2020-2021 Blizzard Bonafide 97

Ski: 2020-2021 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm

Available Lengths: 165, 171, 177, 183, 189 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 175.9 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2200 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2281 & 2284 grams

Stated Dimensions: 136.5-97-118.5 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.6-96.2-118.1 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (177 cm): 17 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 9 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4.5 mm

Core: poplar/beech + titanal (2 layers) + carbon tips + fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11 cm from center; 76.9 cm from tail

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Bonafide 97 for Blister
Blizzard Bonafide 97 20/21 top sheets
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Since its introduction in 2012, the Blizzard Bonafide has become one of the reference points in the ~100mm-wide, all-mountain category.

While the name has stayed the same for 8 years now, the Bonafide’s construction has changed a bit over that time span, and that’s once again the case for the 20/21 season.

I spent two days on the overhauled Bonafide 97 last winter, and we were planning to get a lot more time on it throughout last year. But of course, in the bizarro year 2020, there was a stupid shipping mixup and we weren’t able to get back on the ski.

The good news is that we now have the Bonafide 97 in hand, and we will definitely be spending a lot of time on it this season. So while we wait for the snow to start falling, we wanted to dive deeper into the design of this new Bonafide, since we are really, really excited about it.

Quick Note on the Different Iterations of the Blizzard Bonafide

While the graphics have changed each year, in terms of construction, there have been four different versions of the Bonafide:

  • 11/12–14/15: the original version. We’ll call this the “v1” Bonafide. 
  • 15/16–16/17: the “v2” Bonafide got carbon added to its tips and slightly shallower rocker lines.
  • 17/18–19/20: the “v3” Bonafide had a tighter sidecut radius than past iterations and notably deeper rocker lines.
  • 20/21: the “v4” Bonafide that we’re discussing in this article, which features a lot of changes compared to the previous versions.

What Blizzard says about the Bonafide 97

“The iconic Bonafide, long-praised for its masterful combination of technical performance and all-mountain versatility, has gone ahead and one-upped itself. Introducing the all new Bonafide: made to attack the mountain with grace and precision. From crushing through crud, to laying it down on hard pack, to navigating your way through untouched pow in the trees, they’re the ultimate all-conditions daily driver for committed skiers. The new TrueBlend Woodcore specifically targets the flex throughout the ski, with a softer tip and tail that keep you nimble. Denser wood underfoot acts like a gas pedal, giving you the power and drive when you want to charge. Combined with a versatile sidecut and a reduced rocker profile, the Bonafide is the perfect blend of Austrian engineering and real-world testing that’ll keep you skiing confidently, even on those less-than-perfect days.”

This seems like a sensible description, given what we’ll cover below. But first, here’s what we said about the Bonafide 97 in our 20/21 Winter Buyer’s Guide, based on our initial time on the ski:

What we said about the Bonafide 97 in our 20/21 Winter Buyer’s Guide:

“Blizzard fully overhauled their “all-mountain freeride” lineup for 20/21, and we are very excited about the new Bonafide 97. We need to get more time on it (due to a shipping mixup, sigh) but our initial impressions are very, very positive, and we will definitely be skiing it a lot this year. The new Bonafide 97 feels more similar to the pre-17/18 iterations of the ski. It is damp, powerful, and precise. And especially now that many skis in this section are so light, the Bonafide 97 stands out due to its smooth suspension on firm, rough snow, and it brings back a level of on- and off-piste precision that we thought was lacking in the previous (17/18–19/20) model. This ski is not surfy, and you need to have good technique to really enjoy it. But we think advanced and expert skiers who appreciate a strong, damp, and stable all-mountain ski are going to get along very well with the Bonafide 97. Stay tuned for more info this season.”

With that background in mind, let’s dive into how Blizzard went about improving the Bonafide.

Construction

As we discussed in our First Look of the 20/21 Blizzard Brahma 88, the big change Blizzard made to the 20/21 versions of the Brahma 88, Black Pearl 88, Black Pearl 97 (review coming this year), and Bonafide 97 was a switch to what they’re calling “TrueBlend Flipcore.”

Essentially, the beech/poplar wood core in these new Blizzard skis consists of dozens of small strips of wood assembled in a grid-like structure. While the vast majority of skis on the market use wood cores with multiple wood “stringers,” those stringers typically run along the entire length of the ski and they’re usually wider than the wood strips used in the TrueBlend Blizzard skis. Here’s an image of a TrueBlend wood core to give you an idea of what we’re discussing:

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Brahma 88 for Blister
Blizzard TrueBlend Flipcore

The end goal with this complex construction is a more finely tuned flex pattern, since Blizzard has greater control over where they put the higher-density beech strips and lower-density poplar strips. The idea is that you get stiffness and power where you need it, but a more accessible / forgiving flex pattern where you don’t.

Like the v2 and V3 Bonafides, the new Bonafide 97 still features two layers of titanal, carbon fiber in the tips, and a fiberglass laminate.

Rocker Profile

This is a substantial change.

The 17/18–19/20 Bonafide had pretty deep rocker lines for a ~100mm-wide ski, though they were pretty low-slung and didn’t rise much until near the ends of the tips and tails.

The 20/21 Bonafide 97 has much shallower rocker lines. Its rocker lines are shallower than the majority of ~100mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed, with the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti being one of the few exceptions.

Looking at the Bonafide 97’s rocker profile, my initial thoughts about it feeling more precise than the previous iteration make sense.

Shape & Dimensions

The general shape of the Bonafide 97 isn’t drastically different than the previous v3 Bonafide.

The v4 Bonafide 97’s tips and tails might be a tiny bit more tapered than the older Bonafides, but it’s a really subtle difference. And the Bonafide 97 still has very little tip or tail taper compared to many other skis in its class like the Dynastar M-Pro 99, Salomon QST 99, and Salomon Stance 96.

The new Bonafide 97’s dimensions are slightly different compared to the previous, v3 Bonafide. Here’s how the 177 cm Bonafide 97’s stated dimensions (tip width, waist width, tail width) compare to the 180 cm v3 Bonafide:

  • 177 cm 20/21 Bonafide 97: 136.5-97-118.5 mm
  • 180 cm 17/18–19/20 Bonafide: 135-98-119 mm

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Bonafide 97:

Tips: 7.5
Shovels: 7.5-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8.5-9

Overall, the new Bonafide 97 is still a very strong ski. Compared to the v3 Bonafide, the Bonafide 97’s tips are a bit stiffer, it feels slightly stronger behind the heel piece, but it’s also a bit softer in the area in front of the toe piece.

While it is a pretty stout ski, the Bonafide 97’s flex pattern doesn’t ramp up extremely fast as you move from the shovels to the underfoot section. The transitions in its flex pattern are nice and smooth.

Overall, the new Bonafide 97’s flex pattern feels fairly similar to the Volkl Mantra M5. The Bonafide 97’s flex pattern is also pretty similar to the 20/21 Nordica Enforcer 100, but the Bonafide 97’s tips are notably stiffer and its flex pattern doesn’t stiffen up as quickly as you move from the shovels to the middle of the ski.

Sidecut Radius

The 177 cm Bonafide 97’s stated sidecut radius is 17 meters, while the 183 cm version’s is 18.5 meters. Those radii are slightly on the shorter side compared to other metal-laminate skis in this class, though the Bonafide 97’s stated sidecut radius is not very out of the ordinary.

The 180 cm v3 Bonafide’s stated sidecut radius was 18 meters, so there isn’t a massive change with the new ski in this regard.

Mount Point

No real change here: the new Bonafide 97 still has a very traditional mount point of -11 cm from true center.

Available Lengths

The available lengths had never changed for the previous (v1, v2, & v3) Bonafides. They were all available in 166, 173, 180, and 187 cm lengths.

The 20/21 Bonafide 97 is available in 165, 171, 177, 183, and 189 cm lengths.

Weight

If you were worried that Blizzard made the new Bonafide 97 some ultralight, twitchy, unstable ski, don’t be.

At an average measured weight of 2282 grams per ski for the 177 cm length, the Bonafide 97 is not particularly light. In fact, it’s quite heavy for its size. And as we’ve stated so many times before, we are very happy about this. Because if you’re going to make a ski that’s supposed to “crush crud” and let you ski confidently on “less-than-perfect days,” weight is your friend, not your enemy.

The Bonafide 97’s heavier weight puts it in line with some other metal-laminate skis like the 20/21 Nordica Enforcer 94 and Enforcer 100, while it’s notably heavier than some others like the Volkl Mantra M5, Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, and 4FRNT MSP 99.

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 try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–20/21)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
1998 & 2041 K2 Mindbender 99 Ti, 177 cm (19/20–20/21)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
2041 (avg.) DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2, 189 cm (20/21)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2078 & 2138 Black Crows Justis, 183 cm (20/21)
2085 & 2088 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (11/12–14/15)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2167 & 2199 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (15/16–16/17)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2222 & 2229 Dynastar Menace 98, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2324 & 2359 Kastle MX99, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21)

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Blizzard Bonafide 97 is a strong, minimally rockered ski that’s neither super light nor super tapered. All of those things make sense for a ski that’s supposed to be “the ultimate all-conditions daily driver for committed skiers” and “keep you skiing confidently, even on those less-than-perfect days.”

Blister Members can check out my Flash Review linked below for my initial thoughts on this ski, and then stay tuned for a full review this season.

Flash Review

Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Bonafide 97 for our initial on-snow 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 personalized gear recommendations from us.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
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6 comments on “2020-2021 Blizzard Bonafide 97”

  1. Any chance you can compare this to some older skis (say 2015-2016 rossi 100)? I know its not helpful for deciding between current skis, but it is helpful for those of us who are still rocking some old boards :) and want to place a new ski.

    The tip / tail rocker profile reminded me of the old rossi experience line. Guessing the heavier weight, narrower tail, and less camber will make this ski better in weird steep terrain while giving up some groomer performance.

  2. Any thoughts on how the ski compares to the volkl m5 mantra, in terms of power, ease of turn initiation, etc? I have the older version of the bonafide, 2015, considering upgrading it as on piste /hard conditions ski. I’m tending to ski my black crows atris the majority of the time once we have a good snowpack /powder, as it’s a very fun ski in soft snow… Still need a narrower, stiffer ski though when it’s hard and or ripped up at the resort. I love my old bonafide for its energy and power.

    • I got to ski the new bonafide 97 for 3 days in the 183cm length. At the time, the Mantra M5 in the 184cm was my daily driver. Both are excellent skis, but the weight difference was very noticeable, the Bonafide felt a touch more powerful but a bit sluggish. The M5 felt quicker and more precise, easier to ski all day. I have blown an edge on the M5, and am going to take a chance on the Mindbender 99ti 184 + the Volkl Kendo 92 also in a 184 to replace it.

      FYI, I too have the 2015 Bonafide in a 180 which is truly the best ski I have owned. If you are okay going a touch wider, the Mantra 102 is exceptional.

  3. I’ve looked at the 2020-21 Buyer’s Guide. Great Job once again! I was looking at the Spectrums for the All-Mountain More Stable category and I don’t see the Bonafide. Where does it sit? Was if left out because of the limited amount of time on the ski with the shipping mix up? That’s for all the great work you do!

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