Ski: 2014-2015 Blizzard Bodacious, 186cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 142-118-132
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 142-117-131.5
Stated Sidecut Radius: 32 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.2cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2438 & 2455 grams
Days Skied: 4
Boots / Bindings: Cochise Pro 130 / Marker Jester (DIN at 13)
[Editor’s Note: For a summary of our initial thoughts on this ski, please see our preview of the Bodacious.]
The Bodacious has been in the Blizzard Freemountain line since the 11/12 season. At 118mm underfoot, the Bodacious has been the most powder-specific ski in their line-up, until this year’s introduction of the Spur—which we’re really looking forward to reviewing.
Like this year’s Cochise, Blizzard claims that they have softened the overall flex by 15%.
Living in Alaska and skiing at Alyeska when riding lifts, I’ve often enjoyed skis that are fat enough to float on our frequent pow days, but still damp and stable enough to be fun when our higher-density snow starts to get tracked up. In the past I’ve owned and enjoyed 195cm Line Motherships, 188cm Rossignol RC 112s, and more recently, the 194cm 4FRNT Devastator—though none of these skis really excel in fresh powder.
I’ve been able to get the 186cm Bodacious in a variety of conditions here in New Zealand, and I’m ready to weigh in with some initial impressions.
Hard Chalky Snow
The latter part of our week here in Canterbury has involved warming temps and, in some cases, snow that is not freezing at night. While earlier in our trip we spent quite a bit of time on firm, chalky, south-facing slopes, this is becoming less common here. That said, I did make a half dozen or so runs down the top of a really fun line called “The Guts” at Craigieburn, under firm chalky conditions.
I was expecting to miss the narrower waist of the Cochise in these conditions, especially since I’ve been struggling with a sore ankle for much of the summer that does not feel good while bouncing sideways down firm slopes. But to my relief, the Bodacious held an edge quite well in these conditions, eliminating the chattery feeling of skidding the ski across bumpy snow.
Just before clicking into the Bodacious, I had been skiing the Blizzard Cochise and the Armada Invictus, and it was difficult for me to discern a significant difference in the ability of the Bodacious to hold a firm edge in these conditions.
Furthermore, the Bodacious feels at least as damp as the Cochise, and did a nice job of smoothing out the ankle to boot top-sized moguls that formed throughout the firmest section of the run. While riding the rope tow at Craigieburn, I could easily distinguish my large radius railroad-like tracks down the The Guts.
The typical downside of a ski that is ~118mm underfoot is its slower edge-to-edge transitions. While some skis in this class feel quicker than others (e.g., the Salomon Quest 115), but those quicker-feeling skis typically just have shorter turn radii. However, with a big 32m radius, the Bodacious actually felt quite nimble in the hard bumps when I chose to work around them rather than carving through or airing over them. I attribute the nimble feel to the Bodacious’ relatively deep tip and tail rocker lines.
As I became more confident in my ability to toss the Bodacious around in tight places, I worked my way into Craigieburn’s “210 Chute,” which is a little narrower than it’s 210cm namesake this year due to low snow conditions. I remember when we were at Craigieburn a year ago, I was working pretty hard to make quick jump turns on the 194cm 4FRNT Devastator in this chute, but I enjoyed bouncing down the steep chute on the 186cm Bodacious, doing my best Scott Schmidt impression. Based on the tracks I saw in 210, it appears that most skiers end up sideslipping most of the chute, so it was nice to have a ski that allowed me to link turns down the whole thing, even on very firm snow.
In the portions of faceted-out, cold, soft snow we’ve found at the club fields, the Bodacious (as expected) has provided more float than the Cochise or the DPS Wailer 105 in the same places.
I’m really looking forward to getting these out for some deeper powder skiing this winter, but I can say now that the 186cm Bodacious has felt like it strikes a nice balance of flotation (it’s not just some big lead sled) and stability (it’s not just some fat pow noodle.)
Wet, Heavy Snow
While at Craigieburn this week, the slightly more north-facing aspects yielded some very soft snow down the Hamilton Face, and throughout the Middle Basin Chutes. On Hamilton Face, it was possible to make high speed turns, locking into the Bodacious’ 32-meter sidecut radius, making for some of my favorite skiing of our trip.
While this was also possible with some of the ~105mm skis we have with us, the Bodacious’ 118mm waist provided a more solid, confidence-inspiring platform while on edge, yet the tails were still very easy to break loose to drift or skid to control speed, or to slash turns on little rollovers or wall features. For such scenarios, the Bodacious was my favorite ski of the trip.
186cm Blizzard Bodacious vs. 188cm Line Magnum Opus
I skied some of the same runs in the same conditions on the Line Magnum Opus, which I found to be significantly easier to break free into drifts and slashes, but substantially less stable on edge and at high speeds in the heavy, wet snow.
While the Magnum Opus and the Bodacious are pretty different fatter skis (a metal laminate, directional Bodacious vs the lighter, very freestyle-oriented Magnum Opus), my time on the Magnum Opus made clear that my enjoyment of the Bodacious in these conditions was not just related to being on a fatter ski, but because it is a damp, stable ski that provides a bit more flotation than many other skis of similar construction.
Wind Crust / Breakable Crust / Variable
I wrote in my review of the Cochise that the most unpredictable snow conditions favor predictable skis, and I would certainly classify the Bodacious as a predictable and stable tool for the most challenging snow conditions.
In the past, I have generally preferred an overall wider ski in weird snow, particularly when skiing on / in breakable crusts. On the days when temperatures rose and the snow was softer and more prone to punching through to deeper, faceted layers, I was very happy to have the extra width of the Bodacious compared to the DPS Wailer 105 or the Cochise.
On the days when conditions were overall firmer, the narrower skis took the edge off a little bit when transitioning from breakable snow to firm, refrozen sections.
Overall, the Bodacious is a great ski for weird, tricky snow and would be a top choice for a day of resort or sled skiing in which I knew I’d be encountering everything from pow to breakable crust to supportable crust—or anything in between.
Old Bodacious vs. New Bodacious?
I haven’t skied previous iterations of the Bodacious, but based on my experience with the Cochise, I doubt that the softer flex and the slight bit of camber (that our pair has) has seriously affected the performance of the ski. I am pretty optimistic that the width, rocker profile, and the overall flex of the 186cm Bodacious will make this a ski I enjoy riding in true powder conditions, in addition to all of the conditions discussed above.