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.
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.
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.