1-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Selections (18/19)

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19

Intro

One ski, for every day on the mountain, any and all conditions.

We started out with our 3-ski quiver selections, then narrowed things down to our 2-ski quivers.

And then there was 1.

The 1-ski quiver is the Holy Grail of the ski world. Practically anybody can make either a really good pow ski or a fantastic carver, but to design a ski that will excel across a whole host of conditions?
And that some will want to use both inbounds and also for backcountry ski touring? That’s another thing altogether.

We say it all the time: a single “Do Everything” ski is basically a fantasy, one that’s easy to dream about but impossible to achieve. All ski designs result in tradeoffs.

But while the single ski that perfectly handles all conditions and terrain doesn’t exist, there are a number of skis that do a number of things well — and that number continues to increase.

So in what follows, we’ll name our reviewers’ choices for the 1-ski quivers that work best given their priorities, and where and how they ski. And we believe that their answers may help you figure out which single ski would make the most sense for you. (We’ll be rolling these out over the next several days.)

And if you’d like to see more of our 1-ski quiver choices for low-snow areas and higher-snow areas, be sure to check out our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide, where we offer our 1-ski quiver choices based not on our reviewers’ personal choices, but by width.

The Questions

For each of our reviewers, we asked them to answer the following questions:

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

The Selections:

Jonathan Ellsworth

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

If I only get to use 1 ski for both inbounds laps and backcountry touring … well, the fact is that there have never ever been as many good options and combinations, thanks in large part to the Shift binding.

Here’s my podium:

3rd place:

Salomon QST 106, 188 cm w/ Shift binding

I did the majority of my touring days last season on this setup, and I liked it quite a bit. So did Sam Shaheen.

2nd place:

Folsom Primary (Blister Edition) w/ Shift binding

(See below.)

1st place:

ON3P Wrenegade 96, 186 cm w/ Shift binding

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
ON3P Wrenegade 96

If I were to ski 100 days this season, inbounds and out, I am confident that I will be able to have a very good time on this setup on 85-90% of my days on the mountain. On the awful, refrozen days I’ll make do, and on the very deepest days, I’ll just remind myself that Seth Morrison used to ski his deep days on a 98mm-wide ski, and that the Wrenegade 96 has a more pow-friendly rocker profile than a lot of skis this narrow.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm w/ alpine binding

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Nordica Enforcer 100

This ski just does so much so well, and that point was driven home again for me last spring. On the firmest, iciest, or deepest days, it won’t be ideal, but for 80-90% of the other days, I’ll be having a very good time on the mountain.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Runner Up:

Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm w/ Shift binding

For 50/50 use, I’d opt for the beefier Salomon QST 106 (for use on very firm, inbounds days). But for straight-up touring, a Sick Day 104 would be a very, very fun ski.

Ist Place:

4FRNT Raven, 184  cm + Fritschi Tecton

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
4FRNT Raven

I feel like I’ve been saying the same thing for several years now, but I’ve just never been out on this ski in the backcountry really wishing that I was on something else. I suspect that, if I spent even half of the days on the LINE Sick Day 104 that I have on the Raven, I might be able to say the same thing about the Sick Day 104. But I have all the evidence I need to stick with the Raven.

(And for the record, I wouldn’t mind putting a Shift binding on it, but weight-wise, it just feels like it makes a bit more sense to go with a Tecton on a ski this light. But we are in very subjective territory here, so if you feel differently, I won’t try to get you to change your mind.)

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Folsom Primary (Blister edition) w/ Shift bindings

This might get my vote for most versatile (and fun) setup in the world — if you are willing to go with a bit of a heavier touring setup.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm w/ Shift binding

Somebody, or many of you need to get on this setup. I’ve been opting for the heavier Wrenegade 96 in this spot, but those who want to go a little lighter than the Wren 96 should seriously check out this ski and setup.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Hmmm, I honestly don’t know.

For an inbounds-only 1-ski quiver, I’d say the most likely skis would be the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, or maybe the 188 cm Fischer Ranger 108.

And for everything / 50-50 use … could the Moment Commander 108 break into the mix? We should be finding out the answer to that in the coming weeks.

Sam Shaheen

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)

Initially, I thought this would be a really tough decision. I’ve skied so many skis in the past few years. And so many of those skis are good — even incredible. But as I was having a moderate anxiety attack over which to pick, I remembered the…

G3 SENDr 112, 188 cm

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
G3 SENDr 112

Damn, the SENDr is an easy choice here. At ~1,850 g, it comes in at a reasonable weight for long days touring (I’ve taken it on some very long days including Mt Rainer) and it is still powerful and damp enough to be a blast inbounds. The more touring oriented I wanted my year to be, I’d probably go with a lighter weight pin binding, and the more inbounds days I expected to have, I’d go with a Shift. But every time I reach for the SENDr, it’s a good day.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

For inbounds only skiing, here in Colorado, I would have a hard time not choosing the Rossignol Soul 7 HD. It’s a good waist width that provides a bit of float on deeper days while still being nimble enough to slice up firm snow (this ski carves shockingly well). Plus it’s just damn fun to ski. So much pop and energy. This isn’t really a tough call for me.

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Rossignol Soul 7 HD

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

This is a bit tougher than the last question, but I think I’m going to stick with the G3 SENDr, but definitely with a lighter weight binding (probably an ATK Raider 2.0 / Hagan Core 12 or a G3 ZED). No matter if it’s a big pow day or a remote ski mountaineering objective, the SENDr exactly matches my style and inspires confidence. It’s not for everybody (especially if you prefer a playful/forgiving ride) but if it works for you, the SENDr is almost impossible to pass up here.

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
G3 SENDr 112

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Regardless of location? Man. Some places around the world would definitely skew my skiing more towards riding lifts, but in other places I would end up touring most of the time. In a more touring oriented location, I’d stick with the SENDr, but in a more inbounds oriented spot I’d go with the Rossignol Soul 7 HD.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I love my Soul 7… it’s hard to leave off any list. But especially the 1-ski quiver. It’s just a bit too heavy to make for a reasonable everyday touring ski.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Maybe the Elan Ripstick 106. It has a very similar feel to the Soul 7, but is much lighter and could do double duty as a touring and inbounds ski. I need to spend more time on it on firm snow to see how it holds up, but I’m quite optimistic about that ski.

Luke Koppa

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)

It’s funny, just a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed about owning more than one ski. But now that Blister has spoiled me and I know how many good skis there are out there, this decision is way more difficult. Add to that the fact that I need this single ski to work well for touring and skiing in the resort, and I have a difficult decision to make.

But in the end, after all the skis I could think of, there was a clear winner, and if you’ve read my other quiver selections, it’s probably not much of a surprise:

Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Line Sick Day 104

I’ve already spewed a bunch of words about how much I like this ski, so I’ll try and keep this short. The bottom line is that I can’t think of a day where I’d feel wildly out of place on the Sick Day 104. And for a 1-ski quiver, that’s exactly what I want.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Nordica Enforcer 110

This ski checks pretty much all the boxes for me. It carves well enough to make firm-snow days fun, it floats in pow, it’s playful enough to mess around at slow speeds, and it’s damp and stable enough to charge in chop.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

This one is tougher for me. I haven’t used any skis that perform really well for both mid-winter pow days and longer spring couloir-hunting missions. And there are actually a few skis that are on my radar that I think could fill this slot even better than my current choice, but for now, I’d go with the:

Black Diamond Helio 105 Carbon, 185 cm w/ ATK Raider 2.0 12 bindings

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Black Diamond Helio 105 Carbon

This ski is not particularly playful or amazing in any scenario, but it performs really well across a wide range of conditions. It holds an edge fine on steep, firm snow, and it floats well enough for most pow days. All in all, it’s just a really reliable backcountry ski.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

I’d probably just stick with the Sick Day 104. As I’ve said before, it’s just a lot of fun no matter the conditions or terrain.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

For my 50/50 ski, the Atomic Bent Chetler 100 is another really fun ski that’s light enough to tour on, but I prefer the slightly looser Sick Day 104 for a 1-ski quiver.

If I lived somewhere that got less snow, I’d probably go with the J Skis Masterblaster for my 1-ski inbounds quiver.

And it was tough not to choose the Salomon MTN Explore 95 for my touring 1-ski quiver, but I’d rather pick a wider ski like the Helio 105 to maximize the fun I can have on a mid-winter pow day, rather than go with something narrower that will be a bit better on firm spring days.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

For a 50/50 1-ski quiver, I think the Moment Deathwish, Moment Commander 108, Moment PB&J, Amplid Multiplayer, and Folsom Primary all look like interesting options.

For an inbounds-only 1-ski quiver, I’m intrigued by the J Skis Metal, Moment Commander 108, and Moment PB&J.

But my 1-ski backcountry quiver is where I think there’s the most room for improvement. I haven’t been on a lot of skis that are <1700 grams and that also have a shape and rocker profile that encourage a more playful style of skiing. However, the Amplid Facelift 108, Moment Wildcat Tour 108, and (to a lesser extent) the Atomic Backland 107 all look like more playful alternatives to the Black Diamond Helio 105, and I’ve very excited to check them out.

Cy Whitling

I am a broken record. I wrote my 3, 2, and 1 ski quiver selections all at the same time, which means my gushing about the Moment Deathwish is painfully obvious to myself. Please, someone make a ski that I like more than the Deathwish so I can change my tune! Or maybe, Moment send me that 190 cm Deathfish we made last year so I can at least change up my length!

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

Moment Deathwish, 184 cm w/ Shift bindings

Which Ski for Which Superhero? Blister
Moment Deathwish

Because I’m a broken record that loves 112mm-underfoot skis and triple camber.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Moment Deathwish, 184 cm w/ alpine bindings

Which Ski for Which Superhero? Blister
Moment Deathwish

Have I mentioned the broken record thing? Every time I get on these skis I think “Damn, the garage could burn down and I could lose every ski in there, but as long as the Deathwishes were in the car I’d be fine.”

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

I could totally take the Deathwish here as well, and it’s sort of tempting to, but instead, I’ll go for the:

Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

This ski is so versatile and so easy that I could ski it in the huge variety of conditions I tour in and not get too frustrated. Most folks would go narrower, but my favorite days in the backcountry involve deep snow, cliffs, jumps, and pillows. This ski is so incredibly dialed for that kind of ski-touring.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

184 cm Moment Deathwish, again.

Please, someone, I beg you, release me from my repetitive ski desires by producing something that steals my heart like my mismatched, second-hand pair of Deathwishes did!

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I like silly pow skis, and the Bent Chetler 120 is quickly becoming as repetitive as the Deathwish.

V. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

The Deathwish is going to be hard to dethrone. Maybe the 190 cm Deathwish? There’s a chance the ON3P Kartel 108 could also be a suitable replacement, but it’s slim.

Consider this an open challenge, ski manufacturers. My Deathwishes finally bit the dust yesterday, and I desperately need something to replace them before I start surfing the second-hand forums for another pair of the same thing. What’s out there that can fill that triple-camber-shaped hole in my heart?

Brian Lindahl

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

This is a pretty tough decision. For backcountry skiing, I prefer shorter skis that are narrow enough to perform on firm snow but wide enough for a bit of fresh snow. But my favorite kind of skiing is in deep snow with lots of features to jump off. So, naturally, I prefer longer widths and wider platforms for that type of skiing. So I’m going to go a bit longer and wider than last year and sacrifice a bit in the backcountry.

Volkl V-Werks Katana, 191 cm w/ inserts for Fritschi Tecton and Marker Alpinist bindings

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Volkl V-Werks Katana

The V-Werks Katana skis well in both powder and on firm snow, is stiff enough to be predictable when landing cliffs and other airs, and is light enough for touring. It’s a bit wide for firm snow, and the 191 cm version is a bit long for touring, but a 1-ski quiver is all about making concessions. I’d also probably mount it a few centimeters forward of the very-rearward -14 cm mark.

Unfortunately, the mount pattern of the Tecton falls outside the Marker-prescribed H pattern on the V-Werks Katana, but, as I mentioned in my 2-ski quiver last year, the Tecton heels barely fall outside the pattern. So, after drilling, I’d pack any gaps with a sawdust and epoxy mixture, redrill, mount with inserts, and call it good.

To be very clear, Volkl does not endorse this, and they definitely would not warranty my skis after doing it. I also can’t recommend that other people mount anything but Marker bindings on the V-Werks and BMT skis. But if I’m being completely honest and transparent, this is what I personally would do, and I’d love to see the V-Werks and BMT accept a greater range of bindings in the future.

And I’d also happily ski the Salomon / Atomic Shift on the V-Werks Katana for my 50/50 setup, but Volkl does not endorse this and we haven’t had a chance to see where the Shift’s mounting pattern falls on the V-Werks skis.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

This one is easy…

ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
ON3P Wrenegade 108

If it weren’t for the Wren 108’s extra mass over the V-Werks Katana, I would have also picked the Wrenegade 108 for my 1-ski quiver for both backcountry and resort. But for resort-only, it’s a no-brainer since the Wren 108’s extra mass becomes a benefit.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Volkl V-Werks Katana, 191 cm w/ inserts for Fritschi Tecton and Marker Alpinist bindings

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Volkl V-Werks Katana

For the backcountry, I’m still going to be skiing terrain with air-able features where a wider, longer, and stiffer powder ski is really nice to have. I haven’t been on any other stiff, lightweight skis with a waist around 110 mm beside the V-Werks Katana, so I’m going to stick with it. I will also be doing shorter mini-golf tours where I’d push my limits, so the greater elasticity and lateral release at the toe of the Tecton would be nice, and having the Alpinist for really long days makes this setup very versatile.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

For a ski that I’ll be riding over a period of 3 years, I’d switch things up a bit, primarily due to the potential long-term durability of the V-Werks Katana’s thin construction. So I’d instead go with the following:

Armada Invictus 108 Ti, 188 cm w/ inserts for Shift and ATK Raider 2.0 12 bindings

I haven’t skied the Invictus 108 Ti, so I’m cheating a bit here. I really enjoyed the Armada Invictus 99 Ti, and I’d place bets on the Armada Invictus 108 Ti being just as powerful, just as stiff through the tail, a bit heavier, and hopefully a bit stiffer through the shovel. But if you’re going to hold my feet to the fire and require that I pick a ski that I’ve actually skied, I guess I’ll pick the Armada Invictus 99 Ti — it’s just a bit narrower and softer through the shovel than what I’d really want to be on.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Last year I picked the Salomon QST 99 for all the reasons I (sort-of) picked the Armada Invictus 99 Ti in the previous question. It’s got a stiff, powerful tail, good powder performance, and comes in at a weight that wouldn’t be miserable to tour on. However, I’ve preferred the slightly narrower shovel of the Armada Invictus 99 Ti.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I can imagine that a Prior Husume XTC would be near the top of this list. I haven’t skied it yet, but it’s supposedly looser than the ON3P Wrenegade 108, has a less-dramatic rocker profile (which I prefer), comes in at a touring-friendly weight, and, if the flex of the XTC version is similar to the Quadglass version, it’d also be quite stiff.

The Wrenegade 108 in ON3P’s lighter touring-specific layup is also intriguing as a 1-ski quiver.

Sascha Anastas

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

After spending a significant amount of time on the Blizzard Black Pearl 98 over the past few seasons, I thought for sure that it would be my answer. But ultimately, for my 1-ski quiver I’d want something that is stable and fast for the resort, yet lightweight and surfy enough for variable snow in the backcountry. And for this, I’d want something a bit wider, so I’d go with the:

Line Pandora 104, 165 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Line Pandora 104

I cannot get over how maneuverable this ski is and how well it performs in bumps, tight trees, and variable conditions, given how wide it is. It’s also impressively lightweight, making it an easy choice for the backcountry.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

For skiing only in the resort, I would probably be able to get away with a narrower ski. I have gone back and forth in my head between the Liberty Genesis 96 or the Black Pearl 98. The Black Pearl 98 is a bit more of a precision-oriented ski and is pretty stiff and damp, while the Genesis 96 is more playful while still being pretty stiff and stable … It may have to be a coin toss on this one!

Blister's Guide to the Best Skis for Beginners
Liberty Genesis 96
Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Blizzard Black Pearl 98

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Armada Trace 108, 172 cm w/ Fritschi Tecton bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Armada Trace 108

The DPS Zelda 106 would also be a pretty reasonable option given its low weight, and the Pandora 104 could also work here. But I think that at the end of the day, weight would be my biggest selling point, and since the Trace 108 is the lightest, that would have to be my answer. If I could ski it in the right length, I would be curious to see how the Volkl 100Eight compares to these other skis.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Hardest question! There are so many great skis out there and when you spend a few seasons skiing a little bit of everything, it’s hard to imagine such a world — but then I remember just a few seasons ago, I basically had only one pair of skis. Again, I think I would have to go with the Line Pandora 104 for all the same reasons listed above.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Whichever ski didn’t win the coin toss in question II — so the Blizzard Black Pearl 98 or Liberty Genesis 96.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

When I skied the Prior Flute at the end of last season I was quite blown away by how a company that started as a snowboard manufacturer could come up with a ski that skied as well as the Flute. I can’t say too much about how they perform across the board as I have yet to get them in really deep or really firm snow, but I’m looking forward to doing so this season.

Another ski that I have yet to ski is the Liberty Genesis 106. I was impressed with both the Genesis 90 and 96 and I feel like the 106 could be a good competitor for the Pandora 104. I also can’t stop thinking about the Nordica Santa Ana 100 and the Blizzard Sheeva 10 / 11 — I haven’t skied any of them yet, but I suspect that they’d be near the top of my list based on their designs and what Kara and Kristin have said about them.

Kristin Sinnott

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

I’ve started and restarted my response to this over and over again, I’ve played out different scenarios with each ski many times, and the answer is still a difficult one for me. The more I think about it, the more I lean towards a ski that is around 100 mm underfoot. At that width, the ski should be wide enough to perform reasonably well in powder but not so wide that it feels unruly while making short, quick turns on groomers or in tight trees.

Unfortunately, my two favorite skis (DPS Alchemist Uschi 94 & Nordica Santa Ana 110) are either just slightly narrower or wider than what I’m looking for here, so I have to look to a different ski. This brings me to the:

Armada Trace 98, 172 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Armada Trace 98

With the Shift bindings mounted to the Trace 98, I would have a 1-ski quiver that would perform well in almost all the conditions I encounter the most, including inbounds terrain at Taos Ski Valley and backcountry around Northern New Mexico and Colorado.

I had the opportunity to ski the Trace 98 in soft conditions on the U.S. East Coast and in Revelstoke, and also got it on some hard pack in New Hampshire last season. In all of these conditions, these skis held their edge nicely without getting pushed around much or having any tip flop. While I would prefer to have a multi-ski quiver, I think I could be happy with just the Trace 98.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

This is a toss-up between the Armada Trace 98 and the DPS Alchemist Uschi 94. As much as I like to ski powder inbounds, I find that my desk job keeps me occupied for too many powder days. With that in mind, I could possibly get away with the slightly narrower Uschi A94 as my 1-ski quiver choice. Whichever ski I choose, I would mount them with alpine bindings instead of the Shift bindings.

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
DPS Alchemist Uschi 94
Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Armada Trace 98

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

The only thing I would change would be to mount the Trace 98 with Marker Kingpin bindings instead of the Shifts to lighten the setup by a couple hundred grams. The Shift bindings give me a little more peace of mind while skiing in the resort as I tend to ski faster inbounds (and therefore the consequences of an inconsistent release are typically higher). In the backcountry, I’m more conservative and I feel comfortable with the design of the Kingpins.

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

This is somewhat difficult to answer due to the limited number of skis that I have tested. At this time, I would stick with the Armada Trace 98, but I do think it is likely that this ski could get dethroned when I get the opportunity to spend more time on other skis that are around 100 mm underfoot. But having skied the Armada Trace 98 back east and in the southern and northern Rocky Mountains, I could be happy on this ski.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The DPS Alchemist Uschi 94 would be the hardest to leave off my list, but as it is a contender for the inbounds only 1-ski quiver, I guess it’s not technically off the list.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Since I narrowed my 1-ski quiver down to my ideal waist of 100 mm, I think there are a number of skis that could potentially make this list. The Blizzard Black Pearl 98 is one of the best-selling women’s skis on the market today. While I’m not one to jump on a bandwagon for no reason, I do know fellow reviewer Sascha Anastas likes them and even considered them for her 1-ski quiver, so that definitely peaks my interest.

And while I only had the chance to ski the Blizzard Sheeva 10 for a few runs last season, I was impressed with them and I imagine the more time I spend on them, the more I might like them.

The Line Pandora 104 is another ski I would like to spend some time on based on the fact that the Line Pandora 110 used to be my favorite ski and Sascha can’t seem to say enough good things about the new Pandora 104.

Additionally, I love the Nordica Santa Ana 110 but found them a little too heavy and stiff to incorporate into my 1-ski quiver. So, I imagine the narrower Santa Ana 100 could be a contender for the resort only 1-ski quiver.

Lastly, I know I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about the DPS Alchemist Uschi 94 in my ski quiver write-ups (and to anyone that brings up skis to me in-person), so I am intrigued by the slightly wider DPS Alchemist Nina 99 or Foundation Nina 99.

Paul Forward

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?

My ski season revolves around Heli-ski guiding in the Chugach for about 11 weeks per year. As I’ve written many times, the ski that currently best suits me for day after day in the big mountains is the 191 cm DPS Alchemist Lotus 124. DPS claims to have made minor tweaks to the ski for 18/19 and I haven’t skied the newest version, but it’s at the very top of my wishlist for this season, though it doesn’t sound like there’s a dramatic difference, especially in the 191 cm length I tested.

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
DPS Alchemist Lotus 124

The Lotus A124 has the floatation and stability for the biggest Alaskan runs, remains damp at speed, but is also nimble and light enough for technical lines and tight spaces. On mellower terrain they’re still super fun for slashing or carving around.

For lift-served days they’re a little wide, but I’ve skied them plenty at Alyeska and they still hold their own in bumpy or firm conditions. Matched with a touring binding (a Shift might serve double-duty but I haven’t tried it yet) the Lotus A124 is still light enough for big days in the skin track or my annual glacier camping trips.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

If I was only skiing inbounds I’d still be inclined to go with a fairly fat ski. I love groomers, tracked-up snow, and crud (heck, I even love skiing breakable crust!), but I’m always in pursuit of pow and skis in the 110-120 mm range serve me well all season, especially at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, AK where I live.

With that in mind, it comes down to the 190 cm Moment Wildcat / Blister Pro or the 191 cm Nordica Enforcer Pro, but the more balanced feel and playfulness of the Blister Pro win me over vs. the improved stability and carving prowess of the Nordica. The Blister Pro is fun on the firm stuff but provides plenty of float in pow. I’d miss having skinny carvers, but I’d be happy all season in Alaska on the Blister Pro. I’d pair it with a Salomon STH 16.

Which Ski for Which Superhero? Blister
Moment Blister Pro

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Despite having long-held reservations about previous generations of Black Diamond skis, the 186 cm Black Diamond Helio 116 really impressed me last season and I’d be happy to take it anywhere I go in pursuit of pow.

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19

It’s ridiculously light for its size, has a playful but predictable shape, and has enough stability for the chunder and weird stuff. Binding selection would be a little bit trickier. I’d probably opt for light tech binding like the Dynafit Superlight 2.0 or maybe something a little beefier like the G3 Zed, though for big lines in steep terrain I might lean toward the elasticity and retention I’ve found with the Fritschi Tecton.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

This will be my 3rd season guiding on the Lotus A124 and I’ve been pretty content with it. They’ve taken some massive rock hits, one of which I was sure had broken the ski, yet they still have flat bases and intact edges despite some big core shots. For all the reasons listed above and elsewhere on the site, I’d stick with the Lotus A124.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The Head Kore 117 is light enough for touring, stable enough for inbounds use, big enough for heli-skiing, and, overall, is an intuitive and fun ski for most conditions. It was tough to leave it off the list.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I really want to find a 100-110 mm ski that clicks for me, but I just haven’t found one that I love yet. I like the idea of dropping down from the 118 mm Blister Pro to something skinnier that still has decent float, but I haven’t found the right ski yet. I’m hoping to put in a lot more time on this class of skis this season.

Kara Williard

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?

This was a tough choice, mainly because I kept feeling like picking something 110 mm underfoot was a bit too wide for some days at Taos, but then I remembered all the hardpack days I spent on the Nordica Santa Ana 110 last year and how darn impressive it was, so my choice is:

Nordica Santa Ana 110, 177 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Nordica Santa Ana 110

The Santa Ana 110 is a versatile and super stable ski, it can still carve very well, and it also remains playful in a broad spectrum of conditions. It offers all I wish for on a soft-snow day — plenty of float, playfulness, and maneuverability for tricky lines. And yet, for a ski that’s 110 mm wide, it can still handle hardpack and groomers.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

If I was looking for a ski to only use inbounds, I think I’d revert to the:

Nordica Santa Ana 100, 177 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Nordica Santa Ana 100

Giving up a bit of soft snow performance would do me some favors around NM, and this ski suits all of my interests, even when there’s a not much snow. I had written last year that it serves well as a 1-ski quiver for women who prefer a damp, stable, and versatile ski, and I still confidently stick to that claim.

III. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

I would go with my first choice, Santa Ana 110. I have definitely selected some slightly heavier options, and it’s reasonable to think that if I got more into touring I would elect for something lighter than the Santa Ana 110, maybe the Blizzard Sheeva 11.

IV. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The Blizzard Bonafide was definitely tough to leave off. It has served as my resort-specific 1-ski quiver in the past, and it has always proven to be a really excellent and dynamic ski in almost any terrain and conditions.

V. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I feel inherently biased toward skis with metal, and as a result, I’m very interested in trying the Armada Victa 97 Ti.

For a more playful and lighter option that caters a bit more to touring / soft-snow conditions, I’m curious about the Line Pandora 104, which I think would serve as a valuable comparison to the Blizzard Sheeva 10 and 11. I would like to spend more time on a couple skis without metal to see how that experience caters to the touring side of things, given that my current pick, the Santa Ana 110, is very heavy.

Joey Teahan

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?

I spend the majority of my time skiing the front range of Colorado, sticking mostly to the terrain parks but always jumping into the trees and hitting side-country cliffs when the snow is right.

For my one ski quiver, I would pick the 186 cm Faction Candide 3.0 and mount it with alpine bindings. Its nearly as light as any park ski, playful enough to jib around on, and wide enough that it can stay afloat in almost any snow condition I typically see in Colorado.

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Faction Candide 3.0

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

As I do almost no backcountry touring, the Candide 3.0 is still my pick.

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Faction Candide 3.0

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

For a pure backcountry setup, I would definitely want a little more width underfoot, but I would most likely stick with the Candide series. The few times I’ve been on the 5.0 they felt very similar to the 3.0 in terms of playfulness and flex pattern, and knowing I’d never have to take them on a groomer I would want the most width underfoot I could get, so I’d go with the Candide 5.0.

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

This question for me is a bit tricky, being a park skier first and foremost it’s hard for me to pick a 1-ski quiver in the first place. I’ll always love my playful, poppy park skis, but when the snow really starts to pile up its miserable trying to slash through champagne powder on a 90 mm cambered ski.

I have really started falling in love with Factions Candide series, and the 3.0 is perfect for my home mountain Eldora, but I would take the Candide 4.0 with me if I was going the next three years to any location on earth.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The J Skis Allplay was my favorite 1-ski quiver a few years back, so it’s difficult to leave it out, but the Candide 3.0 seem to perform better in every condition. I haven’t been able to do a side by side comparison as I had the Allplay a few years back and before I started reviewing, but I still think I would prefer the Candide 3.0.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Thinking back on the J Skis Allplay, I would love to spend some time riding the J Skis Vacation and Friend. While the Allplay did pretty well in variable conditions, I’d want to go wider for a 1-ski quiver, and I really love what J Skis has been putting out these past few years.

Scott Nelson

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort)?

I mostly ski the terrain parks in Summit County, CO, but have been spending increasingly more of my time at Arapahoe Basin as I get older (somewhere around a 60/40 split). For my 1-ski quiver, I need something that’s going to be able to handle bigger park jumps, still be fun on flat-light days when I’m mostly just sliding rails, can float a bit in powder, but is still nimble and lively in the trees.

While this combination is a bit of a tall order, I find that the 184 cm Faction Candide 2.0 (with Look Pivot 14 bindings) hits the mark.

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Faction Candide 2.0

It strikes a nice balance between playful / surfy while remaining stable enough that I don’t feel constantly on the verge of washing out on big jumps. At 102 mm underfoot and with a bit of subtle tip and tail rocker, the Candide 2.0 can float well enough on most powder days without sacrificing any snappy agility.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

As I really only ski inbounds, I’ll stick with my answer to question #1.

Blister's 2-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Faction Candide 2.0

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

I’m not nearly informed enough to answer this question appropriately.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

As I mentioned in my response to this question in my 2-ski quiver selections, I think the ON3P Magnus 102 would be an excellent option, in large part due to its durability. In addition to the typically bomber ON3P construction, the Magnus 102 features a unique combination of a playful, surfy rocker profile and a very stiff flex pattern, making it a really fun option both in the park and around the mountain in a variety of conditions. At 102 mm underfoot, it isn’t too wide for an East Coast skier, and not too narrow for most deeper West Coast days.

Blister's 1-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
ON3P Magnus 102

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The J Skis Allplay narrowly missed my list due to the fact that it spreads itself so evenly across various attributes, almost to a fault. While the Allplay is very intuitive, playful, and nimble, it doesn’t quite excel in any categories like the other two skis I mentioned above. In particular, the Allplay sacrifices slightly more in terms of stability compared to the Candide 2.0, while not compensating by absolutely blowing the 2.0 out of the water in terms of playfulness.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

As I mentioned in my 2-ski quiver, I’m excited to get on the Moment PB&Jib, as it looks like a nice blend of a traditional park ski and a playful all-mountain jib ski. I really liked the Moment Vice from years past, and the PB&Jib looks like a beefier version of the Vice, which I’m all for.

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6 comments on “1-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Selections (18/19)”

  1. As an Older Dude skiing only where the lifts — and maybe a teeny bit of hiking — will bring me, I’m with Jon Boy on this one: Nordica Enforcer 100.

    It’s not the best at anything IMO, with the notable exception of its performance to effort ratio. It’s so easy in chop. My legs rejoice!

  2. Curious if anyone has taken the Slant Diplomats out for a spin in the “1 ski quiver” category?
    They’re small – about 4 miles from the Squaw Valley access road. Just picked up a pair but always curious to hear your take on them.

  3. Which of these 1-skis quiver would suit a heavier advanced skier (6″4, 210lbs) skiing mostly French Alps but also Canada from time to time? My preference would be for a ski around 100mm under waist that is responsive enough in the bumps and trees but can still have fun on powder days. From reading the reviews and comments it would seem that I would overpower lighter skis. Also, happy to consider wider skis but think you would loose some maneuverability in tight spots.

  4. The one-ski quiver is harder than ever to discern. For someone like me, almost all of my off-piste skiing is inbounds. When I tour, it’s either uphill inbounds before the day starts or on singletrack with my family while they snowshoe. Maybe twice a season I get some legit backcountry skiing in, but it’s not my normal anymore. The inbounds skiing itself is all over resorts like Vail and A-basin. Nice groomers, chewed up or wind blown groomers, above tree line bowls, mid-angle glades, sidestash trees; these are all the places I need the ski to be forgiving and stable. Swing weight matters when I’m tired. Stiff and damp matters when I decide to mash the gas. Buy more than one ski? No.

    How to decide between all the options? Well, honestly I’m surprised that straight comparo between light and forgiving skis in the 100mm category hasn’t been written here at Blister. Sorry, but driving an Enforcer 100 or a Bonafide or even a Mantra M5 isn’t in the cards for many of us middle-aged ski-everything medium-pace folks. Bent Chetler 100 vs Rustler 10 vs Daemon vs Line 104. Name a winner out of that lineup. Slap a Shift on it and approximately 92% of readers will have a legit setup.

    Thank’s for the awesome website for us mountain folk.

  5. I love Blister Reviews but unfortunately you don’t really cover much in the way of skis suited to the Southern Hemisphere. 90% of people are on skis in the 70-90mm width range and there is no use for 100+ mm wide skis as the snow is too hard. I’d love to see some reviews for some narrower GS, carving and all mountain skis.

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