Expert Review: Fischer Ranger 102 FR Skis · 2022Published on 11/14/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2021.
Chasing the day on the Ranger 102 FR. All photos courtesy of Chris Macdonald
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2021.
The Fischer Ranger 102 FR is the perfect do-it-all ski for the intermediate to expert skier. It is so versatile and well rounded; I have just as much fun getting fresh tracks as I do arcing turns on the groomers.
About the skis I own
- Model: 2022 Fischer Ranger 102 FR
- Size: 177cm
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 150lbs
- Experience: 24 years of skiing
- When I bought these: November 2021
- Days tested: 150
- Mount position: +3 from recommended
- Boots: Dalbello Lupo HD Pro
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: 2021 Look Pivot 14 GW
- Where I’ve used it: Stowe, Mad River Glen, VT; Arapahoe Basin, CO
- Terrain: Powder, trees, bumps, groomers, park, a lot of East Coast ice
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a ski that I could use everyday at the resort for any type of conditions. Something that could handle some fresh snow, then still be fun after things get tracked out and I wouldn’t have to run to the car to swap out my skis. I wanted something I could grab in the morning and be confident with my choice.
Why I chose this gear
I had skied this ski at a demo before purchasing, so I knew I already loved it when I went to buy it. But the reason I chose it was because of its versatility. I have a freestyle background and I enjoy skiing fast through choppy snow. This ski felt composed and balanced all the time whether I was in the air or on the ground. What really set this ski apart for me was its ability to jump off stuff and carve aggressively on the groomers at high speed and still feel supported. The only other ski I was thinking about at the time was the Armada Declivity 102 Ti.
What I love about them
- Speed: For a light ski, I find this ski is still pretty stiff due to a decent amount of carbon fiber in the construction; this keeps it composed at speed while keeping the weight down. While the ski might not be as damp as other options with metal in them, and while I can definitely get some vibration at speed, the ski still feels very predictable and stable at high speed in a variety of snow conditions.
- Edge hold: Fischer has deep race heritage which shines through many skis in its lineup including the Ranger 102 FR. For a medium-wide ski, it has excellent edge hold due to a little camber underfoot. It won't be as good as a dedicated carving ski, but for its category it does exceptionally well.
- Turns: These skis are advertised to have an 18m turning radius, but it feels a little more narrow than that. Maybe more like a 16m radius, which I personally like. It allows me to make carving turns at medium to slower speeds. At high speeds, I can still widen the radius if I want to and I can tell this ski is lighter weight when making bigger turns. Bigger skiers might find this ski a little under supportive if they are trying to make high-speed carving turns most of their time. But that’s not this ski's focal point.
- Trees: I love these skis in the trees. The tip rocker smaller camber underfoot allowed this ski to make tight turns and pivot very easily. I find them exceptionally easy to maneuver around trees and other obstacles.
- Moguls: These skis do very well in the bumps. Their easy turn initiation makes them quick to move around moguls. The skis' flex pattern and tip shape absorbs bumps very well, which leaves me feeling surprisingly balanced when I slam through them with some speed. I find the bumps is where I have the most fun with these skis, but that might just be my general ski preference.
- Backcountry: While I don’t think these skis were intentionally designed to be a backcountry ski, they would be a great option. Their light weight would make for a comfortable climb, and their versatility is good for whatever conditions I get into from powder to choppy hardpack. A binding like the Salomon SHIFT or the Marker Duke PT would be great on this ski—making it a good 50/50 resort/backcountry setup.
- Durability: I generally am pretty hard on my skis. I find myself skiing park, exposed East Coast trees, and ice all the time on these skis, and they lasted as long as any other ski I have been on. I put them through over two seasons with probably about 200 days on them, and they held up great. I did have a little separation underfoot, but this is common for me on skis that I ski rails on.
- Weight: These skis are nice and light. Some skiers may not like that, though. For aggressive skiers that are a bit heavier, the weight may not feel supportive enough. But for me, at 150lbs, they feel great.
- Stability: I find these skis very stable in the bumpy, choppy snow and deeper powder. The only times I feel these skis could use a little more stability is when carving at very high speed. However, adding that stability would probably remove some of the other positive traits I like, such as weight and maneuverability. And I don’t think that trade off is worth it with these skis.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Groomers: Don’t get me wrong, this ski does great on the groomers, but I wouldn’t buy it if I was planning to spend most of my time on them.
- Powder: The shape of the ski allows them to float well, but the 102 waist is still on the narrower side for those deeper days. They can handle 4–6 inches of powder well, but anything deeper than that they can get a little caught up and I would prefer my dedicated powder ski.
- Park: Although this ski includes “FR” in the name, which means Freeride, it is not a park ski. It was fun to take a lap through the park on them here and there, but they wouldn't make for a good park ski.
- Switch riding: This is definitely a directional ski. It has a little tail to it that allows some basic switch skiing. But it doesn’t have a symmetrical design, so it doesn’t handle switch landings well.
- Any workarounds? Mounting my skis a couple centimeters up from recommended gave the ski a little more balance when in the park and in the bumps since it put me a little closer to the center of the ski. However, pushing this too far wouldn’t be beneficial.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment on the Ranger 102 FR’s was a day at day at Mad River Glen, Vermont, where we got about five inches of fresh snow. It was earlier in the season, so we didn't have a bunch of moguls under the snow yet, which meant I could ski everything fast. The Rangers were in their element that day. There were endless features to jump off of. My favorite part about Mad River Glen is that I can go from tight steep trees, to soft and smooth groomers, to cliffs and jumps under the lift all in one lap. And that is exactly what I did that day, and I wouldn't have wanted any other ski for it.
Value for the money vs. other options
I think these skis are priced fairly. They are a high-end ski, which come with a price, but they aren’t unaffordable to the average skier like some other brands. I definitely got my money's worth with these skis. Other similar options in this category and price range would be the Armada Declivity 102 or the newer Nordica Unleashed 108.
The Fischer Ranger 102 unlocked the ability for me to roll up to the mountain with a single pair of skis and be confident that I won’t want to swap them out for something else. They really are the one ski quiver I was looking for. Just like the saying goes, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but a master of none is better than a master of one.” That holds true with these skis.