Sep 01 2014

Review: Fischer’s Hannibal BC Ski

Dostie and I ran into each other walking dogs at dusk the other night. No, he’s not my alter ego, rather, my cousin, Jeff Dostie. We both happen to love backcountry skiing, work at ski shops, and purely by chance, live in the same neighborhood. We don’t agree on skin track strategies but we do agree that light weight skis are not as versatile as heavier skis. Of course, for the backcountry some compromise should be accepted. In our experience, when a ski drops to less than eight pounds per pair it’s difficult to maintain dampness and consequently, hold an edge on hard snow.

Fischer's Hannibal 2014 131-100-117 • 6½ pr

Fischer’s Hannibal 2014 — 131-100-117 x 180±10 cm • 6½ lbs./pr.

This season’s crop of lightweight fatties, however, is pushing that weight threshold closer to seven pounds and one of the better examples is Fischer’s Hannibal which clocks in at 3¼ pounds per ski (6½ lbs/pr). That’s light enough to suggest they can’t handle hard or heavy snow, but on groomers and velvety corn they’re awesome. Reality check; that isn’t versatile enough for serious consideration unless they can handle difficult snow too.

On Snow Show

Hannibal the Conquerer

Hannibal the Conquerer

In the case of Fischer’s Hannibal, it can do the tough stuff too. Certainly there are limits, but few you will encounter earning your turns. Chopped up refrozen crud is as difficult as it is with any ski, but Hannibal held on and had an unexpected dampness while being pushed around. On simpler hard snow they held an edge, perhaps not for true GS speeds, but fast enough your eyes tear up without goggles and they held fast, reminding me of Atomic’s RT 80s, or BD’s Machine. A good part of that response can be attributed to the light rocker in the tail, just enough to release without hooking up but firm enough you can rely on it all the way through the turn.

Fischer does include carbon in the mix which lightens Hannibal up considerably, but without the usually pingy, brittle response. My experience with them was with Scarpa Maestrale boots and a Dynafit Radical binding. This rig would be considered by those who can sense it a tight system that translates every possible vibration more directly and yet they felt damp.

In soft and phat snow they ripped, taking advantage of a Paulownia hardwood core for a spring in Hannibal’s stride enhanced by a wide 131mm wide, early rise tip. Breaking trail the slight rocker in the tip will help float Hannibal in fluff, though not as well as a more rockered ski. My preference is for less rocker so the downhill response is more fluid and full. This was especially noticeable in Sierra Cement which will test a ski’s flex characteristics as much as a skier’s balance. Hannibal reminded me of one of G3′s finest skis, the original Saint, but a full pound and a half less.

Nice rise in the 131mm wide tip. Works well with many skin tip loops, including a Z-wire available with Fischer OEM skins.

Nice rise in the 131mm wide tip. Works well with many skin tip loops, including a Z-wire available with Fischer OEM skins.

Any amount of rocker is a vast improvement over old skis and the soft nature of Hannibal’s tip accentuates flotation without robbing the ski of metal edge contact. I didn’t have these skis long enough to take ‘em on a tour, but their weight alone confirms they tour well, especially with a 2-pin toe. And the pointy shape of the tip means they’ll accept just about any skin tip loop, even, if you prefer, the Z-clip of K2′s skins thanks to a machined hole made for it.

In summary, Hannibal is a ski worth hunting down. There are a lot of classic ingredients to the construction making it a reliable and easy to control ski. It is responsive, doing every radius turn you need. It won’t get an Editor’s Choice from me or anyone else but it is absolutely a contender and in my top ten picks for a BC ski. Good luck finding a pair to demo though. Either you believe me or you don’t. If you flip a coin and heads says you trust and buy them, I trust you won’t be disappointed.

Fischer Sports
MSRP: $800
Sidecut: 131-100-117
Radius: 23m / 180cm
Lengths (cm): 170, 180, 190 cm

© 2014

  • mike

    So what is the editors choice? I was also looking at the voile v6, dynafit grand teton and k2 coomback…comparisons?

  • Dostie

    No editor’s choice here. I try to be as objective as possible with a subjective analysis of the pros and cons of gear reviewed. Hopefully the info helps you filter out the products that don’t apply to you versus the ones that do. There are too many personal factors that affect whether a ski is best for you based on weight, experience, style, location, etcetera. IOW – my personal choice may not be best for you. Cursory review of the Coomback is within the Fat Ski Demo day at Sugar Bowl post. Haven’t skied the Dynafit Grand. V6 to come.

  • Julin Maloof

    How do you think they would do for tele?

  • Dostie

    IME great skis are great skis for locked heel or free heel turns except for ultra stiff skis which are only good for hard snow with locked heels at warp speeds. IOW – such skis don’t rate for backcountry. The Hannibal should be a great ski for tele since it has a smooth, even flex.

  • Green Caribou

    Would you have any hesitation recommending these for Pacific Northwest conditions? Heavy, extrememly variable, deep and manky, lots of chunks. How would you compare these to a Dynastar Mystic, Armada, Kufo 103, or a Faction Agent 100? I’m not a big guy (5’8″, 165) so I’m not convinced I need a bigger ski than this.

  • Dostie

    No hesitation in using Hannibal in the PNW for myself. I have no idea how you ski, but sizewise we’re in the same ballpark. Can’t compare since I haven’t skied the others.

  • Green Caribou

    I am not an aggressive skier, more of a control guy: short to medium radius turns at moderate speeds, especially in steeper terrain. A lot of trees here, too. :)

  • Dave

    Thanks for the review. So what size did you ski and what is your weight/height? Did they feel like they skied long/short?

  • Dostie

    Skied the 180cm length ski which skied like a 180. The early rise is slow enough it doesn’t seem to make it ski short at all. Just skied a pair again today and they remain as versatile as indicated above.