After acquiring Caber back-‐in-‐the-‐day, Rossignol, which started out creating some of the best and most popular skis on the planet, clawed their way into becoming ski boot makers of note. The first viable option was the R 900 and the succeeding Course series really put Rossignol on the map.
Since then they have experienced steady growth as boot makers and Solar Gold ski boots are seen regularly and frequently on the World Cup circuit, major Big Mountain and Freeride Competitions…and upon the feet of skiers worldwide.
With the Sensor Fit technology Rossignol essentially corrects problems induced by generic liners. Sensor liners are lasted specifically for the shell shape they are going into. This sounds like a big “DUH!” but until the recent past liners were just that…generic; the shape did not really fit into whatever boot they were in. This necessitated the “Boot break-‐in blues” that we all have known and hated…mashing that liner into the rear of the boot and spreading it width-‐wise so the feet didn’t feel like 10 pounds of flesh stuffed into a 5 pound bag.
Not only is liner shape important to the Sensor Fit but also the way they address common areas of pain. The instep has a nice pocket where the hard material of the tongue is relieved. This reduces the pressure on the bony, sensitive spots on the top of the feet, keeps the blood flowing to the toes and decreases impingement of the nerves.
The toe box of the liners is well shaped and the tongue is not stitched in directly over the toes…plenty of wiggle room there.
The Sensor Fit liners coupled to well lasted shells make a very complete package.
For all intents and purposes the Experience SI 130 (SI=Sensor Inside…Rossi’s shtick) is all about performance…high performance. At a trim 97mm, the Experience SI 130 is the essence of what race boots contribute to the current group of top end high performance ski boots.
The Experience 130 is a full on, no compromise ski boot. Heel retention is excellent and medial mid-‐foot plumb. In conjunction with the Sensor Fit liners, the toe box has good length and for narrower feet lets the digits rest comfortably.
The stance is in keeping with current standards; 4 ½ degree ramp angle and 0 varus.
With Ultra Grip replaceable toes and heels, Rossi’s “Acid Green” Experience SI 130 is a good work boot for Patrollers, Instructors and Race Department folk as well as those doing some front country or in bounds hiking. You don’t have to be or be doing any of the above to benefit from the total performance of the Experience SI 130…you must be a proficient skier however. The flex feels a bit softer in the shop than it will in real time-‐it is a real 130. The ankle range is pretty contained, stopping at the front spoiler with a quick yet progressive closure. Putting the skis on edge requires the minimal pressure at the shins and big toe and keeping them up once there is almost no effort.
For those regularly skiing skis 88mm and up the Experience SI 130 provides ample support and stability. Holding wider footprint skis up for longer turns is not an issue in this boot…that medial buttress shoulders the load efficiently.
For those not skiing skis that wide the Experience SI 130 has plenty race genealogy to carve turns on-‐piste as quickly as one would want. The versatility of this boot is remarkable.
In the 100 mm shell width, the Experience Sensor 120 is a clean looking, unassuming yet powerful ski boot. Though with all the characteristics that make the SI 130 a powerhouse, the Experience S 120 has a restrained aggressiveness to it.
The fit is not as aggressive as its stiffer counterpart but heel retention is really good. The medial mid-‐foot is not as perpendicular as its stouter sibling but nevertheless provides really good support and immediate transfer of energy to the skis. The shell length is 3-‐5mm longer than corresponding shells from other manufacturers so toe room is excellent-‐not just lengthwise but also in radius. The 100mm forefoot lets the feet settle into the bottom of the shell and enhances feel. Instep is fairly high.
Rossignol’s Sensor shells are in accord with current stance considerations-‐4.5 degree ramp, 0 degree varus.
Sensor 3 shells use polycarbonate as part of the shell structure-‐primarily around the forefoot. This gives the shell greater torsional stiffness and a unique feel.
The Sensor Fit liners are pretty solid feeling against the feet initially-‐not a negative-‐but as they shape to the feet they smooth out and provide substantial longevity.
The ladies Electra Sensor 3 L in both 100 and 90 flex mirror the same construction and attributes with the normal adjustments for ladies anatomy; lower and more scalloped rear spoiler, additional rear-‐foot support in the liners and, as a byproduct of the shell materials, a lighter weight.
The Experience (and by inference the Electra, having skied the man’s version only) is a very reliable ski boot, predictable and capable. The ankle flex is fluid and progressive. The Sensor shells being a little lower to the ski and the use of polycarbonate in the shells greatly augments snow feel. Both the Experience and Electra offer lots of versatility; equally at home dropping into Hangman’s or arcing groomers.