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.]
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.
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.
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.