Review: 2014 Blizzard Scout 185cm
108mm underfoot, Flipcore construction, substantial rocker tip and tail, flat camber underfoot, no metal layup. Basically the same as the Cochise, but without metal for those wanting a more nimble/more forgiving ski, or those that are lighter.
Conditions: about 6” of good quality snow over hardpack. Firm hard bumps in spots, off-piste in the trees were good. Groomers soft and easy to ski.
Binding: Head PowerRail PRD12. Tune: out of the wrapper. Mostly flat, a little railed at the tip, will do a full grind when I get time.
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year. Check video for skill level and skiing style. I ski almost exclusively off-piste, looking for bumps, trees, fun terrain.
I only have 8 runs on this or so. We have had the skis for awhile now, but were waiting on new snow for an accurate demo. First impressions: the ski is much softer than the Cochise, but not “soft”. Flex is similar to the Elan 1010 overall, but the Elan is a bit stiffer underfoot and softer tip and tail. The Scout has a more rounded, typical Flipcore flex. It is similar to a wide Kabookie in terms of layup, but has a more soft snow camber profile, whereas the Kabookie was designed to handle skied out conditions better.
Overall Feel: fairly stout for a no-metal ski, very high performance. Open this baby up and it really has a GS race pedigree, if you have the room to let it run. Feels like a pro freeride too, akin to a Legend Pro or similar ski. Not a really quick ski, nor a ski that wants to go slow. It is a little stiffish on the snow: reminds me of the Hell n' Back in terms of flex. Not a damp ski like Kastle or Elan: much more snappy, light, muscular.
Choppy to smooth crud: this is an exceptional ski here. You have to stay on it: it isn't a couch ride, it is a very high performance ski. I found that, technique wise, a combination of foot pull-back, relaxing/flattening the skis, and tipping early into the new turn released well. It was a high feedback ski: that it, if I made a mistake, I was notified by the ski immediately. If I made a clean turn, nice smooth release down the fall line and got edge angle, the ski rewarded me. I like that in a ski. There is no reasonable speed limit on this ski: it is every bit the ski that the Cochise is, but easier for me to ski, way better flex than the too-stout Cochise (at least for 155lb guys). Tail release is very good, I could work the feet confidently fore and aft. It also had a fun element to it; the tail is playful.
New snow on groomers: nice and quick feel, very powerful, likes to arc out slalom turns if you have the skills and can get the skis flattened smoothly. Fun ski. It didn't like to be laid out in GS arcs, probably because the tip is dis-engaged and won't come around. Keep the arc radius small and the feet active, it carves well.
Uncut new snow (not very deep, of course): this ski shines here. I think this ski makes the Gunsmoke more or less obsolete. This is a much higher performer in terms of speed limit, snow feel, edge power, yet is just as easy to ski. The Gunsmoke may feel more “slarvy”, but this is the skier's ski in the lineup.
Real bumps: not good on this ski. It felt like a spear if you were trying to track over bumps, and very clumsy. I could “navigate” a bump field, but I couldn't ski it aggressively like I would on a better bump ski. If you live near a hill that is always bumped up, and even has bumps present a couple of hours after a storm, I don't think this is your best choice. It doesn't seem to absorb bump transitions well, too stiff in the front end.
Performance; the Scout performs at a very high level. Easily a pro freeride worthy ski. You won't find a top end. It is relatively easy to ski for such a top end ski.
Forgiveness: not super forgiving. If you get in the backseat, it will run away from you, even at my weight. Down-unweight w/o pulling your feet back and tipping? Watch out! You have to ski cleanly on this ski if you are going to be in the fall line. I found it reasonably forgiving for a top level ski, but it is a ski to ski cleanly if you are skiing it aggressive. Not a problem though, I felt it was forgiving enough, offering me enough feedback that I was skiing it well, and could identify technique issues that needed to be addressed.
Overall: I really liked this ski. Perhaps it isn't as versatile as some in this category, but it is a really exceptional ski in soft snow conditions, as good a ski as I have tried for crud and new snow, which is what counts. It is also a high performer for a good skier, not a dumbed-down ski for those looking for an off-piste, soft snow crutch. Great ski, highly recommended!