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I got to make a few runs yesterday on next year's Blizzard Bushwacker. The local Tecnica/Blizzard guy was at our hill to let local retailers demo next year's skis, and he let me take a pair out.

2012-13 Blizzard Bushwacker in 180cm mounted with Marker Griffon demo bindings.

Skier info here. Basically: 5'10", 150 lbs, reasonably skilled.

We had 2"-3" of new over packed powder and hardpack ranging from firm to near-ice on our "groomers" (some of which were not groomed yesterday AM), with off-piste areas holding as much as 6" to 8" of softer snow in places, but mostly cut-up over weird crusts and occasional nasty reef. I took several groomer runs to get familiar with the ski, and one long (2600 vert) bowl and bump run to check its off-piste behavior.

My general impressions are these:

* Very light weight, almost un-nervingly light (to me, used to much heavier skis).

* On piste it has really solid edge-hold under foot, vague edge grip in the shovel, solid hold in the tail, carves pretty nicely despite that vague shovel engagement. Very Volkl-like in its edge feel apart from the vague shovel.

* Off piste it felt occasionally a bit planky and dead, but it was stable the whole time. Never surprised me. Driving through funky snow with crusts and reef it was able to hold its line pretty well for a no-metal lightweight, it felt stable on its line, though the light weight made it feel more active and less planted. However, it didn't have much pop, which is what I expect in a lightweight ski, so it felt a bit odd to me.

* Fun in the bumps.

* Not super-easy to vary turn shape and size once a turn has begun, and seems to prefer medium and large radius turns.

* A good ski of its size, shape, etc., for solid (improving) intermediate and advanced level skiers. Maybe a bit lifeless for experts unless they prefer the cadillac cruiser approach. The light weight will appeal to those hyperactive skiers who like to "throw their skis around".

I haven't ever skied a Blizzard ski in all my years of skiing. This was an impressive first ride. The Volkl-like feel of the edgehold was a big plus.

I would prefer the Bushwacker as an AT ski set up with Dynafits. Too wimpy feeling for me skiing lifts and racking up vert. In many ways they remind me of the Fischer Watea 94 that I use for AT after trying them in lift-served settings, but they aren't as eager to vary turn radius as the Watea, and aren't as friendly (damp) on rough snow as the Wateas, and the Wateas have more kick from the tail.

Some of my impressions may be due to the stand height and binding delta differences in the Griffon. I usually ski Look/Rossi Pivot bindings, which have more delta and sit lower. I'd be curious as to what I found if my usual bindings were on the Bushwacker. But overall, I'm pretty sure I'd prefer it as an AT ski and would enjoy it a lot in that setting.

Also, I don't know whether the vague shovel was due to detuning, the ski's rocker/rise tip, or my skiing. I tried many things to get it to bite regularly and found little
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/1/12 at 8:31am