Cage Match Comparison 2021 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free vs. 2021 Rossignol Black Ops Sender Ti

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Cage Match: Nordica Enforcer 104 Free vs. Rossignol Black Ops Sender Ti.png
The 102-105mm segment has been highly contested over the past few seasons with no one ski coming out as a clear winner of the brass ring. The closest may be the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, but there is a new Rossi in town that pushed its way to the head of the pack and doing it’s best Johnny.. "well, you're pretty good, ol' son, but sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it's done”.

Nordica did a pretty good job taking the popular Enforcer 100 and making an even more off piste oriented version in the Enforcer 104 Free. They took the proven Hammerhead tip, tweaked it, and gave it more tail rise and voila…a soft snow biased Enforcer with all the playfulness of a sorority girl at Spring Break.

Rossignol went the completely different direction with the new Sender Ti. The outgoing Soul 7 had very little street cred and was a caricature of it’s design. While its initial sales success was a paper fire, its popularity amongst serious skiers immediately wained. Enter the Sender Ti. The Sender is everthing the Soul wasn’t: solid, strong, powerful, and graphics that you either love or hate. The Sender Ti is the serious ski in this class that others will be compared against.
  • Why choose Enforcer 104 Free: You want a proven playful ski this class. You don’t want to think about what the ski will do, it just does it.
  • Why choose the Black Ops Sender Ti: The Sender Ti expects your input and the more you give it, the more it rewards you. You want to rip and you don’t want to worry if you will find the ski's limits.
 
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ski otter 2

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The full Black Ops Sender Rossi line is really interesting these days, expanded. Among these, the 187 Sender Ti is 106 in width (width varies from 104 to 108 with length). At that width, it's hard for me to resist the temptation to compare it to the K2 Mindbender 108, to me the top ski in that slightly wider class.

At this 106 width, the Sender Ti starts to have qualities of a crud/powder ski, but it also has some of the strengths - and weaknesses - of the wider Rossi 7 series. When I demoed it, on a day after powder (thus groomed with some crud and pow here and there), the Sender Ti was, for me, bottom line, not as stable charging as the Enforcer Free 104, even though the Enforcer was more playful. The Rossi was indeed much stiffer than the Soul 7, no where near as playful and turny, for better or for worse, but it still required fairly active feet at speed to stay stable in crud or uneven, sure seemed like. In fact, it reminded me of a more narrow, slightly more stable Rossi Super 7 HD. It felt very similar to me: more work in crud at speed than some skis, though doable; and good - good fun at a bit slower speeds, like the Super 7 HD in crud. But easier because it's narrower.

I've gotten feedback that a few other people found the Black Ops Sender Ti a bit more substantial, but also fun. To me, the more substantial, or more stable in crud Rossi skis are the Rossi Sender Squad 112, new last year, and the Rossi Black Ops 118, now called the Rossi Black Ops Gamer 118.

(The Rossi Black Ops 98, which is more playful still, like last year, and is not as charger-oriented again, more of a freestyle ski, is now called the Black Ops Holy Shred 98, but it's the same ski, probably unchanged except for graphics. A lot of fun to pivot and play with. )

The best, most bombproof crudbuster being made right now, as near as I can tell, and a K2 Pettitor/Shreditor 120 knockoff (which to me is high praise), is that Black Ops 118 Gamer, same ski as the mysterious Black Ops 118 of the past few years. It's only problem is its weight, with the stress on old or wounded knees that comes with that. That's where the new Rossignol Sender Squad 112 comes in. It is a stable, powerful charger, something like the Dynastar Legend Pros of old. Burly. Very fast, very easily. That ski gave me the stability margin to do things I would not normally do, potentially at most any speed.
 

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I really love the Enforcer Free. Had the 186 version and figured out htat wasnt enough once I tried the 191. I wish they made the Sender squad in a 187 or something similar. 194 seems a bit unwieldy. Strong chance I buy the Sender Ti once I get to try it.
 

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Serious skiers like to piss on the Soul 7 but it was absolutely perfect for its target market, a wideish forgiving ski that Joe Punter could handle and be fun. So business wise I 'm not sure this more "serious" Rossi is really a step forward or just a step into a niche where there are plenty of existing models for serious skiers and the more serious they are the more likely they'll have hookups or discounts so lesd margin to be made
 

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Sorry I note I basically made the same argument back in January when Rossi were hyping the new Black Ops models so sorry to be repetitive. Basically what's the value of being core and credible V commercial?
 
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From this article:


Rossignol-BlackOps-Sender-Revolution.jpg
Rossignol
Few skis took the industry by storm like the yellow and black Rossignol Soul 7 when it arrived a few seasons ago. The Soul 7 was part of a merry band of skis that included the Sin 7, Super 7, and Squad 7 along with their women’s counterparts. These skis ended up being a victim of their own success. They were light, playful, and opened up the mountain to many, many skiers. Over the seasons the sales did dwindle and with the ski's age, even with some construction and name changes, the series got long in tooth. Over the past two seasons Rossi has been testing the waters with the “Black Ops” skis. These started off being available just for athletes, shop guys, and influencers. Rossi made just enough buzz and peaking of interest to bring the Black Ops public as their own collection. Where the Soul 7 was the focal ski of the outgoing collection, the Sender Ti and women’s Rallybird Ti are the new king and queen of the prom and definitely worthy of the accolades they have been receiving. These new skis are not anything like the outgoing models in performance, on snow feel, or even looks. While graphics can be subjective, they are the only thing anyone who has had the luck to get on the new skis questions.
  • What you will miss: The puppy dog playfulness…and the attention span to match.
  • What you will gain: A much more planted feel on the snow and a mature feeling ski.
  • Insider tip: A refreshing change in sizing, width is measured in centimeters not millimeters and the length in meters not centimeters. So the Sender Ti is a 1.82 m in length and 10.2 cm wide. Not that it matters, just that it is different. Oh, and the ski's sizings are scaled, so each rider gets the same experience, no matter their size.
 

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Serious skiers like to piss on the Soul 7 but it was absolutely perfect for its target market, a wideish forgiving ski that Joe Punter could handle and be fun. So business wise I 'm not sure this more "serious" Rossi is really a step forward or just a step into a niche where there are plenty of existing models for serious skiers and the more serious they are the more likely they'll have hookups or discounts so lesd margin to be made
The problem is Soul 7 sales turned ice cold and it was no longer a "cool" ski. So Rossi had to do something. And if it became uncool because highly skilled skiers turned on it which carried through with the punters then Rossi made a logical choice with the new Black Ops series. To your point though, does it stand out enough and will it be enough to overcome the incredible dominance the Enforcer has. The ski business is tough, once your brand loses momentum you have to come out with something really revolutionary or get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle somehow. Who knows when, but I imagine the masses will eventually tire of the Enforcer line. Until then, it's tough sledding for a lot of manufacturers out there.

Edit: short of having something truly revolutionary, seems like Rossi is doing what I would have tried. Even the way they tried to build momentum and buzz with the new line.
 
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The problem is Soul 7 sales turned ice cold and it was no longer a "cool" ski. So Rossi had to do something. And if it became uncool because highly skilled skiers turned on it which carried through with the punters then Rossi made a logical choice with the new Black Ops series. To your point though, does it stand out enough and will it be enough to overcome the incredible dominance the Enforcer has. The ski business is tough, once your brand loses momentum you have to come out with something really revolutionary or get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle somehow. Who knows when, but I imagine the masses will eventually tire of the Enforcer line. Until then, it's tough sledding for a lot of manufacturers out there.

Edit: short of having something truly revolutionary, seems like Rossi is doing what I would have tried. Even the way they tried to build momentum and buzz with the new line.
I address that with the new Enforcer here:
 

ski otter 2

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I demoed lots of the 20-21 skis last February. Ski after ski, most good. To me, the Enforcer 100 was still a standout. The Enforcer 88 almost as much, to me, for my skiing, matched or bested only by the similar width old Brahma (to me, not the 20-21 as much) and the Black Crows Orb 19-20 (didn't get to try the 20-21 as yet, if different); and not by much. So just basically in how they ski, the Enforcers earn their respect - and how well they are doing. Still.
 

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Is the enforcer 88 also new? It was fairly easy for me to overpower the 2020. fun ski for sure, but needing to be careful with speed/how much you drive the shovels on a 88 ski s not for me.

looking forward to try new E94 and E100. hopeing for them to have more power than older, and lighter tips are always good.
 

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Is the enforcer 88 also new? It was fairly easy for me to overpower the 2020. fun ski for sure, but needing to be careful with speed/how much you drive the shovels on a 88 ski s not for me.

looking forward to try new E94 and E100. hopeing for them to have more power than older, and lighter tips are always good.
88 still the same and only available up to 186cm but the 94/100 available in 191cm lengths for guys like you. The 94/100 are stiffer, heavier overall(100-150grams) but with lighter swing vs the 93/old 100. 88/94/100 now all very similar stiffness now. The 104 more even flexing tip to tail with it not getting quite as stiff underfoot vs the narrower Enforcers.

I just wish they would have a bit less taper on the 88 for better hard snow grip but I guess that’s one of the series differences still between the Brahma/Bonafide 97 and Enforcers. Technica gets you either way. Lol
 

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The problem is Soul 7 sales turned ice cold and it was no longer a "cool" ski. So Rossi had to do something. And if it became uncool because highly skilled skiers turned on it which carried through with the punters then Rossi made a logical choice with the new Black Ops series.
But the punters loved them. I talked to plenty of "holiday skiers" on chairs using them and they were never anything less than fullsome in their praise. Those folk are going to be harder to steer toward a "Seal Team 4 GTI Gnar" named ski that's got a hardcore vibe. Now I like skis like the Sender sounds like it is but the marketing around it and the addressable market feels intuitively terrible to me.

Maybe the point we are all making is it is hard to catch lightning in a bottle and once your product has exceeded its lifespan then maybe odds are against you - has Salomon ever replicated the ubiquity of the XScream/Pocket Rocket? etc. But preserving the old seems to work in the auto industry - how many generations of the VW Golf for instance although the modern car is in an entirely different size class to the original. Nearest thing in skiing is I guess the Völkl Mantra.
 
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A former brand manager from Rossi said "The Soul 7 was not the ski they wanted to make, but the ski they had to make."

Maybe the point we are all making is it is hard to catch lightning in a bottle and once your product has exceeded its lifespan then maybe odds are against you - has Salomon ever replicated the ubiquity of the XScream/Pocket Rocket? etc. But preserving the old seems to work in the auto industry - how many generations of the VW Golf for instance although the modern car is in an entirely different size class to the original. Nearest thing in skiing is I guess the Völkl Mantra.
So true.
 

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A former brand manager from Rossi said "The Soul 7 was not the ski they wanted to make, but the ski they had to make."
I think that underlying attitude is potentially at the root of the problem I see. We're skiers we get that sort of explanation - it's cool to us that they are skiers at heart like us (and I know I've criticised the likes of K2 in the past for having 20 flavours of meh but nothing that stood out as a flagship/halo ski).

But they are a mass market ski co - they are Frito-Lay not the latest brand of niche Organic Kale Chips in Ylang ylang and Sirracha flavour complete with homespun origin story. Pepsico wouldn't be scrapping the staples to chase after that niche market - sure they'll dabble in it, maybe buy out an existing brand, make a bigger deal of it than it actually is in their PR to keep the markets enthused etc but they know what actually delivers for them.
 
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88 still the same and only available up to 186cm but the 94/100 available in 191cm lengths for guys like you. The 94/100 are stiffer, heavier overall(100-150grams) but with lighter swing vs the 93/old 100. 88/94/100 now all very similar stiffness now. The 104 more even flexing tip to tail with it not getting quite as stiff underfoot vs the narrower Enforcers.

I just wish they would have a bit less taper on the 88 for better hard snow grip but I guess that’s one of the series differences still between the Brahma/Bonafide 97 and Enforcers. Technica gets you either way. Lol
then meh, I've skied the 93 in both 185/193 (owned 193) and I could make it fold as well, its as if they just extended it, without makeing it more powerful. honestly it felt very close to the E88 so huge quiver overlap.

The 88 is a fairly fun ski, but it just doesnt have the power to back it up. and if they are doing the 191 E88 in the same fashion they did the 193 E93, it just goes floppety floppp more, than having more power.

I have a fairly sharp tune on my E88, so I actually found them to be fairly decent on very firm/icy conditions. but again, when they fold when coming down on carve from rollers and I have to keep speeds at 50 something, its going up for sale.

I've arranged a demo in desember of E94/E100, interesting to test them as they are stiffer, and lighter tips. Trying to find where I can demo the new rossis, most people who do rossi here only carries the frontside stuff, like... never ever saw black ops anywhere.
 
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I think that underlying attitude is potentially at the root of the problem I see. We're skiers we get that sort of explanation - it's cool to us that they are skiers at heart like us (and I know I've criticised the likes of K2 in the past for having 20 flavours of meh but nothing that stood out as a flagship/halo ski).

But they are a mass market ski co - they are Frito-Lay not the latest brand of niche Organic Kale Chips in Ylang ylang and Sirracha flavour complete with homespun origin story. Pepsico wouldn't be scrapping the staples to chase after that niche market - sure they'll dabble in it, maybe buy out an existing brand, make a bigger deal of it than it actually is in their PR to keep the markets enthused etc but they know what actually delivers for them.
Brands have a specific target when they design a ski, they built the Soul 7 to hit a target and they hit the bulls eye dead center. With that said, it was a complete success of a ski. If every brand/product manager built a ski that was to their liking, almost every one would be some Giant Slalom variation. You mention K2..they did a better job of making a Soul 7 with the Pinnacle 105.

It's funny, Rossi is being condemned for making the replacement of the Soul 7 more aggressive, while Kästle is being condemned for making the MX series easier to ski. I am saying that you can't have it both ways, but we need to look at each on a case by case basis.
 

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It's not condemning it's the wisdom of the "pivot" we're contemplating. And we can have it both ways because we are talking about what we as consumers expect from a brand. We expect Kastles to be "grown up and a bit of a cut above the average ski, we expect Rossis to be whatever our past interactions with them have been (The Rossis in my gargage are OG Bandit XXXs in extreme 78mm width, mounted with G3s). But it's a long time since Hugo Harrison was killing it in ski movies.

Making an MX softer kinda speaks to broadening the market appeal of a halo line (and they presumably have a heavy metal version still for the hardcore).

Say I'm a Doritos kinda guy - Nacho cheese is enough hardcore for me , what have Rossi got for me in 1 0 whatever?
 
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Wasatchman

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It's not condemning it's the wisdom of the "pivot" we're contemplating. And we can have it both ways because we are talking about what we as consumers expect from a brand. We expect Kastles to be "grown up and a bit of a cut above the average ski, we expect Rossis to be whatever our past interactions with them have been (The Rossis in my gargage are OG Bandit XXXs in extreme 78mm width, mounted with G3s). But it's a long time since Hugo Harrison was killing it in ski movies.

Making an MX softer kinda speaks to broadening the market appeal of a halo line (and they presumably have a heavy metal version still for the hardcore).

Say I'm a Doritos kinda guy - Nacho cheese is enough hardcore for me , what have Rossi got for me in 1 0 whatever?
Yeah, agree with you it would be good if the MX line still kept a more burly version closer to the old MX.

I don't disagree with you on your logic regarding Rossi. The issue is ski buyers aren't always rational. They often buy wider than they probably should for their typical use, and many skiers overestimate their ability. Hence if a ski gets labeled as too easy, it may have a perception problem as not many skiers want to be seen on the "easy" ski. I think there is something to what @Philpug saying about K2 and the old recon line. I certainly know among my friends they gave me grief for owning some K2's.

I remember DV manager telling me in their surveys something like 75 percent rate themselves as expert skiers. So that kind of says something about what you're dealing with trying to sell skis.

Regardless, I've definitely come to the conclusion that coming out with a best selling ski is so much more than simply building a good ski. And it goes both ways with a subset of people. I haven't even demoed the Enforcer line on the assumption that something that is so universally popular is probably not going to be as enjoyable for me. So I try to keep an open mind but I have personal biases as well, namely about not wanting a ski that is too popular.

Edit: my inherent bias on a universally popular ski is call it the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic theory. They are great cars but not super exciting to drive. I really should demo a pair of enforcers but I can't get over the bias.
 
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ski otter 2

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then meh, I've skied the 93 in both 185/193 (owned 193) and I could make it fold as well, its as if they just extended it, without makeing it more powerful. honestly it felt very close to the E88 so huge quiver overlap.

The 88 is a fairly fun ski, but it just doesnt have the power to back it up. and if they are doing the 191 E88 in the same fashion they did the 193 E93, it just goes floppety floppp more, than having more power.

I have a fairly sharp tune on my E88, so I actually found them to be fairly decent on very firm/icy conditions. but again, when they fold when coming down on carve from rollers and I have to keep speeds at 50 something, its going up for sale.

I've arranged a demo in desember of E94/E100, interesting to test them as they are stiffer, and lighter tips. Trying to find where I can demo the new rossis, most people who do rossi here only carries the frontside stuff, like... never ever saw black ops anywhere.
I'm not a big guy, and not as charging as I once was, but I agree about the Enforcer 88, good as it is. I buy skis that for me have a "wow" factor - that do at least something for me that is better than any other ski I've owned or know of. So I wouldn't buy it, and wasn't tempted. (And the 93 just didn't click for me in how it carved.)

But I was and am tempted with the Enforcer 100: in soft snow only, for the old one - and now the new, if there weren't so many super skis in this width. (I have a holdover Bonafide and pairs of K2 Mindbender 184/99s and 186/108s I'd almost keep beside my bed at night.) The 100 is still amazing in powder/crud for such a narrow ski, at least at my profile. One of the best at crud. (Although a bit wider skis - e.g. 105 or 108 - usually cover soft snow with more versatility, for me.)

Similarly, the Sender ti isn't even on my radar, though I got an extended demo of it early on last season. (Black Ops 118 (Gamer), Black Ops HolyShred[der], Black Ops Sender Squad are instead.) I have a pair of the mystery Black Ops 118/190(?) from last year I never got around to, because of the Covid shutdown.
 
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