Ski: 2013-2014 Blizzard Bodacious, 196 cm
Dimensions (mm): 144-118-134
Turn Radius: 32 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail length (straight tape pull): 193.8 cm
Weight Per Ski: one ski = 2627 grams / 5.79 lbs.; one ski = 2681 grams / 5.91 lbs.
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Supercharger Ignition / Marker Jester (DIN at 12)
Mount Location: recommended line
Test Location: Niseko, Japan; Eaglecrest and Juneau Backcountry, Alaska
Days Skied: 4
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Bodacious, which is unchanged for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
The Bodacious was introduced last season as the biggest and baddest ski in Blizzard’s “Free Mountain” lineup. It replaced the Titan Zeus, a stiff big-mountain destroyer that might have been a little too burly for most. Even ski mountaineer and Freeskiing World Tour champion Arne Backstrom used the Zeus solely for competition; it was more ski than he wanted for everyday freeskiing.
For that, Backstrom wanted a more forgiving, all-purpose ski that still charged, and the Bodacious (which would become his signature ski) was designed to fill this role. Sadly, Backstrom passed away in a ski mountaineering accident in the summer of 2010 and never saw the Bodacious released to the general public. But he would certainly be happy to know that his ski achieved some notoriety in its first year and will return unchanged for the 2012/2013 season.
When I got this ski, one of my ex-racer friends who uses the stiff Moment Garbones as his everyday ski commented that the Bodacious hand flexed “soft” in the shovel. But soft is a relative term. While the Bodacious is somewhat soft in the shovel and tail compared to 2x4s like the Garbones or the old Titan Zeus, it definitely has a burly flex. A full-length sheet of titanal helps to create this solid flex throughout, while a smaller second sheet provides an even stiffer flex underfoot.
All this translates to the Bodacious’s impressive stability at speed and in chopped up snow, conditions in which I was able to test the Bodacious during a rare break in the snowfall in Japan. The sun had come out the day before, baking Niseko Village’s south-facing slopes. Overnight it had cooled off, and 10 centimeters of fresh snow had fallen on top of icy, refrozen chunder.
Not surprisingly, I was confidently able to make downhill-sized turns down Misushiru. I felt comfortable at even the fastest speeds I could attain on this relatively mellow run. The Bodacious provided a damp and stable ride in a foot of variable chop.
What did surprise me, however, was how forgiving the Bodacious was when I laid it into untouched snow. I could feel the ski flexing and responding ever so subtly in turns, even at rather slow speeds, and I grew increasingly confident that the ski was going to be a blast once I got it onto some bigger terrain in Alaska.
And the Bodacious certainly lived up to my expectations.
My first runs in AK were basically mini heli lines, 800-foot pitches of steep, foot-deep, untracked powder in the Eaglecrest slackcountry. Arcing big turns down this face, the Bodacious made smooth, stable, and surprisingly playful turns.
When I say playful, I don’t mean playful like the Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus. But for a 32-meter-turn-radius, 196cm ski, it was surprisingly easy to slash or make slarve turns. Compared with the springy Blizzard GunSmoke, the Bodacious felt less lively, but still very smooth from edge to edge.