The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2013-2014 Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards

Best Of, Blister Gear Review.

If you know how we do things at Blister, you’ll probably understand why awards like these make us nervous.

Awards can become arbitrary from a lack of nuance—a ski might be great, but it isn’t great at everything, and it may not be the best option for you.

That’s exactly why our reviews aren’t short. The devil is in the details, and the sum of those details is what determines whether a product will be terrible for you, okay for you, or perfect for you. Without specific, accurate details, reviews are pretty useless.

Still, as we start our fourth season at Blister, we have collectively ridden hundreds of skis over thousands of days, and we get asked constantly, “What’s the best ski out there?”

Well, we’re not going to give you one (arbitrary) answer, but we will try to break things down for you a bit. We’ll also then direct you to our full reviews where you can then do further research to decide if our selections are the best fit for you, or whether you should spend more time in our Ski Review Index, our One-Ski Quiver Selections, or our Two-Ski Quiver Selections.

FOUR RULES:

1) For all of the above reasons, we’re not assigning 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place rankings within a particular category. If a ski is listed, it means that we believe it is among the absolute best in class.

2) We’ve only considered what we’ve actually skied.

This should, of course, be obvious, but the review world is a funny place. Some review outlets give awards to stuff that they’ve hardly tested. We don’t. If you want to brush up on how we do things, check out the BLISTER Manifesto.

3) Selections must be of current skis. However, skis that have undergone minor tweaks and are currently available are fair game.

4) No company has paid us to get their ski on this list.

Blister is different. We don’t accept any money from any of the manufacturers we review. We don’t allow them to buy advertising on our website, and we don’t charge them a fee to review their skis.

Ok, enough rules and caveats. On to the Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards.

10 Comments

  1. Carlos November 19, 2013 Reply

    I have been reading your reviews for quite a few months now, and find them extremely serious and down right enjoyable. I do however, have a question for you guys: i hail from Chile and i’ve only recently been introduced to Alpine Touring (though i´ve been skiing for 16 years, and focus mainly on off-piste/sidecountry, avoiding groomers at all costs). Due to prevailing variable snow conditions, i can’t help wonder what ski you’d find most suitable for a 1 ski-quiver designed exclusively for touring. Bear in mind i’m near 6 ft, and weigh less than 170 pounds, meaning i don’t charge my skis so hard. I’ve worked though all your reviews from Las Leñas and NZ (given the similarity of snow conditions) and still haven´t been able to even narrow my search. ¿What would you suggest dear reviewers?

  2. Carlos November 19, 2013 Reply

    Last thing; my present skis are Fischer Watea 94´s, stiff cambered buggers, which love to carve, but tend to sink in the deep heavy snow south of Santiago (think Catedral in Bariloche).

    • Author

      Thanks, Carlos – given that you’re coming from Watea 94s, it doesn’t sound like you’re looking for a super lightweight ski. And you don’t say that you’re looking to go wider, so I might consider the 185cm Nordica Hell & Back, or DPS Wailer 99. We haven’t yet skied the Rossignol SIN 7 or the LINE Sick
      Day 95, but those might be worth a look, too. And if you are willing to go fatter, the Rossi Soul 7 or LINE Sick Day 110 will be better in pow than what you have, but perhaps a bit less good than your 94s in variable. But start by reading our reviews of those skis and see what you think.

  3. Tim November 22, 2013 Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I’m a huge fan of your site and your reviews.
    One thing I have often wondered is why you haven’t reviewed the Blizzard Bonafide’s?
    Is it because they are over-hyped? Or just that you haven’t been able to get hold of them?
    They sound like they would be a contender in this category.

    • Author

      Thanks, Tim. We’ve written about this elsewhere on the site, but Jason Hutchins and I both skied the Bonafide and disliked it. As we were preparing our reviews, we were told that we’d been given a pre-production version of the Bonafide that had a screwed up flex pattern. So we agreed to hold off on the reviews, but then never received a non-screwed up pair. But I’m certain we’ll ski the Bonafide this season, and we’ll see what we find.

  4. Brad November 27, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Jonathon. I’ve been skiing for 40+ years in Colorado. Racing, big mountain, groomers, trees, you name it. I skied the Blizzard Bonifides for 3 days and disliked them. They have been hyped a lot by the company with this award and that award – all paid for advertorial awards. The ski is stiff, and other than on non-icy groomers, not that great or fun. There are a lot of other skis out there that outperform the Bonifides and are way more fun!

    Try the Atomic Automatics or Rituals. Both great skis and more fun than you can imagine. And why ski if its all work and no fun ?

    • Author

      Just to be clear, Brad – we were told our pair had a flex pattern that was stiffer than the production Bonafides. That’s why we held off on the review. We should be getting on production Bonafides in the near future … and we’ll see what we find.

  5. Theo November 27, 2013 Reply

    Hey guys, i was wondering what ski would be best for me. I live in telluride, Colorado, ski big mountain, and compete, i am 6’4 and weigh 180lbs. I like to ski aggressively, and i grew up racing. I like to hit big cliffs and ski fast. I have been considering the Blizzard Cochies, the Volkl Katana, and the Dynastar Cham 107. Out of these skis, or any others, which do you think would be best for me?

    Thanks, Theo

    • Author

      Hey, Theo – sounds like you need to demo. We haven’t skied the 190 Cham 107, and hear good things. We have skied & reviewed the 191 Katana, and for speed and cliffs, it’d be phenomenal. And you can read our reviews of the 185 and 193 Cochise – I’m not sure whether you’d feel more comfortable on the 185 or 193 Cochise.

  6. Blister Member
    Franklin Delano Brosevelt December 10, 2013 Reply

    How about a “Best Of” for backcountry skis?

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