The upper 80-90mm category is one of the more contested and important categories, period. There are a lot of really good skis here, from every manufacturer, and really no bad choices; because of these skis' versatility, there are very few wrong choices, either. You could make a case for almost every ski offered as a one-ski quiver, east or west, depending on preference.
When Nordica introduced the Navigator series, it focused on the middle model, the Navigator 85. This was a safe decision, considering that the late-to-the-game NRGy 85 replaced by the Navigator 85 was the best of that collection. The 90 is the sleeper of the Navigator collection because of what I just stated along with the fact that the Enforcer 93 is so popular, which is a good problem for the brand but not so much for the Navigator 90. The Navigator was supposed to be a bridge between the Enforcer and Dobermann design with the forebody of the former and the tail of the latter. I will give Nordica the Enforcer DNA but the Dobermann tail? That is a bit of a stretch, and IMHO that square flat tail would have been too much for this ski; whatever tail design they did use is the winning ticket. I like the gradual top design that allows the ski to turn into any condition from hard pack to half a foot of snow -- but back to the tail, it is the back half of the ski that really makes it special. It will hold a turn with ease yet release beautifully. The Navigator 90 is a ski that I would choose 10 out of 10 times over the Enforcer 93, and it's a shame that the Enforcer will out sell it 20 to 1.
It was time for Rossignol to replace the Experience skis. They were great skis for what they were, but what they were was one-trick ponies. The specific turn shape built into the ski made it about the least versatile in the segment. For 2019, Rossignol changed all that with a brand new shape, brand new construction, brand new this and that and .... The only thing that carries over is the model name and the fact that this one is 88 underfoot. In my Evolution vs Revolution piece, I discuss the revolution of the Experience 88 Ti; in fact, this ski was one of the main inspirations for the article. The new EXP 88 Ti has a shape pretty similar to the Navigator 90, but when you flex the skis or put them base to base, you see the differences -- and those differences translate to a ski with more power.
- Why choose the Navigator 90? You want to err toward smoothness and relaxation. While the Navigator does not lack power, it has a slightly larger sweet spot and is an Nth degree better in mixed conditions.
- Why choose the Experience 88 Ti? You want to charge a bit more. The new Experience doesn’t have the tenacious grip of the outgoing collection, but it actually has a tighter turn radius.
Featured Cage Match Comparison Nordica Navigator 90 vs Rossignol Experience 88 Ti