Will Brown (see bio)
I. What’s your two-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?
Currently, most of my days are spent between Taos Ski Valley and resorts in southwestern Colorado, like Crested Butte and Telluride. These areas don’t top the charts in terms of total annual snowfall, but the snow they do get is light, and it stays dry and soft for a long time.
In last year’s two-ski quiver selections, I picked the Blizzard Cochise to serve as my narrower, everyday more all-mountain ski for Taos. While I still really enjoy the Cochise, I’m now more interested in more playful, more jib-friendly skis, so I’m going a slightly different route this season.
Ski #1: Blizzard Peacemaker, 186cm
To pull from Jason Hutchin’s spot-on review of the Peacemaker, it’s “an aggressive, freestyle-minded, all-mountain skier’s dream.“ It’s very capable of spinning and skiing switch, but it handles hard skiing in variable, firm conditions better than a lot of skis in this ~102 mm underfoot, freestyle-oriented class of skis. The Peacemaker is generally stiffer, a little heaver, and has slightly less dramatic tip and tail rocker than the K2 Shreditor 102, for example. Again, in Jason’s words: “These skis can be pushed much harder than most other playful all-mountain twin tips, and the Peacemaker accepts a more aggressive, driving stance than most other skis in the category.”
I can thread the Peacemaker through bumps pretty well, and throw spins and tricks on it around the mountain, but still ski relatively hard in chunky, variable conditions. In this way, the Peacemaker is extremely similar to the Moment PB&J. I’ll be posting a 2nd Look on the Peacemaker soon with comparisons to the PB&J, but for now, I’ll just say that the Peacemaker’s flex seems to work better with its camber/rocker profile than the PB&J’s. Compared to the PB&J, the Peacemaker feels a little more refined.
Ski #2: Moment Blister Pro, 190cm
For the same reasons I noted in my 3-ski quiver selections.
II. What’s your two-ski quiver for Taos?
III. What’s your two-ski quiver for the Canterbury Club Fields, New Zealand?
Compared to Taos and areas in Colorado & Utah, the terrain at the Canterbury club fields doesn’t present as many natural features to jib on any given day, so a ski like the Peacemaker is less attractive there. As such, my everyday ski would be more directional…
Ski #1: Blizzard Cochise, 185cm
If you read my three-ski quiver selections for this year, you’ll know I’m a big fan of both the new Blizzard Cochise and the Line Supernatural 108. They’re both great directional, all-mountain skis, especially if you have a lighter build like me. For skiing Taos and in Colorado, I’d pick the Supernatural 108 over the Cochise, simply because it has a bit of a snappier feel on groomers and a slightly shorter sidecut radius that’s a tiny bit better for tree skiing. However, the terrain at the Canturbury club fields has no tree skiing and few groomed runs, so there I’ll take the Cochise as the narrower of two skis in my quiver.
In short, it’s great for fast, slarvy, big-mountain style skiing that the club fields’ terrain encourages. And though you won’t find many mogul fields in Canterbury, the Cochise is nimble and forgiving enough to handle some bump lines here and there pretty well.
Ski#2: Kästle xx110, 190cm
When the club fields get hit with some fresh snow (and landings below the cliffs and rocks that dot their terrain become more forgiving), a wider ski that’s more playful and freestyle-oriented becomes more appropriate. With this in mind, I’ve paired the Cochise with the 190cm Kästle XX110.
While the Blister Pro would be great on a Canterbury pow day, the XX110’s 110mm waist ought to provide enough float for all but the biggest storms. The XX110’s narrower waist and lighter swing weight also make it a better jib ski than the Blister Pro, which is primarily what I’m looking for in this second ski.
The 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108 is another great, playful ski that sits squarely in the same class as the XX110. However, the Rocker2 108 is even lighter in the air than the XX110, so it doesn’t fare as well in the more dense snow that the club fields often see late in the season.
IV. What’s your two-ski quiver for skiing around the East Coast?
For skiing on the East Coast, I would look to pair a narrower, directional ski for bumps and groomers with a wider, light and playful ski for pow days.
Ski#1: Volkl Kendo, 184cm
The Kendo (review to come) doesn’t provide the same level of stability in crud and variable snow as the Mantra, but its 89mm waist and firm flex means it’s very well suited for aggressive mogul skiing, and fast, high-angle carves on firm groomers. I’ll be getting on more skis like the Kendo early this season, but when it comes to pairing quickness in bumps and edge hold on groomers, the Kendo is tough to beat.
Ski#2: Salomon Rocker2 108, 190cm
It’s quick to pivot in trees, it’s 111mm waist provides a nice amount of float in powder, and a mount point that’s 3cm behind center makes it a whole lot of fun in the air. The 190cm Rocker2 108 works well as a more soft snow oriented, one-ski-quiver for resorts in the West, and I think it would be a nice ski to break out on any soft day on the East Coast.
V. What’s your two-ski quiver for the next 2 years, regardless of location?
I’ll always appreciate a more directional, crud blasting, big-mountain style ski, so it’s very difficult for me to leave out either the Line Supernatural 108 or the Blizzard Cochise from this pairing. However, I’ve recently really enjoyed exploring a more playful style of skiing, and I suspect that I’ll continue to do so for the next couple of seasons. To that end, I’ve picked the more playful (but still relatively substantial) Peacemaker as my narrower, everyday ski here.
Ski#1: Blizzard Peacemaker, 186cm
Ski#2: Moment Blister Pro, 190cm
VI. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?
The Line Supernatural 108. I picked the Cochise for my narrower ski in Canterbury, mainly because of its slightly longer turn radius, but if I had to ski the Supernatural 108 in New Zealand, I’d be totally fine with that.
VII. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?
There are a number of skis that I think have a good chance of making this list next fall:
I’m curious to find out how the ON3P Kartel 106, Icelantic Nomad RKR, and 4FRNT Gaucho compare to the Blizzard Peacemaker as freestyle-oriented all-mountain skis in that ~104mm-waist class.
I’d like to find out how the ON3P Jeffery 114, K2 Shreditor 112, and the 190cm Line Sir Francis Bacon compare to the Salomon Rocker2 108 and Kastle XX110.
Finally, I’m hoping to see how the ON3P Jeffrey 122, the Volkl One and Two, the Faction Chapter, and the Armada JJ 2.0 stack up to the Blister Pro.
VIII. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?
I’m more interested in jib-friendly, freestyle-oriented skis these days, and Blizzard makes two skis that are decidedly playful, but are more capable in variable conditions than most skis in their respective classes.
Ski #1: Blizzard Peacemaker, 186cm – as an everyday ski.
Ski#2: Blizard Gunsmoke, 186cm – as a powder ski.
Next: Julia Van Raalte’s Selections