Niseko, Japan Ski Review Trip: Our Selections


As I write this, we are flying from Tokyo to Sapporo, sitting on a gigantic, Pokemon-edition 747 (no, seriously – check out BLISTER’s facebook page), stunned by the natural beauty of this country, and especially by the sight of Mt. Fuji.

We’ll arrive in Sapporo soon, where we will be met by Clayton Kernighan of Black Diamond Lodge, and we will make the drive to Niseko.

So now, to the remainder of the list:


2012-2013 ON3P Cease and Desist, 193cm

Understatement of the Day: This is a big ski. It has a ton of tip rocker and a massive shovel. Of the group, the Cease and Desist is right up there with the Blizzard Bodacious in terms of its ‘powder missile’ looks. Speed and stability in pow seem to be the relevant keywords here. Also from the looks of it, it seems safe to say that there will be no noodling around on this ski.

We’ve been getting time on the 191 Billy Goat earlier this season, and we can’t wait to see how the Cease and Desist compares and contrasts. (We also can’t wait to go really, really fast on these things.)


2012-2013 Blizzard Dakota, 177cm

We’ve gushed about the Blizzard Cochise, we’re finally getting on the Bodacious, and we’re about to introduce the brand new Gun Smoke to some very deep snow. But Blizzard hasn’t forgotten about the ladies, and their new Dakota is the women’s version of the Cochise.

We’ll find out whether the modifications to the Cochise will leave our women reviewers as impressed as the guys.


2012-2013 Volkl Shiro, 183cm

Originally, we had talked about taking with us the 193cm Shiro, but the large shovels on this ski made us curious to see how maneuverable and versatile the 183cm model is, and whether it offers enough flotation to work as a fat but relatively short pow ski.

(Of course, everybody here is already insisting that we’re going to need to check out the 193cm, too, and of course they’re right….)

In this case, we are definitely hoping for some family resemblance between the Shiro and the Katana, because if the Shiro is a more powder oriented, surfier Katana…..


Wait, hang on. We’re landing. I’ll get to the last two selections on the ground in Sapporo….

…ok, four flights later (and $600 dollars in heavy bag penalty fees), the crew has made it to CTS airport in Sapporo. We’ll be getting in a vehicle soon to make the two-hour drive to Niseko. But before we get going, here are the last two items on our list:


2012-2013 Black Diamond Element, 175cm

The Black Diamond Justice is a ski that we reviewed last year. Black Diamond is positioning the Justice as more of a backcountry touring ski, and the Element is BD’s 115mm women’s all-mountain pow ski.

We don’t have a lot of preconceived notions about this ski, it’s just that our women reviewers were unanimous in their desire to ski it and see what it’s got.


2011-2012 DPS Lotus 138, Pure, 192cm

Not so long ago, DPS was the new kid on the block, and the Lotus 138 was one of the freshest innovations in the world of powder skiing.

Now, the Lotus 138 is more like the grandfather of modern design. It’s been around for a while, and while DPS has continued to tweak the construction materials, sidecut profiles, and amount of splay, the ski maintains its unmistakable, iconic look.

For their 2012-2013 model, however, DPS completely rethought the Lotus 138 from the ground up, regarded nothing as sacred about its design, and after major deliberation…decided just to throw a snowflake on the top sheet.

So what’s the takeaway here? DPS believes that the Lotus 138 is dialed.

All we really know is that the Lotus 138 Pure is the OG of our group, and we wanted to see how it would stack up against some of the most high profile, recent designs in powder skiing.

Think of it as old guard vs. new, and let the contest begin.


Next stop, Niseko.

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