be really happy. Rossignol probably describes it best by saying its 80% powder, and 20% all mountain. The ski is definitely happiest in the soft snow, but as long as you don’t try to push it too hard on piste, it seems to be okay in most situations. Heavier skiers may find themselves overpowering the ski in certain terrain, but as a lighter skier (150lbs) I felt it was more than enough, as long as I didn’t ski it too aggressively on hard snow. In the powder the ski performs well, but some big powder hounds may opt for something a bit wider for the really deep days. If you’re expecting to ride a lot of groomers and hard snow, then you will want to look elsewhere, but if you ride a lot of powder, or most of the mountain is soft snow, you will really enjoy the Rossignol Soul 7. This is also a great option for you backcountry skiers looking for a light ski that can handle just about any terrain you throw at it.