State of the Blister Union


It’s been almost a year since we launched our Blister Membership, the Blister Deep Dive subscription, and released our first entrance into print with the Blister Winter Buyer’s Guide, so I wanted to share some information about those things, and also provide a bit of a state of the union at Blister.

First, we are extremely grateful for your continued support of Blister. Given that we still do not accept any money from the ski, bike, snowboard, climbing, and outerwear companies that we review, your financial support of Blister is very literally keeping us alive, and making our work possible.

More than ever, it is crucial that someone in the outdoor sports industry is (1) willing to tell the truth, and (2) produce non-insulting, accurate, and helpful reviews about all of this expensive equipment.

We are still turning down a lot of money every year from conflict-of-interest advertisers. And when I read reviews elsewhere, the presence of those conflicts of interest are obvious, resulting in less-than-truthful “reviews” that are basically just glossy, useless advertisements.

For example, one ski publication recently put out their “reviews on the best skis of 2017,” and they say about the new Volkl Confession that it “feels like an old college buddy who’s moved back to town along with his questionable influences: You know he’s probably not that good for you, but damn he’s fun to party with.”

Other times, we find that product descriptions are just dead wrong (e.g., see what’s being said about the Kastle BMX 105 HP).

We have never and will never BS you while claiming that we are here to help you find the right ski or bike or boot.

In short, Blister’s whole reason to exist is to do things differently, and to do them better. We certainly know that there are areas where we need to improve, but we are still fiercely committed to doing things the right way. So I hope you’ll agree that the information we’re providing is valuable, and that our principles are worth supporting.

Things You Should Know:

Blister Membership – Current & New Offerings

We’ve received many enthusiastic comments about the Membership this past year, so thanks to all of those who signed up — we’re psyched to have you on the team.

And same as last year, if you pull the trigger on any of the exclusive discounts that we have arranged for blister members, the membership quickly pays for itself.

Here is what we will be delivering in year two:

  1. Like last year, included in the Blister Membership is a copy of our 16/17 Buyer’s Guide, shipped to your door. You will also receive a digital, downloadable version of the Guide as soon as it is finished.
  2. More Content – We’ll be rolling out a lot more Flash Reviews, giving you our initial takes on the new equipment we’re testing.
  3. More Direct Help – In year 1, we made a promise to provide timely replies on the website to the questions posted by Blister Members. In year 2, we will also guarantee timely replies to the questions you ask us via email. We still really like and encourage you to post questions on the website (given that other members likely have similar questions, so we ought to share the info with them, too), but if you have a less general question, email us, and we will do everything we can to provide helpful information.
  4. More Deals for Blister Members – We are being very selective with the Blister deals, and we will continue to be selective. But we will be adding more deals that are genuinely interesting and genuinely valuable.
  5. More Input from Blister Members – We take it seriously when our members ask us to review a particular product. And our reviews of more products from Faction, Head, and Kaestle are the direct results of member requests.
  6. You’ll also receive a Year’s Subscription to the Blister Deep Dive.

Become a Blister Member

Blister Deep Dive Subscription

We are proud of the quality and the utility of our Deep Dive Comparisons. Other publications can’t offer such accurate comparisons, because other publications don’t spend the amount of time we do actually testing product.

We just wrapped up our head-to-head, direct comparison test of the most prominent AT bindings on the market, something that no other publication has done.

This September we’ve been spending many 16-20 hour days finalizing all of our comparisons for the Blister’s Buyer’s Guide, then rolling out the long-form Deep Dive articles on the site in October. So for year 2, you’re going to be seeing more and more Deep Dive Comparisons.

(And, if you need certain information sooner, become a Blister Member and we will answer specific questions you might have about a particular ski or boot, etc.)

Subscribe to the Deep Dive

16/17 Blister Winter’s Buyer’s Guide

Given that it was our first time doing one of these, last year’s guide was a pretty big success. Many readers and ski manufacturers called it the best Buyer’s Guide they’d ever seen.

Like last year, we are going to be producing a limited number of the print-edition of the Buyer’s Guide, so if you’re interested, get your order in while it’s still available.

Get Your Copy

Bottom Line

Every single company has to figure out how to keep the lights on. But too many review publications do so in ways that create huge conflicts of interest that do not benefit you, the reader.

We are still turning down significant amounts of money that all of our competitors are accepting. We could very easily start taking that money — and if we did, everything would be much, much easier around here. Most of you understand this and appreciate it, and it’s one of the reasons why many of you have been excited to support Blister by becoming members, or Deep Dive subscribers or purchasing a Buyer’s Guide — you find that well-written, honest, and truly independent information is of real value.

I hope this letter helps explain why we’re doing what we’re doing. We still have a strong vision of what we want Blister to be. And this past year, I learned that we are very fortunate to have a number of readers like you who also believe in trying to do things the right way, and who are willing to support such work.

To all of you, Thank You.

Now let’s keep this going. Become a Blister member or purchase your copy of the Buyer’s Guide, and forward this post to your friends who might be interested.


Jonathan Ellsworth
Founder & Editor, Blister

3 comments on “State of the Blister Union”

  1. Hi all of you. Did you try the mask JULBO AEROSPACE to compare it with the Oakley Airbrake in terms of antifog efficiency ? When does the buyer’s guide 2016-2017 will be available.

    Congratulations for your job and your website it’s a great pleasure to read you.

    Stefan from Paris

  2. Hey Jonathan,
    Kind of new to this internet/email thing.
    Can you give me some advice or hook me into some forum/bllog?
    Back to skiing after basically 2 year hiatus.
    Big accident off Hoosier Pass Tib/fib Plateau early season of 2015. Everything not perfect with right leg still not at full size and strength. So looking maybe looking at some easy touring and more probably inbounds this year. Because of my job will probably get in 20-25 days (5 Niseko,5 Zinal/Grimentz and balance Colorado).
    I was skiing skiing 105 Nomad 181s (new tip rocker/flat tail),dynafit radical and scarpa maestraels. Still have some original Rossi 7s 188s (one with the weird looking bird) and Dynafit Titans. Will still go with the Scarpas and buy some Marker KingPins. Now looking for this year something a little shorter? Probably a tip rocker and flat tail? Something pretty forgiving, directional as brought that way but not penalizing to falling in the backseat because the right leg is getting fatigued? Like the underfoot ard 105-110. How do you think? Now looking at BlackCrows Atrius alpine or tour atomic 108, dps 106 foundation or tour, faction 106 or candide 108. Sorry for the long email – can you let me know your thoughts or forum to talk with

  3. Thank you Blister Crew. Finding this site a few years ago was a revelation for me and I truly appreciate your work. I am delighted by the chance to exchange money for your goods and services. Keep it up.

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