Rossignol Black Ops Gamer 118, the best powder/crud ski being made? (at least for lighter and some medium sized skiers)

ski otter 2

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Rossignol Black Ops Gamer 118
length: 186 (pull length 184.5)
145-118-140
radius = 25
weight/ski: 2438 gm
Mount point +1 from rec. mount point (in my case)


A ski that gets no love here. It's never been reviewed here, that I know of.
(And it's a ski that's mostly best for mid-size to smaller skiers, when set up optimally, near as I can tell).

(However, this ski is considered the best ski of all time by one or more of the lighter weight Blistergear testers.
I'm glad they found this ski, since they missed the K2 Pettitors completely.)


This ski was originally just the Black Ops 118. That works for me, but later it became the Gamer.
I don't really like that name for a flagship ski, so I'll call it instead the Black Ops 118.
This ski has very few comparables, ever.

This 118 is my favorite soft snow ski (besides the no longer current K2 Pettitors), great for anything 2" on up, for me.
It is the best crud ski I've been on,
maybe only the Moment Chipotle Banana (which I've not been on) and/or K2 Pettitors being as good.
And it has decent float/playfulness in powder also. At maybe almost any depth.
(At least for a lighter weight guy.)

And it will charge groomers well, on a Colorado "old snow" day. Just super there.

Not sure at just what depth of snow I'd want to be instead on the K2 Pettitor 120:
maybe at over a foot or so, not sure; or if one wants to charge harder;
or if snow conditions somehow get rougher. Or if one is larger.
Sometimes it's a coin toss, actually. Both work well almost everywhere at a resort.

At any rate, the Black Ops OG is slightly more turny, slightly less heavy, and a bit less effort to handle at times than the Pettitors,
even though it is slightly less stable sometimes also.
Both are tanks, yet incredibly dialed in turny when that is wanted, in both powder and any kind of crud. (Both will straight line also.)

Tanks, but easy for even an old guy. Almost Heaven sent.

(At times, the heavier, longer Pettitors have been a bit hard on my left knee early season,
sore after a day of skiing a few times - though not later in the season.
The Black Ops 118s have never caused me such a problem.)


After years of skiing other soft snow skis also, lots of them, and constantly making adjustments and excuses with them,
I finally realized this season I was better off just going with the OG 118s here in Colorado, whatever the ski area,
whatever the soft snow conditions. That way, I'm never disappointed, always on my best ski
(again, with the sometimes exception of the Pettitors, which are a bit different but equal, slightly heavier and longer,
and more stable/chargy just a bit).

The trick to the 118 Black Ops is often to move its mount point forward, until it get "turny,"
or until the fore-aft stability starts to go a bit (and then back off a tad); whichever comes first.
For a bigger guy, probably the fore-aft stability goes first - in which case the ski does not work in its best way, seems like.
But if the "turny" behavior comes first, then you're in business: this ski will work optimally for you too
(probably a medium to shorter or lighter person). Sean Pettit turns.

Dang, but I've gotten almost 20 great days on this ski just this season, and may pass that mark soon!

Don't get me wrong, I've really loved many other soft snow skis, including lots of wide ones. But...... :)


Note: the 118 is currently the big brother of the Black Ops Sender Squad 112, which comes in a longer 194 version only,
and is probably okay for a larger skier, as well as medium or smaller.

This 112 ski is more of a crud ski than a powder ski also.
But moved forward a centimeter or two or three, where it gets "turny," according to the Rossi hard goods folks,
it might well be pretty good in powder too, for a 112 width ski.
This 112 ski is a charger, faster with great stability than all but a few. But it works also at slower speeds,
unlike many such chargers. And it is relatively forgiving.

Two home runs for Rossi.
 
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Truberski

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My all time favorite ski was the original Atomic Bent Chetler which I reluctantly sold when I moved from Utah to New England. Seems like the Rossi Gamer is a more “modern” version with similar heft but playfulness. I should have never sold that ski…..
 
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ski otter 2

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My all time favorite ski was the original Atomic Bent Chetler which I reluctantly sold when I moved from Utah to New England. Seems like the Rossi Gamer is a more “modern” version with similar heft but playfulness. I should have never sold that ski…..
I demoed the original Bent Chetler on several powder days, and a good friend who is a hard goods manager at a ski shop chain, at the same time also got that ski, and at first loved it. For me - and for him at first - it could not be beat;
man, it maneuvered and played so well, went off things, was so dialed in its turn. But.....

I have to be clear here also. I never bought the Bent Chets. And after a few resort powder days, my friend sold his quickly.
Why?

I'd only demoed the ski and not owned it to ski in depth but had gone by close to first impressions.
So when I found out my friend had gotten rid of his Bent Chets, I asked him why also.

His answer: "It was great at first, and in pow, but when things turned to crud, it got tossed. It was okay in mild crud.
I could ski it if I got active with my feet, but in real deal crud, no. Sort of a noodle, and just too bad, since it was such fun."

That was my impression also.

To be clear, the Black Ops 118, the K2 Pettitor 120, and probably the Moment Chipotle Banana, are very different sorts of critters:
they do not get tossed, one little bit. Again, they are literally like tanks, at the other end of the spectrum.
They take on the roughest chop/crud almost as if it wasn't there, or rather, as if it were powder, to bust through, drift and float in.
They seem pretty burly or even sluggish at times if mounted farther back, to many.
But at least the two of these I've tried, for the right folks, have a hidden second ski in them, one that does Sean Pettit type turns - "turny,"
when the mount is moved forward. (There is a lot of misperception about these skis because of this second, hidden ski.
The Sender Squads also have this second, "turny" ski in them.)
They are as dialed in with that as the Bent Chet is with its incredible playfulness.

Both type skis fun, but different. :)
 
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Truberski

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Memory and time aren’t my ally here! I don’t remember the Bent being a bad crud ski but it also was a time when I’d hike and/or head to tight trees when things got tracked up. They were so easy to pivot sideways for a speed check/slide when things got super tight and pivot back when you were through (without stopping or losing all your speed). I also remember them being good on the groomers back to the lift. It was not a light build like the current Bent 120 so likely a crud improvement over current generation (but sounds like not on par with Rossi).

And, my current crud champ for VT is Black Crows Corvus. Need more time on it for final vote but was fantastic for late spring pow day and full on spring conditions which somewhat mimics mid-winter crud. Waist width is more appropriate for current locale but think this will also be a stellar inter mountain west travel ski.
 
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SpeedyKevin

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I recently just got a hold of a used 186 and....LOVING IT. I'm 5'10 185lbs (getting heavier due to broken clavicle and no exercise). Used them for the first time it Palisades/Squaw after the April dump and they were awesome! Only problem I have had was that it can make you too confident haha. Was charging down a really tracked out North Bowl and was smashing everything underneath...until I hate a few firm bumps under the crud. Really twerked my ankle and knee...but that was more my fault.

Was only planning on using it for deeper days but find that its incredible in any soft snow. Feel like I'll only use my Origin 106 now for really tight trees since the 118 can do it all. Can't wait to get them out on afternoon slush! Also eager to check out the rumored 110...
 

GregK

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Black Ops Gamer/118 are well loved skis on Newschoolers, TGR, Blister and deservedly so! Heavy ski with a solid but not stiff flex and low taper so it still carves great. Large sweet spot in mount point behind the line to improve float, stability and ability to drive it too. Exactly like a slightly softer flexing but heavier 21 CT so you know I’d like it!

Black Ops Gamer, MPro 105, Sender Squad, 194cm Commander 118, original 194cm Devastator, 191cm Monster 108 and A-Star are all absolute monster trucks through crud! All make you giggle through even the roughest terr

I too have been anxiously been waiting for the Black Ops 110 that has been prototyped for almost 2 years now. In the April 15th Blistergear podcast they talk about the latest versions of it(although they don’t mention it by name). It sounds like it’s finally coming soon and the latest version skiing more like a narrower 118 vs a wider 98 thank god!
It’s been previously prototyped only in the longer 192cm length but they had a shorter length this time for Luke to try this time, so thinking 182cm option as well?
Also a pic of “mystery skis” which look like the original 118/Gamer(but maybe in the longer 192cm plus length?) and the 110. :huh:
75AE757C-BFF5-47FF-BAA6-E3F6234ABBC4.png
 

Philpug

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A ski that gets no love here. It's never been reviewed here, that I know of.
We didn't get a chance to get on it. Rarely have we had a demo day where the condtions were good for a 118 and I refuse to test a powder ski on groomers or condtions it wasn't designed for.
 

AngryAnalyst

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Interesting and thank you @ski otter 2 for adding to the site's powder ski reviews. I sort of feel like I'd need to be a bit lighter to be able to go forward on the 186 length. The Chipotle Banana 193 seems like more my length (and all this is assuming I can't get the Koalas to work out).
 
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ski otter 2

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Interesting and thank you @ski otter 2 for adding to the site's powder ski reviews. I sort of feel like I'd need to be a bit lighter to be able to go forward on the 186 length. The Chipotle Banana 193 seems like more my length (and all this is assuming I can't get the Koalas to work out).
I demoed the fat Koalas. and was disappointed. They are a harder ride, for me not dialed in with their turn. Yes, they have the same heavier, crud busting quality; but they did not put a smile on my face. They have a heaviness that is not there with the better skis. More work. Less smoothness and continuity of flex/carve. Not a fun turn. Not a project I would want to undertake. Good luck.
 
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ski otter 2

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We didn't get a chance to get on it. Rarely have we had a demo day where the condtions were good for a 118 and I refuse to test a powder ski on groomers or condtions it wasn't designed for.
Hi. We all have different styles and profiles, so as a rule what you say here makes good sense. And for some it may apply with this ski too, don't know.

But you might be surprised, in a good way.

At least for me - so take it with a grain of salt if you wish - these particular skis are almost effortless in 3" or more; so 4" and up gives a good sense of what the ski can do, since its turn (at a right mount point), comes alive with even 2" or so, and the float/drift feel is there for just over that. Very standout fun to ski in that little snow, never mind test accurately. It is easier to handle than any 110 ski and up I can think of, and its heavy weight then disappears in terms of handling and effort: IF you can get forward with mount point enough to make it "turny" before any fore-aft instability manifests. For me, +1 was just barely enough, though I would have liked +2 better, in terms of Sean Pettit turns. But I got fore-aft problems that far forward, so I backed off, finally one centimeter, and that worked. (+1.5 didn't work either.)

Having gone through this process with the Pettitors, the ski the Black Ops 118 might as well have been based on, encouraged to do so by the K2 folks at the time, and having had almost the same progression in feel, I found the process easier and more predictable with the Black Ops 118, though not the same, partly because of the different lengths of the two skis (190 pull on the Pettitors - a lot more sweet spot to play with).
 

Kyle

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We all have different styles and profiles, so as a rule what you say here makes good sense. And for some it may apply with this ski too, don't know.
This is 100% true and probably shouldn't need to be said but it never ceases to amaze me how some people can't understand how a person didn't enjoy a ski they loved and want to attribute it to anything other than "maybe I ski differently or weigh a lot more/less than they do"? I know tunes can definitely be an issue but there are plenty of people who are simply not a good fit for a Blizzard Bonafide (one of my favorite skis) even if they are perfectly tuned. Do people not watch other skiers when they are riding up the lift? What percentage of people ski like you do?

To me, the variables become even more complicated when powder is involved because it comes in so many different flavors (wet, dry, wind affected, sun affected etc.) I have 2 or 3 skis I use on powder days and, after a few years, I recognized that I prefer one over the others depending on the specific conditions.

Back to the main topic, I have been searching for a Blackops Gamer in 186 in the spring sales and have almost pulled the trigger but, in the end, could not justify another ski. I am still hoping that my friend who has a pair of Blackops 118s from a couple of years ago that have been skied maybe 2 or 3 times wants to sell me his on the cheap. He says they are great (but he doesn't ski like me).
 
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ski otter 2

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This is 100% true and probably shouldn't need to be said but it never ceases to amaze me how some people can't understand how a person didn't enjoy a ski they loved and want to attribute it to anything other than "maybe I ski differently or weigh a lot more/less than they do"? I know tunes can definitely be an issue but there are plenty of people who are simply not a good fit for a Blizzard Bonafide (one of my favorite skis) even if they are perfectly tuned. Do people not watch other skiers when they are riding up the lift? What percentage of people ski like you do?

To me, the variables become even more complicated when powder is involved because it comes in so many different flavors (wet, dry, wind affected, sun affected etc.) I have 2 or 3 skis I use on powder days and, after a few years, I recognized that I prefer one over the others depending on the specific conditions.

Back to the main topic, I have been searching for a Blackops Gamer in 186 in the spring sales and have almost pulled the trigger but, in the end, could not justify another ski. I am still hoping that my friend who has a pair of Blackops 118s from a couple of years ago that have been skied maybe 2 or 3 times wants to sell me his on the cheap. He says they are great (but he doesn't ski like me).
When I checked a few days ago, there seemed to be a fair number of the 118s for sale used or cheap right now. Not so much in high demand like some skis. Just avoid the 176 unless you are smaller.
 

SpeedyKevin

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When I checked a few days ago, there seemed to be a fair number of the 118s for sale used or cheap right now. Not so much in high demand like some skis. Just avoid the 176 unless you are smaller.
I got mine used but in really good condition from a Tahoe local.$350 with a pivot 12 no remount needed. Was pretty happy with that!

Told my wife that I'd immediately buy another new one at MSRP if they announced they were ending production. I love the BO118!
 

Paul Lutes

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When I checked a few days ago, there seemed to be a fair number of the 118s for sale used or cheap right now. Not so much in high demand like some skis. Just avoid the 176 unless you are smaller.
Smaller means .... <160 lbs??
 
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ski otter 2

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Smaller means .... <160 lbs??
Less, but It's probably a little bit different for everybody, depending on how they ski and the rest of their profile.

And hard for me to tell. For reference, I'm 5' 10"/c. 150 lbs on a good day when I was testing those skis for mount point, and the 176 is crazy too short for me. 186 is slightly too short, since it's pull length is c. 184.5. If mine were about, say, c,187 pull, they would be about perfect, I'm guessing.

You see, with the 176 Black Ops 118, to get the right fore-aft balance point, I'd have to move the mount point back, not forward. Maybe to -1 or so. So I'd be stuck with what I got, no choice, as far as getting the things to be "turny." Maybe they would be, maybe they wouldn't. Don't know. I'd have no room for error there. With the 186s, by contrast, I'm just barely able to get the skis into the Sean Petit turn range, where they become effortless, no longer heavy, with that dialed in, amazing turn, in powder or on groomers. (But again, skier profiles vary.)

I would guess shorter would help the most for the 176s (rather than even less weight). Maybe a 5'7" guy max at 145 or so. Or shorter. I think it would be similar to the size junior racer who should be on a 175 GS race ski going through the gates.

Another example: Sean Pettit skied the shorter 179 (pull 180) Pettitors, and I've heard he's really short, something like 5' 4" or 5' 5", maybe 140 lbs.
For me to ski that shorter 179 Pettitor, I have had to put it back to -1.5 or -2.0 for stability. (I own a pair.) And it still is not as intuitive turny as the longer 189s (pull 190) at +3.0 to +4.0 or slightly more, +4.5 max. (A large sweet spot range, with different, fun ski behavior on a sliding scale all along that way.)

With both the longer Pettitors and the O.G. Black Ops 118, there is a large range of behavior in the ski within their "sweet spot" range of mounting points - more so for the Pettitors, but for both.

Outside that range, above +4.5 forward, the Pettitor 190 ski loses not only connection to its tips, but also simple stability. And below that range, the Pettitor 190 becomes a burly man ski: at +2.0 to +2.5 it is more of a charger SG race type ski than the Rossi Sender Squad at rec. mount point. And at under +2.0, to rec. mount point, for someone my size and profile, it becomes like the Dynastar Legend Pro r 35 skis of old, just point and shoot, no problemo. When I skied these 190s at +2.0 or less, I was going 20 miles an hour faster than it felt like, and could downhill straight line with a feeling of comfort. (But someone screamed at me as I swept by ten yards away or more; just scared him with all that momentum.) Too much for an old guy now big time. :)
 
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firebanex

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I demo'ed a Black Ops 118 a couple years back and loved it as well, never did buy it though. It was just too heavy and fatiguing to ski in the conditions that I see locally. I did get a heavy version of the Shaggy's Ahmeek 115 this last season and while my memory of the Black Ops 118 is getting a bit fuzzy I do think they are similar skis to me. The Ahmeek is a tiny bit lighter and quicker to turn in deeper snow but the lack of caring what it skis through is very similar.
 
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