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2014-2015 4FRNT Devastator

Review of the 4FRNT Devastator, Blister Gear Review

14/15 4FRNT Devastator

Ski: 2014-2015 4FRNT Devastator, 194cm

Dimensions (mm): 142-111-137 (194cm length)

Sidecut Radius: 25 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 191.6 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2599 & 2567 grams

Boots/Bindings: Salomon Quest Max BC 120, Marker Jester Demo at DIN 13

Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line

Test Locations: Craigieburn, Broken River, & Mount Olympus club fields, New Zealand

Days Skied: ~17

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Devastator, which is unchanged for 14/15, except for the graphics. We’ve put more time on the ski since posting our initial review, and you can now read our Update on the Devastator’s powder and soft snow performance.]

The name of this ski leaves little doubt about its intended purpose, and the Devastator is, in fact, a powerful ski that can be driven hard in all snow conditions.

Situated between the more powder-specific Renegade and the touring/mixed snow-oriented Hoji, the Devastator is billed as the “charger” in 4FRNT’s lineup of directional skis. And given the Devastator’s full reverse camber profile, 4FRNT also touts it as a ski that can be quick and nimble on demand.

My first day on the Devastator at Craigieburn involved a mix of fresh late season soft snow with areas of set-up crud and lower elevation, spring-like conditions. Run one included all of the above snow types, and, after a few tentative, forced turns, I let the Devastators run to see how the skis liked the variable conditions.

After about the 4th turn, it was evident that this is an aptly named ski that doesn’t get deflected easily.

Based on my experience with the 194cm Devastator in the club fields of New Zealand, it certainly seems that 4FRNT has produced a fun, powerful tool.

Flex Pattern

This is a pretty stout ski. I would call the tips and tails stiff for about 30 centimeters from the ends, where the flex then softens up a bit (call it a medium or medium-stiff flex) as you move toward the center of the ski.

And one of the things we’re huge fans of is the consistency of the flex pattern—the tips and tails flex very similarly, and give the ski a very predictable feel on snow. Kudos, 4FRNT.

Crud (And Comparisons to Other Crud Busters)

This is mostly what I’ve been skiing over the past two days, and I can’t think of a ski I’ve been on that handles crud better.

Paul Forward, Craigieburn, Blister Gear Review

Paul Forward on the 4FRNT Devastator, Middle Basin, Craigieburn.

For the past five years, I’ve been looking for a ski that has the dampness and stability of my old Nordica W105’s, but that is quicker, more versatile, and floats better in powder. Despite having tried several prominent skis in the class of “All Mountain Charger” (Blizzard Cochise, Rossignol RC112, 195cm Line Mothership) nothing has really come close to that old Nordica’s ability to make rough, heavy snow feel smooth.

The Devastator is the closest I’ve found, and I would rank it a notch above my 193cm Blizzard Cochise, which feels lighter and more easily deflected when things get rough and fast. It’s been over a year since I’ve skied the 188cm Rossignol RC112 or the 195cm Line Mothership, but I think the Devastator is superior to both of those crud killers.

(Note: The ski that I feel is most glaringly absent from this comparison is the 191cm Volkl Katana. I have skied a few runs on the older, 183cm version of the Katana, but I think that the 191cm Katana would be a great ski to compare head-to-head with the Devastator, and I hope to do so later this season.)

I suspect that the crud performance is due to two main characteristics of the ski, and the first is the weight of the Devastator. This is a 5.2kg, 194cm pair of boards.

I love light, powerful skis in powder, but I still find that big, heavy boards are best for crushing variable snow. I spend most of my lift-served days in maritime snow and I haven’t found a ski to convince me otherwise.

With bases flat or at high edge angles, it takes a solid hit to cause any kind of deflection on the Devastator.

Second, I’m not sure if it really is the “Reflect Tech” (the ski’s sidecut matches its rocker profile in an effort to eliminate “hookiness” in the tip or tail), but I can say that having spent time on both the 4FRNT Hoji and the Devastator, these skis are not hooky in inconsistent snow. This allows the skis to be shut down predictably and without the tips or tails grabbing and throwing the skis off course. And for me, the ability to throw a ski sideways in variable snow and have that ski quickly and predictably brush speed is essential to being able to ski fast.

Paul Forward on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mount Olympus., Blister Gear Review

Paul Forward on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mount Olympus.

The 193cm Cochise is good in this regard as well, but it is definitely more prone to getting bounced around. Compared to the old 195cm Line Mothership, the Devastator is markedly more manageable and less hooky when breaking it free of a carve to redirect or scrub speed.

Open Spaces vs Tight Terrain

Craigieburn and Mt. Olympus have a really fun variety of tight chutes and big, open terrain. And the Devastator cranks through big terrain. So what about those narrow chutes?

In tight spaces the overall size and mass of this ski are a little more work to throw around. It’s completely doable and I skied several chutes not much wider than the ski length with lots of tight jump turns, but when I got on other, lighter skis on the same terrain, I found myself hopping around with significantly less effort. Part of this is probably just the mass of the ski, but the more traditional tip shape—with the widest point of the ski very near to the tips—does seem to create more swing weight than anything I’ve been on recently. Compared to the 193cm Cochise, for example, the Devastator is a bit more laborious.

Powder

We did get to ski a fair amount of soft late season snow that was fun and smearable on the Devastator in New Zealand, but I didn’t have the chance to ski it in real fresh powder. I’ve yet to find a ski that I enjoy in variable snow and terrain that also skis powder well (the 193cm Cochise isn’t much of a pow ski), but I’m hoping the Devastator will be an exception.

(I did put more time on the Devastator in soft conditions in Alaska following our trip to New Zealand, and you can read my Update on its powder performance below.)

Groomers

Craigieburn and Mt. Olympus don’t groom anything—ever—so no groomers. But the Devastator exhibited great edge hold that was at least as good as any ~110mm I’ve been on—and minimal tip flap. As with its powder performance, I speak more to the Devastator’s handling on groomers in the Update below.

Forgiveness

For a ski that performs so well at high speeds, the 194cm Devastator has a large sweet spot at the recommended mount point. Like all of the stiff, directional skis I’ve ridden, the Devastator is at its most manageable at high speeds when driving the shovels of the ski but the tails are supportive when finishing turns on hard snow.

Of note, in a narrow chute in the Middle Main area at Craigieburn on my first day, I was jump turning down a 45-degree section that was a foot or two wider than the skis are long. Coming out of the choke I hit a patch of unsupported snow near one of the rock walls, got onto my tails, and found myself rapidly rocketing toward the opposite wall. This may well have occurred on any big ski, but it took a lot more work to correct than if I’d been on smaller, lighter skis. In any case, I wouldn’t plan on steering the Devastator from the backseat. Drive them.

Sizing Advice

At 6’ and 193 lbs, skiing with a pack in predominantly open terrain, I personally wouldn’t want to downsize to the 184cm version. But keep in mind that the 193cm Cochise is my everyday ride, and I do find the 194cm Devastator to be a bit more work than the Cochise.

Still, even at my size and the skis I’m used to, I think the 184cm Devastator might be fun, especially in tight spots. We haven’t skied the 184cm model, but lighter skiers or those with a need for a quicker ski might prefer a shorter length. I would not jump up to a longer length if you’re on the fence regarding size.

Airs

I haven’t taken any big airs yet, but little hits to firm landings feel solid and predictable. Although this is a damp, heavy ski, I should note that it ollies better than any other stiff /charger-type ski I’ve been on, and helped me pre-jump lots of little rock features at Mt. Olympus.

Bottom Line (For Now)

After my first two days on the Devastator, I am impressed. I think it has the potential to be an everyday, lift area ski for those who like to go fast and who ride in places with some space to let them run. They are more difficult to throw around in tight spots, but skiers willing to work a bit more for quicker turns will be rewarded with a fun, stable, and predictable ski. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time on them here in New Zealand and back home in Alaska.

NEXT PAGE: Update on Powder and Groomer Performance

73 Comments

  1. Maz August 21, 2013 Reply

    “I’ve yet to find a ski that I enjoy in variable snow and terrain that also skis powder well”. Praxis Protest does that, just quietly.
    Had a good look at the Devastators at Craigieburn. Looked the goods, but yep, they’re heavy.

    • Author
      Paul Forward August 21, 2013 Reply

      Hey Maz, I’ve spent a ton of time on the Protest and I think it’s a great ski that rips in pow and holds it’s own in just about any type of snow. For me, though, it’s not the kind of ski that I can lay over on edge and carve hard and fast through chunder. The protest does well in cut up powder but as soon as inbounds terrain gets set-up or firm, skis like the Devastator or Cochise, with stiff flex, long contact surface and narrower waists are super fun especially if you like putting the skis up at higher edge angles. In those kinds of situations the Protest, with it’s wide waist, light weight and shorter contact surface starts to get bounced around quite a bit for me. Hope to see you soon back at Craigieburn. Come by and say hi!

  2. willie August 21, 2013 Reply

    Good to see 4frnt is finally adding some decent rocker to there skis, on some model’s it’s almost non-existing. The line prophet 115 – 2011/2012 influence 115 does a great job in variable snow, groomers, and floats well in powder, I have yet to find a better one ski quiver then those.

    • Author
      Paul Forward August 21, 2013 Reply

      Hi Willie, I haven’t been on the Prophet115 but Jonathan did a great review of it. Based on his experience it’s a great all-mountain ride but maybe not the damp, heavy charger that fans of the Devastator will be looking for.

    • Brian August 23, 2014 Reply

      Any updates on this ski in powder or compared to the 191 Katana?

  3. Kristian August 21, 2013 Reply

    This ski really interests me, as looking for a ski to replacing my 191 ON3P Wrenegade for charge/comp/liftbased skiing in variable snow. I want something that is still a stiff solid charger, but skis a little bit more centered and is a little easier to flick sideways to scrub of speed than the -10 mounted 11/12 Wrens (a ski that has little to no rocker in the tail, and a fairly short rocker in front and slight camber underfoot)

    You reckon this could be a ski to my liking?

    • Author
      Paul Forward August 21, 2013 Reply

      Hi Kristian, I haven’t been on the Wrenegade yet so I can’t compare directly. I would not call the 194cm Devastator a ski that is easy to flick sideways but it does scrub speed very predictably and breaks free of a hard carve to predictable drifts even in rough snow that you might encounter in a comp. It just takes a fair amount of work to flick it in tight spots. For a bigger, more open venue I think the Devastator would be a great comp ski. If you’re skiing in terrain that requires more billy goat type skiing I would lean toward a ski like the Cochise as a ski that still charges but is a bit more nimble. It sounds like you prefer longer skis but I’m speculating that the 184cm Devastator could be a good comp ski in places with tighter terrain. The other unknown for me at this point is how the Devastator does in powder. I hope that helps.

  4. Alex August 28, 2013 Reply

    How would you compare this to the 2012-2013 Moment Belafonte, or are they comparable? I’d also be interested to know how the Devastator will handle icy conditions, but I can make an assumption based on the rocker profile.

    • Author
      Paul Forward September 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi Alex, I’ve never skied the Belafonte. I can say that there were icy sections at the club fields while I was using the Devastator and it did at least as well as any other 110+ mm underfoot ski. Personally, I like the long turning radius, gradual, consistent rocker profile and relatively long effective edge when skating around on icy snow. The devastator is definitely predictable ride on hard surfaces which I appreciate.

      • Alex October 14, 2013 Reply

        Paul, thanks for the response. I’d really like to try this ski out, but I’m not entirely sure where I can demo 4frnt skis in Colorado. At 5′ 6″ and 140 the 174 sounds way too short while the 184 sounds like a lot of ski.

        I ski 181 ON3P Caylor’s and 177 Nordica Soul Riders. I’m looking for something that can handle variable conditions and let me get after it in some bigger stuff when the snow isn’t the softest. Recommendations?

        • Mat October 21, 2013 Reply

          In regard to where to demo these in Colorado. I would look at the Rocker Shop at the base of Copper Mountain, or AMR in Breckenridge. They have been carrying 4FRNTs so hopefully they will have some Devastators this season.

          • Alex October 22, 2013 Reply

            Nice, thanks for the tip.

        • Author
          Paul Forward October 22, 2013 Reply

          Hi Alex, I hope you’re able to find a place to demo a pair of these. I don’t think they ski particularly short in the 194cm compared to other fully rockered skis. I’ve skied very little in CO and haven’t used any of the skis you’ve mentioned so I’m afraid I’m not a ton of help. That said, I’d be surprised if the 177 or 185 cochise wasn’t a good choice what you’re talking about.

  5. Maz September 10, 2013 Reply

    Hi Paul.
    Yep, we were talking different sorts of “variable snow”, and the Protests are definitely not in the same category as the Cochise/Katana (damp, metally, railing). Thanks for the good reviews. Hope you enjoyed NZ.

    • Author
      Paul Forward September 11, 2013 Reply

      Right on Maz. Twas indeed a great trip. Looking forward to coming back!

  6. Joe September 13, 2013 Reply

    So the flex is the only this about this ski that seems bizarre to me.

    “This is a pretty stout ski. I would call the tips and tails stiff for about 30 centimeters from the ends, where the flex then softens up a bit (call it a medium or medium-stiff flex) as you move toward the center of the ski.”

    This sounds like a ski that would have zero* tip deflection, rather the underfoot** of the ski would be wildly loose as it would flex as energy traveled through the stiff shovels. Think underfoot deflection…

    This abnormal flex reminds me of the Surface Doubletime from 2011. The ski had a stifffff tip, and a very soft tail. You could literally drive the tips into a mogul ( the skis would javelin into the mogul) and double eject, but if you tried to ski moguls with a standard technique the tail of the doubletime would wash out.

    Long story short I super concerned about the Devastator’s flex pattern. Could you elaborate on this?

    • Hey, Joe – I’m going to jump in on this, and Paul can add to my comments if he wants. But since he’s already said exactly how he felt the Devastator’s to ski, I’ll say more about our description of how the ski handflexes. (And keep in mind, the description your asking about pertains to handflex, not on snow sensation.)

      In short, there is nothing bizarre about how the ski flexes, and I definitely wouldn’t call it an “abnormal” flex. And don’t see how the comparison is relevant to the Doubletime – we haven’t skied it, but the Devastator isn’t a stiff-tip-with-a-soft-tail ski, or mushy underfoot. This is a ski with a balanced flex pattern- 30cm stiff BOTH tips and tails – and that 30cms is literally from the very top and very bottom of the ski. Then it goes “a little” bit softer underfoot. It’s not weird at all, it’s really good.

      Paul and I both love the flex pattern, and obviously, Paul has gushed about how it skis. Hope that clarifies things a little.

      • Joe September 19, 2013 Reply

        Jonathan,

        I tried to draw an analogy between the Doubletime’s unorthodox flex and its awkward performance and the possibility that the Devastator’s “abnormal flex” could also have awkward characteristics. I now see the despite the flex seeming weird to me, that your review really does explain the on snow performance of the ski..

        While the hand flex of the ski is what I was referring to, I was looking for more feedback on how the shovels and underfoot react to crud. I agree, that you described the on snow sensation of the ski very well! I was hoping for more input on how the ski reacts in certain conditions. I.e. does the ski stay very calm when driving it through crud ( the ski is so stiff it does vibrate, but rather charger through crud) or does the ski absorb energy and dissipate it through the ski.

        So, is the underfoot of the ski which is “a little bit” softer underfoot in comparison to the tips of the devastator, or comparison to the relatively stiff underfoot of any ski?

        Last question; How do the Sickle and Devastator compare? I was really hoping the 194 Devastator could be the new, longer Sickle I have been searching for.

        • Joe September 19, 2013 Reply

          ( the ski is so stiff it does not *** vibrate, but rather charger through crud)

          • Author
            Paul Forward September 23, 2013 Reply

            Hi Joe, Thanks for reading the review and for your replies. I would echo Jonathan’s comment that this ski does not have an abnormal flex. It is smooth and relatively consistent with the small variation of throughout the length of the ski as described above. I do not think there is the feeling of “underfoot delfection” in crud and I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that sensation. In really nasty, refrozen snow, light skis like the DPS pure construction or some Dynafit skis I’ve used can get bounced around quite a bit more than other boards, but I’ve never experienced the kind of stiff tip/soft underfoot sensation that you’re describing. It sounds unnerving! Regarding it’s performance in crud: I compared it favorably to two metal laminate skis with good reputations and performance in crud, and I think the Devastator excels in those conditions. I think the long gradual sidecut and the lack of early taper tend to facilitate a ride that is not easily deflected.

            Regading the “Javelin” effect into moguls, I would say a couple of things (keep in mind that I rarely ski moguls at all and on the seldom occasion that I do it’s usually soft spring bumps): The only ski I’ve ever skied that really had the tendency to javelin into the snow is the original Lotus 138 which was very stiff and has a long tip rocker with almost no rise at the very tip. In weird compressions or frozen creek crossings while skiing out long runouts in the backcountry, it did have the tendency to stick into the snow. I’ve never had anything like that with the Devastator or any other ski which has an abrupt amount of tip rise at the end of the rocker. The only other skis on which I’ve experienced that are skis that are quite soft flexing in the section in front of the boot. Those skis fold up on me when pushed hard, and it feels like someone is slamming on the breaks as the ski starts to plow. Again, this does not happen with the Devastator.

            I have not yet skied a Rossignol Sickle. Based on the reviews here, I wonder if the Devastator, at least in the 194cm, is a fair bit more ski to throw around than the sickle. That is purely speculation and I’ll certainly let you know if find a pair Sickles in Alaska to try sometime. Best of luck with your ski choices!

  7. Robin September 23, 2013 Reply

    So just to chime in on why a stiff tip is important on a full rocker ski where the intent is to maintain edge hold on long effective edge length. Having the tip stiffer than the mid ski allows the skier to apply more pressure to the tips of the skis without the ski deflecting. On a traditional fuller cambered ski there is a set edge length and a pronounced pressure point where the camber line finishes. This was one of the reasons skis have camber. It was to allow the skier to apply pressure so far from their center of mass. Fully Rockered skis don’t have this point of pressure. In order for a fully rockered ski to be versatile it has to have a reengineered flex pattern. If people are curious, hand flex any of volkls fully rockered skis or even G3’s highball. They are generally stiffer overall and stiffer in the shovel than the mid ski.

    • Author
      Paul Forward September 23, 2013 Reply

      Right on Robin. That sounds right to me. To add to what you’ve said: The reason the best powder skis were really soft in the pre-rocker era was because a ski had to easily flex through it’s camber in order to attain a “reverse cambered” shape that could float, arc and drift in soft snow. If that reverse camber or rocker is already built into the ski, the flex can be much stiffer to crush crud without giving up the ability of the ski to float and drift. The Devastator and some of Volkl’s skis are great examples.

  8. Blister Member
    Dan September 24, 2013 Reply

    Blister crew:
    Where is the recommended mount point on the Devastator? Is it further forward than the comparably sized Katana? The Katana is my daily driver and my favorite ski of all time, but I mount mine 4cm forward of the recommended line… Otherwise the ski has way too much tip for me. The problem with that is it puts me in front of the optimal position for the sidecut. I’m hoping the devastator has a more modern, more centered mounting position and respective sidecut profile.

    Thanks

    • Author
      Paul Forward October 15, 2013 Reply

      Hi Dan,
      I have also been in the habit of mounting behind recommended on lots of skis and was a little skeptical when I stood on these skis mounted at recommended line. I never skied them in deep pow but I tend to push into my tips pretty hard and never felt like there wasn’t enough tip there. In really tight spots I was glad for the more center mount. When Alyeska opens and we start skiing lifts I’ll play with mount point and update here. My suspicion is that I’ll leave them at recommended.

  9. Ryan September 25, 2013 Reply

    I would also be interested in a comparison versus the Sickle.

    Any suggestions on a mount near to centre? I like to mount about a inch back from true centre for better swing weight and pivotability.

    • Author
      Paul Forward October 15, 2013 Reply

      Hi Ryan, I’ll play with the mount when I get to ride them more. Off hand, I’m not sure where 1″ behind true center would be on these but will try to measure when I get home in a few weeks and update here. I could see going forward a bit if you want to spin a lot but this ski has a lot of swing weight in the 194cm length and is going to be a lot of ski to throw around wherever you mount them. For all-around skiability I’m pretty content on the recommended line.

  10. Andrew October 30, 2013 Reply

    I was pretty set on the 185 Cochise until i started getting more info about the devastator. Now i have no idea what to do. How do they compare with the Cochise in tight spaces? Are they going to rail groomers like the Cochise does? Thanks for your awesome reviews, even if they make it tough for me to choose a new ski…

    • Author
      Paul Forward October 30, 2013 Reply

      Hey Andrew, You’ll be stoked on either ski. Keep in in mind that I’m comparing the 193cm Cochise to the 194cm Devastator. It’s hard for me to speculate on the 184 Devastator vs the 185 Cochise but in the longer length the main difference is that the Devastator is more stable at speed in crud and the Cochise is lighter and more nimble. My guess is that the 184 Devastator will be pretty fun in trees and tight spots, maybe a little more work. I never got to ski groomers on the Devastator but it railed in soft crud. I think they’ll both be pretty fun on the groomed. I haven’t had the chance to ski powder on the Devastator, but as stated above, I’m hopeful that the Devastator will be a lot better than the Cochise which is not much of a powder ski. You’ll have a blast either way.

  11. Dan Gammon November 20, 2013 Reply

    Did you get a chance to measure the recommended mount point vs. true center? – 6cm or somewhere in that ballpark? Thanks.

    • Mat November 27, 2013 Reply

      4Frnt lists the mounting point as 5cm behind true center on all lenghts.

  12. Jim Barnes November 24, 2013 Reply

    Getting closer to the mark for sure. I hope they sell big numbers, looks like a fun ski.

  13. Ben December 2, 2013 Reply

    Paul,
    Have you had a chance to ski the devastators in pow yet? Any idea how they compare to the 2014 Rossignol Squad 7s in pow and crud?

    • Ben December 9, 2013 Reply

      I skied the 184 cm devastators yesterday and the day before at Alta. Unfortunately, I was unable to try the 194cm. The 184s skied great. Extremely easy to turn wether carving or pivot/smearing (as easy to turn as the S7.) Stable and smooth through chopped up snow, crud, and skier compacted variable bumps. Stability allowed for a relaxed, centered and upright stance while skiing fast over variable; stability I expect will improve with the 194cm. Most discernable sweet spot i.e. not vague. Railed hardpack fine; no race ski, but still plenty fun and without speed limit on the groomed. Easy to ski on one ski (stable and easy edge to edge transitions.) Felt most at home on chopped up in steep trees. The couple of times where I found myself bounced into the backseat (read: pilot error) it was very easy to recenter/recover and continue ripping. I didn’t hit any sizeable airs given the early season snowpack so I can’t comment on landing. Weakest point was powder with the ski having a tendency to sink except maybe at the highest speeds (I’m 175# though and the the 194cm with 111mm underfoot will likely solve this issue.) Maneuverability was so great that I doubt the 194cm will feel like a handful.

      John and Jason: In your opinion, can you think of a ski with the characteristics of the devastator and the advantages of a more directional design?

    • Author
      Paul Forward December 9, 2013 Reply

      Hey Ben, Great comments and review. Alaska’s winter hasn’t yielded any mechanized powder skiing yet. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get them (and a few other skis awaiting review) out on a true powder day sometime soon. The 184’s sound like a fun ski. The 194 is definitely not hard to turn with it’s rocker profile but it’s heavy and there are other skis that are quicker at that length. Let us know what you think when you get a day on the 194. I can’t speak for Jonathan and Jason but I suspect Jonathan will mention the 191cm Katana in answer to your question. As mentioned many times above, the Cochise would be in that class as well.

  14. Ben December 27, 2013 Reply

    Skied the 184cm again a couple days ago at Alta along with the 196cm renegades. I’ve changed my about 184 devastators’ powder performance. These skis still rip in the pow and are very playful given the heavy and damp skis. The tails allow for easy Ollie’s ( like u said in ur review) even in the pow. These are sweet skis. Maybe the perfect daily driver. Still haven’t had a chance to ski the 194 cm yet.
    As an aside the 196 cm renegade in fresh and soft chop was unbelievably fun and wicked fast: 60 mph felt like 30… Actually making speed too easy. They were only adequate on hardback ( duh.)

  15. Blister Member
    Andrew January 30, 2014 Reply

    Any updates?

    I’m considering this ski in 185 vs the supernatural 108 in 185 cm to fill the gap between 185 hell and back and influence 115. I’m 5 10 160 lbs ski aspen 60 days per year and prefer to drive my skis. Any advice?

    Thanks gorgeous the great reviews

    • Author
      Paul Forward January 30, 2014 Reply

      Tough call Andrew. I have not skied the Supernatural but Jonathan sure seemed to enjoy it. I hate to speculate on the 184cm Devastator since I’ve only skied the 194cm, but if you’re looking for a fun, damp ski I suspect it will fill the bill. Don’t overlook the Blizzard Cochise.

  16. Stone March 26, 2014 Reply

    Anything on the 191 Katana vs. the 194 Devastator yet? These skis seem very similar and I’m not sure which i would rather have as a pacific north west crud buster

  17. Stone March 26, 2014 Reply

    6″5′ 250 lbs. by the way

  18. Stone March 27, 2014 Reply

    Any thing on the 194 Devestator and the 191 Katana comparison yet?

    • Author
      Paul Forward March 28, 2014 Reply

      Hey Stone, I was hoping to get some time on the 191cm Katana at some point this season but a pair has not made it’s way to Alaska. I’ve been heli ski guiding every day for the past month or so and have been mainly on big powder boards. I’ve had a few days on the Devastator at Alyeska and I still feel the same way about it overall. It’s not a great powder ski compared to more pow specific shapes but it definitely floats better than the Cochise. I hope to give a good Katana comparison at some point although it appears that the Katana in its current sandwich construction iteration won’t be built next year. Will update when I have more info.

  19. Stone March 27, 2014 Reply

    sorry, the question posted before didnt show up when i opened the page, didnt mean to be rude or reapeat myself, great reveiws by the way, somtimes these feel like the only ones on the internet i can 100% trust.

  20. Parker April 3, 2014 Reply

    Paul,

    Thanks for the in-depth review, lots of good insights. If you don’t mind I would like a little advice, as we are exactly the same size and from the sounds of it do similar types of skiing.

    My 190 gotamas finally died this year (2008, still cambered), and I need to replace them with some sort of daily driver type ski. My current quiver is as follows:

    195 4frnt HOJI: mounted with dynafits, touring specific
    196 4frnt: Renegade: powder specific
    198 RC112: Charger, but I don’t tend to use them as much as I used to as they are quite a lot of work for day to day skiing.

    I have been debating between the 193 Cochise and the 194 devastator for a new daily driver. Which do you think would be a better fit for me? Or are there other options I should consider? They will be used at Jackson Hole.

    I appreciate any input you may have,

    -PD

    • Author
      Paul Forward November 20, 2014 Reply

      Hi Parker,
      Sorry for the delayed response. I ended up in Jackson on two different trips last year and have skied there in the past as well. The Cochise feels a little quicker to me and the newer, slightly softer version of the 193 might do a little better in the pow but I would probably choose the Devastator for all of the reasons I mention in the review. That said, inbounds skiing at JH involved a lot of tree skiing and tight spots with airs and fast run-outs when I’ve been there. I could see myself enjoying something a little easier to throw around depending on where and how I was skiing. You have a preference for longer skis though based on your comment and and I think you’ll be very happy on the 194cm Devastator. It would definitely be among my top choices for a trip there to ski lifts. Hope you guys have as good of a winter as last year! Cheers, Paul

  21. Brodie September 26, 2014 Reply

    Hey All, anybody had a chance to compare the 184 to 194 yet? I’ve been on a set of 181 MSP’s (also 4frnt). But I’ve shredded the life out of them. I just ordered the 194’s based on my style and rocker. I ride wide open most the time except when I’m teaching the kids. I’m wondering if the 194’s are too long and heavy?.?

    I’m 185-190lbs, 5’11” and ride hard and fast (usually choosing to go through an obstacle rather than around it. Grew up skiing in the Sierra Nevada mostly Mammoth but fortunate enough to get a lot time in the rockies as well. I’m not afraid of a little work when it get’s tight and steep but love opening things up when there’s space. What I consider space might be tight for most though. Prefer off piste riding even if it’s lift accessed.

    What do you think?

    • Ben September 26, 2014 Reply

      I still have not skied the 194, but to add to my experience, as described above, with the 184.. FWIW…

      I bought the 184cm after loving the demos. I had a terrible time on the ones I bought… i.e. struggling to ski. My friend, one of the best skiiers I have ever skiied with, struggled on them too. Turned out I had mounted them at the line. I remounted with demo bindings and have progressively moved the bindings rearward with much improved performance.

      So what does this have to do with the 194cm? maybe nothing maybe play with the mount point until stoked.

      • andy November 19, 2014 Reply

        Hey Ben, How far back did you go?

        • Ben January 5, 2015 Reply

          Andy,

          I’m still screwing around with the mount point. It has been a bit bony here in NM lately to drive the devastators enough and have consequently been skiing my rock skis most of the time. I’ll update soon when I settle in on a mount point.

          • JohnY December 26, 2015 Reply

            Any update of your mount point? Thanks!

            • Ben March 10, 2016 Reply

              Ended up 0.5 cm back from the line. However, I am skiing them with Lange RS 140 boots now after having skiied them with Technica Cochise Pro 130 boots. Frankly, I moved the mount point around a bit with the Langes (progressive flexing boots) and didn’t find nearly the difference that I had with the Technicas (bricks.) I like the skis much more with the new boots.

              Probably not helpful, but figured I would finally reply.

              • JohnY December 31, 2016 Reply

                Thanks Ben. More helpful than I can be- I have them mounted at somewhere from 1-3cm back from recommended line. I can’t remember! I ski with Scott g1 FR130 (all white) or Nordica Patron Pro (the murder black ones). Both are stiffest ski boots I’ve ever used or tried on (no racing background).

  22. Bob McBob November 22, 2014 Reply

    Nothing beats a 198 RC112 if you can find ’em.

  23. garrett January 2, 2015 Reply

    Anyone tried mounting these a little forward of of the recommended line? I was thinking about mounting 1-2 cm forward.

  24. Brodie January 2, 2015 Reply

    I wouldn’t mount forward, they are short in the front if mounted on the recommended line. That said you still need to be forward on these bad boys. I put my first days on them last week and they are easy to charge in. Groomers even. Though I spent most of my time off piste above tree line. They will make you think you should be more upright than forward but disregard that lean forward like you were taught and they reward! Even with chopped junk or pow.

  25. Evan January 29, 2015 Reply

    Hey, looking for a comparison,

    I have a pair of 187 Hojis, by far the funnest ski I’ve been on! They’re mounted with the G3 ion tech binding. Looking for an everyday resort ski as I sold my resort setup (189 Armada Norwalk) as they weren’t super fun anymore, reflect tech and minimal sidcut/long turn radius of the Hojis has made me seeking a new resort setup. Ideally want another pair of Hojis, but I can get a pair of Devastators for about half the price, which is nice. How do the skis compare? Thinking about the 184 devastator mounted with Marker Jester.

    Thanks, Evan.

  26. max March 2, 2015 Reply

    Great review. I am currently looking for an all mountain ski that does well on firm, bumped up snow. Have you skied the Gaucho? how does the Devestator compare to that. It’s narrower and not full rockered, even though 4frnt seems to advertize both ski for basically the same conditions.

  27. jb March 18, 2015 Reply

    max,

    I purchased the devestators for warm, slushy spring days at the southern PA resorts I frequent. I needed something that would be more enjoyable in heavy, wet snow than my 88mm skis, which are fine for pretty much everything else but can be miserable in those conditions. I skied them last week in a mid 40s day and they were just what i expected in the slop, they were smooth and damp and did not get bounced around, very easy to ski, but did not like quick turns. Later that evening the conditions changed and they still held there own in more icy/firm conditions, which was a pleasant surprise. I did not detune the skis at tip and tail per 4frnt’s recommendations, so this might have helped it’s firm snow performance.

  28. max April 14, 2015 Reply

    Maybe it says somewhere but I couldn’t’ find it. what is your height? I am 6ft, 165lb, thinking about the 184.

    • Brodie April 14, 2015 Reply

      I’m 5’11” and 175-180. I’m on the 194’s I love them, they might be “laborious” compared to some skis but they were easy enough to toss around even in the tight steep stuff.

  29. willie April 14, 2015 Reply

    I can weigh in on this discussion, I have the 184 devastators mounted at +2 (3 back from center) and they kill it there, there is such a big sweet spot that you can ski them center or get over the tips and drive them hard, they don’t care, the harder you push them the more you will get out of them, super quick, intuitive ski, super easy in a 184. For comparison I own Moment 188 PB&J’s, 186 Bibbys and 186 Ghost trains, they hold an edge better and ski easier then the PB&J’s and Bibbys, and are just as playful as the Ghost trains.
    With 0 camber you can go into a super hard carve, then with just a small weight shift go into a full on controlled hand drag slide, then back into a hard carve. One of the best skis out there, its flying under the radar with the Hoji getting all the attention. 5′-7″ 170lbs.

  30. Mitchell July 25, 2015 Reply

    I really can’t decide between 184 / 194. I am 6 2, 200 lbs and I have skied a pair of 182 VCTs since 05 and I love them like my children. I ski mostly east coast but I try and stay off groomers as much as possible, always looking for fun adventures, and I love trees but I have a pair of CRJs for pow days and fun in the forest. Any suggestions? I am sort of worried 194 is too much ski for east coast groomers but 84 sounds like it might be squirly at 50+ mph.

  31. Jimmy September 9, 2015 Reply

    Comparison with the 190 Deathwish?

  32. Blister Member
    Max December 9, 2015 Reply

    I have a pair of 194s mounted on the line. Two weekends ago when Squaw opened Shirley Lake I took them out in some soft, medium sized bumps and very mellow chop. They certainly rail but I found myself wishing I had much less tail behind me. They seemed a little grabby. For a ski that wants to be driven so hard (it does) I am unclear why the mount point is quite so far forward. They are not pivoty skis by any means, even at the near center recommended line. I am going to try moving back 3cm and see how that feels. Anyone else had a similar experience?

    • Author
      Paul Forward December 10, 2015 Reply

      Hi Max, Congrats on the new skis. I just skied then again today mounted at recommended, and I still don’t feel like I need to move back on them. That’s an unusual opinion for me as I very rarely like my skis at a more forward mount but the 194 devastator has been an exception. Let us know what you end up settling on.

    • RC February 3, 2016 Reply

      Max, Paul- I just got day 1 on 194s mounted on the line last weekend. It felt like too much tail for me, at least compared to my other mounts (2008 Gotama and 2010 Icelantic Keeper, both at recommended line). I even found myself getting fatigued in my feet and legs at weird locations because of the amount of tail behind me. Should I give myself some time with this mount? Maybe it will grow on me…don’t know. Max- I’m curious how your remount at -3 cm went, as I’m seriously considering it myself.

      • Blister Member
        Max March 9, 2016 Reply

        RC and Paul, the -3 remount totally unlocked this ski for me. In very wet/dense, chewed-up, but not-remarkably-deep conditions (your basic “1 day later” for most of the Pacific Coast of North America resorts), the stiffness and weight of the Devastator makes it a better choice than even my all around favorite ski, the 190 Blister/Bibby Pro. In these extra heavy (but pretty typical) conditions, the Devastators feel like a pair of double-handed broadswords underfoot. They really fill me with confidence to push hard, which is kinda what determines if a ski is “playful” in the first place. The problem comes when that heavy snow gets a bit deeper (say, above the boot and up). I would experience marked tip dive in these conditions on the Devestator, when leaning forward to drive into my shins. This meant I was having to ride with a light, upright stance on a stiff, heavy 194cm ski called the DEVASTATOR. Me were get confusing. Especially because when riding with said stance, those tails have a tendency to hook up and “get in the way.” As I mentioned before, this is not a pivoty ski. It wants to be driven hard.

        So now I have remounted at -3 and I feel sort of like the first guy to decipher Hieroglyphics after people had been staring at them for thousands of years with no clue what they meant. They still dont float or play like my Gunsmokes or Blisters, but for laying down rails when those skis start getting bounced around, the 194 Devastators at -3 are a great option.

        • RC March 10, 2016 Reply

          Thanks for the update, Max. I find myself having the most fun when I can bounce in and out of turns quickly and really drive the shovels when I need to. Sure, laying them over and railing is going to happen…but what I want most is something that can be quick and nimble. Like I said, maybe i just need more time on them? I actually haven’t been back out on these since day 1 as I’ve been debating between a re-mount or a totally different ski.

          • Blister Member
            Max March 10, 2016 Reply

            RC try the 190 Blister/Bibby. In all but the heaviest maritime conditions I find they perform exactly as you describe. They are my daily driver. They are much lighter and quicker than the Devastator and super fun. They can be a tiny bit more ski than you need during soft, low tide conditions in a place like Utah (when a ski like the Soul 7 really shines), but not by any means unmanageble.

  33. Blister Member
    Dan December 11, 2015 Reply

    Paul and the Blister Crew: any chance you guys will review this years Devastator in the 184 cm length? I’m smaller than Paul, so I’m curious to hear a smaller reviewer’s take in the 184 cm. Specifically Jason’s take actually. Since switching daily drivers from 184 cm metal Katanas to 186 cm Sickles a few years ago, I’ve been searching for the ski that is the love child of a Katana-Sickle mating. Chargy and damp like the Katana, but with a playful side, decent groomer and bump performance, and with mount point around 5-6 cm behind true center like the Sickle.

    I’m hoping the 184 Devastastor is that ski. Plus it’d be cool to hear your take on the VibeVail addition.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    • Ben March 10, 2016 Reply

      Second this. I am vibe veil curious too.

    • Evan July 27, 2016 Reply

      I’ve got a set of the 2016-17 in 194 on order. I’ve got a set of the 186 Sickles and the only thing I’ve ever longed for is a little more length. I’m hoping what you’re hoping!

  34. Mikhail October 19, 2016 Reply

    Hi Paul!
    Could you compare 4FRNT Devastator194 with Blizzard Bodacious 196?

  35. Evan K Wintersteen December 29, 2016 Reply

    I’ve had my 16/17 194 Devs out for a few days now. They were everything I’d hoped they’d be: a longer, stiffer, heavier version than my 186 sickles. They fricken rip. I had them out on a few groomed days, then a day with about 16 inches of untracked snow exploring off the north side of Whitefish. They’re not light, but I found that even in the trees they were more nimble than I was expecting, so total added bonus. For the record, I’m 6’00” and about 175 in my skivvies, pretty athletic (though I wouldn’t say technically proficient or sound, hahahaha). They wanted to go fast an I was happy to oblige, they busted through everything and then some.

    Thanks Blister, for the banging review, and 4Frnt for a banging ski.

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