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Long Term Reviews: Blizzard Bonafide 187cm and Kastle BMX98 178cm

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

Long Term Review: Blizzard Bonafide (2012 model) and Kastle BMX98 (2012 model)

 

Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year. Good skier, can ski the whole mountain with confidence (aside from a mental fear of no-fall zones); love crud, off-piste snow, bumps, and groomers; not a big air guy, although I will take solid-sized drops if the conditions are good. I am a pretty technical skier, trying to learn as much about technique as I can. Coming to the sport late, I find myself thinking about skiing on a technical level much of the time, and try work on something every day on the hill.

 

I have had both of these skis in my possession for most of the spring, starting back near the first of March. They are similar skis: both 98mm underfoot, both with a one-ski Western quiver focus, for those that are skiing off-piste more than on. Differences: the BMX98 features an early-rise tip only, the Bonafide has a very similar tip, but a long early-rise tail as well. The Bonafide has metal, the BMX98 does not. The Bonafide was 187cm, the BMX98 178cm. They also use different manufacturing techniques. With that said, they are geared toward the same skier (either a guy who needs a bigger ski for East Coast storms, or an everyday ski out here for the good skier looking for a great off-piste ski that does fairly well on groomers and hard snow too). In short, a Western One-ski Quiver. Unless we got a big snow year (like last year), I would be perfectly happy skiing this as my biggest ski. Once you start hitting 14-16+ of new, and up, it makes sense to go wider, but I find this width to be a ski that I can ski all day long and not have a desire to go back to the car. For those that can only have 1 ski, it is a width worth looking at out there.

 

I will do a head-to head for these skis in various conditions. Please note that while the 187cm Bonafide seems long; with all of that early rise tip and tail, it skis shorter than measured. It probably equates more to a 182cm. Conditions were everything; blower pow; mid-density pow, heavier new snow, lots of heavy crud, good selection of challenging, steep bumps, ice, soft Western-style groomers, trees.

 

About these skis (My overall impressions): The Bonafide, along with the Magnum 8.1 and Supersonic, are my favorite Blizzards. The BMX98 is a shorter, more versatile version of my BMX108, and a narrower pro-ride level ski for good skiers.

 

Condition: off-piste heavy crud:

 

Bonafide: simply a spectacular ski here; It is forgiving at the tip and tail, and keeps you out of the worse of the snow, almost like the skis knows where you want to go and what you want to avoid. It skims the snow, and wants to turn given the slightest input. It is so fun to ski, even Rick Perry could think of 3 good things to say about this ski.

 

BMX98: this ski is a bit meatier in the tip; still very forgiving, but less turny. Likes to run flat a bit more; just as stable, more of a crusher than a finesse ski. Likes a bit more speed to come alive. Powerful.

 

Conclusion: a draw. The BMX will respond a more straight-ahead power style, the Bonafide to those wanting to skim the snow and release more aggressively and with ease.

 

Condition: off-piste new snow, both blower pow and heavier snow, up to 16” new.

 

I found both skis to have plenty of float for the 6 to 16 inches of new we tested them in. Ridiculous amounts of float, in fact. Must have something to do with the tips. One day we tested the Bonafide and BMX128 (on the 16” new day) and both came away thinking the Bonafide was so much more fun, as you were in the snow, not on it, and moving vertically in and out of the snow, and not just skiing edge to edge while planing on top of the snow. Unless you are a big guy or the snow is deep and heavy, I don't think you need more width that either are giving you here. Our Kastle rep, who lives in Colorado, things the 98 is the perfect ski and as wide as you ever need in his state as well; he doesn't take the 108 or 128 out, really ever, when he is skiing at home.

 

Bonafide: 187cm is so much float! You can just surf any snow condition, and it is enough tip, far enough in front of the skier, that wind-lips are not an issue. Perhaps a little narrow for really heavy snow, but for all of the days we tested it, I was perfectly happy with that width. Again, super forgiving, and the ski really works the snow; you get a lot of “feel” on this ski; and it pops you out of each and every turn.

 

BMX98: a little more work (due to the shorter length) in wind lips; the tail releases more progressively and slower than the Bonafide, meaning you can really draw out the turn if you know how to. It also likes slightly bigger turns. I found the tip to be just in the right spot to surf out of the new snow, keeping me in control and not working very hard. Super quick in the trees.

 

Conclusion: Bonafide has a slight edge, mostly due to a longer ski not getting hung up in wind lips, and slightly softer tip.

 

Condition: bumps, both icy and soft.

 

Bonafide: I liked this ski; it had a different feel than any other ski I have been on in bumps. Lots of energy, a little too much at times. The tail is like skiing a pogo stick if you load it accidentally. The tip is smooth and predictable; it skis shorter than you would think, and has a smooth entry into the trough upon extension. It was a little vague underfoot; definitely not skiing like a normal ski in the bumps. It took a bit of getting used to, but was solid.

 

BMX98: with early rise, and a flex not too stiff at the tail underfoot, this is a pretty traditional ski. The turn entry upon extension is super smooth, with the tip flex just right. The tail is a little stiff, you have to watch out for getting in the back seat, but if you get the rhythm down and don't push it too hard, it is easy to get a good flow going on this ski. I found I got more purchase on this ski if I used a slightly more downhill (coiling at the waist) but flowing pole plant, and was able to exit the old turn well that way. Probably because the tail holds a little long for a true bump ski. Doing that, the ski really flowed for me, it ate up bumps. This is a sweet ski for bumped-out afternoons at Squaw.

 

Conclusion: both were nice, but I like the BMX98 here. Just a bit more predictable and flow-y.

 

Condition: cut-up good snow at speed, what we see much of the time at Bachelor. Snow 5 days a week and not many skiers gives you barely-disturbed crud quite often.

 

Bonafide: smooth, stable, and powerful. What isn't to like? No real weaknesses. Super easy to ski. Lots of fun.

 

BMX98: more damp than the Bonafide, but otherwise it's equal. No real speed limit. Easy to ski, but makes me pine for the old BMX98, which was perhaps the best ski I have ever tried in these conditions. The new ski lack metal, and although super fun, just doesn't have the silky smooth horsepower of the old model.

 

Conclusion: draw.

 

Condition: firm snow.

 

Bonafide: holds relatively well; a little short in running length, but it has metal, so it is decent on really hard snow. When you lose edge grip, it is fairly predictable.

 

BMX98: similar to the Bonafide, but as it has no metal, the grip is similar, but the feel different. It was more on/off: when it cuts loose, it isn't progressive. With that said, edge hold is very good for a ski of this width. If I were running a GS, I would probably prefer the Bonafide in terms of grip on ice (in the way it cuts loose predictably) but would run better times on the BMX98, as it is more damp and seems to hug the snow better.

 

Conclusion: another draw

 

Condition: smooth, fast groomers (Western style, which is to say grippy and soft).

 

Bonafide: fun, lots of energy! Skis way shorter than the 187cm implies: feels nearly the equal here of the 178cm BMX98. It just shoots you out of the turn, if you load the tail. Super quick for a wide ski. More stable than the Cochise when way up on edge; it has a longer running length, and feels like it. Grippy, smooth entry and exit into the turn, and forgiving. Doesn't really feel like any ski I have experienced here; not really either a race-ski dampness, or a softer, forgiving big-rocker ski that really doesn't cut it on groomers. It is hard to quantify what is going on underfoot with the Bonafide, but it skis well.

 

BMX98: If you were going to look at a solid, stable, GS feeling big mountain ski that wasn't super wide; perhaps a successor to the legendary Legend Pro, but with more sidecut and a modern tip, you have the BMX98. Which makes it a great groomer ski. It has no metal, but you wouldn't necessarily know that skiing it; it holds very well. The feel is damp, smooth, with no speed limit; full-on GS feel. You would swear that if they beefed it up with metal, narrowed it out, and eliminated the rocker tip, you would have a really solid ski for the course. As it, it is a warp-speed groomer ski; at least as stable as the Bonafide, but seems to have that GS confidence at speed. It is more that a speed limit; it is being predictable, and knowing that the ski underfoot is going to do what the driver is telling it to. This skis like a Mantra on groomers, but it more manageable for lightweights like myself. I don't know if 98mm skis get much better than this on groomers. Maybe a Rossi Experience 98 comes close? If they released a VXL from Stockli in that width, watch out.

 

Conclusion; draw, comes down to an overall feel you prefer. I would grab the BMX98, but others would grab the Bonafide. Totally subjective.

 

Overall, I have one win for the Bonafide, one win for the BMX98, and a bunch of draws. That about sums it up: I have both skis in my garage, ready to go for this season, and have no idea which ski I will get rid of, as surely I don't need both of these skis. Weight advantage goes to the BMX98, so if I go with AT bindings for this ski, the Kastle gets the nod. Other that, this is a tough one.

 

When I get a chance, I will post some pics of us skiing on both of these. 

 

post #2 of 13

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post #3 of 13

Nice review Dawg! So for Mt Bachelor you'd take the Bone over the Cochise in all but perhaps over 18 inches of snow? Kevin is heavier correct? does he feel the same?  I am thinking about redoing my quiver by either buying a Cochise to go with my MX88's, or selling the MX88's, buying the Bone and picking up a used "80" ski for those really fas and hard groomer days? Your thoughts? Thx in advance

post #4 of 13

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the early Christmas present.  I had been hoping to see an in depth comparison between these skis.

 

Last year I got to demo the Kastle MX 98 at Jackson Hole.  Of all the skis I demoed that week this was by far my favorite.  It was a ski that I felt immediately comfortable on right from the very first turn.  And it had a certain "feel" to it that I really like in that it seemed weirdly easy to ski and powerful all at the same time.  It was also a ski that I basically forgot all about while skiing that day in that it just did whatever I wanted it to.

 

The one thing though was that skiing at Jackson Hole is quite different then skiing here in the east as the terrain there is so much more open then say places like Stowe or Magic.  And I had hoped to demo a pair here before trying to come up with the cash to buy a pair as I wanted to see how they performed in our "tighter" confines.

 

Then came all the rave reviews about the Bonafide, especially too how quick it was.  So I figured another ski to try and demo here before buying.

 

But from your comparison above these skis seem quite comparable in many conditions but the big difference between them seems to be how they get the job done along with how they "feel".  Different constructions and designs but similar results.

 

So, one key question for you, if you took both skis into some fairly tight trees, where one often has to change gears quickly and smear their turns, is there a clear favorite?  Judging from what you wrote it sounds like they would both be equally adept in east coast trees, but would still like to hear what your thoughts are on that.

 

Oh, and thanks again for another great review.

post #5 of 13

Good reviews, thanks for sharing.  A lot of things are spot on which what I felt on the Bone, here is the quote that pretty much sums up my impressions: " Doesn't really feel like any ski I have experienced here; not really either a race-ski dampness, or a softer, forgiving big-rocker ski that really doesn't cut it on groomers. It is hard to quantify what is going on underfoot with the Bonafide, but it skis well."

I have never been on Kastle, so can't compare myself (maybe I will get a chance this season).  BTW< what is the price difference between those?  Isn't Kastle almost twice the price?  Also, I was wondering why you got the Bonafide in 187 over 180.    

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBachelor View Post

Nice review Dawg! So for Mt Bachelor you'd take the Bone over the Cochise in all but perhaps over 18 inches of snow? Kevin is heavier correct? does he feel the same?  I am thinking about redoing my quiver by either buying a Cochise to go with my MX88's, or selling the MX88's, buying the Bone and picking up a used "80" ski for those really fas and hard groomer days? Your thoughts? Thx in advance


Hey there,

 

The only caveat I should mention is that both Kevin and I only skied the Bonafide last spring in what was pretty good snow for Bachelor.  If we had 18" of heavy snow, I would want something significantly wider, at least 115 underfoot.  But, for lighter snow, and the more typical 6-12" of new, especially if it is good, I had the most fun on the Bonafide. He is 190lbs, and his widest ski for years (home mountain being Bachelor) has been around 100mm, although a different ski each year. 

 

I would keep the MX88 and get a Cochise.  If we get heavy snow, having the extra width of the Cochise will be really nice, and the MX88 is a better groomer ski and has much more bite than the Bonafide; it is super versatile as well, and superior if we get a dry spell like we had in January.  Looking back last year, I skied my BMX108 about 6 days (got them mid-season), but probably 4 of those days would have been just fine for the BMX98 or Bonafide.  2 days were super deep and wind-loaded, and the 108 was nice to have, but I could have used the 128 those days too. The rest of the new snow days I skied were 6-8" of new on top of a soft base, and the narrower skis were more enjoyable those days.  That 100mm underfoot is a nice sweet spot for me.  But, you could use the Cochise in the same conditions and have just as much fun, and it would be better in heavier chop.  If I were only looking at one ski though, it would be the narrower 98mm skis (for that type of skiing).  If I skied groomers quite a bit, then I don't think I could beat the MX88 with any ski around.  

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

If I were only looking at one ski though, it would be the narrower 98mm skis (for that type of skiing).  If I skied groomers quite a bit, then I don't think I could beat the MX88 with any ski around.  



Nice reviews, the long term perspective helps. Agree ^^^^. IMO the 88/108-115-ish combo is hard to beat. 

post #8 of 13

Yeah, I was thinkin my MX88 with a Cochise would be a darn nice quiver

 

 

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

Long Term Review: Blizzard Bonafide (2012 model) and Kastle BMX98 (2012 model)

 

 

 

Condition: smooth, fast groomers (Western style, which is to say grippy and soft).

 

Bonafide: ......... Grippy, smooth entry and exit into the turn, and forgiving. Doesn't really feel like any ski I have experienced here; not really either a race-ski dampness, or a softer, forgiving big-rocker ski that really doesn't cut it on groomers. It is hard to quantify what is going on underfoot with the Bonafide, but it skis well.

 

 

 

 


     Good description of Bonafide on groomer.  After skiing on  a few groomers this was my non-opinion too.  I really didn't exactly know what was going on down there.  Didn't dislike the feedback was just sort of blank on the feeling and reasons.  Didn't really ski many groomers as we had some pretty good powder for an opening day.  Going tommorrow and will ride more on groomers to see if I can ID the feedback I am getting.  Maybe it doesn't matter but just curious.   Anyone else experience this feeling.

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

Good reviews, thanks for sharing.  A lot of things are spot on which what I felt on the Bone, here is the quote that pretty much sums up my impressions: " Doesn't really feel like any ski I have experienced here; not really either a race-ski dampness, or a softer, forgiving big-rocker ski that really doesn't cut it on groomers. It is hard to quantify what is going on underfoot with the Bonafide, but it skis well."

I have never been on Kastle, so can't compare myself (maybe I will get a chance this season).  BTW< what is the price difference between those?  Isn't Kastle almost twice the price?  Also, I was wondering why you got the Bonafide in 187 over 180.    



Kastle is $990, Bonafide is $749.  It is a little pricier ski, no doubt.  

 

As far as length, 2 reasons:

 

1) rep's recommendation (he knows how we ski, said the 187 is more suited to our hill, skill, and skiing speed) and 

2) the 180 wasn't going to be available until late April, when I have hung up my skis for the season. 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by easternskr View Post

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the early Christmas present.  I had been hoping to see an in depth comparison between these skis.

 

Last year I got to demo the Kastle MX 98 at Jackson Hole.  Of all the skis I demoed that week this was by far my favorite.  It was a ski that I felt immediately comfortable on right from the very first turn.  And it had a certain "feel" to it that I really like in that it seemed weirdly easy to ski and powerful all at the same time.  It was also a ski that I basically forgot all about while skiing that day in that it just did whatever I wanted it to.

 

The one thing though was that skiing at Jackson Hole is quite different then skiing here in the east as the terrain there is so much more open then say places like Stowe or Magic.  And I had hoped to demo a pair here before trying to come up with the cash to buy a pair as I wanted to see how they performed in our "tighter" confines.

 

Then came all the rave reviews about the Bonafide, especially too how quick it was.  So I figured another ski to try and demo here before buying.

 

But from your comparison above these skis seem quite comparable in many conditions but the big difference between them seems to be how they get the job done along with how they "feel".  Different constructions and designs but similar results.

 

So, one key question for you, if you took both skis into some fairly tight trees, where one often has to change gears quickly and smear their turns, is there a clear favorite?  Judging from what you wrote it sounds like they would both be equally adept in east coast trees, but would still like to hear what your thoughts are on that.

 

Oh, and thanks again for another great review.


Hi there,

 

Good to hear that you are looking at both skis; they are each excellent.  Quickness?  Probably very similar, at least in my experience. The Bonafide has 8cm more rocker at the tip, but since I was skiing 187cm and 178cm on the Kastle, the difference in actual contact point is minimal.  I found a combo of active retraction and tipping worked well for turning on the BMX98, whereas the Bonafide was more of a "tip and rip" ski.  I wasn't skiing with retraction as much on it.  

 

Both skis are stiff enough that sizing down may be a good idea for tight spaces.  If I skied primarily tight bumps and trees, I would go 168 on the Kastle and 173 or 180 on the Bonafide.

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post



Nice reviews, the long term perspective helps. Agree ^^^^. IMO the 88/108-115-ish combo is hard to beat. 



Yeah!  I have often thought a 2-ski quiver is simply a must-have in the West, if you plan on getting the most out of your time on the hill. There simply isn't one ski around that will satisfy me for every condition around.  Maybe if you are a person who "only skis on new snow days" or "only skis when it is sunny", but if you truly want to be competent and ski well in every condition, you need skis designed to work in those conditions.  A couple of examples:

 

Last year, we hit Snowbird, which hadn't seen snow in 2 weeks.  It was warm (mid 40's at the base) and sunny; the snow that had seen sun was not good at all, unless it was thawing out. Where it was frozen, it was all but unskiable.  In the shade, the snow was pretty grippy: not fresh, you know that snow that gets blown in over time?  It was exactly those conditions.  Well, even if the snow is not great in Snowbird, the terrain is incredible, so no day there is a bad day, if you have the right skis.  That day I had my MX98's, and they were pretty decent in those conditions, but had I brought my MX78's, I would have absolutely shredded those hard bumps and firm snow segments. It would have really added to my enjoyment of the hill that day; having a responsive ski with metal in it makes all of the difference when the snow is firm and bumped-out.  Likewise, if I had only had a bit pair of wide skis, I would have stayed home: skiing steep firm bumps isn't a whole lot of fun on S7's (which is why alot of the locals were either bitching or staying home).  So, yeah, having that skinnier quiver component is key. On that particular day, the 78 would have been the best ski I could have chosen, and make an otherwise mediocre snow day excellent in what was challenging off-piste conditions.  

 

Over Christmas Break last year, we were hit with a huge storm cycle.  Probably 48" of snow fell in around 2 days, and although it was good quality snow, the winds were heavy and we had wind lips and crusty wind pack everywhere on the mountain.  I had my Dynastar Huge Rockers on my feet, and was actually wishing for a wider ski (they are 115 underfoot but not that long).  Even with those, I could barely make a turn: the snow was so deep, that if you turned, you would just come to a complete stop, unless you were already following an established track to pick up some speed.  Had I been skiing something narrower, like something around 90-100mm, the uncut snow would have been nearly inaccessable.  If there was ever a day for a 130mm ski, it was this day.  The only people getting off-piste (until it got broken up in the PM) were snowboards, or people with wide skis.  At least the 110mm underfoot skis give you a chance to make some turns, instead of just going straight, trying to make it back to the lift without hiking out. 

 

Of course those days are at 2 ends of the spectrum, but as skiers who spend a good number of days on the hill, and don't always get to pick their days off, we have to be prepared.  2 pair of skis will always leave the skier more prepared than having 1 pair, no matter how versatile.  For those of you racing cyclocross, is it is the same reason we all have 2 sets of wheels with different treads glued up: either a file/all around tread for fast courses, and a pair of mud tires and wheels.  You don't need the mud tires until you do. Without them, you might as well not show up to the start. 

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Yeah!  I have often thought a 2-ski quiver is simply a must-have in the West, if you plan on getting the most out of your time on the hill. There simply isn't one ski around that will satisfy me for every condition around.  Maybe if you are a person who "only skis on new snow days" or "only skis when it is sunny", but if you truly want to be competent and ski well in every condition, you need skis designed to work in those conditions.  A couple of examples:

 

Last year, we hit Snowbird, which hadn't seen snow in 2 weeks.  It was warm (mid 40's at the base) and sunny; the snow that had seen sun was not good at all, unless it was thawing out. Where it was frozen, it was all but unskiable.  In the shade, the snow was pretty grippy: not fresh, you know that snow that gets blown in over time?  It was exactly those conditions.  Well, even if the snow is not great in Snowbird, the terrain is incredible, so no day there is a bad day, if you have the right skis.  That day I had my MX98's, and they were pretty decent in those conditions, but had I brought my MX78's, I would have absolutely shredded those hard bumps and firm snow segments. It would have really added to my enjoyment of the hill that day; having a responsive ski with metal in it makes all of the difference when the snow is firm and bumped-out.  Likewise, if I had only had a bit pair of wide skis, I would have stayed home: skiing steep firm bumps isn't a whole lot of fun on S7's (which is why alot of the locals were either bitching or staying home).  So, yeah, having that skinnier quiver component is key. On that particular day, the 78 would have been the best ski I could have chosen, and make an otherwise mediocre snow day excellent in what was challenging off-piste conditions.  

 

Over Christmas Break last year, we were hit with a huge storm cycle.  Probably 48" of snow fell in around 2 days, and although it was good quality snow, the winds were heavy and we had wind lips and crusty wind pack everywhere on the mountain.  I had my Dynastar Huge Rockers on my feet, and was actually wishing for a wider ski (they are 115 underfoot but not that long).  Even with those, I could barely make a turn: the snow was so deep, that if you turned, you would just come to a complete stop, unless you were already following an established track to pick up some speed.  Had I been skiing something narrower, like something around 90-100mm, the uncut snow would have been nearly inaccessable.  If there was ever a day for a 130mm ski, it was this day.  The only people getting off-piste (until it got broken up in the PM) were snowboards, or people with wide skis.  At least the 110mm underfoot skis give you a chance to make some turns, instead of just going straight, trying to make it back to the lift without hiking out. 

 

Of course those days are at 2 ends of the spectrum, but as skiers who spend a good number of days on the hill, and don't always get to pick their days off, we have to be prepared.  2 pair of skis will always leave the skier more prepared than having 1 pair, no matter how versatile.  For those of you racing cyclocross, is it is the same reason we all have 2 sets of wheels with different treads glued up: either a file/all around tread for fast courses, and a pair of mud tires and wheels.  You don't need the mud tires until you do. Without them, you might as well not show up to the start. 

 

We had one storm last year ~24" of upside down snow where I could barely get going enough to turn on my PRaxis powders and I wanted something even fatter. . Everything has it's place. 2 ski quiver here is IMO nearly a requirement for a person who skis everyday.
 

 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Long Term Reviews: Blizzard Bonafide 187cm and Kastle BMX98 178cm