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

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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.
I have not skied the Ahmeek. Sounds very interesting!

But your description of the Black Ops 118 feel, for me, fits when that ski is mounted on the rec. line, not moved forward, when possible, for what some have called Sean Pettit type turns.

(I would like but not be so into this ski if it was only on the rec. line; same with the 190 Pettitors, which on the line are even more "heavy and fatiguing," but also become stupid easy, not fatiguing or heavy feeling, when moved forward enough to get to those dialed in shorter turns - again, when possible. They really are distinctively different than other types of turns, and in my experience, only a very few skis can be adjusted to slip into doing them as if on auto pilot almost.

Another ski besides the three I've mentioned that can do them, in this case on the rec. line, was a version of the DPS 112 ski some years back. Since I have not had a chance to demo later 112 versions, I do not know if they have retained that cool feature. But that particular DPS 112, while being neat, was not a tank category crud buster, not even close.)
 
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To clarify these comparisons, Blistergear has included comparative charts of different ski's abilities in their annual gear magazine, every year. ( For example, stability in crud; ability on ice, ability in gnarly frozen off piste, versatility in many conditions/terrain, etc.) This is a major, big reason to get this physical magazine shipped by ordering it online with membership. (I have never found these charts by looking at their site online, though there may be a way to do that, don't know.)

On those charts some form of both ability in powder float, and also ability in deep chop or chop/crud is always included with fatter ski categories. It gets kind of complicated, but in general, simplifying things, both the Billygoat and the Rossi Black Ops 118 have appeared almost every year on those charts, as skis liked by the Blister testers, since the Black Ops came out. (This season, they dropped the Billygoat - go figure.) Believe it or not, the Billygoat every year up until being dropped this season, has ranked just above middle of the pack at chop/crud of the good "more directional" powder (fat) ski offerings. (To me, this is too low, but probably ballpark.) Myself, I think the Billygoat is especially good at heavier snow, however (but again not as much so as the "tank" skis).

On the other hand, since it first came out, the Black Ops 118 has been ranked by far number one in this chop/crud category, but in the "more playful" powder (fat) ski category, not "more directional". (When you read the fine print, they say the Black Ops 118 would rank at or near the top of the "more stable," in the directional category also, and chop/crud subcategory, too - but it is more playful than the "more directional" category skis.)

Since the Black Ops 118 came out, its rec. mount point may have been moved even more forward, don't know. But the Blistergear description of that ski makes me guess they skied it, probably, on the current line, whatever that has been. So the ski would have felt heavier and less responsive for them also, than it does for me at +1 or so: not as "turny," like the Rossi hardgoods manager said about the Sender Squad moved forward.

The Moment Chipotle Banana is listed in the different, "more directional" category, where it is number one at chop/crud, so no direct comparison with the Black Ops 118; it might or might not displace the fat Black Ops or equal it, dunno, if placed in the same ski category for direct comparison, for chop/crud.

(The Blister crew missed out on a correctly mounted 190 pull K2 Pettitor, but a bunch of us have found that the longer Pettitor moved forward enough is even more stable at speed in deep chop/crud than the Black Ops 118. It's not very close, actually, particularly for a larger or faster skier.)
 
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Blister doesn't no longer has the Billy Goat in the gear review as the shape changed for the 21/22 season and they have not tested the new one. I will readily admit I have spent no time with the Black Ops. The "playful" Black Ops has a very forward (not my cup of tea) recommended mount of -2.4cm while the Billy Goat is around -10cm. The Billy Goat is roughly 100 grams lighter (3.5oz), presumably do to the use of carbon fiber versus the ABS plastic in the BO. The 186 BO has virtually the same tape pull length as the 184 BG. Based on the Blister indicated stiffness of the Black Ops I would suspect the BG is substantially more stout. Bamboo core vs Poplar. On paper it certainly would seem that the RES/Asym BG is a stouter ski.
 
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Blister doesn't no longer has the Billy Goat in the gear review as the shape changed for the 21/22 season and they have not tested the new one. I will readily admit I have spent no time with the Black Ops. The "playful" Black Ops has a very forward (not my cup of tea) recommended mount of -2.4cm while the Billy Goat is around -10cm. The Billy Goat is roughly 100 grams lighter (3.5oz), presumably do to the use of carbon fiber versus the ABS plastic in the BO. The 186 BO has virtually the same tape pull length as the 184 BG. Based on the Blister indicated stiffness of the Black Ops I would suspect the BG is substantially more stout. Bamboo core vs Poplar. On paper it certainly would seem that the RES/Asym BG is a stouter ski.
I can only go by the older Billygoats. Since Blistergear was similar about them, I'd trust them, ballpark, on the newer BillyGoat, once they can review it.

Please don't misunderstand me. The Billygoat (older) has been a very neat ski, very capable. One I've almost bought. I used to ski at Copper off and on with a young man who was on the Billygoat as a daily driver. A very nice guy. A truly elite skier, a pro. Sponsored for a time at least by ON3P to be on their ski, as he has been with other brands also. He does amazing things with that ski. He is one of the best skiers I have ever seen at Copper Mountain.

Nonetheless, the BG is in a different category from the Black Ops 118, and the other "tank" skis, whether they are mounted for playful or directional bias. (They will do both, as I tried to indicate.) Completely. Different. It's like comparing SL skis to GS skis. Once you get a chance to ski the Black Ops 118 (or Pettitors, or Chipotle Banana probably, or Sender Squad 112), within the range of more forward "sweet spot" mount points, a comparison would be useful and not misleading.

Stiffness in a showroom or shop doesn't really matter here, since the performance difference is so great, truly.

In terms of performance on the snow, it's not close. One is the tank (or among two or three) of current or recent powder/crud skis, the other a very nice ski, good for Pacific northwest snow, but middle of the pack in terms of crud/deep chop, in most situations. I have skied them both a number of times, various years. Blister has skied them both. To me, they got it right.

I am insisting on this, because it represents such a basic confusion of what is going on here with these pretty much unique type skis.
 

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Blister doesn't no longer has the Billy Goat in the gear review as the shape changed for the 21/22 season and they have not tested the new one. I will readily admit I have spent no time with the Black Ops. The "playful" Black Ops has a very forward (not my cup of tea) recommended mount of -2.4cm while the Billy Goat is around -10cm. The Billy Goat is roughly 100 grams lighter (3.5oz), presumably do to the use of carbon fiber versus the ABS plastic in the BO. The 186 BO has virtually the same tape pull length as the 184 BG. Based on the Blister indicated stiffness of the Black Ops I would suspect the BG is substantially more stout. Bamboo core vs Poplar. On paper it certainly would seem that the RES/Asym BG is a stouter ski.

Nonetheless, the BG is in a different category from the Black Ops 118, and the other "tank" skis, whether they are mounted for playful or directional bias. (They will do both, as I tried to indicate.) Completely. Different. It's like comparing SL skis to GS skis. Once you get a chance to ski the Black Ops 118 (or Pettitors, or Chipotle Banana probably, or Sender Squad 112), within the range of more forward "sweet spot" mount points, a comparison would be useful and not misleading.

Stiffness in a showroom or shop doesn't really matter here, since the performance difference is so great, truly.

In terms of performance on the snow, it's not close. One is the tank (or among two or three) of current or recent powder/crud skis, the other a very nice ski, good for Pacific northwest snow, but middle of the pack in terms of crud/deep chop, in most situations. I have skied them both a number of times, various years. Blister has skied them both. To me, they got it right.

I'll give myself half a vote on the Billy Goat side of this equation given I own and regularly use a 189 cm 116 Billy Goat. I'm only giving myself half a vote because I have a custom version with 19 oz glass instead of the stock 22 oz glass and I think for the topic you're discussing that's a very important distinction. The Billy Goat I have is an amazing chop and tight spaces ski. I attribute this to how easy the ski is to pivot and it's fairly substantial weight.

However, I don't think it's a great ski for very big turns in untracked pow if you're a large person. I remember reading a really excellent description somewhere of a ski automatically turning in powder without the operator intending to initiate a turn and how this can require a manual effort to "de-turn" the skis. This is really excellent verbiage for something I've had happen a couple of times with my Goats. I hesitate to call it hooking because the skis don't really feel like they're engaging into a turn (a la a ski with a lot of sidecut hitting a crud pile or a more traditional ski stopping a slarve by starting a carve if you're the tiniest bit off balance), it's more of a self initiated pivot kind of feeling or a deflection, albeit one I still have to correct with my hip flexors. Either because I'm not skiing as fast or because the natural inconsistencies in the surface force me to be more active in maintaining balance, I don't notice this issue with chop.

I could believe the stock glass changes the Goat enough it would be more burly, but I think most people agree that it's a great tree ski and I tend to think that has to have some tradeoffs (like the above). I am very skeptical the stock glass would put the Goat into the same league as a Sender Squad/Dynastar LPR, I think for that you should really look at a Super Goat. I'm also not sure the Black Ops 118 really fits into the Sender Squad/LPR category due to length and (for me) the length is a bit of a deal breaker but Otter's perspective on that is definitely interesting. I'd be happy to try the Black Ops sometime if I get the chance.

PS: Re below - they have started posting copies of their guide online. I don't think you can download a pdf without a membership but if you want to look at it, that's free (https://blisterreview.com/winter-buyers-guide)

This is a major, big reason to get this physical magazine shipped by ordering it online with membership. (I have never found these charts by looking at their site online, though there may be a way to do that, don't know.)
 

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My Goat experience is based on my 184/116 22oz standard Goat build up. In Ski Otters terms I have found it to be a nimble crud buster. However as I have not skied the Black Ops I have to defer to Ski Otter. Ski Otter if you happen to ski in a 305ish BSL boot perhaps we can get together and do a back to back next season!
 

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My Goat experience is based on my 184/116 22oz standard Goat build up. In Ski Otters terms I have found it to be a nimble crud buster. However as I have not skied the Black Ops I have to defer to Ski Otter. Ski Otter if you happen to ski in a 305ish BSL boot perhaps we can get together and do a back to back next season!
Where are you from? My 118 is mounted for 305!
 
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My Goat experience is based on my 184/116 22oz standard Goat build up. In Ski Otters terms I have found it to be a nimble crud buster. However as I have not skied the Black Ops I have to defer to Ski Otter. Ski Otter if you happen to ski in a 305ish BSL boot perhaps we can get together and do a back to back next season!
I have adjustable Schizos on mine, but my BSL is 306 or 304 anyway. So that would be great. :)
Unless your're a big guy, that might work. (These work in as little as 2-3" or more.)

With the same Schizo setup, you could try the Pettitors too. That would work more dependably, though if you are really big, a click or two on the mount position would solve that, with the longer ski. (These work in as little as 3-4", so a rare big dump day would not be necessary - just good knees, etc.)

In terms of the almost hooky quality occasionally with the Billy Goat, I think that's probably part of an attribute that adds greatly to the ski, rather than detract because it's probably attributable to the unusual sidecut near the tips, that they call something I can't recall - maybe RES shape, dunno. That shape lets the Billygoat get great in all sorts of tight situations, like moguls and trees, and also to carve in a neat, distinctive way all over the mountain. I like that a lot.

I do mostly agree with what @AngryAnalyst just said. The Black Ops only fits in that category for lighter or shorter folk, near as I can tell. I just barely squeeze in. For several years, the Rossi people seemingly have been undecided about issuing a longer version, but if they do, full membership would probably result, and many more skiers would then be in the game. In addition, for the lighter weight folk, the longer ski would be even better for many (including myself) because they would suddenly have much more ability to get to the kind of great "turny" sweet spot that the longer Pettitor, and probably the Sender Squad 112/194, are so good at, that keeps these skis from being too heavy/burly in some situations. (Unless you really want to ski on something so fast and SG like, such as the Dynastar Legend Pros. )
 
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David Chaus

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nimble crud buster.
Interesting phrase, almost a contradiction in terms. Love it! They are kind of unicorns aren't they?

I haven't tried the Black Ops, and I have the Billy Goat 116. I wouldn't call it the mach-schnell off-piste tank, but it is very stable at "normal" speeds, and great in powder, crud, trees, even moguls. Very nimble and maneuverable. I have fun with them every time I take them out, and never wish I was on something else.

If someone gets a similar experience with The Black Ops 118, then get them and be happy.

FWIW I'm 5'-10" and 150 lbs, so similar to @ski otter 2.
 

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Summit County. 6' 170ish. What makes the Billy Goat a challenge for some folks is the asymmetrical shape as opposed to the Reverse Elliptical Sidecut (RES). I also think for most of those that have trouble its only on harder snow (i.e. back to the lift). Once you ski them a bit I think its pretty easy to adjust your technique to make them work just fine, actually kinda fun on hard snow. But it is certainly not like skiing say a Ranger 115FR on harder snow.
 
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Man, to me, this thread sure derailed. From a ski in a very different category - little comparison, for anyone who has skied both.

I think what I've discovered here is that folks who haven't skis the Black Ops 118, let alone at its improved, more "turny" mount point (or one of the very few other tank crud skis - not at all including the Billygoats) just have no idea; no notion what this Rossi ski can do. No idea.
 

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I'm currently skiing the BO118 at -2.5 from rec and liking how I can drive the shovels and switch to be more centered stance (Deathwish 104 daily). Based the mount point off of Blister's discussion on mounting it. However, I am curious now to try it at over the rec line as I do find it a little difficult to pivot on tighter terrain (more of a me thing).
 
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I'm currently skiing the BO118 at -2.5 from rec and liking how I can drive the shovels and switch to be more centered stance (Deathwish 104 daily). Based the mount point off of Blister's discussion on mounting it. However, I am curious now to try it at over the rec line as I do find it a little difficult to pivot on tighter terrain (more of a me thing).
What's your size again? Sorry. I think you posted that, but I can't find it right now.
 
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Aha! That 36 extra pounds probably makes a difference. What you describe is what I get skiing it on the line, probably. If I switch gears and just ski it there as a more burly, less turny ski, not such a dialed in quick turner, then I can adjust, but it's just not as much fun, and for me not as versatile a ski. I'm not sure if you are too heavy to get the Sean Pettit turns activated on this particular ski, which is what for me makes the ski the best around, for now.

(I think I gotta try the Moment Chipotle Bananas. But then I see it's not on the Moment website currently, and when it was, it came in 186 and 193, with a bit shorter pull lengths probably. So that's too short and then too long, ideally, for me - to get that turn optimally - if the ski is able to be dialed in, in the same way. I already have a pull length pair of 190 Pettitors. Great, but no need to duplicate. Ideally, either ski would be around 187 pull, for me.)

If you are skiing the Black Ops at -3 as the best position, then almost certainly the 190+ length of the Moment Banana or Pettitor would be great for you also, probably moved forward a bit would probably be best for you - at least with the Pettitor. I ski with two guys at that weight, one about 5' 8", the other about 5' 10" who use the longer Pettitors at +4.5 and +3.5 respectively, while I'm at +4.0. The +3.5 guy started at +3.0 but moved more forward after a year or two, to get more turny also. :)
Riding the 186 - I'm 5'10 182lbs
 
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The Black Ops Gamer/118 is unique in that it’s front rocker is only slightly(about 1cm) longer than the tail rocker and the taper is similar. Even most twin tip skis have much more tip rocker(4cm plus) than tail rocker which moves the Middle of the contact points further back from true/tape measure Center.

I bet the sidecut Center of the Black Ops Gamer goes to its min width just in front of the rec line and stays fairly constant for maybe 4cm or so before getting wider again. So I wouldn’t doubt the true middle of sidecut is around -2cm from the line. Moving it back or forward will have have the normal effects of quicker turn initiation when forward and more stable and better float when moved back.
The difference is that the ski won’t get too nervous, too quickly like most skis because you’re not moving in front of both the sidecut AND contact Center like you would be with most skis. Only when you move it in front of both(-1cm?) will it start getting nervous. So I think -1.5cm from true Center would still not be hitting that point yet.

I’d mount a BO 118 for my 175lbs back from the line more to avoid tip dive but a longer version would definitely give more forward mount options.
 

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Nice to see a review on these. They seem to go for half price around here every off season, and it's always tempting. :ogbiggrin:

I currently own the 184 Billygoats and the 186 Chipotle Bananas, so I doubt I need another pair of big skis.

The Bananas are currently mounted with touring bindings, but I think I will change over to alpine next year.....just a lot of work on the uphill, and I ski them better in more familiar terrain. They do better with speed.

Anyway, the Goats are fun skis...and very good crud skis, but they aren't tanks. Very different feel. I really like them, but I haven't taken them out as often since moment strengthened the Deathwish. I think/hope the Banana will be a better complement. I like them at -1 from the line.

I obviously can't compare sizing between the 186 Banana and Black Ops, but the Chipotle Banana is not a small 186. It feels like a much better ski than my 184 Goats. Luke from Moment prefers the 186 Banana size, and he's on 190 for almost every other moment ski. If you get a chance to try them out, I wouldn't worry too much about the shorter length. I've had mine at -1 and on the line. I prefer the -1, it just floats a bit better. For such a big ski, the CBs have pretty small shovels and i tend to be a bet forward with my weight.
 
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Thanks.

Yeah, Blister measured the pull length of the Black Ops 118 186 at 184.2. I measured mine at 184.5. (They may be the same, with me just having worse eyesight, dunno.) If the 186 Bananas have a longer pull, that would be one factor, and maybe better for me, being close to the borderline with the Rossis. Dunno. But promising.

A ski that fat I'm unlikely to ever find to demo, however. So I keep track of details like those you give in your above post, @Mike Rogers. Thanks again! Maybe at some point I'll reach a point where I get a pair of those Banana Moments.

But for me, the bottom line is, what do the skis do that I have in my hands already. And I have two great "tank" skis now - actually, more: a pair of Black Ops 118/186; two pairs of 190 pull Pettitors; and one pair of 180 pull Pettitors (which I find great in certain circumstances). The longer of these skis work amazingly for me right now. So I think the most likely different "tank" ski that I'd be wanting to add would be a longer version of the Black Ops 186, or a re-issue of the Pettitor 120s in an "in between" length (never gonna happen, unfortunately).

To me, pretty much always, there are so many variables that go into a great ski, that I have to try the ski out, rather than just predict what it will do based on specs or shop feel, or visible and design details. Heck, I've found that even two seemingly identical pairs of the same model can handle very differently. I have bought a few of those, with my version being nowhere near as good as the "identical" version I demoed, no matter what I do and how long I've spent trying to find and correct if possible the key variables, whatever they might be.


This is a below average season for me, in terms of number of days skied (88 so far) and number of powder days skied (25 to 27 so far), but I skied the Black Ops as many of those days as I could, besides days I gave to the Pettitors, and a few days to testing other promising powder/crud alternatives. And in hindsight, other than for the fun of it and the exploration, I'd have rather been on the Pettitors or the Black Ops, and hope to get on them as many soft snow days as possible the rest of this season and in the future. That's all sort of why I wanted to post a review of this Rossi powder/crud ski, to let more folks know about it.
 

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Looks like a Black Ops 92 was revealed but no word yet on a 108 or 110 :( maybe next year.
Have to say I'm really liking the 92 top sheet!
 

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Looks like a Black Ops 92 was revealed but no word yet on a 108 or 110 :( maybe next year.
Have to say I'm really liking the 92 top sheet!
Was excited when the Rossignol rep first mentioned a 92mm Black Ops on a Blister podcast but disappointed when I found out it’s a light, youth ski. Has a Paulownia wood core and only goes to 176cm long.

Heard the latest 110mm prototype is improved over the previous one, so hoping that means it’s “more BO 118 and less BO 98”.
 
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