Well, after skiing this for several days in good snow conditions over the past 2 weeks, I felt it was time to give an updated view of this ski:
Ski: 2013 Blizzard Cochise 185cm, mounted on the line with Marker Griffon demo bindings
Skiers: Kevin (blue jacket): 6 foot 1, 200lbs; Scott (orange jacket): 5 foot 9, 155lbs
Conditions: everything from heavy crud, to light crud to blower snow, to skied-out bumps that were setting up late in the day. Video review is mostly very good light snow and crud
About the skiers: watch the video. Probably tells you a lot more about us than skier descriptions (which are highly subjective).
Skis I like: Elan Olympus 1010, Kastle BMX series, Kastle FX94, Elan 888/Apex, Head Inferno and Rock n' Roll, Salomon Sentinel, Kastle MX78 and MX83, among others. Skis Kevin owns: Head Peak 84 in 184cm, Kastle MX98 in 195cm, Kastle BMX98 in 195cm. Both of us like to ski, but neither get to ski as often as we would like. I probably have only about 100 hours on the hill this year.
About the skis: significant tip and tail rocker, 2 sheet of metal, light on the snow feel, fairly underdamped as far as skis go.
This review is more of a shared viewpoint; when Kevin's diverges, it will be noted.
Crud: this ski is a very stable ski in lighter crud. It has quite a bit of rocker, and therefore wants to be in the snow a bit to have full contact length. Tracks fairly well, but is quite soft, and can get bounced a bit at speed. Really easy to ski. Not super playful when skied in the longer length (for me, that is 10cm over head height). Kevin found it to be very playful, but he was skiing it at head height (he is 185cm tall). You can see him in the video popping right off the tail. If I had skied the 177cm, it would have likely been much more playful, as I would have been able to engage the tail easily as well. As it was, on the longer length, I had to pay attention. Be active with the feet if you ski the longer length, it is very necessary in crud and soft bumps, as it isn't forgiving of back seat driving. The 177cm would be more tolerant of mistakes, but less stable. It really likes softer snow that it can blow through crud piles on. On more set-up crud, it wasn't as good; too stiff, and tended to rebound and bounce a lot. I could ski it there, but really had to ski it well; no mistakes, and stay away from getting rotated with the torso. Ski it powerfully and it comes alive, which makes it very rewarding. I nailed some cruddy turns on this ski, some of the best turns I have made all year, but it took me a good 10 runs to really get on top of the ski.
Trees: again, great ski in the trees if the snow is right. In the video, it is quite surfy, easy to turn, and playful. Needs soft snow to come alive. Very quick as well. If the trees are skied out, and I was on the longer length, it became a bit of a handful. Definitely a soft-snow day ski. If trees are really tight, I would want to ski something a bit softer: for wide open trees like in the video, this ski works well. Again, wants to be skied well. Not a ski for technical lightweights.
Open terrain: This ski likes bigger turns at speed. It seems to want to accelerate. Feels more like a big-mountain ski (as it has quite a bit of metal in it) vs. a small mountain ski. Rips at speed, very confident. I would put stability in around average, or slightly above, for a ski of this type. Comfortable in moderate drops, probably fine in big ones too (although I wouldn't know, skiing at Flatchelor).
Float: pretty good, but could be better. 108mm underfoot is fine, but the tip feels narrow for some reason, and isn't surfy like some skis around 110mm. I think that is where Blizzard is going with their new Gunsmoke, which is much floatier. This ski is plenty adequate for most conditions, but if it is really deep or heavy, you might want to rent some 130mm underfoot reverse camber monster. This is more of an everyday new snow ski, not a pow specific ski.
Groomers: Not really much of a chance to ski groomers on this ski. They were all crud. I have done it on the 2012, and it was OK for a big ski. It gets you back to the lift.
Bumps: Cochise really isn't made for bumps, at least on my weight. Kevin had a decent time of it on the shorter "for him" length, which is also relatively soft. I struggled: the tips were kind of doing their own thing out there, and I was really having to work hard to keep it tracking well. He found it OK, manageable, but not a good bump ski. These weren't big bumps, but more of the small crud-bumps that form in the afternoon. If the skier is looking to just cruise, then it is likely OK. For aggressive fall-line bumping, it will be a disappointment. The Bonafide was better, but what really rocked is the 8.5ti. That ski is great in the bumps. Personally, I would run back the car and get that ski for PM skiing when it is skied out and bumping up.
Summary: a very powerful, capable ski. Fairly forgiving if skied head-height. Much more ski if skied one size up, but more float and stability is the reward. Quick, capable in any soft snow conditions. A little stiff for skied-out snow and bumps: the tip won't bend much, so you need to be on top of it and know how the ski will handle. Great once you get used to the flex pattern. It is a ski I would own in 185cm. It is a size-dependent ski: in 177cm, it is playful and much better in smaller spaces (for a guy my size) as well as bumps. The 185cm is the big-mountain feel.
Edited by dawgcatching - 3/22/12 at 2:45pm