Quick Note #1 – 17/18 Buyer’s Guide
We are happy to report that we will be emailing out the digital edition of our 17/18 Buyer’s Guide this Monday morning, and the print edition of the guide will be arriving after that. Once again, we’ve learned that putting together and fact-checking a 192-page buyer’s guide is a tall order. We’re very pleased with how this one came together, and we hope you enjoy it. We promise that it’ll be pretty useful.
And after we sleep for 3 days straight, we might even get around to doing a podcast about the production of the guide. Because tons of issues and topics come up each year as we’re doing this, and you might find some of those topics (and our internal fights about them) pretty interesting. (Or incredibly boring and nerdy. Hard to say.)
Anyway, point is that you will all have the digital-edition of the guide Monday morning, and the print guide will follow.
Ok, now back to the Spur…
Spur Intro #2
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about this ski, and people saying things like, “I heard that the new Spur is (fill in the blank with a statement that has Sam Shaheen and I both saying things like, “Wow, that isn’t true at all”).
Sam and I got time on this ski this spring, and we’re looking forward to getting it into deeper snow.
But here are some initial findings and reports, and let’s talk first about the new Spur’s specs.
Note that the stated dimensions of this ski are pretty far off:
17/18 Spur – Stated Dimensions: 150-124-140 mm
17/18 Spur – Measured Dimensions: 143.7-124.0-132.7 mm
(16/17 Spur – Measured Dimensions: 144.5-124.5-132.5 mm)
Someone at Blizzard got the width correct, but the tips and tails, not so much. But really, who cares, right? It’s still a fat pow ski, so what’s the big deal?
Well it’s a big deal because it helps explain a couple of our other conclusions below.
Here’s how we’d sum up the new Spur’s flex pattern:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Behind Heel Piece: 8-7.5
On a hand flex, the new Spur feels softer all around — through the tail, through the middle of the ski, and through the front of the ski. At the very tip and shovel, the two skis feel most similar. But the new Spur never ramps up in stiffness like the previous Spur does as you move to the center of the ski.
But then there’s another factor…
I guess we’re going to go ahead and break the news now: we’ve been doing some pretty interesting measurements of the torsional rigidity of skis. We’ll just tease this for the moment, and you’ll learn more about it in our Buyer’s Guide and find some of our results there. So for now, we’ll just say that when we measured the torsional stiffness of the 16/17 Spur against the 17/18 Spur, the new Spur is almost 50% less torsionally rigid.
So if anyone is trying to tell you that the new Spur is as or nearly as solid as the previous Spur, you might note that the new Spur is lighter (~2230 g vs. 2390 g), flexes softer throughout, and is far less torsionally rigid.
Stated Sidecut Radius
The 16/17 Spur had a stated radius of 28.5 m. The new Spur has a stated radius of 26/30 m.
We’ve talked before about not putting too much stock in stated sidecut numbers, and this is a perfect example. Because when you factor in the shape of the new Spur and the weight of the new Spur and the torsional rigidity of the new Spur … we’d say that, on snow, its sidecut radius feels like it’s in the 16-18 m range. Yep, the big, bad Spur is now a pivot stick — but a very fun pivot stick.
Comparison: Spur vs. … Pescado??
To drive the point home, as we were skiing the Spur this spring, the ski that it reminded us the most of was the LINE Pescado, a super fun fat ski (124 mm wide) with a 19 m radius.
Oh, and like the Spur, the Pescado only comes in one size. Except that size is 180 cm. And the Pescado only weighs 1800 grams.
If this all sounds crazy to you, that’s okay. It still seems a bit crazy to us. But it’s true. And I think a big reason for this w/r/t the Spur is that its swing weight feels like nothing.
Both skis are poppy, well-balanced, weird-looking, and fairly stable given that neither of them is some burly ski. (Turns out, maybe a bit of torsional ir-rigidity isn’t always a bad thing.)
On a related note, this also means that the new Spur is crazy easy to ski. Our reviewer, Sam Shaheen, who is 5’10”, ~135 lbs, has this to say about the Spur:
“Aside from the Spur’s “impaler” tips, there is nothing intimidating about the 192 cm Blizzard Spur. It feels light, snappy, and turn-y. This is an easy ski to get along with, and one that we could easily recommend to less experienced skiers as a pow ski for their quiver. In short, it’s quick, snappy and fun.”
And just in case you’re suspicious, we promise you that Sam isn’t trying to show off here. At 135 lbs, he’s describing the 192 Spur this way. And at my 175-180 lbs, I fully agree.
So if you ever complained that the previous 189 cm Spur was too short, don’t get too excited about the new “192” Spur. Again, on snow, it honestly felt to both Sam and me like it was about 180 cm long. And that’s not a criticism. We love the 180 cm Pescado, and think it’s a phenomenal ski. It is short, but it is a ton of fun. Incredibly easy to pivot and to knife in and out of short carves. Short but not unstable.
And we’d say very, very similar things about the 192 cm Spur. We’re not prepared to say that, on groomers, it is the same super fun carver that the Pescado is. But in deeper snow? Both skis are pivot sticks that still respond well to shorter, hard-carved turns. And this is something that we never ever said about the previous Spur; we loved it for entirely different reasons.
Bottom Line / Who’s It For?
Expert skiers who want a quick ski for deep snow and tight trees. While we previously wouldn’t have had all that much use for the Spur in a place like Niseko, Japan, we think the new Spur would be a ton of fun there. Deep snow and playful terrain appear to be the new home of the Spur, while the previous Spur was — and still is — one of our favorite big-mountain, high-speed pow skis.
Blizzard has pulled quite the plot twist here. But our early impressions are that they’ve made two very good, very different skis that just happen to share the same name.
NEXT: Pow and Mid Winter Conditions Update