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

Kara Williard (see Bio)


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

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 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.

Blister's Ski Quivers
Nordica Enforcer 100


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, I’ve also found it to be predictable and well-balanced in more variable conditions. 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 ski from Blizzard is a completely new design, and I’ve found it to be much more playful than the typical 2-sheet titanal Blizzards I am used to, while again, still holding up pretty well when things get a little uneven or rough.

Blister's Ski Quivers
Blizzard Rustler 11


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

I would pick the same skis. I know the Enforcer 100 is more than capable in nearly all conditions, and I also know myself to be one who leans a little bit more toward quickness rather than all-out stability. I am pretty prone to getting myself into steep terrain regardless of conditions, and this ski offers the support and stability I’m looking for. I know I can ski the Enforcer day in and day out and not rely on new snow to still have a great time. Outside of the NM region, I’d also stick with the Rustler 11, and would feel comfortable breaking it out in places that saw wetter, heavier snow than what we tend to get in NM. (In an ideal world, maybe I could clock a season with more days on my wider ski than my narrower, but I have yet to personally experience this.)


III. What ski was 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.


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?

With all that Blizzard has invested into women’s skis this season, I’m very curious to try the women’s-specific Sheeva 11 compared to the Rustler 11. I’d also love spend some time on the Head Kore 105, the Dynastar Legend X106, as well as the Kastle FX 95.


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

As if I haven’t already alluded to it enough, I’d probably dedicate this one to Blizzard — the Bonafide and Rustler 11 come together in what seems to be a pretty perfect 2-ski quiver for how and where I ski, and so far, I’ve found both skis to offer a good combination of edge-hold, stability, and general smoothness across a variety of turn sizes.

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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