2020-2021 Blizzard Brahma 88

Ski: 2020-2021 Blizzard Brahma 88, 177 cm

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

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 175.7 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1990 & 2036 grams

Stated Dimensions: 128-88-110 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 127.9-86.7-109.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (177 cm): 16 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 67 mm / 7 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2 mm

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

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.95 cm from center; 76.9 cm from tail

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Blizzard Brahma 88 for Blister
20/21 Blizzard Brahma 88
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Back in January, Blizzard made a big announcement: for the 20/21 season, they’d be overhauling five of their men’s & women’s “All-Mountain Freeride” skis, including one of our favorites, the Brahma 88.

The Brahma 88 that was made from 17/18–19/20 was an exceptionally good ~88mm-wide all-mountain ski. While many skis in this waist width perform great on groomers, a lot of those same skis struggle in funky, off-piste conditions. Not so with the old Brahma 88. It felt perfectly at home in steeps, bumps, and trees.

So, as with any time one of our favorite skis gets changed, we were very curious about how and why Blizzard changed the Brahma 88.

Let’s take a look.

A Quick History of the Brahma — version 1, 2, and 3

The Blizzard Brahma was first introduced during the 14/15 season, and that version of the ski was made from 14/15 to 16/17. To simplify things, we’ll call that the “v1 Brahma.”

Blizzard updated the Brahma for the 17/18 season, adding carbon fiber to its tips and tweaking its shape and rocker profile. This is the version of the ski we’ve loved, which was made from 17/18 to 19/20. For the 19/20 season, they changed the name to “Brahma 88” to differentiate it from the 19/20 Brahma 82. We’ll call this 17/18–19/20 Brahma the “v2 Brahma.”

And now there’s the “v3 Brahma,” which will be available for the 20/21 season. Here’s what Blizzard updated with that ski:

Construction

According to Blizzard, this is the biggest update for the 20/21 Brahma 88.

Along with the 20/21 Blizzard Bonafide 97, Black Pearl 88, & Black Pearl 97, the new v3 Brahma 88 features what Blizzard calls their “TrueBlend Flipcore.” We went into greater detail in our initial post about the new skis, but the very brief version is that 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 use wood cores with multiple wood “stringers,” those stringers typically run along the entire length of the ski and they’re usually thicker 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.

As with the v2 Brahma 88, the v3 version still features two full sheets of titanal and carbon fiber in the tips.

Shape / Rocker Profile

While the shape of the v3 Brahma 88 is nearly identical to the previous version, its rocker profile is not.

The v3 Brahma 88’s shape is nothing out of the ordinary for a 88mm-wide ski — minimal tip & tail taper and a long effective edge.

The v2 Brahma 88’s rocker profile was out of the ordinary for a ski of this width, with very deep rocker lines. Those rocker lines were quite subtle and they didn’t rise much until the ends of the ski, but the v2 Brahma 88’s rocker lines were much deeper than average.

Not so with the new v3 Brahma 88. The v3 has much shallower rocker lines, bringing it more in line with skis like the Black Crows Orb, Head Monster 88 Ti, & Liberty Evolv 90.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the v3 (20/21) Brahma 88:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 7-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 8.5-8

And here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the v2 (17/18–19/20) Brahma 88:

Tips: 7.5
Shovels: 7.5-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 8-9

When hand-flexing these two versions of the Brahma 88, the v3 does feel a bit softer at the ends, while both skis feel very similar around the middle. So it seems like Blizzard succeeded in giving the v3 Brahma 88 a bit more forgiving flex at the tips and tails, while keeping it strong around the bindings.

The v3 Brahma 88 is still a strong ski overall, but its tail is notably softer than the tails on the Head Monster 88 Ti & Renoun Z-Line 90. Overall, the flex pattern of the v3 Brahma 88 is fairly similar to the Black Crows Orb and Nordica Enforcer 88.

Available Lengths

Blizzard changed the available lengths for many of their All-Mountain Freeride skis for 20/21, including the v3 Brahma 88.

The v2 Brahma was available in 166, 173, 180, & 187 cm lengths.

The v3 Brahma 88 will be available in 165, 171, 177, 183, & 189 cm lengths.

Sidecut Radius

Not much change here. While Blizzard changed the available lengths for the 20/21 Brahma 88, the corresponding stated sidecut radii aren’t notably different.

The 177 cm v3 Brahma 88 has a stated sidecut radius of 16 meters, while the v2 180 cm Brahma 88’s stated sidecut radius was 17 meters.

Mount Point

Another aspect that’s not really changing is that the v3 Brahma 88 still has a very traditional mount point. The v3 Brahma 88’s mount point measures around -10.9 cm from true center, while our pair of the v2 Brahma 88’s mount point measured around -11.1 cm from true center.

Weight

The 177 cm v3 Brahma 88 is extremely similar to the 180 cm v2 Brahma 88 when it comes to weight.

Our average measured weight per ski of the 177 cm v3 Brahma 88 is 2013 grams, while our average measured weight per ski of the 180 cm v2 Brahma 88 is 1999 grams. So this ski did not get any lighter, which in our view is a good thing for a ski that is supposed to excel on pretty firm conditions. As we’ve said a million times before, heavier skis do a better job of smoothing out rough snow.

As with the v2 Brahma 88, the v3 Brahma 88 is not extremely heavy, but it’s notably heavier than some of the newer, lightweight skis in this class like the Black Crows Orb, Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, and Salomon XDR 88 Ti.

1784 & 1800 Liberty V82, 179 cm (19/20–20/21)
1790 & 1828 Black Crows Orb, 179.1 cm (19/20–20/21)
1790 & 1831 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1911 & 1917 K2 Disruption 82Ti, 177 cm (20/21)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1947 & 2022 Liberty V92, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
1959 & 1985 Renoun Z-Line 90, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1990 & 2036 Blizzard Brahma 88, 177 cm (20/21)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma 88, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19–20/21)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2077 & 2092 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm – weight includes binding plates (17/18–19/20)
2098 & 2105 Nordica Enforcer 88, 179 cm (19/20–20/21)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88 Ti, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Blizzard is talking a big game about their TrueBlend Flipcore, saying that it has enabled them to really dial in the flex patterns of their new skis and make them easier to ski while not giving up power and stability. So will the new Brahma 88 (with its slightly softer flex pattern) be notably easier than the previous version?

(2) With its much shallower rocker lines, how much better will the new Brahma 88 be on piste in terms of edge hold? And has it sacrificed any off-piste versatility?

(3) The previous Brahma 88 was the best ~88mm-wide ski we’ve tried when it came to funky, off-piste conditions. So will the new version still be a stand-out in this regard?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The 20/21 Blizzard Brahma 88 has shallower rocker lines, a subtly softer flex pattern, and an intriguing “TrueBlend” wood core construction that Blizzard is making some pretty big claims about.

And now, Blister Members can check out our Flash Review for our initial on-snow impressions, then stay tuned for our full review.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Brahma 88 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 personalized gear recommendations from us.

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2 comments on “2020-2021 Blizzard Brahma 88”

  1. Might be useful to when you update a skis top sheet pic, add the pic of the old top sheet somewhere. Would help remove any confusion for people shopping past years skis

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