Title: Review: 2012 skis in the 90-100mm range
Environment of Conditions:
*Location of review: Crystal Mountain, WA
*Runs Taken: 2-4 runs per ski
*Snow Conditions: All across the board. Sun-crusted, partially refrozen crud on the south facing slopes, nice soft snow up to knee deep in spots on the north slopes, decent groomers, all with a 1" overnight dusting on top
*Demo or Purchase: Demo
Summary (inc. Strengths & Weaknesses):
Blizzard Bonafide (180): This was the ski I was most excited to try out, based on all the great reviews so far. It did very well on the groomers, very stable and planted but very easy to turn at the same time. Responded very nicely to both carved turns as well as some steering. I think the flipcore and the rocker makes it a very easy turning ski, for its stiffness. It also did well in the nice soft snow I was able to find. Where I really struggled with this ski was in the terrible sun crusted crud on the south facing slopes. This ski is just too stiff for my tastes in difficult snow, it really made me feel like I was working a lot harder. This is a good ski, but not for me. I keep deluding myself before a demo day, thinking I may like stiffer skis than I do, but I just don't.
Blizzard Bushwacker (180): I decided to try the bushwhacker next, wondering if maybe without as much metal, it might be more to my liking. In my opinion, taking out the metal didn't make the ski substantially softer, it just made it a lot livelier and popper. It still skied very nicely on both the groomers and in the soft snow, but was a handful just like the bonafide in the bad snow. I think this is still just a stiffer ski than I prefer, even at my weight.
Dynastar Slicer (181): Now this is more like it. Loved, I mean loved, this ski in the soft snow, very nimble, almost effortless. Was able to take some really tight lines through some trees, and it would make the turns where I wanted, almost without fail. Did ok in the refrozen, sun baked crud. It's fairly damp, which helps, and it's not too stiff. I think I actually prefer that for the difficult snow, because when the ski gets knocked around, those forces aren't transmitted to your legs as much, like in a stiff ski. The ski eats up some if it first. The only place I didn't like this as much was on the groomers. I felt like it didn't have a consistent edge engagement. You start to lay it over on edge, and there's a point where all of a sudden the tips start to hook up, and it comes around quickly. Made it feel kinda twitchy. After a few more runs, I was getting the hang of the feel on groomers, but it really surprised me at first.
Fischer Watea 98 (186): A very nice all around ski for me. Similar in mission to the slicer, but different in execution. Not as good in the soft snow, still skied very well, but not quite as effortless. Just about as easy to handle in the difficult snow. Much better on groomers, because it had a consistent edge engagement. It didn't have the fun factor for me that the slicer did, but is possibly a better all around ski. Definitely a little livelier, along the lines of what you'd expect from the watea line.
Dynastar Legend 94 (178): A much more serious ski than what I had been skiing, more along the lines of the bonafide, but not quite as easy to bring around, required a little more input. Very good on the groomers, good in the soft snow, but again, was a bit of a handful in the firm crud. A pretty good all around ski, but again, just not my cup of tea.
Dynastar Slicer (187): Was curious to get back on the slicer because it was the most fun of the day for me, and wanted to see if a few more runs would give me a better feel for it. The 187 was the only length they had, though, so I decided to compare the two. The longer length definitely skied differently. More stable on the groomers, the twitchiness was gone, but also much less nimble in the soft snow. The 181 really blew me away with the fun factor off trail, and this ski didn't have that, at least for me and my skills. I would get the 181 if I was going to buy a pair.
Height/Weight: 6' / 200 lb
Average days on snow: 0-10, 11-25, 30+ (pick one)
Years Skiing: 0-5, 6-15, 15-30, 30+ (pick one)
Aggressiveness: Conservative / Moderate / Aggressive / Competitor (I really don't feel I'm too aggressive of a skier, I can be at times, but I don't charge that hard really)