Fischer Traverse 78, Excursion 88, and S-Bound 98 Cross Country Skis

Fischer Traverse 78, Excursion 88, and S-Bound 98 Cross Country Skis

By February 11, 2017 February 20th, 2017 Featured, Nordic & Cross-Country

Fischer backcountry cross country skis

Fischer xc skisFischer xc skisFischer xc skis

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)

20 Comments

  • Tom says:

    Would the Fischer Traverse match well with the Alpina Alaska NNN? Is the it still 30% off? I make that $209, is there any sales tax? I need a 189cm. Is shipping included to New York? Let me know, thanks.

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Tom,
      We are currently sold out of the Traverse 78 in the 189cm length…. Yes the Alpina Alaska would match up with this ski nicely. The Alaska offers a ton of support and control for both skier and ski. If you like the support then go with it. You could use a lighter NNN boot on this ski if you don’t need all that the Alaska offers. The Alpina Montana is another boot that still matches well here. It all depends on your comfort level and how much “lightness” you want to feel through your skis and boots. We are expecting our new 2018 Traverse skis to arrive in September and we have scheduled our Fall Super Sale for October 13, 14, 15. All skis and boots will be 20% off for those three days. If we ship skis to you there is no sales tax but shipping would run about $25. Let me know if this is of interest. Thanks, Murray

  • Hrishi says:

    Hi Murray,

    1. Between 88s or S-98s, which one would you recommend for winter hiking and camping in Colorado/ California with leather 75mm boots? I am not looking for turns exclusively, but would like to get down a mountain like Bierstadt or Quandary (along their snowshoeable ridges, not the high angle slopes) comfortably. I guess I mean which one of the skis would serve a better replacement for snowshoes – both above and below treeline? (I do not wish to tackle slopes which would require crampons instead of snowshoes, and hence not looking for telemark or AT gear)

    2. My wife got a used pair of S-88s, and I am wondering if I should get the same ones, or get 98s so that we could break trails if needed. But I dont want to be left too far behind her in kick and glide setting. Would the S-98s be too turny (as in wanting to turn at each step)? I request you to consider this question independently from the first (as the first one is not specific to us).

    3. Also, cool about your Super Sale. Is it store only or online as well?

    Thanks,
    Hrishi (Boulder, CO)

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Hrishi,
      I wish this were black and white but there is always lots of gray…First off I guess I would have you consider your leather boots. Do they still offer solid control over your skis or have they turned into bedroom slippers and tour better than they turn? With good strength in your boots (and perhaps a cable-style binding if you needed extra support) you’ll have plenty of control to turn the 98’s. If your boots tour better than they can control a wider ski in a turn then the 88’s would be better. It is the age old question of turning vs touring. Do you tour more than you turn? Do you need more help in controlling your skis turning or do you wish to have greater touring efficiency? There is a very subtle difference here. The 98’s will certainly help you turn better. The 88’s are a nicer blend of touring and turning… however less sidecut on the 88 will make for a longer more sweeping turn – the 98 can stay in the fall-line easier. See how I go back and forth and avoid answering your question? I guess that is because each skier is so different in what they are looking for from their gear. Personally, I’d grab the 98’s for coming down Bierstadt or Quandary then I’d have the 88’s for below treeline. (A retailer will always suggest both!).

      Touring with the 98 may take a bit more concentration to land flat on the ski as you glide out on to it. If you land off center as you glide forward then, yes, it will kinda swish off track a little but not so much that the ski feels squirrely. The ski is only reminding you to land flat on it. I don’t think there is so much difference between the two skis that you get left behind. If your wife is breaking trail and you are following the 98 shovel will catch a little snow on each side – but again – not so much that you get dusted. And, if you guys are skiing a trail that is already broken – there are so many different width skis and certainly different skier abilities out there – the tracks don’t stay narrow for long in the backcountry.

      Regarding our Super Sale, October 13, 14, 15 – Our website is not set up to do online sales but anyone can call and we’re happy to do phone orders. 970.879.0385 or 1844.878.0385. We can easily ship to Boulder. Or it could be a good excuse for you guys to come up for a visit!

      Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve helped with your questions or not but these are the things I think about when considering a new ski (or xc boots) for myself. Write back with any questions. We’ve had two good dustings of snow up here and this weekend we’ll be getting some more snow up high. I can’t wait for winter to come and stay for awhile! Thanks, Murray

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Hrishi,
      I wish this were black and white but there is always lots of grey…First off I guess I would have you consider your leather boots. Do they still offer solid control over your skis or have they turned into bedroom slippers and tour better than they turn? With good strength in your boots (and perhaps a cable-style binding if you needed extra support) you’ll have plenty of control to turn the 98’s. If your boots tour better than they can control a wider ski in a turn then the 88’s would be better. It is the age old question of turning vs touring. Do you tour more than you turn? Do you need more help in controlling your skis turning or do you wish to have greater touring efficiency? There is a very subtle difference here. The 98’s will certainly help you turn better. The 88’s are a nicer blend of touring and turning… however less sidecut on the 88 will make for a longer more sweeping turn – the 98 can stay in the fall-line easier. See how I go back and forth and avoid answering your question? I guess that is because each skier is so different in what they are looking for from their gear. Personally, I’d grab the 98’s for coming down Bierstadt or Quandary then I’d have the 88’s for below treeline. (A retailer will always suggest both!).

      Touring with the 98 may take a bit more concentration to land flat on the ski as you glide out on to it. If you land off center as you glide forward then, yes, it will kinda swish off track a little but not so much that the ski feels squirrely. The ski is only reminding you to land flat on it. I don’t think there is so much difference between the two skis that you get left behind. If your wife is breaking trail and you are following the 98 shovel will catch a little snow on each side – but again – not so much that you get dusted. And, if you guys are skiing a trail that is already broken – there are so many different width skis and certainly different skier abilities out there – the tracks don’t stay narrow for long in the backcountry.

      Regarding our Super Sale, October 13, 14, 15 – Our website is not set up to do online sales but anyone can call and we’re happy to do phone orders. 970.879.0385 or 1844.878.0385. We can easily ship to Boulder. Or it could be a good excuse for you guys to come up for a visit!

      Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve helped with your questions or not but these are the things I think about when considering a new ski (or xc boots) for myself. Write back with any questions. We’ve had two good dustings of snow up here and this weekend we’ll be getting some more snow up high. I can’t wait for winter to come and stay for awhile! Thanks, Murray

  • Hrishi says:

    Hi Murrey, Thanks for a candid reply. It helped a lot!
    Shoe stiffness is a good point: we do plan to upgrade to Excursion/ T4 type shoes (and 3-pin cable bindings) later. So my updated question would be, with stiff enough boots, would S-88 suffice for coming down Bierstadt or Quandary safely? I understand S-98 will be more optimal due to its shorter turning radius and hence safer, but would S-88 be ‘unsafe’ (akin to skinny track skis on these descents) ?
    From what you described, it seems that S-98’s differences over 88’s have greater implication for turning (quicker turns) than touring (not so much degraded performance), in which case, 98 is more tempting!
    Also, we are planning on taking some telemark lessons at resorts this season and then practice turns on gentler slopes (greens). Would either of these skis work for that or we’d be embarrassing ourselves (and others)? If the skis are okay then we’ll look for rental plastic boots.
    Cool regarding the sale, we will either call or come down there. We are yet to explore that area!
    We got into skiing really late last season (April), but took a basic lesson in XC and did a couple of trips to Brainard lake. Can’t wait to get ‘properly’ started this year!

    • Hrishi says:

      Sorry, for misspelling your name, Murray.

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Hrishi, I think you have a good handle on it. The 88 won’t be unsafe coming down (it wouldn’t be anything like skinny track skis). The 88 is a very stable ski and has enough float to work in powder. As with any descent you’ll be looking for the safest way down for yourself, your ability, and equipment. That would include knowing how easy is it is to bring your skis around in a turn and if you have enough room to make those turns! Sometimes that entails making kick turns and making a few long traverses to get to a comfortable spot. There are always options (including not even going if weather and conditions aren’t optimal). As far as taking lessons at a resort – that is a great idea. More repetition with less effort. Everything you learn about the tele turn inbounds will translate to the backcountry. You might want to rent or demo flat based skis for inbounds. The 98 or 88 can ski inbounds but the scales on the ski base inherently slow the ski down and it could increase a bit of wear and tear on the kick pattern depending on snow conditions. Congratulations on getting into XC. As you progress you will soon discover your gear closest getting fuller with more skis and boots options… you just won’t be able to help it! Write back with any questions. It would be great to meet you when you make it Steamboat. Thanks, Murray

  • Conrad says:

    So do I have this correct, it is a 30% discount on the S-Bound 98s?

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Conrad,
      We have one pair of 159cm 98’s left in stock. It is 30% off until we receive our new inventory for 2017/2018 (which is only a few days away). The skis haven’t changed from last year to this year so anyone looking for 159cm can scoop up a bargain if they’re quick. Once we have our new inventory they go to regular price… However the good news is our Super Sale is scheduled for October 13, 14, 15. The 98’s will be 20% off (all sizes) for those three days only. You can call us during the sale if you would like to purchase a pair. We can ship pretty much anywhere. Let me know… Thanks, Murray
      P.S. we received 20″ of snow up on Rabbit Ears Pass this past Sunday night. An early showing of winter for sure!

  • Martin says:

    Do you have the 2017 or 2018 S-Bound 78’s with easy-skins in 179cm? If so, how much? I’m in Granby, CO. and could pick them up when I finally get over to Steamboat.

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Martin,
      Yes, we have the Traverse 78 with Easy Skin in stock. They retail for $299.95 and we can offer a sale price of $254.96 (15% off). We can do the same sale price for you on the skin, too. Write back with any questions. Thanks for your note! Murray

  • Marcie says:

    Hi, what boot do you recommend for a 120# woman on 169 Fischer 98’s? I have some rossignols that are old and need to be constantly tightened. I have a narrow foot. I’m buying these skis from a demo fleet in Colorado and they are the nnn binding. They are great skis on trails. Need to put glide wax on scales on warm days or you do not move.

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Marcie,
      Boots are always a challenge. The best choice is the best fitting boot, of course. With the Fischer 98 I would recommend a boot with a torsionally strong sole and perhaps even an external ankle cuff to help control the ski on downhills and in turns. The Rossi BCX 10 is a good match with this ski as well as the Alpina Alaska. Both of these boots have the NNN BC sole. If you are having trouble with a width try placing a blank “filler” insole underneath the existing insole to soak up volume inside the boot. Even a thin insole can make a huge difference. Hope this helps some… Write back with any questions. Murray

  • Bill says:

    Do you have any of the Excursion 88’s left? And the matching EZ skin? And some 3 pin bindings?

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hello Bill,
      As of today (1.23.10) Ski Haus has all lengths in the Excursion 88 in stock. $339.95. We will have the Easy Skins back in stock any day now. Ski Haus sells the Voile 3 Pin Cable Binding for $95.00, the Voile 3 pin binding for $60, and the Rotteffella 3 pin binding for $75. Write back with any questions. We’re here to help! Thanks, Murray

  • JT says:

    Hi, what length would you recommend on Fischer Traverse 78? I’m 6’3″ and weigh about 200 lbs. It’s probably between 189 and 199. Also, would you go with NNN BC type bindings for these — or something else? Thanks, JT

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi JT,
      As usual there are options to your questions. The weight range for the 189 is 176 pounds to 231 pounds. You can kick and glide this length just fine. The weight range for the 199 begins at 220 pounds – however – I know you could set the crown pattern and have this length work for you too. The biggest difference between the two lengths will be glide. The 199 will glide better for you on a packed trail and when your skiing downhill. The 189 will be a bit more maneuverable and with your weight set on a shorter length it will kick like a mule! So 189 is more maneuverable and easier to kick. The 199 will glide better. The choice is always up to the skier and their xc skills and how they prefer a ski to behave under foot. Personally, I like a ski that glides further but not everyone has their own take on this.

      Inherently, crown or positrack patterns create drag and typically you can size “no wax” skis to the stiffer side to help the glide effect. If you go with the 199 there may be some climbs you just have to pay a little more attention to setting your kick and not be too quick with it or lazy.

      As far as the boots and bindings go the Traverse 78 lends itself to favor more touring over turning since it is narrow (compared to the Excursion 88 or S-Bound 98). A NNN BC style boot and binding will match up with this ski just fine. If you are looking to increase your downhill control over the ski a three pin option is excellent. We’ve had great luck with Alpina Alaska 75mm boots. Maybe let the boots be your guide here and go with the best fitting boots you can find that agree with your feet.

      Hope this helps. Write back with any questions and happy skiing! Murray

  • laura says:

    Hi, I’m interested in the traverse 78. I’m 5.2” and weight 125lbs. I will mainly use them in backcountry trails near my home (compacted snow) but I will also do some multi-days expeditions with a backpack (approx. 30-40lbs) or with a sled. Which length would you recommend me? Thanks!

    • Murray Selleck says:

      Hi Laura,
      Thanks for your note. Fischer recommends your ski length to be 169cm. The 169cm weight tops out at 143 pounds so you are well within that range even when carrying a pack. If your pack does weigh around 40 pounds the push through deep snow, breaking trail, may feel like a slog since that comes in around 165 total pounds. I always recommend skiers to size the ski to the type of skiing they will be doing most often and not for that occasional ski out of their norm. The 179cm length’s weight range is 143 pounds to 196 pounds. Pretty up there considering your 125 pounds. 169 is the way to go.

      Ski Haus is having our 50th Anniversary Super Sale October 18, 19, 20. The Fischer Traverse will be 20% off for those three days. We can ship. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks, Murray

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