Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Peek at the Rossi WCS Skater for next season...

I've had a pair of the 2010/11 Rossignol WCS skate skis in the shop and on the snow for the past couple of weeks.

The new version of the WCS skater has some changes.

First, the skis are trimmed down about 1cm. The new skis are 180, 186, and 192 (instead of 181, 187, 193). Also, the tip is cleaned up --- Rossignol has ditched the "window" in the tip and is instead using a thinner, cleaner looking flat shovel. I think this is a good thing. (Note that a 186cm Rossignol WCS is about the same length as the 190cm skate ski from Madshus for 1010/11).

More subtle, but more important, Rossignol has reshaped the profile of the ski, making it wedge-shaped, with the heel a little lower than the toe. This is further accentuated by the NIS bindings (for those who use them) to give a pronounced wedge-shape under the foot. The intent is to help keep the weight back on the foot to improve performance. On the World Cup, skiers have been playing with wedge shaped shims for a couple years, and this is percolating through to consumer products now.

Also, the camber is slightly modified, with the half-weight camber open just a little further forward than the old WCS. The camber closes about another 10-12cm when progressing to full-weight, and this provides a great all-around front end camber, especially when combined with the somewhat more compliant tip flex than the old Xium.

And how do they ski? SUPER. All the previous detail would add up to zip if the skis weren't performers. As I've come to expect with Rossignol skate skis, they're very stable. But these skis are also fast and predictable and compliant. The WCS-2 skaters are really nice.

Finish on the skis is very nice as well. The shiny clear top is free of bubbles or cosmetic goobers. Maybe the pre-season skis are specially picked, or maybe these are a reflection of the standard production quality... ...I won't know that until autumn. Ummm, less orange and more black for next year. The tip graphics on the bottom have been changed. Very cool looking white insert, and it's smooth when you feel it with your fingers; nicely done.

Finally, the bases are nice and flat. I was able to blank these skis with one pass through the Mantec grinder... ...that requires an almost perfectly flat ski edge-to-edge. This gets a big thumbs up from me!

The new Rossignol WCS skate ski is an incremental improvement from last year's ski. Evolution, rather than revolution. But definitely a step forward. Rossignol has done a really nice job. Everyone will want a couple pairs, right?

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