Expert Review: Rossignol Blackops Gamer 118 Ski
This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2018.
About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2018.
The Rossignol Blackops Gamer is a heavy, stiff, and damp backcountry jib/powder ski for experts who go fast, go big, and want to treat the whole mountain like a terrain park.
About the gear
- Model: 2018 Rossignol BlackOps 118
- Size: 186cm
- Height: 6ft 0in
- Weight: 170lb
- Experience: 35 years
- When I bought these: November 2018
- Days tested: 80
- Mount position: -1cm true center
- Boots: 2012 Atomic Redster WC 150 Lifted
- Boot size: Mondo 265; boot sole length: 305mm
- Bindings: 2021 Look Pivot 15
- Where I’ve used them: Solitude, Brighton, Palisades, Stevens Pass, Mt. Hood Skibowl
- Terrain: Powder, sidecountry, and inbounds
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was in the market to replace my K2 Pettitors. I wanted a center mounted/near-symmetrical ski to hit jumps into powder, spin off natural features, and ski switch. It needed to have enough heft to be damp in the variable conditions of the Pacific Northwest and hold up to cliff-drop landings.
Why I chose this gear
I bought the Rossignol Gamer because I not only wanted skis that would give me more options for bringing park skills into powder, but because I needed skis that would eventually replace my daily drivers in powder, which were getting pretty banged up. Although I considered another set of K2 Pettitors, LINE EP Pro, and Faction Candide 4.0, I knew that these skis weren’t going to be heavy or stiff enough to withstand the constant variability of the Pacific Northwest. Any ski will work great in untouched powder, but as a resort skier, I know that a heavy, damp ski is going to be the right choice, and the Gamer fits that profile perfectly.
What I love about them
- Speed: These skis LOVE to go fast and feel like a rock-solid platform.
- Edge hold: There is very little lateral flex in the tips and tails of these skis, and this equates to great edge hold on the steeps.
- Powder: Good powder skiers overcome any inhibition toward speed to keep their skis up on-plane, on top of the powder. These skis force me to do that, and I love that about them.
- Park: I used these skis as park skis for a hot second and found them to be just fine. They’re very heavy, but the ski is near symmetric, making it a functional park ski.
- Durability: I dropped a 20ft cliff directly onto a rock that should have exploded the ski and ripped out the edge. Instead there is only a dent and a crack in the sidewall–these skis are bomber.
- Weight: I bought these skis specifically for their heavy weight. As a resort skier, this adds to their functionality.
- Switch riding: The first switch turns I made on these skis made me smile. I love them.
- Stability: Stability is an overriding factor when skiing these skis as they want to go fast and don’t want to turn. They have a platform as long as the contact points, making them some of the most stable skis I’ve ever used.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Turns: Both on and off groomers, these skis don’t want to turn. When I flex the ski, it creates a parabolic turning radius that can catch me off guard if I try to turn the ski too quickly while heavily loaded or at high speed; it can become hooky. Runouts are a must.
- Groomers: These skis will get me back to the lift, and that is about it.
- Trees: These skis would eat me alive in tight trees if I am not on top of them.
- Moguls: Unless I am straight-lining and airing them, these skis are terrible in moguls.
- Backcountry: I plan on putting a set of CAST touring binding mods on these skis, but at 5.1kg per pair they are far too heavy to tour with. The ski that I am looking at for a touring ski - the Volkl V-Werks Mantra - comes in at 3.3kg per pair.
Favorite moment with this gear
I was in deep, untouched Utah powder when I first tried to ski switch on these skis. The sun was out, and snow crystals swirling around the wind of a protected gully that didn’t have a track in it. I made about six or seven perfect turns in deep pow before I turned them around and finished the gully hooting and hollering—so fun.
Value for the money vs. other options
Considering these are quiver skis, I think they’re a great value for the money on Curated! The current stock has skis like the Black Crows Nocta, Salomon QST Blank, Dynastar M-Free 108, and the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. When compared with these skis, I prefer the Rossignol Gamer, which comes in at a lower price point.
The Rossignol Blackops Gamer skis are a battleship: unsinkable, stiff, and damp. They slay powder, allow me to unlock jump tricks off natural features, and have incredible stability to stomp cliff runouts, getting me down my favorite powder run first! They’re not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who loves to go fast in powder, I suggest they consider adding these skis to their quiver.