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Blizzard Gunsmoke, a most "normal" ski, and a host of other wide ski impressions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

(Note: I had some comments in here about some other skis, but as they were largely negative and not very technical reviews on my part, I decided to remove them)

 

About me:

44yrs old

Decent skier, all terrain, no big cliffs or drops

ski 40-50 days (in a normal year)

5'9, 170 lbs

 

Blizzard Gunsmoke (186):

After trying a bunch of skis in the 100-115 range, I found the one I liked the best.

The Gunsmoke was by far the most harmonious marriage of sidecut, camber, flex and rocker of all the skis I tested.

On groomers, it felt like the whole ski hooked up nicely, with very little tip flap for this kind of ski.

In general, it was easy to ski, but stable and solid wherever I took it. It doesn’t have any of the extra light features many skis have these days and it is a full sidewall construction. It’s not overly stiff, and I found it great in bumps and tight spaces. It could be 10% lighter, but it also has a solid, damp feel on runouts, which is a good thing. I found I could pressure the ski and moderate my speed easily, and make quick tight turns in the nice bump sections.

This is a ski that was easy to ski at my size even in the 186 length, I never felt like it required exaggerated movements to engage it, and I could ski it hard or at a relaxed pace. You don't need to be a super strong charger to enjoy it. I like the length: at my weight, this will be killer when I get them the deep stuff.

I skied this for half a day, all over, and never found a condition or terrain where they weren’t enjoyable. It’s great to find a ski at 114mm underfoot that is this versatile. I can’t imagine a day where I’ll regret taking them out.

I’d love to try the Peacemaker as well, but I’m buying this one, as this will be the wide end of my quiver. I did flex a Peacemaker, and it is a stiffer ski, so it might not be as easy to ski.


Edited by squawbomber - 2/15/14 at 6:42am
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

After demoing the Gunsmokes and loving them, I bought them. Then I took them out and didn't enjoy them nearly as much. Dang! I had them mounted at the factory line. From the stable, intuitive ski I described above they were twitchy, unstable. Unfortunately, I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the mount point when I demoed, but looking down at the ski on lifts and such, it seemed like there was less in front and more tale.They were fine in the pow, but not great everywhere else. It felt like bumps were hitting right at the binding, without any shock absorption.

 

So, after poking around online, it seems that the consensus was to mount them back a bit, at -2 or so. With help from Josh at Tahoe Snow Lab/Slant Skis in Tahoe City (big shout out, very cool dude, good tuning center and he takes the time to listen), we re-mounted them. Josh measured them and concurred it looked like too much tale and not enough ski in front,  given the significant tip rocker.  They felt much better. I didn't quite recapture the magic of when I demoed, but on a nice spring day at Squaw, they were much more relaxed and stable feeling, hooked up better, and handled bumps and varied snow with a much calmer, smoother feel. So, to sum it up, if you get these, you probably want to consider starting your mounting at about 2cm back from center.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by squawbomber View Post
 

After demoing the Gunsmokes and loving them, I bought them. Then I took them out and didn't enjoy them nearly as much. Dang! I had them mounted at the factory line. From the stable, intuitive ski I described above they were twitchy, unstable. Unfortunately, I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the mount point when I demoed, but looking down at the ski on lifts and such, it seemed like there was less in front and more tale.They were fine in the pow, but not great everywhere else. It felt like bumps were hitting right at the binding, without any shock absorption.

 

So, after poking around online, it seems that the consensus was to mount them back a bit, at -2 or so. With help from Josh at Tahoe Snow Lab/Slant Skis in Tahoe City (big shout out, very cool dude, good tuning center and he takes the time to listen), we re-mounted them. Josh measured them and concurred it looked like too much tale and not enough ski in front,  given the significant tip rocker.  They felt much better. I didn't quite recapture the magic of when I demoed, but on a nice spring day at Squaw, they were much more relaxed and stable feeling, hooked up better, and handled bumps and varied snow with a much calmer, smoother feel. So, to sum it up, if you get these, you probably want to consider starting your mounting at about 2cm back from center.

 

Makes sense: I had adjustable PRD12 bindings on them and went pretty far back too.  Much more stable in chop, not wanting to turn in complete circles all day. Nice ski.  

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
A quick update on this ski.
With the lack of powder the past year, I've had only a few days in fresh snow. They did very well, and practically ski themselves.
Solid and predictable, not as super quick and floaty as a Salomon Rocker2 122, but much more solid and traditional feeling (I keep coming back to that as a way to describe it).
I just returned from a short trip to Alta, and alas, it was very much like California, hitting 60deg on the slopes. My all mountain ski has a blown edge (due to our Tahoe rocks) so I brought the Gunsmoke. It did not dissapoint: fun carver with solid edge hold, really fun bombing down the groomers there doing long-radius turns, with some good energy. It was very good in the late afternoon slushy/crud conditions you get hiking to Devil's Castle or on the backside. In early morning icy bumps, something a bit quicker would've been nice, but that was the only time I felt handicapped by the ski. In regular to soft snow, they handle bumps and tight spaces very well.
So still very highly recommended as a very versatile and fun fat ski.
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