I’ve spent some time on a pre-production version of the Blizzard Bonafide, and while it is ten millimeters narrower than the Cochise, I actually found that ski to be a bit less forgiving than the Cochise in tight, steep bumps. (Update: we found out later that the flex pattern of the pre-production Bonafide we reviewed was off. Sigh. So our comments about the Bonafide here should be ignored, and please see instead our review of the production Bonafide, instead.)
BLISTER reviewer Jason Hutchins, who has also skied both the Bonafide and the Cochise, agrees. “I liked the feel of the Cochise more than the Bonafide in hardpack and bumps,” Jason said. “I didn’t feel big enough for the Bonafides. In hard bumps, they would load up and chuck me.”
On the face of it, this isn’t that odd; it would just seem that the Bonafide is a stiffer ski than the Cochise. But it’s not quite that simple.
While the tail of the Bonafide feels stiffer than that of the Cochise, the shovels of the Bonafide feel (at least, comparatively) much softer, and perhaps too soft throughout the forebody and shovel.
Conversely, the Cochise feels more balanced from tip to tail, and whether or not it is the magic of Flip Core (woops, I mentioned it), the Cochise has a fantastic flex pattern that felt more consistent than the Bonafide’s (to us, anyway), with a less abrupt transition from stiff tails to soft shovels. (I wrote about this a bit in my DPS Wailer 99 review.)
But beyond it’s excellent flex pattern, where the Cochise becomes really remarkable is that, while it is an easy, maneuverable ski, it is also very stable.
As a point of reference, Will Brown and I have also been getting more time at Taos on the 191cm Volkl Katana, and that ski just flat out rages. But it is definitely more work (not surprisingly) than the 185cm Cochise.
Straightlining the bumped up run out of Stauffenberg, or the bottom half of Reforma on the Katana, you feel like you could crack open a PBR and just stand there while the skis blow through everything. On the Cochise, you’ll want to hold off on that beer till you come to a stop, but for being a significantly lighter and more manageable ski, you may decide it’s worth it to give up the Katana’s mindblowing stability and just settle for the Cochise’s remarkable stability at speed.
Another way to put this: if I were skiing huge, open lines down in Las Leñas where you never encounter tight trees or bumps, I would take the 191 Katana over the 185 Cochise. But for fairly firm conditions at Taos, where I was going to be skiing the entire mountain, I would definitely choose the 185 Cochise over the 191 Katana as a daily driver.
Now, back to the versatility of the Cochise….