The 2018 Blizzard Bonafide was a pleasant surprise for the 2018 ski testing that I did. Blizzard quietly changed the Bonafide slightly and why they did not make a bigger deal of it I do not know as the changes, although subtle, make a huge impact on the maneuverability of the ski. The older Bonafide’s are great skis, especially if you are an ex racer looking for a hard charging GS ski that is a bit wider. If you like that more race like feel you may want to find an older model, but if you want something that can make any style turn you want it to the all new 2018 Bonafide is the way to go.
The new 2018 Bonafide has a slightly wider tip and tail making for a quicker turning ski than the older model. A change for myself that I very much enjoyed and made for a better All Mountain more user friendly experience. Don’t get me wrong you can still charge on the new Bonafide, but it is now just easier to make quicker and more medium range turns than it was before. Stability has never been an issue with the Bonafide and even with the changes made to the ski it is not an issue.
After skiing the Bonafide in multiple snow conditions I really found that this could make for a great one ski quiver ski if you find yourself split between charging groomers and searching for the goods on snowy days. East to West Coast this ski offers enough versatility to ski anywhere in the world.
The 2018 Line Mordecai Skis got a good work out in Jackson Hole, WY in early April with almost every condition possible. Didn’t take long to realize that although the Mordecai is light it certainly is not soft. The Cloud Core Technology makes the skis light yet nimble and stable. Had these skis at cruising speed and they never thought about chattering even at higher speeds. With a 17m turn radius along with tip and tail rocker and taper these skis would make both quick and long turns with ease and for being fairly stiff underfoot they also did very well in bumped up terrain.
Was able to get a full day with 14″ of fresh snow beyond the gate and no crowds to track it up. What a dream it was to have a ski with the perfect width at 114mm and lightness for my legs to be able to handle skiing the amount of vertical all day. The great thing about testing in Jackson in the Spring is that you can have just about every condition possible with in the same run. The Mordecai was certainly right at home in every fresh snow condition I hit. Top of the mountain had light snow and the tip really had no issues with diving and like most Pollard Skis you want to have a more centered stance rather than to far forward. You do not need to drive this ski at all it does most of the work for you. Lower top of the mountain I hit more wind slabbed snow and again was able to bust through it as the Mordecai has plenty of rigidity to hammer through when the snow gets heavy which I was very thankful for as I moved down the mountain the snow had taken on sun and light rain and made for super heavy skiing. As long as you had waxed knowing you were going to have a little of everything the heavy and slush bumps were quite fun to play in.
In summary, I would highly recommend the 2018 Line Mordecai Skis as they are one of the most versatile skis that Pollard has ever designed. The biggest surprise about this ski is how fun it was to charge on a groomer day that never quite corned up like we were hoping. If you do get corn and have these skis get ready to feel like a hero though as they are amazing. Skis took no effort in corn and skied 40’000 vert and legs never felt tired at all. If you want to surf or slash the corn that was the most effortless, if you wanted to carve it you could do that and if you wanted to charge it down the hill it was super stable at 60 mph no problem.
Pick length for this ski for me was the 186cm length and for 90% of the people out there that will most likely be the size they will want as well. The 179cm I would suggest for someone under 5’5″ and 160lbs they could do the 179cm, but if you are more than that and an expert skier I would suggest the 186cm length. The 193cm will be a great fit for big mountain guys or guys larger than 5’11 and 195lbs.
As most of you know I am a huge fan of Line Skis, but i have to say that Atomic has really been stepping up their game the past few years and have really been making some of the top Freeride Skis on the market. The Atomic Backland FR 109 is combination of everything you would want in a one ski quiver ski. It is light, quick turning, and you can ski deep powder with it just as easily as charge the groomers. The flex is moderate and user friendliness is at an all time high with this ski. It transitioned with ease from trees and bumps to groomers and steeps. Even at high speed I never felt chatter and the ski loved to make medium radius turns with out much effort at all. If you are looking for a ski that is much like the old Line Sir Francis Bacon but not as heavy the Backland 109 is an excellent choice.
I was very interested in trying the K2 Marksman as I have always been quick to dislike a ski that seems gimmicky. However, what that day turned into was one of the most fun I had had all winter on the lack luster East Coast “Winter”. Excellent company always helps as well! The skis were snappy and responsive and not what I was expecting out of a Pep Fujas designed ski at all. I had lots of different conditions to test the skis on and honestly I was very impressed at how playful yet grippy the Marksman is. The Asymmetrical Tip and Tail really allow the ski to maintain a more solid and effective inside edge for even more stability and float. the oversized taper on your outside edge makes for super easy butters and in deep snow they ski like a dream!
Truly a one ski quiver ski if you like energetic, quick turning, put a smile on your face skis you couldn’t ask for better company, but if you find it enjoy it. Don’t forget to enjoy your love of winter, beer, and food with others!
There are times when you are testing skis that you just know that you are going to love a ski just but looking at. The Atomic Vantage 100 CTI Skis was one of these skis and boy did it deliver! Typically you will not finding me getting excited about a ski with metal or at 100mm in the waist as that is just not my skiing style, however the Atomic Vantage 100 CTI is a game changer of a ski. The Line Prophet 98 was always the ski I would go to for skiers looking for a versatile All-Mountain Ski. I knew that 95% of the people that bought that ski would love it and I was disappointed when
Line went away from that ski as the Supernatural 100 is just not the same. The all new 2016 Atomic Vantage 100 CTI Skis is now going to be my go to All Mountain for people who want a ski around 100mm in the waist. It is so much lighter and livelier than that of the Volkl Mantra and pretty much any other ski in this category. The Atomic Vantage 100 CTI is a ski that when you get on it you don’t want to take them off. They take so little effort and with an 18m turn radius they will make any turn shape you want and with out even having to think about it. I had these skis going 60+mph and they were stable thanks to the Ti Backbone and when I wanted to scrub speed it was easy to do. You do not have to power this ski, it is not work like that of the Mantra. Thanks to the forgiving shovel they were awesome in both bumps and in the trees. The skis may be light but they do not get deflected like you would expect and that is thanks to both the Carbon Mesh used along with the Ti Backbone. There is nothing bad I can say about this ski I loved everything about it from its perfect shape to the very well designed graphic. One thing I will say about all of the Atomic Vantage Series skis is to not ski them short, these skis ski short so be sure to stay on the longer side when ordering.
2016 Line Sir Francis Bacon Skis – 184cm
Turn Radius: 17.4m
Longer Active Edge
Cloud Core Technology
Weight: 3520g (Pair)
One of my favorite skis of all time is the Line Sir Francis Bacon and now Eric has completely redesigned it to be narrower and lighter, making the 2016 Line Sir Francis Bacon Skis even more versatile for Backcountry skiers looking for a one ski quiver touring ski. At 3520g the Bacon is lighter than almost any other ski found in this category. To compare the Bacon from last year weighed in at 4350g, the 2016 version is 20% lighter than that! Cloud Core is one of the most innovative cores that we have seen in the past decade to come out and it is going to change backcountry freeride skis from every company.
As for the ski ability of the new Line Sir Francis Bacon Skis they are just what you would expect from anything created by Eric Pollard, amazing! These skis are super quick edge to edge and incredibly light on your feet. They are amazing with short to medium range turns and have great stability at speed thanks to the Cloud Core Technology found in the new Bacon. If you are looking for just one ski and you want it to be a playful freeride ski the 2016 Line Sir Francis Bacon is the ski you want! The 184cm in this new Bacon is going to be the pick length for 90% of customers since they ski so short. The shortest they even make the ski in now is the 178cm length. I was really happy with the dampness of the ski and I can tell that I will be owning a pair of these and the all new Line Mordecai (Review to come) as part of my quiver for 2016!
The Alpine Binding that I would suggest for this ski is the Tyrolia Attack 13. If you are looking to put a Touring binding on I would go with the Salomon Guardian, Atomic Tracker, or Tyrolia Adrenalin.
One of my favorite one ski quiver 105 waisted/metal laminate skis was always the Line Influence 105 Skis, that has now been replaced with the all new 2016 K2 Pinnacle 105 Skis. Lighter and more lively than the Influence 105, the K2 Pinnacle 105 Skis are one of the most versatile metal laminate skis at 105 in the waist that i have ever skied. Usually skis in this category are heavy and work, but thanks to Konic Technology the Pinnacle 105 is lightweight yet responsive and powerful. Powerful like you would expect form a metal laminate ski, but playful like a freeride ski. This would make an excellent ski for putting a touring binding on and using for skinning. If you want one ski to do it all and you like having metal in your ski the new Pinnacle 105 from k2 is one you should be checking out.
The all new K2 Pinnacle series of skis was just as much of a surprise as that of the Monster Series. The 2016 K2 Pinnacle 95 Skis is a quicker more stable version of the Line Sick Day 95 with out losing any of the playfulness. We were amazed at the stability and playfulness of the Pinnacle 95 Skis and were blown away by how versatile the skis were in a multitude of conditions. This is one of those skis that when you flex it you think it is going to get deflected, but the Pinnacle 95 held with no issues at high speed, and easily released in and out of turns. Not getting locked into the same turn each time is certainly what makes this a top pick for this category of ski for 2016. Unlike some other skis with metal in this category the K2 Pinnacle 95 Skis are by no means planky.
The 2016 Armada Invictus 95Ti is a brand new ski for Armada and man have they hit a home run. The Invictus 95Ti is built as an All Mountain cruiser ski that can be used for both cruising the hill at any speed or taking it into the woods and enjoying the quick turns that this ski makes under pressure. If you want both power and performance but not all the plankiness of some skis on the market you should take a look at the Armada Invictus 95Ti as your front side driver ski. The Invictus is stable and energetic and will be a great ski for Armada Powder Ski owners to add to their quiver. If you want something more forgiving you can get the Invictus 95 which is the same ski with out the Titanal layer. This makes the ski softer and more forgiving.
One of the biggest surprises of testing 2016 skis was the all new Head Monster series of skis. All Monsters are made with the same Graphene WC Sandwich Cap Construction. When I went to test the ski I had the notion that it was going to be stiff and planky. Boy was I wrong. The skis is fairly stiff, but when you are skiing it you never notice it because of how damp the ski is. The ride you get out of all the Monster skis is amazing. They are so damp that you can go as fast as you want and you feel so relaxed. You don’t have to work hard at all to turn the skis they ski themselves and there is no speed limit thanks to the all new construction from Head. If you are looking for an all-mountain ski in that 98mm range and you want something stable on groomers and versatile when there is fresh snow I would highly suggest getting yourself into the new Head Monster 98 Skis. I am really like the direction head is moving with both their freeride and all-mountain skis. There truly is no limit for the head Monster Skis.
The 2015 Blizzard Spur is one of the best powder skis that you can buy for the money. Most skis with this kind of technology is at least a few hundred dollars more than the Blizzard Spur. If you are looking for a lightweight powder tool or a BC Touring ski you will not be disappointed with this ski. Unlike the other skis in Blizzard’s Freeride/Powder line the Spur is more user friendly as it does not have any metal just lots of Carbon Fiber. Because of the Carbon the ski is very damp and predictable. Not a great choice for groomers but it will ski them no problem when you need to ski trails to get back to the lift. These are so light they will not wear you out at the end of the day. They make them in one length only and that is a 189cm.