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

We’re Heading South — What Should We Review?

At the end of August, we’re heading once again to the southern hemisphere for our annual review trip. We’ve been spending a lot of time over the past two months debating what we ought to take with us, and we think we’ve come up with a pretty compelling list of gear. But we want to ask our Blister members, to help us decide which products make the cut.

 

To be clear, we are most interested in determining what you think are the highest-priority skis and boots to review now, and what you think can wait until this November / December.

Once Blister members have had a chance to weigh in, we’ll then open up the conversation to the rest of our readers and see what they have to say.

The Logistics

We’ll be able to take 8-10 pairs of skis, 6-8 pairs of boots, and a range of outerwear and accessories.

The Options

Here’s a rough list of what skis and boots are on our radar for this trip, let us know in the comments what really caught your eye, and what gear we’re forgetting. Also, in some instances where we may be torn on what length ski to take, we’ve noted that, so cast your vote for what lengths you’d like to see reviewed.

INBOUNDS SKIS
(we’ll take 4-5 inbounds skis with us)

Directional Inbounds Skis

  • 181 cm or 188 cm Salomon QST 106 — which length would you like to see us take?

We’ve already been getting days on the QST 99 and 118, time now to look at this potential one-ski quiver in Salomon’s new line.

  • 184 cm Volkl 90Eight

Reports on the 90Eight have been very positive, and many of our readers have asked about this ski. Think it’s time for us to get it on snow?

  • 186 cm or 193 cm Volkl Confession — which length?

There were more than a few fans of Volkl’s fully rockered Shiro, but for 2016-17, it’s been replaced by the Confession, which features a touch of camber,

  • 181 or 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 HP — which length?

Kastle touts this as a very versatile 50/50 inbounds / touring ski.

  • 179 or 187 cm cm Armada Invictus 89Ti — which length?

Armada has tried to blend a playful feel into a hard-charging platform with the Invictus 89Ti.

More Freestyle-Oriented Inbounds Skis

  • 186 cm ON3P Kartel 108

We were big fans of Kartel 108 this spring, but it has seen a few tweaks since we were on it.

  • 184 cm 4FRNT Devastator

We’ve reviewed the 194 cm Devestator, and it is a big, heavy, all-mountain gun. The 184 cm Devastator is supposed to be a very different, much more playful beast.

  • 186 cm Faction Candide 3.0

How well does Faction’s all-mountain jib ski blend stability and playfulness?

  • 188 cm Armada ARV 106

Armada is coming out with an entirely new ARV line, and the 106 looks like a playful everyday ski.

  • 184 cm Kitten Factory Razor 105

We’ve been impressed by the Razor 95 in the park, so how does the wider 105 do around the rest of the mountain?

  • 187 cm Moment Meridian

New for 16/17, Moment’s Meridian is meant to channel the Chipotle Banana’s spirit in a skinnier, more versatile package.

  • 186 cm J Skis Vacation

J Lev claims that the Vacation is one of the softest, most buttery skis at this width.

  • 186 cm Salomon Rocker2 100

The much-loved Rocker2 108 and 122 are gone for next year, but the Rocker2 100 remains. So how does it compare to the latest crop of capable, all-mountain jib skis?

TOURING SKIS
(we’ll take 4-5 touring skis with us)

  • 184 cm Salomon BC Lab 114

The BC Lab 114 is a very interesting touring ski that we suspect will shine in mixed and less-than-stellar conditions.

  • 176 cm Atomic Backland 95

At a stated weight of 1250 g in a 170 cm length, the Backland 95 is a ski that looks to be in perfect alignment with Atomic’s Backland boot.

  • 186 cm Volkl V-Werks BMT 94

We’ve been very impressed by the BMT 109 and 122, so we’re interested to see how the narrower BMT compares.

  • 185 cm Black Diamond Helio 105

New for next year, BD says the Helio 105 blends light weight and versatility better than any ski they’ve ever made.

  • 184 cm or 190 cm 4FRNT Raven — which length?

The Raven gets some updates for 2016, and we’ve been intrigued by this ski for a while.

  • 184 cm K2 Wayback 96

We haven’t spent much time on K2’s touring skis, and this looks like a very capable option for mixed-to-nasty conditions.

  • 175 cm Majesty Werewolf

While Majesty Skis may not be on the tip of most people’s tongues, the Werewolf is an impressively light touring ski, and in general, Majesty’s designs look quite intriguing.

  • 183 cm Voile V6

The V6 has developed a reputation as being a very predictable touring ski.

  • 179 cm ON3P Steeple 98

We’ve spent time on ON3P’s inbounds skis, but have yet to take any laps on their touring-specific Steeple.

  • 184 cm or 190 cm Moment Bibby Tour — which length?

How does the touring-version of one of our favorite skis hold up to the original?

BOOTS
(for this trip, we’re focusing on touring boots and ‘50/50’ boots)

  • Tecnica Cochise Pro

The Cochise has been a favorite for several seasons now, but next year’s update marks a drastic weight reduction. Does it still have the downhill capability of the previous Cochise?

  • Tecnica Zero G

Tecnica has stepped into the lighter-weight touring boot arena with the all-new Zero G, and we are extremely, extremely interested…

  • Salomon QST 130 Pro

Is this a Cochise Pro killer? We don’t know, but this boot looks very intriguing.

  • Dalbello Lupo Carbon

The Lupo Carbon seems to be the boot for skiers looking for a 3-piece touring boot.

  • Dynafit TLT7

It’s shiny, it’s light, and Dynafit says it skis better than any boot in the previous TLT line.

  • Scarpa F1

Scarpa’s F1 impressed us with its lightweight stiffness at the tradeshows, but how does it do in the field?

  • K2 Pinnacle Pro

K2’s signature crossover touring / inbounds boot shed 300 grams for 2016, and it’s compatible with both tech and alpine bindings without swapping soles.

So that’s what we’re considering, now let us know in the comments section (a) what gear you most want to see reviewed, (b) what size skis you want reviewed, and (c) what gear you can’t believe we’re forgetting.

We’ll then do some tallying, arguing, and sorting, and we’ll keep you posted re: what ultimately ends up in our bags.

 

42 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    eraymond July 26, 2016 Reply

    Voile Supercharger
    Volie V8
    Line Pescado
    Rossignol Soul 7 HD
    J Skis – The Metal
    J Skis – The Friend

  2. Blister Member
    Jonathan July 26, 2016 Reply

    Bibby Tour 190cm (and maybe compare it to the OG Exit World, supposed to be a very similar ski)
    4FRNT Raven 190cm
    4FRNT Kye 110 (haven’t seen a lot of coverage on this ski, and looks like it could be a LEGIT west coast daily driver)

  3. M Van July 27, 2016 Reply

    Moment Meridian

  4. Blister Member
    luke July 27, 2016 Reply

    184 cm 4FRNT Devastator
    ON3P Wrenegade 108
    187 cm Moment Meridian

    • Blister Member
      Hannes August 1, 2016 Reply

      Definitely 187 Moment Meridian

  5. Blister Member
    Jack July 27, 2016 Reply

    Moment Meridian

  6. Blister Member
    Cameron July 28, 2016 Reply

    Confession 193, Zero G boot , and Salomon QST boot

    • Blister Member
      Brett July 31, 2016 Reply

      ^ This

  7. Blister Member
    Sami July 28, 2016 Reply

    QST 106 188 cm, and Cochise Pro and QST Pro boots

  8. Blister Member
    Skip July 28, 2016 Reply

    Faction Candide 3.0
    J Skis Vacation
    ON3P Kartel 108
    Salomon QST 106 (188cm)
    Volk 90Eight

    For boots, a comparison of the Cochise Pro and QST 130 Pro would be good to read.

  9. George July 29, 2016 Reply

    Icelantic Nomad

  10. Blister Member
    Skadi July 29, 2016 Reply

    181 Salomon QST 106
    186 J Skis Vacation
    181 BMX HP 105
    186 Faction Candide 3.0
    184 Volkl 90Eight
    184 Salomon BC Lab 114
    184 Black Diamond Helio 105
    175 Majesty Werewolf
    184 4FRNT Raven
    184 Moment Bibby Tour
    Technica Zero G
    Salomon QST 130 Pro
    Dalbello Lupo Carbon – after 3 seasons in SP Lupo IDs with Zipfits I can’t stand going downhill in a non-3 piece boot.
    Dynafit TLT 7
    Scarpa F1

  11. Sam July 29, 2016 Reply

    4FRNT Hoji
    ON3P Billy Goat
    Salomon QST118
    Mammut Airbag Packs
    Tecnica ZeroG & Tecnica Cochise Pro (Boots)

  12. Blister Member
    Tim July 30, 2016 Reply

    4FRNT Devastator
    J Skis The Metal
    181 QST 106

  13. Blister Member
    Brett July 31, 2016 Reply

    Volkl Confession (preferably 193 please) – is it more Shiro or more metal Katana or neither?

    Salomon QST 130 boot

    • Blister Member
      Brett July 31, 2016 Reply

      PS: Any chance of getting a hold of a pair of the new Dynastar Pro Riders?

  14. Blister Member
    C July 31, 2016 Reply

    Have a woman go too and test some women’s skis!

  15. Blister Member
    Pegleg July 31, 2016 Reply

    Voile Supercharger

  16. Blister Member
    Pegleg July 31, 2016 Reply

    Faction Chapter 106

  17. Blister Member
    Pegleg July 31, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for asking!

  18. Blister Member
    SOEIRO August 1, 2016 Reply

    Faction 4.0
    Black crows nocta
    salomon QST 118

    Boots
    Dalbello lupo carbon
    Salomon QST 130
    La Sportiva spectre 2.0
    Technica zero G

  19. Blister Member
    Bredey August 1, 2016 Reply

    Inbounds:

    Moment Meridian

    Touring:

    Atomic Backland 95
    Völkl V-Werks 94
    K2 Wayback 96
    Moment Bibby Tour –> do the 184 version! I think many people will prefer the shorter length for touring, because of the weight, quickness and easier kick turns (e.g. in consequential terrain)
    4FRNT Raven –> 184 (same reasons as above)

  20. Trevor Wright August 1, 2016 Reply

    184 cm Salomon BC Lab 114!

  21. George August 1, 2016 Reply

    Love to see a comparison of 105-110 width directional skis. Big Mountain or All Mountain, so good for every day CO skiing, including powder, bumps, steeps. Maybe not such a hard charger as you seem to prefer, but capable for larger expert skiers. (6’3″. 230)
    New Liberty Origen 106 vs RMU Apostle 105 vs Line SN 1-8, vs J Ski Metal?
    Thanks!

  22. Valerie August 1, 2016 Reply

    4FRNT Raven 184cm is very intriging
    4FRNT Devastator 184cm for those who are looking for Sickle replacement

    • Blister Member
      Hannes August 2, 2016 Reply

      187 Moment Meridian could also be a legitimate successor to the old 186 fully rockered sickle…

  23. Frame August 1, 2016 Reply

    Long skis, the general population is getting taller and I am 194. K2 pinnacle boot as I travel to ski by plane and cross over. Majesty ski as a wildcard
    Have fun.

  24. max August 2, 2016 Reply

    Devastator 184
    Candide 3.0 in 186
    Armada ARV 106 (apparently completely revamped, I skied ARVs for 10 years but haven’t been on one in a few years now)
    Candide 2.0?
    Faction chapter 106?

    I say add the Hoji 2017 under touring. I have the Raven, like it a lot especially in firmer pow, but can become squirrely and it’s just too narrow for deep pow. I never liked the Hoji, but then Hoji himself gave me the completely revamped 2017 version and was blown away. Much lighter, much more refined, for me the perfect BC touring ski. I almost wish I had waited for that and not bought the Raven.

  25. max August 2, 2016 Reply

    Oh, and if you get your hands on a Arcteryx Voltair……

  26. Blister Member
    Gorkal August 3, 2016 Reply

    186 cm Volkl Confession
    184 Volkl 90Eight / 100Eight
    186 Faction Candide 3.0

    186 Majesty Superior 116
    188 Faction Chapter 116
    186 Faction Eleven 115

  27. PabloInPC August 3, 2016 Reply

    Please, please, please, I beg you, do NOT take the Moment Meridan on your trip South. This would force me to finally shell out the sixty bucks for the Blister Membership and could lead to another $750 being blown on an unnecessary addition to the quiver. That’s money that could be better invested for my kid’s college education. My wife is still pissed about the Blister Pro.

    • Blister Member
      Jack August 4, 2016 Reply

      That Meridian will only cost you $675 with the Blister Member discount! Membership pays for itself! You’re welcome for the plug, Jonathan.

      • Blister Member
        Paul August 12, 2016 Reply

        Thanks a lot Jack…your “logic” got me to finally fall off my wallet and give the devil (according to my wife) his due. Not sure if you get points for marketing the brand…but you should! And don’t feel bad that my kids will be attending community college instead of the U…at least I will be laying tracks on shiny new skis…and hopefully they can transfer after a couple years!

        • I’m just here to say that I’m enjoying this exchange. And to say thanks for the plug, Jack!

          Welcome to the team, Paul. I’m going to be sending a letter to Blister members soon, talking about some new additions to the Membership & what we have up our sleeve for the coming season.

  28. John August 3, 2016 Reply

    Volkl Confession 193
    Dynastar Pro Rider
    Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro
    Salomon QST Pro 130 (with tech soles and tech bindings)

  29. Blister Member
    ChimpSafari August 8, 2016 Reply

    Any chance of reviewing the new Salomon QST 120 boots. Looks like it’s pumped full of loads of new tech and retails for $200 less than the MTN lab. Could be the perfect one quiver boot.

  30. Blister Member
    David August 15, 2016 Reply

    Looking forward to hearing about the Meridian. Especially as compared to the Devastator.

  31. Blister Member
    David August 15, 2016 Reply

    Any reviewers weighing over 200 lbs heading south?

  32. Dylan August 24, 2016 Reply

    Glad to see the Bibby Tours and 4frnt Ravens on the list! I’m interested in another look at the Hojis too (mostly because they are hard to find for a demo in CA). I know luggage isn’t the most interesting thing to review but since you’re all pros at shlepping gear how about some boot/ski bag reviews? I am often stuck in the dilemma of whether or not to carry on my boots and pretend to check that free “boot bag” with my skis. I’d be curious how you all handle that one.

    Have fun!

  33. Blister Member
    Jordon August 26, 2016 Reply

    Strongly considering the Kartel 108. Would love to hear how the Meridian compares as I have no experience on a fully rockered ski

  34. Dan September 5, 2016 Reply

    Bibby Tour 190

  35. Tyler N January 14, 2017 Reply

    If you guys get the shot, test out the 90eight or 10eights!

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