Fischer Ranger 115 XTI Big Mountain Backcountry
Oct 04, 2017
Last February I got my hands on a pair of 188cm Ranger 115s, the newest addition to the Ranger lineup. Coming from the east coast, these are a luxury ski in the sense that you'll only really need them several days out of the year (but can obviously use them in any condition). Most of my backcountry touring I wanted light and fast but there were some days where the snow was deep or I wanted a bigger landing platform (see videos below).
I first used them out in BC on a hut trip where we toured up to eight hours a day. I knew there was going to be substantial powder and that general touring skis weren't going to cut it. The year before I had used the Ranger 108s but The 115s weren't that much heavier and the wider platform would be significantly more stable. I was psyched to test them out.
They skied really well and almost felt short in some conditions. They were light enough that I could keep up with the group and often spent time setting skin tracks. I had the Fischer Tour Classic bindings with TransAlp boots. Unfortunately my TransAlp Pro boots didn't make it out of Austria before the trip. While my boots were a little soft to drive those skis, the overall experience was still very positive. It took a few days to figure out the pillows and when the clouds lifted, we were able to ski some incredible chutes and couloirs.
Fast forward to April and I found myself dusting off the 115's to take up to Tuckerman Ravine. This time I had TransAlp Pro boots and now my whole setup felt heavy. It wasn't too bad lugging around but not something I'd want to do regularly. Sending things like Dodge's Drop or the Ice Fall I wouldn't want any other touring setup. That said, it would be awesome to get something like the Hannibal in larger width.
Verdict? While not the a monster powder ski, 115 seems like a sweet spot for backcountry powder skiing or charging the steeps. Any bigger and I think you're expending too much energy on touring. This is a ski that I'll probably use at the resort more this winter and account for maybe 10% of my tours this winter.