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SJ's Blowers, first impressions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
OK, I intended to write this post a few days ago, after I had a day and a half on my new 185 Blowers but didn't get to it until now, so my recollections are a few days old.

First some background: 37y/o male, 6ft, 180 lb, expert skier. Home mountain: Squaw Valley in Tahoe. I usually ski a mix of old and new technique, and I have always preferred light and playful skis, so I always end up on "French" skis (some of past and cureent favorites are: XScream Series, L8K) Current everyday ski: MRs). Skis I hated in the past were: Mantra, All-Star, K2 Axis, most Atomics. I was looking to replace my current powder ski, 185 Rossi B4s, and the Blowers were the first ski I bought without demoing first, the deal was too good to pass.

Test conditions: Day 1: Christmas day- fresh powder, most of the mountain was closed, so whatever was open was pretty tracked out. Day 2: bluebird powder day, unfortunately I only got 2 hours at the end of the day, as the Mrs. got to ski the most of it while I was cruising the Links chair with our 3-year old.

My impressions: The Blower feels like a fairly heavy ski that refuses to pivot, it demands proper turn initiation technique, if you don't do it right it will punish you. It definitely does not like late edge changes, so engage your edges early... If you stay on top of it, and give it time to come around, Blower will turn very predictably and solidly, if not lightning fast. Float from a 110mm platform was plenty. However, this was not a surfing ski, the sensation was turning in powder, not necessarily on top of powder. If driven properly it would blast through the chopped up snow with authority. I tried a couple of jumps (nothing heroic though) and the feel of landing was phenomenal- much better than my B4s.

I didn't get a chance to do much carving, but from what I could, I felt that it was a rather reluctant carver (expected for a 110mm waisted ski). Bump performance was acceptable, but not spectacular (again expected for a 110 ski). The combination of soft tip and tail and a solid midsection makes the Blower feel shorter than it is, especially on a straightline where the ski feels more nervous than it width and heft would suggest. On the other hand, Blowers were surprisingly quick on emergency maneuvers- where my B4s usually have a tendency to get longer when things get tough.

The next day I took out the the B4s to compare- a totally different feeling. Their 94 waist felt almost like a natural carver, I was taking them through bumps with apparent ease (go figure...) and I again felt that trademark Rossi dampness on the straightlines. Whatever powder snow was left felt also very different- very light feeling, the ski was sinking in and bending almost effortlessly, and a lot more evenly than the Blowers. I have not taken out the Blowers after that, so I cannot pinpoint why the two skis felt so different.

The botom line- the jury is still out for me, I need to get some more snow time on the Blowers to make a better aquiaintance.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
One more thing: I am usually dead tired by 2 pm on a powder day; on the day I took the Blowers out I was ready for a few more runs by that time, so the skis were definitely doing something right...
post #3 of 9

I've got a pair of the 08/09 in the 185. My impressions are similar. I've got about 8 days on them including a day of snowcat skiing and a couple days of sidecounty. Overall I feel that this ski is quite stiff, particularly in the tail. You really have to enter the turn accurately and smoothly with pressure on the ski - if you pivot at all you're in for a rough ride. If you get back at all it locks in like a missle. Accordingly it's tough to make short turns on this ski. I like the ski alot in real powder but find it difficult in skied out crud and lethal in bumps. On the groomed it will carve a turn, but a very long turn. It's skiable on a groomed run at the end of the day, but that's about it. Because of the stiffness the sidecut radius feels a lot longer than advertised. Obviously it floats well given the size. It is also an extremely stable ski. I've read other reviewers that say it dosen't straight line well but my expierience is the exact opposite. Tuning it with a 2 degree base bevel made it alot more enjoyable, particularly on the groomed. It's quite a heavy ski if that matters. Overall I think this is a good ski for young hard chargers that are regularly dropping cliffs and skiing very fast. Not quite me and I'm probably going to sell mine. FWIW I'm 5'-11" 185lbs and PSIA level 3.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

OK, here is the follow-up.  The past 4 days in tahoe were phenomenal, with fresh powder every day and more coming.   With all this snow, I felt that I had no excuse to leave a 110 mm ski in the closet.  The key decision or me was to leave my old fat ski at home and spend some quality time with the Blowers on a moderate run before taking it into a more challenging terrain.  After two hours of experimenting I felt that I have figured out this ski enough to give it a serious go, and so I spent the rest of my weekend on them.


This is definitely a Nordica: It is a relatively stiff and heavy ski that needs a very technical driver.  I naturally prefer skis with large sweet spot, but the Blowers sweet spot is quite small and you need to stay upfront.  My impression is that the tip is stiffer than the tail on my model (I think it is 07-08), so if you get back at all, the ski will run from under you in a millisecond.  If you drive them properly, they were surprisingly quick and carved quite well for a 110 board (it did feel bigger than that 26m sidecut though).  They were very good for tree skiing, surprisingly quick on the turn finish (the turn initiation did not feel quite that quick).  I as skiing lines through the trees at speeds that I was always afraid to do.  I was surprised to experience tip dive in powder, probably due to the improper weighting of the skis (as my days progressed the tip dive got less and less).   The ski has no discernable top end, the few times I got to do big turn on smooth windblown snow, they went like a freight train.  One of the surprises was the bum performance- they went through the soft mogul very very well (although the sweet sport shrank even more).   The stiffness of the front portion of the ski definitely help to push through the heavy Tahoe powder, I was very comfortable in the cut-up snow.  


Bottom line- this is more of a big-mountain ski than a dedicated powder board, but it is a very good tool for a strong technical skier.  If you like to push our skis, this is the ski for you; if you don't, it will make you a better skier.  My guess is that former racers will love it.  It is also a good soft snow ski for heavier snow areas like Tahoe.  




post #5 of 9

Its interesting that you consider the Blower stiff.  I have a pair of 185cm 2008 Blowers and thought they had a moderate flex compared to other 100mm+ skis.


They definitely are a ski with two personalities.  On groomers they want to do SG turns.  Buried in powder they are quick and nimble once you figure them out.  (You need to keep their huge tips buried in the snow & use them to initiate the turn.....don't even think of hopping or sitting back.)

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Rio-  Very true!  I consider the Blowers stiff in comparison with pure powder skis and my previous fat ski (B4s).  I am sure that Legend Pro XXL or a B-Squad are stiffer (I couldn't even flex the Squads, ridiculous...)   You are absolutely right about their skiing in powder, you need to initiate from the tip and always, always stay forward on those skis.  Definitely something you need to figure out, this is why I had so much trouble the first couple of times, I felt that the skis were getting from under me, which was something I never had on my other skis.  





post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is besides the point, but the graphics on the 07 and 08 Blowers is butt-ugly.   The only consolation is that at least it is not white.  This weekend I saw some powder skis in the lift line that had pure white topsheets.  I am sure it looks very swank in the shop, but try looking for white skis buried in the snow in a blizzard...     

post #8 of 9

Interesting.  I have only had one day at Mt Rose on mine (SJs 06/07 version) so far so will reserve judgement until i get some more miles on them. 


However what i found surprising is that the one thing that struck me most about them was pretty much the opposite from your comments. I actually found them incredibly easy to pivot.     Stability on the groomers seemed OK which was a pleasant surprise.  Confession - this was my first foray into a wide waist, I spend most of my time on either a GS race ski or an 86mm Blizzard titan so not qualified to compare to other wider skis.  I actually mounted mine a half inch forward from the back line, wonder if that helped?



post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Mounting point could have made a difference.  I also have SJ's version but mounted on the rear line per SJ's recommendation.  My impression was that if you start to pivot and move your weight back, the ski would run from under you like a mad rabbit. If you control it, initiate the turns smoothly from the tip and extend forward (easier said than done sometimes), you get a nice quick predictable stable turn.   I did get some tail washouts the last time, which tells me that I am maybe too much forward on that ski.  I am sure with a few more days I will dial in the position better.  If anything, this is not a large sweet spot ski, but it already made me a bit of a better skier, something that my excellent Dynastars with large sweet spot didn't do   (and I love my Dynastars- for my money the best line of skis in the business for a real skier; I will let the former racers enjoy their Volkls and Stocklis).    

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