This is my review of Experience 88. In my opinion, it is a tough ski with a special well-rounded design that can reasonably handle all conditions, even if only expert skiers will be able to get the most out of it.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Advanced or expert level skiers that like to tear up all different parts of the mountain. Those who spend most of their time on groomers will get a lot out of these too.
- Pros: Solid stability at speed. No chatter or extra vibrations. The skis do exceptionally well on turns and are quick edge-to-edge. A good combination of power and response.
- Cons: Only for truly seasoned skiers. They are not great in soft snow or powder conditions. General value could be better.
- Alternatives: Volkl M5 Mantra, Nordica Enforcer, Blizzard Rustler 10
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I have spent ample time researching these skis by breaking down their traits, durability, control, and handling in a wide range of unique and standard conditions.
The Experience 88 is a decently versatile ski with all-mountain capabilities. The chunky design gives you quite a bit of toughness and enables you to charge down runs. It has a sleek design and gives you good stability when traveling at higher speeds. It definitely won’t get you excited about hitting powder, but it’s a reliable option for groomers or hard snow.
Stable, At All Times
This ski does an excellent job at staying stable no matter how fast you go. Losing control or balance is annoying, and it’s always nice when a ski ensures that both cruising and charging riders will have a fun time. These do an especially nice job while you’re cruising, maintaining dampness and stability that matches some of the best models on the market.
You don’t need to always go fast to have a lot of fun with these skis, but they shine when you do. The extra reliability means you’ll be able to stay upright through fast, speedy turns. That’s especially true with how well the skis maneuver. Adding onto that is the special air tip that cuts down on minor chatter other options might experience. If you like going fast, these skis will give you almost no issues.
Carving and Crud
As with so many of their other skis, Rossignol outfitted the Experience 88 with specific traits that make it good for carving. This model is quick edge-to-edge, and aggressive skiers will find it both powerful and responsive with the right input. You’re not going to get those same results if you prefer wider turns when moving on groomers, but it’s still a decently fun ride, even if there’s not as much pop as I would like.
The Experience 88 has a rounded tip and tail. That combination is then backed by a slightly pronounced tip rocker that helps the ski stay up on more challenging or unpredictable terrain. You’re going to need to know what you’re doing, but advanced riders will be able to get a lot from this model when piloting through chopped powder or frozen chunks. It just takes a lot of work to keep your control.
Powder and Bumps
This is not a powder ski. You’re going to get a little bit of float on fresh snow, but for the most part, this model is going to dive right through the soft stuff. It’s also incredibly tough to turn or maneuver in those conditions. Another problem here is that the Experience 88’s stiffness makes it hard to be playful in powder. If you want this ski, stick to harder snow.
Though this ski is both stiff and long, the narrow waist and sidecut give it decent results in the bumps. More tightly spaced runs will cause some problems, but you should still have a good time in smaller bumps that are a bit more spaced out. A little more tip and tail would have fixed that issue, but the current design is a solid choice for those who like to jump in the bumps every now and then.
If the Experience 88 falls short in one area, it’s playfulness. This ski is not completely dead, but the unforgiving and demanding nature means you’re not going to get a lot of positive response when trying to bounce off different obstacles. You can take these through the wringer, but I would recommend a more forgiving model for such endeavors. There just isn’t a ton of flex, especially for an all-mountain ski.
Price and Value
The Experience 88, for all its advantages, is quite mediocre when it comes to value. It’s not going to run you as much as some of the absolute top-end skis on the market, but it’s still going to require a substantial investment that goes below budget-friendly options. If you’re looking for what it offers, it’s a decent purchase. If you need a more niche or performance-oriented item, you might want to look elsewhere.
What I Like
For me, the biggest bonus with these skis is their stability. You don’t always want or need to go fast, but having the option is not a bad thing. You can charge as hard as you like with these strapped onto your feet, and that reliability is a big plus. From the construction to the stiffness to the air tip, every part of the ski works to cut back on chatter and ensure you stay in control regardless of whether you’re going straight or hitting tight turns.
The carving and bump abilities are both nice as well. This ski has what it takes to maneuver and hit tighter turns than you would expect. I also want to give a nod to the ski’s look. The Experience 88 has a cool coloration with an eye-catching design without being too over the top. Look isn’t a big consideration for most skiers, but these skis will have you covered if you care about appearance.
What I Dislike
The Experience 88 takes an advanced rider and a lot of work to get going. Though you might not have as much of an issue in pleasant conditions, getting it to move through chopped up powder and refrozen chunks is no walk in the park. It’s possible, but you’re going to need to put in a lot of work.
I’m also not a fan of the lack of playfulness. These skis aren’t the worst I’ve ever seen in this category, but they lack both forgiveness and flex, two key characteristics you’re going to want in a playful all-mountain model. The true lack of powder performance also makes them a bit limited in their general application.
The Experience 88 brings a lot to the table, but so do similar models. If you want to branch out or take a look at other high-rated options, these are all worth an in-depth dive.
- Volkl M5 Mantra – The Mantra, like the Experience, is a solid ski with very little chatter. It isn’t quite as stable, but it’s still fast and incredibly reliable. This is a great pick for riders who like to move through different environments or terrain. Read my detailed review to learn more.
- Nordica Enforcer – If you’re looking for a carving ski that you can maneuver, the Enforcer (review) is a solid bet. There’s a decent amount of chatter in the tips, and you’re not going to get results when moving through powder, but the carving abilities are unmatched. A niche but effective option.
- Blizzard Rustler 10 – The Rustler 10 (review) is another versatile ski that’s a bit more varied than the Experience 88. This ski has a ton of pop and is easy to swing. While it does feel soft at times, the traits help make it useful in many different situations. It’s fun to use and, unlike the Experience, does a great job in soft snow.
What type of ski is this?
The Experience 88 is an all-mountain ski that does well in most conditions.
How much do these skis weigh?
They come in at roughly 10 pounds.
Do these skis hold up at speed?
Yes. The Experience 88 has a solid construction that’s made to keep steady at higher speeds.
If you like to go fast or enjoy cruising around on-piste, the Experience 88 is a great ski. While it’s not a great pick for riders who love powder or going out into the backcountry, it still does an excellent job on groomers, when carving, and in the bumps.
The lighter weight is quite nice in that regard, as is the ability to take tight turns. It’s not a perfect ski, but those who want stability and maneuverability will be happy.