Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Cochise, 185cm
Available Lengths (cm): 171, 178, 185, 192
Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 183.5cms
Stated Dimensions (mm): 136-108-122
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 135.5-107.5-121
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,376 and 2,393 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (185cm length): 27 meters
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech + Titanal Metal (2-Layer) + Carbon Tips/Tails + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~67mm / ~18mm
Mount Location: Recommended Line (80.1cm from tail; – 11.1 cm from center)
Boots / Bindings: Fischer Ranger Pro 13 / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM
Days Skied: 4
The Cochise: A Retrospective
Aside from the Moment Blister Pro (a.k.a. the Bibby Pro), the Cochise might be the most talked about and definitely is the most reviewed ski on Blister. It’s also been one of my favorite skis to spin laps on from one season to the next, even though the ski’s design has seen some slight changes over the years.
Over the course of three seasons, we wrote four separate reviews on the original Cochise; apart from the topsheets, the ski’s design didn’t change from its debut in 2011-2012 through the 2013-2014 season.
Then Blizzard tweaked the Cochise this season, adding 2mm of camber underfoot (where it was flat before) and softened the ski’s flex a touch (reportedly, by 15%). We took the retooled, 2014-2015 Cochise with us to New Zealand last August.
To our relief, we found that the 14/15 Cochise was practically the same ski it was before, and we couldn’t pick up on any significant differences on snow from the 1st generation—i.e., none that made us ski the Cochise any differently than the original version, or recommend it to readers for new or different reasons. To pull from Paul Forward’s review of the Cochise, “When Blizzard announced that it was making some changes to the ski, it made some skiers understandably nervous,” but “that nervousness [wasn’t] warranted, and the 14/15 Cochise continues to shine in the growing, increasingly competitive class of damp, versatile, ~105mm directional skis.”
But here we are, looking ahead to the 2015-2016 season, and the tweaking of the Cochise continues. We’ve already spelled out the general changes to the ski’s design for the 2015-2016 season on the previous page, and I have now spent four days on the new, 2016 Cochise in Taos.
I’ve mainly skied the new Cochise in 4-5”of light, fresh powder, and lots of soft and slightly choppy snow, A/B-ing it against the 14/15 model. I’ll relay some of my findings here, but they are definitely initial impressions, not our final word on the new ski. As will be become clear, we still have some more testing and comparing to do before we have a complete sense of the new Cochise and how it differs from the previous iteration.
A Little Suggested Reading
What is obvious, though, is that this new Cochise isn’t a radically different ski from the current model, and talking about the ways in which it differs from the 14/15 version seemed like a useful way to go about reviewing it (rather than starting from scratch and repeating a lot of what we’ve already said of the older models). The reason I spelled out the genealogy of the Cochise above is because I think our previous reviews of the Cochise are still useful and relevant, even if you’re only interested in this new version of the ski.
And if you’re looking to kill more time at work, checking out Jonathan Ellsworth’s review of the original Cochise and my 2nd Look of the ski would be worth your time, too. If you’re not familiar with the Cochise, those reviews will give you a great sense of what this ski is all about.
In the past, I didn’t find the Cochise to be a very exciting ski on groomers, but considering how much fun I had on it raging around steep terrain, I never really cared.
The original Cochise’s edge hold was quite good — good enough to lock the ski into a decently high angle carve at speed on any remotely soft groomer. But I always felt that the OG model didn’t provide much energy through a turn, and I think most of this had to do with the fact that that it had no traditional camber, though its pretty-damn-big, 28.5 meter sidecut radius surely played a part, too.
Even after Blizzard added some camber to the Cochise this season, we didn’t notice a real difference in it’s performance. To quote Paul Forward: “I can’t say that I’ve noticed any more rebound than my first generation Cochise, or that I’ve found any clear difference (positive or negative) in the Cochise’s hard snow performance.”
Now, I’ve spent the least amount of my time on the 2016 Cochise on groomers, so I reserve the right to change my mind after more time on the new ski, but at the moment, I’m inclined to say that its high-speed carving performance still hasn’t changed much at all. It’s seems just as capable of making the same big, really fast, stable carves back to the lift, but still doesn’t provide much pep and energy like the Line Supernatural 108 (which, in my book, is the most entertaining ski on groomers in this class.)
The new Cochise does feature Blizzard’s new “Carbon Flip Core” construction, though, which they describe as “90 degree directional carbon fiber integrated into the rockered areas of the tip and tail of the ski.” They claim ”the carbon fiber stabilizes these rocker areas, which results in better performance…more control,” and “a lighter swing weight.”
The new Cochise also has a slightly smaller stated sidecut radius: 27 meters in the 185cm length, vs 28.5 meters on the older model.
With that “lighter swing weight” and minor difference in its stated sidecut radius in mind, I still need to slow things down on groomers to see if the new Cochise feels significantly more maneuverable / more accessible during low-speed, skidding turns. Given how familiar the ski felt at speed carving big GS turns, I sort of doubt it will.
However, the jury is definitely still out because I did find myself thinking that new Cochise might have allowed me to initiate some turns more easily in soft, lightly bumped-up conditions in the steeps….