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2014-2015 Blizzard Scout

Review of the Blizzard Scout, Blister Gear Review.

14/15 Blizzard Scout

Ski: 2014-2015 Blizzard Scout, 185cm

Dimensions (mm): 135-108-123

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.2 cm

Sidecut Radius: 28.5 meters

Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2,080 grams and 2,087 grams

Boots / Bindings: Nordica Enforcer / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: Factory Recommended

Days Skied: 12

Test Locations: Alta Ski Area, Wasatch Backcountry

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Scout, which is unchanged for 14/15, except for the graphics.]

Intro

Since its inception, the Blizzard Cochise has been a benchmark, all-mountain resort ski in the 105-110mm underfoot class. However, because of the weight of the ski, and perhaps a bit of a weakness in deep powder performance, the Cochise is not an ideal backcountry choice.

New for 2013-2014, the Blizzard Scout aims to take the performance and feel of the Cochise and, following in the steps of the Blizzard Kabookie, pack it into a lighter, more (backcountry-) friendly package.

As I found with the Kabookie, however, when changing the lay-up to a proven ski (in this case, by eliminating most of the metal in the ski—there is still a section of titanium underfoot), there is bound to be an effect on performance other than simply making the skis lighter for traveling uphill.

Touring / Powder

Ski touring and powder performance are the two areas where the Scout is designed to outshine the Cochise, and it does. But only slightly. The Scout is approximately one half pound (200g) lighter per ski than the Cochise, but still weighs almost 2,100 grams per ski. So while it is indeed lighter than the Cochise, it doesn’t come down to the scant weights of skis from DPS and Voile (with the DPS Wailer 112, for example, weighing in at ~1,800g a piece).

Because of the almost complete elimination of metal, however, the Scout is noticeably softer in flex compared to the Cochise, both at the tip and tail. While this does have its tradeoffs (which I’ll mention later), it does give the ski slightly better floatation in powder versus the Cochise.

Blizzard Scout, Blister Gear Review

Jason Hutchins on the Blizzard Scout, Alta Ski Area.

In mid-April, 18 to 20 inches of light Utah powder fell over the Wasatch, and I spent a couple of days lapping my favorite backcountry spots. With just a little bit of speed, the Scout quickly provided a floating sensation under my feet and made encounters with the firm base layer rare. I could vary turn shapes and styles from quick, side-to-side turns keeping the tips pointing down the fall line through tight spots, to longer-radius, high-speed arcs in open terrain, while also being able to subtly smear turns for the radii in between as needed.

I emphasize “subtly” because while the Scout does have a significantly looser feel than a traditional-shaped, flat-tailed ski, and even more so than the smaller Kabookie, it still doesn’t provide the all-out, very easy-to-pivot-and-slash feel like the similarly waisted Salomon Rocker2 108, Line Sir Francis Bacon, or Rossignol Sickle. You can smear it, you can slash it, but it does take more energy than it does while on those other skis (though those other skis are certainly designed for less directional skiers.)

One final comment regarding touring: though the tail of the Scout has a slightly round shape, the construction does not use a full wrap-around edge. The tail features a half-inch plastic “cap,” which can be filed or cut in the center, forming a notch that allows for a slip-free skin tail clip attachment point.

Blizzard Scout, Blister Gear Review

Jason Hutchins on the Blizzard Scout.

Groomers

I haven’t been on a Blizzard yet that can’t hold its own on a groomer. The Cochise did feel a little more stable at speed and over the more bumped up / less well-groomed sections, and larger riders will undoubtedly prefer the Cochise.

But the Scout does provide a damp, stable platform for effortless carving of long-radius turns. The ski is not what I would call an exciting carver and, like the Cochise, doesn’t pull aggressively across the hill or release with much enthusiasm, no matter how hard it is pushed.

Like the Cochise, the Scout will predictably slide a little (feel a little loose in the tail) on an aggressively carved turn. My experience has only found this to be the case when hitting sections of pure ice, however, which has been basically nonexistent while skiing at Alta.

With the aide of the rocker profile, the Scout does perform short-radius, skidded turns on groomers fairly easily with moderate rotational foot steering. Obviously, a little more sidecut in the tip of the ski would help in this situation, but nonetheless the slightly lighter weight of the Scout, in comparison to the Cochise, make the ski a little more user friendly in this application.

 

7 Comments

  1. andy May 13, 2013 Reply

    I have about a dozen days on my 177 Scouts (i’m 5’8″, 140#s) and can confidently say they’re the best all around touring ski I’ve ever been on. Paired with Dyanfits and Vulcans, I’ve skied all types of snow from Fairy Meadows windbuff and Alpental snain to Washington Pass corn-becoming-slop and never once wanted another ski.

    They’re much heavier than the 184 Wailer 99s they replaced, but, for me, the added downhill performance is WELL worth it. They do tight jump turns extremely well, Mach weird wind-affected glacier snow and slay corn. This is an intangible, but I just trust them.

    That said, for inbounds, I’m sticking with my Katanas. The Scout is, essentially, the “touring Katana” I’ve been waiting several years for. I.e. a slightly lighter layup but still damp and powerful, but flat camber with low rocker and a moderate side cut.

    I’ll keep my Wailer 112s for winter pow touring, most of which is in trees where that shape shines, but the Scout will get the call every other day when the skins come out.

  2. Blister Member
    Vince May 14, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the review. I’ve was on the Cochise this past year and as a lighter skier was interested in the Scout. Based on your review and others will stick with what I have. Also interested in other 105-110mm ski reviews. Is a Ross Soul7 review in the works?

  3. scotty May 24, 2013 Reply

    Hi,

    Having owned both the Cochise and Scout, I found the Scout to be the preferred in-resort ski. It is a bit softer in the tip and tail, easier to get bent up when turning in the trees, quicker, and just as stable. I am small and short (5 foot 7, 145lbs) and a very strong skier, confident at any speed and in most any terrain, and whereas the Cochise felt like a cheater ski, as if it just wanted me to stand up and push it around (i.e intermediate skills), the Scout is just so much more active and rewarding, and gives more back. I skied 185cm in both skis, but am more at home on the playful Scout. I see a lot of old folks, low energy type skiers on the Cochise. The Scout may require a bit higher skill set, but also gives more back.

  4. Greg February 25, 2014 Reply

    Jason,

    What binding are you on in the touring pic? It looks like a Jester, but your heels are free….Am I super confused?

    By the way, just picked up some Scouts and will be mounting them shortly. I will update with my thoughts.

    Thanks

  5. Andy September 3, 2014 Reply

    Jason: Looks like he’s got Alpine Trekkers stuck into Jesters.

  6. Avalancha April 7, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jason,
    I weigh about 200 pounds. you think your that I am too heavy for the scout?
    I’m looking for a ski for freetouring, trips between 3-4 hours.
    I also thought Coomback 114. I use to resort a line mr. pollar opus you recommended me. Do you think now?

  7. blaisecham March 3, 2016 Reply

    Hello guys , i’m french living in Chamonix since almost 30 years , i’m professional guide and ski instructor . i really like all the comments and test editor’s review’s.
    i have been in many big toys those past 6 years , specially because the evolution of the market is brilliant , and give you many great choice’s.
    i have trough the chamonix guide office the access at low price to the rossignol’s fat boy like the yellow Soul7 , and also the Super7 , i want to comment on those skis : i’m pretty disapointed , they are not that easy ( we said in france the main destination of those shapes are made for the intermediate skiers who want to play in powder with not to much technique skills , but in fact i don’t feel any ease to use these skis in packed snow , okay they are quite easy in light powder but i cant feel really agile with them in tight forest and quick turns.
    That says , i have been recently in the Scout mounted with Dynafit bindings and using ski-boots La Sportiva , this is a brilliant combo and i’m really pleased with them , i will probably get a set-up with the Spur for the rest of the season because it’s really damping a sick pow now !!

    also i want to talk about a french Brand called ZAG , i don’t know yet if you have tried some of those skis , but if not you really should try !! my favorite skis ever is the the H112 from 2012 with a long flat rocker on the tip and the same one on the tail , with a lenght of 1.98 it’s a real missile and the stability is just unbeatable .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11ccsF77c7o
    cheers to all of you guys !!
    (we are having the visit of Seth Morisson right now in chamonix , and he already did some amazing ride’s in aiguille du midi and at the new cable car in Italy called ” SKY-WAY”
    http://www.montebianco.com
    Blaise

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