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2016-2017 Blizzard Spur

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Spur for Blister Gear Review

15/16 Blizzard Spur

Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Spur, 189cm

Available Lengths: 189 cm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 187.9cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 146-125-134

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 144.5-124.5-132.5

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2391 & 2386 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 28 meters

Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~67mm / ~21mm

Core Construction: Bamboo/Poplar/”ISO” + Carbon Fiber Tip/Tail + Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Line: -10.5cm from center; ~83.4cms from tail

Mount Location: Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Fischer Vacuum RC4 130 / Marker Jester (DIN-11)

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Spur, which was not changed for 16/17. In addition to my review of the Spur from Taos, we’ve also added (pg. 3) Paul Forward’s review of the Spur, conducted while heli & resort skiing in Alaska. ]

Once again, February did what February tends to do in Taos: Go Off.

And as a bonus, we’ve still been getting very good snow in March, too. Which means that we’ve been in a perfect (and pretty enviable) position to be reviewing a number of fat skis in fresh snow.

The Blizzard Spur has been one of those skis, and it has proven to be a very capable ski.

Blizzard’s own description of the Spur isn’t modest:

“Meet the latest athlete inspired, POW slaying machine and the most futuristic offering from Blizzard to date. Combining the revolutionary Flipcore process with the most progressive construction materials – carbon tips and tails – you get a ski that revolutionizes what is possible in powder snow! The top end stability in tracked out snow defies logic, yet the ease at which you can smear, surf or carve your turns in powder is mind blowing.”

If we decaffeinate this description a bit, a couple of things stand out: pow slayer; progressive construction; high speed stability in tracked snow; easy ski to smear, surf, or carve in pow. That all sounds pretty good.

The Spur is Blizzard’s fattest, most pow-specific ski, so we went and put it in some pow. All kinds of pow, actually, and all kinds of terrain, and a bunch of non-pow, too, for good measure.

My very first run on the Spur began on the traverse over to Taos’ Castor, which begins with a short, tight bumps section at the top of Pollux, then a luge-like section over to the top of Castor that we normally ski too fast just for kicks.

By the time I was standing at the top of Castor, I was already impressed by how predictable and intuitive the Spur felt. Zero learning curve. Point and Shoot.

And that feeling of predictability and intuitiveness has not diminished since.

Flex Pattern and Design

Flex pattern = solid.

The Spur’s tails are stiff (not extremely stiff, but stiff), and while the tips of the ski are more of a solid medium flex, the ski does ramp up to that stiffer flex (a la the tails) as you move deeper into the shovel, toward the binding. So if you’re looking for a lightweight, softer, jibby pow ski (e.g., Line Magnum Opus, Moment Ghost Train), the Spur isn’t it. This is a weighty directional ski with a traditional mount point.

But while this is a big ski that definitely looks big and straight and has some heft to it, it doesn’t ski all that heavy (credit the tapered tips) and it is still quite easy to pivot around bases flat—because the ski is flat underfoot and the rocker line on this ski is deep (see the rocker pics on page 3).

Deep Pow

It’s not too hard to make a ~125mm-wide ski with a set back mount point and a lot of tip rocker work well in pow, and the Spur certainly does.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Spur for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Spur, Wild West Glade, Taos Ski Valley.

If you want a ski to noodle around at very low speeds in low-angle terrain, then there are probably better options out there (DPS Lotus 138, 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler, etc.). The Spur can do slow, but its weight + sidecut radius + flat, non-twinned tail shape all favor more of a fall-line approach to the mountain.

Having said that, I have not had any issues drifting these skis. They aren’t as drifty as the lighter Ghost Train, the more heavily tail-rockered Bent Chetler, or the DPS Lotus 138 & Spoon, but I have yet to have these feel grabby or get hung up in deep snow. So slash or slide a couple of turns where you need to, then get back to your fall line skiing. The Spur gives you options.

Low Angle Pow / Tight Terrain

Lighter skis with more tail rocker and a more centered mount point will be even easier here, but if I was willing to work a bit, the Spur never felt out of place in the deep snow and tight trees of Taos’s Wild West Glade, or in the steeper trees of Taos’ Pollux. If you tend to get along with beefier all-mountain skis like the Blizzard Cochise or Volkl Mantra in tighter terrain in variable conditions, I think you’ll get along really well with the Spur in the same terrain in fresh powder.

Coastal Snow

On March 20th, Taos turned into Alaska.

On the 19th and 2oth, Taos experienced very warm temps and a lot of precipitation, and I actually got to ski in the rain on the 19th, bumping up my coastal ski cred.

Then that rain turned into a big storm of wet, heavy snow, and all the fresh snow was basically plaster, coating the entire mountain in a thick coated of white. This wasn’t the 5% (moisture content) snow that we often see around here, it was straight up coastal. And it was pretty great, because (1) it opened up access to some rather sketchy, rocky entrances around West Basin, and (2) it was like I’d flown west (or east) to see how the Spurs handled not just deeper, lighter pow, but heavy, dense, fresh snowfall.

Answer: Quite Well.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Spur for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Spur, Meatball, Taos Ski Valley.

In fresh, untracked Coastal Cream (does anybody call it that? Any reason not to?), the Spurs are fantastic.

If you are a directional skier who likes a little weight under your boots and who perks up when you learn that a given ski has a 25+ meter sidecut radius …. then for the life of me, I cannot imagine what about the Spur’s performance in these conditions you could possibly complain about.

(And if you want a lighter pow ski with a 25+ meter sidecut and a more forward mount point, consider the Moment Ghost Train.)

But the Spurs never got bogged down in the thick snow, never felt twitchy, and tip dive was never, ever an issue.

NEXT: Crud, Chop, The Reforma Test, Groomers, & Comparisons

24 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Africa March 23, 2015 Reply

    Great review, I have been skiing my Spur’s this season way more than I expected…and this has to be one of the lower snowfall seasons I have seen in central Colorado. My first few days were big powder days(December), and I wasn’t that happy, as they were just ‘okay’. I friend of mine recommended getting them through his grinder…from ‘okay’ to fantastic, what a transformation. This is a fantastic ski, and as you say, that happens to be a powder ski.
    Without thought, I have skied lines I had never even looked at before, and dropped into tight tree zones that I had always avoided. I find the Spur significantly easier to ski than my Cochise, to me it feels quicker and lighter underfoot, despite being much bigger. Reliable, dependable and fun.
    I cannot recommend this ski enough. Other skis I love this season for reference, Atomic Automatic 117 in the 186cm, Soul Rider 185 as my teaching ski. Struggling to find a replacement for my Cochise and Rituals, one ski to replace both as a firm conditions everywhere ski (waiting on the Enforcer and Vantage 100 Cti reviews :) )
    Always great to read your reviews, and get your impressions on skis that I know. For the Blizzard Spur, spot on, agree completely. Thank you

  2. Jake March 23, 2015 Reply

    How tall/fat are you?

    • El mucho March 24, 2015 Reply

      181cm/78kg and pure muscle

  3. El mucho March 24, 2015 Reply

    Blizzard spur mounting point
    Do you prefer line or +1?

  4. Matt March 24, 2015 Reply

    Ive been skiing the Spurs all winter in Jackson (and storm chasing in Utah and Colorado) and love the the Spurs. I did detune the edges, except for under my feet, and love everything about the Spurs. Ive looked down chutes, tree runs and bowls that I would have not even considered previously, and jumped over the edge with confidence knowing the ski would do what I wanted, when I wanted. The best comparison I can come up with is a fat version of the Blizzard Bonafide, my every day ski (I still havnt gotten on the Cochise YET, but hopefully soon). I did have the Spurs out last week for some spring skiing and I didnt like their punch for getting through slush, but thats what my Gunsmokes are for!

    Thanks for another great review Jonathan. The more I read, the more it seems Blizzard keeps getting it right with their skis. Im excited for the mini Spur, the Bodacious.

  5. gus March 27, 2015 Reply

    Hi, Great review, as always.

    How would you compare it to the Bodacious, I mean if you had a Bodacious and used it a lot, and by a lot I mean 28 out 30 days of this ski seasson… would you think that swaping over to the spur, would make things a bit easier on my legs… on those days where you probably shouldn’t be using skis that fat…?

    Also do you know if hhere are any changes betwwen the 2015 (white) and the 2016 (black) versions.

    Thanks a lot! in advance!

    • Author

      The 14/15 Bodacious has more in common with the Blister Pro than the Spur, so see my replies below.

      The other thing is that I regard the Bodacious as more of a big mountain ski that handles firm and variable conditions quite well, rather than a specialized pow ski. I could see using the Bodacious across a broad spectrum of conditions. The Spur is an excellent pow ski that can also deal with a remarkably broad range of conditions.

      And I think the Spur is wide & straight enough that if you actually like to get your skis on edge and carve, I wouldn’t regard it as an easier ski than the Bodacious.

      Having said all that, the 15/16 Bodacious sounds like it may be closer to what you are looking for…. But we’ll need to ski it before we can recommend it.

      • Gus April 3, 2015 Reply

        Thanks Jonathan, I take your words into great consideration, I’ll keep my bodacious as my main ski for next season and enjoy them as much as I’ve done the last few years.

  6. jp March 27, 2015 Reply

    Hello Blisterites!
    Great reviews and improving in details over time.
    The spur was one of the ski I was more curious to see reviewed.
    I have a pair of zealot 182 and blizzard gs 6.8 for groomers.
    I mostly use the zealots on powder days in the alps. I always ski in a place with lots of steep widely espaced trees, tighter at the bottom. If it doesn’t snow all day long, you get half a day of untracked powder and then deeply tracked pow. I am a directional skier but I like to do some little tricks.
    I was looking for a powder ski with better flotation and pivoting of the zealot, but still capable of being fun and chargeable in the tracks.
    I was basically sold to the blister pro, but now I have doubts!
    How do they compare with the blister pro? i guess they would basically totally replace the zealot, while the spur maybe won’t?
    And by the way, do you plan to review any black crows skis?
    Thanks and thanks for keeping improving!
    jp

    • Author

      Hi, JP – see my reply to Austin below. The reason I didn’t mention the Blister Pro in the Spur review was because the skis really aren’t apples-to-apples. There is no question that the Blister Pro is the closer comparison to the Zealot – but will pivot better and offer better floatation.

      For skiing hard in mixed conditions, the Blister Pro is one of our favorites. It does not float like the Spur, but the Spur doesn’t handle firm and mixed conditions as well as the Blister Pro. As I wrote below, the Spur feels like a much bigger, wider ski – and even more so compared to the Zealot.

  7. Austin April 2, 2015 Reply

    Hey Jonathan

    Great review once again! That being said, I have a potentially great deal on the Spur but don’t think I would actually need it because I already have the 190 Blister Pro’s, which are ~7 mm skinnier at the waist and like a ~2-3mm difference at the shovel/tail. Do you think there would be any reason to proceed with adding the Spurs to my quiver?

    Thanks!
    A

    • Author

      Hey, Austin. I actually had a 3 day sequence where I skied the 190 Blister Pros one day, then the Spurs, then back to the Blister Pros. And I couldn’t get over how much wider the Spur seemed – made the Blister Pros look and feel skinny.

      So while I really do believe that the Spur might be the most versatile ~125mm ski I’ve ever been on, the firm snow capabilities of the 190 Bibby are significantly better. And there is also no question that in really deep snow – especially not very steep, heavier snow, the Spur floats significantly better than the Blister Pro.

      So all that to say, the performance spectrums of the two skis are different enough that I definitely could see having both in the quiver if you are fortunate enough to get into some really deep snow. The less that’s true, the less sense I think it would make.

  8. Lindahl April 14, 2015 Reply

    “As an aside, if Blizzard was ever able to create a lighter, 8-9 lb. version of the Spur (with their new Zero G technology) that didn’t lose too much of the character of the Spur … I think it would be among the best pow touring skis ever.”

    Paul – PM Gear makes this in their Kusala Pow pure carbon layup. I have a pair of extra stiffs that come in right under 9lbs/pair. Their softer flex is right around 8lbs. These are substantially stiffer than Spurs, which I feel makes this sort of ski (reverse camber) only perform even better. Noticeably stiffer than Renegades. You can really lay into them. It also feels much damper than DPS’s latest Pure offerings – more akin to their hybrids. Its my go-to powder ski these days, alongside my 191 Katanas (looking at 186 Variant 113s), 183 Head m103s and 180 Down Countdown 102s.

  9. Thor September 10, 2015 Reply

    Hey Jonathan and Paul,
    So i picked up a pair of spurs last year and have to agree that they are a great resort pow ski. Now I’m just trying to get my touring setup dialed and am debating getting another pair of spurs, some 196 praxis protest or 196 4frnt renegade as a hard charging but still playful touring ski. I already have a pair of 187 hojis for the mellow days but at 6’3 190lbs things can get a bit squirrely at high speeds. Which one of these do you think would shine most as a versatile, slarvy, but still stable touring ski? Or are there other skis i should be considering? The lotus 138’s would be my first choice but they are a bit out of my price range.

    Btw, nice work on the cover shot Paul! That looked awesome! Bummed i missed last year but hoping to make it back out to japan again this year.

  10. Davyn February 21, 2017 Reply

    Hi guys,
    After reading ou reviews on the Spur and true DPS 138 it sounds like the 138 Spoon might be more what I’m after. I’ve only recently come across DPS skis and am now really considering getting a pair based on the reviews I’m seeing. Just to give you an idea of what I’m looking for – because I instructed in Colorado for a few years I always skied on traditional frontside all mountain skis and just took them into backcountry and powder (ie used them as a one-ski quiver) on days off. I had my first trip to AK last year (Alyeska followed by Points North) and figured I needed something wider and ended up going with the Blizzard Gunsmokes (with pivot 19’s). I found these fine at Alyeska in the variable conditions there but when I was out in the heli areas at points north I found them two narrow and to be honest not as light and responsive as I hoped. I also probably needed something more directional now that I’m 38 and not 28 anymore!

    I’ve been looking around online (living in Australia doesn’t really enable me to try in advance) for a while for my next AK trip and had a shortlist of the Black Crows Nocta, Rossignol Super 7 HD and maybe even the Line Pescado but now the DPS Lotus 138 Spoon has moved to the top of the list. Ultimately I’d love something that’s great for Alaska Heli but can also translate to resort skiing when there’s been a good dump – do you think I should also look at the new Alchemist 124 Spoon you mentioned or the 124 Spoon Pure3 (2017) or even the Powderworks Lotus 124 (2016)?

    Sorry, I know this is a really long post and maybe not easy to answer so really appreciate your help!

    Davyn

    • Matt February 22, 2017 Reply

      Davyn

      I’m not a reviewer, but after going through a similar progression of skis, I wanted to chime in. I love my Gunsmokes but they are often not big enough, similar to what you describe. I picked up a pair of Praxis Protests after talking with a few people about them and the Protests were just as advertised. Check out the review, it’s spot on. I read it after skiing my Protests and I kept nodding my head in agreement. Powder skiing became easy and fun, exactly what people describe it as once they figure out how to ski pow. I will be honest, it took a few runs to make the adjustments needed to bring them alive, but once I adjusted, I felt as if I was floating on cloud 9.

      One of the most interesting things about the Protest, is I kept grabbing it a few days after storms, because it was so much fun. The post storm days were usually reserved for my 193 Volkl Shiros (119mm underfoot) or my 193 Gunsmokes, but at 128mm underfoot, the Protests were more fun. I never imagined that I would find a pow ski that I’d jump on so often.

      Check out the review, their is a reason used Praxis Protests for sale are few and far between.

      http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/praxis-protest

      Matt

  11. Davyn February 22, 2017 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks a lot for your response – really appreciate it! Did you get the carbon fiber option? I’ve now read up on the Protests and I think it’s between them and the DPS 138 or 124. Is anyone able to compare the two for me?

    I’m 6″1 and 155lbs (so pretty light), 38yrs old and an aggressive skier but in an energetic way rather than crushing big GS turns in powder these days (i.e. I tend to make more turns than other big mountain skiers) so I’ve always liked a ski that’s light and “poppy”. I want a ski that’s great for AK heli and also for resort light-heavy powder days. Both the Praxis and DPS seem to be pretty similar in weight, price and (from what I can tell) overall performance.

    I’d love it if someone could give me an idea of what type of skier each are more suited to.

    Thanks again!
    Davyn

  12. Matt February 22, 2017 Reply

    Davyn

    I’ve had two pairs of Protests, sold the first pair then bought another pair, both were the standard layup. I have not been on either of the DPSs you mentioned, so I can’t compare the two. There is a fairly log thread on TGRs forums comparing the 138 to the Protest. It might be more to you then me.

    For your reference, I’ve got 3 inches and 50 pounds on you. If it’s a soft day, I ski with a lot of pop, if not I charge GS turns.

    The Protests have been great for ripping around Jackson Hole all winter, no matter if it’s in tight trees, narrow chutes or open pow fields. They just do what I want when I want.

  13. Davyn February 22, 2017 Reply

    Thanks again Matt – are you on the 196?

    • Matt February 23, 2017 Reply

      Yep, they are big, but not unwealdy. If you are concerned about length, call Praxis and talk to them. They are great guys!

  14. Davyn March 31, 2017 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    One last question sorry – did you stick with the medium flex?

    Cheers,
    Davyn

  15. Jay April 30, 2017 Reply

    Blizzard Spur 15/16
    So i have skied the spurs in a day of fresh Snow and cut up powder. Iam not that pyhsically super fit asofnow so i hesitated to grab these skis (although i am an experienced and tecnically good pow Skier).
    Boy was i wrong. Did the First lap on my goto pow skis k2 seths 118. then i switched and ist was like putting the pedal to the Metal. I skied better, faster and more secure than before. Just wow.

    So now i am wondering what ski is a thinner spur. Maybe this years bodacious or the rustler11.
    Also skied the og 193cochise which i found basically more exhausting.

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