Length Tested: 166cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 123 88 108 TR: 18M
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Flipcore rocker, rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot.
Binding: Salomon STH 12 Oversize
Mount point: Suggested, on the line. (With the large amount of tip rocker I see no point in moving the binding further forward).
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Fernie
Number of Runs: 40ish over the course of 2 days.
Snow Conditions: Hardpack, ice, soft groomers, powder, moguls, trees, chop.
Demo or Own: Own
Height/Weight: 5'5" 110lbs
Ski Days/Season: 15-20
Years Skiing: 3rd this season
Current Quiver: Bushwackers
Home Area: Fernie
Preferred Terrain: off-piste
After literally months of deliberation I finally decided to pull the trigger on a pair of Bushwackers as basically a one-quiver ski. There is a lot of debate about having only 1 ski is a drawback, in some ways I agree, and in some I don't agree. I prefer to get used to a ski and that way become proficient with it in almost all conditions. Also being a student money is obviously limited so I don't have the liberty of having 2-3 pairs of skis.
Back to the review: Took place in Fernie BC, one hardpacked day, the next was 2 days after a big storm cycle, so a lot of powder was still too be found. Realistically I think Blizzard managed to create one of the most well rounded skis for a lighter weight skier, such as myself. Initiation very quick considering the large amount of rocker in the tip, very quick edge to edge for ~90mm ski. Edge grip on some of the hardest snow I've will ever ski in my area is really impressive, even on ice, applying the right amount of pressure and angulation and these can crave as well as any other ski I've ever used. On soft groomers these ski are really fun and quite playful, you can do basically any turn shape you like and that ski will respond accordingly.
One things I really like about these ski's is how Blizzard managed to create a ski with a decently large sweet spot, but maintaining a lot of response and aggressiveness through the feel of the ski. Even though they are fairly easy to use they definitely reward good technique and form. Not the most forgiving ski if you get in the back seat however. That being said I think Blizzard managed to make really great rocker design in the form of the Flipcore. Despite the large amount of tip rocker (for an 88mm ski) these are surprisingly stable, even when running flat on high speed run outs, this most likely is a result of the smooth rocker bend.
One thing that made me really decide to go with these ski's was from Skiing magazines review of the Bushwacker (the same mag that rated the Cochise ski of the year). They tested the Bushwacker in the All-mountain, or narrow freeride ski's category. Skiing Magazine gave the Bushwacker top score in maneuverability and energy/liveliness in that category. Those along with 2nd best hard snow performance rating and the highest versatility again for that category swayed me to look for at these ski. I then went too about 3 local shops and talked to some a lot of people and after that finally decide to go with the 166 length in the BW.
At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with something that was in the 88mm category, but after some talking with local ski reps and shop owners I realized that for my weight I really wouldn't benefit from anything wider, being only 110lbs I don't need a very wide ski to still get good flotation in soft snow. And the narrower waist was a plus for moguls, and tights trees and little chutes that you always find yourself in off-piste at Fernie, so that being said I'm glad I went with the 88mm waist ski.
From great experience I had with these of groomers, and literally ice, or the closest thing to ice I will ever ski up here in BC, I was really excited to see how these would work in soft snow and off piste terrain. Getting off the prepared trail I went off piste and was able to find all sorts of different snow to test the skis in. Ranging from 20+cm of soft powder, chopped up powder, and windblown snow that was rock hard on top but once you broke through really soft (I don't know exactly what you call that, but it sure is tricky to ski). Getting the Bushwackers into some soft snow first thing you really notice is the flipcore rocker really working it's magic in the conditions it was made for. The low, but long rise really keeps your tips on top of fresh snow, even if you're still on aggressive and on the front of your boots, however this was in some shallower snow (5-10cm). Getting into deeper snow the sensation is similar the tips want to stay onto of the snow, but you have to ski more centered. The turn initiation in soft snow is quick and smooth, similar to the hardpack performance, and the slight rocker in the tail does help with turn exit. One thing I did notice was that in heavy snow, or that really hardpack soft underneath powder, the tail was a bit stubborn to release from the turn, I'm not sure if this is the flat tail rocker design, or the snow conditions. My guess is more the snow conditions, because in almost all others conditions turn release seemed very smooth, but a twin tip might be even easy, I'm not sure. I love how Blizzard was able to incorperate some powder ski feel, in a really take it anywhere freeride ski. The ability to transition from a craved to smeared/skidded turn or visa versa is just awesome and open up for turn opens, however it does take some getting used to. In trees and tight spots this ski is amazing maneuverability and quick once you find the sweet spot (which is fairly aggressive on the tips and driving the ski around, at least I found). Transitions are quick and smooth, easy to release, and shut down speed if needed. In moguls they work very nicely, the medium flex in the tip, then stiffer underfoot and in the tail allow to make quick smooth bushed turns in deeper bumps, and in smaller bumps they are really playful and fun. Off of a few airs I took they are light and easy to use while in the air, on hardpack landings the camber and slight rockered tail work well to provide a supported landing, in softer snow the flat rockered tail provides a lot of stability to land on.
I've probably forgotten to mention some things but after all this I can't really think of anything else :P, if you guys got any question feel free to ask.
Conclusion: playful, light, quick and nimble freeride ski that works well everywhere on the mountain, even on the hardest of hardpack.
Pros: nimble and quick in tight trees, feels light and playful in all snow conditions. Really surprising and good edge hold, 1 quiver ski. Rocker tip and tail (small in tail), flat tail.
Cons: I can see heavy people overpowering this ski easier then I could, not so much off piste, but possibly on hardpacked. Flat tail (both a pro and con).
Can't think of anything else at the moment, hope you guys learned something and enjoyed it. If you got any questions, ask away!