Expert Review: Rossignol Blackops Escaper Skis
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.
The Rossignol Black Ops Escaper skis are geared toward the intermediate to advanced skier looking for a ski that can do it all. These skis get away from the heavy “charger” skis and, with a nice update, make a much easier and playful profile. A great “all-mountain” ski that allows the skier to ski just about every condition, except the extremes like icy groomer or deep, deep powder conditions.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Rossignol Black Ops Escaper
- Size: 186cm
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 175lbs
- Experience: 26 years skiing, 16 years ski racing
- When I bought these: March 2022
- Days tested: 20 days
- Mount position: Factory recommended
- Boots: 2022 Rossignol All Track Elite 130 LV
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: 2021 Look SPX 12
- Where I’ve used it: Central Oregon (Hoodoo and Mt. Bachelor)
- Terrain: Groomer, mixed snow, little powder (2-5in of new snow)
How they perform
What I was looking for
A good ski that could act as a decent carver but wide enough to ski everything, meaning all-mountain and some powder, and a ski that was fun to ski everything all over the mountain, no matter the weather conditions. I was also looking for a ski that wasn’t as bulky as some “all-mountain” skis, so weight was important as I picked a ski.
Why I chose this gear
With an underfoot measurement of 94mm, it was a perfect ski setup to carve on groomer conditions and also allow me to go ski around everywhere with that all-mountain feel. No metal in the ski core allows a lighter ski than average. The Black Ops Escaper gives great performance without all the extra weight. I thought about some other options, like the Volkl Blaze 94, the Armada Tracer 98, and the Kastle FX 95.
What I love about them
- Speed: Speed on these Escapers is decent. The base is made up of 30% recycled material, which is a fun addition. But overall, the speed is okay. There is no directional base grind out of the plastic, so the speed improved when given a base grind.
- Turns: Turns are good. These skis have a medium turning radius at 21m, allowing me to make both big long turns, and they were able to turn pretty quickly.
- Groomers: Hold on great on groomers. Considering this is not a carver-focused ski, these skis hold an edge and allow me to carve into the groomer well. I can take big carving turns and shorter slalom-like turns.
- Powder: These skis aren’t meant for deep powder conditions, but they handle some soft snow and a little powder. For 2-6in of snow, they work great, but any deeper and a skier would need some bigger skis.
- Trees: In the trees, the Escapers are quick and nimble and are easy to turn for some quick reactive skiing in the trees. The wood core helps give some “pop” to the ski and allows for playful skiing in the trees and the soft snow.
- Backcountry: Being they are 95mm underfoot, the Escapers are a perfect fit for backcountry touring and skiing. Not wide enough to be sluggish or too big and not too skinny not to be able to float in the soft snow. The Escapers are meant to be that all-mountain ski that can do everything, and they can handle the backcountry well.
- Weight: Weight is very light, without compromising the strength of the ski. The wood core allows the ski to be lighter but doesn't compromise the ski.
- Stability: As an all-mountain ski, the Escapers can handle all conditions with ease and great stability when I'm on top of them. Although chattery and, at times, flimsy, the Escapers are good when I engage them. If one is being lazy, the ski doesn’t do much.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: Unfortunately, the 2021 and new 2022 Black Ops series from Rossignol have a weak topsheet that is rounded and capped over the ski. This design allows the plastic to chip really easily, cuts the topsheet, and exposes the core very quickly.
- Ease of Turn Initiation: The ease isn't that smooth for a primarily wood-core ski. One definitely needs to give some energy and power to get it moving.
- Floatation: The Escapers don't float as well as I want them to. Being light, I figured they would float like a cloud, but I have to lean back to get them to float well in some powder.
Favorite moment with this gear
I was skiing on a weekday morning with blue skies at Mt. Bachelor, and it had snowed overnight—about four inches of new. The grooming crew had done an excellent job overnight. The light, fluffy snow on top was waiting to be skied. So my first thought was to grab my Rossignol Escapers. They carved those soft groomers like butter. Super playful, and I could go ski off the groomed run super well and play in the trees. These skis can ski it all.
Value for the money vs. other options
As for the ski that can do it all, or a 90-99mm underfoot “all-mountain” ski, the Rossignol Black Ops Escaper is a top choice in its category. It is extremely lightweight, charges and skis well through all conditions, and is well-priced for the value. Other options in that ski category are the Volkl Blaze 94 and Armada Tracer 98, which are also great skis. Just about every ski in this category has its own positives.
The Rossignol Black Ops Escaper is a great versatile ski that can ski everything. This ski could be great for both resort skiing and the backcountry. It has a good value for what one’s getting, which is a ski that is lighter and stronger than the competitor. The Escaper carves well on groomers and can charge all other conditions over the mountain.