EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Need advice - Blizzard Black Pearl vs. Blizzard Bonafide vs. Volkl Kenja....or ???
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Need advice - Blizzard Black Pearl vs. Blizzard Bonafide vs. Volkl Kenja....or ???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello all, new here...

 

Recently relocated from Portland, OR to Whitefish, MT. I ski mostly high speed GS turns on groomers, with some night skiing. Haven't had a good chance to sample the local powder although suspect I will as the season wears on. My old skis were Solomon Topaz, which were way too short at 158 and I hated them. I had them one season. I've been demo-ing skis.  Skied the Volkl Aura - loved the stability, had to be a little more aggressive than I wanted to at times and felt it was not forgiving, but think it might have been a good ski in the longer length. The longest length available was a 163 and I think that was too short. Skied the Atomic Crimson Ti in a 176 and hated it - felt like I went for a ride, stiff and heavy. Today, skied the Blizzard Bonafide in a 173 and loved it. At high speeds on groomers and even in crud, it seemed forgiving but held an edge nicely. The only complaint I might have had about the Bonafide is the shovel was a little wiggly. I am interested in the Blizzard Black Pearl and the Volkl Kenja, but there are none nearby to demo. I think I need something in the 170-175 length range.

 

More info about me: female, 5'8", 175-180 lbs, fairly fit, ski high speed, mostly GS turns, aggressive. Will be skiing powder at times, night skiing...want a good all mountain ski. I'm hoping someone has a suggestion. I don't have to have a women's ski, and generally I am a bit on the heavy side for a women's ski but I love what I've read about the Kenja and the Black Pearl.

post #2 of 21

At your size, the Kenja would be better than the Pearl, but the Samba(women's version of the Bonafide) would probably be better yet. 

 

I usually ski the Samba in a 166.  I'm guessing the 173 would be fine for you.  Perhaps Segbrown, who skis the Bonafide and has tried the 173 Samba will chime in. 

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

At your size, the Kenja would be better than the Pearl, but the Samba(women's version of the Bonafide) would probably be better yet. 

 

I usually ski the Samba in a 166.  I'm guessing the 173 would be fine for you.  Perhaps Segbrown, who skis the Bonafide and has tried the 173 Samba will chime in. 

chiming.

 

Describe "wiggly shovel." Do you mean the tips were flappy at speed, or that the ski tracks kind of funny when it's being skied flat?

post #4 of 21
Been skiing here 11 seasons. My go-to skis are my Outlaws. If I were replacing them, it would be with the Aftershocks. I'm sure they are available at the mountain at the demo shop. The Outlaws power through crud, are good at speed, and are wide enough most of the time. When I demoted the Aftershocks last season, they were my favorite ski, but I was looking for more of a powder ski and felt they were too close to my Outlaws, so kept looking. Probably should have bought them anyway, the skis I got are super in powder but NOT what I need most days.
post #5 of 21

I remembered I posted a few views on these skis from a few weeks ago:

 

 

I skied the Samba in a lot of deep snow, it was exceptionally fun, maybe a bit short for that much snow, but I had no real problems (diving, etc.). It was super quick, almost too turny, though.

 

I skied the Bonafide at Alta about a month ago ... no new snow, but a little off piste was open in addition to groomers. I was there 2 days, the first was on my own ski (Fischer Motive 84) -- it was a perfect ski for the conditions except when I got into some punchy stuff off WIldcat, and then it sunk and hung up and kind of scared me. The next day I demoed Kendos in the am and Bones in the pm. I liked the Kendos on the groomed (those things are rails) and moguls too were fine, but it bucked me too much on the bumpy refrozen type stuff. The Bonafides were perfect everywhere, really -- not too stiff on the refreeze, and skimmed right over the punchy snow. 

 

I demoed the Bonafide all day last week here at Copper, in everything from 12-15 inches of fresh to the rock-solid manmade underneath it. Again, felt totally comfortable in all conditions and all turn shapes/sizes. 

 

 

 

Also, last Saturday I skied the 173 Bonafide in the am and the 173 Samba in the pm. The Samba felt a little better in moguls (no surprise), but the Bonafide was better for me everywhere else, especially on anything firm. I could easily break the Samba loose, and the tips were annoying. Since the Bones are now my own skis, I was relieved to know I bought the right one.  I am 5'9" 140, so I'm guessing you might prefer the Bonafide to the Samba if you are between those two and skiing fast. It's good in powder, too, I've found. 

 

The Kendos are probably better on groomed, but not by that much, and not quite as versatile.

post #6 of 21

I've been trying to find a place at/near Copper (and the front range for that matter) to demo the Bonafides.  Since you say you demoed them there recently, would you mind letting me know who has these available to demo?

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by hilobro View Post

I've been trying to find a place at/near Copper (and the front range for that matter) to demo the Bonafides.  Since you say you demoed them there recently, would you mind letting me know who has these available to demo?

A shop called Copper Rocker has the Bonafides. It's strictly a demo shop, and it's cheaper if you prepay.  http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/plan_and_buy/equipment_rentals

 

Ugh... I was reading this and noticed some poor information, as well as bad punctuation:

 

Copper Rocker specializes in high end ski demo's featuring "rocker" shapes. Rocker, also called reverse-camber, is just as it sounds – the tips are turned up. We offer rocker skis from: Volkl, Rossignol, K2, Skilogik, Armada, Line, Icelantic, and 4 Front. Located in Center Village.

post #8 of 21

Thanks for the tip!  I just called them and they do have them so I'll get a chance to see for myself this weekend!  Bad punctuation and all...

post #9 of 21

I own a pair of the Bonafides in 187. I love them. They have a rockerd tip and a very very slight rocker in the tail allowing you to turn quickly and make all sorts of different lengths of turns. Big GS or quick short turns no problem! Super stable at speeds. Good in a little bit of pow. Supper versitale ski! Love this ski to death! They are one of my favorite pairs of skis I have ever been on. I would highly recomend them!

post #10 of 21

Hey Whitefishie!

 

While I'm not your size - quite a bit shorter - it sounds like I'm an agressive skier like you and posted recently asking for similar info.  With the help of the Epicski community (Thanks guys!), I demo-ed the Kenja's, Sambas, Black Pearls and the Volkl Alluras.  Here's my 2 cents.  The Black Pearls were super fun - quick, light, and great on the bumps.  They were okay on hard pack - not great - but better on softer snow.  I wouldn't call these  powder skis.  I ski out east primarily so edge hold is essential.  I thought the Black Pearls were so-so in this category, and they broke down for me at high speeds (they got that wiggly front end thing).  Next, I tried the Kenjas, which is a similar ski.  Far superior in every category.  Better edge hold, better stability and yet fast, fun, quick and light.  Nevertheless, compared to other GS or Slalom carvers I've skied on, I would NOT  say they are top performers in this category.  They'd be my pick for softer snow, bumps, and nice packed powder.  And then I strapped on the Volkl Alluras.  Ahhhh.  These babies rock! They are super fast and hold an edge like a dream.  I was flying down the mountain, making fast turns on ice and I never lost control.  They're a bit stiffer, but I was successful on the bumps too.  Love this ski.  I'm buying it, in fact.  And I've also rethought my one-quiver habit.  Better to get a great solid ski that will be fun to ski on most conditions you ski on and then get a fun powder ski for those occasions when we get a good dump.  For the powder days, I'd have to say the Samba would be my pick.  It was a really fun ski in the soft stuff.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Mostly that it tracks funny when skied flat, but also a teensy bit flappy at speed. Not nearly as bad as the Auras I demo'd but I suspect they were too short at 163 and no one around here has much in women's demo skis that are longer.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Checked out the Volkl Allura online, looks like the longest is 165 which I think would be too short for me. As much as I dislike the graphics on the Bonafides, I may go that route. I am still keeping the Kenja's in mind. I think I am probably too heavy for the Samba, since I had a bit of tip "wiggle" with the Bonafides. I try not to ski in the bumps if I can help it (knees are shot), so am leaning more towards something that will really keep an edge. I'll check out Volkl to see if there is a men's ski similar to the Allura.
 

post #13 of 21

The Allura is not a ski in the class with the skis you're asking about in this thread. 

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitefishie View Post

Mostly that it tracks funny when skied flat, but also a teensy bit flappy at speed. Not nearly as bad as the Auras I demo'd but I suspect they were too short at 163 and no one around here has much in women's demo skis that are longer.

A lot of skis with sidecut are going to do that wiggly bit when you ride them flat, it's just what happens. Put them on edge a little to tone it down. Both the Sambas and Bones have slightly flappy tips at speed, that's part of the rocker thing, but the Samba was way worse. I don't really notice it with the Bones, even though when looking down you can see it happening. 

post #15 of 21

Powgirl, you sound just like me. This is a year later but I'm trying to decide between Black Pearls, Kenjas, Auras and Sambas. Have skied all but the Sambas. Your impressions of all the others EXACTLY match my experiences and impressions -- like nobody else. SO I trust you on the Sambas...

Thinking of buying Sambas blind, and rethinking my one ski approach. Maybe getting them cheap at the end of the season is the way to go!

post #16 of 21

I have to say that I love my Black Pearls. I got them on sale last spring 2013 and have been using them at Whistler/Blackcomb this year 2014. They are honestly the best skis I have ever used, and I've owned many high end skis over the past 20 years. They are perfect for big mountain resorts like Whistler where the conditions can change dramatically throughout the day. I haven't found any areas where they don't excel. I don't usually go in deep powder, but I have used them in a lot of softer conditions and they handle extremely well. I am sure the Samba would be great if you want a slightly more powder oriented ski that would also perform well in all conditions. I am thinking of getting the Samba as a second ski - I am so impressed with the Black Pearl.

 

I am 5'9" and about 175lbs. I am an advanced (but not expert) skier who has been skiing for 20 years on the west coast of Canada. I got the 172 length due to the rockered tips and tails - slightly longer than my old traditional skis with the side cut. The length is perfect - they turn on a dime and ski like a shorter ski, very forgiving and able to easily perform tons of different turn shapes. The Black Pearl are my first pair of "women's" skis. I absolutely love them. They carve great on the groomers too, BTW! Hold well on hard pack. Great in soft slush for the ski out. Very stable at higher speeds. I don't think you can go wrong with the Black Pearl as a one quiver, do it all ski. 

post #17 of 21

@Sharoski- kind of excited to see your post. I skied Whistler/Blackcomb for the first time last weekend, brought my Bonafides and after skiing most of the season on my new Fischer Koa's (an impulse Clymb purchase), the Bonafides rode me more than I rode them for most of the day. I never did get to try the Black Pearls, maybe I need to give them a chance! For those of you ladies considering the Sambas, Kenjas, etc - you might consider the Fischer Koa 98.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cologirl View Post
 

Powgirl, you sound just like me. This is a year later but I'm trying to decide between Black Pearls, Kenjas, Auras and Sambas. Have skied all but the Sambas. Your impressions of all the others EXACTLY match my experiences and impressions -- like nobody else. SO I trust you on the Sambas...

Thinking of buying Sambas blind, and rethinking my one ski approach. Maybe getting them cheap at the end of the season is the way to go!

I own both a 2014 Volkl Kenja and a 2013 Blizzard Samba.  I picked up the Kenja late this season because I wanted something more compliant than my carver for variable snow.  I really thought this is what I would use the Samba for, but it hasn't worked out that way for a couple reasons.  For me personally, I find the Samba not to be much fun on groomed or firm snow.  Sure, it holds, but it just isn't snappy enough.  Moreover, it hurts my knee, if I ski it often.  The Kenja fit this balance of frontside prowess and all-mountain stability and fun.  I'm glad I picked it up.  Thus, I only use my Samba for fresh snow or all-day off-piste adventures, which are few and far between these days due to weather and an ankle injury.

post #19 of 21

I own several of the mens versions of the skiis listed and have tried just about everything in between these last 2 seasons..

 

Right now I use a pair of 187 Bonifides, 180 Brahmas and 169 Nordica Soul Riders..

 

I love the bonifide is fresh snow and heavy crud and they are super on freshly groomed snow.. Great for going fast and straight down the mountain (super stable due to the full metal core) .. It holds a great egde even when you hit ice, is still fun on the hard stuff, but don't expect to make alot of tight turns without hard work (very long carving turn radius)..

 

Last year I fell in love with the Bushwakers (The 2 smaller sizes and the largest sizes of the Black pearls are the same ski with different graphics).. These are nimble and incredible carvers and very playful.. I fell in love with them on the first run.. I was going to get these this season until.....

 

I demod the Blizzard Brahmas (new this year).. these have the same exact profile as the bushwaker except that they added a full metal core instead of just underfoot..  I lost a little in the bumps but the increased stabity is really noticable at high speeds.. I can  turn as quickly as I want or rip it down the mountain.. I haven't used it in heavy fresh snow or powder because thats what my Bonifides are for... The one noticable addition over the bushwaker is that its now a rocker-camber combination instead of just a rocker ski.. This probably accounts for its nimbleness even though its a full metal core.. This is now my everyday ski..

 

The soul riders are for bumps and tree skiing.. The trees are tight on the east coast and I need something thats short and maneuverable.. These are realy aliot of fun except on really hard snow(ice).. think first run on corduroy in the spring after its been below freezing all night.. You think you are going to lose your teeth :-0

post #20 of 21

I have heard great things about the Sambas but I think they are a bit wide for me personally but if you folks say they rock on east coast hard packed ice than I may have to try them one day :)

 

I agree with what Powgirl said about the kenjas.  I demoed them for a couple runs last weekend and while they are supposed to bite into the hard pack I found them sliding a couple times when conditions were super icy.  I personally found the Charisma's dissect icy hard pack much better.  Although I didn't get very long on the Kenjas at this moment I think the charismas are better in ice for me and my style of skiing.  I did however, find the Kenjas lightweight and easy to handle so I want to take them out again and play for longer. 

 

My thoughts currently are I will stick with buying the Volkl Charisma for my icy/hard pack ginsu knife ski and thinking I will pick up the Kenjas also for my softer snow, bumps, and nice packed powder skis.

post #21 of 21

Just to add a comment here. I am a woman, 5'8'', 153 lb and ski in Alberta (Sunshine/lake louise/kicking horse). I like to ski aggressively and am quite fit ie strong legs. I have the 2015 Blizzard Bonafides 173cm. Awesome! Crazy fast... Holds an incredible edge on hard pack/groomers/steeps and then is fun, with float in powder. The only downside is that I find them a bit tricky in tight moguls, because they are quite stiff, and therefore to get the tips turned fast into the next mogul, without getting "hung up" behind is challenging for me. I am sure if I had better technique for moguls, this wouldn't be a big issue... I previously had the Elan Inspire Fusion skiis (woman's ski), which I really enjoyed. But I think I made the right choice- wanted all mountain ski good for off-piste + fast and hard for carving. Now using the Bonafides, which are so fast and hard, I don't want to ski the Fusion's anymore ;).

I think they require an athletic, aggressive style- at least for a woman. If you fall asleep, you won't turn ;). But for someone wanting aggressive skis to go fast and hard, they are fantastic!

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