This season in a bold move Rossignol overhauled their freeride line of skis and all of the beloved S series of skis have been discontinued. This means the Soul 7, Super 7, Sky 7 are all no longer and these have now been replaced by the Blackop line of skis which consists of the Blackops Sender Skis and Blackops Sender Ti version which has titanal in the core. While the Soul 7 was one of Rossignol’s most innovative and popular skis, known for its manoeuvrability and soft snow prowess, the brand wanted to evolve this ski to be more powerful and stable and this is where the Blackops collection comes into play. In this review, we’ll focus on the Rossignol Blackops Sender Skis since it is lighter than the Ti version and a little more adept at ski touring.
With a fairly traditional shape and rocker profile the Blackops Sender Skis are at home in any snow conditions and terrain—watch the following video to learn more.
The Blackops Sender Skis don’t posses much taper in the tip or tail and utilize a pretty conservative rocker profile with a medium tip rocker, low camber underfoot and minimal rocker in the tails. This means that hooking is minimized and float is maximized with just enough camber to keep things lively and provide a good rebound while still being stable at speed. The relatively flat stiff tail completes turns with power while the softer tips provide a more damp ride in rough terrain.
The Titanal in the Ti version of the Blackops Sender Skis means that they are a little heavier than the 4kg / 8.8lb weight of the 186cm length of the regular Blackops Sender Skis. For this reason we decided to not go with the Ti version as we were looking to save a little weight and make ski touring a little easier.
There is a surprising amount of technology in the Blackops Sender Skis given their unassuming appearance, lets take a look at a few of the more innovative features.
First up there is the Air Tip technology which is exclusive to Rossignol and is designed to reduce overall swing weight for enhanced manoeuvrability without compromising performance. The Blackops Sender’s tips are actually filled with a considerable amount of air to maximize their lightweight while still retaining torsional rigidity. This allows the ski's weight to be redistributed more effectively with lighter tips for easier turn initiation, less hooking and more versatility, with most of the ski’s weight focused underfoot in the centre of the ski to maximize control and power.
The Double Line Control Technology (2LCT) Visco construction inserts rubber strips through the core of the skis for improved power and control while harnessing the ski’s energy to increase dampening and ride comfort. This combined with Rossignol’s Extended Core of Paulownia wood and Damp Tech further reduces ski vibration and weight while increasing the ski's contact with the snow for a much smoother, confident ride and better control in variable snow conditions. This provides a virtual chatter-free tip, increasing stability and precision at speed and a nice balanced ski that is very manoeuvrable.
The Blackops Sender Skis are an all-mountain freeride ski with a 4kg / 8.8lb weight which is impressively light but for touring this is on the heavier side of things. While this added weight makes them powerful in variable snow conditions it will slow all but the young at heart down on the skin track. However, because of this weight these skis are a true daily driver able to confidently handle everything from boilerplate to blower and groomers to bumps. I cannot say enough good things about how the Blackops Sender Skis perform in any conditions and terrain.
With early rise tips and a versatile 106mm waist width the Blackops Sender Skis are naturally very proficient in powder and float with ease. Testing these skis in the backcountry around Whitewater Ski Resort here in the Selkirk Mountains of BC means that they saw a lot of deep, deep powder days and they always put a huge smile on my face.
On groomers, the Blackops Sender Skis were incredibly damp thanks to the Visco rubber line control technology which uses rubber and vertically laminated wood strips running through the core. This, combined with Damp Tech in the tips creates a very stable ski with virtually no chatter. They love to carve and you can open them up and know that the edges will bite and hold at speed no matter how hard you rail. The stiffer tail ensures that the turns finish crisp and with authority yet they still retain a great amount of energy for short radius turns due to their light swing weight. With just enough camber underfoot your get good rebound and pop for a fun and lively ski with a quick manoeuvrable feel.
Again, due to their 4 kilo weight and dampening technology the Blackops Senders are very smooth and damp even in broken powder and harder chop. They have just enough mass to power through and not get deflected in more challenging choppy snow with impressive stability and enough agility to easily navigate through trees.
The BlackOps Sender is a super fun platform, it’s lively and responsive which allows you to explore all of the mountains in and out of bounds. While not a super soft flexing ski it is softer than the Ti version and also sheds about 300g in weight so it is better suited for those looking to also tour with the BlackOps Sender Skis.
I really have nothing bad to say about this ski other than it is a little on the heavy side for a dedicated touring ski, this is more of a resort ski that tours well for slackcountry missions. However, if you are young and strong then you can easily walk this up the skin track all day without worry. I mounted the Blackops Sender Skis with Marker’s Alpinist 12 Bindings since these are crazy light tech bindings which helped bring the weight of this touring set up into the reasonable range for an older guy like me.
Price: $799.95CAN / $699.95 US
Lengths: 164, 172, 178, 186
Dimensions: 139 / 106 / 129mm (186 length)
Radius: 21m (186 length)
Weight: 4kg / 8.8lb (per pair 186)
|Powder Performance 2/2
Groomer Performance 2/2
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