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

Jonathan Ellsworth (see Bio)


I. What’s your 2-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?

I ski a lot in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, and as I discussed in my 3-Ski Quiver selections, previously, I would have chosen without hesitation the combo of the 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide and the 190 Moment Blister Pro. And since I want more time on the new Bonafide (in more terrain and conditions), for skiing around the Rocky Mountains, I’m going to stick with the 180 cm J Skis Masterblaster.

Blister Review's 3-Ski Quiver Selections
Moment Blister Pro


And yes, on a lot of occasions (particularly off-piste steeps) I would probably prefer the 186 cm Masterblaster, but for really beat conditions and really firm moguls, I’ll opt for the quickness of the 180, and I might just be quicker to break out the 190 Blister Pros than I would be if my other ski was the 186 cm Masterblaster.

Blister Review's 3-Ski Quiver Selections
J Skis Masterblaster

And since I just answered that question assuming we were talking about two inbounds skis, I now don’t have a touring ski. (Sigh. This is why people need at least 3 pairs of skis.) So the other way I could answer this would be:

Ski #1 – Masterblaster 180 cm, with alpine binding (a fun, heavier ski that works well in firm conditions)

Ski #2 – Moment Bibby Tour or Atomic Backland FR 109 or Faction Candide 3.0 with an AT binding (Fritschi Tecton 12 or Marker Kingpin). And damn, I just won the award for wishy-washiest answer here. But the point is, I’d opt for (1) a wider ski for deeper snow, and (2) a lighter ski that I still wouldn’t mind touring on. Which means that the G3 SENDr 112, current Folsom Primary, and 190 cm Line Sick Day 114 are all skis that could also fit the bill here for various reasons.


II. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Since the idea here is that I’m picking a ski that needs to hold up over lots of days for at least three years, then that pushes me a bit more toward going heavier on my 2nd ski, especially since my backcountry tours don’t tend to involve hours and hours of skinning. So I’ll stick with the 180 cm Masterblaster, and I’m going to place my wager on the durability of the Folsom Primary (which, aside from its very nice build quality, is also the heaviest ski I’ve listed other than the 190 cm Bibby) for my 2nd ski.


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

For this 2-ski quiver, the 186 cm Line Sick Day 104 and 185 cm Nordica Enforcer 100 are two skis I really like that I could happily have as part of a 2-ski quiver.


IV. 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?

Again, I’m a cheater, so I already mentioned two of them: the 189 cm Atomic Backland FR 109 and the 190 cm Bibby Tour. And honestly, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if, after spending more time on it, the 188 cm Salomon QST 106 jumped up to win my 2nd ski selection. But Paul Forward and Brian Lindahl and Cy Whitling have all skied it more than I have. Finally, we just got our hands on the Scott Scrapper 115, and let me just say for now that I’m definitely intrigued.


V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Since I’ve cheated my whole way through these quiver selections, why stop now?


3rd Place: Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (alpine binding) + Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (AT binding)
Granted, I’d prefer to use the Sick Day 104 as either a dedicated touring ski or an inbounds soft-snow ski. And I’d actually rather have an alpine binding on the 190 cm Sick Day 114 … but what are you going to do?


2nd Place: Head Monster 98, 184 cm (alpine binding) + Head Kore 117, 189 cm (AT binding)


1st Place: 177 cm Volkl Mantra (alpine binding) + 184 cm Volkl V-Werks Katana (AT binding)

I haven’t skied the 191 cm Katana, and if I did, I might go with the 191 over the 184 (especially for inbounds use on deep and / or chopped-up days) — but I can’t say that for sure. But this is a pretty versatile quiver that manages to cover firm conditions and deep conditions quite well, and I’d be pretty happy touring on the 184 cm Katana.


NEXT: Cy Whitling’s 2-Ski Quiver Selections


9 comments on “2-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices (17/18)”

  1. I’m not about to limit myself to two (really?!) pair, but I often have to do exactly that on road trips. This year:

    1. Head Titan: Because if you go — and it doesn’t snow — a guy has to dig some trenches (also a great ski for technicians in the bumps).

    2. Nordica Enforcer 100. A change in this slot from my much-loved Fischer Motive 95s the last few years. Haven’t skied them yet (thanks, rain) but I’ve got high hopes.

    • Hi, Troy, couple things: (1) the Raven is my pick for everyday touring ski, and we’ve gushed about that ski for two years now. (2) We haven’t reviewed all the current skis from 4FRNT. (3) I always love the anonymous “quite highly regarded” claims — highly regarded by whom? And more specifically, what did they praise them for? How well they worked as part of a 2-ski quiver? I say all that only as a reminder that the skis listed here are not answers to the question, “Which skis are good or bad?” but rather, “Which skis work well as part of a 1, 2, or 3-ski quiver?”

  2. I don’t have 4frnt and haven’t ever ridden them – not trying to be anonymous in any way either, just have seen the top mags (powder, ski, skiing & freeskier) all gush about this year’s 4frnt line and was surprised they didn’t get a mention. U guys do great work there and your views and your opinions are appreciated. Won’t get any hate from me, was just wondering if you had input on all the praise being thrown 4frnts way. Was looking at the 4frnt MSP and have read it stacks up or beats J’s MB. Either way, they both sound like great skis.

  3. Anyone have advice on a new ski purchase? I’m skiing about 14 days a year usually in Steamboat or Park City on vacations. Southern Vermont for weekend trips. I’m Solid advanced intermediate, like everybody else looking for soft snow to ski on resort no back country. I don’t ski park but want a fun ski. I currently own a J ski Masterblaster and thinking about getting something a little wider for vacations out west. I have been looking at the Deathwish, Sego big horn 106, ON3P Wrenegade 108, and the Cartel 108. I’m sure they are all great but i’d apreciate a push in the right direction.

    • Hi, I can’t speak to the Sego Big Horn 106 – so you’ll have to track Cy Whitling’s comments about it on the site and in our buyers’ guide, but the the Deathwish, Kartel 108, and Wren 108 are all pretty similar in terms of stability, forgiveness, quickness and intuitiveness. Honestly, I think mount point will be one of the biggest factors; the Wren 108 is the most set back, and that ski is the least playful / most directional of all the skis you mention. (Big Horn 106 & Kartel 108 are most progressive, then Deathwish, then Wren 108.) Still, they are all pretty easy and forgiving skis, so I’d think about how traditional (driving the shovels hard) you like to ski, or how upright / neutral / centered you prefer to stand on your skis, and that will go along way to determining whether the Wren 108 should be in play, or whether the other 3 skis will likely be the better (and more playful) fit for you. Hope that helps?

  4. Hi Jonathan, thanks the quiver section! It’s always very interesting and helpful! I’m thinking of adjusting my quiver a bit, that’s why I’m posting my question in this thread. I bought the Rossignol Soul 7 the season it came to the market mainly based on the reviews and suggestions on blister. I’m using it as my soft snow touring ski with pin bindings ever since then and absolutely love it. So thanks for supporting me to having made a very good buying decision some years back. :-)

    In the last year’s there have only been a few occasions with 24+” of fresh powder where I wished for wider skis with better floatation. However, I will be heading to Georgia (cat skiing and touring) and Japan this winter season where I will most probably encounter more of those deep powder conditions (hopefully!). That’s why I’m wondering if I should add a truly powder specific ski to my quiver. If so, I would for sure mount touring bindings and it should deliver a noticeable bump up in float and a similar skiing experience (easy and fun to ski, versatile, directional, intuitive, nimble, good performance in Soft chop, still touring friendly) to my Soul 7s.

    From what I have been reading on blister (and I already spent hours ) I think the atomic automatics 117 in 186cm would actually be the perfect choice. However, they are not produced anymore but I might find some 2nd hand deals on the web or maybe look into their successor, the backland FR. Since I never skied something wider than the 108mm on the Soul 7 188cm I’m just not quite sure if the 117 width makes sense for what I’m looking for or if I should go even wider..?! I don’t really want to buy super wide skis that would stay in my basement for the majority of the season. I’m living in the Alps and I think I would be able to use skis like the automatic on a quite regular basis also here at home. With anything much wider I doubt that a little..

    What’s your thoughts on this one and do you maybe have recommendations which other skis might fit the bill? I’m 6″1 and around 178 pounds.

    Thanks for your advice,

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