2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

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lilcliffy
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2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:04 pm

FAST.
Smooth.
High-performance grip and glide.
Very light, responsive and manoeuvrable.
Finely-tuned flex for efficient xcountry skiing on highly variable snow.

SUMMARY

• 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.
• Relatively stiff double-camber makes climbing steep terrain challenging without climbing skins. Extending kick wax forward and/or using the Easy-Skin takes this ski up much steeper slopes than the waxless-scaled E-99 Crown.
• 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 break trail more effectively with a broader, raised-elongated tip- FOR SURE.

The model I have was bought on clearance this past summer- it is a 2015-2016 model. As far as I know the 2016 model has not been updated.

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 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- speed baby.

SPECS

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.
• Integrated “Easy-Skin” kicker skin.

BACKGROUND

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.

Fischer originally designed the E-99 to be the “best Nordic backcountry ski in the world”. Did they meet that mark? I have a fairly wide range of BC Nordic skis to choose from in my quiver- from narrow, stiff, double-cambered, to wide, soft and single-cambered. This winter I have already skied on the full range of temperatures and snow conditions that I would typically get in an entire season (e.g. It was -35C on Friday morning, and +5C on Saturday afternoon!). Despite the E-99 having very limited downhill control- the E-99 Tour may well become my most used ski on a day-to-day basis. (I don’t typically take in much serious vertical unless I have at least a few hours to ski. My typical daily BC tour is a 5km or 10km loop on relatively gentle terrain).

PERFORMANCE

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- but appropriate application of kick wax quickly resolves any issues.. 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 other. If I have kick wax right, but I need a little more grip- extending the kick wax forward does the trick!

Easy Skin. This integrated skin works very well. Due to the double-camber- the 50mm skin works best on this ski. Kick wax is so effective, that I will likely only use the Easy-Skin in the following conditions:
• Difficult and/or highly variable snow conditions.
• Climbing “steep” slopes. I am a bit unsure about this…If I had to climb anything truly steep with this ski- I would probably want full-length skin. HOWEVER- if I had to do a lot of steep climbing, I wouldn’t choose this stiff, double-cambered ski in the first place! The 50mm Easy-Skin does offer some extra climbing grip- especially on difficult snow.
• Pulling/Carrying weight. Kick wax definitely offers better kick and glide performance- but, when pulling or carrying a heavy load- the extra grip of the Easy-Skin is much needed.

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. The flex pattern of the E-109 is narrowly 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. The Nordic rocker does help- quite a bit. I was actually surprised by how much these tips open up when the camber is completely compressed. 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. A broad, raised-elongated tip would be much appreciated on this ski.

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.

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 Nordic rocker on this ski is unavailable unless the ski is completely weighted- something that is not always possible when downhill skiing on a long, stiff, double-cambered ski!

CONCLUSION

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- compared to a high-performance track ski.)

The combination and versatility of kick wax and the integrated Easy-Skin are unbeatable.

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- despite the Nordic rocker. It would GREATLY benefit from a higher profile, broad, raised tip.

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 Tour Easy-Skin has become my go-to daily, speed-oriented BC-XC ski. Speed baby. Kick wax rocks.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

Cannatonic
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:07 pm

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby Cannatonic » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:59 pm

nice review LC! We don't see these "tour" E99's and E109's in the US. Agree with your comments about the length - I had some 200cm E99's that worked great for downhill turns because my 180 lb weight crushed the camber flat. Conversely 210's have better glide but are diffiult to turn (on wide open spring corn the 210's do come around nicely though). The 210's help you float too, they will stay on top of breakable crust.

to me the advantage of the current E99/109 is light weight. i.e. the Asnes Gamme 54 and even Glittertind are significantly heavier in the same size. That's good for durability, not good for conserving energy, skiing faster, etc.

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lilcliffy
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:11 am

It would appear that the only E-109 that Fischer is currently manufacturing is the waxable "Tour" model...

I would think that it would be available in the US...doesn't mean that dealers will stock it though...

My local shop stocks almost exclusively the E-99- both waxless and waxable. They have brought in wider skis from time to time- with little sales. Most of the backcountry skiers that I have met, in this neck of the woods, are first and foremost groomed-track XC skiers. I used to think of the E-99 as too narrow and stiff for soft, fresh snow- I no longer think so!
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
lilcliffy
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:29 pm

-10C.
Icy, frozen, easily breakable crust.
Cold, icy, granular snow beneath the crust.

Waxless scales- useless.
35mm Easy-Skin was useless.

Solution?

E-99 with 50mm Easy-Skin. Cut through the crust, excellent grip and reasonable glide.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

Cannatonic
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:07 pm

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby Cannatonic » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:40 pm

excellent data point, thanks. sounds like my Gamme54 and 45mm nylon skins will be my new ice/granular touring ski, which is great, because usually I stop skiing when it freezes over. Sounds like the 35mm skins would be better for touring in warmer conditions.

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lilcliffy
Posts: 1134
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:52 pm

Yeah- I think that the very narrow kicker skin is only useful as a substitute for waxless scales, and- like scales- is really only effective on warm, wet snow.

Using the full-width kicker skin is the way to go with truly difficult snow- icy, refrozen snow. I have typically stuck to the track with kick wax/klister when conditions are like this. The full-width kicker skin allows me to get xcountry grip on that icy refrozen crap.

If the narrow kicker skin is a reasonable replacement for scales, it could eliminate the need for a scaled ski altogether...
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lilcliffy
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:27 pm

Skied on these almost exclusively for a week of very icy refrozen snow. Without the breakable crust, the 35mm Easy-Skin was more than enough traction- and, MUCH better glide than the 50mm. I am glad I have both.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1134
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:44 pm

We finally got 6inches of fresh snow in the middle of last week. 6 inches of very cold fluffy snow on top of rock-hard, icy frozen base. It is very cold at the moment (-30C at dawn this morning, Feb. 4)- the fresh snow is still soft and fluffy, but it has now settled a bit, making the base less icy and slippery.

I continue to ski on my E-99s almost exclusively awaiting a dump of fresh snow (expecting in the range of 15cm on Sunday night!! :D )

Was out on a longer tour early this morning and was able to take in some significant vertical on the E-99. There's not enough soft snow over that solid base for the telemark to be effective at the moment- side-to-side stability is more important than fore-aft at the moment!

I hit some steep, open fields for an hour and cranked some wonderful open parallel turns with these skis- they were amazing- light, quick and responsive. Towards the end, I even pushed them hard and was able to snap some very tight radius parallel turns with them.

Those open, Nordic-rockered tips are a SERIOUS asset on the downhill. Turn initiation is effortless in 6 inches of soft snow.

I must say I am very surprised with what I can do with these skis and XC boots.

Some wicked downhill runs- and then flew home on 210cm of BC-XC Nordic kick!
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1134
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: 2015 Fischer E-99 Tour Easy-Skin

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:23 pm

Full-on spring skiing here in the Central New Brunswick hills.

The E-99 Tour Easy-Skin is a fantastic distance-oriented backcountry XCD ski.

The finely-tuned camber and flex allow for true double-cambered K&G performance on backcountry snow!

The waxable base- along with the kicker skin- allow for effective customisation of grip in order to adjust for changing snow conditions and terrain. This is EXTREMELY important for a double-cambered ski in the backcountry.

The waxless-scaled E-99 Crown seems almost useless in comparison.

The Nordic tip rocker is less of a XC liability on the E-99 than its wider, curvier big brother the, E-109. Compared to the E-109- when XC-skiing- with less sidecut the E-99 is more stable in deep snow and breakable crust.

That being said- the primary advantage of tip rocker- on a ski this narrow- is downhill turn initiation- NOT trail-breaking.

The overall BC-XCD performance of this ski is second only to my Asnes Combat Nato. From my perspective, the E-99 (waxable) beats all the other mid-width double-cambered and 1.5-cambered BC skis I have ever tested (Eon; E-109; S-78; Glittertind; BC-65/68/70; etc.)

The Combat Nato is slower on the flats than the E-99 Tour- but the Combat Nato blows the E-99 away XC skiing in very deep snow and when climbing.

I love the Combat Nato's downhill performance...BUT here's what is weird- I think that the E-99 Tour- with Nordic rocker- might be a better downhill ski!!! 8-) :?

What would I change on the E-99 Tour?

1) I would redesign the shape of the tip- make it broader, raised and elongated: better trail breaking.

2) I would put a full-wrap steel edge around the tip for durability.

3) I would stiffen up the tip somewhat. Or- at least blend the overall flex of the ski into the tip more effectively. Like the E-109 and the Eon, the tip of this ski is so much softer than the rest of its flex- that it actually feels unstable when XC skiing on backcountry snow and terrain. With that Nordic rocker, the E-99 doesn't need a tip that soft.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


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