Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Traverse 78
This ski in all honesty is an excellent off-track cross-country ski.
However, for someone like me, it is just- well- a bit boring…
Let me explain:
Even at 199cm, it is not super-fast. My E99 and my Gamme 54 are much faster XC skis.
It is not easy to turn- with its traditional XC flex. My Eon, E109, and Ingstad BC are all much better downhill skis. HECK- even my E99 Tour- with considerable Nordic rocker is easier to turn than the 78.
It is a fast enough XC ski on backcountry snow.
It has an excellent stable flex- making it stable in all snow conditions- including deep snow.
It has enough camber and stiffness underfoot to release the kick zone when striding forward- but it is soft enough to make it relatively easy to engage the traction zone.
It is light enough to make quick step and jump turns.
My wife’s favourite ski in this class used to be the Madshus Eon.
As she became a better Nordic skier she has more often reached for the E109 or the Combat Nato than her beloved soft-flexing Eon.
It is becoming clear that my wife likes the 78 better than all of them in this class (at least for a XC ski).
(I think she may like the 88 even more than the 78- but, more on that later.)
Fischer recently used to classify this ski as an “Off-Track Cruising” ski. This is a good way to describe it.
With a high-quality waxless-scaled “Off-Track Crown” insert- book-ended by superb sintered tip/tail- an Easy-Skin insert; camber-and-a-half underfoot; and a full-length stable flex-
The Fischer Traverse 78 is a sublime and versatile off-track Nordic touring ski.
Is it high performance? NO.
But- if you could only have one ski it could be better than having the E99 or the E109 for example…
BUT- if you had both an E99 and an E109- you might find the T-78 a little boring…
• Sidecut: 78-61-69mm
• Length: to 199cm
• Tip shape: moderately-raised (from a Nordic ski perspective)
• Longitudinal flex: full-length, stable flex; stiff
• Tip flex: stable, moderately stiff
• Camber-rocker profile: slightly Nordic-rockered tip; camber-and-a-half underfoot; flat tail
• Tail flex: flat and stiff
• Edges: full-length steel
• Base: sintered tip/tail; “Off-Track Crown” waxless-scaled insert.
• Easy-Skin kicker-skin insert
• Lengths: to 199cm (could do with a 209cm option)
Versus Madshus Eon
This is a better Nordic touring ski than the Madshus Eon. I am afraid I just have to admit it (despite being a die-hard Karhu fanatic…). Yeah-yeah- the Eon has a “relaxed, smooth ride”- blah, blah, blah…Meaning that the Eon is wimpy, soft and dead. Neither the Eon nor the 78 offer downhill performance. The 78 offers better, more stable XC performance in variable backcountry snow. The 78 is better.
Versus Fischer E-109 Xtralite
The current E-109 is more cambered underfoot than the 78. The E-109 should offer better XC performance….
The current E-109 has oodles of tip rocker- giving it a much shorter XC glide zone on consolidated snow.
The current E-109 has a ridiculously soft tip that bows like a wet noodle rendering it completely unstable in deep, soft snow.
There is no question that the E-109 is a lot more fun downhill than the 78, but- despite the extra camber of the E109- the 78 is a better XC ski over a wider range of snow conditions. In short- the 78 is a better all-round cruiser than the current E-109.
Versus Åsnes Combat Nato
The 78 has a stiffer tip than the Combat Nato.
The Combat Nato’s tip breaks trail much more effectively.
The Combat Nato’s initial camber is softer- making it easier to pressure when climbing and turning than the 78.
The XC performance is very similar…My Combat Nato is more than 10cm longer- and is therefore, both faster and more stable in deep snow…Would need a 200cm Combat Nato to offer a more fair comparison…
Versus Åsnes Ingstad BC
The Ingstad BC absolutely kicks the 78’s ass in steep terrain. The Ingstad BC climbs better and offers wondrous turning.
But the 78 is much better XC skiing on consolidated snow.
Versus Fischer E-99 Xtralite
The E99 is a faster XC ski.
The Traverse is easier to pressure than the more cambered E99-
Requires less of a focused “kick” than the E99.
Offers better climbing traction than the E99.
Is easier to evenly pressure when downhill skiing.
BUT- the current E99 Xtralite has more tip rocker than the 78,and- if one is willing to full-weight the downhill ski- the E99 offers a shorter turn-radius than the 78- despite the extra camber of the E99 (weird-eh?)
The 78 has a more effective XC trail-breaking tip.
The deep snow flotation is similar between the two.
Versus Fischer Excursion 88
The flex and camber of the 78 & 88 are basically identical.
The 88 is wider- and therefore a slower XC ski than the 78.
The 88- at 68mm underfoot- offers more flotation and grip in deep soft snow.
The 88 is certainly more versatile than the 78...
BUT- if you don’t need the extra float of the 88, the 78 is faster…
From my perspective the 88 is simply a wider version of the 78. If one wants the better XC performance in deep snow- then the 88 is a clear choice.
But if deep soft snow is not an issue- the 78 is faster than the 88.
(And there are better deep snow XCD skis than the 88…)
There are many skiers in my Clan that love this ski- I am glad I bought it.
Personally, I don’t think that I will be on it very much- I have other skis that outperform it in every possible snow-terrain context…
But- higher-performing skis have a much narrower range of effective performance than a ski like the 78…
For example- if I could not have both a Gamme 54/E99 and an Ingstad/E109- the Traverse 78 would be a better choice than one or the other.
The 78 is also kind of a bridging ski of sorts for Nordic touring development. I see this in a kind of continuum:
Eon > 78 > E99
The Eon is an excellent ski to begin Nordic touring on as it is so soft and manageable.
The 78 offer more stiffness and snappiness and performance for the more advanced skier with better balance and strength.
A ski like the E99 (or Gamme 54/Amundsen) offers true double camber performance- requiring even greater balance, strength and skill than the 78 (assuming one has gotten it long enough to offer an effective wax pocket).
The Traverse 78 is an excellent “quiver-of-one” choice for Nordic touring on gentle to moderate terrain. It performs well on ALL snow conditions.
(Due to my local constant re-charge of fresh, cold, soft snow, I would personally choose the Excursion 88 over the 78.)
Excellent stuff Fischer- I think you have this ski just right- be very cautious with any attempts to redesign it- the 78 does everything well in a backcountry-xcountry context.
The only thing I would consider is longer lengths for heavier skiers.
I weigh 185lbs without a pack and would not want this ski shorter than 199cm.
April 8th, 2019
Snow Glade Farm