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3rd Look: Blizzard Cochise

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Cochise, Blister Gear Review

13/14 Blizzard Cochise

[Editor’s Note: Recently, we received a comment from a reader named George, asking why BLISTER reviewer Rob Dickinson hadn’t weighed in on the Blizzard Cochise:

“You mention Rob Dickinson in one of the posts above. Having had a closer look at his profile, I am surprised that he has not weighed in with his 10 cents worth on the Blizzard Cochise? I would really like to hear his views on the ski.”

Good question, interesting story. As you’ll read below, Rob bought the Cochise largely because of our review, then proceeded to kill it on the comp circuit. So much so, in fact, that Rob now skis for Blizzard, and he’s skiing on the Cochise again this season. (Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy, by the way.)

Only problem is, we don’t let sponsored skiers review skis, because that’s how you end up with biased reviews full of BS and fluff. (Other review publications do not share BLISTER’s policy on this; draw your own conclusions.) So while we are all happy for Rob, he won’t be reviewing skis for us, only bikes.

But months ago, back when Rob and I were first talking about BLISTER—and long before Rob had signed on with Blizzard—I had asked Rob whether he agreed with my review of the Cochise. And it seems fair game to share now the email that he wrote back then.

So, if you want to see the e-mail review from a smart comp skier with podium finishes on the Cochise, here you go.]

 “On your Cochise review: I bought the ski like anyone else would (largely off of your review, actually).

My thoughts: Most of it you nailed, and the ski acted much like you said it would. This ski can carve a GS turn like nobody’s business, and at any point in that carving turn the skier is free to break not just the tail but the whole edge evenly and predictably loose to adjust the radius. This, along with the stability it offers at blazing speeds, allows for amazing accuracy. I really felt like I could charge inbounds conditions (i.e. freeskiing comp conditions) on this ski faster and harder than ever.

Rob Dickinson, Kirkwood 2012, Amy Jimmerson, Blister Gear Review

Rob Dickinson, Kirkwood, 2012.

The ability you gain on this ski to throw it sideways at any time allows you at all other times to foot steer and pick up as much speed as you like, with the comfort of knowing you can adjust your speed or path in an instant. I never once longed for the longer length (I ski the 185) or more stability. I really don’t care if the ski wanders just a touch riding flat in a straight line at 60 mph, so long as it is bomber in the turn I’m about to put it in.

 

34 Comments

  1. JB December 4, 2012 Reply

    What base and side bevel is recommended? I actually liked the out of the box tune but after hitting a few too many rocks in the low snow conditions of last year, I had to have the base grinded and the tune the shop put on the skis resulted in less grip in firm/icy conditions. I had the tune checked several times and the shop swore that it was 1 degree base, 2 degree side. Anyway, just looking to restore some of the grippiness on firm conditions.

  2. C.brown December 5, 2012 Reply

    Factory Bevel is 1* base and 3* side and they’re very consistent. I doubt you would be able to tell the difference between a 2* and 3* side bevel unless you were on absolute boiler plate. More side bevel does not result in more grip either. If a shop says they’re at 1* and 2* and they don’t feel like they’re grippy then they’re not at 1 and 2. Try to find a local shop that specializes in tuning or does a lot of work with race skis, they’re generally the best at getting the skis absolutely flat and establishing precise/consistent edge angles.

    Detuning and tuning in general is very much personal preference. I might not reccomend 45ing the edges at the tip and tail right away like Rob did but I would recommend a little detuning of the tips and tails after pulling them out of the wrapper. I tend to take a gummy stone to 8-10″ of the tip and 6-8″ of the tail which really helps the skis smear and pivot a little better off groomed. You can also add a bit more base bevel to the rockered sections of the ski (1.5*). If that’s not enough then Rob’s method might be better for you.

  3. Rob Dickinson December 5, 2012 Reply

    I would agree, detuning is very much a personal thing. I found this ski to be so torsionally stiff that I had to knock it back to get the drift I wanted (one of the best qualities of the ski) and that really didn’t diminish edge hold for me – they still rail on hardpack far better than any 108mm ski I’ve seen. But again, that’s just my experience and my taste. You definitely want to operate on the assumption that you can take more off but you can’t put it back.

    And to the first commenter, you surely would not prefer my detune method.

    Please keep in mind that this was a candid email to Jonathan and not a review intended to give all-encompassing advice to the public.

  4. JB December 5, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the great feedback! And yep, fully understand that it’s not an official review and more of a personal experience/preference thing. I absolutely love the Cochise (185cm) as I ended up buying it right after demo-ing it for a few runs. It just felt “right” to me and I’ve been very happy with it ever since. I’d love to get more grip on truly hard/hard pack but that’s probably more my bad technique than the ski itself. Still, I’d love get some of the grip back (that I felt out of the box) so I’ll have the tune checked again by a different shop. Oddly enough, I did have a “race focused” shop do the tune and they swore that it was set to 1 (base), 2 side… Oh well…

  5. Demetri Mouratis December 7, 2012 Reply

    I’ve read with great gusto as many blistergearreviews as I could before today being not so gently nudged into Cochise as the Tahoe daily driver for this 280 pound big boy. Seeing the photo at Kirkwood pretty much sealed the deal for me. Nice shot.

    I’ve watched a few years of comps at Kirkwood and officially had my mind blown with what I was seeing. If this ski can handle all that it can surely roll with me around the rest of the mountain.

  6. Steve December 9, 2012 Reply

    Great reviews and tuning tips. How does the Cochise compare to the Kastle BMX 108. I’m 6′ 205 lbs. Mainly ski Utah. Looking for something has enough float for my size. Most of the shops in Utah say go with Cochise but I really like my Kastle front side skis. Thanks

    • Hi, Steve – neither Rob nor I have skied the BMX 108, so I’m afraid we can’t help on this one.

    • Craig February 17, 2014 Reply

      Steve,

      Did you ever score the BMX’s? I am in similar boat that you were in…debating Cochise vs the BMX.
      Unfortunately no demo’s of the BMX 108 188 to be found in these parts so its a tough call.
      Cochise is smooth, damp and all but I do enjoy the power/feedback of camber.

      Let me know…thanks
      Craig

  7. Rob Dickinson December 11, 2012 Reply

    JE is right, I have never skied a Kastle. I am confident that you will be happy with the Cochise, but I’d suggest you demo both if you have any apprehension.

  8. Blister Member
    George December 18, 2012 Reply

    Now that you ski for Blizzard have you tried the 193 cm Cochise? Will you be doing all of your competing on the 185 cm Cochise, even if there is fresh powder on the competition slope? Many thanks. George

  9. Rob Dickinson December 18, 2012 Reply

    George – I have been skiing the Bodacious in a 186 for a bigger ski when it’s soft or I am looking for more stability. My home mountain (Crested Butte) does not tolerate well a ski longer than 190 – there’s a lot of tight, technical terrain. I really don’t find myself looking for more length – I think 185-88 is the magic ski length where they never feel clumsy and still have plenty of stability. I feel the most comfortable going fast on a ski I know I have full control over. I don’t really notice if I lose a touch of straight-running stability, and both the Cochise and Bodacious have as much of that as I ever feel like I need.

  10. mb December 25, 2012 Reply

    anybody mounting these fwd 1( or 2) cms?

    feels like a lot of ski in front of me, on 193s. my other resort ski is a renegade tho….

    • Mb – Will Brown and I have just started putting time on the 193, and I felt exactly the same as you: I wanted to get further forward on the ski in a bad way. I haven’t gone to +2 yet, but +1 helped the cause, and neither Will nor I found any downside. We’ll get more time on the 193 later this week and next and continue to play with the mount a bit.

      • mb December 26, 2012 Reply

        right on!

        bought mine thinking they were mounted for 916s, turns out its jesters. borrowed some jesters to give em a whirl….. and whoaaa boy that is alotta robusto ski in front. so maybe i kill two birds…eh? really liking the ski initially tho. playful yet chargey= perfect all mountain complement to the RENS.

        so thanks for the feedback and i will check back in.

        ps. blister rocks and let me know when you need an idaho reviewer!

  11. Blister Member
    Sam December 31, 2012 Reply

    HI,

    Great discussion, and good timing. I used my Cochises in the nice dump we had at Tahoe last week.
    Wow, these things are powder/crud destroyers, as advertised. While I loved them through crud and small bumps, I had a hard time getting them to engage an edge and roll up to a decent angle on hardpack. This was straight out of the box. I did not have this problem when I demoed them in Alta last season, so it must be the tune. I had a similar problem with my Head Monsters years ago and pretty much determined they had way too much base bevel out of the factory. So here’s one note that the factory tune seemed pretty off, at least on this one pair. Before regrinding them, I’ll polish up the edges as best I can and see how it goes. I’ll try to give an update later, but it may take a few weeks to get this done and tested, depends on snow conditions and so on.

  12. Blister Member
    Sam January 4, 2013 Reply

    I got my Cochise’s out today. It turns out the tune is fine. The first day I was on them was a big powder day, the next day was a crud day, and I just jumped right in and needed to do some work on my stance adjustment. I took them out on some hard groomers this morning got used to them and was laying over big arcs at Mach speeds. I think it’s important to note this is a stiff ski, and people should be aware of that when they buy it. All the stability comes with a price. I like it but I think I might like one with a little less metal in it too, maybe more of a gotama layup. I’m looking forward to getting to know the ski better As I ski it more days.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Sam. We’re just starting to put time on the new Blizzard Scout, which is basically the Cochise without metal. Sounds like you should stay tuned for that review, might be a perfect fit for you.

      • Blister Member
        Vince April 2, 2013 Reply

        Hi Jonathan,

        Really looking forward to your review of the Scout, especially as it compares to the Cochise. The only thing I find lacking in the Cochise is rebound energy. Don’t want to get catapulted out of turns but just a bit of rebound would be nice. Wanting it all of course, I wouldn’t want to give up any of the stability the Cochise has. I demo’d the Kabookie (metal-free version of Bonafide) early in the year and found it very lively. Hoping the Scout might have some of that in addition to all of the great characteristics of the Cochise.

  13. Jim March 15, 2013 Reply

    Love the comments by Rob about edge hold. I have not spent too many days on rockered skis and my main concern about the Cochise was the edge hold in dicey situations. Likely buying Cochise and am deciding between 177 & 185 but could be talked in to the Volkl Nanataq. I’m a strong skier, the ski will be intended for backcountry use / mounted with dynafit, 5’9″ & 165lbs before ski gear. Daily driver is Head mojo 103 in 183 length, pow board 4frnt EHP in ~ 193. The cochise will replace a 188 K2 Hardside – replacing because I don’t love it, part of that is the overall length of the ski is unwieldy in some southern sierra situations and is hooky in all but the lightest pow I have skied them in. I did not detune at all, they have gotten better as I have got used to them / detuned on random rocks, so the SIZE and tune are probably big parts of my lack of love.

    I get to ski enough open terrain that I want to be able to open it up with out reservation, not in a Rob Dickinson @ Kirkwood sense (nice video), but when it looks good I don’t want reservations about my skis so for that reason am I’m leaning 185. If I thought the 177 was enough ski to open up in most situations I’d go for the short length for a BC ski, for what it’s worth I would not consider the 177 for daily driver (squallywood).

    Dig the site & read the reviews as part of most ski/bike purchase decisions, long comment/question but if you have any feedback regarding the potential on the 177 Cochise as a purely BC ski that’s great.

    Cheers – Jim

    • Hey, Jim – for what it’s worth, I don’t think you’ll get Rob or me to recommend that you drop down to the 177 Cochise. There are “floatier” 108mm skis out there, so I don’t think you want to sacrifice surface area here. (Where the Cochise will truly shine as a BC ski is if you tend to still get into some variable conditions. If you’re just skiing fluffy pow all the time in the BC, you’ll probably prefer something softer with more rocker.) And screw it: drag a little more ski up the mountain, ski the length you want for the downhill. You’ll get a better workout and be happier on the way down, and isn’t that the point? I’d recommend a different ski before I told you to go with the 177.

      • Jim March 19, 2013 Reply

        Jonathan, much appreciated. 185s are mounted and ready to go, first try Wed/Thu, looking forward to it.

        • Jim April 16, 2013 Reply

          got ~ 15 days in on them at this point, mostly BC, in a range of conditions, pow, corn, ice, breakable ect. Dig em especially for BC versatility, I have not tested the upper speed limits on any long straight lines, but that will come. The rocker was a non issue skinning. Very happy with the skis.

  14. Skip March 17, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for all the reviews. I have been on Dynastar Pro Riders 97mm underfoot for 6 years and have loved them. Thinking of getting into the new generation of ski’s but not too sure about the softer and rockered tails. The flipcore seems to have addressed that and the Cochise reviews sound like a damp stable ski capable of some quick turns in the chutes and trees. Any other ski’s that I should be looking at? I am 6′ 4″ 205lbs and agressive, yet would not mine letting the skis do more work as the back and knees are getting older. So looking for a fun powder ski that can still ski the trees and day old crud. I’m in CO and ski Utah and WY. Thanks again for all the reviews and your advice.
    Skip

    • Hey, Skip – this is a metal, relatively stiff ski. You shouldn’t expect it to be great in deep pow. But I can guarantee that you will love it in day old crud. In those conditions, it’s one of my favorite skis. But given that you’re coming from a 97 Pro Rider, I think you will be happy with the Cochise’s pow performance and will definitely be happy with these a day or two (or three) after a storm.

      • Skip Ledwith March 19, 2013 Reply

        Thanks for the feedback. How would this compare with the Bibby Pro. I feel like all these skis will be better in the powder that the 97 Pro rider anyway, but have been looking over your site and have focused on the Bibby Pro, Blizzard Cochise or Bodacious, Kastle West or 104’s, just looking to have the same stable ride that I have been on, with better float in the powder, yet still able to hit the trees and chutes. Any others that you think I should consider or does one of the group stand out as being better for what I am looking for. Thanks again, best reviews of skis that I have come across!
        Skip

  15. Heiko March 30, 2013 Reply

    Great reviews and great site! Thanks for all the hard work, as we readers really appreciated it!!

    As for me, I find that I’m really having a hard time deciding between the 177cm Cochise and 185cm Cochise (as in, I find I’m awake at night thinking about it! jeesh – I’m really on the fence on this one).

    I’m 5’10” and 162lbs. Strong and aggressive skier and basically need the ski for a “daily driver”. (I can’t dictate when I can go skiing every month, so am at the mercy of mother nature, and need to be prepared for anything – but with one ski. Read: airline limitations). My background’s strange because I grew up in Canada (started skiing) but now work in the Middle East. Fortunately I have the opportunity to go to Chamonix (mainly) and Zermatt, etc (European alps) on a regular basis and that’s where I’ll be doing 90% of my skiing.

    Basically the ski will have to be able to deal (as much as possible) with variable conditions (anything from hard pack, crud, moguls, pow days… the list goes on), on and off piste. I hope to do the “Valle Blanche” next season!

    I love pow, but find the opportunities to ski it are rare, so most times the snow is wind blown, sun scorned. I’m thinking 185cm for stability, but then worry that the length will be too unwieldy for moguls (let’s say average size moguls), and perhaps better all around anyways?

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!!

    • Thanks, Heiko – I’d still lean toward 185. The only place where you might prefer the 177s is in moguls, but I don’t mind the 185s in big Taos bumps. I haven’t skied the 177s, but I personally would worry about giving up some of the stability that I love in the 185s. Above all, I think the bigger questions is whether you’ve identified the right ski. If you have (and it sounds like you have) then the 177 vs. 185 question is less important in this case than getting a ski that will suit you best.

      • Heiko April 5, 2013 Reply

        Very well put Jonathan, thanks for that!

  16. Jay L April 3, 2013 Reply

    Just Demo’s the Blizzard Bonafide as well as the Cochise last week at Big Sky. I was amped to really like the Bonafides based on all the reviews, to my surprise the Cochise was more than equal to the Bonafides. It was more than up to the task taking on the headwaters and the Dictators and in the flats of Crazy horse run it was rock solid. When it got tight I thought if felt like a faster turning ski than then Bonafides especially in the bumps. These were so nimble I actrually purchased a size longer (177) to help me keep up with the racer-boys. Sliding through the crusty snow on a sun-baked mad wolf was surprisingly easy, you just had to commit. I am stoked about the capability of these skis, just sad that I am running out of season.

    • Blister Member
      Vince April 3, 2013 Reply

      Hi Jay,

      Sounds like you demo’d the Cochise @ 170 cm and bought 177’s. Being 5’4″ I would normally be on a 170 but demo’d and bought 177’s. How do the two sizes compare?

  17. David April 10, 2013 Reply

    I pulled the trigger on the Cochise 185, my second purchase based on Blister (Moment Jaguar Sharks 190cm) and I’m completely satisfied, and very stoked. Took them out last weekend at Abasin and had an awesome day in the spring conditions. Found them stable and predictable in the little bit of chop I could find, quick in soft bumps, and the edge grip is unreal for what you see when you first check out the rocker design in-person. I’ve skied a lot of aggressive skis recently (XXLs, Katana, Squads, Bros) but these opened my eyes to a ski that is ridiculously agile but still stable and nearly as fast if you let ’em run. I found my new every-day-er for Summit Co. Keep up the great reviews!

    Any new thoughts on the Bodacious 185cm? 193cm seems like it would be too much for inbounds/sidecountry?

  18. Peter Winsor January 13, 2016 Reply

    Nice reviews and I have learned a lot from couch skiing on your website. Thank you. Interesting though, somewhat, that you now have 3 reviews of this same ski, and at the same time retain that you guys are unbiased but staff are also sponsored by Blizzard. Just saying there are many good skis out there :). Keep your tips up and cheers from AK.

    • Um, thanks?

      I think you should probably read the editor’s note again, where we explain in detail how this came to be, and why it is a total departure from everything we’ve ever done. And Rob hasn’t reviewed a ski for us since, since he is still sponsored by Blizzard (too bad for us – Rob’s a great skier and a sharp guy). So yes, it’s “interesting,” but if you genuinely think this is cause for concern, I don’t quite know what to say.

      Also, the reason there are 3 reviews on this ski is because it has been one of the benchmark skis in the category. And it’s not the only ski we have multiple reviews of.

  19. Craig January 14, 2016 Reply

    Wow….you’re on top of it Peter. Its not everyday you see somebody file a complaint 3 years after a review.

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