2016-2017 Blizzard Brahma

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Brahma for Blister Gear Review
16/17 Blizzard Brahma

Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Brahma, 187 cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 125-88-110

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 124.5-87.5-109

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 185.4 cm

Tip / Tail Splay: ~48 mm / ~10 mm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,053 & 2,053 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 20 meters

Factory Recommended Line: 81.5 cm from tail; -11.2 cm from center

Mount Location (updated): +1.5 cm of Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 & Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 / Marker Jester

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 13

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Brahma, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics. We’ve also updated this review with comparisons to the 180 cm Brahma. See below.]



Having put time on the Blizzard Cochise, Bodacious, and Bonafide, I’ve been looking forward to skiing the Brahma, which Blizzard describes as “simply a narrower version of the award winning Bonafide, an unbeatable choice for someone looking for a ski with a hard snow bias while still maintaining great performance off the trail.”

I’ve also been interested to ski the Brahma since I’ve recently reviewed the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS, another 88mm-underfoot, powerful ski whose all-mountain capabilities have really impressed me, as well as the 186cm Dynastar Powertrack 89, a still substantial yet quicker and easier-going option than the 184 cm X-Drive 8.8 FS.

Furthermore, I wanted to see exactly how similar or different this “narrower Bonafide” felt from the actual Bonafide.

Finally, this review is going to be a bit unusual in that I’m going to work in roughly the reverse order of my regular reviews, for reasons that I hope become clear.

Sizing Recommendations & Some Background

The biggest surprise to me has been that the 187 cm Brahma feels like a lot of ski — especially when mounted on the recommended line.

Back when we agreed to review the 180 cm Bonafide rather than the 187 cm Bonafide, I worried that the ski was going to feel too insubstantial in that length. But it didn’t. It felt like a very compliant all-mountain ski. At the 180 cm length, it isn’t a ski that I can just go rage around on without exceeding its top end, but it is a nice, well-rounded ski.

On the other hand, the 180 cm Kabookie (effectively a Bonafide without metal) did feel like too little ski, one that I could easily overwhelm.

So given all of that, when thinking about which size of the Brahma to review, I figured since the ski was even skinnier—dropping down from the 98 mm waist of the Bonafide & Kabookie to the 88 mm waist of the Brahma—well, I never even considered dropping down to the 180 cm Brahma because of the potential to overwhelm that ski, too.

But every day that I’ve been out on the 187 Brahma, I find myself doubting that there are a ton of people out there who need this much ski. And I say that as someone who loves skis like the 184 cm, 13/14 Volkl Mantra; the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8; the 187 cm, 13/14 Moment Belafonte, etc.

To try to give you a clearer sense of where I’m coming from and to try to help you figure out what length might work best for you, I felt like the 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide was a pretty easy ski (in that length) that could still be pushed pretty hard. I’ve also suggested that if you love the 13/14 Volkl Mantra in the 184 cm length, that the 177 cm, 14/15 Mantra actually feels like the more apples-to-apples comparison than the 184 cm, 14/15 version of the Mantra.

In short, while the 187 cm Brahma is an impressive ski in a lot of respects, I imagine that at least 8 out of 10 people (and it’s actually probably 9 out of 10) that are considering the Brahma would be better off going with the 180 cm Brahma rather than the 187 cm. And you definitely do not need to size up on this ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Brahma for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Brahma, Powderhorn, Taos Ski Valley.

Who’s Going to be Happiest on the 187 cm Brahma?

(1) With the 187 Brahma mounted on its recommended line, then the lighter you are — let’s call 175 lbs. the over / under here — the more powerful skier you will need to be to make the 187 Brahma work for you all around the mountain, and especially in moguls.

While the 187 Brahma is really fun and substantial on groomers, it is definitely not a quick or easy ski. So if you find yourself in big, unevenly-spaced moguls, you will need to be on your game, and the 187s will punish mistakes or backseat skiing. (I’ll say more below on this point in the moguls section.)

But if you weigh, say, 150-160 lbs. or so and are just looking for a big, badass GS ski for ripping very fast turns, then you are right in the wheelhouse of the 187 Brahma. Its top end is very impressive, not far from the (current-best-in-class?) top end of the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 FS.

(2) It’s probably pretty obvious, then, that I think heavier, powerful skiers will most enjoy the 187s. If you are an ex-racer, or if you are a strong skier that weighs more like 200, 215, or 230 lbs. and you like to go fast (very fast), then you will probably like this ski quite a bit.

(3) Update: To qualify these claims a bit, see the section below on the recommended mount point.

Flex Pattern & Shape

I really like the flex pattern of the 187 Brahma. Its tails are stiff / very stiff, and its shovels are stiff / medium stiff. There’s a nice consistency.

It is definitely a substantial flex pattern, but its tails do not hand flex as stiff as the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8, and the X-Drive 8.8’s shovels are actually a bit softer than the shovels of the Brahma. The 186 cm Dynastar Powertrack 89 has softer tails and shovels than the Brahma or the 8.8.

The Brahma, X-Drive 8.8, and the Powertrack 89 all have similar amounts of tail splay—no dramatic tail rocker on any of them.

But the Powertrack 89 has the most tip splay (~64 mm); the X-Drive 8.8 has about 57 mm of splay combined with the shortest / shallowest tip rocker line of the group; and the Brahma has the least amount of tip splay (~48 mm) but the deepest rocker line of the bunch. In this way, the X-Drive 8.8 is the most traditional shape of the three skis.

(A final more-or-less-useful comparison: the 187 Brahma has noticeably stiffer tails than the 185 cm, 14/15 Blizzard Cochise, and subtly stiffer tips than the Cochise. The 108mm-underfoot Cochise has deeper tip and tail rocker lines than the Brahma, but both skis have a pretty subtle amount of tip and tail splay.)

Given the shapes and flex patterns of the Powertrack 89, X-Drive 8.8, and Brahma, it’s not at all surprising that the Powertrack 89 is the easiest ski of the bunch. But there is another important factor, too…

Recommended Mount Points

• 187 cm Blizzard Brahma: 81.5 cm from tail; -11.2 cm from center

• 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8: 81.3 cm from tail; -10.0 cm from center

• 186 cm Dynastar Powertrack 89: 86.5 cm from tail; -6.2 cm from center

Mounted on the line, there’s a reason why the 187 Brahma doesn’t feel quick, and feels more like a GS ski with a freeride topsheet. And it’s interesting to me that Blizzard does publish a “Suggested” 0 line, but also has marks on the ski up to +4 cm forward of that suggested line.

In a move on my part that can be classified as at least kind of stupid and arguably extremely stupid, I hadn’t yet pushed the bindings forward very far on the Brahma for this initial post (though the review has now been updated). Mounted on the line and even at +0.5 cm the Brahma’s tails felt very powerful and present, so while I wanted to get more forward on the Brahma to quicken the ski up, I didn’t feel like I wanted or needed more tail. So I actually spent most of the first 9 days skiing these at 0.5 centimeters in front of the “0” line, and then worked to acclimate to the ski around the mountain at that mount point.

But I will get back out on these in the next couple of days and report back on what the ski feels like with a more forward mount. (See next section.)

Having said all that, at a certain point the ski is what the ski is, and trying to turn a GS ski into something it isn’t seems about as silly as mounting a symmetrical park ski 9 cm behind center to try to make it feel more traditional.

Update on Mount Points

I’ve now spent three days skiing the Brahma at 1.5 cm in front of the “0” line. The skis definitely felt better to me at +1.5 —quicker on groomers, and it’s been even more fun to load up the tails at this mount point. I’ve felt little downside on groomers by moving ahead 1.5 cm in front of the line, giving up only a bit of stability when skiing at very, very fast speeds. Still, I haven’t had to slow down, I just haven’t felt quite as planted as I did with the bindings moved back closer to the recommended line.

More importantly, at +1.5 cm, the ski felt more balanced to me down big old bump lines on Taos’s Reforma and Juarez, and much more in line with the swing weight / feel of the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 or the 184 cm, 13/14 Volkl Mantra.

Smooth, Softer Groomers

This is a powerful GS ski that prefers big, fast turns. Like the Salomon X-Drive 8.8, you can be lazy and just sort of shush around on groomers running bases flat, but then you really don’t need to be on this particular ski. If you like to get on your edges and go very fast, then this ski makes a lot of sense.

I will say that if you are really in it for powerful, cleanly-carved and cleanly-finished turns, I tend to like a fatter tail, like that of the X-Drive 8.8, or the Fischer Motiv 86 Ti, or the Rossignol Experience 100. Those skis dig in and rail even harder than the Brahma, though those tails can be a little bit trickier to deal with in deeper snow or tighter spaces.

But if you and I were going to go ski clean groomers all morning, I’d be quite happy doing so on either the Brahma or the X-Drive 8.8, or, if I wanted a ski that was easier to bend and work into smaller turns, the Powertrack 89.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Brahma for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Brahma, Totemoff, Taos Ski Valley.

Slightly Soft or Very Firm Roughed-Up Groomers

The 184 cm X-Drive 8.8 is the most stable and damp ski I have been on in these conditions, but the 187 Brahma is not far behind. The X-Drive 8.8 feels a little more powerful and precise, but both skis smooth out the ride quite nicely, and I was still quite willing to lay both of these skis over on end-of-the-day, less than pristine groomers, without bothering to check my speed much at all. (On the Powertrack 89, I would be resorting to shorter turns and slowing things down, or else skiing fast but with a more bases-flat approach, anticipating bumps rather than just bashing into them.)

Ice / Steep Ice

While the top ends of the 187 Brahma and the 184 X-Drive 8.8 are similar, I’d give the edge to the 8.8 on steep, icy slopes. Its fatter tail and shallower tip and tail rocker lines give the ski a bit more effective edge.


If you like stiffer skis in bumps (e.g., the 13/14 Volkl Mantra) and generally stick to bump runs with well-spaced out moguls (whether small moguls or big moguls), then you will be fine on these skis, and it’s been fun to ski these fast down the bump lines on Taos’ Whitefeather, the middle section of Al’s Run, etc.

But if you are trying to ski fast down irregular bump runs where you are basically searching for your line at each turn, then these things become real chores, and where I am confident that the 180cm Brahma would feel like a lot less work and a lot more fun—similar to how I felt that the 180cm Bonafides were fun and worked quite well in bumps.

So again, the more you’re looking at the 187 Brahma as a GS ski for groomers, the happier I think you will be, and the easier it is to recommend this ski.

The more you’re looking for a quick, easy bump ski that is still a lot of fun to carve and requires less input, the more the 186 cm Dynastar Powertrack 89 makes sense, or the 180 cm Brahma (probably) makes sense.

But if you’re still inclined to go with the 187 Brahma and want to enhance mogul performance, I can now vouch for mounting +1.5 cm of the line. To be clear, at +1.5 cm the 187s didn’t suddenly become a quick and easy bump ski, but it felt solid and not overly sluggish, as it did to me at “0” and +0.5.

The Reforma Test

The Brahma has provided excellent stability coming out hot from the bottom of Reforma at Taos, definitely in the same league, at least, with the X-Drive 8.8. Neither ski has been very fun to work through the big, weird bumps that currently reside at the top of Reforma, but for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear to me, I’ve managed that tricky top section more easily on the X-Drive 8.8s, and quite like the 8.8s on Reforma, while I can’t say that I enjoyed the 187 Brahma there mounted at +0.5, but the ski worked better for me at +1.5, and again, that’s where I personally would mount these skis.

Final Thoughts & Guesses: 187 cm Brahma vs. 180 cm Brahma

I feel quite confident that my experience on the Brahma is quite specific to the length I reviewed, which leaves me really wanting to get on the 180 cm Brahma. I think it would line up a lot closer to my findings on the 180 cm Bonafide, and I suspect that the groomer / carving performance of the 180s is still very impressive, while also being more manageable in moguls. So I’d love to hear from those of you who have time on either the 180 or 187 Brahmas, and if I do get on a pair of 180s, I will update this review.

But as for the 187…

Bottom Line – 187 cm Blizzard Brahma (Updated)

For strong skiers who weigh ~190 lbs. and up—and especially the more above 190 lbs. you weigh—the more confident I would be in recommending the 187 Brahma, especially if you aren’t looking for a ski to particularly shine in moguls, but rather, you’re looking for an all-mountain, stable GS ski.

For lighter skiers who do still think they want the 187 cm rather than the 180 cm Brahma, and who do spend a decent amount of time skiing bumps, then I would strongly suggest mounting forward at +1.5 cm.

Update: 10.12.15 — 187 cm Brahma vs. 180 cm Brahma

Many of these observations will come as no surprise, but I can now actually verify some of my speculation above about the 187 vs. the 180 Brahma.

Mounted on the recommended line, the 180 felt much quicker than the 187.

To me (i.e., given my weight, how I ski, where I ski, etc.), the 187 Brahma feels like a big GS ski, while the 180s felt far more eager to make short, quick turns, while still being quite good at making big GS turns.

The 180 Brahma is not a slalom ski, but it makes both short and big turns well, while the 187 offers a bump up in top-end-speed stability. So if I was primarily interested in maching down groomers and making big turns at very high speeds, I’d stick with the 187.

But the 180 felt like the more versatile ski.

On groomers, the 180 Brahma felt quicker and even more energetic than the 187. On the 180, when coming out of a hard, deep carve, I had to be prepared for the rebound the skis would generate as I was coming out of the turn (which is fun, so long as you aren’t dumb enough to let your thoughts wander and forget that this big kick is coming). The 187, by comparison, felt more planted and damp than energetic. It tracks extremely well and offer a lot of stability at speed.

On really nice, slightly soft groomers in the sunshine around 11 am, the edgehold and top ends of the 180 and the 187 felt very similar. On icier groomers when skiing flat out, the 187 was clearly the more stable ski with the higher top end.

But the less you care about (very) high-speed stability, the less I think the 187 Brahma is the ski for you.

Power vs. Finesse

What impressed me about the 187 was its power. Though, admittedly, if sheer power is the primary trait, then I personally would still give the nod to the 184 cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8, which has a higher top end at speed and on roughed-up groomers than the 187 Brahma, while feeling a bit more manageable in bumps than the 187 Brahma. (Though both skis insist that you be on your game in bumps. Neither is an ‘easy’ bump ski.)

What impressed me about the 180 Brahma was its quickness and versatility. Mounted on the recommended line, I personally did not feel any need to get forward on the ski—the ski felt quick and well-balanced.

The 180s felt much quicker (and therefore easier) than the 187 in moguls, even with the 187s mounted at +1.5cm.

But just because it’s a few inches shorter than the 187 Brahma, the 180 Brahma is not a laid back moguls ski. It is, however, a good moguls ski if you are a strong bumps skier and tend to stay off the tails of your skis in bumps.

If there is a spectrum of power & finesse, the 187 Brahma is pretty solidly on the power side of that spectrum, while the 180 Brahma is closer toward the middle of the spectrum. It is not all that tolerant of lazy skiing (and even less tolerant of backseat skiing), but the ski can be finessed more easily, and is much easier in bumps than the 187.

180 cm Bonafide vs. 180 cm Brahma

The groomer / carving performance of the 180 Bonafide did not blow me away; instead, I found that the 180 Bonafide just worked really well all over the mountain. Even in some techy terrain at Taos or in nasty moguls, the Bonafide never felt wildly out of place. It was a nice, smooth all-mountain tool.

The 180 Brahma, on the other hand feels stiffer through the tails, and its groomer / carving performance does blow me away. The price of that performance is that it is not as forgiving in moguls as the Bonafide (despite the Bonafide’s increased width). For that reason, I think the 180 Brahmas will be more appreciated by strong, advanced bump skiers than skiers who are looking for a softer, forgiving ski to help them out in mogul fields.

So if you want nice, all-around performance that isn’t too demanding, the Bonafide is easy to recommend. And if you want real excitement on groomers—both in terms of the versatility of turn shapes and in terms of a still-very-high top end—the 180 Brahma is very impressive.

(And I’ll say it again – I’m willing to assume that advanced, heavier skiers will feel somewhat similarly about the 187 Brahma as I do about the 180.)

New Bottom Line?

The Bottom Line of my 187 Brahma review holds true.

But what I can now comment on is just how good of a ski the 180 Brahma also is.

For those who weigh less than 190 lbs. and who are willing to give up a bit of the top-end stability that the 187 Brahma offers, you will get a powerful, quick ski that is versatile, with enough tip rocker to handle some deeper snow, too.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics 

89 comments on “2016-2017 Blizzard Brahma”

  1. I am on last years brahma. Its mointing line is 82.5 from the tail. One cm up it loks like from this years. Its a 187. The ski feels quick and smooth in the crud and bumps. I had multiple people try them and then get a pair based on those attribute. These are mainly ex racers at 190ish. I had 186 enforcers before and they felt like tanks compered to these. I would triy it mounted up more.

    • Dear Blister team, congratulations for the great work that you do. This review is titled “2017-2018 Blizzard Brahma”, but I understand reading the text that views go back to the 2015 model. Are you planning to release a review of the 2017-18 version? And of the Brahma CA, which I am particularly interested in as a light skier? Also very keen on Head Kore 93 vs. Brahma CA overall. Finally, being 150 lb and 5’10”, what size do you think I should go for on each of those models? Thank you very much.

  2. Jonathan,
    As always, great review. And, while I’ve not yet been on the Brahma in a 187, I have demoed the 180.
    About me; 6’3″ 165-170lbs. Type III skier – fast, agressive, pound bumps and general big mountain style skiing.
    My experience on the Brahma: I thought it absolutely ripped on the groomers. To me, it felt like a GS race ski compared to my current quiver – (185)Cochise 12/13, (186)Moment Governor 13/14 and (190) DPS Wailer 112 Pure 11/12.The groomers were fairly firm, but carve able. Edge hold, for me, was excellent. I pushed as hard and fast as I could and the Brhma was there for me. I went into the demo thinking 187 as being the proper length. I was wrong, the 180 was plenty of ski at my weight. Overall, I was very impressed and had a lot fun on the groomers. Multiple turn shapes were possible, but it preferred GS style turns.
    Bumps: very doable on the 180. They were quick and fun as long as you were on your game. Get lazy and they would let you know. I really like the cochise in bigger soft bumps as you can blow up bumps in front of you or simply launch off one and skip one or two and regain your line. As you’ve referenced, the stability is great on the cochise. I don’t know if this would be possible on the 180 Brahma due to length and width. Unfortunately, the bumps I had were mostly firm – I did my best to stay in contact with the snow. The Brahma is not a soft ski, so slithering through bumps is not really in the skis genetics. This is also why it rails groomers.
    The Blizzard skis I’ve been on require energy. However, the more you put in the more you get out.
    I did not get it in the trees or in any shallow pow. I would like to know if they have any float and if the tails would release easy enough for confident tree skiing.
    I’m in the market for an 85-100 mm ski to add to my quiver. Keep the great reviews coming.

  3. Visually I find the Brahma to have one of the finest looking lines of a ski this year, and I love the new top-sheet. I have been waiting daily for this review and when I read it last night, well, it felt like the circus left town. Somehow I think the reviewer felt the same with the continuous qualification in regards to 187 size. I had my wallet set on this ski but it sounds to lack a little of the tight radius work (yes I have poured over the specs) I hoped for. No matter how many times I re-read the review it sounds like a near miss.

    • Yep, the topsheets are fantastic. And I’m not sure whether the circus left town or now, all I was trying to do was detail my experience on the 187s as accurately as possible, and offer some guidance with regard to sizing this ski. And today’s revelation & update was that I think the mount position makes a big difference on this ski – depending on the size of the skier and where he or she is going to be skiing—bumps, groomers, both, etc.

      • Hi Jonathan,
        You’re review of the Brahma came at the perfect time as I am about to pull the trigger on a pair of these skis but I’m torn between the 173 and 180.
        About me: I’m 5’8 167 lbs, 23 years old. I have been skiing on Head Monster im72’s (full camber) in 163 length since I was 16. I’m thinking these are getting too small as I have beefed up a bit since I bought them. But anyways, I’m a very good aggressive carver. So I’d say I’m pretty advanced on piste. I like a mixture of GS turns and some tighter slalom turns. Every now and then I let ‘er rip too. I’d say I’m more intermediate when it comes to bumps, trees, and powder but really looking to improve here. I’ve been told 173 is what I would like better because of the maneuverability, but trying the skis is not an option for me living in the midwest with no dealer close by. (I ski in the mountains about 5-10 days per year). What are your thoughts? Will I like the 180 better? It just seems like such a large jump from my current 163’s. Any help is much appreciated.

        • I can’t say for sure, Derek, and I think you would probably be fine on either length. But if you are skiing these hard and fast, I am inclined to tell you to go with the 180s, mostly given the amount of tip rocker on these things – the jump from your fully cambered im72s will not feel that big, and the 173 Brahmas may feel more like a lateral move than a slight bump up.

          And especially if you really do intend to use these in pow, there’d be another reason to go with a bit more surface area, i.e., the 180s.

          BTW, for the record, given that I’ve spent a lot more time recently skiing and writing than eating, I’m currently quite close to you in weight. And as I was out again on the 187s today mounted at +1.5, the skis are feeling quite good there (see my updated review). All the more reason why I think you could be fine on the 180s, especially if you aren’t spending a lot of time skiing fast in firm, nasty bump lines.

          • Great stuff Johnathan thanks for your advice! If I’m going to go with the 180 then, will I still be able to carve out some nice medium and, even tight turns? My thinking is when I lay them on edge, the subtle rocker will actually engage and I would find it actually skies true to length. Would you agree? Would I notice quite a weight difference in the 180 vs 173? How much sacrifice in maneuverability will there be on the steeps and in trees? This will be a one ski quiver as I can’t be taking multiple pairs on the plane with today’s surcharges! Thanks again! -Derek

  4. Have you/will you be reviewing the Blizzard Altitude as well? The ski looks like a lighter version of this and I think it would make a good spring backcountry ski, especially if it’s easy to size down like the Brahma. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

    • Hi, Gavin – we don’t have plans to review the Altitude, so I’m afraid I’m not much help on whether it’d be a smart move to downsize it. But I do maintain as a generalization that the more you care about downhill performance, the less inclined I would be to give up too much weight / go too short. (Cf. my experience with the 180 Kabookie vs. the 180 Bonafide.)

  5. Jonathan,

    Conditions look to remain garbage here in the pac-norwest so I need to throw it down for a trencher. Much as I love the supermodel looks of the Brahma the wedding is off so…..
    Is there any chance you could throw out a bone on the Salomon X-Drive 8.0 vs.8.8?

  6. Sorry Jonathan, Somehow I overlooked the 8.0 review, too busy rubbing my eyes after looking again at 8.8 top-sheet. I did find a pair of demo Brahma 180’s so I’m up for a go on those, at 160lbs 5’11” we’ll see if it’s a match. Otherwise I’m jumping ship to the Salomon X-Drive 8.8. Thanks again.

  7. Spent a few runs on the 180cm Brahma in Vermont, and I have to agree with Jonathan on his observations. The ex-racer crowd looking for a more all-terrain ride at 88mm underfoot will dig the carving behavior and stability, while enjoying a bit of rockered forebody to float across softer snow and crud. The tail is solid when loaded and railed, but only gives a hint of hangup in bumpy terrain, unless the distance between bumps is too short for the length of Brahma you are on. I am around 5’11 and 190 lbs, and the 180 Brahma was perfect. Nicely mannered in crappy snow conditions and secure underfoot with nearly zero deflection…the more you power it, the more locked-in it is to your line…never waivers. Good ski for people who like metal feel and power, and those who like to drive instead of ride their ski. Loved the turn shapes when skied in its sweet spot radius. The designers spent some time tuning a specific personality into this ski and it shows.

  8. Great to read some feedback on the 180 length. Poured over the reviews Again and I’ve ordered the Salomon 8.8, it sounds like it may(?) have the Brahma trumped regarding ice. With 106 underfoot covered and the long term outlook for little to no fresh I never thought I’d be trying to make the best choice for a trencher in early January.

  9. Jonathan,
    Parked my 184 Blister Pros at the tent today at Mt Rose and demoed the Dynastar Powertrack 89 in a (172) all they had, and the Brahmas in a 180cm. Your reviews are spot on. The Brahmas in the 180cm for me at 165lbs were incredibly stable, I did have the feeling though that I wanted to be more forward on them to quicken them up a bit, then I read your review again to confirm my assessment. I even took them down an icy trenched up mogul field with no problem, (manageable). The Brahmas were more stable and damp in the 180cm compared to the 172cm Dynastar. I would like to try the Dynastar in the 179, although the 172 were plenty stiff, at over 40mph I feel like the 179 would be the more stable ski, and hope to get on that next week. My question, since I like to ski the entire mountain (if it ever snows again in Tahoe) just the groomers are open now, would I be wrong thinking the Moment PB&J would be the better all mountain option than the Brahma or Powertrack? Being on these skis reminds me how much I miss laying a ski on edge, love the Blister Pros but not the best option for that. The PB&J would be better for carving, I assume and better off trail then the Brahma and Dynastar?. I guess I will have to stop at Moment and try them out. Thanks.

    • Hi, Bruce – the deeper the snow gets, the better the PB&J will perform given its wider width + tip and tail rocker. Of course, some people prefer to ski a flat tail rather than a rockered tail even in deep snow, so it really comes down to your skiing style and how easy you want a ski’s tail to release in deep snow or tight spaces.

      Having said all that, even with a really nice tune on the PB&Js, if it’s really about pure carving, I would definitely prefer to ski the Powertrack or the Brahma. So, as always … it really depends what you’re most looking for.

  10. Not sure if you’ve tried the Kastle mx88 yet, but I had a blast on them today. My Hell and Backs didn’t have a good tune that was neccessary because the snow was hard and sticking mostly to groomers today with some mellow friends. went in and got a loaner mx88 in 178cm and it had amazing grip, the turn radius of 20m seemed very easy to shorten up with high edge angles and a bit of bend in the ski, was nice and damp. overall just very smooth. Absolutely loved it. It might have confused me as I just got a pair of SN108’s to fill in the gap between the hell and back and line115. now i’m kinda jonesing for something 88 under foot. wondering if I did get something more frontside, if I could skip the hell and back and just take out the SN108 the day or 2 after the storm, then back to the 88. and as always save the 115 for real untracked.

    • Hi, Andrew – I haven’t yet skied the mx88, but I want to. Not surprised to hear how they performed for you.

      And since I’ve been spending a ton of time on ~88mm wide skis, I can definitely see going with the right 88-ish ski and pairing it with the 108 and 115. 88mm vs. 98mm really has less to do with ‘which width to go with?’ and more to do with ‘which’ 88mm ski vs. ‘which’ 98mm ski are we talking about?

  11. Very nice review Jonathan. It was posted just couple days after I bought my Brahmas (in 187). I had chance to demo Brahma in 180 which felt very nice. Didn’t feel short at all but ended up purchasing 187 because 1) I only ski on hardpack snow and when conditions change 2) wanted to have little more floatation on fresh snow (being a big guy 6’4″ 240lbs pushed me towards the 187). Had my first day on the 187s on Saturday. Did not feel it was too long for me at all. Felt very similar to the 180 I demoed. the only time I had difficulty on 187s was trying to go through the moguls. I don’t know how to ski on moguls in first place, but when demoing 180s I accidentally entered a black diamond mogul trail. Eventually survived. The moguls I had to go through with the 187s were baby moguls compared to the ones I went through with 180s but it was definitely more difficult to ski those baby moguls on the 187s. So I would suggest if you love skiing moguls consider sizing down on this ski. Otherwise I didn’t feel a great amount of difference between the 180 vs 187. Maybe 187s gave me a little more confidence at high speeds but that’s pretty much it.

    One thing it is hard to decide when buying a new ski is the position of the binding. the shop I purchased didn’t ask me where I wanted and even they did I wouldn’t have an answer for them either at that point. So they mounted the bindings centering my boot on zero mark. Unless you buy the marker schizo binding (or something similar) to play with that, what’s the easiest way to figure out where the binding should be?

  12. Jonathan,
    Thanks for the 180 review. It answered my questions on quickness and skiing on the line. I had just gotten off the super quick 172 Dynastars which made me think I needed to move up a bit on the Brahma, but that is probably not the case. Will demo again.

  13. Jonathan,

    Thanx for the awesome review. I’m 6’1, 187lbs and I’m on the 180 Brahma. I find that it works perfect for me and I have never had a situation where I felt I needed more ski. I also have a pair of Bonafides in 180cm and I totally agree with you in regards to tails being stiffer on the Brahmas. I can get away with some laziness on the Bonafide’s in bumps (and it’s easier to break the tails free in tight situations), but definitely not on the Brahma’s. If you get lazy or in the back seat, the tails will come alive pretty quick and you’re pretty much done.
    Thanx again for all the awesome reviews.
    P.S. I bought a pair of V-werks Katana’s strictly based on your review. We just need some snow in AB and BC so that I can finally put them to work***

  14. Just skied Taos last weekend, and pretty sure I saw you ripping around on the Brahmas. I was the tall guy rocking the Dynastar LP 105s (still my fav ski). Taos is a great, albeit bumpy mountain, but was disappointed that Kachina Peak lift wasn’t running. That will be a fun one when (if) it opens!

    I have a pair of Elan 888s from a few years back. From reading your Brahma reviews, it appears to be a similar ski to the Elan, which is 88 underfoot, fully cambered, metal, wide flat tail. Brahma looks like it has a bit of early rise tip, and probably stiffer.

    • Say Hi next time, Bob! FWIW, I was actually only skiing the Fischer Motive 86s this past weekend, but I was on the Brahma on Friday. (Our reviewer Charlie Bradley, however, was out on the Brahma.)

      And yes, the Brahma definitely has a fair amount of tip rocker. Which will be nice if you’re going to ski it when the snow starts piling up, but it is also one of the reasons it gives up a bit on hardpack to the Salomon X-Drive 8.8.

  15. Best ski reviews on the internet, Jonathan. Thanks for what you do.

    I’m an advanced intermediate, primarily frontside skier who likes to do both long/high speed and quick/low speed turns on groomers, cut through the trees from time to time, and hit every and any intermediate bumps i can find. i love doing aggressive quick hop turns on steep blacks but am a mess if there are too many bumps. i only get pow from time to time.

    Based on all of my research, I’m pretty set on the Brahma 180s (vs the 187s and Bonafide 180) and was wondering what bindings you may recommend. Blizzard pairs them with the Marker Squire 11 ADJ on their website FYI but I wasn’t sure what their choice was based on (could be some sort of partnership).

    would love to hear your recs. thanks!

    • @ Dan S – I think the Brahma will be too stiff for you. This comes from first hand experience, your self description and what Paul, above, has stated. Definitely demo a few skis first. I’d suggest something with a softer flex. The tails on the Brahma are no joke.

      • Doccler. could you expand on your thoughts a bit. too stiff for which type of skiing?

        i should also have mentioned i’m 5’11” very stocky and weigh 198 lbs so i put a lot of power into my skis

        • Sure. You weigh 35lbs more than I, so you should be able to bend them easier than I could. This could make a difference for you. But, the Brahma is not forgiving, IMO. And, there are better skis for skiing small or large bumps that also handle groomers well. Personally, I find my 185 Cochise much easier to ski bumps – no camber, early rise tip and tail makes it more forgiving. They just are not as exciting on groomers, hence my interest in the Brahma.
          Paul stated it well with regards to the Brahma in bumps. It’s fine, just don’t get on the tails.

          • cool, thanks for looking out Doccler. gonna try and demo them first and will definitely see how they feel on the bumps before pulling the trigger.

            any thoughts on good bindings?

            • Hi, Dan – re: your bindings question, given your weight – we mount all of our test skis with Marker Jesters (the demo version) which means that I ski Jesters about 100 days a year. And many of our reviewers put Look Pivot 14s (same binding as the Rossi FKS 140s) on their own skis. So I’ll answer your question with what we use 99% of the time for downhill skiing – Jesters and Pivots/FKS.

  16. so here’s one…..180 Brahma vs 182 Experience 100 vs 180 Bonafide….for a second ski to keep a 185 Cochise (14) company…in the Wasatch. Plenty of droughts these days/years, Bonafide seems too much overlap, while the other two seem more than capable during scratchy days/weeks although, one seems wide for a trencher (bigger tips/tails than the Cochise) while the other seems skinny for anything other than just grooming….hmmmm.


    • Hey, Craig – you don’t actually say where you’re wanting to use these — just groomers + bumps? Or for bigger lines, chutes, trees – i.e., everywhere off piste, but in firmer conditions.

      If the latter, then I personally would choose width – 98mm (the E100) over the 88mm Brahma – for the stability bump. As you’ve read, the Brahma and E100 are both good carvers. The 180 Brahma is happier making short, quick turns.

      But if you’re just going groomers and normal mogul lines, then you may prefer going skinnier at 88.

      • Thanks for the note Jonathon.
        You have a good memory…I would be skiing the latter….the typical goods under crispy conditions. I did have a chance to demo the E100 last spring and liked it quite a bit. Your lack of note probably gives me the nod I was looking for in regards to the Bonafide…probably too close to the Cochise without really offering the stability/grip of the E, which is why I’d want it anyway. Sure has a big tip and tail though….have to get used to my crispy ski having fatter ends than my go to ski!!


  17. Jonathan,

    I read the review and think you nailed it well, I haven’t read all the replies, but I can give you the expert “big guy” perspective on the Brahmas. I am 6’4″ and 245 lbs. I demo’d the Brahmas in 180 cm and they were my favorite ski I tried all year. Granted I only spent a few hours on them. At 180 cm they were playful, easy to throw around, could pivot easily. What impressed me was I was NOT over powering them and they held a pretty good edge for me. I felt like I wanted a longer ski, but the 180’s could handle someone my size fairly well. In contrast I tried a pair of Head Rev skis in 178 cm and they kind of wilted under my weight. I came close to buying a pair of Brahma’s in 187 cm (no question in my mind that is the right length for me) and expect to do so in the near future. For me, the ski was not too demanding, but could really put out when asked to.

  18. Hey Jonathan, Thanks for the review on the Brahmas. Very insightful to say the least. I’m 55, 210 lbs, 5’10” and rate myself intermediate/advance and ski groomers, enjoy powder and the occasional bumps. I ski western NY and 7 Springs, PA and do a week trip out west every year. What caught my attention in your review is when you remounted the bindings +1.5 from 0 resulting in a noticeable difference. I just purchased 180 Brahmas with Griffon bindings set at the 0. I’m thinking about moving bindings to +1.5 in order to have quicker turning ski. Before I make change, I just wanted to make sure I’ll achieve the desired results. Thoughts?

    • Hi, Greg (and everybody else wondering about this same thing) – to be clear, I mounted the 187 Brahmas at +1.5, not the 180 Brahmas.

      I personally thought the 180 Brahmas felt very well balanced on the line, and had no interest at all in moving forward or back. So if you haven’t skied your 180s yet, I’d encourage you to do so before remounting.

      Of course, if you have skied them and still think that you’d like them to be a bit quicker, you certainly could move them forward and they will be. And given that these skis are a bit shorter to begin with, moving +1 may be far enough forward to feel a noticeable difference. Hope that helps a little, let us know what you end up doing and how it works out.

  19. Hello,

    I am 6’2″, 195lbs and relatively new to skiing (maybe between advanced beginner to intermediate, if such a thing exists). I was wondering if the Blizzard Brahma may be too advanced for me. I want a ski that I can grow my skill with, but not one that will be too advanced for me and unforgiving of my early mistakes. Please let me know what you think.


    • Hi, Tim – I think it would be best if you could try to demo a 180cm Brahma. It’s not obvious to me that it will feel forgiving enough, but it might, and it’s definitely a ski you could grow into.

      You should also check out my review of the Fischer Motive 86 Ti. Again, I’m not at all sure that you won’t like the Brahma, but the Fischer feels like a safer bet for where you are at right now.

    • Hey Tim –

      I thought this might be helpful. I’m pretty much at your level and I’ve been working up my length all season. I’m 6’5 and about 215. Last weekend I ski’d the 173’s and I felt amazing on them. We were at Bretton Woods and went from Saturday (perfect groomers and northeast cords) that got a bit beat up by the end of the day into Sunday where about 7 inches of slightly wet powder had fallen overnight and continued to fall over the day. And that snow REALLY got pushed around. The Brahmas handled both conditions perfectly. I did notice that their top speed was slightly slower than my friends’ (who are both much more advanced skiers than I am), but they held their edges and kept me engaged really well. I liked what everyone said about staying out of the back of the ski, but I found them to be slightly forgiving in that regard. They let me know when I was where I shouldn’t have been, but didn’t give up the control.

      I also took them through some (very, very green) glades and that’s totally new skills for me and the skis supported my learning. No unmanageable sinking (even at that length and my weight) and I found on variable they were actually quite forgiving on the back end. I needed to pop front quickly, but at my skill level, I do bounce around a bit in new terrain and the skis were okay with it.

      Overall, I think I’m going to wind up purchasing the 180s at the end of the season. Hope that’s helpful to you!

  20. Hi – Great review, thanks for doing this. I’m 5’11”, 185lbs, 37 years old -athletic, in good shape, etc. was an advanced skier when I was in high school/college, haven’t skied much over the past 15 years but am getting back into it with my kids. I’m coming off 90’s-era K2 extremes which I loved – I believe they are 190cm. I’m looking into the Brahmas – will primarily be doing groomers with some moguls (skiing in the midwest/east coast) with hopefully a trip to CO once per year when I can get into some powder. Reading through the reviews – any thoughts on the 173cm vs. the 180s? Given my size/ability- should I be “dropping down a size” to the 173’s? I appreciate your input.


  21. Great review. Im torn b/w the brahma 173 and 180. Advanced intermediate 6/7 lvl skier. Ski 90% of the time in the hills of the midwest with a few trips out east/west. 5’9″ 190. Given the terrain i mostly would be skiing will the 180 be too much ski and should the 173 be better, while if more challengeing terrain presents itself once a bit more power is put into the ski it will ski more true to length?


    • Been a while since i checked and haven’t puuled the trigger yet and was wondering/hoping for any feedback now that there are on sales going on that are probably to good to pass on online and at a few local shops. Thanks much..

      • Hey Roberto –

        I think you’ll be fine with the 173s. I’m 6’5 and 225 (so, quite a bit bigger) and they’re the ones that I actually bought at the end of last season. I’m probably about the intermediate area in terms of skill (I can take some blacks, but do them slowly on the first run and I haven’t attempted any doubles yet.) and I went back-and-forth heavily about whether to get the 173s or the 180s. I ultimately decided to go with the 173s for a couple of reasons:

        1. I had actually ski’d them on demo and they felt fantastic and I’m the kind of person who likes a known quantity, especially in a sport with as many variables as skiing.
        2. I felt like I still had room in them and, since I bought the pair that had been demos for a GREAT price, I figured if I needed to upgrade in 2 seasons, it would still be worth the investment to improve my skills on a pair I know I’m comfortable on.
        3. I ski’d them on two very different Northeast days: the first was a classic, nice groomer/cords day and on the second, we had gotten almost 8″ of damp (almost wet at points) snow overnight and throughout the morning. The skis handled both brilliantly. The only standard Northeast condition I didn’t ski them on is the ice-sheet days where all the pow is blown off … but I got the sense from a couple of ski’d off areas on my trails the first day that the edges are solid and sharp and will hold me where I need to be.
        4. One of big reasons I decided to stay shorter, even though I have no doubt I could ultimately handled a 180, is that I want to get better at bumps and start taking lessons in moguls and glades. I thought the shorter would give me some increased maneuverability in that context.

        You’ll definitely be faster on the 180s and I highly doubt at your level you’d really let a ski get away from you, but I think you’d be plenty satisfied with the 173s.

        Hope that helps!

  22. Excellent reviews. Love em.
    Torn between buying the Salomon xdrive 8.8 179
    and Brahma 180.
    East coast skier mainly. 6’0. 165. Advanced skier.
    Thing is I do like to get in the trees a lot and jump around in there.
    Is one a better match for that as I realize tips and tails are bit smaller on the
    You are excellent at what you do. Thanks again!

  23. I’m 5’11 1/2, 180 lbs., and my skill set is as follows:
    Groomers: Expert
    Powder: Expert
    Park Jumps (forward; no tricks): Advanced Intermediate
    Moguls: Intermediate
    Off Trail/Crud: Advanced/Expert
    Directional Skier; Aggressive; Taller Stance
    My dilemma is that I own a pair of Brahmas 180, but I find the Bushwacker 180 to be a more
    playful and lively ski. The Brahmas are damp and stable, but a little boring for my taste. I even find
    the Scout 193 to be snappier than the Brahma 180. So I ended up acquiring a pair of Bushwackers
    180 as my daily drivers, and I want to sell the Brahmas. If I replaced the Brahmas with Kabookies
    180, would they offer a quicker edge to edge response and more playfulness in off trail skiing,
    jumping off rocks, crud, etc.? Is the Kabookie energetic compared to other 98mm waisted skis?
    Would 180 be too short for me? Any suggestions anybody?

  24. Hey Jonathan,
    I demoed the Powertrack 89 in 179 last week, which I found pretty easy, fun and playful, with as you wrote the exception of real hard icy conditions, where their edge grip and dampening capacity is sometimes unsufficient. I understand the Brahma in 180 shall be better in these hard conditions, but I am wondering how close from the 179 Powertrack the Brahma 180 is in Bumps and quick turns . I am 170 lbs and I am looking for a replacement to my everyday ski, a Salomon sentinel 184 (quite similar to the old Mantra), by something as stable (if possible) but a little less demanding (I ski a Vokl shiro 180 in powder). Would the Brahma 180 be less demanding and more playful than the equivalent of an old Mantra 184?

    • Hey, apologies for the late reply. But in short, it wouldn’t be too off base to think about the Brahma as splitting the difference between the Powertrack 89 and an older Mantra – you’ll get a bump in stability over the Powertrack, but the Brahma will be a bit less work than the Mantra — think of the Brahma as a slightly more substantial Volkl Kendo (~13/14 – 14/15 Volkl Kendo).

      Put otherwise, if you like the feel of an older Mantra, the Brahma will feel familiar, while the Powertrack 89 will feel like the bigger departure – primarily because of the heavily tapered (and very quick) tips.

  25. Have you ever thought of testing the Stockli Stormrider 88? I would be interested to see how you see it compared to a ski like the Brahma.

  26. Hi Jonathan-
    I really appreciate the depth put into your reviews, they have helped me quite a bit. I am an advanced/expert skier who is starting to slow down a bit at 45 years old. I primarily ski on the east coast, and spend my mornings in the bumps and trees, afternoons (when my legs don’t respond so well) on groomers. I usually take a short trip out west each year as well, and tend to gravitate to bowls. I’m 6’3″, 215 lbs., and based on your reviews, I’m leaning towards the Brahma over the Bonafide, Mantra, or Experience 100. I would have normally leaned towards a 187, but based on your review and the comments, it seems that maybe I would be ok in a 180 since I don’t ski as aggressively as I used to. Any advice on these choices?

    • Hey Mark,
      I hope you don’t mind me jumping in, but I think the Brahma would be a perfect ski for the type of skiing you describe. The Brahma does everything fairly well (By far the best all mountain ski with the exception of Kastles because I have not skied them).. If you don’t ski too aggressively, I think you’ll be okay on the 180’s..You may loose a bit of stability at high to very high speeds, but I think it will be minimal. It will definitely be easier to turn and work the 180. The Brahma is fairly stiff with a strong tail (way stronger that Bonafide) and I think you’ll quite enjoy the 180.
      Hope this helps,

      • Hi, Mark – for the most part, I agree with Paul – though I wouldn’t be tempted to call the Brahma “by far the best all mountain ski” — but it is a very good ~88mm all mountain ski, for sure.

        As for all of the skis you’ve named, I think you’ll be fine on those shorter lengths – they are all relatively stout skis that won’t penalize you for not going with the ~185-ish-mm lengths.

        Not sure if you have a more specific question, but for bumps & trees in the AM, groomers in the PM … a 180 Brahma ought to give you what you’re looking for.

        • Thanks much Jonathan and Paul, I really appreciate the insights. I guess I was just looking for some affirmation on my logic rather than any specific question. I’m going to go for the Brahma 180.

  27. Jonathan,

    Love your reviews, thank you for all the time and detail that you put into them. After riding on 170 Fischer RX9’s since 2006 I am ready to change over to something with more versatility. When the snow is firm and fast they absolutely rock making big and fast GS turns but are not so much fun when the conditions are variable or soft. I am an advanced skier and the majority of my days are spent on the east coast and primarily at Snowshoe. I stay on the groomers for the most part and am not worried about performance on moguls or deep powder as we just don’t see those conditions that much. I am looking for something that has the ability to make those big fast turns when I am out with the guys, but will allow me to be a little lazy when cruising around with the whole family. Also looking for something that can handle the end of day chop a little better than what I am on now as well.

    So far I am considering both X Drive models, the Brahma, and the Fischer Motive 86Ti. Having only skied a shorter and more narrow (69mm) traditional cambered ski for almost 10 years, I think any of these will be a huge jump in terms of performance in variable conditions. I guess my real question revolves around not knowing where the top ends of those 4 compare to what I have now and on the opposite end of the spectrum, how they compare when being lazy. I know from your reviews that they would somewhat rank in the order I have listed above in terms of input required and being on your game, I am just not sure where I want to fall in that range and am looking for your opinion of how they compare to the RX9’s.

    I am thinking that I will go with a 180 or so length on which ever ski I choose. Currently weigh 190 but have been skiing the past 10 years at 235. Any thoughts on that choice?

    Thanks again for your great reviews and any input you have!

    • Hi, Tad – thanks for the kind words. Here’s my ranked order for you, given what you say you’re looking for:

      #1: 180cm X-Drive 8.0 – I think this ski will probably feel most similar to what you already have, with very good edgehold and on-piste performance, while still working *okay* off-piste. I don’t like this ski in punchy, off-piste conditions, but the more firm & icy the off-piste conditions, the more I like it. But the three other skis feel much more comfortable off-piste. If you’re skiing moguls often, I actually prefer the other 3 skis in your group. But best shorter turn ski in this group, while doing GS turns well – see my review of the 8.0 and 8.8.

      #2: 182cm Fischer Motive 86Ti: incredible all-round performer. Maybe doesn’t have all the bite of the X-Drive 8.0 on piste, but it is very good on-piste and off, while also probably getting the slight nod as the most forgiving ski in your group.

      #3: 180cm Brahma: good on piste and off, but not exactly a ski to be lazy on—though also not a ‘must-always-be-Game-On’ ski either. Can’t say for sure whether you’d prefer the Brahma or the Motive 86Ti. I can happily ski either, but I think the Motive 86Ti has more range (fast or slow) and feels just as good if not better off-piste. I like both of these skis in moguls.

      #4: 179cm X-Drive 8.8: Obviously I love this ski in a 184, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the 179 cm model did everything you’re looking for. Still, the 8.0 is the more precise carver. But I much prefer the 8.8 to the 8.0 off-piste, and would rather ski the 8.8 in moguls than the 8.0. I think the 179 would still let you slow things down a bit, but as I’ve said, I can’t argue that the 8.8 is the best option for slowing things down. Having said that, I’m psyched to see all the comments from others who bought this ski – sounds like everyone is pretty high on it. And since you’d be on the heavier end for a 179 … let’s just say I’m not exactly trying to talk you out of this ski.

  28. If you have the time would like to know your opinion before making ski purchase. Im 5’9″ 190lbs advanced intermediate skier. Ski about 30 days a year with about 20 of the time being in the hills of MN, the other out west. Im torn between 173 or 180 length. After reading a plethora of reviews, talking to several ki shops its about 50/50. Those advocating the 180 say so because they ski about 5cm shorter and the 173 would be way to short. Those advocating 173 do so b/c tthe length is more in tune with my height and where i do most my skiing.

    Since I’m looking for a ski that will still be above average in the west and/or east for the yearly trip(s) i didn’t want a ski that would be too much for the midwest (~350ft of vertical on avg). Given the research I’ve done online and at local shops it seems like the 173 (height wise is more appropriate) vs 180 ( weight-wise more appropriate) would be a better compromise. The 173 would provide better maneuverability in the conditions i ski most here and out east and appropriate maneuverability out west due to the shorter size w/o getting too agressive, while still give me enough stability due to the stiffness of this ski, 173, but not on the top end like the 180 might.

    Im not a really agressive skier, but everytime i do go west do get into harder terrain, learning bumps, etc. i also ike pushing it a bit on open groomers, but not my main focus while out west.

    Being that the vast majority of my skiing will be in MN and this will be my one ski quiver not sure if the 180 would be too much ski.

    I have read some say the brahma skis more tru to lenght and per most charts im in the 175 range, but given the brahma might ski bit shorter will i be giving up what rhe ski should be by going with 173 vs 180, or since it is a stiffer ski the ‘sking shorter’ would benefit in MN but when out west and putting more umph on the ski it would be more adequate to my height and weight?


  29. I am looking for an all mountain ski for my son, 21. He is 6’6″ and around 200 lbs. He likes to push hard on the groomers but is also playful in the bumps and the trees. He is an advanced skier but is working hard on his skills since he is a part time ski instructor. I really thought I had found the ski for him in the Brahma after reviewing the tests in ski magazine, but if I read the individual reviews the ski seems to be rather stiff especially the 187 cm and with his length and weight I am sort of leaning towards the 187. Is Brahma a good ski for him and which size?
    Thanks in advance for your help. Monique

  30. I am likely going to get a pair of the Bramaha’s but am torn between the 173 and180 length… I am 66 years old, teach at a local resort 3 days a week, mostly beginners and school groups… I am pretty athletic but my aging body is slowing down a bit… I ski varied conditions here in PA, morning light powder, crud, groomed conditions and slush as the day moves on… I travel west every 2-3 years but need a ski that can handle most conditions east or west… If I were younger I would chose 180’s but as my age increases I find I am slowing down a bit…. I am now on a full camber 170 ski and handle it well (K2 Apache Recon) Help with my choice on length, the reviews seem to draw me to this ski, I have to order them and won’t have a chance to demo different sizes, a few months ago, I was leaning towards the 173’s but after reading many reviews, I think I should go for the 180’s, I do ski aggresively but as I age, I am slowing down, I want a ski that I can push but also want to be able to relax on too…. HELP!

    • What is your size and an your weight? I’m 6 feet and 200 lbs .I bought the 187’s ski.It’s not the best ski for short turns. Brahma is better for gs turn.You should try the Latigo.

  31. Hi,

    I am an advanced/expert skieer (been skiing since i was 4, now 21) and i am not sure wich size to get.
    I weigh 143 lbs and i’m 6 feet tall. In my country its not possible to get the 180 Brahma, so i need to choose between the 173 and the 187 and i really don’t know wich one to pick.
    It would be cool if you could give me some advice on wich one to get.

    Thanks for the great review already, i really enjoyed it!

  32. Jonathan,

    I have not skied out in NZ, so I am not sure how to take all these reviews,
    I was wondering where I should mount my Blizzard Brahma 2016, 180cm. I am 6’3″ 200 lbs.
    Problem is I do most if not all my skiing in Eastern Canada or VT, I charge on groomers, ski hard in bumps and may bring these into the trees.
    I was wondering what the ideal mounting point would be.


  33. Excellent review, and great comments. Racing background, bailed from the sport in the late 80s, now chasing kids and not gates. 6’4″ 190lbs went with 180 as my last ski was k2 slalom 77 and the technology has far advanced. The skis make me the skier i always wanted to be! Tails sometimes feel a bit soft and as my kids start to Mach I may need to size up, but for now they are great all rounders.

  34. Hi dudes
    Me (m, 32, 65 kg, 175cm) got a 173 Brahma 2015/16.
    I’m considering to mount my Squire 11 at + 1.0 cm for better carving.
    Anyone got experience doing the same?
    Thx a lot for ur answers!

  35. I demoed the 180 Brahma at Squaw a few weeks ago and loved it but felt I could use a couple extra centimeters. I am 5’10” 190 lbs and a solid expert skier of 30 years and 43 years old. Have not skied 187 yet but ordered 187 and will ski at Taos this weekend. I like bumps and hope I did not make mistake on size. 180 was both quick and powerful when I demoed them but bought 187 just because 180s seemed to ski a bit short.

  36. Has anyone mounted their Brahma 180s forward of the recommended line? Have some 2017s that I’m thinking of going +0.5 to +1 with FKSs. I’m lighter though, at 165 and 5′ 9″. Anybody tried?

  37. Hi I am looking at the new 2017 Brahmas 180 vs 187. I am 6’4″ strong intermediate skier at 200 lbs. Had demoed the 180s last year and liked them. I do about 75% groomers, 25% bowls/trees and intermediate in terms of my speed and aggressiveness. Leaning towards the 180s just wanted to make sure it was enough ski. Do you think the addition of the carbon flipcore changes the choice between the two? Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Rainer –
      I just got back from Colorado and I was on my 173s I bought a few years ago as my first major purchase. I’m 6’6 and 230 and the same level skier as you, but I try to hit more bowls and trees. I think you’d be perfectly happy on the 180s. I actually wish that was the size I’d purchased. I’ve put time on some Rossi 188s out west and found the length to be a little bit of a challenge in the trees (though, I’m sure I wouldn’t have minded the length in pow).
      If you’ve got a stronger bias toward groomers and you’re in an area that gets consistent, but small amounts of fresh (<6") then I would consider the 187s. If you want a length that's a little more versatile, while also being able to take the random storm then I'd go with the 180s.
      Hope this helps!

  38. Hi everyone,

    I poured over these reviews a few months back before pulling the trigger on a pair of 2017 180 Brahmas (mounted with fks and skiied with older Technica Cochise pro lights), so I figured it was only fair to return any knowledge I had gained. About me: 29 years old, 5’10” 165lbs ex highschool racer in great shape, that just returned to skiing 2 years ago. I ski hard, huck stuff and love the trees, but at the end of the day my GS roots make me want something that will scream on piste. So, was the Brahma a good choice… I have grown to absolutely love them. Skiied them 7 times this season in just about every type of snow (Mt. Shasta, Rose, Squaw, Alpine, Northstar, and Boreal). They rail on piste, I had buddies crying about ice at Squaw, that I didnt even know was present, because the edge hold is that nice. They dont really have a top speed that I have found, although Im sure if I were heavier it could be found. They make beautiful fast GS turns. Skied them in powder this last storm, and had one of the best days ever. They seemed to float decently for what they are, and it was easy and fun to surf around off the tails. They chew up crud at the end of the day better than any ski Ive used. Tips stay aloft, and turn at will. Now, the bad, they really dont like short radius work. It took me at least 5 days to learn how to coerce them into a tighter turn, and involves alot of forward pressure, tight boots, and getting the tails to let go at the right time. But the problem is, the tails dont like to break in this ski, as has been mentioned. I have considered detuning jsut the tails a bit, but havent needed to yet. This attribute carries over to all aspects of the ski. This ski will let you know, and RIGHT NOW, if you’re in the backseat. It will not turn, and will power straight down the hill. Overall the ski has made me a better skier by making stay in that sweet spot. Biggest drawback, I havent been able to have much fun on them in the moguls. I keep trying, and I keep getting bucked out of them. If you like moguls when you hit the resort, Id choose another pair. Currently Im considering a pair of Blizzard Zero G’s with touring bindings for a lighter tighter turning friend to the Brahma.

    • Sry for the string of edits. The 180 NOT too much ski for my weight or ability. I would NOT want to be on the 187 however. And the 174 ( i think?) would certainly not be enough. The length of a 180 gives added stability for landing anything, it also gives more float if you plan on using them in the powder. Their stiffness did not hold them back in powder from my experience. Another note, I gashed the bottoms on a few rocks last weekend in powder with littel base, and the ski held up. One hit tore the ski off my foot, even with the FKS set at 10. My last skis, 2015/16 Dynastar PowerTrack 89’s blew up with one rock hit to their soft wood core. So, bottom line the Brahma with its 2 sheets of titinal is a much burlier, tougher, and durable ski, that so far has held up to some decent pounding. Me, Happy.

  39. Edit: I had the FKS mounted just 0.5 cm forward due to my slighlty smaller size. I cant comment on how they would feel otherwise, but definitely like the feel they have at 0.5+.

  40. Thanks for the great review, it was very helpful in making the decision to buy the Brahmas.

    Here’s my .02 after 6 days at Winter Park

    Since I don’t really understand the skier rating system ill just give a quick self-assessment and the readers can filter my comments through my varied skill set. Ill rate myself on a curve as compared to the skiers I see on various runs in various conditions. Black and 2X black bump runs such as Outhouse, Drunken Frenchman and Mary Jane Chutes, I am at the bottom 10% of skiers on these runs. On black and blue un-groomed tracked out runs I rate my self above average of the typical skier seeking out this type of run. On blue bump runs I would say I’m in the top 20% and on steep groomers of any condition I’m in the top 10%. In the trees it’s anybody’s guess sometimes it goes great others not so much. For some reason, I havnt caught the powder fever yet; probably because of my physical dimensions. At 6’1”ish and 245 – 250lbs, I tend to sink a bit and haven’t demoed powder skis that are required to float my mass. I skied these in my Atomic Hawx 130’s

    On groomers in any condition, these skis flat out are un-phased by small bumps, piles of variable snow, patches of ice covered by 6” piles of afternoon fluff were no match for these beasts. The Brahma’s were unique in that they are very damp but also have some good pop out of turns. If you can bend them they will reward you with a nice boost into the next turn. I love making medium size, C shaped arcs and the big Brahmas were very cooperative; get a few of these turns going in rhythm and it was like dancing, smooth and fluid but powerful at the same time. Transitioning to longer turns brought a new feeling, rolling them from edge to edge closer to the fall line they gave just enough back to where my feet were swinging like a pendulum under my upper body smooth and easy at fairly high speed too. All the while blasting through variable late afternoon messed up groomers. They are not super quick; edge, to edge but but silky smooth even when the terrain is trying to give you fits. I had more fun changing turn shapes randomly on these skis than on any other ski I have ridden which includes the 2016 Kendo and Monster 88. If you’re looking for a ski that is super fun on any type of groomer, the Brahma could be for you.

    In blue/intermediate bumps they were fun and with a little bit of effort quite enjoyable but they wont let you forget you are riding on 2 sheets of metal. In the blue bumps the tails didn’t really cause a problem. Get the Brahma in the bumped up blacks and you better have some skills and strong legs because you are in for a work out because the Brahma’s require a lot of energy from the skier to change directly quickly. If you want to lap bump runs that Winter Park is famous for, this is not your ski. In medium sized moguls in somewhat steep I was able to ski the outside rut line without fighting the Brahma’s and quite enjoyed myself until my quads caught fire and lungs screamed for mercy.

    Un-groomed tracked out steeps were super fun on these skis and their ability to knock down and stay on top of the crud below was much better than I expected and made these conditions fun to the point where I was seeking out this type of run, which I don’t usually. If you want to ski a lot of trees the Brahma’s are not for you. I ski mostly with my 13 year old son who lives for trees and bumps. Chasing him through the trees at Winter Park is a chore on these skis and I found my self wishing I had something that I could slither around on in the trees. However I will say that the tips do plane nicely but the tails do not like to be flicked around.

    In summary these are fun skis for blasting any thing a groomer can throw at them, especially if you like to get them up on an angle. They excel at medium to large turns and are very damp and “poppy” at the same time. I was surprised how well they did in tracked out wind blown crud and would not hesitate to put them on and go charge around some bowls a few days after the last snowfall. The tips get on top od anything up to 6” deep pretty well and don’t get knocked off course easily. If you like medium blue rum bumps the Brahmas are fine, not ideal but more than adequate. Big bumps are not the target terrain for the Brahmas. Overall I like them quite a bit and would recommend them if you have some decent technical skills or racing background.

    Even at my size the 180’s probably would have been fine and perhaps a bit more friendly in big bumps and tight spaces.

  41. I have the 2015/16 version of the Blizzard Brahma and although I love the ski, the top layer is starting to peel and peel significantly around the rear of the binding and on the inner part of each ski. I purchased them at the beginning of 2016 and this past week was my 2nd week skiing on them and the condition is worsening. Wondering if there are known issues with the top layer of these skis and any suggestions on how to cure.

    Thanks – Jess

  42. Jonathan,

    I realize your review is a couple years old, so not sure if you’re still tracking this or not, but I’ll give it a shot. I just bought a pair of 2017 187cm Brahmas which are due to arrive today with Look SPX 12 WTR bindings. I am an advanced skier, ski all terrain but 90% groomers and fast and all west coast mtns. I’ve always been an aggressive skier, although less so the older I get! I went with the 187s based on my size, or mostly my weight. I’m 5’10”, 245 lbs. I doubt the Look binding is adjustable, so my question is given this little info, what are your thoughts about binding placement? Would you recommend the +1.5cm forward placement? Thanks.

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