Fischer's newest Ranger 108 is a confidence-inspiring machine for aggressive skiers looking for a do-it-all alpine ski. | Max Ritter photo.
It’s rare when you hop on a ski and immediately fall in love. And it’s even better when you didn’t expect it. Fischer has been building skis for almost 100 years, and they’ve long held the trust among high-level technical skiers. But it wasn’t until recently that the Austrian brand started to turn heads in the freeride space with less traditional and more playful skis with the introduction of their Ranger line. Now, all it takes is a few turns on the new Ranger 108 to get a feel for the direction the company is headed.
I spent the past few weeks testing out the new Ranger 108 on a mix of hardpack groomers, bottomless fluff, chalky steeps in Granite Canyon, sun-softened chunk, tight trees, and fat bumps. I was impressed with how consistently they tackled such a huge variety of terrain, totally at home arcing turns on a groomer day but also charging down late afternoon powder day chop
Fischer’s redesigned their Ranger line for this season, which now includes 90, 96, 102, 108, and 116-mm-underfoot models, overhauling and building out an approachable yet powerful lineup of freeride skis suitable for pros yet also accessible for mere mortals.
Like the rest of the line, the Ranger 108 features a lively poplar and beech wood core, a decent amount of tip and tail rocker, and camber underfoot. Unsurprisingly, the Ranger 108 has a 108mm waist width, a mid-fat daily driver for areas that see a lot of snow like the Tetons or the Wasatch.
The Ranger series also features Fischer’s Shaped Ti technology which varies throughout the line depending on the size of the ski (the 90 receives the largest titanium plate, while the 116 has the least amount). The 108 has just enough metal in it to really feel like you can drive into a turn on firm snow, with softer tips and tails that easily release out of turns and can smear and pivot when you choose. I tested the 178cm length, which has a medium-short 17m radius.
I’m not going to say I wasn’t excited to test out the Ranger 108s, but I wasn’t exactly frothing to get on them like I’ve found myself while sizing up other tester skis. Maybe it’s the minimalist top sheets or Fischer’s dual reputation as both a dad brand and a race-focused company, but I was floored at how playful and inspiring I immediately found these skis to be.
Although I’ve been skiing for 25 years, I don’t have a ski racing background, and my preconceived notions led me to be a little nervous to step into these skis. I psyched myself up to work hard and get ready to really drive each turn, so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to initiate and hold an edge while cruising down a groomed slope. It was easy to roll them over and lock into a turn when I wanted, but smearing down sun-softened snow at the end of an unseasonably warm day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort highlighted just how friendly these skis can be.
With its 108mm waist, the Ranger 108 is a pretty perfect daily driver for a place like Jackson that sees a decent amount of snowfall. It was the perfect ski to chase a few fresh turns early in the morning, charge down choppy groomers, and then drop into some softer snow into the Granite Canyon backcountry after lunch. Floatation is pretty solid, and the 141mm tip certainly keeps you headed in the right direction, although it definitely wants to be driven in powder, with less of a pivot-friendly or slashy feeling. It definitely comes to life the faster you go in fresh snow, I just found it to be a little more sluggish when you’re trying to get moving.
Something I’ve been especially impressed with is the precision and edge control on hardpack, and not just compared to other powder skis. Short swing turns are where I really feel the magic, building energy with each turn, but they also hold a really solid edge while arcing big fast turns down empty slopes. The flex feels pretty round—there’s no weird peaky feeling at any point in the turn—it’s gradual and smooth the more you drive each turn.
At 178cm, I ended up skiing a slightly longer ski than usual (I usually prefer around 172 to 175cm) and mounted them +1, which I think really helped them feel maneuverable in tight trees and bumps. They ski slightly short already, so I’d recommend leaning towards the longer size length and possibly mounting them further forward.
The Bottom Line
The Ranger 108 is a ski you could reach for pretty much any day of the year (save for both extremes like über-deep pow and aggro hardpack), walking an impressive line between playful and hard-charging. This ski is great for my ego, which is clearly why I’m giving them a rave review. Nothing weird going on, no learning curve; whether you’re an ex-racer, mellow wiggler, charge-y freerider, or a little bit of everything, these skis are just plain fun.