Ski: 2014-2015 Blizzard Cochise, 185cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 134-108-122
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 135-107.5-123
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.3cm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 28.5 meters
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2349 & 2339 grams
Boots Bindings: Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 / Marker Jester (DIN 13)
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Days Skied: 4
The Cochise returns to the Blizzard Freeride line with some stated changes for 2014-2015. Most notably, Blizzard claims that this year’s version is 15% softer, and now has 2 millimeters of camber underfoot.
I’ve been skiing the Cochise for much of the past week at the Canterbury club fields of New Zealand, and have found the Cochise to be a great ski for the terrain here as well as the current conditions.
Firm, Chalky Snow
Most of the skiing I’ve done on the Cochise at Broken River, Mt Cheeseman, and Temple Basin has been on relatively firm, chalky snow. As I mentioned in my review of the DPS Wailer 105 Hybrid T2, the Cochise has felt damp and predictable in these conditions. The ski is also very easy to quickly scrub speed or stop, which inspires a lot of confidence to go ahead and ski fast. In fact, I would say that the Cochise is better at this than any ski I’ve used in this waist width, and even when skiing firm bumpy snow, I felt little hesitation in letting them run.
The edge hold of the Cochise is also quite good. Once I locked into a turn, I’ve been able to ride a relatively clean edge in firm snow. While skiing at Mt Cheeseman, we spent most of our day with a group of ski instructors who were all on freshly tuned slalom skis. While chasing them around, I wouldn’t say that I was making quite as clean and crisp carves as they were, but I was able to leave parallel, railroad-like tracks in most places, albeit with a bit of a larger turn radius.
Overall, I was impressed that the Cochise was damp enough to carve hard in these conditions while still being much more apt to break free on demand to alter turn shapes or scrub speed.
The rocker line and tip splay of the Cochise are some of the key ingredients that allow it to break free so easily, but its design does have some drawbacks in firmer snow. Chief among these is the delay in feeling the Cochise’s tips engage when initiating a turn.
To be fair, this is a drawback of most skis with tip rocker—the more splay a ski has, the harder it is to engage the tips to help bend the ski into the top or middle of a turn. I notice this most when making quick turns on hard snow, or when jump turning in challenging conditions, where I appreciate the reassuring feel of a less rockered / more traditional tip engaging early, making it easier for me to land on an edge with confidence.
The upside of the Cochise’s design is that the ski feels less hooky and is more maneuverable than it would if it had less tip rocker.
An additional downside of the Cochise’s relatively deep rocker line and tip splay is some loss in stability in very firm conditions while running bases flat. In such conditions, the 185 Cochise feels short and is quite vulnerable to being knocked around. But this can easily be remedied by laying the skis over a bit and engaging more of the ski.
Re: Those Extra 2mms of Camber
In my time on the Cochise so far, I can’t say that I’ve noticed any more rebound than my first generation 193cm Cochise, or that I’ve found any clear difference (positive or negative) in the Cochise’s hard snow performance.
So if you were worried about this particular change to the Cochise, neither Will Brown nor Jonathan Ellsworth nor I have yet found any reason why you ought to be.
Cold, clear nights and warm days have allowed for a significant amount of faceting and decomposition of wind and sun crusts on certain aspects and areas of Broken River, Cheeseman, and Temple Basin, so we’ve had some opportunities to ski some recycled pow. I don’t tend to be impressed by the powder performance of 105mm-waisted skis, and in deep pow, I don’t think the Cochise will turn out to be much of an exception to this, even though it now has slightly softer shovels that may facilitate a bit better flotation. We’ll see.
But on this trip, the shallow, faceted snow we’ve skied has been relatively well-supported by firm snow or underlying tussock—negating the need for the Cochise to provide significant flotation—while the Cochise’s tip and tail rocker maintains the ability to slash and drift with surprising ease.
That said, based on the mediocre-to-poor powder performance of my 193cm, 1st generation Cochise back in Alaska, my suspicion is that in deep powder conditions, I’ll still be wishing for a wider ski.
Wet, Heavy, Grabby Snow
The same attributes of the Cochise that allow it to ride a stable edge yet still break free on demand in both hard snow and recycled pow, lend themselves to good performance in manky, heavy snow.
The dampness of the Cochise’s construction smoothes out irregularities, while its rocker profile allows for easy speed scrubbing and direction changes.
But as I noted in my initial look at the DPS Wailer 105, the Cochise felt a little less stable in wet, heavy snow than the slightly stiffer and less rockered Wailer 105.