Expert Review: 2023 Fischer Ranger 102 Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Daryl Morrison and Hayden Wright tested the 2023 Fischer Ranger 102 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Daryl Morrison and Hayden Wright tested the 2023 Fischer Ranger 102 skis this spring at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how they performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Ranger 102 or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
One final point before we dive in: It's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Fischer claim about this ski? [Daryl] The brand claims that this is going to be a really agile but stable ski for you to get into really tight spaces, be able to tour a little bit, and still also be in bounds. I think that they met that need pretty well. I had a great time on these. They were definitely way more agile than I thought they were going to be for a 183. They have really nice soft tips and tails and really jump you from turn-to-turn. They felt a little bit like my old Fischer slalom skis. So they're really fun turn-to-turn, really agile, and jumpy. I like them a lot.
[Hayden] Fischer skis is telling us that we got a 138 shovel, 103 millimeter waist, and 128 millimeter tail. Fischer advertises this as your all-mountain resort jammer, and they were spot on. This thing is awesome. It has solid wood in the tip and tail, which makes it really playful and agile. I had a blast.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Daryl] So my very first impression was not the best because I skied basically a sheet of ice, and these were not optimal for those conditions. Fischer's not marketing these as being a full frontside, carving ski, and they're definitely not that. However, once I got into a little bit softer snow on groomers, they were a lot better. They performed really well. They were super quick edge-to-edge, really stable in the turn. I really let it rip at the bottom of some of these runs, and while I did feel like they were getting a little bit chattery in the tip, they were still totally fine. I didn't feel like I was going to lose my ski at any point or anything like that.
[Hayden] My first impression on the Fischer 102 Ranger was awesome. It has a bunch of metal underfoot, but not up in the tip or the tail, which is awesome for throwing spins. It has zero swing weight. The ski does have quite a bit of rocker. Sometimes when you get that in a ski, you'll get a little bit of chatter. I didn't really experience too much chatter with these, which is a surprise. 103 millimeters underfoot, in my opinion, is one of the best for your all-around ski experience. It has awesome waist width. There was a little bit of a twin tip, so we had some switch carving on it. These things hold edge like crazy. They have tons of camber underfoot. Overall, it’s a great ski.
How does it turn? [Daryl] So honestly, these carved really well. I used to race on Fischers, and I really loved the action that they had turn-to-turn. They really swing you from the apex of the turn up and into your next one, and I actually felt that motion a lot on these, which is not what I was expecting. I like that jump from turn-to-turn that they give you, and so, these were fun. When you engage the ski fully, that energy just pops you right into your next turn. So they were super fun for me. I liked them carving.
I did short radius turns and long radius turns, and I didn't really have any trouble with anything. I would say that depending on the length you get, a longer radius turn is going to suit you better on these. I definitely felt that I could engage the ski fully if I did a longer turn, and I would scrub my speed, top of my turn a little bit if I was doing shorter radius turns.
What is the edge hold like? [Hayden] The Fischer Ranger 102 holds edge like a dream, and it's super easy going from one edge to the other. It was a great carving ski in my opinion.
What about dampness? Any chatter in the ski? [Daryl] So damp is, like, how much of the snow texture you can feel. The less damp a ski is, the more you're going to feel the chatter of the snow.
I'd say these are on the less damp side. They're not something, again, that I would ski on chattery East Coast conditions at all. I would not ski them today necessarily by choice, but they did hold up to these difficult conditions pretty well. They do chatter though. They're not as damp as they could be. So just keep that in mind if you're in a place that has low snowfall, a lot of ice, or anything else like that.
[Hayden] I found there to be minimal chatter. It was fairly light.
How does it perform at speed? [Daryl] They go really fast. Whoever waxed these did a great job. I definitely feel as though they have a top-end speed, but that's due to the rocker and the weight of the ski, I would not really want to point these straight and not turn on them. However, they'll go as fast as you want them to. You just need to stay over the ski and stay balanced or else they will get out from under you. They are a fast ski.
[Hayden] You could tell it's got a race background, because it did hold an edge awesome. But with that metal underfoot, coming down from landings, you had that burly, damp ski that you were looking for. So if you're a racing background and you're starting to get more into freeride or new school style riding, it’s definitely a ski to consider for hitting side hits around the ski resort and whatnot.
How are they for freestyle skiing? [Daryl] One thing to note with them is that they are a fully directional ski. They do have some rise in the tail, but they're definitely not meant to be a park ski. You can ski them switch a little bit, but they're not meant for that in any way.
How would it be in powder? [Hayden] So today here, there was beautiful powder. We had a few inches of pow to play around in, and I was super stoked to get on the Ranger 102. That early rise really helps you stay up on top when we were peeling off piste and getting into that chunder. It is a great ski for powder. It’s probably not the best ski if you're strictly storm chasing. If it's like a foot of pow on that day, you're going to want something else.
What kind of terrain does it perform well on? [Daryl] So specifically on the terrain front, I would not ski these in really big mountain conditions. I'd be pretty uncomfortable dropping big cliffs on them. I don't think that they have as much of a stable platform as I would like for something like that. Likewise, I definitely would not ski these as an East Coast ice ski. I don't think that they would be great for me.
However, any terrain between that, if you want a general all-mountain ski that's going to rip groomers pretty well, go through the trees really well, and ski bumps reasonably well, these are a really good option.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Daryl] I'd recommend these skis to someone who's really looking to become more comfortable on their skis and become a little bit more aggressive but also have something that's going to be accessible.
These have a wood core, but they're reinforced with Titanal. So that means that they're going to be stable for you when you're skiing fast for the most part, but they're also going to be really accessible turn-to-turn. I loved the agility of them. If you're looking for something that's nimble for tree skiing in the East, these are a great option for you. If you don't want to go quite so wide at 102, there is a narrower waist width option as well.
Anything else you want to share about this ski? [Hayden] New for 2023, the Fisher Ranger 102s are coming in two colors. There is the navy blue, which looks great with the kit I have on today. And then it also comes in a lighter blue, a more teal color. You can get them in all sizes that they offer. I'm riding the 183 today, and I loved it.
Skis work differently for different types of people. If you want help finding the best skis for your needs, reach out to Daryl, Hayden, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations. They’ll ask you about your skiing style, what you’re looking for, your budget, and help you find the perfect skis for you.