2023 Rossignol Escaper W 97 Nano Review
A lightweight free-touring ski with a moderate waist, the Escaper W 97 Nano is a versatile backcountry ski for ladies who charge no matter the conditions
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Crud Performance: 6
- Responsiveness: 8
- Stability at Speed: 5.25
- Flotation: 6.25
- Playfulness: 7
- Forgiveness: 6.75
- Versatility: 7
- Quickness: 7.75
- Price: $800
- Lengths: 160, 168, 176
- Dimensions: 126-97-116
- Radius: 18
- Weight: 1,250g
- Level: Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Quickness, Versatility
- Cons: Crud Performance, Stability at Speed
A new series for Rossignol last season, the Escaper Nano skis are a playful shakeup of the brand’s traditional roots, a light free touring ski to unlock terrain deeper in the backcountry. The all-new Escaper W 97 Nano joins the roster this season as the widest and most all-mountain oriented of the women’s lineup, which also includes an 87mm and 80mm width.
While testing the Escaper W 97 Nano in the Colorado backcountry, testers found the rockered design and progressive sidecut to be a blast to swoosh through open bowls, and easy to whip around in tight trees. “It surprised me,” said tester Keri Bascetta. “It felt more playful than the backcountry Rossignol skis I’ve been on in the past. Fun, playful and forgiving; it’s a great ski for all skier types.”
Super-thin nano titanal and basalt layers boost stability and power without bumping up the weight, which kept testers feeling light on their feet during long midwinter tours and spring missions. “For being so light, it performed quite well,” said tester Jordan Garrett. “This is a great ski for the aspiring ski mountaineer, or anyone looking to get farther out into the backcountry. The weight is very low, making it easy to get around in the trees and in variable terrain.” The V-Skin Anchor attachment system is another nice design touch on this ski for reliable skin retention, which is crucial on long slogs.
While the lightweight design thrilled testers on long climbs, a few noted that this isn’t a ski built for high speeds, and it fell short in deep snow. While the 97mm waist isn’t the narrowest of the narrow, less sidecut and a slimmer shovel didn’t keep us afloat the way we’d hoped. While testing this ski in Sun Valley, testers noticed tip chatter on firm snow and felt like they couldn’t trust the ski when they really tried to step on it. But for intermediate skiers and those who ski more cautiously in the backcountry (as we all should), this ski hits the sweet spot in terms of speed and agility.
Where the Escaper Nano really shines is in a few inches of smooth, creamy pow, spongy Colorado wind buff, soft spring corn, and even slush. Its maneuverability, which sacrifices a bit in the way of stability, won testers back over for how forgiving the ski is at 4 p.m. when you want to put in the least amount of work possible to get back to the trailhead. “When the legs are feeling tired after a lengthy skin, this ski will respond to whatever energy you put into it,” said Garrett.
Lily Krass is a freelance ski journalist based in Jackson, Wyoming with work featured in SKI Magazine, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously). While she’s been in ski boots since she learned to walk, Lily has been professionally writing about skiing, gear, and all things outdoors for the past seven years. In addition to an all-consuming addiction to powder skiing mixed with heavy doses of Type II fun, Lily takes snacking seriously, and when she’s not writing or sliding on snow, she’s likely deep into a baking project in her tiny kitchen. She is the co-author of Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of dirtbag-friendly recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.