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.
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!