Fischer Transalp Hannibal & 88 — Ski Quiver Arrows of the Week


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 4, 2014      
Quite the graphics. Also looks like they ski well.

Quite the graphics. Also looks like they ski well. Hannibal at bottom, Transalp 88 at top. Some of the lighter weight skis we’ve had cross our threshold.

That was quite the shindig last winter at ISPO, when Fischer debuted their Transalp touring ski and boot lineup (bindings too, but they were a yawner).

We got this winter’s test samples in just a few days ago. First look:

The first thing you notice with Fischer Transalp skis is the stunning if not overstated graphics. I like the white and light colors of course, along with windows exposing what is ostensibly the core. Lack of sidewalls gives these planks an elegant feel in the hand, and is said to reduce weight by allowing the cross-section to use less material.

Windows into core world. You could get lost in there. Black is carbon stringers.

Windows into core world. You could get lost in there. Black is carbon stringers.

These guys do feel light on the biceps test. Reality is Hannibal (131/100/117, 180 cm, 179 cm cord length) masses at 1399 grams, and that is good stuff. Few of the 180 cm skis we’ve evaluated over the years can beat those stats. As to weight vs surface area, as of today Hannibal scores as the 10th lightest we’ve measured of about 60 skis, in the same class as another well known brand’s carbon offering. In other words, these things are feathers with perfect metrics for human powered ski touring. At an MSRP of $699.99? Excellent.

Thus, one has to admit there is something to Fischer’s claim that their no sidewall “Aeroshape” construction reduces weight, as these planks still have full wrap steel edges at the tip, with tail edges terminating in traditional fashion at the tail protector.

Hannibal flex is supple (powder couch!) with moderate rocker at the tip and a dose at the tail. Specifically, the tip rocker terminates at about 38 mm from the tip with ski on flat surface.

Tip and tail rocker on the Hannibal.

Tip and tail rocker on the Hannibal.

My only gripe in this first look? Both Hannibal and 88 are stickered as “Made in Ukraine,” my least favorite country in the world, where so many hack attacks and content scraping attempts originate I ended up blocking the whole country (if you’re from Ukraine and not a hacker, contact me and I’ll whitelist you. Perhaps you work in the factory where the Fischer skis are made?)

Let’s do an about face and talk about the Transalp 88 (yep, 88 mm waist). Using the same Aeroshape cross section, the 88s come in at a weight/surface score of 73 (range at this time is 60 to 108). That’s still on the good side of our chart, excellent in fact, though not quite as efficient a platform as Hannibal. But check out the weight/length, 9th on our list and right in there with other super-light carbon skis, some of which are pricey.

Transalp 88 is of course your more classic European touring ski. No real rocker, just a slow rise tip and perhaps a tiny bit of tail rise compared to trad geometry. A bit more sidecut (radius 19 meters) and moderately stiff. Like I said, classic. I’d take them on an Alps ski traverse any week of the year. Our 177 cm Transalp 88 testers average at 1303 grams, 123/88/111.

Binding area announces reinforcement, has cutaway under mid-boot.

Binding area announces reinforcement, has cutaway under mid-boot.

Hannibal and Transalp 88 boast a cutaway in the binding platform, ostensibly to reduce weight. Binding reinforcement area is touted with the topskin words “Titanium Binding Reinforcement” and an odd pattern I assume is designed to accommodate most touring bindings. The silver geometric pattern in the photos appears to be part of the graphics, not a window into the actual reinforcement which I suspect is larger than indicated. In any case, I dummied up some different binding mounts and all seemed to fit within the confines of the labeled area. Drilling effort will tell the tale and I’ll report back; am not yet sure what I’ll mount on these.

This winter is the year of climbing skins. Several varieties of “glueless” skins are coming out, and we’ve got lines such as Montana and Pomoca constantly tweaking their glue, plush and attachments systems. (What’s more, I’ve heard some amazing rumors about skins that weigh about half what we’re all used to — but those probably won’t be retailing for a while). Precut skins rebranded by Fischer are sourced from Kohla, adhesive is a sort of hybrid glueless “vacuum” technology that appears quite nice, easy to handle. All Transalp skis have a proprietary skin fix at the tip with conventional buckle and notch at the tail (hopefully slip free). The tip fix is elegant, a simple shaped hook that cams into the tip hole in similar fashion to the K2 system.

Skin attachment hole with no skin, machined from alu tip insert.

Skin attachment hole with no skin, machined from alu tip insert.

Skin mount hole in tip, with skin attached.

Skin mount hole in tip, with skin attached.

Skin tip.

Skin tip.

Bingo.

Bingo.

Our Transalp evaluation skis are a nice package of looks, lightness, and sweet flex. Indeed, yet another “one kilo” class ski lineup puts the truth to our assertion that backcountry skis have reached a new level of lightweight. Mount up and go, that’s my agenda! You can shop for these guys at our advertising partner 8k Peak Technologies.



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Comments

50 Responses to “Fischer Transalp Hannibal & 88 — Ski Quiver Arrows of the Week”

  1. Sam F November 4th, 2014 9:03 am

    Still can’t understand the North American obsession of a super wide light ski. I’m sure they great fun in certain conditions, but there are countless other variables such as edge hold, skin weight, skinning ability, and the fact that100mmski is going to put significantly more torque on those two narrow little heel pins on steep hard snow.

    I don’t think it’s any great surprise that in places were race style tech bindings, and rando boots are a common mode of travel, no body really skis wide skis

  2. Fraser November 4th, 2014 9:20 am

    Sam… It all depends where you ski. Touring in the BC interior and your up to your waist on skinny skis. Breaking trail is easier on wider skis cause you don’t sink as much. Edge hold is almost never an issue, and when it is I just have to be a little more carful. Skin weight and is not really an issue for me as the dozen extra calories I’ll burn hauling them up will mean another beer required to compensate! The touring in NA seems to be more centred on fun and less so about speed or racing up the mountain. Way more fun to ski down through deep powder on a wide set of planks.

    I rode in Japan 10 years ago on a set of 98 mm skis and they were much too narrow. I’d come to a dead stop in mellower terrain! Since then I’ve been back 5 times on a 140 cm waisted ski and had way more fun.

    Another reason is if you happen to ride with snowboarders. In deep powder you’ll have no chance to keep up unless you’re riding some pudgy planks.

    If I wanted to ski hard snow, I’d go to the ski resort…

  3. David November 4th, 2014 10:39 am

    I’ve got several pairs of Fischers in my Alpine quiver so will be interested to see how they ski compared to other lightweights – in looking for an ~100mm touring ski I certainly like the price being a couple hundred less than most other lightweights.

    Curious that your Hannibal 100 came in at 100g lighter than specifications though (spec is 1500gm per your link to 8K Peak). Specially hand picked sample for you or real world production run weight??

    Also interested in review of the Kohla skins – never really heard of them before.

  4. Sam F November 4th, 2014 10:42 am

    Again, you are discribing a very specific set of conditions. I ski in one of the more powdery spots in the interior west. So I get what your saying. I’m just saying that there is far more to an all mountain touring than a simple measure of width to weight.

    And in regards to the skin weight, why spend thousand of dollars on light boots bindings and skis with out any concern for the significant increase in weight of wider skins. And that doesn’t even take into account the lack of skinning preformance of wide rockered in all but really deep powder. In real life an 88 with light boots and dynafits skins great in powder.

  5. David November 4th, 2014 10:54 am

    And Lou (or others):
    I know you don’t have the Hannibal 94 but thoughts on those vs the 100’s for quiver of one touring ski?

  6. Mike Marolt November 4th, 2014 11:44 am

    I think that when comparing the 94 to the 100, the difference in soft snow is definitely in favor of the 100, but it’s not a massive difference. Both ski great in soft snow / powder. However, for me personally, my main ski is the 94 because it is more dynamic in variable conditions and hard snow. Both hold incredibly well on hard snow and ice, but the 94 seems a bit more stable and is just more precise. But it’s crazy how light they are and how well they track and hold on hard snow. I have not skied on other light weight skis that hold like these which is nice for some of the high altitude skiing we do where it is rough and icy.

  7. Fraser November 4th, 2014 12:07 pm

    Because skinning is a means to an end, not the focus of the activity.

  8. Sam F November 4th, 2014 12:11 pm

    I got a chance to ski the 94s last year on a bad day on snow king, after the hill climb. They do have very good hard snow preformance, I was surprised. I’d consider the transalps too though I tend to prefer a longer sidecut in scary places

  9. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 12:13 pm

    I’d say there are lots of things about North America that are hard to understand, drop that to the lower 48 and AK, excluding Canada, and it gets even more mysterious. We are a mysterious people. Lou

  10. Sam F November 4th, 2014 12:16 pm

    I used to think skinning was a means to an end, then I realized that BC skiing is actually 90 walking. So I quit telemarking.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 12:26 pm

    Telemarking was the height of our mystery as a people.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 12:26 pm

    At least wide skis make sense.

  13. Sam F November 4th, 2014 1:20 pm

    Not to long ago 90 was wide. I guess maybe I’m a two quiver guy. A mid fat and a powder ski, and once my snowboarding ability reaches a certain point, I probably won’t even own powder skis, and I’ll use Verts(which kick ass!), or boot pack on the deep days.

    Regardless from my limited experiAnce I think Fischer did a great job with their line up, and I will probably buy a pair of the 94’s. They are very well made from what I can tell, the top sheet is the right shape and color, they ski better than anything else I tried in that weight class. I thought the TX 87 was very nice as well, but black is not my first choice for a corn ski

  14. Charlie Hagedorn November 4th, 2014 2:59 pm

    @Sam – when I got my 105mm skis, which aren’t even that light (Hombres, same footprint as the ZenOxide), I was sure I’d only use them on powder days and in the resort. I regularly use skis that span 70mm race skis to 127mm powder boards, but if I can only take one pair anywhere in all conditions, it’s the 105.

    Good float when trailbreaking and when skiing garbage snow can make you very fast in conditions where a skinny ski will founder. The true genius of a fat ski is its performance in trap crust.

    A lighter, but bombproof, 105mm ski is extremely attractive to this North American. I keep waiting to see how light skis can go before they start breaking regularly in the backcountry.

  15. Peter November 4th, 2014 3:09 pm

    Lou, when you drill these, I’d love someone to take a look at the metal shavings and let us know if it’s really Titanium. I’ll bet you a stack of nickels it’s actually Titanal (which has no Titanium in it) and someone got the copy for the graphics wrong (again).

  16. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 3:26 pm

    Hi Peter, any tips on how I can tell the difference? I know real Titanium will be quite difficult to drill through in comparison unless it’s thin… ideas? Thanks, Lou

  17. jbo November 4th, 2014 5:58 pm

    Hey Lou, what criteria are you using to divide ‘real rocker’ from ‘slow rise’? Seems like one of the most ambiguous areas in ski design/marketing. The sticker on the Transalp calls it rocker, it must be so!

    I think Movement is onto something with their rocker scale system, numbered up to 12. Somewhat akin to boot flex ratings that are meaningless across brands but maybe tell you something.

    Agree with above sentiments on how well these ski.

  18. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 6:19 pm

    Jbo, I’m pretty ambiguous, it’s like something else defined once upon a time by the highest court in the land “you know it when you see it.” I suppose I could try to quantify, but what with the different shapes of ski tips and such that seems like something for a gear review website, not a blog (grin). Lou

  19. Jeffrey Rogers November 4th, 2014 6:47 pm

    Lou/Mike,

    Can you elaborate on your thoughts of the fischer ambition 12 vs a dynafit binding? These skis would be super light with a dynafit, but i seem to lean towards the ambition. I am going to Denali to ski the west butt May 2015 and would love to hear what you guys have to say.

  20. Jeffrey Rogers November 4th, 2014 6:48 pm

    Also, I am bringing the Hannibal 94 177cm, with spirit 3s.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 November 4th, 2014 7:10 pm

    Ambition appears to be a knock-off of a Fritschi. It might even be made by Fritschi. I’ve not seen or heard of enough in action to get a read on reliability and performance. I’d suggest something tried and true. If you’re trending to a frame binding consider a Fritschi Freeride, tried and true. As for tech bindings, it’s a big complex world out there right now, but if you have time to ski something all winter you could go the early adopter route and be a guinea pig on the ION, Radical 2.0, Kingpin, etc. Heck, we’re always looking for guest bloggers! Lou

  22. Charlie Hagedorn November 4th, 2014 7:13 pm

    A few ways to tell: Titanium throws off white sparks when ground, burns white-hot if you have a torch that’s hot enough, and is much harder than aluminum (Mohs hardness 6 vs 3).

    Googling ‘how to tell the difference between aluminum and titanium’ turns up some reasonable references.

    Titanal will be harder than unalloyed aluminum, but probably still softer than Ti. If the chips can’t scratch any Ti you have sitting around, but other Ti can, they’re probably Titanal.

    Ti cuts like stainless steel; thin sheets of it won’t be a problem for a ski drill, though Titanal of equal thickness will drill much more easily.

  23. Jeffrey Rogers November 4th, 2014 7:15 pm

    Ill be sure to guest blog for you guys.

    Also, ski crampons are useless or useful on the west butt route? We will be flying out May 10-13th.

    P.S. I have just started reading your posts on skiing Denali, Congrats!

  24. Greg Louie November 4th, 2014 9:57 pm

    Peter, Titanal does have a tiny amount of titanium in it, usually .25% . . . but yes, virtually all skis that advertise “titanium” content are actually incorporating Titanal layers.

  25. See November 4th, 2014 10:28 pm

    As cores get thinner at the edges and sidewalls are mostly underfoot, I bet the layer between the p-tex and the core is interesting.

  26. Greg Louie November 4th, 2014 10:40 pm

    Actually, Peter, it seems to depend on which source you believe – Austria Metall AG doesn’t actually give the composition of Titanal on their site, while other online sources give Titanium contents of zero, .25% and .5% (in addition to aluminum, zinc, copper, magnesium and zirconium crystals). A couple sources mention the addition of a tiny amount of titanium helping with the crystalline alignment of the alloy. So you may be right about the composition, but are certainly right about the material typically used in skis not deserving the name “titanium.”

  27. MorganW November 5th, 2014 3:33 am

    So the Hannibal comes in a 179 and a 180 cm….hmm which one to get?

    :p

  28. Ru November 5th, 2014 4:12 am

    Morgan: manufacturer listed length and actual chord lengths generally differ. Both the figures you quoted are for the same ski. “:p”

  29. Fra November 5th, 2014 4:53 am

    Hi Lou. I wait for your real world test!
    Did you weighted 170cm 88?

  30. Martin November 5th, 2014 5:21 am

    Regarding the Ambition binding: Its actually made by Tyrolia and part of their new AAA-lineup. Tyrolia is part of the HTM (Head Tyrolia Mares) Group. The bindings are also available with Head, Fischer or Elan branding.

    Hey Lou, as you also know the Alps and ‘our’ style of touring very well: Would you rather take the Transalp or the Hannibal 94 when deep powder days are few, but hard/difficult snow, steep slopes, spring conditions and booting with the skis on the back are plenty?

    Martin

  31. Martin November 5th, 2014 5:32 am

    One more question: So the precut skins are glueless, like the Kohla Vacuum Base skins? That would be one more reason to try these skis.

  32. Lou Dawson 2 November 5th, 2014 9:04 am

    Yes, they _are_ Kohla Vacuum, rebranded. Pretty sticky, not sure I really like calling these things “glueless,” but for lack of a better term. Test is a rub the skin in my hair for a while, and see how it behaves. These had no problem with the hair test, didn’t hurt at all. Lou

  33. Mike Marolt November 5th, 2014 10:10 am

    Regarding the Ambition 12, we had been on Fritche for years, then made the switch to Dynafit Radical over the past couple years. However, when we got on the Ambition 12, the combination of the binding which is significantly lighter than Fritche when mounted on the Fischer Hannibal ski gave us a set up that was lighter than our previous set up, Folsom Custom ATX and Dynafit Radical. So we have the total convenience of a full on step in binding with security of DIN 12, and reliability all the way around on par with standard bindings. Other benefits are that the Ambition has a super high climbing peg which adds to the convenience. After a couple years on Dynafit, that benefit alone more than made up for the difference in weight. While the Ambition is lighter than the Fritche, it is obviously not as light as a tech binding. We weigh in at around 180 pounds and especially on hard snow and ice, the Ambition 12 is a pure AT binding that easily accommodates side country and even in bounds skiing if needed. It’s very versatile. We will take them to the Himalaya this winter without hesitation. It’s not something that you would race on, but for other AT skiing, it’s a proven product that is light, durable, and very convenient. I personally have never been completely sold on tech bindings in general for a variety of reasons, and the Ambition 12 is a super and very pleasant addition to what’s available these days.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 November 5th, 2014 10:41 am

    Martin, I’d trend to the 94… one of my all-time favorite skis for quiver-of-one has been the Wailer 99, and I like the Dynafit Denali as well, at 97 waist — I really like the widths around 100 mm at waist, but if the ski is light and wide, for places with known powder I indeed prefer wider with rocker, it’s just so fun. Lou

  35. Jeffrey Rogers November 5th, 2014 6:43 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the ambitions. The heel lock down worries me, as the plastic seems like it could wear over time and result in slop when the heel is locked down. If you have not experienced this then Ill trust they will work fine over seasons of use. Will let you know how they work on Denali this May.

  36. Lou Dawson 2 November 5th, 2014 8:25 pm

    Sheesh Jeffery, you’d better let us know how they work _before_ Denali!

  37. Jeffrey Rogers November 6th, 2014 1:29 am

    Ill be too busy touring to post. Ha!

  38. quelebu November 6th, 2014 1:48 pm

    Was decided that I’d get new skis this season and they’d be Waybacks (88 or 96), but now this! Could the Hannibal 94 be a similarly versatile ski but with a significant weight saving? Or do those extra couple of hundred grams per ski make the Waybacks a better quiver of one? Anyone out there skied both? I’m in the Pyrenees so more firm conditions and difficult snow than powder – but when the powder’s there I wanna enjoy it of course!

  39. stevenjo November 10th, 2014 5:25 pm

    The Hannibal, along with a great number of other skis was on the list this year to fill a hole as a daily-driver. I ended up purchasing the Movement Shift which is very similar, 98mm underfoot, with the medium rocker tip, whatever you take that to mean. The 177 weighs in at low 1400ish grams, though, I have yet to verify that weight. There were some many offerings in 100-105 waist width and sub 1500grams this year it was difficult to choose. For better or worse the industry seems to have decided this is the sweet spot in an all around touring ski. Certainly there are disadvantages on edge control with firm snow, but I think the advantages in soft snow, chop/crud, and especially mashed potato conditions at the bottom of a late spring descent tend to make up for it

  40. Lou Dawson 2 November 10th, 2014 5:41 pm

    Quelebu, K2 is a very very sweet ski. It is tried and true…. Lou

  41. quelebu November 11th, 2014 2:01 am

    thanks guys…think I’ll stick with plan A. I remember getting the first generation seven summits and they delaminated, tried and tested is always good, Waybacks it is.

  42. Scott Nelson December 11th, 2014 8:08 pm

    Tested the Trans Alp 88 177cm on Highlands today. Installed ST Verts and wore Dynafit Ones. I’ve shrunk to 5’6″ and weigh in at 165. Just some initial thoughts here.

    Skis are pretty light feeling for its dimensions. Felt pretty good on the up, early rise tips stayed up in the ungroomed stuff I tried to find. 88mm underfoot tended to punch through, but most stuff does in unconsolidated sugar. Convex tops seem to shed dry cold snow pretty well. Sidehilled well on a few skitchey traverses I did.

    I had a feeling that they would be fun skis coming down, albeit everything I skied was groomed. First thing I noticed was how damp they felt. Great edge hold, seems that there is an abs sidewall just looking at the skis. Quick turner. Loves short to med radius turns. Handles speed well too, at least on groomers.

    More testing to come. Compared to the K2 Wayback / Talkback, seem to ski pretty similarly. Trans Alps feel lighter (and are based on Lou’s weights) and a bit more damp and quick turning. Fun skis for sure.

  43. quelebu December 12th, 2014 2:04 am

    Thanks Scott for comparison…I actually am 5’6″ and 165lbs too(!) I had a look at the TransAlps 88 in Telemark Pyrenees last week, lovely skis. In the end decided to stick with original plan and bought K2 Wayback 88’s (167 length to save a little weight, though they measure about 170). Re-mounted my ST vert’s on them. I was tempted to try the Neo boot (which is the “One” replacement) and was so impressed I bought that too…seems we ski a similar set-up.

    Not enough snow here in my part of the Pyrenees (yet) to try them.

  44. Scott Nelson December 12th, 2014 8:21 am

    Quelebu- nice setup. Yes, we must be very similar. The Waybacks are great. You’ll be happy. Hope snow starts falling where you are soon!

  45. Brian peters March 13th, 2016 5:26 pm

    I recently bought a pair of the Hannibal 100 180cm. I am also a telemark skier, but live in the Tetons n only tour. I can honestly say this ski is the best ski I have ever been on. Day 1 included skiing a 3000′ north facing chute with pow at the top, but we hit the rain line at the choke and steepest part of the couloir. It was easy to swing around grip when making hop turns on the steep icy snow. Day 2 was another 4000′ run started out as pow and turned to corn at the bottom. Day 3 was 7500′ of east facing sun warmed pow, south facing mank and north facing roller ball isothermal snow. The ski handled it all well and it’s light weight allowed me to skate across the lake 3 miles back to the t.h. If u r a ski tourer looking for a light weight ski that will handle most all conditions and give u confidence when making hop turns above massive exposure in hard snow conditions-buy this ski you will not be disappointed.

  46. Lou Dawson 2 March 13th, 2016 6:44 pm

    Thanks Brian!

  47. David March 14th, 2016 11:47 am

    Hi Brian and Lou,
    I’m also interested in getting a pair of Hannibal 100s and was wondering about size since i’ve never skied a rocker ski before. I’m coming from a classic 170cm, 82 underfoot touring ski. How much “shorter” should a ski like this feel and would you recommend I size up? I’m 5″8 135 lbs. Thanks!

  48. Lou Dawson 2 March 14th, 2016 3:16 pm

    Hi David, you are between sizes on the ski in my opinion. 170 might be slightly too short, but 180 sounds long unless you want a real freeride ski, and in that case it could be perfect. What’s your style of riding? Can you demo any skis? Lou

  49. David March 14th, 2016 3:50 pm

    Thanks Lou, I generally make short radius turns and like steep terrain though I’ve never skied on fat skies before. I don think i can demo the skis but it sounds like I should maybe go for the 170s. I also just read a report where someone compared a 170 Hannibal with a 178 DPS Wailer and that person claimed the Hannibal skied longer than the DPS. Regards David

  50. Lou Dawson 2 March 14th, 2016 3:52 pm

    I think the 170 would be ok unless you are a powder pilgrim. Lou

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