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Blizzard Kabookie and Head REV 105 comparison review

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

 

Head REV 105 and Blizzard Kabookie

 

Comparison Review

 

Conditions: 15 degree temps, light to moderate weight crud, new snow up to 2 feet deep. Also soft cruddy bumps, and soft groomers.

 

Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, like to ski off-piste conditions mostly, groomers are fun too. Can ski pretty much anything on the mountain. I tend to prefer skis that aren't too stiff, good blend of finesse and power. Some favorite skis in the past: Stockli Cross SX, Kastle stuff, Elan 888/999/1010, Head Monster series, Blizzard Magnum 8.1 and 8.5, Dynastar Sultan 94.

 

I ski around 40-50 days a year.

 

The skis:

Blizzard Kabookie: similar to the Bonafide. Basically a bit lighter, bit softer Bonafide w/o metal. 98mm underfoot, 20m radius, skied in 180cm Mounted on the line with Marker Griffon adjustable bindings

 

Head REV 105: new ski for 2013, 105mm in the tip, very slight tail rocker, fairly large tip taper (close to as much as the Super 7 from Rossi, when side by side) and generous tip rocker. Soft flex, no metal. 16M radius, big running width for a 105mm ski. Similar to an elf-shoe in front, but very little tail rocker and tail taper. A good blend of tip forgiveness and a solid tail. Skied in 181cm. Mounted with Head PowerRail bindings

 

Review:

 

These couldn't have been more different! It was an interesting test, considering they aren't that different in terms of waist width, and are likely designed for similar skiing (soft, off-piste conditions). 2 completely different skis for 2 different skiing styles.

 

Overall feel: I will start here, and it really is all I need to say about these skis. Everything following this section is just an amplification on how each of these skis feels and who they are designed for.

 

I will start with the Kabookie, as it is the first ski I tried. Straight away, one can tell it is a Blizzard. If you were the skier who really liked the Bonafide's snow feel and turn radius, but found it stiff and planky, this is your ski. The Kabookie doesn't really lose any stability over the heavier Bonafide: it just becomes more manageable in junk and tight spaces for lighter skiers, and those skiing with softer AT boots. It is still a fairly aggressive, powerful ski with a “real” tail. The Kabookie really likes to be skied powerfully and at speed: it loves GS arcs in crud and snow, but seems more easily maneuvered into different turn shapes than the Bonafide, which prefers to hang around the printed turn radius. This ski, I can really bend into tighter arcs if I want to work it, and if I decide to keep it fall line, the ski is really happy there. It rails tight crud like a luge sled, as long as I was releasing aggressively with a down-unweight motion at the end of each turn; so much so that I got bruised ribs when the camcorder in my pocket ended up getting crunched into my ribs. It was a very dynamic ski: quite stable, but with energy; the tail really blasted me from turn to turn, and as long as I was releasing in the crud and keeping my feet moving. It was definitely more power than finesse, and it liked to be driven from the cuff of the boot. For a ski w/o metal, it still feels like a ski designed by and for good skiers and ex racers.

 

Next up, the REV 105. This ski was a completely different animal, and at first, I didn't like it. The ski seemed unstable in junk snow, but after a couple of runs, I learned that this is a ski for dancing down the hill, not muscling through crud. With the forgiving tail and big, fat, soft tip (144mm tip width!), and softer overall flex profile, this ski did not really feel the need for charging through crud in GS turns at speed. Rather, it was all about the release: load it up: relax, pull the feet back (instead of an aggressive down-unweight move) and follow terrain. Ski the crud like they are soft bumps, as the tip is so soft and forgiving, I found it nearly impossible to dive into soft snow. Load and release, but stay light on the ski. Once I got in to this rhythm (not my normal style of skiing), the REV 105 really came alive! It proved to be insanely quick in tight spaces and skied out trees, just as long as I let my feet more fore and aft to follow the terrain and snow. It was a ski that likes a light, but skilled touch. Skiing the REV really was a revelation, and taught me something about my skiing in the process: that I have more tools in my toolbox than a hammer!

 

Following up on that; here is how each ski performed in various conditions.

 

Crud: The Kabookie was more stable in bigger arcs. It liked to rip crud at speed, whereas the REV 105 got tossed around at high speeds. In the fall line: they skied differently, with the Kabookie preferring flattening to release (the down-unweight move discussed above) while the REV 105 wanted the feet to keep moving: at the top of the turn, pull the feet back and stay active. The REV felt like it had a shorter turn radius and was more of a happy camper fall-line, while the Kabookie was more versatile in it's turn shape in rough snow. I also though the Kabookie packed more punch in the tail, and skied with more energy.  A more deliberate skier will like the REV: faster skilled skiers look at the Kabookie.

 

Groomers: again, 2 different skis in terms of feel. The Kabookie had that GS feel, fairly soft but capable groomer ski feel, not unlike the old The One from Blizzard (less turn shape though, not as quick). The REV 105 was very quick, like a slalom ski that some of the wider elf-shoe style skis lean toward. It didn't have the high-speed heft, though. Again, fall line is REV territory, GS arcs lean Kabookie.

 

Trees: Here, the Kabookie was quite quick and easy to manage. I certainly had more confidence than I do on the Bonafide at speed in trees, as the Bonafide is simply punishing if I get pushed backseat. On the Kabookie, I can recover and re-assert myself, but don't get back there as much to start with. The REV is even more forgiving: it again leans more toward feet pull-backs as a way to quickly correct out of balance moves, and feels like a slalom ski there, even in skied-out terrain. It follows snow variations and mini bumps so well in these conditions. Exceptionally forgiving. Slight edge to the REV 105.

 

Deep snow: this is the REV 105's really playground. That big 144mm tip (it has the same running surface as my Super 7 188cm, if you take away the pintail on the Rossi) really won't dive, and it just surfs. It is always hunting for the top of the snow, and the tail will pop you from turn to turn. Windpack is even more fun: the carvy nature of this ski makes a wind-buff surface feel like a slalom set. Simply put, this is a great pow ski. I was skiing nearly waist-deep pockets in spots, and can't imagine needing more ski than this for any condition at my weight. Having been on my BMX128 the day prior, I don't think I was really getting more float on that ski. Certainly more stability and length, but not pure float. The Kabookie, on the other hand, it decently wide for these conditions, and got the job done. Float was well above adequate. I had to ski a bit cleaner in terms of technique, but did get nice pops in and out of the snow on it. Great width for these conditions. Felt more at home in bigger arcs, again at speed. The tip would dive if not careful: I think it only measures low 120's. With that said, it skied quite well for pretty deep snow, and gave me plenty of confidence. On the slabby windpack, it was also a hoot: whereas the REV was dancing, the Kabookie was slaying big arcs at higher speeds.  My style of skiing prefers the Kabookie: 80% of the skiers I see on the hill would be better on the REV 105. 

 

Overall: If you like the idea of a powerful, GS bred all-mountain ski that isn't super stiff, then Kabookie is definitely worth checking out. It reminds me of the Head Rock n' Roll, only with less sidecut and a stiffer tip.  Doesn't ski at all like my BMX98: that ski is more of a REV with added power underfoot and in the tail.  For my weight, the Kabookie might be the most versatile Blizzard made, at least in terms of backside, soft snow skis. If you are the type of skier who likes a technical, yet finesse skier, flowing with the mountain and following terrain, and have liked skis like the Armada TST in the past, check out the REV 105. It is a fun, playful, rewarding ski, that rewards technique over brute strength and power.   


Edited by dawgcatching - 12/22/12 at 11:11am
post #2 of 15
Dawg,

How much do you detune your Mag 8.5s, Kabookie/Bonafide, Cochise, Bodacious?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasatchback View Post

Dawg,
How much do you detune your Mag 8.5s, Kabookie/Bonafide, Cochise, Bodacious?

I haven't even touched the edges as far as detuning (I really don't detune skis. If they are railed, I grind them flat and re-set bevels).  That group of skis aren't seem hooky in the least, not with that rocker tip and tail.  I typically like skis to be sharp up to the contact point.  If they have edges, might as well use them!

post #4 of 15
Only reason I ask is in my opinion you can make the skis more versatile by changing the tune on them. I detune about 4" of the tip and tail on the Magnums, 6-8" on the Kabookie/Bonafide depending on size, and 8-10" on the Cochise/Bodacious. I'll take a file and round off the last few inches of the tail of the ski (the part that tapers in) and then do the rest of the detuning with a gummi. Not dulling so you can't get it back but definitely taking a lot of the sharpness out of the ski. I will often add a little more base bevel to the rockered sections of the Cochis/Bodacious as well. I just use the 1* base bevel guide but press a little harder and take a few more passes then smooth out the linear structure in the edge with multiple grit stones. I do this for all the skis for the trade fair here in UT as well as some of the Mag test skis and all the demos I do here in UT. As long as the rest of the ski is sharp you don't lose any grip but you gain more versatility off groomed especially if you get in the back seat or in bumps.

If you're centered or forward on the skis the detuning is not as critical as the rocker in the tail will release easily but if you tend to sit back or have a hard time maintaining your balance this will make them much easier to ski. The Flipcore skis are some of the softer longitudinal skis on the market but you'd be hard pressed to find a torsionally stiffer ski out there. This softer longitudinal flex coupled with increased torsional stiffness means that the tails don't want to break lose and smear/pivot/release especially in bumps and steeper variable conditions. They just keep bending and gripping.

For people that tend to sit back when they ski or feel like the Bonafides/Cochise might be too much ski for them adding a little more base bevel and detuning them, especially in the tail, will make them feel a little more nimble and just plain easier to use off piste. The skis come very sharp from tip to tail from
the factory which can be a little asskicking for the average skier at times.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasatchback View Post

Only reason I ask is in my opinion you can make the skis more versatile by changing the tune on them. I detune about 4" of the tip and tail on the Magnums, 6-8" on the Kabookie/Bonafide depending on size, and 8-10" on the Cochise/Bodacious. I'll take a file and round off the last few inches of the tail of the ski (the part that tapers in) and then do the rest of the detuning with a gummi. Not dulling so you can't get it back but definitely taking a lot of the sharpness out of the ski. I will often add a little more base bevel to the rockered sections of the Cochis/Bodacious as well. I just use the 1* base bevel guide but press a little harder and take a few more passes then smooth out the linear structure in the edge with multiple grit stones. I do this for all the skis for the trade fair here in UT as well as some of the Mag test skis and all the demos I do here in UT. As long as the rest of the ski is sharp you don't lose any grip but you gain more versatility off groomed especially if you get in the back seat or in bumps.
If you're centered or forward on the skis the detuning is not as critical as the rocker in the tail will release easily but if you tend to sit back or have a hard time maintaining your balance this will make them much easier to ski. The Flipcore skis are some of the softer longitudinal skis on the market but you'd be hard pressed to find a torsionally stiffer ski out there. This softer longitudinal flex coupled with increased torsional stiffness means that the tails don't want to break lose and smear/pivot/release especially in bumps and steeper variable conditions. They just keep bending and gripping.
For people that tend to sit back when they ski or feel like the Bonafides/Cochise might be too much ski for them adding a little more base bevel and detuning them, especially in the tail, will make them feel a little more nimble and just plain easier to use off piste. The skis come very sharp from tip to tail from
the factory which can be a little asskicking for the average skier at times.

Cool, thanks for the tip. I may play around with our shop demo of the Bonafide and Cochise and see how people like it.  It hasn't been an issue for me, I stay out of the back seat as much as possible, but it can feel like those 2 are actively pushing you rearward at times, even if you are on the ski.  My friend, who is my size and the same ability, felt the same thing on the Cochise and opted to purchase something softer.  On the 8.5 in the other video review I just posted, I skied those right out of the wrapper, and loved them in crud, similar to the feel of the Kabookie, but they being 174cm, I could get to the tip easily and didn't need to worry about flex as much.  On the Kabookie, it is softer, so even if I did get pushed backward, I can get back on the front of the boot easily and quick.  It being soft, I think the 187cm would have been fun, but the 180cm is just about perfect for everyday use. 

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasatchback View Post

 I'll take a file and round off the last few inches of the tail of the ski (the part that tapers in) and then do the rest of the detuning with a gummi. Not dulling so you can't get it back but definitely taking a lot of the sharpness out of the ski. I will often add a little more base bevel to the rockered sections of the Cochis/Bodacious as well. I just use the 1* base bevel guide but press a little harder and take a few more passes then smooth out the linear structure in the edge with multiple grit stones.

So do you recommend I do that to my new Cochise's before skiing on them.  Since all I can do is sit in NJ and look at them, at least this would give me a reason to touch them.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

So do you recommend I do that to my new Cochise's before skiing on them.  Since all I can do is sit in NJ and look at them, at least this would give me a reason to touch them.

Yup... Maybe don't add base bevel but definitely round off the very last few in he's of the tail with a file and then take a gummy to at least 6" of the rockered sections. Don't be afraid to make them pretty dull. If you don't like it you can always resharpen. If you round it all off with a file it's a Bit@h to get sharp again. I usually go about 15-20 passes with a firm gummy pressing g pretty hard.

I do this to all my demo skis before they hit the snow.
post #8 of 15

Nice review Scott.  I like how you point out the strengths of each ski, and it clarifies for me what feedback I was getting from the Bonefides (haven't tried the Kabookie yet) when I demoed them, as well as the Rev 105.   

post #9 of 15

To chime in on the Kabookies, I'm on a pair of 180's and could not be happier.  I have not skied the Bonafide, but can guess how they work.  Normally I'd pick the ski with metal in it 100% of the time, but went the fiberglass route and am amazed by how well they ski.  For a ski that I bought because it would be lighter when I tour, I don't believe I'm giving up much of anything in the way of top end performance even on groomers in Vermont.  In the powder that we've had here for the last week, they are ridiculously easy to ski in every condition.....pure powder, windblown, and crud.  I'm a traditional skier who likes to keep on the front of the boot which makes the Kabookie amazingly comfortable and confidence building for me.  They love to arc gs turns particularly when you get the speed up a bit, but are plenty playful in the fall line. It's fun to relax and let the ski do the work.  Regarding tuning, I have them tuned tip to tail and have no problems with them.  They are mounted on the line.

post #10 of 15

^^^^ Interesting comment. IMO the metal thing is misunderstood. A metal ski tends to weigh more (usually, cf. Kastle FX's or several Elans for exception), and obviously, you can achieve good lateral stiffness in a thinner design (cf. Elan 1010 or Cochise for instance). Metal can also provide dampness (but cf. old Head Standards or Kastle FX's for super lively exceptions. But there are plenty of all wood skis out there that are as stiff or stiffer than anything with metal (cf. Moment Belafonte, for instance, or various Factions, or the BMX 108, or my old VR17's, which were stiffer than steel I-beams), and I have a feeling that the Kabookie is not vastly less stiff than the Bonafide, just different feeling and lighter. Personally, I like the all wood feel, interesting combination of dampness and snowfeel. 

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

So do you recommend I do that to my new Cochise's before skiing on them.  Since all I can do is sit in NJ and look at them, at least this would give me a reason to touch them.

While I have a lot of respect for W, why not wait and see how they feel with the existing tune? It's easier to take away edge than add it back. 6-8" with a file is a lot. What about a couple of inches with a file, then a gummi for a few more, to start? I say this as someone who finds that if I'm out on a "soft snow" resort ski for the day, fate often finds me on groomers off and on, and on groomers, I like the feeling of the whole length engaging. I'm not a smeary guy. I hate vague starts or finishes. I hate sliding tails. 

 

Off-piste, well maybe another story. Although someone sometime will have to explain the physics of how a ski can be "hooky" based on its edge sharpness when soft snow is not engaged by that edge. I might accept it in sun cups and stiff OB junk, where the tip will contact ice, but powder or chop, not buying. Recall a debate in Skiing mag, same kind of debate between two pros over whether powder skis should have their edges sharpened. IMO psychological, not physical. Obviously, YMMV. 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

While I have a lot of respect for W, why not wait and see how they feel with the existing tune? It's easier to take away edge than add it back. 6-8" with a file is a lot. What about a couple of inches with a file, then a gummi for a few more, to start? I say this as someone who finds that if I'm out on a "soft snow" resort ski for the day, fate often finds me on groomers off and on, and on groomers, I like the feeling of the whole length engaging. I'm not a smeary guy. I hate vague starts or finishes. I hate sliding tails. 

Off-piste, well maybe another story. Although someone sometime will have to explain the physics of how a ski can be "hooky" based on its edge sharpness when soft snow is not engaged by that edge. I might accept it in sun cups and stiff OB junk, where the tip will contact ice, but powder or chop, not buying. Recall a debate in Skiing mag, same kind of debate between two pros over whether powder skis should have their edges sharpened. IMO psychological, not physical. Obviously, YMMV. 

You read it wrong. Last two to three inches of the edge detune with a file. 6-8" with a gummy. That way if you don't like it it's easy to sharpen it again. I never detune any part of the edge that has sidecut with a file.

Most places that I've skied in the west the conditions off piste a few days or a week after a storm are not what I would classify as hard snow but it get's packed down and especially if it's cold the moisture gets pulled from the snow and it gets really styrofoamy (for lack of a better word). Yeah it's not soft and powdery but it's not hard by any means. This is the snow that can really mess with the skis if they're overly sharp but especially in the tips and tails.
post #13 of 15

^^^^ Ah, OK, makes far more sense. Sorry about that. See your point about styrofoam snow, accept it since I'm dead certain you're a hell of a lot more experienced skier than me off-piste, although still curious about how it works physically. Something about transitions between fluid model of snow and particulate model, I'd guess, maybe "grabbing" means actual deflections against a sharp edge rather than a bow wave kinda thing. th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #14 of 15

Just got a pair of 177cm Cochise's and want to experiment with detuning. Problem is I've never done edge work before and don't want to screw up my edges. Sounds like the gummy stone is a safe way to go. Looked up some videos on detuning and they all start with a filing at 45 degrees and then using diamond file and gummy stone to get the burrs out. When using the gummy stone only do you go 45 degress to the edge to smooth it out? Thanks.

post #15 of 15
Just go to town with the gummy. You can't screw anything up! Depending on the hardness of your gummy stone I usually go about 20 back and forth passes with pretty hard pressure to achieve optimum dullness. Nothing that won't come back with 5 or 6 passes with a file.
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