Fischer has made a rather quiet entrance to the skimo market over the last few years despite being the biggest ski brand in the world. Starting out with the RCx and then introducing the AlpAttack, they have now moved on to the 2nd generation, black AlpAttack. Having nordic raced with Fischer skis, I was pretty excited to start a new relationship with the company. The folks at Fischer Canada were kind enough to rush ship me skis before I left for the second set of World Cup races in Italy and Switzerland.
Right away when you get your hands on the AlpAttacks, the first thing that is noticeable is the camber of the skis (this refers to the space between the ski bases when the tip and tail are touching). Most skimo skis that I have used have little camber – the Dynafit Dy.N.A.s have none and lie completely flat on the bench. The AlpAttacks however have significant camber and when placed together, require significant pressure to flatten out. The next noticeable feature is the rocker tip. While not as dramatic as some touring skis, the AlpAttack is fairly rockered, another departure from traditional models that is starting to make its way into skimo race skis.
I mounted them up with Dynafit Low Tech 2.0 bindings. These have a normal Dynafit toe paired with the mostly-plastic Pierre Gignoux heel piece. This binding was plagued by breakage early on but the 2.0 version appears to have these issues solved. Mounting is a bit tricky without a jig but is not impossible. I mounted the skis with the pin line at the balance point of the skis and have been pretty happy with that. The skis have a titanal plate in the mounting area to reinforce the screws which I am a big fan of. I’d prefer to see skimo equipment stop getting lighter and have design advancements go towards making them more robust.
Flipping the ski over on the bench for waxing, the ‘aero’ profile is apparent. The curved shape of the top sheet likely provides some structural stiffness and possibly helps shed snow but makes waxing a little less smooth as I had to reset my bench to be closer to the tip/tail so the ski would sit flat – just a minor gripe.
Now having skied in a variety of conditions in 5 countries, both in and out of bounds and with nice tracks and breaking trail, I can safely say I have a good feel for how they ski. On hard-set groomed runs they are sufficiently stiff that they bite well into the groomer and carve admirably. On the super soft fresh snow groomers we had in Nelson, BC at the ROAM Randonne Rally, they were a bit fishtail-y but this could also be attributed to my unfamiliarity with the conditions. The AlpAttack really shines on moderate amounts of soft snow powder that is starting to get tracked out. Think to a race where there was powder that morning but by the time you hit the slope, it has the beginnings of moguls with bits of soft snow as well. Here the AlpAttacks cut through the bumps and stay stable in the soft snow meaning you can really pin it downhill. I had a blast skiing these in Nelson! On firm snow conditions, there is just enough camber that you can compress the ski completely and actually use your edges.
Aside from the base shape, the skis are easy to tune and seem to take wax well. I try to give my edges a run over with the edge tool every time I wax and have already taken them in for a grind at Profile Tuning in Whistler after giving them some serious abuse in Europe. The key with getting them tuned is reminding the ski tech that they only need a very *light* grind.
Also, as a side note, Fischer sent a pair of their race skins with the ski and I have been pleasantly surprised with them. I’m not sure if they are rebranded or made by Fischer but the attachment system is simple, the glue is a good combination of sticky and easy to handle, and they have great grip with only a small trade off in glide.
I’m looking forward to racing on the AlpAttacks the rest of the season and getting out for some spring tours with them! I’m also looking forward to the new Vertical ski coming from Fischer.
So, in summary: the AlpAttacks ski great!
Check them out: