Having been blessed with some epic conditions at the beginning of this week I’ve been on a bit of a mission to find a ski that copes admirably with soft snow and moderate powder, handles chopped up conditions with aplomb, yet doesn’t sacrifice on-piste performance too dramatically. Being lucky enough to have briefly tested a Blizzard Bonafide last year (and being suitably impressed) I was eager to take them out for a longer period and see what they were truly capable of.
Part of Blizzard’s “Free Mountain” range, the Bonafide is often touted as being the most versatile of the lot. Being 98mm underfoot it’s firmly within the ‘all-mountain’ category though possibly leaning toward a skier spending a touch more time off-piste, and comprising of two layers of titanium it’s certainly toward the stiffer end of the spectrum. A good amount of rocker at the tip certainly encourages float in the deeper stuff and effortless turn initiation, whilst the slight amount of rocker in the tail gives the Bonafide a touch more ‘smeariness’ than similar skis with a flatter tail, such as the Volkl Mantra.
Blizzard’s much talked about Flipcore technology is present within the Bonafide. In it’s simplest terms, Flipcore skis are actually pressed and moulded upside-down, so that the traditional camber/profile of the wood matches the desired rocker of the ski. Despite having seen this first-hand at their factory in Mittersal i’m still somewhat in the dark about certain aspects of the process, but in theory I can see how the process benefits performance – Blizzard claims this dramatically improves both stability in the ski and the distribution of pressure along the ski, which makes sense to me. For more details check out this great article at Blister Gear Review.
So how does this translate to the slopes? Well having spent a week on them in varying conditions they truly do retain a hell of a lot of piste performance. On soft groomers they hold an edge wonderfully, allowing you to make big, sweeping carves. When things get a bit harder on-piste they still retain a lot of performance, but the tail rocker means you lose a hint of that grip.
The powder at the beginning of the week showed a glimpse of their deeper snow capabilities, the 98mm waist, 133mm tip, and generous tip rocker combining to give enough float for the moderate powder. Anything super-deep and I would be looking to take a fatter ski out – but how many times are we that fortunate in a season?
Within the trees they were surprisingly manoeuvrable, helped by the tail rocker no doubt. Despite the rail-like feeling on softer pistes, they quickly transform to a much more playful animal when you want them to. Having tested them last year I knew this versatility existed, yet I was still very surprised by how well it handled differing snow conditions. After Monday and Tuesday’s snowfall, when conditions became a bit more chopped and bumpy the skis really came into their own; they simply powered through crud without batting an eyelid, and that manoeuvrability again came into play when in bumps.
Despite this, I feel it is still a ski that needs you to ski it fairly aggressively – I can imagine lazier skiing not being rewarded quite so well, yet they remain useable and accessible to a wide range of skiers; anyone who dabbles in off-piste yet wants one ski to do-it-all, whilst being conscious of retaining piste performance should definitely have a good look at the Bonafide. Aggressive skiers will absolutely love it.
So, anyone fancy a go? We have a demo pair in at The Boot Lab in both Meribel and Courchevel 1650, so pop in and give them a try – you won’t be disappointed!