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

Kara Williard (see Bio)


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

I ski almost exclusively at Taos Ski Valley, NM, except for a few late-season days in Colorado, and some pretty easy-going spring touring around Santa Fe and Taos. What this means for my 2-ski quiver is that I’ll opt for one ski (generally ~100 mm wide underfoot), to use for 80% or more of the season. I generally spend my days skiing the chutes and hiking the ridges of TSV, which I find to be pretty consistently chalky and grippy due to the abundance of north-facing terrain. I prefer to make quick, fall-line turns, and tend to make quite a few more small turns than most of the guys I ski with.

Ski #1: Nordica Enforcer 100, 177 cm

The Enforcer 100 has proven itself again and again to be a versatile ski that works really well for me in steep terrain. I can make the ski turn quickly with minimal effort due to its generous rocker profile (especially in the tip).

And its smooth, damp, and stable edgehold is confidence-inspiring metal feel in the consistently firm and chalky smooth pitches that I ski quite a bit.

Skiing bumps is inevitable at Taos, and the Enforcer 100 also makes quick and predictable turns in the bumps with enough tail rocker to make transitions pretty effortless. And the ski can also provide enough stability down the firm, wind-blasted, rocky chutes of Taos when it hasn’t snowed in quite a while.

I personally prefer the additional width of the Enforcer 100 to the Enforcer 93 when speeds and variability really ramp up in the chutes. And I also lean toward the Enforcer because of its poplar, beech/metal mix versus the balsa/metal of the women’s version of the Enforcer, the Santa Ana, because I find the Enforcer to hold up better in variable conditions.

Ski #2: Blizzard Rustler 11, 180 cm

The Rustler 11 offers the stability and edge-hold that I’m looking for in transitions from the chutes to moguls, even on a powder day. I’ve found the ski to be quite capable in chop, and even better when opened up in prime soft and / or deep snow. Yet, it also performs in more variable conditions that I find to be predictable and well-balanced. For New Mexico powder conditions, even when prime, 112 mm (in the 180 length) is just enough float without seriously compromising any other aspect. This new ski from Blizzard is a completely new design, and I’ve found it to be much more playful than the typical 2-sheet titanium Blizzards I am used to, while again, still holding up pretty well when things get a little uneven or rough.

Ski #3: Faction Candide 3.0, 182 cm (Touring Ski)

By the time touring season for myself rolls around, I am usually just looking to have as much fun as possible. The Candide 3.0 has a lighter, easier-going feel than the two skis I’ve previously listed. I find this to be exceptional when laying into some turns in spring corn. I’ll be honest I have yet to actually tour on this ski, and have only experienced it in-bounds. It offers smooth and easy to open up edge-hold, but also gave me the opportunity to play around in a way that my usual metal-based preference can hinder me on. I tend to stray from metal completely when it comes to touring, not only for weight but again, just for ease and good times. I mean, again, I am really just looking to just get in some late season turns and play around. That said, the 3.0 still holds its own in the firmer and stickier spots.


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

To be honest, it was a back and forth, indecisive toss-up between the Enforcer 100 and the Blizzard Bonafide. I need to spend more time on the new Bonafide (with its modified sidecut), but I loved the previous Bonafide, and this new Bonafide seems like it might be an even better fit for my style of skiing.

I also considered exchanging the Candide 3.0 for the Salomon QST 106.


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?

As I mentioned above, the new Bonafide is one I am looking forward to getting more time on. With all that Blizzard has invested into women’s skis this season, I’m very curious to try the Sheeva 11 compared to the Rustler, with women’s-specific technology. I’d also love spend some time on the Head Kore 105, the Dynastar Legend X106, as well as the Kastle FX 95. I’ve also spent years touring on the Armada TST, and would like to venture onto some of Armada’s new stuff, and the skis that replaced the Armada TST (the Tracer 98 and 108), to see what they’re all about, specifically for touring.


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

I’d go with Blizzard.

Ski #1: Blizzard Bonafide, 173 cm: For everyday hard-charging even when there is nominal amounts of snow.

Ski #2: Rustler 11, 180 cm: My go-to big mountain powder ski that I don’t regret being on when things are getting a bit tracked-out.

Ski #3: Rustler 10, 180 cm (with Touring Binding): A nice midfat ski that can handle the variability of spring touring. I’ve found it to have decent stability combined with a playful aspect that I look to when it comes to having a good time in late spring.

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!

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