2014 Blizzard Samba
Pros: Versatile, nimble, FUN
Cons: I don't own it.
Dimensions: 131 / 98 / 116, 20.0M
Camber: Slight camber underfoot; tip/tail rocker
Binding: Marker Griffon Demo Bindings
Mount point: Suggested boot center
Environment and Conditions:
Location of review: Northstar, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows
Runs taken: Multiple
Snow Conditions: Coral, refrozen mashed potatoes, chalky groomers, mashed potatoes
Demo or Own: Demo
This is my favorite ski that I've skied so far this year. Period. If I were looking for ANOTHER mid-90s ski, this would be it (hands down). I would even consider selling my other mid-90s in favor of the Samba . . . if I didn't live in Pennsylvania and didn't already have a favorite 88mm-waisted ski (overlap in the quiver, you see).
I had the opportunity to ski the Samba over the course of three days of spring conditions in Tahoe. The Samba performed wonderfully in everything I skied - from coral to mashed potatoes, groomers to chutes, bumps, and trees. Despite my own technique issues, I thought the Samba was incredibly easy to handle. It held a solid edge on the groomers; I kept commenting that I was impressed with its ability to carve. As someone who prefers GS-like turns anyway, I enjoyed the 20M TR, but was also able to maneuver tighter turns both on- and off-piste. The light-weight construction made it playful, and I didn't feel like I was being skied by the end of the day. Also, I never felt like I overpowered it.
When I got to the bumps and trees, I felt like the Samba was responsive and quick. As is QUITE obvious by the picture below, I am working a lot on my own technique in the bumps - the ski did not hold me back in the least. The Samba was forgiving enough that when I was struggling, I was able to focus on what I was doing as opposed to thinking about the ski (not always the case when I am surviving rather than shredding). When I was feeling my mojo, the Samba was ready to fly with me. I didn't find a limit to this ski.
The later parts of the days produced a lot of grabby mashed potatoes. The Sambas handled the spring yuck admirably. The early rise in the tip allowed it to cut through the crud and make for enjoyable full days of skiing.
I love, love, LOVE this ski. Despite not needing a 98mm ski, I am still thinking about buying . . .
(Please ignore bad hand/body position - that's definitely me, NOT the ski)
Average days on the snow: 20
Years skiing: 10
Völkl Mantra 170cm
Kästle FX84 176cm
Blizzard Bushwacker 173cm
Blizzard Crush 177cm
Aggressiveness: Moderate to Aggressive (moderate who wants to be aggressive??)
Preferred Terrain: Off-piste with a groomer here and there to boost my ego