Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm
Available Lengths: 166, 173, 180, 187 cms
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 178.1 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 133-98-118
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 132.5-97.5-117.5
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2167 & 2199 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech + Titanal (2-Layer) + Carbon Tips/Tails + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~55mm / ~8mm
Recommended Line: ~11.25 cm from center; ~77.8 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots: Fischer Vacuum RC 140 & Tecnica Mach 1
Bindings: Marker Jester (DIN at 11)
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Arapahoe Basin
Days Skied: 15[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Bonafide, which was not changed for 16/17]
The Bonafide has been tweaked.
Blizzard has integrated carbon into the tips and tails, in the attempt to increase “structural integrity” in those sections.
Did it work?
How does the new Bonafide stack up to the previous Bonafide? And how does it compare to other directional, all-mountain skis?
Glad you asked.
I spent this spring at Taos A/B-ing the 180 cm, 13/14 Bonafide (which was unchanged for 14/15), and the new 180 cm 15/16 Bonafide—and also the Nordica Enforcer, Volkl Mantra, Line Supernatural 100, Parlor Cardinal, etc…). And I just returned from Arapahoe Basin, where I put in a few more days on the new Bonafide. So it’s time to weigh in.
Some Comparisons: 14/15 Bonafide (180 cm) vs. 15/16 Bonafide (180 cm)
Our measured dimensions of these two skis are identical. Their length is identical. Their recommended mount point is identical.
But the 15/16 Bonafide is actually 80-100 grams heavier per ski. (Carbon doesn’t always = weight savings, nor is saving weight always the reason why you’d add carbon to a ski.)
Our pair of 15/16 Bonafides has a slightly reduced amount of tip and tail splay (15/16 = ~55mm / ~8mm; 13/14 = ~60mm / ~13mm), and our 15/16 Bonafides have a tip rocker line that is 1-2 centimeters shorter than the our 13/14s.
Note: It’s possible that the amount of tip & tail splay has increased on our 13/14 – 14/15 Bonafides as we’ve skied them (which could also have the effect of increasing the 13/14’s tip rocker line by 1-2cms). But our review of the 13/14 Bonafide was conducted on a brand new pair of those skis, so even if these numbers have changed a bit from when we pulled them out of the shrink wrap, my thoughts on that ski haven’t changed from the first time I’ve skied them (when they were brand new) to the last time I skied them. (See my review of the 13/14 – 14/15 Bonafide.)
I would rate the new Bonafide’s tail as a “Medium+” or Medium / Stiff. The tails are a touch stiffer than the 13/14 Bonafides—not by much, but it’s noticeable when hand flexing the two skis.
The shovels of the 15/16 Bonafide are a solid “Medium”. The shovels are slightly stiffer than the 13/14 Bonafide, but the difference is even more subtle than the difference between the tails of the 15/16 and the 14/15.
Point is, for those of you who don’t like the trend of skis seemingly getting softer and softer, the new Bonafide doesn’t. It’s similar but slightly stiffer overall.
The Old Bonafide
On a few days in the middle of March while on the 13/14 Bonafides at Taos, it was full on spring skiing: soft, groomers, and by the afternoon a LOT of thick, chunky, choppy snow, the sort of stuff where a stiffer ski that’s ~110-115mm underfoot really shines.
But I was impressed with the (13/14) 180 cm Bonafide. I was still able to push them quite hard, despite the fact that I don’t consider that ski a phenomenal crudbuster.
But they were very fun to carve, held an edge well on soft groomers (it was icy groomers where I felt the old Bonafide didn’t show tenacious edgehold), and the skis were still pretty substantial while being quick enough in very late afternoon bumps that had begun to firm up again.
All in all, I was impressed again and had fun on them, and the conclusions I’d reached the prior season in my review of the Bonafide all held true: this is a pretty capable all-mountain ski that rarely feels wildly out of place. It isn’t the crud buster that is the 14/15 Cochise or the 14/15 Bodacious, and it isn’t the carver that the skinnier Blizzard Brahma is. But the 13/14 Bonafide works, skis predictably, and can be pushed pretty hard.
The New Bonafide: Groomers / Carving
The 13/14 – 14/15 was a nice ski on groomers, especially soft groomers. But the more firm those groomers got—or the more roughed up those groomers got—the less the Bonafide felt like the best tool for the job, particularly at high speeds.
The 15/16 Bonafide is a clear improvement here, both on firm and on roughed-up groomers. The new Bonafide provides more “bite,” and better handles a more powerful, aggressive skiing style than the previous iteration.
Finishing turns on the Bonafide now feels less vague than on the previous Bonafide. And while the difference is relatively subtle, it’s a good improvement if you want to carve hard on your 98mm ski.
Importantly—and impressively—I don’t think the new Bonafide is more demanding than the old one. It might be slightly less forgiving, but (1) if that’s true, it’s in a very limited way (see below), and (2) given how much harder I can push this ski, even if it is slightly more demanding, it is absolutely worth it in my book—you’re getting a noticeably higher performance envelope at the expense of a tiny bit of forgiveness. And for a directional, all-mountain ski like this with a very traditional mount point, that is a no-brainer.
Those New Carbon Tips & Tails (and Other Stuff)
But let’s go back for just a minute, before we heap all the praise on those fancy new tips and tails.
The new Bonafide has less tip & tail splay, a shallower rocker line, a stiffer overall flex, and a heavier weight. And while each of those changes is subtle, every single one of them is a move in the direction toward making this ski feel more powerful and more precise. The previous Bonafide is a nice all-mountain ski, but if you ever found yourself being a bit underwhelmed by the Bonafide, you need to check out this new version.
NEXT: Moguls, Trees, Open Bowls, etc.