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

2013-2014 Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards — Part 2

Best Of, Blister Gear Review.

On Tuesday, we published our selections of the best *all-mountain* carvers and dedicated pow skis. If you haven’t read that piece or our Intro to the Best Of Awards series, you can do so here. Today, we have two more categories of skis for you:

 

Best Playful Pow Skis

Atomic Bent Chetler

Two Ski Quiver, Blister Gear Review

The 192cm Bent Chetler is an incredibly versatile, soft-snow ski that will work for many different styles of skiers. It can spin, butter, and slash with the best of them, and it’s super intuitive and easy to ski. But what makes the Ben Chetler truly remarkable is that it can still mach through resort pow with ease—no folding up, no deflecting.

 

Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus

Two Ski Quiver, Blister Gear Review.

Reviewer Jason Hutchins call this “the most confidence-inspiring playful ski” he’s ever ridden. You can’t ski it hard like the Bent Chetler, but if you want to poke around the mountain and spin, butter, drag, and slash everything in sight, this is the ski.

The width makes it forgiving, while the progressive and symmetrical flex makes it predictable. It also does well on firm snow as long as speeds are kept in check.

 

NEXT PAGE: Best Skis for Chop and Crud 

13 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Teddy Brosevelt November 21, 2013 Reply

    Which ski would you rather have for your resort-specific one-ski quiver in Colorado (mostly Summit County): Blizzard Cochise or Volkl Mantra?

    • Author

      Probably would depend on how many fresh / deeper days I was realistically going to get. If the answer was, “not many,” then Mantra. And while the Cochise isn’t a great pow ski, I’d take the surface area and rocker profile of the Cochise over the Mantra in 12″ of snow and up.

      • Blister Member
        Franklin Delano Brosevelt November 21, 2013 Reply

        Following up on the Mantra vs. Cochise for one-ski quiver, resort-specific ski for Colorado (mostly summit county), would you say that the Cochise are substantially better than the Mantra in the chop/crud that we get in Colorado (because it gets tracked so quickly), such that you would pick the Cochise over the Mantra?

        Having a really tough time with this decision. Seems like on no-snow days, Mantra would clearly be a better pick, but on days with some fresh snow and the resulting chop, the Cochise will be better.

        Any additional insights here would be greatly appreciated.

        • Author

          At bottom, you’ve got to pick your width: 98 or 108 underfoot? Both are pretty powerful skis with metal. The Cochise pivots more readily than the Mantra given its rocker profile, and both skis will handle well 12″ of tracked powder as well as firm crud. So that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Some people prefer fatter skis in those conditions, some prefer skinnier. But if you really care about carving performance and mogul performance (and assuming you have solid technique), I’d give the nod to the Mantra. If you care more about 12″ + pow days in Summit where you’ll ski deeper chop with pockets of fresh in the afternoon, I’d go Cochise.

  2. Marcel November 21, 2013 Reply

    After reading the first of the series I was asking myself “where is the bent chetler? maybe they will put it on a pow jib category”… I wasn’t to far off!

    Then now before looking at the Chop and Crud choices I said to myself “I’m cochise and belafonte are gonna be there”…

    Now I’m asking myself if the rule to pick only “current skis” was too hard to accept since it pretty much ruled out the old Bibby Pro from this list, since it went through more than minor tweaks!

  3. Matteo November 22, 2013 Reply

    Hi guys, I’ve always read about the ability of reverse sidecut skis on chop and tracked out pow and here I don’t see any of them…does it mean that those skis are good in difficult condition compared to what they are made for (pow), and on a wider spectrum of skis, a traditional stiff skis in the 100mm range it still the best in difficult snow condition?

    Thanks!

    • Author

      Hey, Matteo – first of all, there are very few *truly* reverse sidecut skis out there. E.g., The DPS Lotus 138 and Praxis Protest are not true reverse sidecut skis, the Praxis Powderboards are.

      And all of those skis do well in tracked *fresh* pow. By “chop and crud,” we intend a wider spectrum: from tracked, fresh pow (“chop”) to firm variable (“crud”). And it’s the latter category where the skis we’ve named outshine – in general – reverse sidecut designs.

      Having said that, reverse sidecut or nearly reverse sidecut skis can be effective tools in breakable crust – see our *Protesting the Backcountry* article for more on that.

      • Matteo November 22, 2013 Reply

        Thanks so much for taking time to reply me, know I’ve a better understanding of what crud means, and it makes perfect sense on why you choose those skis!

        Keep on the great work guys!

  4. Liam November 22, 2013 Reply

    Man, how then Icelantic Gypsy failed to make either power category (playful stick or chop buster) is beyond me. Best of either breed if you ask me. Best company, too!

  5. Jake December 13, 2013 Reply

    Did the Scott Punisher get any love from your group for this category?

  6. Blister Member
    Jack G October 14, 2014 Reply

    Might be time for a new best of, and quivers while you’re at it, since most of the favorites have been redesigned.

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