Blizzard is on a hot streak that shows no signs of cooling off. Capitalizing on the best-selling year ever for a women’s ski, Blizzard applied the Black Pearl magic to the Samba and Cheyenne, now the Black Pearl 98 and 78, respectively. What is now the Black Pearl 88 and the new 98 also received a couple of technical tweaks, namely a little more sidecut and a little less front rocker. Both alterations aim for the same target, to improve the carving connection on prepared slopes.
The Bonafide and Brahma were also off-season recipients of the “tidier turn radius and earlier edge contact” treatment. Both remain masters of off-piste terrain but now have more facility when confined to the groom. The 2018 Brahma has a new little brother, the Brahma CA, with the same shape but without the two Titanal laminates. Fans of the first-generation Flipcore model the Bushwacker will recognize their old friend in the Brahma CA.
The changes made to Blizzard’s All-Mountain Freeride family, while palpable, are chickenfeed compared to the wholesale overhaul of its Freeride Twin collection. The Gunsmoke, Peacemaker and Regulator have ridden into the sunset. Like the retiring twin-tips, the new Rustler 11 and 10 fill the need for a lighter, surfier alternative to models like the Cochise, but otherwise have little in common with dearly departed.
The Rustlers use carbon on the top, bottom and both ends of a lightweight, multi-material core, capped with a section of Titanal that’s edge-to-edge in the mid-section and narrows to nothing before it reaches tip or tail. Called Carbon Flipcore D.R.T. Technology, this construction is solid but not overbearing, allowing the extremities to conform to uneven terrain while the area underfoot is unwavering.
Waist width varies according to length on the Rustlers. The Rustler 10 has a 102mm waist up to a size 180cm and a 104mm at 188cm. The Rustler 11 is a 112mm up to a 180cm, a 114mm at 188cm and 116mm at 192cm. The D.R.T. Titanal element also is sized by length.
The Rustler’s have female companionship, the Sheeva 10 and 11, essentially the same skis made a mite lighter, softer and shorter than the Rustlers.
The biggest Blizzards, the Bodacious and Spur, both return with significant construction changes. The Spur (192cm only) applies Carbon Flipcore D.R.T. to a 124mm-waisted, asymmetric powder plunderer, while the Bodacious returns to its roots with the addition of two sheets of Titanal, just as Arne Backstrom envisioned it. A percentage of Bodacious sales will be donated to the Arne Backstrom Memorial Fund.