The Ultimate 2023 Rossignol Rallybird Review Roundup.
2023 is a big year for Rossignol, with a major restructuring of their freeride ski collections. Alongside the men’s and unisex Sender and BlackOps collections, Rossignol spruces up their lady skis with fresh names and new top sheets, but no structural changes. The result? A clean, beautiful, and killer ladies all mountain freeride collection with something for everyone.
2023 Rossignol Rallybirds: Field Notes
A quick rundown on the lineup: The Rallybird 104 Ti replaces the former BlackOps Rallybird 102 Ti. The new Rallybird 102 replaces the former just “Rallybird”, and the 92 replaces the former Stargazer. The only Rallybird I haven’t hopped on is the new Rallybird 90, which replaces the Dreamer. The Rallybird 90 is an ideal, easy going, entry level all mountain ski for ladies looking for something versatile, without it ever feeling too demanding.
The Rallybirds serve as a complement to the men’s Sender series. They do technically have a different construction compared to men’s models. The Rallybird 104 Ti features the same materials as the men’s Sender 106 Ti Plus, but in slightly different layering (for whatever reason). The Rallybird 102 and 92 feature slightly thinner cores than the comparable men’s models for a slightly softer flex. That being said, the differences are small, and likely not very noticeable.
Winner: Rallybird 92
Unsurprisingly, the Rallybird 92 wins the on trail department. Being 92mm underfoot puts you on the narrower side of all-mountain skis, giving you great edge-to-edge responsiveness. Compared to other skis in this class, I find the Rallybird 92 to feel particularly quick underfoot. Each turn feels natural and easy to initiate, and that edge locks in right when you need it to.
One thing I noticed about Rallybird 92 over other similar skis, was how smooth transitions felt. Turns blend seamlessly into one another. You hardly notice moving over different snow conditions (like hitting a scraped off section or chopped up snow). The strategically placed metal underfoot really smooths out inconsistencies in the snow and helps absorb some of those vibrations. The metal never feels over-powering, which gives you the choice of taking a more cruiser approach, or push things a little harder.
Between the wider Rallybirds, the 104 Ti actually feels significantly slower and less responsive edge-to-edge than the 102. The 102 carves quite well for a ski this width and has loads of energy transitioning between turns. On the other hand, the 104 Ti feels locked into its turn and less responsive. Instead of the millimeter waist width difference, the I think the additional metal and shape makes the 104 Ti more locked in. While it certainly rips at high speeds, the lack of energy and quickness compared to the other two makes the 104 Ti feel less fun while hot lapping groomers.
Bumps and Trees
Winner: Rallybird 102
The Rallybird 102 is lively, energetic, and playful. This took me a bit by surprise, given the relatively directional shape and flatter tail compared to other, more rockered skis like the Blizzard Sheeva 10 and Salomon QST Stella 106 (or Lumen 98). That being said, this ski be-bobs and pops with the best of them. I loved the energy going off of hits and transfers and how nimble it felt in bumps, despite the width.
I generally prefer a wider platform in bumps and trees to handle variable snow. In trees in particular, you can more easily negotiate those tight spots if you aren’t sinking into the snow. That being said, if I was exclusively skiing open, firm or icy bumps, I’d probably grab the 92 for the extra responsiveness. Out in Colorado, I’d be safe to rely on the 102 for most days.
The Rallybird 104 Ti feels like significantly more work in these tight spots. That ultra locked in, planted feeling on groomers carries over to bumps. This is great for providing stability, but does make it more challenging to whip a tight turn or release the tails if you need to. By no means is this a bad thing, it just depends what kind of style you like to ski this terrain with.
Something I’ve noticed is that the side cut on the 104 Ti appears significantly straighter than the 102, which gives you greater stability and a longer turn radius, but makes quick maneuvers trickier. While a turn radius isn’t the only size turn a ski can ever take, it does give you a good idea of how maneuverable a ski generally is.
Mixed Snow and Powder
Winner: Rallybird 104 Ti
For me, this is where the 104 Ti shines. When it comes to mixed and varied snow, the shape and added weight to this ski really allows you to drive things hard confidently. If you like to tackle lines with speed and power, this is an excellent choice for you. Challenging snow conditions? No problem. The damp tech and extra metal in this ski provide great suspension in chunky, choppy and weird snow.
I think the Rallybird 104 Ti also performs particularly well in big mountain territory. For folks looking for power out of their skis to maintain high speeds and stay in control, the 104 Ti knocks it out of the park. Especially as the snow can be a little variable in that terrain, the 104 Ti gives you the confidence to charge down without worrying about what the snow is doing beneath you.
The Rallybird 92 performs surprisingly well in deeper and softer snow. I found navigating 4-5 inches of fresh snow to go pretty smoothly despite the narrow waist. The tip rocker and shape really let you get on top of the snow easily, and the pop the ski has makes for bouncing in soft snow very fun. Since there’s inherently less platform under you, the Rallybird 92 won’t give you the same float as a wider ski. That said, compared to some other skis in this size, the Rallybird 92 offers impressive versatility for when the snow does fall.
I didn’t get to ski the 102 or 104 Ti on truly deep days (actually the deepest day was with the 92, ironically enough), but I imagine they actually perform pretty similarly in terms of float. The 102 may feel slightly lighter on your feet with the lower weight, but not not significantly so. There are certainly wider, ladies specific skis out there to give you the float you need on deep days.
Rallybird 92: While I thoroughly enjoyed the 92 all over the mountain (and found surprisingly good float in soft snow) the Rallybird is not extrodinarly demanding or playful. It falls in the middle. This gives you killer versatility and makes the ski fun to skiers of all types everywhere, but may lack some of the stability (or looseness) you’re looking for in an all mountain ski.
Rallybird 102: Generally, the Rallybird 102 handles different terrain all over the mountain easily. If you stumble upon some heavy, chunky or choppy snow, the 102 feels like it can get deflected if you try to plow through it. The 102 lends itself to a more playful style of taking more turns to navigate terrain, rather than charging through it. This isn’t a bad thing, it just suits different styles differently.
Rallybird 104 Ti: As someone with a more playful skiing style, the 104 Ti can feel unforgivingly planted at times. It can be hard to get the energy I’m looking for to pop off of hits, or the maneuverability I’m looking for in tight spots.
I had fun on every single Rallybird I’ve skied, and that’s no easy feat to accomplish with an entire line of skis. Each one has a preferred skill set while remaining versatile across the whole mountain. It just depends on what you want to prioritize with your style and what kind of terrain/conditions you ski most of the time. Don’t let the women’s specific feature on these turn you away. They support plenty of aggressive skiing, especially the 104 Ti.
Check out the rest of our brand previews and gear reviews for 2023 here.