I have to say that I wasn’t much excited when I first saw the Rabb 68 in the 2018-2019 Asnes Catalog last summer. I thought it was just yet another S98, only lighter. Or an updated, rockered version of the Epoch / 10th Mountain. Yeah yeah, another sort of compromise ski for the XCD enthusiast, with a simple, plain picture of a skier as topsheet. But then I finally received the ski and got to hold it in my hands. And then I got to mount it with Magnums. And then I got to ski these beauties. It took only 2 turns and I was totally hooked. I am a very quiet and reserved guy. But I remember when I stopped to catch my breath after my very first turns on the Rabb 68, I actually yelled “RAAAAAADDD!” out loud even though I was all alone in the wild. Something had to come out somehow.
You know that nice surfy and turny feeling of big, heavy, oversized fat rockered skis? Well, you can now get this same feeling on a super light downsized ski. Nimble enough to be driven by any kind of leather shoes.
Wow. Just wow. This ski is EVERYTHING! Definitely not a compromise ski. It’s so unique, there hasn’t been a single ski like that before. Something totally new. But yet, I can easily think of one million different ways and reasons to use this masterpiece. Wow and wow again.
According to Wikipedia, Rabb is an Arabic word meaning Lord and Master. It also means "the Creator", as it is referred to in the Quran several times. I don't feel the need to investigate if the word has a special meaning in Norwegian, that definition is more than enough for me.
Alpine skiers have all-mountain skis, also called compromise skis. They are not very good for carving the groomers, and not very good in the backcountry. Cross-country skiers have combo skis, not very good for skating, and not so good for classic skiing. Thank God, XCD skiers have the RABB 68. I like to call it the Prince of the Tind family. The raddest ski on the market. And it’s no compromise at all, it is really good at everything. It’s a very, very good downhill ski, a very good backcountry ski, a very good cross-country ski, a very good mogul ski, a very good slalom ski, a very good touring ski, a very good park ski (!!!) , a very good front side ski, a very good pair of skishoes and the most fantastic Norpine ski ever.* In fact, I could go on forever, the Rabb really can do it all.
Never before in the history of skiing we saw a turniest ski than the RADD 68. If we could see inside its core, we would discover a ski with a one-track mind. The Rabb has one single idea in his head: TO TURN! In fact, he will not let you do otherwise. As soon as his senses detect a downhill motion, he immediately starts to turn instinctively, no force, energy or weight transfer required. I remember saying that the Fischer S-98 was the ultimate turning machine. Well, that era is over once again: The Rabb is freaking more easy to ski. The S98 feel like 200cm straight 2x4 planks compared to The Prince.
How was Sir Asbjorn Asnes (The ski creator and designer at Asnes) able to do it? Well, first of all, the Nordic Rocker. As soon as the RABB is weighted, the tips open and the ski starts to turn by itself. That is the NR magic. It was magical on a cambered ski like the Ingstad and on a wide powder one like the Tindan 86. On the Rabb, it’s simply pure enchantment. The ski comes with a built-in ability to turn, it comes with the telemark turn embed into it straight out of the box, no lessons needed.
The other thing that makes them so easy to turn and magical is the camber. They are true single camber skis. Well, almost. A true Norpine skier’s dream. The magic here is that although they have a flat alpine-style camber, they actually can hold grip wax! This was first reported by Fisheater in his Falktind 62 review. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it works. And it’s completely unnoticeable on the downhill, it feels exactly like an alpine camber. WOW, that is innovation. Ski manufacturers have been looking to create a real hybrid, do-it-all ski for decades without success. Here it is. A single, alpine camber that can hold wax. Asnes call this a “Marked Chamber”, which would translate into something like a camber-and-a-quarter. Or classic alpine camber with guts. Or true alpine camber with a bit of resistance.
Like I said earlier, I think we are slowly decoding Asnes translations. (Very exciting, like finding the real meaning of buried century-old Egyptian holy scriptures! ) Here are the updated official translations according to Johnny:
Moderate Wax Pocket = Camber and a half
Marked Chamber (FT62, Rabb68) = Single camber with guts
Classic Camber (Tindan, Fjoro, Eggi) = True alpine single camber
You don’t like wax? Just slap your favorite X-Skin (My favorite is the 40mm RACE) under and you have a nice cross-country ski for any snow condition. Need more traction? Go for the 74mm Access skins and you have a climbing machine, with absolutely no need for long, heavy and sluggish full skins.
Now about the sidecut. Yes, SIDECUT, in capital letters. Look at the picture below, it screams ROTATION! And that is the 180cm model with a 17.2m radius. The 172cm is even more aggressive at 15.8m. It’s no secret to anyone, I bought the R68 for its tight radius. I wanted the lightest possible slalom ski for leather shoes action. All my NTN racing slalom skis have a 12-13m radius, they are my favorite resort skis. Super aggressive, super nervous and super-nimble. They can dissect any hardcore terrain at the speed of light. But all racing SL skis are also very, very heavy. The Rabb 68 is unique, it’s the lightest slalom ski ever built by the human race. Well, if there is another one, please let me know!
I went for the shortest radius, and I couldn't be happier with it. (Well, A 11m radius at 185cm would have been my ultimate dream…!) The 15.8m radius combined with the Nordic Rocker is just more turny that what you can possibly imagine. And the magic can be felt anywhere, from bottomless powder to corduroy. Actually, I wish the Rabb could come in two different flavors: Nordic Rocker for mountain cruising and straight, No-Rocker-At-All for crazy on-piste carvers and Norpine racers. I sure would add both in my quiver. But hey, there is no such thing as norpine carvers right? I must be a complete load of nonsense to carve SL turns with leathers shoes on piste. I’ll tell you something, crazy, wacky people are my best friends.
The Rabb 68 is quite different from his predecessor, the StoreTind. It has a similar sidecut, but with significantly wider tips for added maneuverability and flotation. The camber is also different. The Storetind has a very high single camber, that could be given the name camber and a half. A lot of camber that requires an important amount of force to be compressed, but no wax pocket. A bit too much camber for efficient downhill control. The Rabb 68 has a much better balance, a much better “compromise” for xcD skiers, which is actually no compromise at all, but simply a perfectly well engineered ski, fine-tuned for both downhill and touring. The Rabb’s little sister, the Falktind 62 has the exact same camber profile and flex, but with a different geometry.
What can you add to all this to make it even more the ultimate turning machine? Twin tips!!! Look at these super-nice tails below. Have you ever seen something that nice on a XCD ski before? Imagine yourself 20 years younger and hitting the park with your shiny Rabbs and your old beaten-up leathers riding the half-pipe in full switch tele mode. Now look at that same picture again and imagine yourself 20 years older this time, sticking a pair of 100mm Access Skins under the Rabb 68 and skishoeing your way in the woods, sliding all the way down on your way back. Again, the Rabb is so unique and yet, it can do everything you could ever want from a single pair of ski, from snowshoeing to slalom racing.
Can I still add something to make the Rabb even more irresistible? The ski weights only 975g at 172cm. Just imagine all of this bundled into one ski. Nothing compares to the Rabb 68.
I see the Rabb as the new best all-around XCD you can buy. My #1 recommendation for any type of skiers. I used to think that my desert island ski was the Karhu 10th Mountain. Well, the Rabb is a lot more than this. Think of it as a SUPERHYPER 10th Mountain on steroids. I don’t think I was that much excited about a pair of skis since the Rossignol 4M in 1987. No matter the kind of Cross-Country DOWNHILL I do, The Rabb 68 somehow always seem to be the pair of skis I want to pick. If there was a waxless version available, it sure would be my desert island ski, my ultimate one-quiver ski. (Although I would probably feel the irresistible urge to own them in every possible size… )
If you have one pair of skis to buy this season (or the next), it has to be the Rabb 68.
To keep weight low and maintain skiability the ski is constructed in poplar, carbon, and fiberglass. Cross reinforcement with carbon in tip and tail.
Delivered with Skinlock inserts, making it possible to use X-skin Access Skins when climbing the mountains. This model can be selected in lengths similar to your own height.
Retail: 630$ USD
* This is an asterisk. Asterisks are cool. I like asterisks.
** Please do not spoil the Rabb 68 with any kind of tech, you will miss all the fun potential of this amazing ski. Using plastic boots with such a sweet ski would be a crime... ; )