Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Real reviews by real skiers. What a concept! Add your own today. Reviews only please, questions can be posted as replies but new threads looking for opinions should be posted to the main Telemark Talk Forum.
User avatar
lilcliffy

Rank: XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 2173
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:36 am

Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88 Easy-Skin

(To do this review justice- please read my review on the Traverse 78 first!)
This is a superb backcountry-cross-country ski.
With a XC focus- this ski offers a simply amazing range of performance. It- like the Traverse 78- performs well as a XC ski in every imaginable snow context.
It is the only Nordic touring ski that I have ever tested with a waist as wide as 68mm that actually offers very good XC performance on dense/consolidated snow.
Its full-length stable flex makes it completely stable in deep soft snow.
Its full 68mm width underfoot gives it significant XC flotation and grip in deep soft snow.
Fischer’s “Off-Track Crown” waxless scale insert offers highly effective grip (for a scaled base) and the stiff camber-and-a-half underfoot releases the scales form the snow when you stride forwards.
The “Easy-Skin” kicker skin insert is the stuff of dreams- very quickly increasing climbing grip and/or XC grip on snow that the scales won’t grip on.
With only 20mm of sidecut; significant and stiff camber; and only slight tip rocker- the 88 is not the downhill-focused XCD-skiers dream (especially if you get it long enough to offer decent XC performance). That being said it will turn; it is very stable; and light and responsive downhill.
Quite simply the 88 is the best XC overall ski I have tested in recent years with a waist as wide as 68mm. This ski greatly reminds me of the Åsnes Combat USGI surplus ski (read the review)- though the 88 is much lighter and easier to maneuver than the USGI ski.

The Specs

• Sidecut: 88-68-78mm
• 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)

Some Comparisons:

Versus Madshus Eon
The 88 is a better Nordic touring ski than the Madshus Eon.
It is a better XC ski on all snow contexts.
The Eon- with its soft tip and flex- is easier to pressure into skiddy, smeary turns…
(But if one was considering the Eon for its downhill manners- there are MUCH better downhill XC skis…)

Versus Fischer E-109 Xtralite
The current E-109 is more cambered underfoot than the 88. The E-109 should offer better XC performance….
BUT-
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 88, but- despite the extra camber of the E109- the 88 is a better XC ski over a wider range of snow conditions. In short- the 88 is a better all-round cruiser than the current E-109.

Versus Åsnes Combat Nato
Hard to say which one performs best when XC skiing in deep, soft snow…I would suggest the 88 with its full 68mm underfoot.
Downhill performance is similar.

Versus Åsnes Ingstad BC
The Ingstad BC absolutely kicks the 88’s ass in steep terrain. The Ingstad BC climbs better and offers wondrous turning.
But the 88 is much better XC skiing on consolidated snow.
Deep snow XC performance is a bit better with the 88 due to the wider waist.

Versus Fischer E99 Xtralite
The E99 is a faster XC ski.
The Excursion 88 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 88, and- if one is willing to full-weight the downhill ski- the E99 offers a shorter turn-radius than the 88- despite the extra camber of the E99 (weird-eh?)
The 88 has a more effective XC trail-breaking tip.
The deep snow flotation is MUCH greater with the 88.

Versus Fischer Traverse 78
The flex and camber of the 88 & 78 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…)

Versus Åsnes Storetind
My Åsnes Storetind is an equally good XC ski in deep soft snow- but it sucks in comparison to the 88 when XC skiing on dense consolidated snow. The Storetind absolutely blows the 88 away as a downhill ski!

Versus Madshus Epoch
Much better overall XC performance than the soft, round-flexing Epoch/XCD 10th Mtn- both on dense snow and deep soft snow.
The Epoch- with its soft round flex- is definitely easier to turn than the 88.

Versus S-Bound 98?
I don’t have access to a current S-Bound 98 to compare with the 88. Someone else shall have to weigh in on this one!

Current Conclusion/Thoughts

I think that the current Excursion 88 is perhaps the most widely versatile backcountry-cross-country ski available- especially now that is available in a 199cm length.
The 88 is not a high-performance ski.
Narrower, more cambered skis are faster.
Less-cambered, and/or rounder-flexing, and/or tip-rockered skis offer better downhill performance.
BUT- if I wanted just one ski for all of my XC-focused backcountry touring- I would be looking at this ski- and its narrower sibling- the 78.
The 78 is faster. The 88 offers more flotation.
Now- all we need is an 88 in a 209cm (or even longer) to absolutely destroy distance on powder (though a longer than 209cm 88 would probably require less camber underfoot…)

April 8th, 2019
Gareth Davies
Snow Glade Farm
Stanley, NB
Canada
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
boby13

Rank: XCD Enthusiast
XCD Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:54 pm
Location: Mont-Tremblant
Ski style: Intuitive
Favorite Skis: To hard to choose
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska NNN BC

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby boby13 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:27 pm

Nice review !
The 88's have been my go to skis for the past 2 seasons and I really like them. I only wish they would come with waxable base option.

I'm also interested in your comparison with the ingstad bc because I got myself a pair at the end of February (205cm).
Compared to my 189cm 88, I find the ingstad a little bit harder to manage downhill, probably because they are 15cm longer, edges are real sharp and the flex is different...
My ingstad's are just a tiny bit stiffer, but the 88's have a round flex and the ingstad's clearly have a flat portion under foot when I flex them.
But let me be clear, the ingstad's are higher performance skis, I just find the 189cm 88 more forgiving than a 205cm ingstad.

Anyway, I will post my though about the ingstad bc on an other tread and I'm with you Lilcliffy, the Excurtion 88 is one of the most do it all XC bush whacking skis!

Cannatonic

Rank: XCD Guide
XCD Guide
Posts: 759
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:07 pm

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby Cannatonic » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:58 pm

I understand now, when you say "round" flex, you mean single camber, or a ski with very little camber. So something like the Falktind or Rabb from Asnes except narrower.

you know the 195cm Ingstad would probably ski a lot more like the Excursion 189cm's - it would be easier to handle on the downhill. At 205 it's going to behave more like a big XC ski. (Those are some nice trails you're skiing up there btw)

User avatar
boby13

Rank: XCD Enthusiast
XCD Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:54 pm
Location: Mont-Tremblant
Ski style: Intuitive
Favorite Skis: To hard to choose
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska NNN BC

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby boby13 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:57 am

Cannatonic wrote:I understand now, when you say "round" flex, you mean single camber, or a ski with very little camber. So something like the Falktind or Rabb from Asnes except narrower.


I think the 88 is in the camber and a half category because it has a very high camber, relatively easy to squash and round flexing.
I'm pretty sure that the falketind and rabb are also round flexing but they have a low camber and more rocker.
The ingstad's have a lower camber than my 88's but they have a real wax pocket that is hard to compress.

But yes, 195 or even 185 ingstad would be real fun downhill, I got the 205 because I wanted some long waxable deep snow cruisers.

User avatar
lilcliffy

Rank: XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 2173
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:01 am

boby13 wrote:Nice review !
The 88's have been my go to skis for the past 2 seasons and I really like them. I only wish they would come with waxable base option.

I hear you! I am grip-waxing the entire base of this ski. I am using hard kick wax on cold snow and then the scales keep me from needing soft kick wax.

I'm also interested in your comparison with the ingstad bc because I got myself a pair at the end of February (205cm).
Compared to my 189cm 88, I find the ingstad a little bit harder to manage downhill, probably because they are 15cm longer, edges are real sharp and the flex is different...
My ingstad's are just a tiny bit stiffer, but the 88's have a round flex and the ingstad's clearly have a flat portion under foot when I flex them.
But let me be clear, the ingstad's are higher performance skis, I just find the 189cm 88 more forgiving than a 205cm ingstad.

I haven't measured them precisely yet, but my 199cm 88 looks closer in length to a 195cm Eon/Annum than it does 200cm- so the 205cm Ingstad BC could be almost 20cm longer than your 88!

The Ingstad BC certainly has a much more complex geometry than the 88. The Ingstad has a solid camber-and-a-half underfoot- and that very low profile second camber is certainly very stiff- giving it that "flat" portion that you speak of. The initial camber of my Ingstad is much softer than my 88 though- the camber-flex of my 88 is much more uniform than the Ingstad.

The camber-flex of the 88 and the 78 are so uniform it almost gives the impression that they have a high-profile, moderately-stiff, "single" camber. That being said- there is resistance to closure with the 88/78's camber underfoot- I would still describe them as camber-and-a-half. They just have a different flex pattern underfoot than the Ingstad BC. I certainly agree that the 88 has a "rounder" flex than the Ingstad BC- but I personally wouldn't describe it as round. By comparison- a ski like the Epoch or Annum has a round flex. What I mean by round is that it flexes like a bow. The 88 is a pretty stiff cambered ski- it does not bow like my softer, less cambered skis with a round flex.

Your challenge with the Ingstad vs 88 is interesting- I will speak more of it on the Ingstad review...
I am thinking it may have more to do with the maneuverability of your shorter 88 than an issue with turn-initiation and/or turn radius.

None of these skis have tight turn radius...But the Ingstad BC with all of its tip rocker- has the shortest turn radius of any XC I have have ever tested...Certainly shorter than the 88...I have had both of these skis out doing laps on hills of spring corn, and the Ingstad BC has by far a shorter turn radius than all of my other XC skis.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
lilcliffy

Rank: XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 2173
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:04 am

boby13 wrote:The ingstad's have a lower camber than my 88's but they have a real wax pocket that is hard to compress.

This is very true isn't it? Very cool design for a BC-XC ski!

But yes, 195 or even 185 ingstad would be real fun downhill, I got the 205 because I wanted some long waxable deep snow cruisers.

I might have some ideas that might help you with the 205 downhill...
I will post on the Ingstad BC review.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
fisheater

Rank: XCD Guide
XCD Guide
Posts: 581
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:06 pm
Location: Oakland County, MI
Occupation: Construction Manager

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby fisheater » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:11 pm

Nice review Gareth, I have thought for a while that the 88 probably hit the sweet spot on this series of skis from Fischer. However I will not be buying one anytime soon. Between a USGI, Gamme, and Falketind I should be able to get by. I believe, that my 200 cm USGI has got to be faster than a scaled 88. Both pairs of my 200's hold a wax pocket, and after the thin winter I had all the gouges give me a bit of a scale pattern! However no annoying humming noise!
I have green grass coming up here. Happy Spring! ....Yes, I really like winter, but I will enjoy the next three seasons as well! Cheers

User avatar
Woodserson

Rank: XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:25 am
Location: New Hampshire
Ski style: Bumps, trees, and steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile Objective and V6, Altai KOMs, Atomic Vantage 85, XC: Gamme 54, Classy Woodies
Favorite boots: T4, Alaska
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch

Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Fischer Excursion 88

Postby Woodserson » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:27 am

boby13 wrote:Nice review !
The 88's have been my go to skis for the past 2 seasons and I really like them. I only wish they would come with waxable base option.



Fischer Outtabounds Wax... same ski and dimensions, I’d say very, very similar flex, but no rocker, you need to ski the shovel more. It exists, if you can find it...


Return to “Community Ski Reviews”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest