Testing skis so you don't have to.
- Mar 5, 2017
Size Tested: 169
Location tested: Loveland
Conditions: 4-6” fresh snow over packed powder
Lucky me, we got to ski in some fresh snow on wider skis which is something as rare as the Hope Diamond. I’ve skied three different generations of the Fischer Ranger 102, dating back to the My Ranger 102 several years ago. I have always enjoyed the 102 over most of the other Rangers in the line. This Ranger 102 surpasses them all with a stronger tip initiation instilled by the new tip shape without compromising the off piste and powder bias that the 102 has built its reputation on.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this particular ski is the ability to cruise through trees and bumps better than most in this width.
- Insider tip: Don’t dismiss the new Ranger changes.
- One thing I’d change: I wonder why the hot pink ski left the Ranger station.
Size tested: 183
Location tested: Loveland, CO
Conditions tested in: Few inches of fresh, moguls, crud
The Ranger series‘ new tip shape and build give these skis good off-piste chops. The wider tip engaged well in the light, fresh snow and crud, but wasn't grabby in the moguls. Slithering around or on edge, the 102 beat my expectations for a ski of this width, with a friendly predicatable feel. The Ranger 102 bends easily and works into multiple turn shapes without causing stress to the user, allowing for more challenging descents with confidence.
- Insider tip: Go longer when in doubt.
- One thing I would change: A touch more vibrant top sheet would be welcome.
Size tested: 183
Location tested: Loveland Colorado
Conditions tested in: 4-6” fresh light cold snow over packed powder.
I like what Fischer has done with the new skis. I was never a fan of the previous generation of Rangers; they were by no means a bad ski, just not a ski for me. I never melded with the elongated tips of the outgoing collection because they didn’t have the tip initiation that I like in a ski. The new Rangers, from top to bottom, have been completely redesigned. I really believe the new ones will attract many more fans than the outgoing collection without alienating the loyalists. I don’t think you can ask more of a completely reimagined model.
With a broader tip and less rise, the on snow feel is much more engaging at all speeds and really without any loss of off piste prowess, which is where the older Ranger excelled. I also like the new sizing of the Ranger 102s. But just as the outgoing model didn’t meld with me, the new sizing might not meld with others.
- Insider tip: Two colors to choose from now!
- One thing I would change: I would have kept the lipstick pink color.
Size tested: 176cm
Location tested: Winter Park, Colorado; Deer Valley, Utah
Conditions tested in: Packed Powder, Re-freeze groomers.
Initially I was very worried about the changes to the Rangers mostly because I have been so in love with the outgoing model of the 102FR, but within the first few turns I knew that Fischer had done it again! The skis changed in exactly the way I had always imagined. The skis have become much more lively and playful; they are now much more forgiving in the turn initiation but just as smooth and powerful as they always were. Getting rid of the carbon as well as the air tec core really brought the ski to life. Fischer has designed this ski to appeal to a wider audience and that in turn has made the ski much more accessible to the masses, but these changes did not hurt the top end of the ski. If you still wish to drive the ski hard it will reward you with maximum performance.
Now that the ski is a bit softer in the tip, the off piste performance really has time to shine. If you get some fresh snow or even use it as a hybrid touring setup, it will feel much smoother and floaty. I would be doing a disservice to the outgoing Ranger if I called the new 102 better. I have been saying that it’s different, but different is not always a bad thing. Give this new version a chance; I think you will be pleasantly surprised and very happy!
- Insider tip: Don't be afraid of change.
- One thing I would change: The way they do the new sizing.
Long Term Update: After spending a lot of my season on this ski and taking it to various places I have nothing but good things to say. It really is easy to use and its versatility is a lot greater than the outgoing Ranger. At times I do still miss the stiffness of the outgoing Ranger but this version has covered a lot of different terrain very well. I had it as my only ski at Alta/Snowbird for a week during the late season storms and loved how well it did in fresh snow, it transitioned perfectly well onto the hard-pack and just as well into the the spring slush. This Ranger can still be aggressive, don't be afraid to give it some muscle, you do see a bit of tip chatter but nothing that affected the performance. Most of the time I am not starring down at the front of my ski as I am usually too busy enjoying myself. I am confident this Ranger can bring a lot of people over to Fischer skis and am confident on where this series of skis is headed.
I will say that for owners of the outgoing Ranger they may want to hold onto that for nostalgia and the occasional trip down memory lane but the new Ranger definitely has you covered.
Size tested: 184/190cm
Location tested: Mammoth, Ca
Conditions tested in: Packed Powder, Mammoth wind buff
I have been skiing the ranger 102 the last few days in new snow conditions. I skied the 190 for 2 days and it is a great ski. Pretty heavy which gives it great suspension smoothing out all the imperfections and plowing straight through any chop. The 190 likes to go. I tend to go longer with wider skis plus tip and tail rocker as the effective edge is so much less. So heavy to carry but do not ski that way. I took out the 184 late yesterday just to compare. amazingly easy to turn however you do feel the imperfections, much more bouncy. I want the ski for a few powder runs, which is really what you get at a resort and then ski the chop making it fun. 186 or 87 would be perfect for me. Also the width increases with size. So 184 is 103 and 190 is 104. I am seriously considering getting them. Much better in the chop them my QST 106 in 188. I think I will demo one more day as we have a lot of snow coming. I did not ski the previous model so cannot compare. I am 6’ 180 lbs
- Who is it for?
- Those looking for a one ski type of setup, and who have an appreciation for wider all mountain skis. Those who didn’t like the outgoing Rangers. Old Ranger 102 fans who want to kick it up a notch.
- Who is it not for?
- Uber-aggressive skiers may overpower this unit. Those who like bold graphics.
- Skier ability
- Ski category
- All Mountain
- Ski attributes
- Off Piste