Crudmaster

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I’m not satisfied with the middle ski in my quiver of three: my Fischer Motive 86’s carve like a scalpel, but are too light for the dense crud we often get in PNW.

It was a good day at Crystal Mountain for finding a better crud-buster. All morning we had a lot of challenging crud, but in the afternoon it was getting too loose and sloppy.

The same could be said about this 63-year-old’s legs after plunging for many top-to-bottom runs in heavy conditions. And for reference purposes, I’m 160 lbs.

All five of these skis, except where noted, carved great turns; seemed to have excellent edge grip (but I didn’t have much hard snow on which to test); have modest tip rocker; are not light; have a similar turn radius; and are good crud busters. It’s remarkable how similar the top four skis are to each other.

In the order in which they appeared on my feet:

Rossignol Experience 88 Ti, 180cm

These are heavy and powerful. Great crudbusters. On the groomers they feel great, with a decent rebound out of the turns. They have a very natural feel through transitions from smooth to rough snow. I like these better than the Exp 88’s of yore because they have what I call “relief” in the tips and tails. Relief can be from any combination of softening, tapering, and/or rockering to make the tips and tails less engaging, thus more amenable to maneuvering off piste. As I recall the old E88s, they had more effective edge on piste, but were too hooky off-piste. These are in a tie for first place for the middle spot in my quiver.

Nordica Enforcer 88, 179cm
Another splendid crudbuster with great carving and some tip and tail relief. Their camber feels a little stiffer than the Rossis, and they’re less heavy. In some way that I can’t figure out, they don’t feel as natural off piste and in transitions as the Rossis (and K2 Mindbenders). These come in at third place today.

Blizzard Brahma 88, 180cm
Once again, they carve well and these are perhaps the easiest to turn off piste. I only got one top-to-bottom run on them (which would be two runs at most ski areas), but they seem to have too much tail relief for me. I think I’d prefer a stiffer tail. These also feel like they have the least camber of all the skis, and too little for me. Fourth place.

Stockli Stormrider 88, 179cm
These are the softest of the day and a pleasant all-mountain ski. They have full camber without the tip and tail relief of most skis these days. Since they aren’t as stiff as the other skis, I suppose their tips and tails don’t need softening nor rockering. But they don’t carve as powerfully as the others, either. They feel like an excellent ski for 2006. Fifth place.

K2 Mindbender 90 ER Titanal, 177cm

They do everything well. Good carving and steady through the rough stuff off piste. These, like the Rossis, somehow feel slightly smoother and more natural in rough conditions than the Enforcers and Brahmas. It could be that they’re a little heavier, but they certainly aren’t as heavy as the Rossis. These are the other first place carving crudbusters of the day.

Head Monster 88, 177cm

I wish I’d skied on them, but we ran out of time. They were a favorite at earlier Demo Days. Terrifically well damped and smooth in rough snow, but maybe a skoch stiffer than I want.
 

PNWRod

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Awesome reviews. You got to the skis that I didn't get to. So whats the verdict? 88ti or mindbender?
 

James

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What binding was on the Experience 88ti?
Are there two versions of the E88, one with metal and one without? The one I tried last May I would not describe as "heavy and powerful". Not nearly as much as the Brahma.
 
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Tom K.

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Awesome reviews @Crudmaster. Thanks!

I'm probably between the Enforcer 88s and Mindbender 90s for next year. Ski Essentials thought the Enforcers were better on the groomed, and the Mindbenders better off-piste. Or at least "easier".

Any thoughts on that?
 
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Crudmaster

Crudmaster

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Two versions of E88? Well at least these were labeled Ti. They had demo bindings, as all the skis did. I didn't look closely at them.

The Enforcers might be better with edge grip, but I never skied on any hard snow. And they are slightly stiffer, which should be good for powerful carving and heavier skiers, I guess.

As I tried to convey, anyone who gets an Exp88, Enforcer 88, Mindbender 90 or even the Brahma will surely be happy with their choice. They're pretty similar as far as I could tell.
 

Philpug

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What binding was on the Experience 88ti?
Are there two versions of the E88, one with metal and one without? The one I tried last May I would not describe as "heavy and powerful". Not nearly as much as the Brahma.
Chances are the Rossi had the Konect 12 binding which is hte same one that is on ours along with what is sold as their system binding on other skis. There is only one Experience 88 and it has metal in it.
 

James

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Chances are the Rossi had the Konect 12 binding which is hte same one that is on ours along with what is sold as their system binding on other skis. There is only one Experience 88 and it has metal in it.
Good to know.
The E88 is a very good ski. Basically a no brainer recommendation for most. 11/10ths skiers would probably not want it or if you want super damp. Otherwise, it's a ski you kinda can't go wrong with.
Lot of this comes down to feel and what one likes.
 

GregK

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Interesting how the Exp 88 felt the heaviest yet they are actually the lightest of the group along with the Storm Rider 88. Exp 88 is 1850 grams in the 180cm and 1800g for the 179cm Storm Rider 88. The Mindbender 90Ti is in the 1950gram range for the 177cm, Brahma is 2050g in 180cm and Enforcer 88 is the heaviest of the group at 2100g in the 179cm.

Find the swing weight is low on my Enforcer 104 and the E88 uses similar construction techniques so it must be the same. Skis much lighter than it’s weight.

Possibly the weight differences on the different demo bindings might have affected their feel unless they were all the same model.
Tunes and mount positions also might affect perceived weight.
 

ski otter 2

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In my experience, a slightly rail high ski will often feel "heavy," but otherwise okay, normal. It's only once it's flattened a bit more that it suddenly feels much lighter, in line with its actual weight. That same "slightly rail high ski" can be very effective in heavy crud: as long as one stays square to the ski and direction, it will "rail" right through most any crud/crust without deflection of any sort. I believe there are some folk who advocate for just a bit of such a tune for just such conditions.
 

Fuller

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My next pair of skis will be either the E88's or the K2 Mindbenders, either one would be a good everyday ski at Whitefish. Thanks for the data points.
 

coachmdd

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Had the former E88’s and got the new ones (187cm) this year. 6’ 2” 260....ish 58 yrs old.
Love the new ski. A wise “keeper of the scrolls” suggested I convert the old 88’s to an ice ski.
My opinion for what it’s worth is you won’t do better than the new E88 without dropping Kastle/Renoun dollars.
 

DocGKR

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I have been enjoying my Enforcer 88’s in 186cm this Spring. Compared to my usual 193cm Enforcer 100's, the 88's have better hold in the morning crust, are quick and easy in bumps, and they punch through the late afternoon slush with ease. They also have not had any problems in 6" or so of fresh snow from a few of the recent Spring storms.
 
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Crudmaster

Crudmaster

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I had another few hours A/B-ing K2 Mindbender 90s against Rossignol Exp 88Ti's at Whistler last week.

The Mindbenders are my new favorite middle ski for my yet-to-be assembled quiver. While the Rossi's are little more powerful, a skosh more stiff, the K2's still hold as good an edge and are more nimble.

I no longer find the Rossi's to be heavier. The two didn't feel different in that regard this time. And more than ever, I realized that ski weight is welcome when charging in dense snow.

If I were 180lbs, I might prefer the slightly beefier Rossi's, but I think that K2 has engineered the sweetest, best behaved all-around ski ever.
 

markojp

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I’m not satisfied with the middle ski in my quiver of three: my Fischer Motive 86’s carve like a scalpel, but are too light for the dense crud we often get in PNW.

It was a good day at Crystal Mountain for finding a better crud-buster. All morning we had a lot of challenging crud, but in the afternoon it was getting too loose and sloppy.

The same could be said about this 63-year-old’s legs after plunging for many top-to-bottom runs in heavy conditions. And for reference purposes, I’m 160 lbs.

All five of these skis, except where noted, carved great turns; seemed to have excellent edge grip (but I didn’t have much hard snow on which to test); have modest tip rocker; are not light; have a similar turn radius; and are good crud busters. It’s remarkable how similar the top four skis are to each other.

In the order in which they appeared on my feet:

Rossignol Experience 88 Ti, 180cm

These are heavy and powerful. Great crudbusters. On the groomers they feel great, with a decent rebound out of the turns. They have a very natural feel through transitions from smooth to rough snow. I like these better than the Exp 88’s of yore because they have what I call “relief” in the tips and tails. Relief can be from any combination of softening, tapering, and/or rockering to make the tips and tails less engaging, thus more amenable to maneuvering off piste. As I recall the old E88s, they had more effective edge on piste, but were too hooky off-piste. These are in a tie for first place for the middle spot in my quiver.

Nordica Enforcer 88, 179cm
Another splendid crudbuster with great carving and some tip and tail relief. Their camber feels a little stiffer than the Rossis, and they’re less heavy. In some way that I can’t figure out, they don’t feel as natural off piste and in transitions as the Rossis (and K2 Mindbenders). These come in at third place today.

Blizzard Brahma 88, 180cm
Once again, they carve well and these are perhaps the easiest to turn off piste. I only got one top-to-bottom run on them (which would be two runs at most ski areas), but they seem to have too much tail relief for me. I think I’d prefer a stiffer tail. These also feel like they have the least camber of all the skis, and too little for me. Fourth place.

Stockli Stormrider 88, 179cm
These are the softest of the day and a pleasant all-mountain ski. They have full camber without the tip and tail relief of most skis these days. Since they aren’t as stiff as the other skis, I suppose their tips and tails don’t need softening nor rockering. But they don’t carve as powerfully as the others, either. They feel like an excellent ski for 2006. Fifth place.

K2 Mindbender 90 ER Titanal, 177cm

They do everything well. Good carving and steady through the rough stuff off piste. These, like the Rossis, somehow feel slightly smoother and more natural in rough conditions than the Enforcers and Brahmas. It could be that they’re a little heavier, but they certainly aren’t as heavy as the Rossis. These are the other first place carving crudbusters of the day.

Head Monster 88, 177cm

I wish I’d skied on them, but we ran out of time. They were a favorite at earlier Demo Days. Terrifically well damped and smooth in rough snow, but maybe a skoch stiffer than I want.
This was a popular ski for our training group at Stevens today. :)
20200307_102200.jpg
 

markojp

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Too bad you didnt get on the Liberty Evol 100. My favorite charger in that class.
100> 90. Great ski, but wider than the OP's perimeters. It'd be interesting if he had a chance to throw the Evolve 90's into the mix.
 

DocGKR

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I'd definitely try to get on a pair of Liberty's--I am rapidly coming to believe they may be among the best resort recreational skis readily available in the US--kind of like an American Stockli or Augment.
 

Ron

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I'd definitely try to get on a pair of Liberty's--I am rapidly coming to believe they may be among the best resort recreational skis readily available in the US--kind of like an American Stockli or Augment.
well, they are fantastic ski but until you click into an Augment........ :)
 

markojp

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well, they are fantastic ski but until you click into an Augment........ :)
... but most skiers will have a longer day on the Evolves. The e-100 though is a real ski.
 
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