Blizzard Titan 9 Review
Location; Heavenly, CA 2/28 & 3/1
Conditions: 20 F, new snow
Ski: 2007 Blizzard Titan 9, 181. 122/86/109 20m.
Binding: Salomon 912TI, mounted on the line
Skier stats: 52, 5'8", 165#, (middle of the pack) masters racer. Skiing since 1968. Occasionally lapse back to old school technique
Normal ski preferences: powerful ski with plenty of energy, especially race skis (my current favorite ski in my quiver is the 178 Fischer WC GS).
Background: I have been looking around for a fatter all mountain ski for a while as I have too many race skis at the moment (east coast legacy). I picked up a pair of Atomic MeX early in the season but, while they were OK in trees and bumps, they weren't really doing it for me as an all round ski and the edge grip/bite on the hard pack we have seen most of this year was not as good as I like. I had been thinking about trying a Mantra until I rode the lift at Mammoth a few weeks ago with a patroller who was on the mantra. His take was that while they were OK they were not in the same league as his Titan 9s. So when the smoking deal on them from Christy sports came up a few days later i pressed the trigger on a pair.
To warm up and get an initial feel for the skis i took a couple of runs on the start of day soft groomers. For an 86mm waist, I noticed very little loss of edge to edge quickness. Slightly slower and a little more conscious effort required compared to a race ski but nothing limiting. The ski likes to be driven by the tip (which is my preference) and i could lay it waa....ay over on edge while carving big GS turns (literally knuckle dragging!). Lots of grip and plenty of energy, not quite a stock GS, but pretty good nonetheless. Easy turn initiation and easy to vary the turn shape down to medium radius. Doesn't want to pull short turns too easily unless you really muscle/skid it a bit but that is to be expected. While they like to be driven there is still a reasonable sweetspot and (on the groomed) you can move your fore/aft balance about on the ski without being punished,
Into Mott canyon and then killebrew canyon (which had just been opened) and skied a variety of conditions from chopped up/trashed to boot top to knee deep new snow. In the soft stuff, they provided plenty of float for me and moved through it without problems and were easy to turn. In the chopped up stuff and crud they were solid and super stable and cut through without a problem.
At the end of the day I took a few high speed runs on the groomers which were now a series of small bumps. Again, super stable and tracked like a good GS ski. Interestingly though I did realize how much a good race plate(Vist etc.) smooths out that that type of terrain. With the flat mount i was taking a lot more bumps/vibration through my knees.
The next day, serching for the remaining patches of new snow I was doing more tree skiing. I had been worried that they might be harder work here but for the most part (except when we got into some really tight stuff) they made light of it and you could pivot/skid them without a problem. Only limiting factor was the pilot.
Final test was down Gunbarrel where the bumps were by now getting back to their normal size. Fortunately for me still reasonably soft! While i am certainly not much of a bump skier
and I normally minimize my time on them, the T9s acquitted themselves well and allowed me to make a decent attempt at them. Easier to manouvre than I had expected. I did notice the extra width here but with a bit more time on them this should not be an issue.
Overall impressions: So far I rate this ski very highly,
versatile enough for most conditions. Can ski in the soft stuff when you find it without giving up performance elsewhere. Seems to suit my style well. Only outstanding question is how well it will grip on really solid hardpack but, based on the flex and experience to date i don't expect that to be an issue. I will update as conditions allow.