2014 Fischer E-99 Crown
• Excellent backcountry xcountry ski: double-cambered with a moderately-stiff flex pattern. Excellent Nordic kick and glide off the groomed track. This is first and foremost a xcountry ski- the strengths of this ski require using an appropriate xcountry length.
• Excellent waxless scale traction for kick and glide skiing- on warm wet snow.
• Relatively stiff double-camber makes climbing steep terrain challenging without climbing skins.
• Camber-flex pattern makes for highly efficient xcountry skiing in the backcountry. This ski is FAST!
• Significant, relatively stiff second camber requires focused “kick” in fresh, soft snow.
• Flex pattern is finely tuned for efficient backcountry-xcountry skiing on variable terrain and snow.
• Probably best suited to gentle to moderate terrain- due to second camber being difficult to control when climbing and turning.
• Downhill performance is challenging due to stiff second camber.
• Would be even better with Nordic rocker in the tip.
• Would break trail more effectively with a broader, raised-elongated tip- FOR SURE.
• The integrated “Easy-Skin” would be a decent upgrade.
Here begins my intimate relationship with the 2014 Fischer E-99 Crown.
The model I have was bought on clearance this past summer- it is a 2014-2015 model. The current model has been upgraded with Nordic Rocker in the tip.
The E-99 is a versatile, high-performance, distance-oriented backcountry-xcountry (BC-XC) ski. It is double-cambered for kick and glide efficiency, but it has a flex pattern designed for the backcountry. The flex pattern is stiff for a backcountry ski- nowhere near as stiff as a track ski- but it is controllable on fresh snow, at least in a xcountry context. That double camber makes these skis very efficient in a xcountry context, but I find these skis very challenging to climb slopes without a climbing skin (especially with the waxless scale pattern- this ski with a waxable base climbs better). The addition of the integrated “Easy-Skin” would be an excellent upgrade to this xcountry ski- greatly improving their climbing performance. The Easy-Skin would also offer better xcountry grip on difficult snow.
The stiff double camber makes for an exciting ride down-hill! On the other hand they are so wonderfully light and snappy that I find I can navigate all kinds of weird downhill complexes of step turns, parallel turns, and step/jump telemarks. They stride through turns beautifully. That being said- they are nowhere near as easy to squash as a softer ski like the E-109. In short- the E-109 is a better down-hill ski than the E-99 because of its flex pattern.
FAST. This ski is incredibly fast for a waxless BC-XC ski.
I am 5’10” and weigh 185lbs. I am skiing on the 210cm.
Here are the specs:
• Lengths to 210cm.
• Sidecut profile: 66-54-61mm.
• Camber profile: significant, and moderately stiff initial camber; moderate and very stiff second camber.
• Flex pattern: stiff ski- period.
• Low profile tip- relatively soft- compared to the rest of the profile- and flexible.
• Flat stiff tail.
• Full length, but not wrap-around, metal edge.
• High-quality, sintered base on tip and tail.
• “Offtrack-Crown” waxless scale base insert.
What is the E-99?
Although I am aware that many a Fennoscandian skier would describe the E-99 as a “fjellski” or XCD ski- from a North American perspective, the E-99 is a backcountry CROSS-COUNTRY ski. It is clearly designed to travel long distances in the wilderness and mountains.
As I already mentioned- this xcountry ski is fast- really fast. That stiff flex and double camber produces true classic kick and glide performance. As a backcountry ski, the flex pattern offers brilliant kick and glide performance- even on soft fresh snow. It does require a focused Nordic “kick’ in order to offer effective traction. For those skiers with little experience with xcountry skiing on double-cambered skis, this may- at first- produce a frustrating slip and slide experience. If these skis are the appropriate cross-country length, they will have an effective, pronounced wax/traction pocket underfoot- you will need to fully weight the ski to compress the camber and get some grip. Double-cambered skis require transferring all of your weight from one ski to the next. (Grip/kick wax offers better and more reliable traction than the waxless scales.)
Compared to an even narrower, stiffer ski. As a comparison- I managed to test the E-89 again, before last winter was out (I have been debating between the E-89 vs. E-99 for a few years now). The E-89 is even stiffer and faster than the E-99. In fact- the E-89 is almost as stiff as my Atomic classic track touring skis. The E-89 is so stiff that I think it is too stiff for soft snow. If I had a lot of hard snow to ski on- I might consider the E-89. But- I find the E-99 is plenty fast enough on hard snow, and it is much more stable and smooth on fresh snow- and it definitely offer better grip than the E-89 on soft snow.
Compared to the E-109 Crown. The flex pattern of the E-109 is tuned in for soft, fresh snow. It is much easier to compress the camber and engage the traction zone of the E-109. HOWEVER- using grip wax on the E-99 Tour- the E-99 has every bit as much grip as the E-109.
The tip on the E-99 is low profile. To be honest- it basically sucks when breaking trail. There is no Nordic Rocker in this generation of the E-99 xtralite. The tip is softer and more flexible than the rest of the profile. This was very noticeable- and appreciated- on hard icy snow earlier this ski season.
The tail is flat and stiff, and tracks beautifully- just like a xcountry ski should!
Sidecut…Does this ski need sidecut? I don’t know- doesn’t every ski need sidecut? This ski has 12mm of sidecut…At a length of 210cm- what is the turning radius of a ski with only 12mm of sidecut? Do you still think it needs sidecut? I offer this- you put this ski on edge and try and carve your way through the glade- and guess what happens- YOU HIT THE TREE!
Flotation. This is not a powder ski- of course it isn’t. But I need to be completely honest here….I don’t find that my wider midwidth skis (e.g. E-109/Eon) offer any more effective flotation than the E-99…If the E-109 performs “better” in deep, soft snow, it is because of the flex pattern, not its width.
Traction. Fischer’s Offtrack Crown scale pattern is very, very good. This ski offers excellent grip on warm, wet snow. Otherwise, the stiff, the double-camber makes fresh, soft snow- worse, icy snow- a bit of a slippery experience. The double camber makes climbing anything steep a real challenge- without skins. As the slope increases, it becomes very difficult to fully weight the ski.
Grip/kick wax greatly improves the traction of this ski in both K&G and climbing contexts (hint: the E-99 Tour rocks!)
The addition of Fischer’s Easy-Skin would be a much appreciated upgrade to the E-99 Crown.
Downhill skiing! To a high-performance track xcountry skier, the E-99 might actually feel wimpy and soft. BUT- no matter what you compare the flex to- one will definitely discover that this ski is double-cambered when downhill skiing!! The pronounced, stiff second camber on this ski makes for a bit of a wild ride down-hill- especially if one is trying to get the ski to perform like a downhill ski. One would need a very short E-99 in order to be able to completely control its camber in a downhill turn- with both skis equally weighted. (This short length would ruin its xcountry performance.) However- on moderate terrain- I find even my 210cm E-99 to be a lot of fun on the downhill. Why? How? These skis are incredibly light and responsive. I find I can easily make them turn on moderate slopes, through a mix of step/stride/stem/jump turns- stride your way down the hill. If you are comfortable transferring weight from ski to ski- these skis are great on the down-hill. Obviously, on truly steep terrain, one needs more stability and control than this xcountry ski has to offer.
The hills I ski through typically offer multiple routes downhill. If I am out with my E-99s I can simply choose a more gentle line downhill, than I would with a more down-hill oriented ski.
This is a finely-tuned backcountry-xcountry touring ski.
For anyone wanting to travel long distances at speed in the backcountry- the E-99 is the real deal. It is a truly double-cambered ski, offering a very effective wax/traction pocket- true Nordic kick and glide. However, Fischer has finely tuned the flex pattern of the E-99 for off-track snow. With some skill and focused “kick”, the camber is easy to control on variable terrain and snow. (This ski would feel relatively “soft” and slow on a groomed track.)
The waxless scale pattern is really only effective on warm wet snow. As a result- the E-99 Crown will be a seasonal ski for me. I will end up using the waxable E-99 Tour much more.
The addition of the Easy-Skin, integrated kicker skin would be an excellent upgrade to the E-99 Crown.
The E-99 offers- to me- an excellent balance between stability and speed for a xcountry ski in the backcountry. If the snow you are skiing on is typically hard and dense, an even narrower ski would be faster- but, I prefer the greater stability of the E-99 for fresh snow and hilly terrain.
In my opinion, the E-99 offers as much effective flotation as wider mid-width skis like the E-109.
The E-99 breaks trail very poorly. It would GREATLY benefit from a higher profile, broad, raised tip. The addition of Nordic Rocker on the more recent E-99 helps a bit as well.
If you want to- or need to- climb and ski down relatively steep terrain, a softer flexing ski is probably a better choice (e.g. E-109)- but nowhere near as fast as the E-99.
The expedition-grade dependability of the E-99 is legendary. I have heard many reports of the current generation E-99 being less durable and prone to breakdown…I hope that Fischer resolves this critical issue.
For me- the E-99 Crown will be shoulder-season ski (warm, wet snow) for distance-oriented backcountry-xcountry skiing. Speed baby.