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

2013-2014 One-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices

One-Ski Quiver Selections, Blister Gear Review

 

One ski, for every day on the mountain, any and all conditions….

The One-Ski Quiver is the Holy Grail of the ski world. Practically anybody can make either a really good pow ski or a fantastic carver, but to design a ski that will excel across a whole host of conditions? That’s another thing altogether.

Actually, the One-Ski Quiver might be a fantasy, one that’s easy to imagine but impossible to achieve. After all, all ski design results in certain tradeoffs. And so our improbable search for the One-Ski Quiver is driven by the desire for simplicity and a hatred of compromise.

OK, well, it may also be driven by a lack of storage space and cash—it’s tough to own a bunch of skis when you’re broke, or you’ve got no place to stash them, or both.

But if the single ski that perfectly handles all conditions doesn’t exist, it is certainly true that manufacturers today have come closer than ever to creating it, and there are a number of skis that do a lot of things very well.

In what follows, we’ll name the skis that in our view come closest to the ideal.

We’ve asked our reviewers the following four questions, and these questions make up our selection criteria:

1) You have to choose one ski to use every day at the following ski areas: Taos, Alta, Jackson Hole, Las Leñas, Niseko. What ski would you choose for each of those places? (You’re allowed up to two picks for each place, a first choice and a runner-up.)

2) What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

3) What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them (or get to ski them more)?

And finally, the Ultimate, End-All-Be-All, No Caveats, Bottom Line, One-Ski Quiver Question:

4) If over the next three seasons you had to ski one ski, every day, regardless of location, what would you choose?

 

TWO RULES, ONE REQUEST:

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

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

2) 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. (Maybe that’s why our reviews don’t read like everybody else’s….)

3) If you’re ticked that your favorite ski didn’t make our list, tell us.

We’ll look to test the ski this coming season, and we’ll see whether we agree with you.

 

Next: The Selections

• Jonathan Ellsworth

Julia Van Raalte

Will Brown

Lexi Dowdall

• Jason Hutchins

• Kate Hourihan

• Andrew Gregovich

• Emily Cleveland

• Ryan Caspar

• Morgan Sweeney

• Garrett Altmann

• Robin Abeles

 

29 Comments

  1. Barry May 30, 2012 Reply

    Hey Guys, awesome article. I am stuck on the east coast and usually don’t have the joy of multiple feet of fresh pow. I am interested in the Volkl Mantra to replace my frontside carve skis but am having a hard time finding a “real” review. How would it compare to the Belafonte as a hard pack ripper/crud buster?

    • Author

      Hi, Barry. I’m afraid that I haven’t been on the Mantra for a few seasons. The Mantra, of course, is 98mm underfoot, the Belafonte is 106mm. Both skis have tip rocker. The Belafonte is one of my favorite crud skis, so I have a little trouble imagining that the newest Mantra would be vastly better. However, it isn’t hard for me to imagine that the Mantra would be the better carver (in the way that I would regard the Rossi Experience 98 as being a better pure carver than the Belafonte – check out our review of the Experience 98.)

      But the more specifically you’re talking about carving turns on groomers, the more I’m sticking to a ski like the Mantra or Rossi E98. But if you’re less interested in carving pure arcs on consistent hardpack / ice, and more interested in charging through variable, chopped up snow, the more I’d lean toward the Belafonte.

      Sorry for the lame speculation. I’ve got the Mantra high on my list for early season testing, so hopefully I’ll be able to contribute a real review in the fall.

  2. Clarky May 31, 2012 Reply

    Great review, and have to agree with the Bibby… Granted it’s been a bumper snow year in Austria, but I spent at least 90-95% of my time on them. Pow to crud to corn to slush, they just kill it. Even with the drought last year I still had plenty of funtimes on them.

    Would have been really interesting to see how the Whitedot Freeride Preacher and Director fared though, both look like potentially brilliant everyday skis.

    • Author

      Clarky – where are you doing most of your skiing in Austria? From what I saw, it looked like St. Anton was the place to be, but maybe anywhere in Austria was the place to be….

      And we would love to get on some Whitedot skis. I’ve been eyeing them for a while, just haven’t had the opportunity.

      • Clarky June 1, 2012 Reply

        Mainly Nordkette (above Innsbruck), but several other places too – Saalbach Hinterglemm, St Anton/Arlberg, Axamer Lizum, etc. Generally all the mountains of the more Northerly mountains in Austria got dumped on, East and West.

  3. Jonathan May 31, 2012 Reply

    But wait, there’s a missing test area! What might you go with for 1st choice/runner up in Summit Co.? This is a great review format, can’t wait until next week.

    • Author

      Hi, Jonathan – our next reviewer up, Will Brown, goes to school in Colorado Springs, so I’ll have him weigh in here with his pick for Summit Co.

    • Will Brown June 4, 2012 Reply

      Hi Jonathan,

      The Cochise might take the cake for Summit County, Colorado, because of the greater variety of terrain and predominantly tighter, lower-angle trees.

      Cheers, and thanks for reading.

      Will B

      • Jonathan June 6, 2012 Reply

        Thanks for the feedback. I rode the Cochise 185 at Kirkwood in late February in morning refreeze, soft shaded trees and afternoon warm spring delight. It was maneuverable and forgiving and high speed stable, but it was also the ‘almost’ you describe when you state the preference of the Belafonte’s camber over the flat Blizzi: I just didn’t like how it felt (or didn’t feel, really). I am wondering if the 182 Belafonte would be more rewarding (I have the 190 112RP hybrid for deeper days; and yet I am wondering if I should trade them for the 190 Bibbys for that role!). I have also read great things about the 104mm Head Inferno, and the Turbo, although Jason’s review of that left me feeling it was in the ‘somewhat lifeless’ category of the Cochise.

        It is a great time to be picking skis; I don’t see many ‘bad’ skis, just arrows that don’t match the Indian!

        Thanks for all the carpal tunnel you guys brave to bring us this stuff; there’s nothing else like it on the ‘net.

  4. Jman June 6, 2012 Reply

    I’m enjoying these reviews. Blister does it right. Jonathan (Ellsworth), I’m with you on the Protest. I’m usually into a more trad shape, but those things ski like a dream. The Praxis MVP is also on my list for next year. Whatever they put in the Protest, I want the same materials in my MVPs.

  5. Nick McGrath June 16, 2012 Reply

    Just wanted to say that I love your site and read it often. Keep up the great work!

    Love that there are no advertisements and that the reviews are so thorough! Reminds me of Consumer Reports quality.

    If I had a request, I would love to see a review or two of some Prior skis–specifically the Overlord in carbon.

    Again, great site. I have recommended it to many friends. Cheers!

    • Author

      Nick – thanks for the kind words and for letting others know what we’re up to around here.

      We would love to review some Priors, and that carbon Overlord looks like it would be a fantastic place to start. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Prior, hopefully we can make it happen this winter; we’re putting it on our list.

      Thanks again, Nick.

  6. Blister Member
    Hannes August 3, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    season in the Alps will not start before October with one of the glacier openings. However, planning is in progress. Cham is high on the list for one of the longer spring trips.

    So, three guys are sitting in the park, it is 30 degrees celsius in late July and we debate which of the skis we would like to demo next season would be the best ONE SKI QUIVER FOR CHAM. It turns out, the top 3 on the wish list have not only all been reviewed by the Blister crew, but also by Mr. editor in chief Jonathan Ellsworth himself. Actually, these 3 skis have already been released in the 2011/2012 season and will return – almost – unchanged.

    1. Moment Belafonte (182 or 187): most stable in the draw from what I read from Blister’s reviews. Possibly best edge grip for ice and steeps. However, may be overpowering in tight spots and difficult to release in bad snow. Finally, too much kicktail to stick into hard snow, which is a nice feature in a place where roping is part of the daily business.

    2. Blizzard Cochise (185): quite nimble, but damp, from what I read. The tailrocker is probably sufficiently subtle and gradual in order to be able to use the ski as an anchor when required. Not too much side cut, what is good in the steeps. Full rocker and flat underfoot should make for the best bad snow performance, e.g. in breakable crust. However, does this full rocker ski provide enough edge grip in the endless icy steeps?

    3. Black Diamond Zealot (182): The best compromise? Tailnotch for skins, gradual semi tail rocker for easy releasing, but where you can still stick the ski into the snow. Camber and enough effective edge for the ice. Generous taper in the tip and tail to provide a smooth ride through variable snow. One penalty point for the fact that with 4,6 kg for the pair it is the heaviest in the lineup, but the one that is most marketed as a backcountry tool among the three.

    What are your thoughts? I don’t know whether you have skied in the French Alps already, but I am certain you have read enough about the place and have skied so many places on the globe that you will be able to provide valuable input. We figured two shops that carry the 2012 models as demo versions mounted with ATs or Jester Demo bindings. Thank’s in advance for your thoughts!

  7. Author

    Hi, Hannes – I haven’t skied the Alps, so I’ll definitely need to do so sooner than later.

    And man, I’ve been thinking about your question for a couple days, I’ve reread all 3 of my reviews, and I’ve got to say….I don’t know. The good news is that I do compare the Cochise and the Zealot quite a bit, and Will Brown has compared the Cochise to the Belafonte quite a bit in his review of the Belafonte.

    Personally, I would be torn between the 187 Belafonte and the Cochise, but I would probably go with the 187 Belafonte. I skied the 187 Belafonte a good bit this spring with the tail pretty heavily detuned, and I found it to be much less grabby than I initially experienced (and wrote about) in my 182 review.

    I don’t think there’s a terrible choice among your three, and it will mostly come down to skier’s weight; and how much you want the ski to shine in chop.

    Finally, there are two skis in particular that we’re taking to Las Leñas that might deserve to enter the equation, so stay tuned. One is 103 underfoot, the other is 106. We’ll be rolling those out over the next two weeks.

  8. Blister Member
    Hannes August 6, 2012 Reply

    Thank’s Jonathan,

    I am anxious to see what your proposals will be. I have read some of Will Brown’s teasers on the gear you will be taking to Argentina. Great stuff for sure.

    So, I’ll make a guess on one of the two skis you mention above. The narrower one could be the 4frnt Cody, but just a guess…

  9. Blister Member
    Hannes August 19, 2012 Reply

    Ok, now it is “official”. Watea 106 and Atomic Ritual. Have posted you a note on the big stix 110. No more “powder hull” with Fischer skis. What an improvement – they are back in the game with their lineup!

    • Author

      Yep, the Watea 106 and the Ritual are the skis I had in mind for you. Will continues to think / hope that the Ritual will be a twinned out Cochise; I think it could be a slightly narrower, beefier Zealot. I don’t know, but I know we’re soon to find out! And yeah, the Big Stix 110 might have a tail that’s more twinned up than you’d want, but the ski looks impressive.

  10. Max Archer October 30, 2012 Reply

    Really like the way you guys did this review series. One thing I’m wondering, though – I’m a Tahoe local, and I might be in the market for a ski like these this season. Of the locales you tested at, which one would be the closest analogue? i.e., which test location’s reviews should I be paying the most attention to if I’m trying to glean some useful direction for what to try this season in Tahoe?

    • Author

      Hi, Max – we’ll have to speak in generalizations here, but since Tahoe snow may commonly come in wetter and heavier than the snow does at our other resorts (doesn’t always, of course), I would mostly pay attention to the details of the review itself. E.g., Taos has some of the lightest, driest pow in the world, but we can still get a wet storm (see my Moment Deathwish review). So I’m afraid that the devil is in the details of each review for now, but we will point out when we we’ve had the ski or snowboard in heavier snow.

  11. Blister Member
    James November 30, 2012 Reply

    First off your site is my go to site to get real world reviews, For that I thank you.

    Theres a ski that ranks in my mind up there with the best as an all round one quiver that is up and comming that we all, im sure would hear about more than ever next season. The Faction 3.0 Zero and the Candide 3.0. Both at 112 under foot and rail groomers and float in pow and ski crud like its not there. Has there been any thought of you guys putting some of Factions skis threw there paces this season? I really would love hear what you think of the Candide3.0 in the 183. The 191 has a narrower profile tip and over 30R But the 25R 183 in the Zero and 3.0 seem great at 142 112 136 early rise tip and tail med stiff flex.

    Regards.

    James

    • Author

      Thanks, James! And yes, we’ve been hoping to review some Factions for a while, and I’ll be surprised if we don’t get on the Candide 3.0 in the new year. We always welcome reader requests and keep records of every ski or snowboard (and length) that readers would like to see reviewed. (When readers state lengths, that often breaks the tie for us if we’re on the fence about going with a 183 or 191, for example.)

      So we’ll do our best to get on the 183 Candide 3.0, and we’ll let you know when we do. Thanks for writing!

      • Greg January 9, 2015 Reply

        Jonathan,
        Have you guys had a chance to check out a Faction Candide 3.0 in 183 yet? I’d love to hear about it as I’m looking for a one ski quiver for Montana, and from the few reviews I’ve seen it sounds pretty interesting.

  12. Al December 10, 2013 Reply

    The Rossignol Sickle and Scimitar – the shape seems to be similar to the Blizzard line. would you agree?

    How does a Scimitar (98) compare to a Bonafide (98)?

    Thanks.

    • Author

      Sort of, Al. But the Scimitar and Bonafide really don’t ski / feel similar at all. Jason Hutchins has written well in his Kabookie review about how the ski is a little slow to initiate and to finish turns. That is definitely not true of the Scimitar. The Scimitar is also a more center-mounted ski that skis switch well; the Bonafide is definitely directional and has a more traditional / farther back mount point. Finally, the Bonafide has metal, the Scimitar does not. The Scimitar has a nice flex pattern, but it is a softer, less damp ski overall.

  13. Ben February 22, 2014 Reply

    How about a one-ski quiver for east coast skiing with the occasional west coast trip?

    Thanks!!

    • Author

      Hey, Ben – there are so many different answers to this question depending on how you ski, where you ski (bumps? off-piste? primarily groomers? terrain park?), and your height / weight.

      My recommendation would be to read our ski reviews in the 98mm to 108mm range and see what sounds like the best fit for you.

      • Ben February 23, 2014 Reply

        Jonathan,

        Yes, that would have been helpful. My skiing is some bumps, some off-piste, but mostly afternoon skied up pow, icy used-to-be-groomers, and spring slush. If I were picking %’s I’d say: 15/10/25/25/25 in that order. I ski mostly Maine, with trips to various places out west.

        I’m 5’8″ 170.

        -Ben

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*