Rossignol – Soul 7 HD

The Soul 7 is now five seasons old, and has sat at the top of the UK’s freeride sales chart for most of that time. This year’s revisions won’t be tarnishing the Soul 7’s halo any time soon. Pulling in the honeycomb tip material first seen in the Experience range lightens tips and tails. The effect is centralising the mass – a trait that’s been seen in skis for a couple of years and is the constant goal of thoughtful designers looking to increase the nimbleness of anything from dogfighting aircraft to motorcycles. So this clever and thoughtful upgrade of the Soul 7 now does even more of what we want a ski to do in its crowd-pleasing package.

One of the winning points which the ski shops reported was how easy the Soul 7 was to ski for skiers coming off traditional all-mountain and piste skis. This version builds on that trait with all of our narrow-ski loving testers immediately getting on with it. The rest of the team agreed that it’s probably the single nimblest widebody ski around. In performance and feedback terms it needs a bit of work to really spring, but then the skis which win our top awards should do – whatÕs the point in something being out-skied after a couple of weeks?

We love the lightened ends, the responsive flex, the outstanding graphics, the excellent edging performance and the whippiness on piste. On hard snow everyone reported on the classic ‘rocker chatter’ which isn’t actually chatter, but is unnerving when those brightly-coloured tips flap around like a Brighton Birdman. This doesn’t appear to upset stability so it must get damped out along the running length of the base.

Off-piste it’s starts off easy, with that soft nose driving the ski upwards and setting you up for whatever you’re after – bouncing turns through fresh or higher speed charging are down to you (and the conditions). The Soul 7 HD is a ski for all challenges and that’s exactly the kind of hardware we should be investing in. It’s a tech success, looks superb and will serve almost every skier we know. A classy and fabulous winner of the Fall-Line Ski of the Year 2017. If there’s one frustration with this ski – and it carries across many of the freeride skis for sale – it’s that Rossi’s own website classes it as ‘80% powder and 20% piste’. We’d change those numbers to 100/100.

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