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Blizzard Brahma or Bonafide (or ??)?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I've been skiing on Volkl Five Stars for about eight years. I like them very much, but they've gotten pretty beat up and the local ski shop said they won't tune them again because the edges are getting too thin. I'm looking for something new, and hoping my skiing will benefit from going to a rocker design.

 

For the record, I'm 68, 5'9", 175#, and I was 41 the first time I got on skis. It was truly a life-changing experience for me. I've skied about 18 days/season for the last five years in Colorado. I'm a high-level intermediate, still progressing in ability, and hope to someday be able to honestly call myself advanced or expert. My skiing philosophy is that if I don't fall occasionally, I'm not challenging myself enough. I'll ski any groomed or semi-groomed black, and have been making good progress on learning to ski moguls the last two seasons. (The first time I skied the moguls on Upper Go-Devil at Keystone two years ago was a huge confidence-builder.) I can blast through crud on the Five Stars almost like it isn't there. My powder experience and ability are fairly limited, however.

 

The local ski shop was trying to sell me on the Blizzard Magnum 8.0 CA last season, but I wasn't yet ready for a change and I wasn't convinced that was the right ski for me either. I want a ski that will help me to make further progress, not one that might hold me back.

 

I've been reading the reviews here and at http://www.realskiers.com/ and in the various ski magazines. Blizzard skis have become very popular, and I'm thinking seriously about either the Brahma or the Bonafide. They appear to be very similar except for the waist being 88mm for the Brahma and 98mm for the Bonafide. The Five Stars have a 68mm waist, so either of these will be quite a change for me. How do I choose? I know the Bonafide will be better in powder, but what (if anything) is the downside compared to the Brahma on groomers (or anywhere else)?

 

I'm also unsure about what length to go with in a rocker ski. My last straight skis were the K2 Velocity, and they were 195cm. Next I went to K2 Fours at 183cm. Then the Five Stars at 168cm. I've heard conflicting opinions as to whether rocker skis should be shorter or longer than traditional camber.

 

I thought my K2 Fours were great until I got on the Five Stars. I didn't really feel anything obviously different about them, but I was suddenly able to do things I couldn't do before. I'm hoping for another step up with whatever I get this time. Thanks for reading this. Your comments will be appreciated.

 

John

post #2 of 22

Two takes on this, both valid.

 

Take 1 is that most skis now are really good, and if you stick with a well reviewed one in the right length, that doesn't stray toward any extreme of design or intended use, you will be much better off and happier than you are now on your 5 Stars. That is definitely a good option if you are not a fussy analytical type, and can just go skiing and not feel you have to have everything optimized for you.

 

Take 2 says you've waited this long, you can wait another month or two and do some demoing. Don't get attached to a brand or to a ski because of reviews unless / until you have a concrete basis on which to calibrate your own skiing and preferences against the reviewer's. (I.e., until you have skied some of the same skis and are able to assess where your personal experience matches and doesn't match the reviewer's.) Since you are 10 years behind the state of the art in terms of your skis, you can't do that right now. So try some stuff out and find what makes your toes curl. It's worth the time, money and effort ... especially for someone like you who apparently doesn't turn over gear every couple of years. If you go this route, pick 4 or 5 candidates and don't hesitate to ski them in 2 lengths. Lots of Coloradans on here who can recommend specific models for your local terrain and conditions.

post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnb View Post
 

For the record, I'm 68, 5'9", 175#, and I was 41 the first time I got on skis. 

 

 

First of all, that's awesome. Congrats.

 

Second, listen to qcanoe. You really owe it to yourself to demo. The difference between a Volkl 5*  and a Bonafide is like night and day... and it may not be what you're looking for at all.

 

You should have no problem finding a ski that outperforms your 5 Stars, but don't pigeon-hole yourself to Blizzard's big-mountain line just because they're popular and well-reviewed. They may not be for you. I'm half your age (though smaller) and both of those skis are too demanding for me. 

 

What resorts do you ski at the most? What type of terrain? What do you like/not like about the 5* and what are you looking to get from new skis?

 

Answer those questions and we can give a good list of skis to consider.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

Two takes on this, both valid.

 

Take 1 is that most skis now are really good, and if you stick with a well reviewed one in the right length, that doesn't stray toward any extreme of design or intended use, you will be much better off and happier than you are now on your 5 Stars.

 

Take 2 says you've waited this long, you can wait another month or two and do some demoing. Don't get attached to a brand or to a ski because of reviews unless / until you have a concrete basis on which to calibrate your own skiing and preferences against the reviewer's.

 

I recognize that there is a lot of marketing hype in the selling of skis. Lots of good skis in any particular grouping, and probably less difference between them than the ski manufacturers would like us to know. It's like Ford vs. Chevy.

 

I don't have to buy new skis right now. I have the equipment to tune and wax the 5 Stars myself and go another season on them if necessary. It would be nice to demo before I buy. However, in the past, I've had bad luck trying to demo a ski I thought I liked. Before I bought the 5 Stars, I was considering the Atomic Beta Carve and Beta Race lines. The only place I found one to demo was at A-Basin, and it wasn't one of my first choices. I'm not sure I really learned anything useful by skiing it for a day. In the end, I mail ordered the 5 Stars and didn't regret it. We aren't going to Colorado until the last week of January, and I know many of the popular models sell out by then. Another example of this is that two seasons ago my wife decided she wanted to get Atomic Cloud Nines. We spent hours calling area ski shops and found only one pair, and they weren't the right length. We mail ordered them and she has been very happy (and also a better skier) with them.

 

Your take 1 is closer to my thinking than take 2. However, I also recognize that going from 5 Stars to either the Brahma or the Bonafide is likely to be a much greater change then when I went from the K2 Fours to the 5 Stars. So, I'm not going to make a fast decision, and that's why I'm posting here to begin with. More comments coming in response to the next post. Thanks for your thoughtful reply!

 

John

post #5 of 22

Hey. Yeah, I saw the "Colorado" in the body of your post but neglected the "Illinois" in your profile header. That definitely presents more challenges in terms of demos.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnb View Post
 

I don't have to buy new skis right now. I have the equipment to tune and wax the 5 Stars myself and go another season on them if necessary. It would be nice to demo before I buy. However, in the past, I've had bad luck trying to demo a ski I thought I liked. Before I bought the 5 Stars, I was considering the Atomic Beta Carve and Beta Race lines. The only place I found one to demo was at A-Basin, and it wasn't one of my first choices. I'm not sure I really learned anything useful by skiing it for a day.

 

If you go in thinking you already know exactly what you want, with an idea of just confirming / finalizing, you're right: you're likely to be frustrated.

 

I'd suggest totally changing your perspective on what demoing is about. Instead of going in with one or two models on your list, go in with eight or twelve or twenty, hoping realistically to get on three or four of those. Then keep a very open mind about ones that aren't on your list at all. Go to an on-hill shop that has a good demo inventory and will let you swap out as many times as you like. It will be worth the $50 (or $100 if you do two days), even if you don't buy a ski from that shop. (If you do, they'll probably put the demo fee toward the ski.) Talk to them about where you ski and what kind of terrain and snow you like, not about what ski you think you need. If they're any good they will be able to make suggestions. If something seems out in left field, try it anyway. When you bring a pair back, tell the staff what you liked and didn't like so they can put you on something more targeted to your actual on-snow response to an actual ski.

 

Don't think of the cost of the demo as part of the cost of your eventual ski purchase; think if it as buying a frame of reference. Reading magazine articles and EpicSki reviews only get you halfway there. I have really disliked some skis that are well-loved here and by the ski press, and taken a shine to others that I never would have picked out for myself if I hadn't been talked into getting on them. That information will then be invaluable in informing your next steps, if you haven't already found a ski you bond with. Chances are pretty good that along the path you'll fall in love with something, but don't rush it. Having the frame of reference will give you confidence in the soundness of your decision, whether you make it sooner or later in the process.

 

When you do ski something that works very well for you, you may still have a choice about what to do. You can probably buy that exact ski, in this year's model, if you want, from the shop that's working with you. If they've been genuinely helpful and have well-tuned gear at rational prices, that's a good direction to go. Sometimes you will NOT find that level of satisfaction in a shop. In that case you might still discover, for example, that a ski you like was sold with a different topskin last year. If that's the case there is a very good chance you will be able to find it on line for much cheaper, even considering the cost of the demos.

 

(Note: I'm aware that some stores will lay on pushy conversation that implies that signing on for a day of demos is tantamount to a gentleman's agreement that the customer will buy a pair of skis from the shop. I don't go for that, personally, and will travel somewhere else rather than deal with it. I think of it as a business transaction: Store gets my money; I get their skis for a day. If they're not charging enough to cover their costs for that, they should charge more. Or something. Not my problem. On the other hand, if they skip the BS hard sell up front and give me awesome advice about what skis to try, and have tuned them all beautifully, I'll probably be opening up my checkbook before the end of the day, more than happy to give my business to an outfit that really gets it.)

 

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kauffee View Post
 

 

The difference between a Volkl 5*  and a Bonafide is like night and day... and it may not be what you're looking for at all.

 

You should have no problem finding a ski that outperforms your 5 Stars, but don't pigeon-hole yourself to Blizzard's big-mountain line just because they're popular and well-reviewed. They may not be for you. I'm half your age (though smaller) and both of those skis are too demanding for me. 

 

What resorts do you ski at the most? What type of terrain? What do you like/not like about the 5* and what are you looking to get from new skis?

 

Answer those questions and we can give a good list of skis to consider.

I've been skiing with the Vail Resorts Epic Pass the last five seasons. We stay in Silverthorne and pick a place to go every morning. Keystone has become my favorite. I can consistently get in more vertical feet per day there than at either Breck or Vail. Don't really care for Beaver Creek. A-Basin is fun once in awhile, especially the back bowl, but most of the lifts are so slow!

 

I have some favorite runs that will give you an idea of what I like. Diamondback, Starfire, Go Devil, and (occasionally) Last Hoot at Keystone, Cimarron, Psychopath, Shock, and Rendezvous (when it has enough snow) at Breck, Blue Ox, much of Blue Sky Basin, and whatever steep runs have been at least partially groomed in the Back Bowls at Vail.

 

The 5 Stars are very responsive. I can turn quickly and when doing linked turns or moguls they have a lot of rebound. They seem to be OK in moguls, but this is a skill I'm still developing. They are not very good in powder, especially if it's more than 6".

 

What am I looking for in new skis? Tough question! I've never skied on a rocker design. The change from straight skis to parabolic was revolutionary. Is the move to rocker the same sort of advance? I'm a retired engineer. I love new technology. I want to be able to do more challenging runs. I want to be better in powder and on moguls. I want to do more carving and less skidding. I want whatever skis will help me do these things. I am passionate about this sport!

 

What characteristic about Big Mountain skis makes them too demanding for you? If I understood that statement better, maybe I could relate it more to my situation. Maybe the move from a 68mm waist to 88mm or 98mm IS too much for a skier my age to bite off. Maybe something like the 80mm Magnum 8.0 or the 85mm Magnum 8.5 would be a safer choice. I think the wide variety of skis now available has greatly complicated the choice process. I'm only going to have one set of skis, so they need to have lots of versatility.

 

And that still leaves my unanswered question about length when switching from traditional camber to rocker.

 

Thanks for your response. I will be watching for additional suggestions.

 

John

post #7 of 22
My guess is that you'd be happier with the Bushwacker than both, but there's lots of other good skis too. The Salomon Rocker 92 comes to mind for someone of your ability.

Come out to some of the Loveland Demo Days in November. 45 bucks for all-you-can demo, a lift ticket and lunch. Hop on as many different skis as you can.
post #8 of 22

^^^
I've skied in Summit County several times, including at Blue Sky Basin and a couple of the other places you mention. When you say "whatever steep runs have been at least partially groomed in the Back Bowls at Vail" (:eek) followed by "I want to be better in powder and on moguls" the picture begins to come together a little better. 

 

Something like the Magnum 8.0 is too hard-snow oriented for a Colorado one-ski quiver. That's a good one for an east coast skier who spends most of his time on groomers. Not you. Or at least not who you want to be.

 

The 8.5 would be a rational choice for the "whatever steep runs have been at least partially groomed" part of you, and would do okay in bumps if you don't go too long with them. (I have been on this ski. It's fun, but you need quick reflexes.) But I don't think groomers are what you're going to the Back Bowls and to Blue Sky for. Right? You just end up on those after a while because it's a comfort zone. You're on the narrow end of the spectrum for off-piste skiing in Colorado here. If you want to stay on that end, reading between the lines, and you are set on Blizzard, then I would lean toward the 173cm Bushwacker / Brahma for you over the Magnum, as something that will be more forgiving in bumps and in 3D snow generally, at the expense of being a less snappy carver. Which one, I can't say; someone your height and weight should comment on that.

 

There are lots of people here who know WAY more about skis than I do, and ski dozens and dozens of them every year. Maybe some will chime in. But from what I'm hearing, and seeing in my mind's eye, I think you owe it to yourself at least to try something a bit wider and more playful. See Sierra Jim's newest crop of reviews here. Have fun with it! It will be an adventure. :)

 

 

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnb View Post


What am I looking for in new skis? Tough question! I've never skied on a rocker design. The change from straight skis to parabolic was revolutionary. Is the move to rocker the same sort of advance? I'm a retired engineer. I love new technology. I want to be able to do more challenging runs. I want to be better in powder and on moguls. I want to do more carving and less skidding. I want whatever skis will help me do these things. I am passionate about this sport!

What characteristic about Big Mountain skis makes them too demanding for you? If I understood that statement better, maybe I could relate it more to my situation. Maybe the move from a 68mm waist to 88mm or 98mm IS too much for a skier my age to bite off. Maybe something like the 80mm Magnum 8.0 or the 85mm Magnum 8.5 would be a safer choice. I think the wide variety of skis now available has greatly complicated the choice process. I'm only going to have one set of skis, so they need to have lots of versatility.

And that still leaves my unanswered question about length when switching from traditional camber to rocker.

Lots to go through here. First, don't think of it as switching from camber to rocker. For you, the ski you pick should still have a good amount of camber underfoot. How much rocker you want in the tips and/or tails is up to you. But for the type of skiing you describe, my recommendation would be a cambered ski with an early rise tip. Tail rocker will take away from the skis carving ability but it will add some maneuvarability in the trees/bumps. In other words, more skidding and less carving... so the opposite of what you said you were looking for.

The move to rocker has been revolutionary for dedicated powder skis, but I think less so in terms of all-mountain skis. In fact, I've noticed that most companies are moving away from the term "rocker" and using "early rise" instead. I think over the last few years companies have been moderating their use of rocker and realizing that more is not necessarily better. The tip rocker in my new Soul 7 is surprisingly modest for 107mm ski that's primarily designed for ungroomed off-piste. All of the all-mountain skis I've been on at the demo days the last few years have some amount of tip rocker, but I have to say it's usually subtle enough that I don't even notice it.

Also, don't get too hung up on waist width. Characteristics like sidecut (turn radius) and flex have much more impact on the ski, in my opinion. Increased width gives you a little more float at the expense of edge-to-edge quickness. I have an 88mm ski and it does surprisingly well on light powder days (under 8", let's say).

As far as the Blizzards, I found the Brahma and Bonafide too stiff for me. They were demanding in the sense that they wanted to be moving very quickly in order for me to bend them. If I was in trees or going slower, they just didn't seem to respond. In bumps, the Brahma threw me around when my weight wasn't where it was supposed to be or my technique got sloppy. I want a ski that will forgive my errors in the bumps and tricky terrain, and I think the Brahma/Bones punish you instead.

That said, the Bushwhacker is a great ski that I like a lot. I have a Kastle BMX88 which I find skis almost identically (though the size break worked better for me in the Kastle). The Kabookie is the Bonafide without metal. I haven't skiied it, but if it's similar in flex to the Bushwacker I would think I'd like it.

My only concern with a ski like the Bushwacker is that you do seem to like carving, and carving on a ski like the Bushwaker is somewhat unsatisfying due to the comparitively long turn radius and reduced sidecut. It's simply not a carving ski. A Magnum 8.5 might be better for you. Similarly, look at the Volkl RTM 84, Head Rev 85, and Rossignol Exp 88. I haven't been on the Volkl but I loved the Rev 85 and the E88 is excellent, too. Both of those will certainly be a huge step up from your 5* in terms of off-trail performance while not giving up much on the groomed.

Bottom line... with a one-ski-quiver, you have to compromise somewhere. It's just a matter of determining where that compromise will be.
post #10 of 22

Hi John.  I think that there is some good advice here on the thread.  Because you are interested in technology and because you get in nearly 20 days in CO, I'd recommend using these recommendations as a baseline for some demos.  Pick your favorite shop in the Front Range do a day or two of demos and apply the demo fees to what you buy.

 

I wouldn't worry at all about going from your 5 Stars to something in the 88-90 class.  You'll make the transition in a run or two and you'll be thrilled that you did.  Given that you want to improve off piste, in bumps and take on more challenging terrain, I don't see a good reason to stop at a dedicated groomer zoomer like the Mag 8.0.  I'd recommend a bit wider and a bit more playful.  If you find that your new ~88 all mountain ski isn't strong enough on firm groomer days, pick up a carver for 50% off at the end of the season. . .  but given your self-description, I doubt that you'll reach that conclusion after you try the new technology.  The sacrifice on hard pack is less than you would think if you spend a lot of time around here, and "firm" snow in CO is nothing like east coast conditions.

 

As for skis, given your size and that you are still trying to improve in the bumps, I'd recommend you remove the Bonafide from your list.  The Bonafide is a great ski, but especially in the bumps it won't make you better - it will make it harder if you aren't already a confident mogul skier.  You might like the snow feel on the groomers coming from a Volkl, but I think that the whole package is too much ski for what you are really doing (blue/black groomers, some bumps, some back bowls) at your level.  Similarly, the Brahma is still a pretty strong ski.  Quicker edge to edge and better in the bumps than the Bonafide, but very similar feel and probably more tuned to the level you aspire toward than where you are at today - you can get similar performance attributes in a less demanding package.  The Bushwacker makes more sense for your self description.  I think that it would be solid enough for you on groomers and it will open up new terrain because is softer and easier to manage than its siblings.

 

For your current ski reality, I think that the suggestion of the RTM 84 is a very good one.  It was one of the surprises of the demo days for me because I didn't expect a ski without camber to have the level of power and precision I found. Also think that it is perfectly tuned for exactly the kind of skiing you do - large % of front range groomers, mixed with some soft bump runs, Vail back bowls, and some loose stuff up to a foot.  My first impression was "perfect ski for the Front Range or Sun Valley," especially for someone getting off a plane who only gets in +/-10 days a year.  Which isn't to say that an expert wouldn't enjoy it - the more you put into the ski the more it gives back - but it is easy to ski and I think that the reasonable performance envelope is unusually broad (intermediate to expert. . . as opposed to a ski like the Bonafide which I think has been vastly oversold here and elsewhere).  And don't worry about the fact that it is flat underfoot - from an engineering standpoint, that is a feature not a bug.  Although it lacks the "pop" that you get from traditional camber, the RTM 84 is very slippery, easy to go edge to edge and if you lean on it, and the ski exits the turn powerfully.  I have no idea why it works, maybe something with the channel and binding interface, but Volkl's engineers have this one dialed.  It isn't going to be the favorite ski of the chorus here at Epic, and it isn't a super macho ski, but I think it would be very good for you - solid and stable underfoot on the groomers and much more compliant in variable terrain, soft snow and bumps.     

 

Other skis that I've tried that you might want to consider are Scott "The Ski" (175) (light, quick fun, loved it in the bumps - see Phil's reviews), BMX 88 (not an EpicSki favorite, but probably a better ski for you than the more heralded MX 88) and maybe even the Nordica Soul Rider (177) if you want to push the width up a bit for the back bowls.  And if you are feeling fancy and maybe a tad ambitious, the Kastle FX 84 would be worth a look - it would be a great tool for your "ski home" turf and still very manageable.  Other skis you might consider, but I can't recommend personally because I haven't been on them include the Rossi Experience 88, Solly's 90mm offering (quest or R2, whatever they are calling it this year), the K2 Amp Rictor 90 (this year's version) and the Atomic Crimson Ti (the new one - I've been on the old one, which I liked a lot, and at least according to reviews the new version is easier and more tuned for off-piste without giving up its grip on the groomers).

 

Good luck and have fun.  Whatever you choose, you will definitely find something with a total package of performance attributes that will blow you away - I think that the jump will be at least as significant as the jump to the 5 Stars.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewyM View Post
 

For your current ski reality, I think that the suggestion of the RTM 84 is a very good one.  It was one of the surprises of the demo days for me because I didn't expect a ski without camber to have the level of power and precision I found. Also think that it is perfectly tuned for exactly the kind of skiing you do - large % of front range groomers, mixed with some soft bump runs, Vail back bowls, and some loose stuff up to a foot.  My first impression was "perfect ski for the Front Range or Sun Valley," especially for someone getting off a plane who only gets in +/-10 days a year.  Which isn't to say that an expert wouldn't enjoy it - the more you put into the ski the more it gives back - but it is easy to ski and I think that the reasonable performance envelope is unusually broad (intermediate to expert. . . as opposed to a ski like the Bonafide which I think has been vastly oversold here and elsewhere).  And don't worry about the fact that it is flat underfoot - from an engineering standpoint, that is a feature not a bug.  Although it lacks the "pop" that you get from traditional camber, the RTM 84 is very slippery, easy to go edge to edge and if you lean on it, and the ski exits the turn powerfully.  I have no idea why it works, maybe something with the channel and binding interface, but Volkl's engineers have this one dialed.  It isn't going to be the favorite ski of the chorus here at Epic, and it isn't a super macho ski, but I think it would be very good for you - solid and stable underfoot on the groomers and much more compliant in variable terrain, soft snow and bumps.

 

I disagree. I don't think the Volkl RTM 84 makes a lot of sense for someone who's still developing their carving skills. It might even create bad habits (more skidding than carving).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kauffee View Post


Tail rocker will take away from the skis carving ability but it will add some maneuvarability in the trees/bumps. In other words, more skidding and less carving... so the opposite of what you said you were looking for.

The move to rocker has been revolutionary for dedicated powder skis, but I think less so in terms of all-mountain skis. In fact, I've noticed that most companies are moving away from the term "rocker" and using "early rise" instead. I think over the last few years companies have been moderating their use of rocker and realizing that more is not necessarily better. The tip rocker in my new Soul 7 is surprisingly modest for 107mm ski that's primarily designed for ungroomed off-piste. All of the all-mountain skis I've been on at the demo days the last few years have some amount of tip rocker, but I have to say it's usually subtle enough that I don't even notice it.

The Kabookie is the Bonafide without metal. I haven't skiied it, but if it's similar in flex to the Bushwacker I would think I'd like it.

My only concern with a ski like the Bushwacker is that you do seem to like carving, and carving on a ski like the Bushwaker is somewhat unsatisfying due to the comparitively long turn radius and reduced sidecut. It's simply not a carving ski. A Magnum 8.5 might be better for you. Similarly, look at the Volkl RTM 84, Head Rev 85, and Rossignol Exp 88. I haven't been on the Volkl but I loved the Rev 85 and the E88 is excellent, too. Both of those will certainly be a huge step up from your 5* in terms of off-trail performance while not giving up much on the groomed.

 

1. It should probably be noted that despite the Blizzards mentioning tail rocker, once leaned over, you don't really notice it. It's a special kind of tail rocker that's different than a lot of other tail rocker out there. It doesn't behave in the same way.

 

2. I don't think it's so much as a move away from rocker, but rather the shape of the rocker is a bit different in more modern designs. Think a move away from 'banana' shape and a move towards 'surfboard' shape. The old style of rocker was also sometimes described as 'elf shoe'. I would say that the depth of the rocker has actually increased in many cases, while the splay has toned down.

 

3. I haven't been on the Kabookie either, but I don't think it's analogous to the Bushwacker. From what I've been told, it has another layer or two of glass compared to the Bushwacker and is a bit meatier.

 

4. I wouldn't really call the Bushwacker a long turn radius - 19m is pretty small and is pretty much the same as the other skis you mentioned (19m, 19m, 16m, 17m), . It certainly comes around quick. I think you're pretty far off the mark there.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post
 

 

I disagree. I don't think the Volkl RTM 84 makes a lot of sense for someone who's still developing their carving skills. It might even create bad habits (more skidding than carving).

 

 

1. It should probably be noted that despite the Blizzards mentioning tail rocker, once leaned over, you don't really notice it. It's a special kind of tail rocker that's different than a lot of other tail rocker out there. It doesn't behave in the same way.

 

2. I don't think it's so much as a move away from rocker, but rather the shape of the rocker is a bit different in more modern designs. Think a move away from 'banana' shape and a move towards 'surfboard' shape. The old style of rocker was also sometimes described as 'elf shoe'. I would say that the depth of the rocker has actually increased in many cases, while the splay has toned down.

 

3. I haven't been on the Kabookie either, but I don't think it's analogous to the Bushwacker. From what I've been told, it has another layer or two of glass compared to the Bushwacker and is a bit meatier.

 

4. I wouldn't really call the Bushwacker a long turn radius - 19m is pretty small and is pretty much the same as the other skis you mentioned (19m, 19m, 16m, 17m), . It certainly comes around quick. I think you're pretty far off the mark there.

 

Agreed about the tail rocker on the Blizzards... I wasn't referring to them, specifically. I agree it was barely noticeable.

 

Totally disagree on the Bushwacker. Sure, the difference is not night and day... but I still felt that the Head and Rossi were better, quicker carvers. Sorry. *shrug*

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies! You've convinced me that I need to look further than the Brahma or the Bonafide before making a decision.

 

qcanoe suggests I find an on-hill ski shop which will let me demo numerous skis in one day. That sounds like a great idea. Can anyone suggest a specific shop at Keystone where I could do that? Or at Breckenridge?

 

I looked at some of Brian Lindahl's videos. Wow!

 

I've shot some videos too, but they're much tamer. Here are links to a couple of them:

http://home.comcast.net/~johnb3030/files/Blue%20Sky%20Basin%20at%20Vail%202-09.wmv

http://home.comcast.net/~johnb3030/files/Cimmaron%20at%20Breckenridge%202-09.wmv

Things to keep in mind if you watch these:

The skier you see is my wife, not me. I'm following her with the camera.

This is a hand-held camera. I'm skiing with the camera in one hand while I carry both poles in the other. This filming technique limits the kind of runs I can video on.

These were shot in February 2009.

My friends who have never skied think these are pretty neat. You probably won't.

 

John

post #14 of 22

Great advice. I would for sure try the Bonified in a 173. I think youll LOVE THEM in that length!! The Elan  Amphibio has alot of great tech also and is a great ski but the bonafide in a 173 blew me away how they can do everything im 6ft 210. Im looking forward to try the Brahma next week also for a more front side oriented ski with crud and bumps as there main purpose.The Blizzard free ride bulls can be skied short as there is very little locker and alot of surface area on the snow. They turn easy and will handle any type of snow even icey groomers Bonified down. I ski with a guy your age who skis the Cochise but he wishes he bought the Bones and a shorter length now. If you go wide you can ski them shorter depending on the amount of rocker. The Soul7 seems like a great ski also. Only skis with tip and tail rocker need a little extra length. The stiffer tailed skis with very little tail rocker and slight tip rocker can be skied with a shorter turn radius in the shorter lengths. 

 

    I used to ski 205,s back in the day. Then the rocker skis came out. The JJ with extreme rocker I skied in a 185 and that was good for me. My Faction 3 Zeros with a little less rocker I ski in a 183 to 65mph GPS no problem and stable at 112 under foot. When my bud said to try the Bonified in a 173 I thought he was nuts! Ive never skied a ski that short in 45 years of skiing. I couldnt believe how stable and well they carved up the slopes. Bumps no problem crud like it wasnt there and groomers like a GS ski. They could link shorter radius also. Loved that ski. The point is even at 173 there is more surface area on the snow with there tip rocker than probably an old 220! If a ski is stable in a shorter length at 60mph why would you need a 187 or 190 is my point at a resort. If you want to straight line mogul fields at 50+ then a 190 it is. For a versatile ski that can handel anything like a pro try some shorter lengths in a ski 88-100mm wide at the foot with tip rocker not tail rocker, I think youll like what you try.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks again to all who contributed to this discussion. I went to my local ski shop 2 weeks ago armed with your recommendations and also with the results of some additional online research I had done. I wanted to discuss and get some hands on looks at the skis under consideration. I was open to either looking, demoing on my first trip and then buying, or possibly to just buying something on the spot if I was sufficiently confident I was making a good choice. After about 90 minutes with the shop manager, I had narrowed it down to a choice between the Blizzard Brahma or the K2 Rictor 90 XTi. I ended up buying the K2 (170 cm) on the spot without any actual demo. The deciding factor in choosing was that the K2 was noticeably lighter in weight and not quite as stiff as the Brahma.

 

Flash forward. I just finished skiing my 3rd day at Keystone on the K2's, and I am absolutely totally happy with the choice!

 

We almost always ski Keystone our first day out, and I usually go down Diamondback (a black run) on the backside of Dercum mountain for my first run of the season. Why? Just to prove to myself that I'm good enough to do a black on my first run of the season. This season, in deference to the fact that I was on new skis and wanted to ease into them to see if they had any quirks or surprises in store, I didn't do this. I started on an easy green, then did three moderate blues, then did Diamondback, followed by three times down Starfire, another black run. There wasn't even an instant when I didn't feel totally under control and comfortable on the K2 Rictors.

 

Today, I noticed two things I hadn't really expected:

 

1. On my old Volkl 5 Stars, I would notice towards the end of the day if I was getting tired it would seem that my skis were sort of "flopping around" at the end of turns. Tightening my boots would help, but not really eliminate this. After 3 days of energetic skiing on the K2s, I haven't noticed any sign of this problem.

 

2. I find I can suddenly do really well at maintaining a "quiet upper body" while properly angulating on turns. I was even able to do this non-stop all the way down Starfire this afternoon, and that run is black diamond steep from top to bottom with the steepest stretch at the end.

 

If these skis have any downside, I haven't found it yet. The transition from a 68mm waist to a 90mm waist has been a total non-issue.

 

John

post #16 of 22

Congrats! Sounds like you made a very solid choice. Quick comment: The "flopping around" you mention on the 5* is likely due to you sitting back later in the day - many of us do this when we get tired - and I suspect the K2's are less work in soft snow, therefore, you are stronger in the pm. The "quiet upper body" - a very good thing - also probably reflects the extra balance issues a narrower shorter ski presents on the steeps at speed. Strongly suggest a few lessons, which will help you dial in your new skis even better. 

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 

Skied again today at Keystone, where they have about 10" of fresh powder. Made it a short day because I have limited powder experience and it's a lot more work for me. That being said, I really appreciated the additional 22mm width underfoot! No falls, no problems, just more effort than usual. I even managed the quiet upper body again to a large extent.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnb View Post

I've been skiing on Volkl Five Stars for about eight years. I like them very much, but they've gotten pretty beat up and the local ski shop said they won't tune them again because the edges are getting too thin. I'm looking for something new, and hoping my skiing will benefit from going to a rocker design.

For the record, I'm 68, 5'9", 175#, and I was 41 the first time I got on skis. It was truly a life-changing experience for me. I've skied about 18 days/season for the last five years in Colorado. I'm a high-level intermediate, still progressing in ability, and hope to someday be able to honestly call myself advanced or expert. My skiing philosophy is that if I don't fall occasionally, I'm not challenging myself enough. I'll ski any groomed or semi-groomed black, and have been making good progress on learning to ski moguls the last two seasons. (The first time I skied the moguls on Upper Go-Devil at Keystone two years ago was a huge confidence-builder.) I can blast through crud on the Five Stars almost like it isn't there. My powder experience and ability are fairly limited, however.

The local ski shop was trying to sell me on the Blizzard Magnum 8.0 CA last season, but I wasn't yet ready for a change and I wasn't convinced that was the right ski for me either. I want a ski that will help me to make further progress, not one that might hold me back.

I've been reading the reviews here and at http://www.realskiers.com/ and in the various ski magazines. Blizzard skis have become very popular, and I'm thinking seriously about either the Brahma or the Bonafide. They appear to be very similar except for the waist being 88mm for the Brahma and 98mm for the Bonafide. The Five Stars have a 68mm waist, so either of these will be quite a change for me. How do I choose? I know the Bonafide will be better in powder, but what (if anything) is the downside compared to the Brahma on groomers (or anywhere else)?

I'm also unsure about what length to go with in a rocker ski. My last straight skis were the K2 Velocity, and they were 195cm. Next I went to K2 Fours at 183cm. Then the Five Stars at 168cm. I've heard conflicting opinions as to whether rocker skis should be shorter or longer than traditional camber.

I thought my K2 Fours were great until I got on the Five Stars. I didn't really feel anything obviously different about them, but I was suddenly able to do things I couldn't do before. I'm hoping for another step up with whatever I get this time. Thanks for reading this. Your comments will be appreciated.

John
post #19 of 22

Good read. My two cents demo some new skis. i've become big fan of the 88-91 under foot ski width 16-19 radius as a do it all kind off ski. At your weight I think you would be sacrificing more going to a 98 under foot then what it worth for most days on the snow inbounds comparatively to that 88-91 range of skis.

 

   The hard snow to soft snow ,bumps to a decent amount of powder that a tip rockered ski 88-91 can ski like a pro in gets my vote. i just borrowed Scotts,{TheSki} the other day and really loked it for making nice round turns and its ability to smooth out nasty ski and boarded out chop. The foot of powder I could find hear and there they skied equally as easy. I was on a 175 Im 6ft 220. My daughter who is a level2  csia Instructor and 16 years old  can arch TheSki on groomed slopes like her race SL Atomics. The Scotts ski made round turns way easier with there 16m turn shape compared to the pure carve 11m radius of the race stocks. So a ski that can carve with the best of them at 90 under foot and still hit the deeper good or manky snow with authority and ease is mighty impressive to me.

 

   Im a big Blizzard flip core fan also. I really like the bones alot but haven't skied the Brahma yet. Its next on my list. A few more worth mentioning for me or you to try would be Kastle MX88 , Atomic Crimson ti , Fat-YPUS D,Root, and the K2 AMP rictor 90X ti. All worth a try if get the chance.

post #20 of 22

Just 0.2 from someone who owns Volkl 5* from 2005-2006 (168cm), 2014 Bonafide (187cm)  and demoed 2015 Brahma in 180cm in Smugglers Notch, VT this season (decided to leave bonafides at home for that trip). I could not believe how awesome Brahmas felt on very icy and somewhat steep runs at the top of Smuggs. I'm not quite sure if it was the stiffness or the tune angle but they were able to cut into hardpack/ice easily  like knife into butter and I never felt like they were going to slip from under me edging them hard. They felt super at high speeds and willing to turn fast with no effort on groomers. Next day at Stowe I switched back to 5* and  felt like I was all over the place on in the similar conditions although I always considered them to be fairly good in usual eastern icy conditions - there was no comparison between the two.

 

I'm seriously considering trading in my 5* at the end of the season and wondering whether owning a similar ski in different length (Bonafide 187cm 98" waist vs. Brahma 180cm 88" waist) makes any sense for the typical eastern conditions or I am better off looking for dedicated hardpack ski like Magnum 8 or 8.5 titanium instead? How does Brahma compares to the latter two?

post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrePA View Post
 

Just 0.2 from someone who owns Volkl 5* from 2005-2006 (168cm), 2014 Bonafide (187cm)  and demoed 2015 Brahma in 180cm in Smugglers Notch, VT this season (decided to leave bonafides at home for that trip). I could not believe how awesome Brahmas felt on very icy and somewhat steep runs at the top of Smuggs. I'm not quite sure if it was the stiffness or the tune angle but they were able to cut into hardpack/ice easily  like knife into butter and I never felt like they were going to slip from under me edging them hard. They felt super at high speeds and willing to turn fast with no effort on groomers. Next day at Stowe I switched back to 5* and  felt like I was all over the place on in the similar conditions although I always considered them to be fairly good in usual eastern icy conditions - there was no comparison between the two.

 

I'm seriously considering trading in my 5* at the end of the season and wondering whether owning a similar ski in different length (Bonafide 187cm 98" waist vs. Brahma 180cm 88" waist) makes any sense for the typical eastern conditions or I am better off looking for dedicated hardpack ski like Magnum 8 or 8.5 titanium instead? How does Brahma compares to the latter two?


I own the Brahma now and previously had the Mag 8.5. I don't feel I gave up anything switching to the Brahma and definitely gained stability in crud. Though I did go from the 174 Mag's to a 180 Brahma.

post #22 of 22
2015 Brahma or 2014 Magnums 8.0 Ti? Magnums come with Power12 bindings as a system but are they similar in how they ski? Mostly interested in frontside eastern conditions. Any input would help.
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