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Video Review: 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti and Magnum 8.0ti

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

 


Ski Comparison Review

 

2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.0 ti and Magnum 8.5 ti

 

Conditions: 1st day: basically re-freeze off-piste conditions. Tough skiing, hard to trust skis in that crap, which is why we look pretty tentative. This is when most of the video was shot. Firm groomers. 2nd day: 2-3 inches of new snow over top of the frozen surface. Groomers were much grippier.

 

Other skis tried this demo: Dynastar Cham 107, Cham 97, Outland 87, Outland Pro 80; Elan Waveflex Amphibio 88xti, 82Xti, 14, 888, 999, 1010; Blizzard Bushwacker; Blizzard Bonafide; Head Rev 85, Rev 90; Volkl Mantra and Kendo

 

Skier info:

Scott (orange jacket): 5 foot 9, 155lbs, skis 25-50 days a year; 34 y/o

Kevin (blue jacket); 6 foot 1, 195lbs; skis 40+ days a year, 28 y/o

 

Skis tested: the 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.5 ti in 174cm, and the 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.0 ti in both 172 and 179cm.

 

Overview: these skis are new for 2013. Both are mid-radius all-mountain skis, with perhaps a slight frontside bias. Both are flipcore skis, which means low rocker tip and very slight rocker tail. Flat mount with Griffon Demo bindings.

 

 

 

 

Review:

 

Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti: this was the first ski I skied, and it was an eye-opener. Tons of energy for a ski of this width. It was, without a dobut, the most energetic ski I tested that was mid 80's up to 90mm or so. The tail loaded very predictably and sprung you out of the turn if you desired. On groomers, it had close to a pure carver feel. Release was clean, and it would quickly pull you into the turn with power and precision. Very fun.

 

Grip was exceptional. No trace of the ski breaking loose in the tip or tail. The Flipcore behaved as if it wasn't there: It skied very similar to non-flipcore skis we tried, like the Amphibio 88Xti from Elan and the Outland 87 from Dynastar, in terms of grip and edge engagement/release. I thought the tail might feel funny on hard snow (similar to how the Bushwacker behaves) but no, it really skied as powerfully as one could hope. The power was similar to that of a pure carver: just slightly wider, but on this somewhat grippy snow, a narrower ski was not needed. Exceptional turn finish; it just allowed me to release straight away down the hill, and get my center of mass shooting down to initiate the next turn. Off-piste, grip was among the best we tried, as well. A narrower ski really works wonders in this junky snow. It was basically re-freeze that had yet to thaw (and wouldn't all day), which was really the only testing grounds for off-piste skiing, so we skied it. The wider skis (basically anything above 90-95mm, depending on the ski) just slid around too much in that condition and were less than optimal. What I am looking for on firm off-piste, especially steeper terrain, which much of this was, is enough bite that I can load the ski, plant my pole strongly down the hill, and basically use the rebound of the ski to help me out of the old turn and get the skis flat onto the snow to initiate the new turn. This ski did that wonderfully. Kevin agreed (and feels even more strongly than I do, being a former East Coast resident and good bump skier) that in those conditions, a narrower ski with some bite and rebound is much more your friend than a wide, loose ski, which is way more work to get out of the turn.

 

In the junk, this ski really managed edge pressure well, and was the right blend of release pop and ease. Nobody wants a ski in these conditions that is too grabby (as some pure carvers can be), or has a tail that is too strong and skiing the skier. The Magnum 8.5ti was money in short to medium radius turns. Conditions wouldn't allow us to really open it up (neither of us were that brave, skiing GS arcs on steeps with small icy bumps everywhere takes a lot of guts), but I did get to open it up in some lower angle non-skied out snow, and it was very good. We both really liked it in bumps as well (not shown here, they were firm, but skiable). I could get some nice zipper-line action going, and while it was perhaps a touch stiff, definitely workable. In the thin new snow we had the 2nd day, it really released well out of it. Tip is pliable, easy to get out of the turn, and work right down the fall line. Narrower skis work really well in these conditions as well, as float is a non-issue, but being able to manage edge pressure contrasting with the new snow on top and the crusties lurking underneath is key.

 

Overall, this ski had such a balanced feel. It is tough to stress how good it was in many types of turns and conditions. It was as “near carver” as any ski this width I have ever tried. Light and quick, super powerful, and can do any conditions. Perhaps just as good in junky off-piste snow as it is as a groomer ripper; we both liked it quite a bit better than the Bonafide and Bushwacker off-piste in those conditions. For those looking for “race ski performance in an all-mountain ski”, it is worth a serious look. Gone is the overly heavy, carver specific feel of the Magnum 8.7. This ski is instead lighter, almost as muscular, better for lighter guys, and exceedingly versatile. If I had to rate it (10 being the best in existence, 5 is OK, but certainly nothing special, and anything under that is not a good ski for the conditions):

 

Groomer power: 8.5

Grip: 9

Energy: 8

Off-piste junky snow, short/medium turns: 8

Bumps: 7

Deeper new snow: no rating

Thin new snow: 8.5

 

Blizzard Magnum 8.0ti, 172 and 179cm length

 

First off, the 8.0ti shares the 8.5ti's flipcore profile. As far as I could tell, the flex was similar. They aren't all that similar in feel, however. The 8.0 is somehow more tightly spung, more of a lighter power carver, with even more energy in the shorter length. The 179cm feels very GS-like for a guy my size. Kevin loved it in his size, I was much more at home on the 172.  I was skiing the 172 in the video (orange jacket) and Kevin was on the 179 (blue jacket). 

 

Groomers: For me, the 172 was an absolute ripper. It could give most frontside power skis a run for their money. Perhaps the tail isn't quite as aggressive and powerful as a true flat tail, but in the fairly grippy groomers we were skiing, it did not matter. The power coming out of the tail of this ski was equal to the Waveflex 14 from Elan I also skied. Very quick; not quite as quick as a dedicated carver, which isn't always a bad thing, as the true carver can be a little tiresome if it always has to be on edge, arcing out slalom radius turns. The 8.0 can do big arcs a bit better, but it isn't exactly a “relaxing” ski. It likes to be on edge and likes to be skied well. Skiing it from the center of the boot is fine, but I got much more out of it by skiing more dynamically. It practically begged me to take the energy out of the belly of the old turn, relax that outer leg and pull back that strong outside foot, and catapult me down the fall line. It was a very rewarding ski: when nailing a turn, the ski told me I had done so. The 179 was more of a GS feel: damp, smooth, but not the energy of the 172, nor the power. It felt more like a better damped Kendo in 177cm, than a carver feel. 172 is obviously the length for a guy my size. And, what a ski. Puts the fun into skiing groomers; if you can't have fun on this ski, you need to find a new sport.

 

Off-piste in junk: both skis skied really well. The 172 was super playful, just bouncing in and out of turns in the steeps. 179 was a bit more work: super smooth, and I could open it up, but not as good in fall-line steep turns. The energy on the 172 was just the right amount for getting pop out of loading up the end of the turn with a strong cross-body downhill pole plant. When you utilize that move, it really unloads the skis in a hurry and pops you right down the fall line, setting up the next turn. The 172 didn't track as well as the 179 at speed. In bumps, the 172 actually felt a little light, but the 179 was too long to be anything but much work for me. Kevin ripped up the steeps and the bumps on the 179; it was much more suited to his weight and height than it was to me. The 8.0ti is a very good junky snow ski. It gets in and out of the crap well, the tip and tail are the right profile and flex to do so, without being overly rockered and slid-y on icy/firm snow steeps. After skiing both these narrower skis and wider skis in the conditions, it makes us wonder why people would prefer would want, say a Bonafide (which we also skied this day), for these conditions. Narrower skis offered us more control, we could ski faster and and stay in the fall line more. This was true across the 5 brands we skied at the demo.

 

Newer snow and softer off-piste bumps: Again, no complaints. Quicker than a scared jackrabbit in bumps, super easy to turn in any snow condition. Very versatile, although compared side by side with the 8.5, I thought the 8.5 had the bigger sweet spot off-piste. Close though, but I would opt for the 8.5 as slightly less aggressive in terms of grip, and a bit larger sweet spot.

 

Overall; the 8.0ti was a very impressive ski. It is impossible to say how much of an improvement it is over the current 8.1, but my feeling, having skied both, is that it is likely better in off-piste conditions, while a bit quicker and lighter as well. The current 8.1 is a bit stiffer ski, it rails on hard snow, but can feel a bit challening in junky off-piste snow like we were skiing here. Close to a pure carver, versatile in poor snow conditions, super quick.

 

Groomer power: 9.5

Grip: 9.5

Energy: 9

Off-piste junky snow, short/medium turns: 7

Bumps: 7

Deeper new snow: no rating

Thin new snow: 7.5

 

In conclusion, these 2 skis are quite similar. My feeling is that for someone such as myself, who enjoys a powerful ski on groomers, but will opt for off-piste skiing most of the time (unless it is terrible), I would look more toward the 8.5 as a go-to, every day ski when it hasn't snowed recently. The 8.0, as powerful as it is, perhaps is a little too aggressive in “interesting” snow, while the 8.5 is just a touch mellower. If one were looking for a ski that was a bit more biased toward groomers, quickness, and near race ski power, while still remaining versatile, the 8.0 would be the obvious choice, or if you skied really hard snow recently. As I didn't have an ice rink to test them, I couldn't comment on their true ice grip, but for Western conditions, either ski would be adequate. What makes these such superb skis is how well they ski in most all conditions. Live in the West? Get a Magnum 8.5, and a wide deeper snow ski, and you are set for most any condition.

 

Both might have lost a touch of power compared to the current 8.1 and 8.7, but gained in versatility, and work better for lighter guys such as myself. These skis will hit the sweet spot for a lot of skiers.  

 

As far as the video goes, it is likely most useful in showing the conditions we were skiing. I don't expect people to be able to pull out too much in way of ski flex and grip from looking at it, at least not with 2 skis that are quite similar. 

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry, no off-piste footage of the 8.5   Camera didn't record for some reason. Will try to grab some tomorrow and add it to the video. 

post #3 of 18

Great review.  So how does the 8.5 compare to a traditional class leader like the MX88?  I think the question on many peoples' mind in this class is whether refinement of shaping in a mildly rockered ski at a middle price point is equaling or exceeding the 'über ski' design approach and performance across variable conditions.

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

Great review.  So how does the 8.5 compare to a traditional class leader like the MX88?  I think the question on many peoples' mind in this class is whether refinement of shaping in a mildly rockered ski at a middle price point is equaling or exceeding the 'über ski' design approach and performance across variable conditions.



Well said...advancement of technology and rocker vs. perennial class favorite in design and function...curious about the answer myself...Dawg?

post #5 of 18

Also, how the 8.0 compares to the MX78:)

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Different skis. I skied both today, along with the new MX83. Conditions were 4-6" of new over firm/icy base. I liked the MX83 best out of the 3; best in crud, smoothest release, perfect length for me, no speed limit in 173cm.  It was a powerful, yet elegant ski.  MX88: even more stable, ridiculous (read-none) speed limit. Best at home in GS arcs at speed for me.  More work in big bumps: I could ski it just fine, but not as forgiving at the tail when I made a mistake.  Also sweet in the trees, very quick for a bigger length ski.  Magnum 8.5: probably the most energy of the 3. Got bucked around the most in weird snow for some reason.  I didn't notice the tail/tip rocker/flipcore whatsoever: it skied like a regular ski, except for feeling significantly shorter in 174 than the MX83 in 173cm. Super quick in trees (softest ski of the 3), also relatively easy to ski bumps on, but I liked the tail of the MX83 better here. If I was looking for a lively, versatile, powerful carver, I would get the 8.5.  More damp, stable, power carver that is super versatile: MX83.  More of a damp, ridiculously stable ski: the MX88.  FWIW, Kevin and I both skied about 18 skis between the 2 of us today, and both thought that the MX88 was the most stable, with the Nordica Hell n' Back 2nd most stable.  MX88 was his overall favorite: his comments were just how incredible the feel was on the snow, how "easy" it was at speed, smooth but not overly damp, like a car that is doing 150mph but feels like you are cruising a highway at 65mph.  Hope that answers your question.  I really think they made the 8.5 easier for lighter guys like myself, added energy that Blizzard isn't known for, and made it more versatile.  I wouldn't say it eclipses Kastle performance though; they are just different skis, with a different taken on how a ski should perform.  The 8.5 is a damn fine ski.  I could own any of the 3; with that said, my personal tastes probably lean toward an MX83. 

 

As far as the 8.0: it felt a little short; could be the length.  172 felt awfully short in that ski, 179 is pretty stout, so I might be between sizes on that one. Great carver feel though; need more time on it in challenging off-piste snow.  

 

 

post #7 of 18

Yes, this does really help and seems to sum up my novice impressions that you can't 'shape' your way into refinement, but that you can drive other raw characteristics in a highly balanced way.  It seems either approach can handle the various conditions that are not truly 3D and it really depends on your wallet and the feel you want.

 

I need to get on a pair of MX's In about a year - I have had the experience on the LX of thinking 'whoa, going too fast here' and then realizing that everything was under perfect control, and the LX does have a speed limit to some extent.  Certainly understand the crave for raising those limits, much higher appeal level to me than shape balancing at these mid-80's widths.

post #8 of 18

Dawg or Anyone:

 

Did you test/compare the Magnum 8.0 Ti vs. Magnum 8.0 Ca?   I ran out of time to ski the 8.0 Ca.  Just wondering about the edgehold and stability vs. the Ti model (sure that it's less, but....)

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

No, I want to test the CA model in a 179.  The 172 felt a little short for all-mountain skiing, and I always felt the Nordica CA models to be a good fit for my weight, so the softer CA in 179 might be a really good ski for me.  

post #10 of 18
Great review!!! Thanks Dawg
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by csr_jr View Post

Great review!!! Thanks Dawg


Sure, no problem!

 

A couple of follow-up points.  

 

On the 8.5 174cm, this ski is quite good in bumps. We have some on the hill at the moment (not huge, probably 2 feet trough to top) due to a freak occurrence of both new snow and enough skiers on the hill to bump it up.  Very predictable, the tip is very nice in bumps, and the tail super friendly.

 

Skied it in junk snow as well: smooth, easy to ski, goes where I want it, and tip doesn't get hung up for what is a fairly narrow ski.  Very good here in spring cream cheese (we had some new snow yesterday, followed by mid 40's temps today).  Great in short radius turns. Feels shorter and easier than the old 8.7 

 

On groomers at big speed: this ski isn't super stable.  OK, but a little squirrel-y.  Not sure the rocker is really helping out when I want a big running surface.  

 

Bite on true ice: we had a huge windstorm (120mph winds that totally shut the mountain for 36 hours) and now have plenty of blue ice.  The ski could use more grip on this.  The rocker results in a shorter contact length, and it feels like it wants to cut away prematurely. This wasn't an issue in softer snow groomers it the video, but definitely noticeable when it is really firm. I had to use a lot of counter to really load up that outside ski to get it to bite. Whoa!  Tons of rebound when I do that, almost a dangerous amount.  It shot me across the fall line upon an aggressive release and I got stuck on the inside ski going the other way.  So, I can say with confidence this ski has energy, if you are willing to load it up.  Just be warned if you try it.  I skied the 8.0 on the same conditions, and it was much better on firm ice than the 8.5.  The width is obviously an issue; the 8.0 also might have even lower rocker and hooks up with more ease. It sure felt that way. That this point, I wouldn't recommend the 8.5 as an Eastern, ice coast carver. The 8.0 may be a better choice, but still, there are others that probably have superior grip. Key to the Magnum 8.0 and 8.5's performance is their versatility and ease in variable snow, not their pure carving performance. For that, Blizzard still makes plenty of good pseudo race skis. 

 

Been enjoying my time on the 8.0 and 8.5 the past few days! 

post #12 of 18

Just a quick note that I got on these skis this past week and I really think Blizzard has another pair of winners coming next season.  These skis will reward good skiers without punishing skiers who are still developing their edging skills.  I was amazed that skis with as much rise in the tips as these have still skied groomers quite admirably.  Someone should post a base-to-base profile shot to show just how much rise these skis actually have (it's significant for such narrow skis).

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Just a quick note that I got on these skis this past week and I really think Blizzard has another pair of winners coming next season.  These skis will reward good skiers without punishing skiers who are still developing their edging skills.  I was amazed that skis with as much rise in the tips as these have still skied groomers quite admirably.  Someone should post a base-to-base profile shot to show just how much rise these skis actually have (it's significant for such narrow skis).



Will do, next time I am at the shop with my camera. It is pretty low rise, noticeable only on hard snow.  

post #14 of 18
Sizing question...

Buying the magnum 8.0 TI. I am just over 6 feet and around 210lbs.

Live on the east coast.

Looking for a ski that I can rail with for short/medium radius turns, but will also be happy opening up, running through tight eastern trees, some bumps and variable condition days. I know, an impossible request.

None the less, was planning on going with the 172. Thoughts? Am I crazy for not going with the longer size?

-Gary
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggreenma View Post

Sizing question...
Buying the magnum 8.0 TI. I am just over 6 feet and around 210lbs.
Live on the east coast.
Looking for a ski that I can rail with for short/medium radius turns, but will also be happy opening up, running through tight eastern trees, some bumps and variable condition days. I know, an impossible request.
None the less, was planning on going with the 172. Thoughts? Am I crazy for not going with the longer size?
-Gary


Gary, I just received my 8.0 Ti and I got them in the 178, I'm 6' 205 lbs, strong skier. I compared them length wise to my Elan 74 carver with that is 176cm long, although the Ti is just slightly longer than the Elan, the skis contact length is noticeably shorter due to the rocker especially on the tips, the back rocker is very slight and contact area is about in the same place as the Elans. So turning wise I would think they would turn quicker and easier with the rocker but overall length is something you have to deal with in tight trees and trough type bumps. I think you will be better off with the 178cm 

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggreenma View Post

Sizing question...
Buying the magnum 8.0 TI. I am just over 6 feet and around 210lbs.
Live on the east coast.
Looking for a ski that I can rail with for short/medium radius turns, but will also be happy opening up, running through tight eastern trees, some bumps and variable condition days. I know, an impossible request.
None the less, was planning on going with the 172. Thoughts? Am I crazy for not going with the longer size?
-Gary

 



My thoughts:

 

For your location, no, you aren't crazy, and especially if you are coming off that 165cm Elan SLX detuned slalom ski, looking for the same feel.  Out here, even at my weight, I would find the 179cm more suitable for off-piste skiing.  As a piste-carver, the 172cm would get the nod, although I find this ski to be more of a narrow all-mountain feel, good in bumps and trees, than a real powerhouse on groomers.  The camber profile does take away from the power one would get out of a flat-tailed ski, for instance.  In your case, for variable conditions and bumps, it would be a great choice.  

post #17 of 18
Dawg, can you comment on the differences between the new 8.0 TI and last years 8.1 Magnum TI on the ice, bumps and trees?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gostan View Post

Dawg, can you comment on the differences between the new 8.0 TI and last years 8.1 Magnum TI on the ice, bumps and trees?

Sure.

 

Bumps: this year's 8.0 can be skied a bit more actively, I can push it down into the trough on the extension move easier.+1 for 8.0

 

Icy groomers: 8.1 has more grip early in the turn at the tip, doesn't require me to commit as far to get it to engage, more fun when on edge.  +1 for 8.1

 

Trees: if they are bumpy trees, the 8.0 is a little more fun. Cruddy trees, the 8.1 is a bit more predictable.  Wash

 

I think it depends on what you are using these for.  If it more of a frontside carver and groomer ski, including teaching, the old 8.1 is superior. More of a narrow all-mountain, 50/50 ski, including a fun bump ski, the new 8.0 is better, especially the non-metal CA.  

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Video Review: 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti and Magnum 8.0ti