Niseko, Japan Ski Review Trip: Our Selections


2012-2013 4FRNT Hoji, 187cm

Eric Hjorleifson is one of our favorite skiers. He has a new pro model out. It’s called the Hoji, and we’re taking it to Japan. At 130-112-121mm, the Hoji is being positioned as more of an everyday option, as opposed to its somewhat similar, bigger brother, the 4FRNT Renegade.

The Hoji is also replacing the 4FRNT EHP, and there are a lot of rabid, angry EHP fans who are wailing and scowling, declaring that the Hoji better be good. (But if you know anything about Eric, you need to ask yourself: Is it really smart to be betting against him these days?)

We aren’t going to place any wagers, but we are psyched to see what he and 4FRNT have come up with.


2012-2013 Line Influence 115, 186cm

We’ve been putting time in on the 11/12 Line Influence 115, and have been stunned by the way that ski handles on groomers. Its flat tail and major sidecut makes for a fatter ski with the carving performance that will make any racer smile when on corduroy and when things get deep.

But Line didn’t leave well enough alone. (Evidently, Line doesn’t fear hordes of angry guys as much as they fear those chicks who rip…) The 2012-2013 version of the Influence 115 sports a rockered tail and the hallmark metal matrix has now been embedded into the wood core of the ski. So while we feel a little bit like those upset EHP fans, we’re mostly just crazy excited to see how the tweaked Influence handles pillows and trees.


2012-2013 Blizzard Bodacious, 196cm

Yep, finally.

It’s been a full year since we gave the Bodacious our *Dying To Try It* BLISTER Award at SIA. We’ve skied the ~98mm Bonafide a little, and had a few reservations. (We’ll be spending a lot more time on the Bodacious this spring.) Then, we skied the ~108mm Blizzard Cochise a lot, and were totally blown away. Then we tried to figure out what Flipcore is….

But now things get serious. The Bodacious is big, and its legend has grown. There is lots of talk about its nonexistant speed limit. At 118mm underfoot, this might be the fastest way to travel in Niseko, top to bottom.

It’s gradual, full reverse camber profile is practically guaranteed to be rock solid at speed. And if it proves to be even remotely forgiving at slower speeds, even for it’s size, Blizzard will have struck another sweet balance of badass performance and manageability.


Ok, so it’s now 2 in the morning, I leave for the airport in 7 hours, and I haven’t started to pack. (Or sleep.)

So I’ll continue to update this list from various planes, trains, and automobiles. Nine skis down, five very cool skis to go….



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