2020-2021 Volkl Blaze 106

Ski: 2020-2021 Volkl Blaze 106, 186 cm

Available Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.4 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 1772 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1784 & 1790 grams

Stated Dimensions: 146-106-128 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 145.6-105.7-127.7 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 19 meters*

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64.5 mm / 28 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 1.5 mm

Core: multi-layer wood core + titanal binding reinforcement + fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered P-Tex 2100

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.9 cm from center; 81.3 cm from tail

Luke Koppa reviews the Volkl Blaze 106 for Blister
Volkl Blaze 106
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Volkl is launching a new series of skis for the 20/21 season, with the new Blaze 106, Blaze 106 W, Blaze 94, and Blaze 94 W serving as their lightweight freeride skis and effectively replacing the “Eight” series (100Eight, 90Eight W, etc.).

The category of “lightweight freeride” skis has been steadily growing for years now, and so here we’ll take a closer look at the Blaze 106 to see how its design compares to the rest of the market.

What Volkl says about the new Blaze series

“The emerging category of lighter weight Playful Freeride skis ushers in a new era for skiers seeking lively, lightweight products with easy all-day handling in a wide variety of snow conditions. These are riders who constantly look for alternative terrain, either adjacent to the groomers or adjacent to the resort. With 4 new models, 2 unisex and 2 women’s, the all-new BLAZE series provides an off-piste feel for intuitive skiers who favor short turns, offering one of the lightest freeride skis in its class.”

Volkl is emphasizing the Blaze skis’ off-piste performance, and they note that that could be lift-accessed or outside of the confines of the resort. They also mention “skiers who favor short turns,” which is interesting and we’ll get more into that in the Sidecut Radius section. Other than that, these skis are supposed to be light, easy, and versatile.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The shape of the Blaze 106 looks very similar to the 100Eight it effectively replaces. Neither ski is very tapered and the widest points are similarly close to the ends of the skis, though the Blaze 106’s tips don’t taper to as much of a point as the 100Eight’s and the Blaze 106’s tail looks a bit less tapered.

Overall, the Blaze 106’s shape is not super far off from the Line Sick Day 104, Elan Ripstick 106, and Armada Tracer 108, though all of those skis are a bit more tapered than the Blaze 106.

While the Blaze 106’s shape is fairly traditional compared to most freeride skis, its rocker profile is not. The Blaze 106 has a really deep tip rocker line and a pretty deep tail rocker line, too. That said, its rocker lines are very low-slung and stay pretty close to the ground / snow until you get near the ends of the ski. So, when you tip it on edge, you should be able to engage a lot of that rockered portion, but we’re curious to see how loose the ski feels when you’re not really laying it over.

And one of the big changes from the 100Eight is that the Blaze 106 features camber underfoot, whereas the 100Eight was a full reverse-camber ski. The Blaze 106 does not have much camber (just a bit over a millimeter underfoot), but it does have some.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Blaze 106:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 7-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Tails: 8.5-8

The Blaze 106 is a fairly strong ski, but its flex pattern also stiffens up pretty slowly as you move from the tip or tail toward the middle. The tips are fairly easy to bend but stiffer than those on skis like the Line Sick Day 104 and Armada Tracer 108, and the Blaze 106’s tail finishes a bit stronger than its tips / shovels, but it’s not a massive difference. The area between the shovels and bindings is a bit softer than what I’d call “average,” but it has a nice and smooth ramp-up.

Compared to the Volkl BMT 109, the Blaze 106’s flex pattern feels similar overall, but the BMT 109’s flex pattern stiffens up more quickly and is stiffer in front of and behind the bindings.

Sidecut Radius

The Blaze skis feature Volkl’s “3D Radius” sidecut, which basically means that the skis feature a tighter radius in the middle and longer radii at the tips and tails. For the 186 cm Blaze 106, they say that the radius in the middle is 19 meters, 40 meters at the tip, and 30 meters at the tail. The idea is that the shorter radius in the middle allows for quick, carved turns, while the longer radii at the ends of the skis prevent them from feeling hooky when making bigger turns and when throwing the skis into a drifted / slarved turn.

We’ve spent a lot of time on the Volkl Mantra 102, which also features the 3D Radius sidecut, and found it to be a great carver but also easy to pivot. We’re not sure how much of that had to do with the ski’s 3D Radius, but we just know the Mantra 102 is very intuitive and comfortable making a variety of turn shapes. The 184 cm Mantra’s radii are listed as 27 m / 20 m / 25 m (tip / middle / tail), which is a less dramatic difference than the Blaze 106’s stated radii, so we’re curious to see if we notice a big difference between the turn shapes that the two skis can make.

Mount Point

At -11.9 cm from true center, the Blaze 106’s mount point is very traditional / rearward. This is in line with Volkl’s other directional skis, though the Blaze 106 does feature two lines (+1 cm & +2 cm) in front of the recommended line. We’re curious to see what kind of stance the Blaze 106 will prefer, but we’re guessing you’ll want to be over its shovels.

Weight

Our pair of the 186 cm Blaze 106 is coming in at an average weight of 1787 grams per ski, which is very light compared to most inbounds-oriented skis, but not nearly as light as some dedicated touring skis like the Black Diamond Helio 105 and Blizzard Zero G 105.

Compared to some other “50/50” backcountry / resort skis like the Line Sick Day 104 and Elan Ripstick 106, the Blaze 106 is slightly on the lighter end of the spectrum. And what’s really interesting is that the Blaze 106 is not that much heavier than the Volkl BMT 109, so we’re interested to see how those two skis compare.

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.

1476 & 1490 K2 Wayback 106, 179 cm (18/19–20/21)
1547 & 1551 Black Diamond Helio 105 Carbon, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20–20/21)
1606 & 1641 Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19–19/20)
1642 & 1662 Atomic Backland 107, 182 cm (18/19–20/21)
1660 & 1680 Moment Deathwish Tour, 184 cm (19/20)
1692 & 1715 Moment Wildcat Tour 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1706 & 1715 Volkl BMT 109, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1745 & 1747 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm (16/17–19/20)
1752 & 1771 Amplid Facelift 108, 189 cm (18/19–20/21)
1784 & 1790 Volkl Blaze 106, 186 cm (20/21)
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1787 & 1806 WNDR Alpine Intention 110 – Cambered, 185 cm (19/20)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1918 & 1931 Sego Condor 108, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
1951 & 1953 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (20/21)
1993 & 2026 Black Crows Atris, 184.2 cm (17/18–20/21)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2027 & 2052 K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 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)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2177 & 2180 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
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 (19/20–20/21)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
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 (17/18–20/21)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Volkl is targeting the Blaze 106 at skiers who want to ski off piste, whether that’s lift accessed or under your own power, so will these feel like more of a dedicated backcountry ski or one that can handle aggressive skiing in the resort? Or … both?

(2) The Blaze 106 has really deep rocker lines and very little camber, so how loose and easy to pivot will it feel and how precise will it feel on edge?

(3) Given its 3D Radius and the very large difference between the stated radii along the length of the ski, what kind of turn shapes will the Blaze 106 be able to make?

(4) While the Blaze 106 and Volkl BMT 109 have very different rocker profiles and constructions, their weights, shapes, and flex patterns aren’t super different, so how should people decide between the two?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Volkl Blaze 106 looks like an interesting addition to the freeride category. It combines a pretty traditional shape and mount point with very deep rocker lines, an intriguing sidecut design, a moderate flex pattern, and a light-but-not-crazy-light weight. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below, then stay tuned for our full review.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Blaze 106 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.

Share this post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email

Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
Base
Previous
Next

8 comments on “2020-2021 Volkl Blaze 106”

  1. What a teaser! I’m thinking about adding a powder oriented ski. Looking for something that will perform well in trees and bumps that is still fun on piste. Demoed the rustler 10 180 which was great. A local shop tells me the Blaze 106 is even better, however he was sold out of rustler 10. I prefer a ski with some rebound on piste. I ski 2017 180 brahmas which are a lot of fun as long as you’re pushing them. I also have a pair of Rossi experience 100 in a 182 which plow through anything, carve well and even do OK in bumps but they are difficult and laborious to ski on super steep runs with thick snow due to the engaging tails. Looking for a lighter, softer, floater ski that still has some guts on firmer conditions. That would be awesome. Maybe I’m looking for the Holy Grail.

  2. I”m curious how these compare to the Blizzard Rustler 10s and Rustler 11s. They seem like pretty similar skis. I find the Rustler 10s to be fantastic one-quiver skis.

  3. Looks like finally the average schmo may enjoy Volkl (join the club dictated by the market). And the price seems more affordable since they got rid of carbon. I’m curious to see what and when they are going to replace their BMT and VTA touring lines.

  4. I tested these skis twice in late February and early March. I was able to test them in a wide variety of conditions at my home resort. I tested the 179cm. As stated they have are relatively light which before I skied them I was worried they might be too light. First turns into a tight chute with some chopped up pow I was amazed at how “poppy” they were. The lightness was nice for quick turn initiation yet a pretty solid platform. Quick edge to edge. Out of the chute and into a wide-open fan I let them run through the chop with bigger radius turns and again felt solid. I was already shaking my head and thinking these are pretty nice skis so far and I had a few more thousand vert to descend. Got on some nice winter snow groomer’s with some good bite, so not ultra firm, and presto these skis held a great edge, both small to large radius turns and they performed just fine in either. Cranked them up the speed to see how they felt…still had that nice Volkl dampness…yea not quite like my Mantra M5 95’s but still didn’t feel out of sorts. For an all mountain go anywhere ski very nice. Next time out there was a bit more pow to put them through pretty much the same terrain variety. Equally impressed. I have a variety of skis so wouldn’t need this as my touring ski. I love the dimensions too…just what I’m looking for in a ride for the mountain I ski at…starting off likely in pow, in a steep chute, chopped up to groomed so a particular characteristic ski is called for. And still won’t shy away from firm’ish snow and some speed and be all squirrelly or chattery. It’s happiness with a variety of turn shapes made me happy too!

  5. Be interested to see in the Deep Dive how you think they compare to the Sakana, dimensions and intent seem reasonably similar, Blaze are a bit lighter

    • Hmm, I can already say they feel nothing alike. While the Blaze 106 is notably lighter in similar lengths, it feels much more stable when making longer turns. The biggest difference, though, is the sidecut radius — the Sakana feels much more biased toward shorter turns, while the Blaze can’t match the Sakana in terms of really tight, high-edge-angle turns but is much more comfortable making longer turns in all conditions.

      • Thanks for the quick reply Luke, makes sense. Was the talk of people favouring short turns that made me wonder – maybe I should have read the flash review first!

Leave a Comment