Blizzard Skis 2018
Blizzard have been producing very impressive skis over the last several years, especially when they launched their new freeride line back in 2011 which incorporates Flipcore technology. For 2018 Blizzard, have made some big changes/improvements to their traditional freeride line.
Traditional Freeride Line
Both the Blizzard Bonafide and Brahma have had their radius reduced (Bonafide from 21m in 180cm down to 18m), this gives both models a snappier, more user-friendly feel. The tip shape has been altered so it is more aggressive, like a race ski it looks much sharper, giving a more definite turn initiation and improved edge grip. The Rocker profiles on both models have been refined increasing their hardpack performance. From hand flexing the Bonafide and Brahma against the old models the skis feel about 10% softer, but for those who loved their predecessors don’t panic, these are still some of the burliest out there.
I spent solid time on the new 2018 Blizzard Brahma in Canada this February and can say the ski feels much more rounded than its predecessor. The slightly softer flex let me bend the ski into shorter radius turns while the tighter sidecut automatically turned the ski with ease. I felt much more comfortable on the new Brahma in a variety of conditions from firm ice to boot top pow, whereas on the old version I only really enjoyed the ski on firmer groomers at with some pace.
The Blizzard Cochise is unchanged since 2015, again I spent most of my time in Canada on this ski, it’s one of my all-time favourites. Very damp and stable at high speeds, you can get it to carve on-trail but that’s not what is made for. It’s my go to ski for all snow types you encounter here in NZ when skiing freeride conditions. All three models are hard chargers for more experienced skiers looking for top performance, although the new models are easier to handle. The Cochise 108mm, Bonafide 98mm and Brahma 88mm are still made with two sheets of metal, carbon tip and tails and a popular-beech wood core.
Blizzard Rustler 10
Brand new to Blizzard’s 2018 ski range is the Rustler 10 and Rustler 11. The Rustler series are true freeride skis with a rockered semi-twin tail. These skis are light with a ISO-Paulownia-Balsa-Poplar-Beech wood core and D.R.T technology (Dynamic Release Technology). D.R.T is essentially a layer of titanal that covers the width of the ski under foot but narrows out towards the tip and tail making the ends of the ski lighter, softer and overall more playful. These skis fun, smeary if you want, grippy on an edge and yet light enough to mount with a tech binding. At Gnomes, we are stocking the Rustler 10 (102-104mm under foot) as this is more suited for New Zealand conditions.
Blizzard Black Pearl
The Blizzard Black Pearl has created quite the following over the years with female skiers and for good reason. The Black Pearl is now a series of skis that is offered in different waist widths (78, 88 and 98mm), we have picked out the Black Pearl 88 for our ski rack as it’s the clear winner. The new version has had the radius reduced for ease of turn while the new more aggressive tip shape helps for better turn initiation. Instead of two sheets of titanal like the men’s versions you will find a Carbon layer which reduces weight and gives a more progressive flex. The Black Pearl 88 is for the women skier looking to ski all the terrain on mountain on all snow conditions.
Blizzard Zero G
The Zero G Range is Blizzard’s touring series that is very lightweight for their widths. The Carbon Drive technology plays an important part in the skis construction, reducing weight while delivering power direct to the edges. These skis are built with Carbon Drive, ‘Super’ lightweight fibre glass and Paulownia wood core. The Blizzard Zero G 95 weighs in at 1280g/ski in 178cm, for a ski this light they still handle amazingly well in all conditions.