In this First Look we’ll have a gander at a ski that’s been shrouded in mystery until it appeared recently at the back door to the warehouse, overnight, under the cover of darkness. On checking the CCTV, we discovered that Rossi’s highly-anticipated but very hush-hush BlackOps skis had been deposited from the back of a convoy of blacked-out SUVs by several men in dark suits and (quite inexplicably, given the time of night) sunglasses.
We?re not quite sure what that was all about, and the fewer questions we ask the better, but we do know that we?re excited that they?re finally here so we can unveil them to you guys. Because although they may not officially exist, we can attest to the fact that, in reality, they certainly do (albeit in limited numbers) and that they are very tasty? very tasty indeed.
So, who are they aimed at?
Rumor has it that Rossignol’s capsule collection of BlackOps skis was designed in a Top-Secret shred facility under the close supervision of a crack team of freeski masterminds including Chris ?Dahrkhness? Logan and Parker ?Slat Rat? White. If you?re familiar with the work of Logan and White, you’ll get a little insight into what the BlackOps collection is designed to do.
Coming in two waist widths and limited to just three lengths, Rossi’s super-limited-edition specials are only available through a few key stores and are aimed squarely at aggressive riders like White and Logan, who like to take their freestyle skills from the park to the backcountry and beyond.
Check the pair in action in their Big Picture Move 1 edit…
Sizes, shape and profile
The collection comes in a relatively modest and versatile 98mm waist (which you can get hold of in a 182) and a more fat and floaty 116mm waist (available in 176 and 186 sizes) that’s going to be unreal in the soft stuff without entirely deserting hardpack performance.
Both sizes feature a healthy portion of traditional camber underfoot, meaning that you can confidently stick them in a carve on the piste or control yourself on wind-blown icy patches in the side and backcountry. But these are certainly skis that are built to go deep, so you can expect a good helping of rocker in the tip and tail for floaty confidence in pow landings whether regular or switch.
As the 98mm is more of a park-first, pow-later kinda ski, you get less tip and tail rocker and a significantly higher camber underfoot to help soak up those big landings on hardpack. The 116mm has a more modest camber underfoot and a bigger proportion of floaty rocker in the tip and tail.
It’s worth noting that your BlackOps skis buck the recent trend for early taper sidecut, remaining unashamedly fat in the nose and tail. The rest of the sidecut is described by Rossi as a ?Pivoty Smear Fest?, so you can see what they?re going for. You?d expect that to mean that they might be a little twitchy in firm conditions, but as we’ve said, in reality, they perform admirably on harder snow, stable up to all but the highest speeds. With all that camber length and height underfoot, the 98mm is much more suited to charging hardpack, whereas the 116mm is all about soft snow performance, and that’s certainly where they excel.
How do they ride?
As you?d expect, the narrower ski is going to be a little more park and piste-friendly, agile and quicker edge to edge. But let’s face it, 98mm is still plenty ski for most, and it rides with a solid, confidence-inspiring and balanced feel, on-piste and off.
We?re not sure what they?re made of, but while neither model is particularly light, both skis have plenty of torsional stiffness and hold an edge well. The ride is lively and fun, and given that they?re freestyle-focused, they spin and butter like a dream.
The larger 116mm is just a real pow-muncher, delivering unreal float, with a stable feel that’s going to give you the confidence to push yourself and develop those freestyle skills to new heights in the backcountry.
Both skis are designed to feel pretty balanced and neutral, encouraging you to put your own stamp on things. They?re big and burly, with a solid feel that you can ride hard right up to your limit and beyond without being let down. Be aggressive, throw them around, bounce, bonk, spin, slash and smash your way from piste to pillow line and the BlackOps will reward you with smiles for days.
With the likes of the hugely popular Soul 7, Rossignol have been smashing it in recent seasons, and we feel that the hype surrounding these skis is entirely justified. Don?t hang about and miss these ? grab a set before they?re gone. You won?t be disappointed.
Let’s take a look at how the stats measure up for each model. We have to say, however, that there are very few official figures floating around for these skis, so these measurements are purely the best estimate that our warehouse tape measure could manage! If you’ve ever tried to measure a ski, you’ll know what a minefield it is. So, purely as a guide, the rough stats are…
Camber height: 12mm
Lengths available: 182
Camber height: 5mm
Lengths available: 176, 186
Get the full setup
It?d almost be rude to pair such a fine ski with anything but the finest freeride binding, and they were designed to work best with the equally phenomenal Look Pivot. Available in DINs ranging up to a mighty 18, they?re supremely reliable and built to be ridden as aggressively as the BlackOps themselves.
A hugely popular and respected binding for good reason, the Pivot is all about elasticity. The clever toe piece and turntable heel combine to give a massive range of elastic travel, superb shock absorption and super-fast re-centring ? all adding up to an advanced performance that keeps your boot right where it needs to be until the precise point you want it to release.
The BlackOps is a ski with dark intentions, and the Pivot is a binding that has the chops to match. A formidable combination.