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Fischer Progressor 9+ and Blizzard Magnum 8.7 review (slow speed skiing)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

 Well, now that I am somewhat back to skiing (keep it under 50% and on the groomers for another month, the doctor says) I might as well get back to reviewing some skis.  

 

About me: 

5 foot 9, 155lbs, 9 hours on the hill this season (normally a 40-60 day/year skier)

Terrain: groomers, slow speeds, doing lots of releases, trying to keep from getting bored

 

I have been on 2 skis so far this year: the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 174cm and the Fischer Progressor 9+ 170cm

 

Blizzard Magnum 8.7 174cm w/5.14 binding: 18.5m radius ski, fairly stiff, laterally aggressive, somewhere between a backside, big sweet spot GS ski (Cronus/888) and a wide carver (AC50 style ski). 

 

Review: I have skied this prior to getting hurt last spring, and thought it was a great ski.  On groomed snow, at slower speeds, it feels a little bulky, a little stiff for this style of skiing. Being wide and relatively stiff laterally, it has a stiff on-off characteristic that tends to be a little grabby. When you open it up a bit, it does feel very solid and GS-like, but needs a bit of speed to come alive. Not the best short-turn carver, and being so wide, it's edgehold isn't anywhere close to a narrower, more hard-snow specific ski.  No surprise there: it likes to slide and dig a bit, instead of engaging predictably. In bigger GS turns, it really comes alive, and provided the skier isn't trying to arc slalom-radius turns, will hold relatively well.  Stable as can be hoped for: you aren't likely to out-ski this if you are skiing the correct length.

 

Fischer Progressor 9+ 170cm: Fischer's top-end frontside ski.  70mm wide, not quite as demanding as a race ski, 15m raduis in this size (14/18 if you believe the "dual-radius" marketing ploy).  Has a solid, free-flexing plate that gives the binding plenty of lift and a stable platform.

 

I have reviewed this last year, in both 170 and 175. The 175cm was nearly indistinguishable from the 175cm WC RC race carver.  The RC was a little narrower underfoot: other than that, they felt pretty much identical.  The 170cm is a great length for someone my size. Feels like a true carver: you can ski it at GS speeds, but you can also rip off smaller radius turns.  Any shape turn is done well on this ski.  As a slow-speed ski, it is a better performer than the Magnum 8.7. It eases into the turn much easier, the tip is nowhere near as grabby (even though it is probably a stiffer ski) as the tip is narrower and engages more predictably. I have a feeling the wider tip on the 8.7 flexes differently somehow. I can scarve turns at slow speed, or (if my leg was up to it, which it isn't yet) bust out dynamic, arc-to-arc carves, leaving railroad tracks.  Releasing is super easy, the ski just seems to flow down the hill with you, never with it's own agenda. It doesn't take speed to come alive, and this would be a perfect instructor's ski.  Having skied it a bunch before, I can attest to it's stability at speed. Not quite as stable as the Nordica Mach 3 Power 170cm or the Dynastar 4x4 172cm, but probably 98% of the beef, and a more nimble feel than either of those.  I liked how predictably it engaged over the 8.7, which was more hit or miss and balky at slow speeds.  On neither ski do you want to get stuck on the tail: they just aren't that forgiving.

 

Overall, for the skiing I am currently doing, the Progressor is clearly superior. No big surprise.  This is a great example of is suitability of certain skis for certain types of skiing.  85+mm skis are OK on groomers, definitely passable, but if you primarily ski groomers or hard snow, and especially if you are an ex-racer or otherwise skilled skier and know how to put your skis on edge, you will find a ski such as the Progressor to exceed (by a substantial margin) something like the 8.7. That micro-adjustment, that slight change in edge angle or pressure that produces something you are looking for in a turn,  that is available on top race skis, is still somewhat present on a ski like the Progressor, as it is extremely responsive to input. The 8.7, being wider, just isn't as responsive, more of a "carving or your aren't, edge holding or it isn't" feel.   On the other hand, the 8.7 does like to skid more: if you are a push-your-tails kind of skier, it might work better (or you could just take a lesson).

 

If I had skied these in crud at speed or deep snow, I would expect to favor the 8.7, by a wide margin. Again, no big surprise.  The extra length and damping would be welcome, and it would still hold up if I chose to hit a fast groomer or two. 

 

Both great skis, just not really comparable to each other!  

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 13

Great review.  Glad to see you back at it.  I have really missed your reviews this year.  I am sure with you leg you weren't able to take these into the bumps, but which one do you think would perform better there? 

post #3 of 13

i haven't skied the Fisher, but I had very little problem with the 8.7 in the bumps and trees and steeps..Let me put it this way, if I had to ski ONE ski for a season, the 8.7 would be it, and I wouldn't have to think about it.  

post #4 of 13

Having skied the progressor nearly everyday this season and passing my L3 on it, I have to say that the ski flat out rips.

 

kinda of reup review on it.

 

5'11

165lb

Solid L9 anything, anytime anywhere

 

170cm Progressor 9+

 

skied in everything.

 

this ski felt alittle short at Snowbird for me, I feel the 175 would have been a better ski out there but with out seeing the future I am glad I have the 170 here in Pa. No way would I go shorter.

 

The dual raduis does work, if you retract and really get on the tip at the start of the turn it will make SL turns, if you lay off or do extension its more little GS turns. Either way the ski is very responsive to being on edge high in the turns and will feel kinda of razor blade like, even on the hardest snow. IMO its only one step down in edge grip from a true race stock SL ski while being a couple notches down in forgiveness.

 

The skis is easy to bend, skid, carve, arc, steer, not steer into any turn you want on hard pack. Its never feels out of place and it just seems natural. PSIA short swings turns and BPST are both done with relative ease.

 

everyone says its a tough ski to ski in bumps, in my opinion its works great as long as the bumps are hard and you keep the speed down. The 175 I tried in snowbird were much easier to ski in bumps especially when the snow was softer. There are better bump skis out there even have one in my quiver(Public Enemy), but for a carver it does remarkly well. At holimont I had issue when there was 12inches of chopped powder over the bumps, fore and aft stabilty at speed just arent there. When I switched to my trusty 179cm PE I could skis fall line turns fast with speed.

 

Powder - not totally hopeless far from my first choice but as long as you have solid base of snow, there is no reason why you couldnt skis these in powder as long as its steep. If its flat or you need tight turns aka tree skiing look else where. In powder filled trees they tend to cause a sticking feeling in the snow, and just feel sluggish.

 

Crud, slush, mank, when its not deep. awesome, just skis it like a groomer and the ski rallies though.

 

Deep crud or deeped tracked powder- horriable, probably better but not great in the 175 or 180 size. The ski simply is a nightmare to keep balance at the speeds I like to ski at. after you get use to going as fast as you want though crud on 99mm and 120mm skis that are 190cm plus in lenght going to a 170 70mm ski just feel inadequent. simply put the easiest way to ski crud and tracked powder is at 30plus mph and these skis feel unstable above 20 in this stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

 

i haven't skied the Fisher, but I had very little problem with the 8.7 in the bumps and trees and steeps..Let me put it this way, if I had to ski ONE ski for a season, the 8.7 would be it, and I wouldn't have to think about it.  

It would be high up on my list as well. Luckily, I don't have to make those types of draconian choices! 

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

 

Great review.  Glad to see you back at it.  I have really missed your reviews this year.  I am sure with you leg you weren't able to take these into the bumps, but which one do you think would perform better there? 

I skied the Progressor last year in bumps, and it moderate sized bumps, it was fine. In VW-bug sized bumps, a little stiff, but workable.  I haven't taken the 8.7 into many big bumps: the tip is softer but it is also wider up there, so it may be a trade-off.  Kevin skied it at Snowbasin and didn't care for it as a bump ski, he liked the Stockli VLX and Blizzard Atlas much better in bumps. 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

It would be high up on my list as well. Luckily, I don't have to make those types of draconian choices! 

Nor do I. 

post #8 of 13

Scott,

As you know, I have been eying the Progressor's. Can you compare the 4x4's to the Progressor's as far as high speed carvers go? I know in a previous post you mentioned that the 4x4's were more forgiving (not as stiff) than the Progressor's. Are the turn shapes similar and variable?


Edited by nikonfme - 2/23/2009 at 12:23 pm
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Having spent a bunch of time on the 8.7, they are a very versatile, high speed powerhouse of a ski at my weight.  Some may say they are forgiving, and I would agree to a point. But, for lighter skiers, they pack a ton of performance and a decent amount of forgiveness.  Took them into smaller bumps today, and they did just fine.  No speed limit on groomers, big GS turns preferred, but will do shorter turns if you can release the ski. These skis will rail.  Just a fun overall ski, suitable to most conditions.  I get the feeling that they are a little stiff for deep snow, but haven't taken them there yet (don't want to hit a snow snake with a still-healing fracture).  

 

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonfme View Post

 

Scott,

As you know, I have been eying the Progressor's. Can you compare the 4x4's to the Progressor's as far as high speed carvers go? I know in a previous post you mentioned that the 4x4's were more forgiving (not as stiff) than the Progressor's. Are the turn shapes similar and variable?


Edited by nikonfme - 2/23/2009 at 12:23 pm

I would say the 4x4 and Progressor are very similar in terms of turn shape. 4x4 seems a touch softer in the tail, but that may be a dis-advantage if you are heavier than I.  Both are plenty of ski for a fronside carver: if you prefer the more damp Dynastar feel, you won't like the Fischer as much, however, if you like the light yet raw horsepower feel of the Fischer, the 4x4 may be a little blah for you. 

post #11 of 13

I have previously skied the Head i.XRC 1200 in a 177 cm, I'm now considering to buy the Progressor 9+ in a 175 cm.

Can anyone tell me if there are significant differences in the 2 skies?

I think particularly of stiffness and difference in lenghth?

 

Thanks.

post #12 of 13

Nice to see someone from the left coast recognize that there is a place for narrow hard snow oriented skis.  Maybe not the best choice for a single ski quiver, but if you afford two (or more) skis, something like a Progressor belongs in the better eastern skier's bag of tricks.  FWIW, my current skis are the Progressor 8+ and the Dynastar Legend 8000.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Man, this review is old!  Back when I was a few weeks past having a rod pulled out of my tibia!   

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