Wide. Wider. Widest.
The Fischer Traverse 78, Excursion 88, and S-Bound 98 are some of the best backcountry cross country skis you can find. The simple way to look at these three skis is wide, wider, and widest.
If you like to focus on touring and exploring and seeing where you happen to wind up during your Xc tour go with the Traverse 78 (see sale price below). The Traverse dimensions are 78 – 61 – 69 – plenty of width to float you through deep snow as you tour along.
If you like to throw some tele turns along the way but don’t want to sacrifice the tour-ability of the ski, the Excursion 88 (see sale price below) is the nice bowl of porridge that is not too hot and not too cold. That’s to say this ski isn’t overly wide but it isn’t too skinny either (88 – 68 – 79 dimensions). The added width allows for more sidecut to bring your ski around in a turn. Of course, the person skiing the Traverse 78 can also make turns there just isn’t as much built into the ski to help you do that like there is in the Excursion 88.
If your backcountry ski day starts with the goal of finding an appropriate hill to make some turns then the S-Bound 98 (see sale price below) is a solid choice. This ski features dimension of 98 – 69 – 88. Tons of sidecut to move this ski from edge to edge and make very graceful turns.
All three skis feature Fischer’s Off Track Crown Pattern. I really do like the design of this pattern. It kicks very well but it also doesn’t negatively affect the glide of the ski as much as some other patterns I’ve skied. The Fischer’s move out very nicely gliding between kicks on the tour on in a turn on the way down.
All three skis feature Nordic Rocker Camber. If you grabbed any of these skis and held them together – pressing the skis base to base – you’ll notice the tip of the ski splays open. When you are skiing and press out the camber the tip automatically rises. This is a great benefit as you break a fresh trail through deep snow or are making turns. Tip rise makes it easier!
All three skis also feature an Easy Skin option. The Easy Skin is a simple way of attaching a kicker skin to the base of your ski through a hole or slot cut through the ski. The tab of the skin slots up through the base and snugs down into a cutout to hold the skin in place. Then just press the glue side of the skin against the base and your skin is ready to climb.
The Easy Skin is nice option for when you want to climb a more aggressive line up a hill and the Crown pattern won’t let you do that. Or maybe if you’re in dicey conditions and aren’t really confident in your downhill skills – apply the skin to check your speed gliding for home.
All three skis are wonderful for the backcountry skiing around Steamboat Springs. From light touring with a focus on mileage, to a wonderful 50/50 ski that tours and turns nicely, to a ski that can make some of the most graceful BC turns – the Fischer Traverse 78, the Excursion 88, or the S-Bound 98 has all your options covered!
Final note: Make sure you match the appropriate boot strength with your ski choice. You don’t want too light of a boot on a wide ski and you may not like a burly boot on your narrow ski… the right match is what you’re after.
Limited Time Sale:
Fischer SBound 98. regular price $349.95. Sale Price $244 (30% off)
Fischer Excursion 88. regular price $329.95. Sale Price $263 (20% off)
Fischer Traverse 78. regular price $299.95. Sale Price $289 (30% off)