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2013-2014 Blizzard Cochise, 185cm

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Cochise, Blister Gear Review

13/14 Blizzard Cochise

Ski: 2013-2014 Blizzard Cochise, 185cm

Dimensions (mm): 135-108-123

Turn Radius: 28.5 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.2cm

Weight Per Ski: 2,250 g / 4.9 lbs.

Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130s / Marker Jester / (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: Factory Recommended

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 5

(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Cochise, which is unchanged for 12/13 and 13/14, except for the graphics.)

Some skis are easy to write about, and some aren’t.

Recently, I reviewed the Line Influence 115, and that was an example of a really straightforward ski to review; the strengths of the 115 are obvious, and it is really simple to identify the sort of skier who would (or wouldn’t) be stoked on it.

Then there’s the Blizzard Cochise.

When it’s all said and done, I really like this ski and think that a lot of other people will, too. But the story of the Cochise is a little complicated, and the first complicating factor is this business of Blizzard’s “Flip Core” technology.

On the face of it, Flip Core seems like the simplest thing in the world to understand. Here’s Blizzard’s own explanation:

Flip Core is “a new production process where the cambered wood core is literally flipped upside down to match the desired camber of a rockered ski. The ski is then pressed in a non-forced, natural way, which allows the rocker (reverse-cambered) shape to be produced without having to bend or artificially shape the ski in a press.”

Got that?

You sure?

The longer we’ve thought about it, the less obvious it’s become, and we’re now a bit fixated with Flip Core. Mostly, we’re just trying to understand exactly what the hell it is, and why the hell it allegedly makes a significant difference.

Originally, I was going to hash out some of this in a brief little section in this Cochise review.

But we are way beyond that now. (As in, ‘thousands-of-words-beyond-that’ now.) So instead, I’m not going to mention Flip Core again in this review, and we are going to be posting soon an article dedicated to this whole Flip Core business.

Ok, let’s get back to talking about the Cochise….

What surprised me about the Blizzard Cochise on my first day on it at Taos was that this is a very manageable, undemanding ski.

I was assuming that the Cochise would be a burly ski that really required you to stay on top of it, or else you would get into trouble and get taken for a ride. But not so much. At least for advanced and expert skiers, it’s an easy, maneuverable ski that has a large sweet spot.

68 Comments

  1. Tom January 23, 2012 Reply

    Great job on your reviews! I’m about to pull the trigger on some new boards, as I need a more versatile ski for off trail. I am currently on a Blizzard Titan series that I have loved on groomers, but am left wanting when it gets deeper. I ski primarily Northwestern resorts in WA and OR. Here is my challenge: I am six foot seven and 230 lbs, but consider myself expert/advanced. My size demands certain considerations in a ski, but most skis are not targeted for skiers my size. I love big steep bowls. Tree skiing is fun, but at my height, can be tricky. I am considering the Cochise at 190, but am also intrigued with your write up on the PBJ. Are they at all similar? I am also considering a wider ski like the Bibby Pro at 190, and am wondering if you have reviewed the Blizzard Bodacious. Do you have any way to compare these two at this time? I appreciate any advice and incite. Please don’t recommend an S7 as I am looking for a bit stiffer tail. Again, thanks for what you guys do. I’ve seen nothing out there as good!

    • Author

      Hey, Tom, thanks for the kind words.

      Couple of thoughts: you say you like big, steep bowls, but are you looking for a ski that will help you ski trees more easily, or are you saying you don’t plan to take your new skis in trees much?

      Also, is this an “off trail” ski for all occasions, whether the snow is hard or soft, or are you looking at this as a ski to break out ONLY when there’s fresh snow?

      Answer those questions and I’ll refine these answers. But here is what I would (and would not) recommend for your short list:

      188 PB&J – No. I don’t think it’d be enough ski for you.

      193 Cochise – a definite maybe. I’ve only skied the 185 Cochise, which I think you’d overwhelm, but the 193 is a ski I’d want to demo if I were you.

      196 Bodacious – if you are only going to break this out in soft snow – or anything other than boilerplate, then I think this becomes a serious contender. I’m going to be skiing the 196 Bodacious in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

      190 MOMENT Bibby Pro – this would be a very easy ski for you, but I’m a little worried that it still might not be quite enough ski. Which brings me to the next ski:

      191 ON3P Billy Goat – Of everything on this list – and since I haven’t skied the 196 Bodacious yet – this is the ski that I am most confident that you would have fun on, and yet, it would still feel like enough ski. This ski is burly, and reminds me of a stiffer – and even more stable – Bibby Pro.

      198 Volkl Katana – this ski will definitely be enough for you. Not super playful, but you won’t overwhelm this ski or find its speed limit. If you’re not looking for a super quick turner (for trees) look close.

      So that’s my short list: 191 Billy Goat, 198 Katana, 196 Bodacious, And I’ll let you know about that Bodacious in early February….

  2. Tom January 24, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan for the quick reply. While versatility is always nice, I come up wanting more, when the snow gets above boot height. I would love to increase/improve my tree skiing so I’m looking for something that has that kind of maneuverability. Stability is needed but not unlimited speed. Hopefully, whatever I choose can ultimately become my one and only, but that’s not essential at this time. Thanks for the tip on the Billy Goats. I’d love to support a local Oregon manufacturer, and I look forward to the Bodacious review. Again, Thanks!

  3. Jay February 7, 2012 Reply

    I have several days on my Cochise and I completely agree with your review, especially the part about the tails and how easily they release and engage. Scrubbing speed in powder has never been so much fun.

  4. jeff February 11, 2012 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,
    In your Blizzard Cochise review you state the Cochise weighs 4.42 lb.’s per ski.In other words a hair under 9 pounds per pair(185cm).Recently I asked Mike at Ski Essentials to weigh the 177 and 185 per pair.He claims the 185cm weighs in at a whopping 10.4 pounds and the 177 at 9.4 pounds . I have seen another site on the web that claims the 185 weighs 9 pounds 13 ounces per pair.

    What Gives????

    • Author

      Hey, Jeff.

      I’m afraid I’m not sure what’s up with all of the discrepancies, but thanks to mikeyg for weighing in, too. We use a couple of different scales to weigh our gear, so I’ll check them when I get back from Japan. Sounds like they were off; I have a hard time believing that the weight of the Cochise is varying this much.

  5. mikeyg February 15, 2012 Reply

    Weighed two pair, both 5 lbs on the nose.

    • jeff February 15, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Mikey.

  6. Mark March 29, 2012 Reply

    I’m leaning very heavily toward the Cochise, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about the LINE Sr. Francis Bacon too. Have you had a chance to ski the Bacon and how these might compare?

  7. Harlan March 31, 2012 Reply

    I am aggressive skier who likes small to mid bumps, and all mountain skiing. Currently on vokl Karmas. 5 ft 10, 170 lb skiing 177’s now. Like the fun playful aspect of Karmas but do not like how they handle in any kind of powder or crud. Looking for a rockered go anywhere ski, that is quick and still fun in bumps. Ski mostly in Mammoth and not concerned about hard snow or groomer perfromance. Was thinking of the Blizzard Cochise or vokl Bridge. What do you think? Any other recommendations? If go with Vokl’s was thinking 179. If the Cochise not sure of size – perhaps to go shorter in order to perform in bumps. One last thought in Mammoth you do not get too many pure wide open powder days like Utah. Often the storms are accompanied with high winds so you are often hitting it a day or two after.

    Thanks

    • Author

      Hey, Harlan – my hunch is that you will probably prefer the Bridge in bumps and the Cochise in crud / chop, so I think you’ve got to decide where you really want the ski to shine. Other skis that might accomplish what you’re looking for are the Rossignol Sickle, Rossignol Scimitar, the MOMENT PB&J, and the DPS Wailer 99. I’d check out those reviews and see if something jumps out at you. Also, as for length, I wouldn’t recommend going shorter on the Cochise. If you’re skiing small to medium bumps rather than huge bumps with really deep troughs, the Cochise shouldn’t be too difficult to handle, and you’ll likely be glad that you didn’t go shorter when you’re skiing chop and pow.

  8. Mark April 2, 2012 Reply

    What are you thoughts on detuning (or retuning) the Cochise for all around performance from the factory tune? Some say they find it a bit grabby at times and they like a 1 degree base and 2 degree side bevel, or they just detune the rocker portion with gummy?

    • Author

      Hi, Mark – I’ve only skied the Cochise with the factory tune and did detune the tips and tails to the contact points of the rocker line. Set up that way, I never found the Cochise to be grabby – quite the opposite, in fact. What I can say with confidence is that this ski shouldn’t demonstrate “grabby” characteristics, so setting the tune / detune to taste ought to take care of such issues.

      • Mark April 2, 2012 Reply

        Thank you for your quick response, and your great in depth reviews/knowledge. Helping many!

  9. Jason April 11, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan,

    I’d love your assessment. I’m 45. 6’2″. 190lbs. I ski very fast, very hard, and mostly ski bowls. I generally don’t bother with moguls, but occasionally practice, but being my age, they get me sore. I’m currently skiing some older Volant steel T3’s at 177cm and love them. Very stable and I have yet to find a turn they can’t handle. Considering a new ski and the Cochise at 185cm popped up. Curious on your take.

    • Author

      Hi, Jason – apologies that I somehow missed your question. But honestly, I don’t have much to add beyond my review that would be helpful. Let me know if you have a specific question, however, and I’ll take a stab. Thanks.

  10. Blister Member
    Chuck Proctor October 3, 2012 Reply

    This site has incredible reviews and is an invaluable resource for guys like myself who live in the Midwest and who don’t want to spend the precious little time we have outwest demoing skis. So I thank you. I have a long winded question so I hope you don’t mind. I currently own 2010 Line Prophet 100’s in 172 and Line Influence 105’s in 179. I am 44, 5′ 6″ and weigh 165 lbs. I consider myself an expert skiier and lived in Aspen from ’91-’95 and skiied 400+ days when I lived there. However I am older now and not nearly as strong a skiier as I used to be. I ski primarily in Michigan but get outwest 8-10 days a year. I want to add one more daily driver and a powder ski. However was thinking I could maybe just add the Cochise and kill 2 birds with one stone. I am undecided on what I want. I am either going to buy the Bonafide 180 or the Cochise 177. I want this particular ski to be able to ski in Michigan and also outwest. I ski bumps, steeps, trees, chutes and steep bumps. Obviously not much of this terrain is available in Michigan so when skiing in Michigan I stick to bumps. I have found my Influence 105’s handle everything here in MI and outwest.

    With what I have said above what do you think would be the best way to go. Buy the Bonafides and then a powder specific ski or just get the Cochise and use it in powder as well as all mountain? The bottom line is it might be ridiculous to buy a powder specific ski and only get to use it 1 or 2 days a year if I am lucky enough to get powder on my trip. Though I have been very lucky the past 5 years and have had powder every trip. So basically I want the ski to be a jack of all trades similar to how I view my Influence 105’s. Also for reference I owned a 2010 Volkl Mantra 170 and hated it. The tail was to stiff and it didn’t seem stable enough. So do I go Bonafide or Cochise?

    Thanks,

    Chuck

    • Author

      Thanks, Chuck. From what I say about the Bonafide in my review – and given what you say about your Mantras, it sounds like the Cochise might be the better fit for you.

      Having said that, there is some question whether the flex of the Bonafides we tested was a bit different than the full production models, so that seems to be an important caveat, and we hope to get on the Bonafides again early this season. But Jason Hutchins and I both would choose the Cochise over the Bonafide that we tested, FWIW.

  11. Guenther November 2, 2012 Reply

    At 57, 5’10. 200…Where would I initially mount bindings on Bonafides. I am well suited for anythig up to 45-50 degrees, mixed terrain and conditions. Bonafides are my general purpose ski for 1 foot fresh to hard groomed, to spring slop
    I tend to ski shorter due to tight terrain and do not ski Mach 1

    • Author

      Hey, Guenther – all I can say is that Jason Hutchins and I both preferred the Bonafides at +1, liked them better there than on the line. But we need to ski the Bonafide again, the pair we skied (possibly) had a different flex pattern than the production versions, and that’s why we haven’t posted a review. We were supposed to have been back on the Bonafide, just waiting on Blizzard…..

  12. Todd November 22, 2012 Reply

    Hi,

    Well, first, I want to thank you for the excellent review and web site. Glad I finally found you.

    I’m about to buy new skis. I’m a tele-skier, 48 years old, 6’1″, 185 pounds, an expert skier who doesn’t have the legs I used to. I currently have G3 Tickets, which are a great craving ski for the east, where I mostly ski, but are wanting in new snow. I’d like a better all around ski that is fun, particularly on powder days. I was leaning toward a Rossi S3 or Volkl Gotama, but then I got to your web site and got confused, since it introduced (and seems to prefer) a whole swath of new options, especially the Moment PB&J and other Rossi options. Thoughts (with length recommendations)?

    Thanks in advance,

    Todd

  13. Author

    Thanks, Todd – I’m not a tele skier, so tele advice from me isn’t worth much. Kate Hourihan or Robin Abeles can probably provide more help. I’d definitely take a look at Robin’s DPS Wailer 99 review.

  14. Clemens December 14, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    first I’d like to thank you for your superb reviews. You all do a great job.

    I’m about to buy new skis this seasons. Actually I ride Fischer Watea 114 (no rocker) in 186 for big lines in the alps. Since I became a dad my skiing changed from hunting powder to taking what I can get. So I’m searching for an more versatile, agile and easy to handle ski which is reliable on groomers too. It should also be perfect for trees. I’m about 202lbs and 174cm and a good skier, like big turns but not that fast.
    My selection: Salomon Rocker² 115, Blizzard Cochise, Atomic Automatic or Bent Chetler and Line SFB. I’m afraid that these are to weak for my weight when I take them in length near 180cm but too long for tree runs in 185. Would need lenght recommendations and your opinion which one fits best:)

    Best regards,
    Clemens

  15. Author

    Thanks, Clemens – First, I haven’t skied the Salomon 115 yet, but I do think that ski could make sense for you. I have skied the other skis, and at your height & weight, I would rule out the Bent Chetler and the SFB. I’d worry a little that the 186 Automatic might be too soft for you, but it is certainly easy and agile, and good on soft groomers, but firm groomers / ice isn’t what this ski was built for. Given all that, and given that I haven’t skied the Salomon 115, the 185cm Cochise seems like the safest bet. I definitely would not go shorter than 186 in the Automatic, but if you were very worried about the length, I think you could drop down to the 177cm Cochise and be okay. Hope that helps a little.

    • Clemens December 19, 2012 Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Jonathan! I ordered the Automatic in 186 with Barons. Can’t wait to slash some powder:) Wish you chest-deep powder and a happy new year! KR, Clemens

  16. Dave December 18, 2012 Reply

    Great job, I find ur reviews most helpfull and interesting!

    I’m looking for a everyday ski, I ski 80% offpist, and I have most of my skiing days in sweden=not that much pow, its mostly packed snow and crud, and i like to go as big and as fast as possible. I want a ski that can take it all, if I see a obstacle I want to charge it and i want the ski to give me the feeling that it is going trough the obstacle rater than over it.

    I’m 6’1 and 200 pounds, and pretty strong, both deadlift and squats are over 550 pounds and i have over 600 days on skis.

    Im thinking of katana 191 or cochise 193, im skiing in lowlands with lots of trees to much for the 198 :/ I belive that the cochise would save me some energy, but i’m not sure if it stiff enough for me, i love to charge.

    Best regards Dave

    • Author

      Hi, Dave – we actually just got a pair of 193 Cochise to review, and will be getting some time on them starting today. So we won’t have a full report for a while, but we’ll share any early, obvious conclusions.

      But my initial impressions are that if we were going to go ski big, variable lines really fast, I’d feel very confident on either the 191 Katana or the 193 Cochise. But we’ll see. Stay tuned!

      • Dave December 21, 2012 Reply

        Tanks!

        Sounds awesome, i’m looking forward to hear what you think about that ski!
        Once again, great job!

        // David

  17. Shane January 2, 2013 Reply

    Hey Guys
    Long time reader first time commenter. Love the reviews and you guys are always spot on. I find myself a little gun shy on my next purchase. I am 6ft, 215 athletic guy that loves to go fast and straight and I primarily ski Squaw/ Alpine and Colorado. I will totally admit that I let strength overcome whatever lack of technique I may have though. In my quiver right now I have the 190 Bibby, 192 Belafonte, and the 188 Pb&j. Although, I love each one of the skis, I feel like I have a little gap right now for the firm bumpy days between storms when I want to get into the steep / techy stuff with some variable snow and bumps (think Squaw headwall & emigrant). Up to this point I will take out my Bibby’s 90% of the time just because of how predictable they are. The belafontes are awesome too just because you can scare yourself how fast you can go, but as in other reviews, they are a TON of ski to throw around. The Pb&js are alot of fun too but I just get a little weird taking them into really steep conditions. Do you think the 185 Cochise or maybe the Praxis MVPs would be suitable options given the terrain and my size/style?

    • Author

      Thanks, Shane. I think the 185 Cochise or the 187 Belafonte could work well for you. (Sell your 192 Belafontes?) I’ll worry just a little that the 185 Cochise might not feel like enough ski, but I’m not that worried. (I love the 185, but you do have 30 lbs. on me….)

      And I wouldn’t recommend the Praxis MVP for “firm bumpy days” in the steeps, mostly because of how much tip and tail rocker they have, though as Jason points out in his review, some bigger guys might be wishing for more length.

  18. Craig Pchajek February 5, 2013 Reply

    Awesome reviews and info on your site. I ski mostly in the Canadian Rockies, and I’ve been doing some research into the Cochise. I’m curious how heavier, aggressive skiers find the 185 length on the Cochise. Based on reviews I’m leaning more towards that length, but I’m concerned that at 210lbs, and 6 ft tall, I might over power it, or find it too soft. I want a ski that I will be able to rip all mountain, in-bounds, out of bounds, trees, bumps …you name it. Again, from what I’ve read, it seems that compared to the 193, the 185 will be a much more versatile ski …but will I be to heavy to really enjoy it?

    • Author

      I can’t honestly say, Craig. We haven’t had many heavier guys weigh in re: the 193 Cochise. If you were just looking for something for bigger lines, I’d say go 193. But you say you want to rip trees and bumps … the more you mean that, the more nervous I am about recommending the 193. My hunch is you’ll prefer the 185 there, and if you have any complaint it would be if and when you’re trying to rip big turns in variable snow, or if you’re expecting to get a ton of float out of the 185 Cochise on deep days. (You won’t.)

  19. Jimmy February 8, 2013 Reply

    First off great site!
    Considering Cochise 185 cm as replacement for wailers 112 which I liked but found to soft in the crud. Did you play around with the location of the mount at all? Noticed that on your review of 193 cm you wanted to be a bit more forward and I prefer a more centerd stance myself.

    • Author

      I didn’t, Jimmy. The line felt good to me on the 185s, though I wouldn’t have reservations if you went forward 1, unless this is supposed to be your pow ski. If you’re skiing more than a foot of pow, the Cochise is not a replacement for the Wailer 112. But it is MUCH better than the 112s in crud.

  20. Blister Member
    Chuck February 13, 2013 Reply

    Jonathan,
    I posted this exact question to Will Brown on the Bibby Pro review. I am just trying to get input from a few of the reviewers on this site because you guys have been helpful in my other ski purcahses. This is what I posted and would like your input as well as Will’s:

    I was just out to Snowbird/Alta and skied on my Kastle FX94′s. I loved the way they handled and skied but to get to some of the better terrain at Alta I spent alot of time on gnarly traverses. I felt like I would have rather have had a burlier ski. The Kastle’s handled well up until a certain speed point on the traverses then they got a tad squirrelly. I will post a video of the terrain we skied and me skiing it. Most of it is from Greeley, High Rustler, Stone Crusher and Eagles Nest from Alta. That way you can get an idea of how I ski. I am an ok skier. In addition to the FX94′s I also own the Line Opus, Line SFB and Line Prophet 100. The 100′s are my rock skis and I like to use the Opus in big 2″ dumps and the SFB’s when I want to have some fun. The next ski I get I would like to be able to handle speed when hitting the steeps and also have it handle the traverses better than my FX94′s. I am considering the Bibby Pro, Belafonte and the Cochise. Just wondering if you had any input on which ski would be best for what I am looking for. Here is the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjfRYaVLK6Q

    Thanks,

    Chuck

    • Author

      Hi, Chuck – I haven’t skied the FX94s, but really looking forward to skiing the updated version this spring. But given the rest of your quiver, I think the Cochise makes a whole lot of sense. They will be great in a foot of pow, great several days after a storm, stable, while permitting you to smear turns easily….From the video, it looks like you like to make shorter turns rather than let your skis run. The Belafonte favors fall line skiing, for sure. I think the Cochise seems like the best fit.

      • Blister Member
        Chuck February 19, 2013 Reply

        Jonathan,
        So glad you said that because that was the direction I was leaning. Now the only question is length. My FX94’s are 176, my Opus are 178 and my SFB’s are 184. I enjoy skiing all 3 at their current length’s. I am leaning towards the 177’s but have not ruled out the 185’s. Just concerned with my style of skiing that the 185’s might be to long. However the 177’s will be less stable. I am 5’6″ and weigh 165 so I am really in between sizes. What is your recommendation?

        Thanks,

        Chuck

  21. Ian February 24, 2013 Reply

    Midwest skier, currently on volkl grizleys 172. I go out west once a year (Maryjane/Winter Park or somewhere in Tahoe, and Jacksonhole if my godparents feel like being nice) I present a problem for most shops, due to my stature. I’m 5’10, but only 115lbs. the griz are great.. for a carver, terrible anywhere else. Off piste, park, chutes not really possible for me as I cannot load their stiffness to get any pop. Having a debate between Moment PB&J or Deathwishes, pb&j seems stiff for my weight, deathwish seems very shaped for hardpack, but less stiff so I could at least load it, but I again worry about hardpark performance. I am also highly interested in the Line SFB and Opus. SFB may not be the stiffest ski, but I don’t NEED the stiffest ski, unless somehow at nearly 30 years old I gain a ton of weight. Again though, both line skis are very shaped and I worry about their hardpack performance. The behavior of the Cochise seems VERY similar to the grizzly in certain regards, like having to go very fast for carving, not slarving, but I really want something I can easily land switch (let me tell you, landing the griz switch is nearly impossible) and the Cochise not having twin tips makes me wonder how easy that will be. Got a recommendation, with twin rocker I’ll go for a mid 180 ski, and would prefer a twin tip.

    • Author

      Hi, Ian – the Cochise doesn’t sound like your ski. I’d check out our reviews of the 184 Deathwish and the 184 SFB. For what you’re describing, those seem like the better fit.

      • Ian April 4, 2013 Reply

        Actually, your reviews did send me in the direction i eventually went. I got some 2011/2012 185 scimitars. Not the most durable top coat (got a couple chips, oh no) but love them in “powder” (8″ of midwest snow). The 185 with my light weight rides this kind of powder great, carves in it and i’d rather be in it than on bumps because i feel like i have more control in pow. I am still not completely up to par with a ski this large, but by my last days of the season i was feeling very comfortable, and it skis switch great (now if only my 180 turns were more fluid). For midwest hardpack it’s great, and for finding the pow in the trees it is even better, as it can make any turn i want. This season i was exclusive to the midwest, and only granite peak at that. I broke my collar bone in january, so i missed a good chunk of the season. The Scimitar will be my one ski quiver for travel, i’m highly considering getting a park ski for my midwest skiing that i do to get my legs in shape. 2013/2014 i am going to have a season pass at winterpark and copper mountain (also a few days at steamboat and monarch), so i’ll be out west, and hope the 98 waist is good enough for rocky mountain powder.
        My one fall on the scimitar involved me going flat out, and not riding edge, ski went squirrely, and i did a head plant at 30mph, thank you helmet. If i want a ski that i can go flat out on something like the belafonte or cochise would be good choices, right?

  22. John Shaski March 27, 2013 Reply

    Hey Now –

    Really great website, guys. My wife is beginning to scowl a little each time she looks over my shoulder to find me reading the reviews/comments : )

    Sometimes though, there’s just too much information to keep straight ;-) So I’m writing you to ask for some clarification. But first, some background:

    I’m 5′ 8.5″ and 165lbs. I grew up skiing fixed-heel in New England, never really bridging from intermediate to advanced. A dozen or so years ago I moved to free-heel skiing to access the backcountry with its beauty, solitude and freedom of line-choice. Life brought me to Albuquerque, NM in 2007 and my experiences at western resorts (SantaFe, Taos, WolfCreek) has been nothing short of joyous (where did the ice go? you mean people ski in SUNSHINE here?).

    In 2012 I jumped from 70s underfoot with cable bindings to 90s underfoot and NTN (Scarpa TX, NTN Freeride, 178cm G3 Rapid Transit). The power and efficiency of the new rig is building my confidence and over-riding my lack of intestinal fortitude (which often found me cheating into the ‘backseat’ or shunning the falline). Finally, my ability to ski lines and terrain I’ve been dreaming of for years seems possible (bumps, trees, alittle more vert.).

    I have yet to ski a plank with rocker, or anything wider than 97mm underfoot.

    I’m imagining a two ski quiver (one for storm days, another for everything else). If I can get backcountry capability out of either, then all the better.

    I’m considering the DPS 112RP 178 as the ‘fresh-snow’ and ‘backcountry’ ski. Robin Abeles review was a clincher (FYI: I get the fact that you generally shy away from any discussion of tele set-ups. No problem. My feeling is, NTN more or less levels the playing field between fixed- and free-heeled skiing. I’m more interested in your evaluation of the skis AS SKIS…).

    For the ‘everything-else’ ski, based on the reviews here, I’m stuck between the 185cm Blizzard Cochise and the 184cm Moment Bibby Pros. Given the most obvious difference being the ski width, how do you differentiate between these two? Where are the trade-offs? Assuming my proficiency as a skier continues to improve, is it reasonable to consider these skis and these lengths?

    Thanks. Here’s to a few more weeks of the 2012 ski season, here in the American southwest,

  23. John Shaski March 27, 2013 Reply

    PS

    And now, after still more squinting into the screen of my laptop…
    I’m wondering if the perfect pair might not be:

    185cm Blizzard Cochise/184cm Moment Bibby Pro? – more snow
    184cm DPS Wailer 99 – less snow

    • Author

      Hi, John – I think the answer comes down not so much to “less snow” vs. “more snow,” but how and where you prefer to ski when there is less snow. E.g., if it hasn’t snowed, do you want a precise carver, or a ski that can handle bumped up, nasty, steep conditions? The Wailer 112rp & 99 are beautiful carvers, but I would rather ski the Cochise than either of them in firm, harsh conditions. Are you a fall line skier (Cochise) or do you prefer to make more turns (112rp / 99).

      The Bibby and the Wailer 112rp are both excellent “more snow” skis, but they have very different feels, which I assume you’ve read enough about on the site to appreciate.

      So I would ask yourself where you really need each ski to shine, and approach the reviews that way. If we’ve done our job, then we ought to have provided the answers you need to tease out the specific performance differences. Hope that helps a little?

  24. Austin April 6, 2013 Reply

    Got a few questions for you… I’m looking at getting a new setup strictly for touring as my current setup my current setup (super7’s and dukes) gets heavy for 3 or 4 day tours and doesn’t really excel in the alpine. Decided on Dyanfit Radical FTs for a binding, but as for skis I’m stuck. Hoping I can find a ski that will be stable in the alpine, handle 30′ drops, and stomp pillow lines. Maneuverability in the trees would be nice, but the super 7’s deal with that well, and my racing background (still racing at the college level) and fitness level help me throw anything around in tight situations. I ski coastal BC and given my size (6’2″ 180lbs) I’m thinking around a 115 underfoot and a 190-195 length would be ideal. I’m currently between ON3P’s 191 Billy Goats, 191 Wrenegade, Blizzard’s 196 Bodacious, or 193 Cochise. Since I am switching over to Dynafits I am looking to be a bit of a weight weenie, but not really willing to sacrifice a hard-charging ski for mush. I like the Cochise for its weight and fairly early rocker, but I’m concerned it might not be wide enough to handle big pillow lines / drops in deep coastal snow. Also concerned the Wrenegade and Bodacious might not have enough rocker in the tip to help keep them from diving at slower speeds. On top of this, the 4frnt Renegade and Hoji have caught my attention lately. Too many awesome options out there…

  25. Blister Member
    kurt May 2, 2013 Reply

    I’ve got a couple of questions regarding what length to go with and what bindings are recommended. Back in March I demoed 177s at Alta and Snowbird but just recently purchased 185s with the idea being they might provide better float in powder. I’m 5’8”, 185 lbs. and a fairly aggressive skier however having not skied on the 185s yet I’m a bit worried they may be too long. Would the 177s be preferable for my height? As far as the bindings go, I demoed the skis with what I think were Salomon STH 16 bindings but it seems like a lot of people go with the Marker Jesters (as was done in your review) on this ski. What bindings are recommended?

    • Author

      Hey, Kurt – more surface area on the 185cm Cochise ought to help flotation a bit, but this really isn’t a pow ski, which I assume you realize. You and I weigh the same, I’m just a bit taller. I personally have zero interest in going shorter on the Cochise, but I’ve never skied the 177 and you have…I think the greater question than the 177 vs. the 185 is whether you’ve picked a ski that’s going to shine where you most want it to.

      As for bindings, everybody has there preferences. We’ll be saying more about specific bindings this summer, but on a general note, lots of us at Blister ski Jesters every day, lots of us are big fans of Look Pivot / Rossi FKS bindings, and most of us are happy to click into STHs.

      • Blister Member
        kurt May 2, 2013 Reply

        Thanks! I definitely realize it’s not a pow ski. However, It does not really make sense for me to purchase a true pow ski as I live on the east coast. I’m looking to use the cochise as my daily driver for when I go out west. If I’m lucky enough to catch a big storm, I’d be perfectly happy to demo proper powder skis. As for where I want this ski to shine most, I’m looking for something that will perform well let’s say in Devils Castle, Mineral Basin and in the trees off the Wildcat lift at Alta in variable conditions and a decent amount of fresh snow. I skied the 177s in probably just under a foot of snow in Mineral Basin, chopped up snow on Gunsight and off the Wildcat lift and was pretty happy with them. I figured the added length of the 185s might help in fresh snow without having too much of an impact if any on my experience in trees and bumps.

        • Author

          Nice, Kurt. The 185 Cochise definitely sounds like a good call for what you’re describing. You might prefer the 177 in trees, but I’m still impressed by how easy it is to pivot the Cochise when need be. I look forward to hearing what you think!

  26. Kevin June 4, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Also have the question of the Cochise 177 vs 185. I have the Bonafides 180 for daily use and the Rossi Pursuit HP for days when I just want to burn up the frontside, but am looking at Cochise as my last add. I am 175 weighing 71kilos and skiing mainly in Europe. Any recommendation on the Cochise? Thanks.

    • Author

      Hi, Kevin – you could probably go either 177 or 185 and be okay. But given that the Cochise will be your widest ski, it strikes me that it would make more sense to go longer, especially if you’ve ever felt like the length of your Bonafide was more than you wanted / needed. But sounds like you’d break out your Cochise in any fresh snow or soft chop, and in that case, I’d want more surface area, not less. Then when things really get firm, you’ve got your Bonafide & Pursuit HP.

      • Kevin June 7, 2013 Reply

        Hi Jonathan ~ Thanks again for the reply. I’ve continued reading and thinking about it. Maybe there is too much overlap between the 180 Bonafide and 185 Cochise. Perhaps I should consider the 176 or 186 Bodacious instead of the Cochise? Again, your thoughts are appreciated.

        • Author

          Hey, Kevin – I’ve only skied the 196cm Bodacious for a little bit of time in the tight trees of Japan – not an ideal match of terrain & ski. I’d really like to ski the 186 Bodacious, but none of us have been on it yet. So I’m afraid I’m no help on that front.

  27. Joshua Ervin August 5, 2013 Reply

    Hey Jonathan, I absolutely love your reviews, by far the most honest and complete ones on the internet. Right now I’ve got a pair of AK JJ’s for the deep days and they are absolutely fantastic. I love their playfulness and lightweight, but right now I’m looking for a sweet charger. I want something for those icy and cruddy days, where I can kill it on the groomers and off piste. They don’t need to be able to hit the park, float in pow, or be extremely versatile. Also, something more directional. What would you recommend?

    • Author

      Thanks, Joshua! Of the skis I’ve been on for ice and crud, I’ll give you 3 options ranging in different widths: Volkl Mantra (98mm) and Rossignol Experience 98 (but not the Rossi E88; it doesn’t have metal) – the Mantra and E98 are the best of the bunch on ice. Blizzard Cochise (108mm), and the Volkl Katana (111mm) and the 191cm is one of my favorite crud skis ever.

  28. Bret December 10, 2013 Reply

    Great Website you have here, I love reading the reviews. I am looking for a different all mountain ski than the one I presently ski (’10 Watea 176cm). I have loved that ski in everything but crud and powder, and I still plan on skiing it in the future, but I am looking for more a daily driver.

    I am 6′ 185lb, athletic 53, expert skier. I have been skiing for 45 years in Utah, and presently ski Deer Valley, PC Mtn, Snowbird, Alta and Sundance. I ski hard and fast, and not to be boastful, but I can ski the pants off any 29 year old. I can ski a ski’s tips, tails or side cut depending upon the conditions (most skiers have no clue what that means).

    I really love ripping the groomers, and there is no one on the mountain that skis them faster than me in super g style. I also like to ski steep bumps about 15% of the time too. Park skiing is the only type of skiing that I am not interested in. I like to go off piste a bit with some tree skiing, and if it recently has snowed I love the powder too. However, the majority of the time I ski groomers during the week (too many skiers on weekends for me to safely rip it). My 176cm Watea are not really long enough for me when I am going 70mph, but has still preformed surprising well.

    Now after that long intro about my style and desires, what ski would you recommend? I have been leaning toward the Cochise 185cm, but I am interested in Ritual 190cm, Experience 88 186cm, Experience 98cm 186cm, and the Belafonte.

    I know it is a hard question, but given my size, the areas that I ski, my ability, and wanting a ski that can hit Utah powder, bang the steep bumps, and kick Lyndsay Vonn’s ass on the groomers, which 3 skis (in order) would you recommend me trying out?

  29. Bret December 10, 2013 Reply

    I forgot to mention that my Watea are 84 under foot. My friend has the Cochise and he loves them, he likes them a lot when he is ripping the groomers. I am surprised that 108 under foot they are stable at 60-70mph. I am not opposed to buying a used ski, or a new past years model.

    Thanks for your input. I will respond after I have tested made a purchased.

  30. Curtis Brackett December 10, 2013 Reply

    Hey Jonathon, awesome review. I’m looking for a one ski quiver that charges and also will allow me to further push my skiing. The cochise seemed to fit the bill, but the only concern I have is that I am 5’7” and 145 lbs. Do you think the cochise would be too much of a ski for my size? I consider myself a very strong skier but I just don’t know if the two metal sheets would be too much. Thanks in advance for your thoughts

    • Author

      If you are an expert skier, I’d be inclined to think that you could handle a 177cm Cochise. Will Brown only has ~15 lbs. on you, and he is obviously a big fan of the 185.

    • Marcel March 20, 2014 Reply

      5’5″ / 147 here… 177cm is the size you want to go, 170cm will be too short to get what the cochise has to offer! Fast, big open spaces crud buster! It takes some effort to turn and handle in tight spaces, but that’s not where I wanna go with the cochise!

  31. Tom January 8, 2014 Reply

    For anyone who doubts the lunatic ability of the Cochise…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4u_z3T9U-8

  32. Marcel March 19, 2014 Reply

    Hey Jonathan

    Are you guys getting any time with the 14/15 cochise soon? Really looking forward to see what you guys have to say…

    and to don’t leave without a question, I’ve never been on the first year’s cochise, but I haven’t noticed any difference or at least any noticeable big difference in stiffness between 12/13 and 13/14 like some say that the Cochise got stiffer over the 3 year’s since it was released and that’s why the “softer” cochise next year is supposed to bring it back to it’s original stiffness.

    • Author

      I’m confident that we’ll get on the 14/15 Cochise this summer, after they’ve actually gone to production and settled on flex patterns and camber profiles. No idea about the allegedly changing flex patterns of the Cochise over the years. At this point, we really only care about how the production version of the 14/15 Cochise skis.

  33. Blister Member
    Hans Karlsson April 2, 2014 Reply

    Hello!!
    I thought that I should remount the bindings a little bit forward on my Cochise 185. Have it now on the recommended point. Do you think that would be okay, and how much? I normally like more centered mounting. (love my R108 at -3 cm) //Thanks from Hans Karlsson

  34. Al Olby May 2, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the excellent review, I bought a pair of 2013/14 Cochise 185s this season off the back of it and am delighted with them. I’m 5’11 and 150 lbs so debated a while on whether to go for the 177, but am glad I didn’t. Yep, comfortable everywhere (with a huge grin on your face)!

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