3-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices (17/18)

Brian Lindahl (see Bio)


I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

I primarily ski at Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, as well as the Colorado backcountry. However, I also spend at least a few weeks per season traveling to chase powder during our dry spells — usually to places like Wyoming, Utah, Washington, or British Columbia.

Ski #1: ~105 mm directional resort ski

I’ve spent a lot of years skiing resort powder on 115-124 mm skis and have slowly begun to face the reality that these wider skis are a lot of work after the first 3-4 untracked runs on a powder day. In addition, many of today’s 100-110 mm skis seem to work really well in just about any condition. Sure, they aren’t super surfy in deep snow through trees, but my favorite skiing at Colorado resorts is the opposite of that — big, fast turns on wind-buffed soft snow in the high alpine. My pick for this sort of skiing is the 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 (I skied the 16/17 version, and Kastle says they tweaked the core for 17/18, so I’m hoping to get on the new version very soon). Not only does it ski wind-buffed powder very well (even on deeper days), it also has that damp, smooth feel on firm variable snow during dry spells. I’d mount the BMX 105 with the CAST Freetour system, since I always want the option of being able to responsibly and efficiently go out the sidecountry gates.

Blister Review's 3-Ski Quiver Selections
Kastle BMX 105


Ski #2: ~120 mm directional powder ski

It’s always fun to find interesting features to play on in deeper snow, so when conditions are right, either in the backcountry or at the resort, I want the right tool for the job. Over the years, I’ve found that a wider platform and stiff flex help avoid augering in too deep on landings. I also really enjoy the loose feeling you get with flat or reverse camber skis. So, while I haven’t had it out in deep mid-winter conditions yet, the 190 cm Whitedot Ragnarok is my pick, because it’s the only ski currently on the market that I’ve been on that meets all the above criteria. I’d mount the Ragnarok with the Fritschi Vipec. I haven’t had any pre-releases in these conditions over the last 2 years with the Vipec, even when getting stupid. The Vipec also offers tech-touring weight and efficiency with a level of potential safety (in my opinion) above all other options. This season, I’m looking forward to seeing if I’ll end up preferring the alpine-style heel of the Tecton 12, or lower weight and ease of use of the Vipec.

Blister Review's 3-Ski Quiver Selections
Whitedot Ragnarok


Ski #3: ~105 mm directional touring ski

This was a tough choice. As much as I wanted to pick a narrow ~88 mm ski for firm snow days, I spend too much time touring to do so. Any time there’s 6+ inches of fresh snow, I’ll usually start off the day with a few hours of early morning touring on mellow terrain. And, later in the season, from May through July, I do a fair amount of longer tours. For this ski, I chose the 179 cm LINE Sick Day 104. It has a level of poppiness and playfulness that really increases the amount of fun I have when meadow skipping in powder conditions. It also comes in under 1800 grams, while still providing enough stability to feel comfortable at speed in more variable conditions. I’d mount the Sick Day 104 with Salomon MTN bindings, or perhaps even consider some lighter options that are rarely seen outside of rando-races, as the lighter binding options haven’t given me any problems over the past 3 years.

Blister Review's 3-Ski Quiver Selections
LINE Sick Day 104



II. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

For ski #1, I really wanted this to be the Head Monster 108, but I’ve only skied the 184 cm, which is too short for me in powder, and the 191 cm still has barely any tip rocker, so I’m a bit hesitant.

For ski #3, it was REALLY hard to leave off the 184 cm Head Monster 88. I love that ski in firm conditions, but ultimately, I had to go with a touring ski — something that’s a bit more practical for the majority of my skiing for a good chunk of the year.


III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I’m looking forward to trying out lighter options for ski #2. A number of options pique my interest, such as the Head Kore 117, Faction Prime 4.0, Volkl BMT 122, 4FRNT Renegade (the newest, lighter version), and the Whitedot Ragnarok Carbonlite.

For ski #1, I’d be really curious to try a custom 189 cm ON3P Wrenegade 108 with one of their stiffer layups, the 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 HP (hoping for a stiffer tip?), and the 190 cm Stockli Stormrider 105.


IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

This is really difficult. I’m pretty picky about ski #2, and not many people are making a ski with that design (stiff and reverse camber), and of those that do, they don’t really make ski #1 (heavy, smooth and stable in firm conditions with good powder performance). As a consolation, I’m less picky about ski #3, and most companies make something close enough. One last caveat is that I’m unable to make up a single-company quiver from the current-season skis I’ve been on, so I’ll have to make some educated guesses based on what other Blister reviewers have found.

Ideally, my first pick would be:

Ski #1: 191 cm Volkl Mantra
Ski #2: 186 cm Volkl BMT 122
Ski #3: 176 cm Volkl BMT 109

However, the Volkl BMT 122 isn’t supposed to be mounted with the Vipec, so my second pick would be:

Ski #1: 191 cm Head Monster 108 (powder performance is a big question mark)
Ski #2: 189 cm Head Kore 117
Ski #3: 180 cm Head Kore 105


NEXT: Paul Forward’s 3-Ski Quiver Selections

21 comments on “3-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices (17/18)”

  1. FYI about the BMT series and non-Marker binding compatibility: I’ve mounted the BMT 94 (also only made for Marker bindings) with the Vipec, but used inserts and haven’t had any issues to date. I’ve put 7 days on them last spring, Expert skier, style: 160 lbs and ski in a playful directional way, but fairly hard. I’ve even subjected them to a day of resort laps in firm, cruddy snow, that was just beginning to thaw a bit and they held up. They actually skied surprisingly well for their low weight..

    You guys really should have reviewed the BMT 94 before it was replaced with the now cambered BMT 90.. The 94 is soooo much fun as a narrow touring ski for firm / spring conditions. It has tenacious grip in firm snow, you wouldn’t even know it’s fully rockered! Until you try the first ankle initiated slarve in spring corn..

  2. Great write up, I was hoping you guys would drop a quiver article this year.

    There were a few mentions of using multiple binding patterns on the same ski with inserts. Have you noticed any change in performance or stiffness when there are multiple insert patterns drilled?

  3. The love for blizzards appears to be over compared to the last couple of years…. was it that good of a snow year in the US? ;)

    • For the Western side of the U.S., yeah. Some Californian resorts were open until August, and when the temps around 2 hours away were over 100f.

  4. Awesome stuff. Surprised the Nordica Enforcer 100 didn’t make anybody’s cut, since it reviewed well here (and everywhere else).

    Looking forward to the A/B of Monster 88 and 98. The 88 is on my short list, but may have a bit too much overlap with the Enforcer 100 sitting in my garage.

    • Hi, Tom – I mention the Enforcer 100 and offer my explanation. It’s a fantastic ski, no question. And others will prefer it to my pick – it’s such an easy ski to recommend.

      As for the Monster 88, I personally don’t think it has too much overlap with the Enforcer 100. On really firm snow, the Monster 88 blows the Enforcer 100 away in terms of stability at speed. Whereas in deeper snow, the Enforcer 100 would blow the Monster 88 away. The Monster 88 is simply one of the best / burliest firm-snow skis we’ve been on. I’m not 100% ready to put it in the same category as the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 … but I’m about 99.2% ready to do that. It’s really, really good.

  5. Pretty cool segment! Dialing in my 3 ski quiver has been a hobby of mine to kill time at work forever. It’d be nice if you mixed in a lady reviewer. I personally don’t like most skis over 115 underfoot because they drive me more than I do them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong ass lady and am by no means small but still it’s often too much much ski for me. Since most of these reviews had skis bigger than that I’d like to hear some lady’s opinions. Cmon at least add one before you publish an article like this…. we are 40% of the market.

  6. Jonathan,

    The quiver section is my favorite. Quick question for you. My travel quiver is Kastle MX84 185cm and Bibby Pro 190cm. What would you choose for the middle spot the Masterblaster or the Kartel. I am 6′ 220 expert. Ski mainly Utah and Wyoming. Thanks Steve

    • Hi, Steve – for this middle ski, the more you care about its carving / groomer performance, the more I’d opt for the Masterblaster. Beyond that, you just have to make the decision: the Masterblaster is the better firm-conditions ski, but it can also handle some deeper snow – easily 6-12″, where I, at least, wouldn’t hesitate to then break out the Bibby. The Kartel 108 is going to overlap more with the Bibby, but it’s certainly a fun, all-mountain ride. So I’d think you’d want to go with it the more interested you are in — when you’re not skiing the Bibby — opting for 1 of 2 very different styles of ski, the MX84 (traditional carver) or the Kartel 108 (more versatile, way more playful, all-mountain ski). I.e., the MX84 anchors the groomer / carving side of the quiver. The Bibby anchors your deep snow / variable conditons end. Now just decide where you’re willing to overlap a bit / have zero performance gaps (MX84 + Kartel 108 + Bibby, or MX84 + Masterblaster + Bibby). Two good options, just depends now on your preferences.

  7. I am surprised you picked the Kartel 108 over the Wrenegade 108 given you prefer directional skis. I am assuming the bump up in playfulness of the Kartel is greater than the bump up in stability of the Wrenegade. Is that a correct assumption or were you looking for greater differentiation between skis in your three ski quiver?

  8. I realize this is not really what blister is about but I’m surprised that even though you pick skis specifically for groomers nobody chose an actual SL/GS carving ski like the Fischer RC4, Stöckli Laser, Nordica Dobermann etc.
    Has any of you ever skied something like that?

    • You and I may be in a club of two here at Blister, but I enjoy skiing my Head SLs and Titans as much as my wider skis.

      It doesn’t hurt that these skis usually come out on bluebird, windless days, and that crowds on those days tend to run around 20% of a good powder day!

Leave a Comment