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Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti long term review+video

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

 


2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti Review

Length skied: 174cm

Conditions: little of everything: bumps: crud, groomers, new snow

Time used: over the span of 1 months

Bindings: pre-mounted Marker adjustable plate bindings

Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year, solid all-mountain skier, 35 years old

 

Review:

The Blizzard Magnum 8.5ti is a new ski for 2013 from the folks at Blizzard, one of their top-end all-mountain skis with flipcore. It is a fairly stiff flex, with a bit of rocker tip and tail. 2 sheets of metal on the 8.5ti. I was skiing it in 174cm, certainly the right length for a skier of my size.

 

Feel of the ski: first off, this is a powerful ski. You get out of it what you put into it. I know it is a cliché, but it really sums up the 8.5. It can be skied mellow and as a cruiser, or it can be pushed hard and absolutely rip. As the flex is stiff and powerful, you are unlikely to over-ski it, but due to the rocker, it is more forgiving than some of their all-mountain skis of years past. Feel is smooth, damp, typically Austrian, but more forgiving than the old 8.7 or Atlas.

 

Crud: this is a smooth, powerful ski in crud, one of the most stable skis on the market for sure. The small rise tip rocker really works in this terrain: getting out of the snow just enough to enhance terrain absorption and flow. Yet, this is not floppy deep snow rocker. You won't even notice it being slightly rockered, aside from the enhanced ease in crud. It just enhances soft snow ability. 174cm is a really short off-piste ski for me, not to mention the narrow 85mm waist and really narrow tip. Yet, I was skiing crud as well as I do on my normal 95-100mm skis. Plenty of float in crud piles, and loads of stability.

 

New snow: In one of the clips there, I am skiing it in around 12 inches of new. Float was perfectly fine for that much snow at my weight: I was not getting hung up a bit, and really getting good action in and out of the snow. You don't need to go wider unless you are going to be skiing deeper snow, or are heavier. At my weight, this offers plenty of float. The rocker tip really makes up for the narrow width of the tip in this case. Very versatile, will change your mind about “narrow” skis in these conditions.

 

Bumps: again, for such a stiff ski, it is a standout. The tail is not grabby whatsoever. Tip is rockered enough to enhance bump absorption. The one issue is perhaps the flex: if you do get back seat and don't absorb the bump properly, you will get jacked (see a couple of spots where it happened to me). So, not the world's most forgiving bump ski, but far from poor. I would rate it pretty well in bumps; a capable ski.

 

Edge hold: first class. 2 sheets of metal really grips any snow surface. This might be the ultimate East Coast firm snow ski, on or off piste. It is really more grip than you need out West!

 

Groomers: the one area where I felt this wasn't up to the standard of the 8.1 or 8.7 Magnum. The trade-off for the enhanced off-piste performance is a bit of a dead feel on groomers. Grip was there, but it was lacking energy at the top of the turn, and also on the exit, mostly likely to the late engagement and early release of the flipcore profile. It was plenty stable and gripped well, but was lacking the energy I love in a high-performance ski (such as the old 8.1 or the MX83).

 

Who this ski is for: anyone who is looking for a superb, high performance ski that is truly all-mountain, but with a bias toward off-piste performance. If you need more float than this ski offers, check out the Bonafide or Kabookie, but if 85mm is enough (say if you don't often ski new snow over 8-12”), and enjoy bumps, crud, off-piste variable conditions, and get some ice thrown in there, this ski really deserves a demo. It is a really fun ski to rip on.

 

I think a perfect 2-ski quiver for the Western expert would be the 8.5ti for firmer snow days and the Cochise/Bonafide/Kabookie (depending on you needs) for those softer snow days.

 

post #2 of 10

I look forward to getting on my 181 8.5's next week in some fresh/tracked. after my initial few days on them I have the feeling I will find what you experience:: a 85mm ski that can hold it's own agains some 90 something ski's. 

post #3 of 10

I will just say that I skied the 181 8.5 back to back with the 187 bone, on a big powder day with lots of windbuff and crud and I preferred the 8.5 for everything. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

I will just say that I skied the 181 8.5 back to back with the 187 bone, on a big powder day with lots of windbuff and crud and I preferred the 8.5 for everything. 

I did the same comparison: 180 Bonafide to 174cm 8.5, and the 8.5 was much better in mixed conditions (they were reporting 8-12 new that day).  Quicker, more nimble, more energy, almost as much float, better snow feel, just more fun.  I get "stuck" on the Bonafide in comparison, whereas the 8.5 is so much more maneuverable. I always come back to car analogies, but the 8.5ti has the feel of my 3-series Bimmer.  You can see how active and easily the ski is put where I want it in that video. Great ski!  The float is plenty unless you have really deep snow, or really heavy snow (like us in the PNW).  I am "down" in the snow a bit more than on a wider ski, but I am not getting the tip hung up, which is the key.   Being in and out of the snow in each turn is fun, as long as the tip isn't diving, which it doesn't on this ski.   I figure if people are going to buy 2 Blizzards, they should get the 8.5ti and the Cochise.  That way, they have a versatile ski for everything but deep snow, and a versatile deep snow ski.  

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

I will just say that I skied the 181 8.5 back to back with the 187 bone, on a big powder day with lots of windbuff and crud and I preferred the 8.5 for everything. 

 

 

this is good info. The 8.5 just provides so much control and responds so well to driver input. Now you both have piqued my anticipation of the 85 on more than just groomed. What I am expecting is not simply versatility, but a ski that actually performs well. One thing that I don't want is all mountain; master of none ski. I would rather have overlap in my quiver than gaps.  This ski may actually push my bone out of the everyday slot. (although I reserve the right to change my mind as there is another great Blizz ski on the way in the 80's)

post #6 of 10

Hey guys, quick question about these skis vs. the 2011 8.7 Magnums. My husband has the 8.7's and he rips around on them, perhaps a little too fast as he biffed at Mammoth a few weeks ago and finally got an MRI which thankfully revealed only a bone bruise to his tibial plateau redface.gif (He is SOOOO lucky.) 

 

For an hour, I skied faster than him! ;)

 

Anyway, would the 8.5's be a good alternative that is slightly more forgiving and playful, but still has a solid feel? It sounds like they might be. I think he's ready to slow it down a bit. He does like to hit the double black chutes on powder days and he'll ski anywhere (plays in the bumps, trees, etc.) but does spend most of his time on the groomers. He skis the 8.7's in anything because "they work just fine". The kicker is we hit Mammoth for two or three trips per year so he needs a really good daily driver.

 

8.5's or??

 

He's 6' 185 lbs. athletic, still skis a bit old-school from his days on 205 straight sticks.  

 

Thanks!

 

ETA Dawg I did read your full review and it was excellent! I'm just concerned that he is taller and heavier.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by contesstant View Post

Hey guys, quick question about these skis vs. the 2011 8.7 Magnums. My husband has the 8.7's and he rips around on them, perhaps a little too fast as he biffed at Mammoth a few weeks ago and finally got an MRI which thankfully revealed only a bone bruise to his tibial plateau redface.gif (He is SOOOO lucky.) 

 

For an hour, I skied faster than him! ;)

 

Anyway, would the 8.5's be a good alternative that is slightly more forgiving and playful, but still has a solid feel? It sounds like they might be. I think he's ready to slow it down a bit. He does like to hit the double black chutes on powder days and he'll ski anywhere (plays in the bumps, trees, etc.) but does spend most of his time on the groomers. He skis the 8.7's in anything because "they work just fine". The kicker is we hit Mammoth for two or three trips per year so he needs a really good daily driver.

 

8.5's or??

 

He's 6' 185 lbs. athletic, still skis a bit old-school from his days on 205 straight sticks.  

 

Thanks!

 

ETA Dawg I did read your full review and it was excellent! I'm just concerned that he is taller and heavier.

Hi,

 

I love the 8.5, definitely is my favorite offering between 80 and 90mm that Blizzard has in the lineup (they have 4 other skis, Bushwacker, Brahma, 8.0ti, 8.0ca).  It has a ton of energy, a little softer and  more playful than the 8.7, also better in bumps and junk snow.  Put him on a 181cm and he is going to rip all over the hill.  The 8.5ti feels turnier than the 8.7 ever did, more like a 14-15m ski on the hill, vs, the 17-18m ski the 8.7 was.  I would think a bigger guy would have even more fun on it than I do: it is a fairly stout ski. 

post #8 of 10

Thanks, Dawg! I'll see if we can scrounge up some demos next month when we are up there. If they are "turnier" he'll like them more, since he still likes to do old-school tight turns. Hopefully they'll have a 181 available.

post #9 of 10
Dawg what do you like better for off-piste PNW conditions, no new snow, 85ti or kastle fx84?
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sciatore View Post

Dawg what do you like better for off-piste PNW conditions, no new snow, 85ti or kastle fx84?

For off-piste in general, I like the FX84 better. It is less direct, less grabby, super smooth and easy, yet more stable in the 176cm (vs. 174 on the 8.5ti).  The 8.5ti for me is more suited to groomers and bumps; it has more energy and pop; the FX84 is more suited to funky snow. The 8.5ti might be the better all-around ski, but the FX84 is more of a narrower off-piste ski than an all-mountain/frontside carver typical of this width. 

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