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.
The 2015 Line Supernatural 100 was a ski I was very excited to get out on and test compared to the older Prophet 98 and new fully rockered Mantra. I was not disappointed the Supernatural 100 was a rocket ship out of the gate and I never found a speed limit with it. It held an excellent edge even on firm conditions and then when you got it in bumps and off piste I was pleasantly surprised at how nimble the ski was. With the new tip design and overall shape of the ski don’t be afraid to ski these in longer lengths. I find the 179cm to be really short although it does measure 178cm so it really just skis shorter than its length. The stability on the new Supernatural 100 skis can be attributed to the all new Shock Wall which certainly absorbs everything when you are in a turn and also helps you accelerate at the end of your turn.
Is this an upgrade over the Prophet 98? It’s different.. the Prophet 98 was and is a great front side ski like the Supernatural 100, the one big difference you will find though is the new Supernatural 100 is stiffer in the body but has a more forgiving tip allowing the SN 100 to be used by both aggressive and moderately aggressive skiers just like the Prophet 98. What expert skiers will find is more high end speed and stability with the new shock wall and inlayed Metal Matrix. When comparing to the new Volkl Mantra the SN 100 certainly does better on trail thanks to the still having camber underfoot. The Mantra is great off piste for bigger skiers but I would have really like to see them keep a little bit of camber and maybe soften the tip up just a little like Line did.
If you are looking for a super quick edge to edge ski that can bomb the hill with big gs style turns the Supernatural 100 form Line Skis is certainly one of the top 100mm waisted metal skis that I have ever skied. If you want quicker turning and slightly softer flex you may still be able to find some older Influence 105 skis which is still an excellent ski.
The Volkl Mantra for 2015 has undergone some big changes. The ski is now Full Rocker and 100mm in the waist. What does this mean for the Mantra you know and love? This means that in softer snow it will have more float and with the early taper easier turn initiation. As most of you know I am not a huge fan of skis with metal just for my style of skiing, however I do love a few like the Prophet 115/Influence 115 and also found the new Supernatural 100 a lot of fun as well. The new 2015 Mantra, in my opinion, has to big of a turn radius at 25.4. With the amount of stability in this ski I would have really liked to have seen a slightly wider tail so when I was on groomers I could make shorter more nimble turns. The 25.4m turn radius is great when cruising at higher speeds and for skiers that like to smear their turns the new full rocker will allow for more of that as well. I still feel with the 100mm waist that camber would have gone a long way on the groomers, the full rocker is excellent in soft snow and fresh snow, but for hard packed Northeast skiing there is still something to be said for having some camber under foot. I did really enjoy how nimble the ski was and felt that it skied pretty short because of the new early taper and full rocker. If you are looking to replace your old Mantras you will probably love the new Mantra as it still has that race stiff and stable feel. If you are looking for something more playful you will want something softer in the tip. For skiers who ski fast I would certainly say the Mantra has no speed limit and craves the speed.
One of the most excited skis I wanted to get on this year was the brand new 2015 Line Magnum Opus Skis. Eric designed these skis as a ski for him to take out when he was looking for more float than the Pollard’s Opus. With a Longer Active Edge, wider waist width, and new Cloud Core Technology, not only is the new Magnum Opus bigger than the Mr. Pollard’s Opus but it is also lighter by about 1200g!! Eric accomplished just what he wanted in a ski with more float but still with all-mountain versatility. The Magnum Opus is perfect if you are looking for a fat touring ski but do not want to have all that weight going up hill.
I was able to test these skis in almost every condition imaginable. The deepest I got them in was 2 feet of snow and to be honest almost any ski over 100mm in the waist is going to be amazing in 2 feet of snow. One of the differences in the Magnum vs Pollard’s Opus is that the Magnum has a lot more carbon stringers in the (Magnum) ski making it very damp and full of energy at the same time. The Magnum pounded through busted up crud and bumps and kept looking for more. I originally felt a little issue with the tip being to catchy when I go into bumps, however after a quick detune with a diamond stone to the tip and tail the skis hooked up when they were supposed to and were much more playful.
With the Cloud Core you can ski them all day and your legs don’t get nearly as tired!! With the playfulness and lightness of the ski mixed with the dampness and energy of the carbon I could really see the Magnum Opus making an excellent Big Mountain ski for Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Vail, Snow Bird, Powder Mountain, Whistler, and other big mountain terrain such as those. Not skiing big mountain, don’t worry the Magnum Opus skis will ski any mountain. Even at 188cm I was surprised at how nimble they were in trees and bumped up trees. Much of this has to do with the weigh of the skis and the fact you are mounted 2cm’s behind center so the swing weight on them is quick.
When it came to skiing groomers they leave some of the most beautiful trenches you will ever see from a 124mm waisted ski. They had excellent grip and loved speed. For being so light it was truly amazing how the ski at high speed never cared at all. You could really turn up your turn shape easily too even at speed. I normally really round out my turns across the hill, but found with the Magnum Opus that not only could you do that but they would also release you out of the turn early so you could make more GS/Fall Line turns and just follow the terrain. No chatter ever with the Magnum Opus and at 5’7″ and 190lbs I would not want this ski to come in any shorter length of ski.
As for Mounting Point. If you are an Old School skier and do not like skis mounted toward center you can get them mounted at what I am calling the Old School mark, but honestly they ski excellent where there are at the -2cm Eric’s Choice and this is where shops should be mounting them if they have any clue about how skis should be mounted with a design such as the Magnum Opus.
The 2015 Atomic Bentchetler has undergone some of the best changes of any ski for 2015. With a waist width now of 120 and a stiffer platform the new Bent Chetler is a playful ripper!! If you want a playful ski in powder and crud that will also haul 60+mph on groomers with ease Atomic has built the ski for you. With all new Technology with HRZN TECH I was a believer after the 2nd turn.
Atomics Blurb: “The 2015 Bent Chetler features life changing HRZN TECH, adding 10% more surface area in the tip and tail without adding weight. The result is less tip deflection in chop and crud and simply better tracking in all conditions. Atomic and Chris Bentchetler got together on the new construction and design of the ski giving us mortals the best possible ride in fresh or even marginal snow conditions. ”
All the changes are nice to talk about, but how do they really ski? Well…I just got back from an epic day on the NEW 2015 Chets. And, yes we can believe all of the hype. I had a little bit of everything for conditions from 10″ of fresh to firm groomers in a 3 day period of testing them. The best description I can give about the new Atomic Bent Chetlers is that they had a smooth feel, super quiet tip and tail, and the Bent Chetler’s appettite for the fall-line and higher speeds, with no worries about tip deflection. If you have one ski to take with you on a trip this is really a ski that you should be considering as it is that much fun. There is a lot of energy out of the tail so the only place that some lighter weight skiers make not like them is in tight bumped up trees but honestly every where else on the hill the ski was smooth and accelerated when you wanted it to go. You can carve tighter turns with them but you wont need to because they feel so comfortable at speed and when you went to dig trenches in groomers take them out and let people in the lift line talk about the GS trenches you just left down the fall line.
Atomic Warder 13 MNC Binding
My first impressions of the all new Atomic Warden 13 binding is that I have no reason to get back out on the Marker Lord Binding with my AT Boots. The all new Atomic Warden is $100 cheaper and is much more user friendly to adjust from Alpine to Touring Boots. My other major positives of this binding is that the toe height adjustment is on the top of the binding and easy to adjust in the backcountry if for some reason it becomes lose, the ease of getting in and out of the binding (which the Marker Royal Family Bindings are not known and can be a really hassle especially for women and lighter weight skiers in deep snow conditions), and the addition of the Progressive Transfer Pads which really do increase the dampness that you feel on the ski. Another important feature of the Warden MNC 13 is that they are Multi Norm Certified which can be used with all boot norms.