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The 3rd* Annual BLISTER Awards, SIA

Blister Awards LogoPreface

Welcome to our 3rd* Annual BLISTER Awards roundup from SIA.

If you are a particularly sharp BLISTER reader, you might be thinking to yourself, Wait a minute. There was a 2nd BLISTER Awards?

There was. We just never got around to polishing it up and publishing it, because these things take forever, and we were scrambling to catch a plane to Japan with a million pairs of skis and boots and packs and everything else.

(Maybe someday, the 2nd Annual BLISTER Awards will make its way around the Internet like an underground bootleg, the equivalent of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, or Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album. That will probably happen, right?)

So this is the 3rd* BLISTER Awards, and we might drop a few 2nd BLISTER Awards references in here just so you don’t have to wait forever for that bootleg.

Also, this year’s Awards went a bit long, so we’re presenting them in several installments. Enjoy the first.

Intro

In the 1st BLISTER Awards, I wrote that, “If gear is your thing, then SIA is Heaven.”

For year number three, I’d put it this way:

If you are a manufacturer of anything related to snow sports, then SIA is Hell.

Seriously, these poor ski and snowboard and outerwear manufacturers. It’s a brutal show and PR schedule (first Outdoor Retailers in SLC, then SIA in Denver, then ISPO in Munich). Pulling off the logistics of all this—and for three different shows—is something you should be glad that you don’t have to do. We raise our glass to everyone involved in this ultra-marathon.

Also, just like the last two years, we once again skipped the SIA On Snow Demo. While the On Snow Demo makes a lot of sense for retailers who need to try to decide quickly which skis and boards they will and won’t carry next season, it’s still a lousy format for actually reviewing skis and boards. You get one or two runs, then you have to move on to the next one.

If our reviews have shown you anything, then hopefully by now you’d be extremely wary of anyone who would claim to know much of anything about a ski after only two runs on it. It’s not enough time to play with mount points. It’s not enough time to determine whether it’s the tune or the ski that you don’t like. It’s not enough time to adjust to this particular ski vs. that particular ski you just got done with.

It can be interesting to hop on a bunch of skis or boards in a given day, just don’t try to fool yourself or others into thinking that you can make significant pronouncements or hand out meaningful awards after one or two runs.

(And yes, this is how most of the review world still works.)

All right, without further ado, here is Part I of our spectacularly subjective musings about some things we saw at SIA.

 

31 Comments

  1. jstorrs February 7, 2013 Reply

    How about some Softgoods awards?

  2. Marcel February 7, 2013 Reply

    Did you guys check it out the slightly stiffer Blizzard Gunsmoke and the lighter Scout? What are your thoughts on both of them? Would the stiffer gunsmoke a contender agains the 115?

    • Will Brown February 7, 2013 Reply

      Hey Marcel,

      While I didn’t get the chance to take a close look at the new Gunsmoke or Scout, I will say that I don’t really see either of them as being in the same category as the 115. The Gunsmoke favors a more upright, light and centered stance (where the 115 can be skied from a more forward , aggressive position) and has more tail rocker than the 115. The new stiffer flex may make the Gunsmoke’s tails a bit more reliable, but in any case the 115 is going to feel more directional and less playful. Quest 115 = big mountain powder ski. Gunsmoke = surfy, very playful, backcountry jib ski. The Cochise (the Scout with metal laminate construction) is more big mountain oriented, but is less of a powder ski than the 115 at 108 underfoot. It has a longer turn radius, does great in light crud and chop, but wont float as well as the 115. That’s how I see the three differing. We look forward to getting on both the Scout and new Gunsmoke soon. Hope this helps!

      Will

  3. Blister Member
    Hannes February 7, 2013 Reply

    When I came across the Soul 7 footage that is already available on youtube since a couple of weeks, my immediate thought was that someone in their R&D department must have spent a significant amount of time on blister. Seriously, it just cannot be that all of Jonathan’s complaints and concerns on how much the tails of the S7/super7 sucked was not heard by someone at Rossi and this all happened by accident.

    Well, there is another possibility; some superior force said: “Well, ok Jonathan, I am going to fix your s7 super 7 problem. Yet, I’ll start messing around with the Bibby instead”.

    Can’t wait to read your first impressions on the new Rossi lineup and please when publishing pictures, choose one where Jonathan is grinning from ear to ear while skiing the new super 7…

    • Author

      I was told that Rossi had at least a few people interested in an update, including Dan Treadway. So who knows, and let’s just say, Good going, Dan!

      As for your notion that a Superior Force is messing with me, well, that does seem like the most plausible explanation.

  4. Fraser Judd February 8, 2013 Reply

    If anyone at Blister doesn’t feel like hiking up 50000 m of vert to test the new Dynafit Beast 16 AT Binding, well then I’m your man! Looks like a compelling choice for the new breed of backcountry huckers. Perfect for those who want to ride at Revelstoke Mountain Resort when the Avi is high, and then head of to Rogers Pass when things calm down a bit. It would be nice to be able to hit the big drops in the BC without worrying about premature release. Hopefully it will have some serious pre-sales testing to ensure it does release properly.

    Then again, maybe being the first to test a new kind of binding isn’t such a great idea?

  5. NV Matt February 8, 2013 Reply

    I demoed a Soul 7 today. It was the first time I’ve ever skied any of the Rossi S-series skis. Unfortunately, conditions weren’t great (a few inches of dust on crust) and it was 180 cm length (I’m 6’1″/185# and would’ve preferred the 188). Those caveats aside, it felt pretty stable despite the light weight and short length. It was snappy and super easy to throw around. I’d be interested in the larger version.

  6. Tom February 8, 2013 Reply

    Any more detailed information on the El Capo? Turn Radius? Is it a short 185 or true 185 in length? That ski has me very interested as well.

    • Magnus Alexandersson February 8, 2013 Reply

      I’ve skied the El Capo for a day in piste. It’s a big, stiff and strong ski. Felt like a big Mantra that wanted to be skied fast and aggressively. Despite this, it turned easily due to the tip rocker and could be smeared in the icy piste.

      It just jumped on top of boilet plate but that might be expexted. All in all, not my kind of ski.

      It dove for another skier during a powder day and required quite a lot of weight on the tail not to dive in the pow.

      • Author

        Hmmm, felt like a big mantra? You’re not dissuading me, Magnus, especially since I wouldn’t regard this as a pow ski (as I don’t regard the Cochise as a pow ski), but more of a variable / chop ski. Thanks for the feedback!

        • Magnus Alexandersson February 9, 2013 Reply

          Of course not, I just thought it felt like a big, stiff ski. From the day in the pistes of Chamonix I had with it, I thought it felt a bit like a tank, mowing through chop and becoming a handful on more icy patches. Definitely wanted a firm driver and wanted to go crazy fast when railing groomers.

          Personally, I thought it was a little too much ski for me but there’s two layers of metal and 107 under foot to you… :)

          Also, I think it was the 193 cm version I skied.

  7. Kevin February 8, 2013 Reply

    Per usual a great article, but I was wondering, wouldn’t the experience 98 be better with some carbon fiber in it for its stiffness instead of the heavy titanal??? I actual was kinda waiting for an update like that…

    • Author

      I could see that, Kevin, but I personally wouldn’t want to see the titanal removed for carbon stringers. I think it would feel like a pretty different ski—lighter, yes, but almost certainly less damp. Might improve the E98’s all-mountain game, but it’s just so much fun to rip these on edge at speed over smooth or rough groomers, I wouldn’t want to tinker with the formula. Mostly, I just need to get back on this ski soon.

      • Kevin February 9, 2013 Reply

        Thanks, Im studying engineering so I’m really interested in the dynamics of the skis, so that was a really helpful reply!! :)
        I just finished a fantastic week of skiing in the French alps (Paradiski, La Plagne), with about 2 foot of fresh powder, on my new Rossignol Squad 7’s, which I bought thanks to the fantastic reviews on this fantastic site ;)
        These ski’s are absolutely amazing!!! They’re perfect for the French alps, they ski well in chopped up snow in the beginning of a route, then they absolutely charge the open fresh powder, and when you arrive at the tree line they still are super!
        They also handle really good on the slopes, especially short turns. One thing though, I suddenly have the sides of my legs bruised up because of the effort it takes to put them on the edges on the slopes :) , good thing I work out up to 4 times a week!
        After skiing powder on Rossi 9s for a long time and then full camber twin tip Blizzard Titan Chronus for about the last 8 years, I notices I had to change my technique completely! No more backseat skiing! I wiped out the back about 3 times this week :) mostly on harder snow, but I like it because on the slopes I’m used to pressure the front a while lot.
        There is only one thing I really didn’t like about these skis, when on very icy slopes, when turning/slipping they would start flapping very violently!! Maybe it has to do with the edges I’ve set, at 0.75 base (which im going to change to 0.5, I think) and 2 side angle????
        but overall, I’m in love :)
        Do you guys sometimes ski in Europe??? I’d love to join if possible :)

        • Kevin February 9, 2013 Reply

          Oh yeah and one more thing, those squad 7’s turn on a dime in powder, which absolutely awesome for the technical routes!! :p

  8. Tommy February 9, 2013 Reply

    I am shocked the bibby pro has changed. Dear moment: no paulownia ever again. The weight savings gains you what? Nothing! We can all loose two pounds off our fat asses or stop being such massive VJJs and we will be able to rock the OG bibby pro for more vert than whatever that paulownia noodle saves us.

    • Author

      Now c’mon, Tommy – you sound almost as bad as me. I think for everyone out there who felt like the 190 Bibbys were too much ski, this could be a good thing. And for the rest of us … well, we ought to ski them first. Hopefully we will be able to let you know ASAP.

      • Tommy February 11, 2013 Reply

        Unfortunately for me, while the new bibby might be better than the original, the 190 length is perfect. I don’t want it to be wider…but could deal with that. Longer or shorter? No thanks. I think we’ve seen enough of paulownia in skis over the past few years to know one thing: it just isn’t as damp as other core materials. Frankly I’m selfish with my infatuation with the original bibby so I just don’t care if Josh Bibby himself wanted another ski. The obvious solution is giving him a second ski AND keeping the original in the line up.

        So…I’ve gone ahead and purchased another pair of the 12/13 bibbys, knowing they’ll have to last me until they are brought back (an inevitable conclusion to this story).

  9. Rwb February 9, 2013 Reply

    What about the Black Diamond Megawatt? Is this years model the golden goose or should we be frothing to jump on next years model?

    • Author

      Good question. But my understanding is that the changes to the Megawatt are subtle, the ski has been lightened up a little bit. But we’ll look to get on the 13/14s to see exactly how similar or different these are.

  10. BPF February 11, 2013 Reply

    Looking forward to trying the new bibby. loved the 190, hopefully it hasn’t changed TOO much

    any news on the k2 boots? Blister’s thoughts on them?

  11. TKK February 11, 2013 Reply

    damn the night trains and ghost chants are gone too. now we get the ghost train. i’m not so sure moment should have tweaked three of there best skis or gotten rid of them.

  12. Tommy February 12, 2013 Reply

    Didn’t get a chance on the new Bibby, but the Exit World feels just as stiff if not slightly stiffer. The ride is definitely damper than the current Bibby and perhaps some changes will be made before production. Honestly, I felt the Exit World could use more carbon fiber to add more pop. Doesn’t feel quite as lively as the Bibby.

    As far as the Ghost Train, that ski is the tits! Didn’t get it in fresh snow, but felt plenty stable on it at high speeds everywhere else.

  13. M van February 13, 2013 Reply

    I took note of the big changes w/the Moment line up, including the ghost chant/night train mating, the more powder oriented Bibby, the reworked Belafonte and Tahoe, the newly redone Governor which was itself just redone and now the Exit World.. Many seem to have some portion of the Death Wish’s multiple sections of minicamber. As someone commented above. paulonia is great in ultralight bc skis ( I have a 5 1/2 lb ski though it is only 83cm wide and has a definite, i.e. low, speed limit and range, qualities not normally associated with Moment). What was the thinking driving these changes and when will you get your hands on these models? Thanks

    • Author

      Pretty simply, Moment liked the dirty mustache rocker enough on the Deathwish to add it to the Belafonte and Tahoe. The Paulownia was a result of the fact that they were touring a lot on the Bibby Pros, and decided to lighten it up – 1/2 a lb. per ski. As for when we will review the new lineup, hopefully as soon as possible.

  14. AK February 26, 2013 Reply

    Any more details on the Redster Pro 120?

    After trying a variety of boots this year I have come to realize that I am one of those people who likes a bit more forward lean than current boots offer (other than when standing in line!) Given that the Redster seems to be one of the only boots that offers this feature, it is on my short list.

    Does the Pro 120 have a different boot board or other features that make it more of a ‘freeride” boot? I know Atomic offered three stiffness options in the 110/130 boot board anyway so I am curious what, if any, differences there are between the red 110/130 “race” boot and next years 120?

    As always, thanks for the great reviews of next year’s gear!!

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