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2004/5 Blizzard Titan XXL 188cm

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
up to date review of the blizzard titan xxl (last year's)Hey, i work(ed) as a full time ski tech at last frontier heliskiing for the past five years. In those five years i've had the chance to demo the following boards. Volkl- explosive (180), vertigo cmh edition (180). Rossignol - xxx bandits circa 2000 (188), B3 (184). Volant old chubb (180/190), new chubb v2 genisis (186?). Atomic helistar (180), Beta REX (191). Generally I've found that stiffer isn't better when matching skis with touring boots for mostly backcountry use. I prefer a medium to medium soft flexing ski which i've found to provide the sexiest sensation of float in deeper pow conditions, a nice cadillac feel. Stiff skis always feel a little planky, cardboardy and lack the sensual feel of softer flexing boards. I weigh about 178 pounds, stick my feet into the garfullmonty megacool riders with a customized raichle tongue and bomber alpine version of the intuition liners...stiffens up the boots dramatically. I am a finesse skier with a style that favours pressuring the tongue of the boot and prefer to feel the tips of my skis rather than ski centered or from the heel. I live and ski primarily in northwestern british columbia where conditions range from bone dry baby's breath to epic storms of coastal cementons with everything in between and on top and underneath. Put it succinctly, very variable conditions. Perfect for allround testing of boards. My previous personal ski was the atomic rex 191. They lasted only a season before being relagated to expensive wall dressings. Their shortcomings: Too stif for touring boots. don't float in upside down powder. don't float in deep coastal cement. tips wander in denser new snow. tips deflect in windcrust. Tips nervous in raincrust. when skinning, low profile tips will catch on crust and frozen crowns, etc... , when skinning the stiffness of the ski combined with the relatively narrow dimensions usually submerge tips under crust. Get bounced around in moguls, rather than absorb the terrain undulations and features.

Pros: Carve like banshees inbounds. They're light on the feet for skinning uphill in perfect conditions.

I purchased some Blizzard titan xxl's 188cm's last spring, took em out on a few summer ski days, and wondered if i had made the right choice. on the firm firn snow i found that they overturned, felt overly damp and washed out the tails.....(126mm-92mm-112mm radius 23.8m)

I'm glad i was openminded and optimistic about real world winter condition performance. Quite simply, they're the best all round backcountry/ inbounds soft snow performance board i've ever skied. In ALL natural snow conditions they failed to fail in any situation. DEEP cementons-nice big shovel and moderate/soft flex provides great float. a bit of a turned up tail and just a hair less stiffness in the rear turns these babies into wicked floaters. In less than ideal snow like breakable rain, wind, temperature, anything crust, these boards just eat it up. They give consistent predicatable return of energy and always maintain directional stability without any tendency to twitch or get nervous. I always found that stiffer boards tend to deflect when not driven with stiff boots, and softer skis with any appreciable sidecut feel 'hooky'. Not so with the titans.

Nice terrain absorbtion and damp feel without feeling dead. If you load em up they will return the energy. As for prefered turn shape, they do favour midradius turns over really short swings, though it steep terrain in the trees, and deep snow, the ample sidecut really shines in helping bring the boards around and i never felt like i was overly working the ski to get em around. They rebound nicely in these conditions and I found that due to the great float enhanced by a nice big old school like shovel (No crust grabbing plastic gimmicky thingy to make the tips waver...), one can keep presure on the front of the ski rather than shift weight to center or rear to keep the tips up. In groomed soft snow conditions, these puppies carve nicely when driven with a smooth intention. On hard snow, they skid predictively and given their damp nature, do it very smoothly. With sharpened edges (i usually keep mine untuned for the backcountry) their performance envelope expands and i found i could carve if i was careful with my edging. With the flared up tail i found them really practical in tight chutes when falling leafing and back and forth maneouvering. This feature also translated into a lot of fun playing around inbounds. It was easy to launch the skies sideways and slide and bounce off schtuff.

The only conditions i haven't tried em in are firm bump runs, but given their dimensions, this would be out of their optimal condition range anyway, though they seem to absorb terrain irregularities well anyhow, so they might actually fare alright

It's really hard to adequately describe the feeling of confidence these skis impart, it's an intangible....kinda like driving a porsche...just a really ego boosting ride that truly does step up your skiing, like i read in someone elses post. I just hope Blizzard hasn't messed up a perfectly good product by putting more metal in it and wrecking a nicely balanced flex with the 2005/6 model...i guess time will tell.
post #2 of 2
Just spent 5 days inbounds at Park City Utah with a new pair of 05/06 Blizzard Titan 9's (188s). The general timbre of the trip was "curb your enthusiasm" as I was skiing with my wife who is a solid (and timid) intermmediate. I did manage to break away for a few runs at a time including the lightweight Blueslip Bowl and various blackies. Conditions ranged from wet heavy fresh snow with overlying sleet and grapple at the beginning of the trip to up to 18" fresh one morning to tracked out light and wind-packed crud. At the end of the week there was groomed "packed powder" nearly everywgere.

I'm 54 years old, weigh 205# and stand 5'8". My current ski quiver before the additions of the Titan 9s include G41's, G30's, REx and a pair of Volant Machete McG's. The Titan's felt closest to the G41s vs any of these other skis. The big difference, though, is their ability to float in the powder and crud. When conditions required it, blasting through crud and windpack was well within this board's resume. Granted, the powder was mostly mid-calf to mid thigh (not endless) but I experienced no hooking, diving or any other ill-mannered behavior. In fact, these things ripped like the GS (albeit rather fat) skis they are in any of the conditions experienced. In the few steep conditions I was in there was easy swing, "flickability"(the ski isn't light) and the ability to smear turns. They carve well on groomers and really rail but groomed and harder snow are definitely more work on these (especially in even moderate bumps). More to come in about 3-4 weeks when I take the Titans back to Utah for a "guy's trip."
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › 2004/5 Blizzard Titan XXL 188cm