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
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.