Since the Soul 7’s first premiered in 2013 they have been a staple of the Rossignol brand, along with ski culture in general. At any mountain across the country it was almost impossible to not see at least one person rocking the yellow honeycomb tips that have for years been one of the best selling skis of all time.
This is all about to change though.
With Rossignol announcing that the 2019 – 2020 season was the last year of them making the 7 series, people (including myself) were wondering what Rossignol had in mind for the future and how they would compete against other ski brands. We got a taste of Rossignol’s future for the first time during the 2019 – 2020 season with the première of the BlackOps 98’s and 118’s but both these skis weren’t widely distributed adding a little bit of skepticism. With the announcement of a 14 ski Blackops lineup for the 2020 – 2021 season, it looks like Rossignol is going all in with the BlackOps and I personally can not wait to try some of these skis out.
Why the change?
Nick Castagnoli, brand marketing director at Rossignol, sat down with Freeskier.com for an interview about the change to the Blackops where he says, “We’d moved away from developing progressive twin tip skis like the Sickle…in favor of real commercial drivers. This left some of our athletes, like Chris Logan and Parker White, who skied solely on the Sickle and the Slat, in a tough spot.” If you haven’t heard of Chris Logan and Parker White I would definitely suggest checking out their ski web series, The Big Picture, which is where the first prototypes of the BlackOps 118’s can be seen.
These first prototypes of the BlackOps 118’s helped pave the way for the BlackOps 98’s which Castagnoli says, “just based on dimensions, is a much more commercially viable product, and our approach shifted.” With how well both pairs of skis were received during the 2019 – 2020 allowed Rossignol to make the leap away from the 7 series and focus on the new era of the BlackOps.
What’s the difference?
With a 14 ski BlackOps lineup for the 2020 – 2021 season the difference isn’t just in the ski but also in the variety. “Within the line there are three segments: Progressive, Freeride/Freetour/and All-Terrain,” says Castagnoli. “Within these segments are multiple models to address the needs of any modern freeride skier…there really is a ski for every skier.”
The technology within the skis has also been upgraded from the 7 series. No longer will the skis be distinguished by yellow honeycomb tips but instead will have a much sleeker style that I personally think looks great. Rossignol has also integrated 2LCT for improved control while maintaining a light weight, along with Damp Tech to absorb vibrations from the ski and Diago carbon fiber in different degrees depending on the BlackOps model.
Rossignol as a brand has begun to put a lot of focus on sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment and the BlackOps line is a great step in doing so. With FSC and PEFC certified wooden cores, along with 15% of the topsheet being recycled material, 30% of the bases and 100% of the edges being recycled steel, Rossignol is putting their money where their mouth is by making a high performance ski that is still environmentally sustainable.
To sum up Rossignols push towards the BlackOps series and away from the 7 Series, Castagnoli says, “Rossignol is unafraid to take risks. And that we’re confident we can start fresh, reinvent and deliver a product that better supports the needs of today’s freeride market.”
If you’re interested in trying out a pair of the BlackOps this year, make sure to make a rental reservation with Ski Butlers! We can’t wait to help you with all your rental needs this upcoming winter!