Featured Image: Emrik Jansson
If you’re going to make a ski as eye-catching as the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, it has to rip. This versatile freeride ski has been turning heads for four seasons now, a powerful machine that can rally groomers with style and grace, with enough agility to billy goat through rocky entrances, pop off pillows and snake through bumps.
The lively beech and poplar wood core has a contagious spring in its step thanks to Fischer’s unique Aeroshape design that boosts strength and sheds weight by keeping more mass in the center of the ski. The Carbon Nose—a full carbon shovel—reduces swing weight so you can dance through the trees while staying firmly planted and stable as you blast down high speed groomers. “Whenever you can reduce mass in the shovel it will reduce oscillations and tip flutter, which can transfer through the entire length of the ski,” says Mike Hattrup, Fischer’s U.S. Alpine Product Manager. “If you can reduce that vibration, you can make the ski smoother and improve edge hold. The coolest thing about this design is that you get a ski that’s not actually any lighter but feels lighter to the skier, and is more nimble and agile without sacrificing stability.”
The Ranger line is broken down into two categories, FR and Ti skis. The Ranger Ti skis are heavier, packed with metal and built for stability and edge hold. The FR skis—like the 102 featured here—are designed to be more playful and freestyle-oriented than their Ti counterparts, with slightly more rocker and taper. There’s just a touch of metal underfoot in the Ranger FR skis (primarily for binding retention), so while it adds a bit of torsional rigidity, the ski remains generally poppy and active. But despite the playful and nimble feel, the 102 mm waist still promotes smooth edge-to-edge transitions and the mid-fat design is wide enough to keep things nice and floaty on a storm day.
“The Fischer Ranger 102 FR hits a magic balance we’re all looking for,” says Hattrup. “You can rail this ski on hard snow and it’s solid and stable, but playful and forgiving enough that you can smear turns, drift and butter. Sure, the term ‘one-quiver ski’ is overused, but if I’m going somewhere and only taking one pair of skis, this is definitely the one.”