I’ve now had the chance to ski the Blend in and out of the park, and on large and small features in order to gauge this ski’s versatility and figure out where it best performs. Here’s what I’ve found:
Rails / Jibs
I got to ski the Blend in three different (and all fantastic) parks around the country: Mount Snow, Vermont, and Copper Mountain and Keystone in Colorado. Each park was full of creative rail setups that allowed me to put the Blend to work in its element.
As advertised, the Blend is ultra playful on jibs. It’s very surfy on smaller jumps and transitions, perhaps outperforming other skis in this category like the J Skis All Play, and even giving the Armada Edollo a serious run for its money.
Despite coming in at around 2070 grams per ski, the Blend has a pretty low swing weight, most likely thanks to its softer, less beefy tips and tails. Though the Blend is 100 mm underfoot, I didn’t feel bogged down when performing bigger spins onto or off of rails.
Though it’s fun to surf around on jibs, the Blend is really designed to butter and press. In what seems like a callback to Line’s old “butter zone technology” from years past, the Blend has a very specific pivot point that’s roughly 65-70% of the distance between the midpoint of the ski and the tip, that gives way with minimal pressure. The soft tip beyond this point can be worked to generate pop, but it requires you to work this pivot point along with the stiffer areas of the ski just in front of the binding to really pop off of the tip. This adjustment takes time to get used to, especially if you’re more accustomed to a stiffer and / or more rockered tips.
I’m pretty terrible at butters, but the Blend made butters not just fun, but pretty effortless. The same goes for presses and tail slides — once you get used to where you need to apply weight to work the pivot points of the Blend, the ski will more or less do exactly what you ask of it when it comes to butters and presses.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much more stable the 185 cm Blend was compared to the 178 cm size, and in general, the 185 was more stable than I expected. Of course, the Blend’s soft tips and tails provided little (if any) recoil on less-than-perfect landings. I would not recommend the Blend as a competition slopestyle ski, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it be one. I hit 60+ foot jumps on the Blend at Copper and didn’t feel scared for my life due to a lack of stability, but I definitely didn’t feel as confident as I would have felt on a more jump-specific ski like the Salomon NFX or Fischer Nightstick, or even the slightly softer Head Caddy. However, the Blend feels plenty capable on 30-40 foot jumps, so for a skier that’s only spending part of their time on jumps, this shouldn’t be a reason to ignore the Blend (especially in the 185 cm length).
As mentioned previously, the Blend is a very playful jib ski, and this translates to certain aspects of skiing outside the park. Natural hits and jibs are undoubtedly a blast on the Blend. Further, the Blend is a maneuverable, nimble ski, and nowhere is this more noticeable than in the trees.
At speed, however, the Blend leaves a bit to be desired. I experienced a fair amount of tip snag when trying to work the shovel through faster groomer turns. This was possibly related to that pivot point in the ski’s tip where the stiffer section underfoot turns extremely soft through shovel and tip. I found it challenging to work the Blend’s shovel through a turn, since the shovel is so soft that there just isn’t much ski to drive.
Most noticeably (although perhaps expectedly), the Blend performs rather poorly in chop and variable conditions. The tips are extremely soft and not super damp, and while this pays off in terms of playfulness, I never felt very confident at higher speeds through rough conditions / terrain. While the Blend may be 100 mm underfoot, it is, after all, a park ski, and is best suited to stick to the park / jibbing around the mountain, and much less suited toward big mountain lines.
Caveat: Some people are hard on their gear, some people aren’t. I belong in the former camp (see most of my past reviews), so maybe the most useful thing to do here is to ask yourself which camp you belong to.
So yes, I tend to be tough on my skis, and I did experience one significant durability issue during the review period. During the first day I hit jumps on the Blend (my third overall test day), I delaminated one of the tips about 1.5-2cm down the ski. I overshot one jump pretty badly and landed forward on basically sheer ice — which may have been a death sentence for a lot of park skis. To make matters worse, the high temperature that day was 5°F at the base of Mount Snow, which meant that the ski’s materials would have been unusually cold and brittle.
If you don’t tend to be hard on your skis, this might be nothing to worry about. And if you are hard on your skis, know that this is something that Line would definitely warranty.
The Line Blend sits near the top of any ski we’ve reviewed when it comes to playfulness around jib features. It’s an incredibly buttery and surfy ski that would make a fun dedicated park ski or an east coast one-ski quiver for someone who won’t be skiing fast, using it in a lot of deep pow / chop, or hitting bigger lines. For its waist width, the Blend is a very fun rail / jib ski, but it does not shine on big jumps and at high speeds. Overall, if you’re looking for maximum playfulness and focus mostly on rails, jibs, and smaller jumps, the Blend is certainly worth a look.
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