2011 Blizzard GSR Magnesium IQ Ski
|Lengths||167, 174, 181|
|Turn Radius||17.5 m @ 174 cm.|
|Construction||IQ Sandwich Compound Sidewall|
|Binding System||IQ TP 12/14 Black|
|Recommended Use||Frontside Groomers|
|Sidecut||113 / 68 / 97|
Blizzard GSR IQ: 174cm in length, “consumer” race ski for those who don't need or can't handle full race stock skis. Still plenty stiff, 68mm underfoot, 17.5m radius.
1st day: manmade, hard snow at Winter Park, at the US industry demo. Definitely the skis of choice for these days: most everyone was ripping around on frontside type skis, and I don't think I have ever seen such a high concentration of reallygood skiers (like ex-World or Europa Cup level) in one place. These conditions were made for the skis tested here; a good carver makes a bulletproof day a hell of a lot of fun. Definitely the most fun skis, especially on that kevlar-vest like groomer down to the base area, were the most powerful, pseudo-race skis. We all had big grins on our faces.
2nd day was in mostly softer snow and groomers, at Alpine Meadows. These skis still performed well (4 inches of crud isn't going to slow down a frontside type ski), although it wasn't the pure hard snow of Winter Park.
3rd day was mostly hard snow (rain over snow, then frozen) with some crud thrown in. Pretty good conditions to test out edge hold, although the snow wasn't as predictable as the 1st and 2nd demo. Still worth demoing these skis though, especially on groomers.
About me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line expert-level bumps for the first time in my life by early spring. Probably ski 40-50 days per year. I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers. My skiing speed is fast to full-on.
As tested in 174cm, this was a LOT more ski than the Supersonic. Perhaps the Supersonic made me lazy and feel I was skiing better than I actually way. Whatever happened, this ski was a rude awakening. I have skied a bunch of consumer race skis over the years, and this one was as demanding as they come. To get it to hook up early in the turn, the skier needs to be very aggressive and moving down the fall line. It will hook up, but it wants energy at the top of the turn, and not lazy skiing. If you are hanging back, unsure of whether to commit, this ski will own you. In that respect, it feels much more like a real race stock ski. I loved it: no speed limit, easier radius to work with than a full race ski, and nearly as committing. Edge hold is phenomenal. It took me ½ of a run to get on top of it: I needed to stop being lazy, skiing the sidecut, and go back to “game on” mode. Once there, it didn't disappoint. In bumps, it was more or less awful. A better bump skier than I could make it work, but there are far better tools in the world. Speed limit was in the same realm as the Stockli SX, but it was less forgiving, and more committing. I imagine that the real FIS Stockli SX feels like this ski.
The GSR IQ is best kept to hard snow, fast skiing, and experts. Not a good ski to start racing on: get something more forgiving, like a Head i-Supershape Speed. I would love to own this ski as a weekday, max-vertical ski, but don't think it would get enough use, as it just isn't versatile enough to take off-piste. Something like the Kastle MX78 is just as stable, more forgiving, and way more versatile; it could be an every day ski for those not battling heavy, deep snow on a regular basis. The GSR IQ, not so much. I wish I had tried this one in the gates.