Ski: 2015-2016 Blizzard Brahma, 187cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 125-88-110
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 124.5-87.5-109
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 185.4cm
Tip / Tail Splay: ~48mm / ~10mm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,053 & 2,053 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 20 meters
Factory Recommended Line: 81.5cm from tail; -11.2cm from center
Mount Location (updated): +1.5cm of Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 & Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley
Days Skied: 13[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Brahma, which was not changed for 15/16, except for the graphics.] [Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this review with comparisons to the 180cm Brahma. See below.]
Having put time on the Blizzard Cochise, Bodacious, and Bonafide, I’ve been looking forward to skiing the Brahma, which Blizzard describes as “simply a narrower version of the award winning Bonafide, an unbeatable choice for someone looking for a ski with a hard snow bias while still maintaining great performance off the trail.”
I’ve also been interested to ski the Brahma since I’ve recently reviewed the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS, another 88mm-underfoot, powerful ski whose all-mountain capabilities have really impressed me, as well as the 186cm Dynastar Powertrack 89, a still substantial yet quicker and easier-going option than the 184cm X-Drive 8.8 FS.
Furthermore, I wanted to see exactly how similar / different this “narrower Bonafide” felt from the actual Bonafide.
Finally, this review is going to be a bit unusual in that I’m going to work in roughly the reverse order of my regular reviews, for reasons that I hope become clear.
Sizing Recommendations & Some Background
The biggest surprise to me has been that the 187cm Brahma feels like a lot of ski—especially when mounted on the recommended line.
Back when I agreed to review the 180cm Bonafide rather than the 187cm Bonafide, I worried that the ski was going to feel too insubstantial in that length.
But it didn’t. It felt like a very compliant all-mountain ski. At the 180cm length, it isn’t a ski that I can just go rage around on without exceeding its top end, but it is a nice, well-rounded ski.
On the other hand, the 180cm Kabookie (effectively a Bonafide without metal) did feel like too little ski, one that I could easily overwhelm.
So given all of that, when thinking about which size of the Brahma to review, I figured since the ski was even skinnier—dropping down from the 98mm waist of the Bonafide & Kabookie to the 88mm waist of the Brahma—well, I never even considered dropping down to the 180cm Brahma because of the potential to overwhelm that ski, too.
But every day that I’ve been out on the 187, I find myself doubting that there are a ton of people out there who need this much ski. And I say that as someone who loves skis like the 184cm, 13/14 Volkl Mantra; the 184cm, 14/15 Salomon X-Drive 8.8; the 187cm 13/14 Moment Belafonte, etc.
To try to give you a clearer sense of where I’m coming from and to try to help you figure out what length might work best for you, I felt like the 180cm Blizzard Bonafide was a pretty easy ski (in that length) that could still be pushed pretty hard. I’ve also suggested that if you love the 13/14 Volkl Mantra in the 184cm length, that the 177cm, 14/15 Mantra actually feels like the more apples-to-apples comparison than the 184cm, 14/15 version of the Mantra.
In short, while the 187cm Brahma is an impressive ski in a lot of respects, I imagine that 8 out of 10 people that are considering the Brahma would be better off going with the 180cm Brahma rather than the 187cm. And you definitely do not need to size up on this ski.
Who’s Going to be Happiest on the 187cm Brahma?
1) As a rough guideline, the lighter you are—let’s call 175 lbs. the over / under here—the more powerful skier you will need to be to make the 187 Brahma work for you all around the mountain, and especially in moguls.
While the 187 Brahma is really fun and substantial on groomers, it is definitely not a quick or easy ski. So if you find yourself in big, unevenly-spaced moguls, you will need to be on your game, and the 187s will punish mistakes or backseat skiing. (I’ll say more below on this point in the moguls section.)
But if you weigh, say, 150-160 lbs. or so and are just looking for a big, badass GS ski for ripping very fast turns, then you are in the wheelhouse of the 187 Brahma. Its top end is very impressive, not far from the (best-in-class?) top end of the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS.
2) It’s probably pretty obvious, then, that I think heavier, powerful skiers will most enjoy the 187s. If you are an ex-racer, or if you are a strong skier that weighs more like 200, 215, or 230 lbs. and you like to go fast (very fast), then you will probably like this ski quite a bit.
3) Update: To qualify these claims a bit, see the section below on the recommended mount point.
Flex Pattern & Shape
I really like the flex pattern of the 187 Brahma. Its tails are stiff / very stiff, and its shovels are stiff / medium stiff. There’s a nice consistency.
It is definitely a substantial flex pattern, but its tails do not hand flex as stiff as the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8, and the X-Drive 8.8’s shovels are actually a bit softer than the shovels of the Brahma. The 186cm Dynastar Powertrack 89 has softer tails and shovels than the Brahma or the 8.8.
The Brahma, X-Drive 8.8, and the Powertrack 89 all have similar amounts of tail splay—no dramatic tail rocker on any of them.
But the Powertrack 89 has the most tip splay (~64mm); the X-Drive 8.8 has about 57mms of splay combined with the shortest / shallowest tip rocker line of the group; and the Brahma has the least amount of tip splay (~48mm) but the deepest rocker line of the bunch.
In that sense, the X-Drive 8.8 is the most traditional shape of the three skis.
(A final more-or-less-useful comparison: the 187 Brahma has noticeably stiffer tails than the 185cm, 14/15 Blizzard Cochise, and subtly stiffer tips than the Cochise. The 108mm-underfoot Cochise has deeper tip and tail rocker lines than the Brahma, but both skis have a pretty subtle amount of tip and tail splay.)
Given the shapes and flex patterns of the Powertrack 89, X-Drive 8.8, and Brahma, it’s not at all surprising that the Powertrack 89 is the easiest ski of the bunch. But there is another important factor, too…