“Whatever, Mom”

This is what my 16-year-old son Tommy said when I reminded him that his new Rossignol Experience 94 TI skis were longer (at 180 centimeters) than anything he’d ever skied on before. I told him that he would likely find it slightly more challenging to ski on them and that it would be OK if it took him a couple of runs to feel comfortable.

Ignoring his reply, I smiled to myself, thinking “oh, he’ll see when we get to the top.” I was thinking back to my own first pair of non-rental skis, which I got for Christmas when I was his age in 1986. Those suckers were as stiff and heavy and long as the December days were short. I had trouble carrying them from the parking lot.

But I guess I forgot the difference in skis between now and then because when we started our first run on a long, groomed, speedy blue trail covered with perfect packed powder I watched as Tommy took off like he had rocket boosters attached to his ski boots.

Those Rossignol Experience 94 TI skis were light, precise and fast as could be.

The Rossignol Experience 94 TI Is a Great All-Mountain Ski

There are a couple of things to understand when you’re looking for skis for your kids – you want to think about where and how they ski and in what types of conditions. Since my family spends a lot of time at Mad River Glen, where there isn’t much snow manufacture and the harder trails aren’t groomed, I knew that I needed an all-condition ski. And since Tommy likes to ski in the woods as much, if not more, than on trails, I knew I also needed an all-mountain ski. Oh, and as I said, he also likes to go fast.

94 Experience TI
Rossignol all-mountain skis handle glades beautifully.

There are several things about the Experience 94 TI that make it a great ski for people who like to ski all over the mountain.

When you start looking at skis, you’ll see the words “rocker” and “camber”. These terms describe how the ski is curved and hence how it sits on the snow. Skis with what is known as a traditional camber have contact at the tips and the ends while the middle of the ski curves up and away from the ground. The skiers weight puts even pressure on the ski from tip to tail, making it easier to achieve very precise and fast turns, especially on harder snow. Racing skis are usually cambered.

“Rocker” refers to a curve that’s the reverse of a camber – the ski curves up and away from the snow at either end. Skis with a lot of rocker are great for skiing in powder and are easier to turn without risking catching an edge of your ski in the snow. They are in some ways more forgiving than cambered skis.

But what if you’re an aggressive skier who likes to go fast, skis on both hard and soft snow and needs skis that can turn well in the trees? That’s where the concept of an all-mountain ski comes in. This type of ski combines rocker and camber. The tips and tail are angled up and away from the snow, which helps keep them from catching on variable snow or ice. But the camber in the middle of the ski makes for faster, more precise turns.

The Experience 94 TI also has what are called progressive sidecuts. The sidecut has to do with the shape of the ski as you look at it from the top or bottom; on the Expereince 94 TI that shape is a subtle hourglass that’s not quite as wide at the bottom as at the top. This shape helps make the ski easier to turn and helps the skier keep control over the edge at speed.

There’s also vertical carbon at the core of this ski, which makes it stable and what Rossignol calls Air Tip technology in the tip of the ski that keeps it from vibrating. I like that because I know that even if Tommy is trying something really steep and challenging, he can count on his skis to stay consistent and strong under him.

And what’s nice about Rossignol skis is that they achieve this stability while keeping the skis light – Tommy’s skis are easy even for me to carry and are easy to maneuver even in tight spots in the woods.

Testing Out Rossignol Experience On the Mountain

Tommy, of course, isn’t really interested in how his skis are shaped or what they are made of – he just wants to take them all over the mountain. Burke Mountain Resort, where he first tested the skis, proved the perfect environment to test all its attributes. Because this resort is home to Burke Mountain Academy (no less than Mikaela Shiffrin’s alma mater) there are lots of long, steep blue trails that are kept groomed for fast skiing. But the mountain also boosts tons of tree skiing in both marked and unmarked glades.

Tommy was able to rocket down the open trails, fast, but with good control. He also had the edges he needed to keep him on track in the trees. As he learned to manage having slightly longer skis than he was accustomed to in the woods, he found that he was able to ski faster and in better control than he had in the past.

 

We also had really good but somewhat variable conditions while we were at Burke, which meant we were skiing on both fresh powder (on our third day Tommy laid down fresh tracks under the lift as he got up and out early and was on the second chair) and some icier spots as well. The skis held up well not matter where Tommy went – and he went everywhere.

These skis do move fast. I wouldn’t recommend them for anyone who isn’t an experienced skier – especially not a reckless teen. Tommy is careful and makes good turns; I wouldn’t want him on skis like this if his tendency was just to barrel down as fast as possible.

A quick Internet search revealed that these skis are really well reviewed and I can understand why – skiers who revel in going everywhere in the mountain will find that the Rossignol Experience 94 TI skis keep them happy no matter what.

Rossignol generously provided Tommy with a pair of Experience 94 TI Skis outfitted with Look SPX 12 Dual Ski Bindings. All opinions expressed here are mine (and Tommy’s).

Mara Gorman may live at sea level now, but she’s a native New Englander and mountain aficionado who grew up skiing in Vermont. She spends as many days each winter as she can chasing her two teen boys through glades and across mogul fields and regularly journeys far and wide to get on the slopes. Mara blogs about her family’s many travel adventures at The Mother of all Trips. She is also the author of The Family Traveler’s Handbook and an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in various USA Today print publications as well as on websites such as BBC Travel. When there’s no snow, Mara and her family can be found hiking, biking and eating around the United States and Europe.

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