Reviewer: Jonathan Ellsworth, BLISTER Editor-in-Chief
Age: 37 | Vitals: 5’10,” 185 lbs. | Years skiing: 18 | Current Residence: Santa Fe, New Mexico | (See complete bio)
One-Ski Quiver Selections:
1st Choice: Blizzard Cochise, 185cmAs I wrote in my review of the Cochise, this ski just blew me away across all of Taos’ varied terrain and through a decent range of conditions. On really deep days, I am confident that I’ll wish I had more ski, but for anything less than 18″ of fresh, this ski—and this length—felt basically perfect to me.
Runner-Up: DPS Wailer 99, PURE, 184cm
While the Wailer 99 is nine centimeters narrower than the Cochise, its tip profile is such that it ought to plane about as well as the Cochise on deep days. And with all the tree skiing and big bump skiing at Taos, the super-quick 99 PUREs will be right at home. This is the primary reason I decided to go with the 99 over its bigger brother, the Wailer 112RP: the 112 will definitely be better on bigger days, but the slight, additional stiffness of the 99s and the smaller shovels will be appreciated in the bumps.
Furthermore, the ridiculously light weight of the 99s will be great for all of those days of hiking and spinning ridge laps.
1st Choice: Moment Bibby Pro, 190cm
When the Wasatch is between storms and I’m skiing very firm bumps down West Rustler, I’ll wish I had something a bit shorter and narrower. But I’ll suck it up in those conditions for the sake of getting to ski the Bibbys in all other conditions, including the really big days. As I’ve said about a million times now, for me, the Bibby Pro strikes a perfect balance: it’s a playful ski that can still charge.
Runner-Up: Rossignol Sickle, 186cm
This is the pick that I’m slightly nervous about. While I was able to ski the Sickle at Alta, I spent more time on the Sickle’s skinnier brother, the Scimitar, which is a ski that I came to like a lot. But for Alta, I want more than the Scimitar’s 98mm underfoot. The Sickle is also a bit shorter than I would like for really deep days, but I didn’t find it to be susceptible to tip dive, and I’ll prefer the shorter length when things are firm and we’re skiing bumps and bumped up trees.
1st Choice: Blizzard Cochise, 193cm
All right, I’m going to go ahead and break the rules: I haven’t actually skied the 193cm Cochise, but this just feels like the right call. The 185cm Cochise isn’t demanding, yet it is surprisingly, remarkably stable. And because I care less about contending with big old Taos bumps (aka, real bumps) at Jackson, I’m moving up to the 193cm for the additional surface area and effective edge. My intention is to spend less time in bumps and tight trees, and more time jumping off stuff.
Runner-Up: Moment Bibby Pro, 190cm
No new reasons, just new scenery.
1st Choice: Volkl Katana, 191cm
I love this ski, but I wouldn’t want to ski it day in and day out at places like Taos and Alta. Furthermore, this ski isn’t really designed for really deep snow, it’s designed for big lines at very high speeds.
Las Leñas is the perfect home for the Katana, and I probably spend more time daydreaming about this particular ski in that particular place than I do any other combination of ski + location. So much fun.
Runner-Up: Moment Belafonte, 187cm
Unlike the Katana, I could be quite happy skiing the Belafonte most days in Taos and Alta, but I could definitely make it my everyday ride in Las Leñas. The Belafonte is good in bumps, but it is also a good bit of work in bumps. Las Leñas? No bumps, zero trees, lots of big, open lines. And when conditions turn variable, you’ll still be hauling on the Belafonte.
When the Santa Rosa storm rolls in, I’ll definitely be wishing for a bigger pow ski, but that will be made up for by the sheer number of fun days I’ll get ripping around and all over the mountain.
1st Choice: Moment Bibby Pro, 190cm
For all the reasons already stated, except that here, this is the closest call on my list between the first choice and the Runner-Up.
Runner-Up: Rossignol Squad 7, 190cm
I love the Squad 7, and I absolutely loved it in Niseko. Given that the Squad is a bit heavier and more damp than the Bibby Pro, I wouldn’t make it my everyday ski at Alta, Taos, or Jackson Hole (however, I could make it my everyday ski down in Las Leñas…hmmm…..), I could happily ski the Squad 7 while waiting for the storms to roll in to Niseko.
Q: What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?
A: 188cm Moment PB&J, as a near Runner-Up for both Taos and Las Leñas. The 187cm Praxis Protest, as a One-Ski Quiver for Niseko. (Granted, at 128mm underfoot, this would be a huge everyday ski, but the Protest was so good in Niseko in deep stuff, I’d make do.)
Q: 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)?
A: 191cm ON3P Caylor, for Las Leñas; 192cm LINE Mr. Pollard’s Opus as an everyday ski for Alta; the ski I’m most curious about (OK, obsessed with) right now: the new Praxis MVP, 187cm length, with customizable flex (I’d go with “medium/stiff”) and the carbon fiber layup option.
Q: If over the next three seasons you had to ski one ski, every day, regardless of location, what would you choose?
A: This is an excruciating question—are we really even wired to have a long-term, monogamous relationship with our skis? Is that natural? Is it possible??? In any case, I am going with the 190cm Bibby Pro, mostly because I am usually fortunate enough to be on the mountain during and immediately after storms. If tended to miss a lot of pow days, I would probably go with something narrower.
And if I have to ski rock-hard bumps on the Bibbys for long stretches of time, I won’t be having the most fun you can have on skis. But for conditions ranging from even slightly soft to absolutely bottomless, I pretty much will.
NEXT: JULIA’S CHOICES
Here's another look at the excellent Rossignol Squad 7 with comparisons to the Rossi S7, Super 7, Moment Bibby Pro, and the ON3P Billy Goat.
Let's talk ski poles. Actually, let's talk about really outstanding, adjustable length, carbon fiber ski poles.
The Arc'teryx Micon pant has a perfect freeride cut, offers complete waterproof protection, and is at home in a ridiculously broad range of temperatures.