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Need new skis to replace Mag 8.1 (transitioning from groomers to off-piste/trees)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey guys so last year I bought a set of Blizzard Magnum 8.1 and I love them, they are an absolute blast on groomers and rip, they have no speed limit IMO.  I love the strength and power of these skis on the front side. And I do LOVE to go fast on the groomers. When I bought these skis, I considered myself an 80% frontside skier. BUT last year I started skiing in the trees more, and fell in love, and now I'd say (conditions barring) I only do one groomer run as a warmup and spend most of the day on tree runs, and getting more into bump runs. The problem is, the Mag 8.1 are a bit of work in the trees/bumps, and rightfully so, they weren't made for that. First off, theyre heavy, they dont float well, and the tail likes to stay planted and doesn't hop around easily. Quick short linked turns are too much work in these babies. They dont like to be slowed down, and trees and fast is a bad combo.


First off, I am NOT looking to have a 2 ski quicker. I am actually no longer going to have the Magnum 8.1 and want to replace them with a single ski that can do similar on the groomers, yet be more versatile and easier to navigate in the trees/bumps/tight spaces. Dont know if that's possible as I am wanting two opposite things. I know EVERYONE wants this but a 50/50 blend is ideal as I really do enjoy skiing both terrain. Especially being that I am a east coast skier, groomers are sometimes the only thing thats available and fun to ski. But I really love finding the stashes in the trees and if the trees are good, I stay in them all day.


So the skis I have considered looking at (have not demo'd anything) are primarily in the 85-95ish underfoot range, include the Blizzard Bushwacker (heard they lack metal and aren't as stable), Blizzard Bonafide, Blizzard The One, Blizzard 8.0/8.5 Ti (next year), Volkl Mantra or Kendo, Volkl RTM heard good things about the Elan Apex 88, and would love the Kastle MX88 but theyre a bit outta my price range. What are your thoughts of these? I know theyre all fairly similar and all good skis from what I've read.


Any others you'd throw out there?

post #2 of 6

Ironically the Mag 8.1 is not even a "frontside" ski. It is an "all mountain ski". Blizzard does make some really nice hard snow skis (I'm partial to the Supersonic). Enough of that....


Why are you so strongly saying you don't want a 2 ski quiver? The ski you are looking for is in many way the alter Mag 8.1. You want something easier to turn in softer snow (new or not), bumps and trees. There is no free lunch here. I'd tell you to be looking for something in the 90's with early rise at both ends with a soft snow bias.

AND to hang on to the 8.1's for all the other days when the goods in the woods might not be available. While you might find a 90's ski that can work fairly well on the groomers (Rossi e98) it is NOT the same as what you are doing there now with the 8.1 and also won't be nearly as good for your new interest of the beaten trail.


btw, what length 8.1 are you skiing? "Quick short linked turns are too much work in these babies" ? That is not my experience with this ski unless you went too long. (17m TR)


In New England, maybe more than most other locations in the US, we see ALL kinds of conditions and one ski can't come close to covering it all in very proficient fashion. I actually think 3 is the bare minimum for serious NE skiers.....but that's for another thread.

post #3 of 6

I agree with Rossi.  The sizing of the ski might be playing a role, if you found those hard to turn.  What you really want might be 1size shorter ski.


But if you like them on the groomers you should keep those skis!  If you already own them, whatever depreciation has already kicked in and you're not going to get much revenue by selling them(unless you already gave them away).  If money is the issue, buy your second pair of skis as used demos.


If you're set on the 1-ski, then the skis you picked out seem fine, although the 8.0 is just the descendant of your 8.1s and I suppose depends which RTM  width you go for.  All the fatter skis are going to give up something on the groomers.


As far as the bushwacker, I've tried this, and it should be stable enough, unless you really are going supersonic, so I don't think you need to worry too much about it not being stable(but demo it to see).  I would even say maybe the One or the RTMs "might" take more getting used to and seem even more "unstable" since they've got more rocker than your 8.1s versus the bushwacker.


All this being said, I'm looking to demo and buy the 8.5tis next year myself smile.gif

post #4 of 6
I have a quiver of skis which consist of an S7; Bonafide; Head Monster 82; Dynastar Contact 11 and several GS and slalom skis. The only ski I've skied this year in the PNW, is the Blizzard Bonafide. Snow conditions have run the gammit. I took the Bonafides out the first ski trip and have yet to try anything else. I bought the Bonafides in a 180 (5'-10" 185lbs/54 yrs old level 8-9 skier) and their versatility has blown my mind. I've skied them on hardback, up to 60mph, and in frozen crud and have loved them so much I simply haven't wanted to ski anything else. The Bonafides are the best ski I've ever owned. Would one of my other skis have worked better that day, possibly, but not good enough or nearly as versatile to risk going too one dimensional for the whole mountain from start to finish. PLUS, it's nice only having to bring one pair of skis.

Good luck, there are a lot of great skis to choose from.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 8.1 are 179 cm, and im 6'1 about 200 lbs so I dont think the size is incorrect. I think the length is perfect for me actually, any shorter and I feel it would lose its stability and strong response. I guess I worded that wrong, I could do quick linked turns on any groomer, in soft crud snow bumps, and I ski them just fine in the woods, but I feel they are a bit heavy and lack some flotation in powder stashes in the woods. They like a nice hard pack surface, thats where they excel.


I suppose I am looking for something a little different if you may say. I guess I could say I'm looking more for a good east coast tree/powder/off-piste ski that'll make me feel like "this ski was made for this." I think from what Im gathering, the Blizzard Bonafide seems to take alotta cake here. I'm testing the Bushwacker and Kendo this weekend at Stowe as all the Bonafide and Mantra's are sold out for demo.

post #6 of 6

Appropriate 8.2 length for your size. I'd say either wait for next year's 8.5 or this year's Bonafide (go look online, there are still some out there), if you like the Bushwacker demo but need more beef, or think about something like the Line Prophet 98. The Kendo, apparently a really nice ski, might not be most folks' first call for taking into soft snow in the trees, although I'm sure it would work OK. 

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