Ski: 2019-2020 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm
Days Skied: ~15
Available Lengths: 186 cm (custom options available)
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.7 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2325 & 2352 grams
Stated Dimensions: 133-104-122 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 136.4-103.4-122.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 21 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 75 mm / 27 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: maple/bamboo/poplar + 90% fiberglass / 10% carbon laminate (custom options available)
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.65 cm from center; 83.7 cm from tail
A couple of weeks ago on our GEAR:30 podcast, we had a conversation with Folsom’s Mike McCabe about a new ski we’ve been working on together: the Blister Pro 104.
You can listen to that conversation for the entire backstory here ….
… and the nutshell is that we were interested in developing a ski that would work as a strong, versatile, and stable daily driver for places with an abundance of steep, tight, and technical terrain (like Crested Butte), in everything from decent conditions to difficult conditions. (And just to be clear, we weren’t particularly concerned with its performance in deep / super forgiving snow.)
And now that we have the fourth iteration of this ski, we’re going to go over its specs, how it compares to other options on the current market (and a few of the models that served as reference skis during the design process), and then we’ll post a full review once we’ve spent more time on the Blister Pro 104 this season.
Shape / Rocker Profile
Again, or goal with this ski was to make something that would be quick enough to maneuver through tight lines and moguls, but with good enough suspension and stability to feel comfortable at speed in bumped-up and rough terrain. So to that end, here’s what we did.
For a modern, ~104mm-wide ski, there are lots of skis right now that have significantly more tip and tail taper than the Blister Pro 104.
Its shape is slightly more tapered than some skis like the Parlor Cardinal 100, Armada Invictus 99 Ti, and Black Crows Corvus. But compared to many skis in this class (e.g., Moment Commander 98 & 108, Dynastar Legend X96 & X106, Rossignol Soul 7 HD, etc.) the Blister Pro 104 has notably less tip and tail taper.
The Blister Pro 104 has a pretty deep tip rocker line, a moderately shallow tail rocker line, lots of tip splay, and fairly low tail splay. While its measured 75 mm of tip splay looks like a lot on paper, the skis’ tips don’t rise abruptly till near the end of the ski, which equates to more effective edge than some similarly “splayed out” skis like the ON3P Woodsman 108.
Compared to the Nordica Enforcer Free 104 and Fischer Ranger 102 FR (two skis we had in mind while developing the Blister Pro 104), the Blister Pro 104 has a bit less tip and tail taper, lower tail splay, and similarly deep rocker lines (though the Ranger 102 FR’s tip rocker line is deeper).
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Blister Pro 104:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Overall, the Blister Pro 104 is a very strong ski. Its tips feel accessible and are fairly easy to bend, but they’re still significantly stiffer than many skis in this class, like the Salomon QST 106, Moment Wildcat 108, and 4FRNT MSP 107. And the midsection and back-half of the Blister Pro 104 are very stiff. In fact, the tail of the Blister Pro 104 is slightly stiffer than the tail of the “Hammer Edition” of the Folsom Primary, though the Hammer’s tips are a bit stiffer than the Blister Pro 104’s.
Compared to the Nordica Enforcer Free 104, the Blister Pro 104 is a bit stiffer throughout. Compared to the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, the Blister Pro 104 has slightly softer tips, but is similarly stiff through the rest of the ski.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to frequent readers of our site that the ski we designed to be a daily resort driver in pretty good to fairly poor conditions is pretty heavy. At an average weight of ~2338 grams per ski for the 186 cm version, the Blister Pro 104 is hefty for its size. It’s one of the heaviest ~104mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed, and its weight really stands out in the current market, so many skis are getting lighter and lighter (and lighter and lighter and lighter).
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2013 & 2013 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (18/19)
2018 & 2045 RMU North Shore 108, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
And for the record, looking at these weights? This personally makes me very happy.
Folsom Blister Pro 104 vs. Folsom Blister Primary vs. Folsom Blister Hammer
Some of you might rightly be thinking, “Isn’t this the 3rd ‘Blister’ ski from Folsom?
Answer: Yes. Sort of.
But here’s how we’d think about the three skis.
You can read our review of the “Blister edition” of Folsom’s Primary to learn more about our first take on making a ~109mm-wide variable charger. Turns out, this first iteration didn’t come out as the intentionally-one-dimensional, burly, big-mountain missile that I had in mind. What it did come out as is an extremely quick, extremely poppy, extremely versatile, and extremely fun ski that could work very well as a one-ski quiver for areas that get above-average snowfall, or as the wider ski in a 2-ski quiver. I.e., in decent conditions to very deep conditions, this “Blister edition” of the Folsom Primary is terrific.
This ski is heavy, stiff, and was purpose-built to be a big-mountain missile that would destroy variable conditions. Unlike the Primary above it, it is not particularly versatile. And it is not some ‘Happy Go Lucky / Fun Times’ ski — unless your version of “fun” involves skiing the mountain like you are mad at it. (Which, turns out, can definitely be fun.) Only physically stronger skiers who want something to rage on should consider the Hammer. But for the right skier (e.g., anyone who likes the sound of a reverse-camber Head Monster 108?), you might not want to ever go out again on anything else on a variable-conditions day.
#3: Folsom Blister Pro 104
While this ski is a bit narrower than the first two, it also kind of slots between them. It is not as quick, poppy, and pivot-y as the Primary, nor is it the one-dimensional beast that the Hammer is. You shouldn’t need to be the strongest or the most aggressive skier to have fun on it, and instead, it ought to make tricky terrain and demanding conditions more manageable and fun. Yes, you will have to provide more physical input than you would on a much lighter ski, but much lighter skis can also leave you a lot more beat up and tired than a more stable ski with better suspension will (a la the Blister Pro 104).
Bottom Line (For Now)
We’re very eager to get this most recent iteration of the Folsom Blister Pro 104 on snow here in CB, because it has a lot of the traits many of us at Blister look for in an everyday, all-mountain ski. It’s quite strong, it’s got some weight to it, and while we said we didn’t particularly care about how this ski handles deeper snow, it definitely looks like it has enough rocker to handle softer and trenched-out variable snow without giving up much edge hold on very firm conditions.
We’ll be getting on the Blister Pro 104 ASAP, so stay tuned for our full review coming this season.
Finally, if you’re a Blister Member and are interested in the Blister Pro 104, you can order it in this stock iteration for $849 (which is ~35% off Folsom’s standard pricing).
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Blister Pro 104 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis and other gear, personalized gear recommendations from us, and more.
If you haven’t already, read my Flash Review of the Folsom Blister Pro 104 and you are considering this ski, then you should go read it first. (And if you aren’t already a Blister Member, you should become one to get access to all our Flash Reviews, plus a bunch of other benefits.)
I may move a bit quicker than normal through this full review because (1) we already provided some particularly important info in that Flash Review, and (2) reviewers Luke Koppa and Eric Freson — who have also both spent a good bit of time on this ski — are going to be weighing in soon.
The other thing is that (as I noted in my Flash Review), we are actually going to be experimenting with a tweak to the tails of the Blister Pro 104, so this review here is about the BP 104 version 4, and we’ll be talking about version 5 in the weeks ahead.
And just to be crystal clear, my belief is that version 4.0 is going to make more sense for some bigger and / or very strong skiers, while version 5.0 might hold some benefits for lighter and / or less aggressive skiers.
Okay, let’s get to the review:
Chopped-Up, Softer, Variable Conditions
I’m going to assume that you’ve already read our First Look of this ski, so I will skip all the qualifiers here. But in short, in softer, tracked-up, variable snow, there is no ski I’ve ever been on of about this width (~105 mm) that I can say that I’ve liked more.
In more forgiving variable snow, the BP 104 is strong without being punishing; it has a very, very high speed limit while still having a shovel that is compliant and can handle hitting deeper patches of snow without the tips submarining on you; it’s still pivot-y enough and maneuverable enough to never feel overly locked in in moguls or trees — quite the opposite, actually — and so yes, in my humble opinion, for those who like a heavier, more substantial ski, this is about as fun as it gets in softer, cut-up snow.
Firmer, Variable Snow
To be clear, I’m talking about more firm, set-up chunder here — but not godawful refrozen coral reef. (Especially since there is nothing “variable” about refrozen coral reef.)
But when you hit your home hill and it hasn’t snowed in a week or two, well, that is pretty explicitly where we wanted the Blister Pro 104 to shine — especially for those of us who will still be out there skiing off-piste steeps, as opposed to just sticking on piste.
And here, I would say that version 4 of the BP 104 is extremely good. The single most important word we had in mind when thinking about this ski was, “Suspension,” and getting the suspension right on a ski is the result of nailing the combination of weight, flex, and shape.
Again, I’d encourage you to read my Flash Review for more on this, but for now, let me say that heavier skiers (~200+ lbs) who want a ski that will hold up to hard skiing in firm, off-piste snow should be very, very pleased with the BP 104.
The suspension of the front half of the ski just feels perfect to me: the shovels are not super stiff, nor are they overly soft and much softer than the tails.
(BTW, going with a very stiff tail and a much softer shovel is apparently called an Austrian flex pattern … and while I think skis with this flex pattern can be super fun on groomers, for off-piste skiing … such skis make me dislike Austria. For off-piste skiing, I’ll take a more balanced / more symmetrical flex pattern pretty much every time.)
But I tend to ski a lot of steep, moguled-up terrain, and sadly, I tend to get thrown out of position all the time in such terrain. And when that happens at speed and you’re flying out of a run and those firm moguls are coming at you faster and faster — or, my favorite, you’re skiing in flat light so can’t really even see the moguls coming — that’s where the tails of this v4 BP 104 can feel a bit stiffer and more punishing than I personally would like.
To provide a bit of context, this is not something I’ve ever said about the tails of the Nordica Enforcer 104. (What I have said about that ski is that I wished it had a bit more top-end stability.)
So bigger and / or stronger and / or less-mistake-prone skiers than me might not want these tails to go any softer — and those people should call Folsom and say that they want this exact version 4. But for the rest of us…
Experiment / Tweak: Blister Pro 104 v4 to v5
I weigh between 170- 175 lbs, Luke Koppa is around 155 lbs, and Eric Freson is around 175-180 lbs, and all of us suspect that the tails of the BP 104 could be just a touch softer, and by doing so, you’d make those tails a bit more forgiving while giving up very little in terms of stability. At least, that’s our belief and our goal with version 5.
So with the upcoming v5, Folsom is going to make one single tweak, which I discussed with them: they are going to mill down a portion of the back of the core by about 0.3 mm. That’s it. (And according to Mike McCabe, “This minor alteration to the core profile should reduce the flex in the tail by about 8-10%.”)
So again, heavier folks might want to stick with version 4, and we’ll be reporting back on version 5.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain / Pivotability
This has probably been the single biggest surprise about the Blister Pro 104: it is exceptionally easy to pivot given (1) how much camber underfoot it has, (2) it’s weight, and (3) it’s not-wildly rockered-out tail.
I had absolutely zero idea that I would ever be saying this as we were designing this ski, but some of you remember — and love — the original Blizzard Cochise for being both a pretty strong ski and also a ski that was so easy to pivot. Welp, I’d want to say something similar about the Blister Pro 104.
If memory serves, I’d say that the 186 cm Blister Pro 104 feels a bit stronger than a 185 cm OG Blizzard Cochise, and that Cochise is probably even more willing to hold fully slarved, sideways turns down the fall line.
(And I would be remiss not to mention the Prior Husume, though the Husume feels even more like a really good, strong pow ski, whereas the BP 104 and the OG Cochise certainly are not strong, pivot-y pow skis.)
Eric Freson is going to be saying more about this when he weighs in, and while I still sometimes find that he has some rather head-scratching things to say about gear … I have to admit that his take on the pivotability and maneuverability of the BP 104 — especially as it relates to the amount of input you give to the ski — is spot on, smart, and really helpful.
But the main thing that I want to say for now: so long as you are skiing tight lines where you can keep a bit of your momentum going (as opposed to having to hockey stop frequently to keep from slamming into trees or massive moguls with no clear pathway), I’d call the BP 104 quite maneuverable for a ski this heavy and strong. Maneuverable and fun.
Smooth Ice / Wind-Scoured Steeps
So if the pivotability is one of the biggest strengths and most interesting characteristics of this ski, smooth ice is probably its current weak spot. Now it is definitely the case that you can adjust the tune to make this ski feel a bit more locked-in or super loose, but if you currently are considering this ski for use on really steep, wind-blasted lines, I personally would be interested in something that offered a bit more edge purchase.
Now steep, smooth, ice isn’t exactly the specific condition that we designed this ski to excel in, and if this is really your top priority, then you’d probably want to find a ~105mm-wide ski that had less tip and tail rocker and more effective edge.
But for my money, I don’t want to change the shape of this ski at all, and if anything, I might go back and play with the tune of the ski a bit more.
Here’s another area where, for reviewers of our size and / or our power, we’re actually thinking that softening up the back of the ski just a little will actually result in better carving performance.
Currently, I’d say that the Blister Pro 104 is “fine” on even slightly soft groomers. On very firm ice (see above), none of us are super thrilled with the edge hold of this ski — and we suspect that this has to do with how stiff the ski is near / behind the heel piece. To bend the ski on groomers we’re finding ourselves wanting or needing to weight our heels a bit harder than normal, as opposed to just really driving the shovels of the ski.
I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here, but again, I think heavier / more powerful skiers will have less of an issue and will more easily bend the ski, and as a result, will get more purchase and edgehold than we’re currently getting.
Bottom Line (For Now)
Well, that’s already quite a bit to digest, and Luke Koppa and Eric Freson will be offering their thoughts soon.
But for now, I’d sum things up like this: advanced and expert skiers who are looking for a strong and maneuverable ski to use primarily off piste — and especially when the conditions are quite average, very mediocre, or relatively crappy — really ought to check out this ski.
And when the conditions turn to “above average” or even “really good,” then this ski has also proven to be a ton of fun, and to do what it was designed to do.
Heavier and / or powerful skiers who do not need a forgiving ski probably ought to order this exact ski that we’ve reviewed. And again, we already know that a number of people have had Folsom modify this BP 104 platform (some have gone much less stiff), and we’ve been told that they’re enjoying this ski, too.
In other words, this “104” platform is proving to be a very versatile one, and it’s been fun to dial in a design to make skiing mediocre conditions truly, truly fun.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Blister Pro 104 to see how it compares to the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, Nordica Enforcer 100, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Volkl Mantra 102, ON3P Woodsman 108, ON3P Wrenegade 108, Moment Wildcat 108, Blizzard Cochise, K2 Mindbender 99 Ti, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, Salomon QST 106, Armada ARV 106Ti, Blizzard Rustler 10, 4FRNT MSP 107, and J Skis Metal.