Pros: Edge Hold / Responsive Despite Stiffness / Surprisingly Good in Crude
Cons: Have to Drive It
Here is my set-up:
2011 Blizzard SL Magnesium 165cm w/Marker Piston Plates
Marker Comp 20
Tecnica Race 130
I'm a fast 45 year old. I'm 220 pounds and in good shape. I ski aggressively. I win my age group and I finish in the top five overall in my beer league.
I was not surprised at how well the edge hold was. I have heard great things about this ski and the edge hold. Once I set the arc, the ski held very well. It didn't want to wash out at all on the tail but still was easy to initiate into the next turn. I could ease it into the next turn and carve another big arc or lay into the tip and drive a slalom turn fairly effortlessly. I was surprised at how well it skied crud. I was in frozen crud...late season night skiing...mash potatoes and then frozen mashed potatoes. It blasted through it. I wouldn't want to ski this stuff, with these skis, but they responded well. I think these will be an outstanding beer league ski for a tighter course. I also was surprised that I could initiate turns at very low speeds. These are very stiff and you need to be centered to maintain control.
In comparison to my usual ski, a Nordica Dobermann WC SL, I'd say the Blizzards are stiffer, significantly more powerful off the tail and easier to initiate in a turn. In addition, my Nordicas do not absorb the vibrations as well as these in crud. I'd also say that the Blizzards are a more difficult ski to ski well. My mounting point was 1.5 cm towards the tip on the Blizzards as opposed to the Nordicas and I felt like I had much more tail than that. I'm really curious to see how much speed I can generate working the tails out of each turn. I also noticed that the Blizzards required a little more independent leg movement to carve the same arc.
Bottom-line is that I love my Nordicas but I think the Blizzards are going to be faster. I feel more nimble on the Nordicas but they don't have the pop coming off the turn that the Blizzards have.