3-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (18/19)

Intro

Assembling a ski quiver is certainly fun, and it’s a great way to procrastinate and make the hours at work just fly right by.

But it can also get a bit tricky — and cause the more obsessive among us to start going mad. So we get a lot of questions about whether ski X is too similar to ski Y to have both skis, and even more questions about how, in general, to think about putting together an effective quiver.

So the first things to figure out are:

(1) Whether for you, personally, it’s worth owning more than a single pair of skis. And then,

(2) How to put together a group of skis that will help you get the most out of every day on the mountain.

To be clear, there is no single perfect quiver for everyone. It all depends very much on where you ski and how you ski. So our selections below shouldn’t be viewed as our answer to the question, “What are the best skis out there?” Instead, these are our personal picks, and our rationale for why we’d choose them.

More Ski-Quiver Help

For more general suggestions and recommendations (as opposed to what we personally would pick), check out our 18/19 Buyer’s Guide. In the guide, we offer our thoughts on which particular combinations of skis pair well, so those selections are a useful complement to what we’ve written here if you’re still looking for general ideas, or if you already own one ski and are wondering what other skis would go well with it.

1, 2, or 3-Ski Quiver?

So between the Buyer’s Guide and what we have here, we hope to help you figure out (a) whether you should look into a 1-, 2-, or 3-ski quiver, and (b) give you a bit of direction on how to build your own quiver.

We’ll be starting with 3-ski quivers, then narrowing it down to our 2- and 1-ski quivers in the coming weeks.

Four Questions

For each of our reviewers, we asked them to answer the following questions:

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Two Additional Notes

(1) For our quivers, we’re only including skis that we’ve actually spent time on, but we will allow some speculation regarding skis that we think might fit into our quiver once we get to ski them / ski them more.

(2) We will be updating this post with more options from some of our other reviewers in the near future, but we’d also love to hear your answers to some or all of our four questions, too, so please do so in the Comments section.

The Selections:

Luke Koppa

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

I split my time between the backcountry and the resorts of Colorado, so my 3-ski quiver would consist of one ski that I’d mostly use for touring, and then two dedicated inbounds skis. In general, I tend to prefer skis that encourage a playful skiing style, but I also enjoy skiing fast, so I appreciate skis that let me do both.

Ski #1: Touring Ski — Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Line Sick Day 104

For my touring ski, I mostly want something that’s versatile. My touring season typically consists of hunting pow in the winter (which is often in tightly treed terrain due to avalanche danger), and then longer days in the spring where I’m trying to check of the numerous couloirs and bigger lines the state has to offer. Also, since I only get to include three skis in this quiver, I’d also like it if my touring ski could hold up in the resort for those days when I want something that slots between my narrower and wider resort skis.

For me, this is an easy choice: the 186 cm Line Sick Day 104.

The Sick Day 104 skis exceptionally well for how light it is. At around 1900 grams per ski, the 186 cm version is plenty light for most of my tours, and I’d just have to deal with the extra heft on longer days. And when it comes time to head downhill, I haven’t been on many skis that feel as versatile, intuitive, and fun as the Sick Day 104. It floats well, it’s easy to slash and slarve around, and it’s a blast to carve. Just fun all around, and with the Shift, I’d be totally comfortable skiing it inbounds, too.

Ski #2: Firm-Snow Resort Ski — J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
J Skis Masterblaster

This is the ski I’d use when it hasn’t snowed in a while, but when I still want to ski hard and fast. While there are plenty of damp, directional skis that could accomplish this goal, I haven’t been on anything that has the level of stability and playfulness of the 181 cm J Skis Masterblaster.

It’s damp, I can ski it as hard as I want, but its flex pattern, rocker profile, and mount point still let me have some fun when I want to do something other than go fast and straight. This ski is awesome.

Ski #3: Soft-Snow Resort Ski — Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Icelantic Nomad 115

I’m still searching for the perfect resort pow ski, but the 191 cm Icelantic Nomad 115 is the best thing I’ve used so far for my style of skiing. It floats well, is easy to play around on, holds up quite well in soft chop, and it’s surprisingly good on groomers.

I could go with a heavier, chargier ski, but that wouldn’t be as much fun when I want to mess around at slower speeds. And I could pick a lighter and / or softer ski, but that wouldn’t hold up as well when I want to ski hard in chop. For me, the Nomad 115 strikes an excellent balance of playfulness and stability.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

If I could add one more ski, it’d be the 184 cm Salomon MTN Explore 95, and I’d have it mounted with the ATK Raider 2.0 12 or G3 Zed (I still need more time on the Zed to decide this). With the MTN Explore 95, I’d have a very light touring setup that would be awesome for spring days when I’m doing a lot of vert and skiing down tight couloirs on firm or slushy snow.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

The hardest ski to leave off is definitely the Nordica Enforcer 110. I absolutely love that ski. But for a 3-ski quiver, it doesn’t really fill the criteria I’m trying to meet (too wide for my narrow resort ski, too narrow for my wide resort ski). But I think you’ll be seeing it come up in the next quiver selections…

Other honorable mentions include the Fischer Ranger 102 FR and Line Sakana, which were narrowly beat by the Masterblaster. The Atomic Bent Chetler 100 could have filled the role of the Sick Day 104, but the Sick Day 104 is a bit easier to slarve and slash around, which is nice when touring in tight trees.

The ON3P Kartel 108 is another extremely fun ski, but like the Enforcer 110, it just falls between my two resort skis. Lastly, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is an excellent touring ski, but I’d want something wider for mid-winter pow days.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I could list a bunch of skis here, but I think the top contenders are the Moment Blister Pro (which I will finally be getting on this season), Moment Wildcat Tour 108, Amplid Facelift 108, and Prior CBC.

The Wildcat Tour 108 and Facelift 108 both look like really intriguing playful touring skis, and they could potentially replace the Sick Day 104. The Blister Pro and CBC could replace the Nomad 115 once I spend more time on them in pow.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

This one’s tough because there are few companies where I’ve tried (and really liked) several of their skis. So I have a few contenders.

LINE:174 cm Sakana, 186 cm Sick Day 104 (touring), and 190 cm Sick Day 114.

This would be a really fun quiver, though I would like having something that’s a bit more damp for really firm days, and also something that’s a bit more playful / with a less traditional mount point.

Moment: 188 cm PB&J, 187 cm Meridian 107 (touring), and 184 cm Blister Pro

I’ve only been on the Meridian 107 (and really liked it), so this is a lot of speculation. But the Blister Pro and PB&J both seem like safe bets. And depending on how my time on the Commander series goes, those could also make the list.

ON3P: 184 cm Wrenegade 96 (touring), 186 cm Kartel 108, and 184 cm Billy Goat

This would be a fun one. I haven’t been on the Billy Goat (yet), but I think I’d be very happy on all these skis.

Liberty: 187 cm Origin 96 (touring), 187 cm Origin 106, and 192 cm Origin Pro

I really like the Origin 96 and 106, and those could handle most of my days. Then, based on what Paul Forward has said about the Origin Pro, I think I’d really enjoy it as my resort pow ski (and I’d probably mount it a few cm forward of the recommended line).

Sam Shaheen

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Ski #1: Mountaineering / Touring Ski — Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm w/ ATK Raider 2.0 12

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Salomon MTN Explore 95

Having a versatile mountaineering ski is very important to me. Come springtime, the vast majority of my days are spent searching out steep lines and high peaks. The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is my favorite mountaineering ski at the moment. It’s got a great ratio of weight to dampness and power, a long effective edge for holding on steep ice, and it is wide enough to hold its own on moderate mid-winter powder days, too.

Realistically, this is a ski I really won’t reach for until about March, but in the springtime, it is my primary ride.

Ski #2: Everyday Resort Ski — Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Rossignol Soul 7 HD

If you’re a regular Blister reader, then you’ve probably read (or heard on a podcast) my rants about this ski. The Soul 7 HD is just plain fun. It has a super forgiving shape, gobs of energy / rebound out of a turn, and it’s lightweight but can be pushed quite hard.

When I ski in the resort, I like to ski fast through steep, techy, terrain. The Soul 7 HD encourages this type of skiing and is still forgiving enough to help me out when I make the inevitable mistake.

Ski #3: Soft-Snow 50/50 Ski — Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

I had a hard time choosing between the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 and the Blizzard Rustler 11 for this ski. But because my other two skis have relatively flat tails, I’m going with the fully twinned Bent Chetler 120. I’ll pull out this ski on the majority of powder days, whether that’s touring or riding lifts. This is a lightweight ski that can be pushed fairly hard (seeing a theme here?) and is insanely playful. For the light snow we get out here in Colorado, it’s hard to beat the combo of the BC 120 with a Shift binding for playing in pow.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

The above skis are all pretty light and therefore don’t encourage super fast speeds. If I was going to add a ski, it would probably be a heavier, stiffer ski. Perhaps the Prior CBC or the Fischer Ranger 102 FR. Both skis are much stronger than anything on my 3-ski list. The CBC would probably replace the BC 120 which would make way for the Rustler 11. The Ranger 102 FR would probably just slot in as a second (chargy-er) resort ski and the other 3 skis would remain the same.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

I love the Volkl Mantra M5 — it is super intuitive, precise, and energetic. As a more frontside-oriented ski, that could easily have made the list. The only reason it got left off is that I much prefer to ski off-piste and the Mantra M5 isn’t the best shape for skiing variable snow.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

Though I sort of cheated with this ski already, the Prior CBC is a ski that I think I’m going to fall in love with later this season. I’m predicting a spring wedding — periwinkle and rose, a small, intimate ceremony.

The CBC has such a fun shape and SOLID landing platform that it encourages jumping off of everything. And I like jumping off of stuff.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Personally, I think this is a dumb question. If you’re primarily trying to find the best products for various purposes, loyalty to a single brand doesn’t make much sense, especially in the ski industry — every company makes some products I really like, and some that I don’t like as much.

All that said, if I had to pick, I would probably go with LINE. I would take the Sick Day 94 as my mountaineering ski, the Sick Day 104 as my everyday resort ski, and the Pescado / Shift combo as my 50/50 pow ski.

Cy Whitling

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Last year I went with some generally wide options — my narrowest pick was the Moment Deathwish at 112 underfoot, along with the ON3P Kartel 116 and the 120mm-wide K2 Catamaran. And I ended up primarily skiing those three skis for most of the season. But this year there are some interesting new skis available, as well as some interesting new binding options, so my 3-ski selection has changed quite a bit.

Ski #1: Fat 50/50 Ski — Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

I just keep falling for this ski. It’s shockingly versatile for its weight and width, and it’s an absolute blast both inbounds and out. This would also be the hardest ski for me to live without

Ski #2: Versatile 50/50 Ski — Moment Deathwish, 184 cm w/ Shift Bindings

Which Ski for Which Superhero? Blister
Moment Deathwish

This one returns from last year. I have never come away frustrated after a day skiing the Deathwish, regardless of conditions. I really don’t mind touring on the regular inbounds layup, and it’s a perfect travel ski for me — no matter what I find at the destination, I’ll be prepared as long as I’ve got my Deathwish.

Ski #3: Variable Conditions Ski — J Skis Metal, 186 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
J Skis Metal

Those top two skis really cover just about everything I need, so my last option is for those days when conditions are less than optimal, but I still want to rage and jib. The Metal offers a unique combination of damp stability and a playful shape — it’s great to have in the quiver for firmer days when I still want to ski fast.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

I’d probably just add the Catamaran here and keep the rest as is. I really, really like that ski. I ski it a lot, and it helps me push myself to learn new tricks like no other ski I’ve been on

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

It’s no secret that I love the 184 cm K2 Catamaran. I skied it for a good half of my days out last year, even on lower-tide days just because I love how easy it is to spin, flip, and jib. That ski makes me feel like a way better skier than I actually am. But, the Bent Chetler is more versatile, especially in the backcountry, so it narrowly pushes the Catamaran off the pile.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I think there’s a good chance the Bent Chetler 100 could make it onto my list instead of the Metal (I’ll find out soon). Similarly, I think the Line Sakana could dethrone the Metal. In that slot, I’m really just looking for a ski that helps me make the most of a mediocre day, and it seems like the Sakana could fit that bill well. Finally, my guess, given how well I get along with the Wildcat Tour, is that the Wildcat Tour 108 would find its way into my truck often.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Like last year, I think could do just fine with a variety of brands. Moment would be an easy fit, probably with a PB&J, Deathwish, and maybe a Meridian 117. Similarly, ON3P with a Magnus 102, Kartel 108, and Kartel 116 would work nicely. Line too, with a Pescado, Mordecai, and Sakana. And honestly, given how much I liked the Salomon QST 106, I would probably get along just fine with a QST 99, 106, and 118.

But Atomic would have to get the nod here. A Bent Chetler 120 and 100, with a Backland 107 or Vantage 107 in between would be a great quiver. And if they ever get around to releasing an updated Blog / Bent Chetler 110, well, I’d drink that Kool-Aid. Add that to the fact that I get along really well with their boots and love the Shift binding, and we have a winner.

Kara Williard

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

I spend 90% of my season skiing inbounds around Taos Ski Valley, preferably sticking to the chutes and steep, chalky terrain. My 3-ski quiver typically consists of one everyday all-mountain resort ski, specifically one that is stable, stiff, and that holds an edge when we are sometimes looking at weeks without snow here in the Southwest. Second is a powder-oriented resort ski, which I usually get to use for fewer, but more memorable days. Last is a touring setup that I’ll use for late spring days when I end up venturing to catch some spring corn around northern New Mexico and Colorado.

Ski #1 Everyday Resort Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 100, 177 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19

This ski is my absolute favorite for skiing the ins and outs of Taos. Having tested it in a wide array of conditions during a season with low snowfall, I was able to see just how versatile this ski is. It undoubtedly offers all that I seek on a daily basis. With an impressively damp and stable feel tip-to-tail without compromising anything in way of agility and playfulness, the Santa Ana 100 is a blast in all conditions — chalky, buffed-out chutes, bumps, trees, fast groomers, and softer, more playful lines. I appreciate all aspects of this ski — its rocker / camber ratio, two sheets of titanal in a women’s specific ski, remarkable stability on edge, yet quickness and playfulness in tight spots.

Ski #2 Resort Powder Ski — Blizzard Sheeva 11, 172 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Blizzard Sheeva 11

To be honest, I haven’t tested that many 18/19 powder skis, given the conditions in NM last season. At the moment, I am torn between the Santa Ana 110 or the Blizzard Sheeva 11. Having skied deep, dreamy days on both, I would likely lean toward the Sheeva 11 because it is slightly more playful, lighter, and easier to command through some of the tighter lines around my local mountain. As things get firmed up or skied out, I would grab the Santa Ana 100 to get me through pretty much any condition.

Ski #3 Touring / Spring Ski — Volkl 100Eight W, 173 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Volkl 100Eight W

For me, the 100Eight W is the right balance of playful and lightweight with dimensions that cater to the conditions I hope to be encountering by the time the touring part of my season tends to roll around (e.g., softer spring days). I appreciate that it still holds an edge on firm snow as conditions can vary widely in the spring.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

With not much snow last season, I couldn’t help but get down with spending a lot of time carving on groomers. For the first time ever, I really and seriously considered getting a groomer / frontside-specific ski, and quickly found that I loved the Kastle MX84 (176 cm). When conditions aren’t optimal, I think the best move is to just accept it, and get out there on a ripping, fast, groomer-specific ski. Another close contender would be the Kastle FX85, which offers up just a bit more versatility than the MX84.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

I will always be such a die-hard fan of the Blizzard Bonafide. I could go back and forth between that and the Santa Ana 100 all day. Both serve as such capable, damp, responsive, and adaptable skis for the conditions I stick to.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I would like to explore some more options for a future touring set up, especially looking to the Line Pandora 104 or the Armada Trace 98 or 108. I’d be looking for something on the lighter side with good capabilities in soft spring conditions. I am also very intrigued by the Volkl Secret as an everyday resort ski.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I would have to give this one to Nordica. I would happily split my time between the Santa Ana 100 and the Santa Ana 110 for powder skis. While it’s a pretty heavy, burly option for touring, I still wouldn’t deem it unreasonable to mount the Santa Ana 100 with a touring binding. I could probably also do a 3-ski quiver from Volkl: Secret as an everyday ski, 100Eight as a resort / powder ski, and the V-Werks Katana as a touring ski, which would serve as a lighter option.

Sascha Anastas

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Ski #1: Narrower Firm-Snow Resort Ski — Liberty Genesis 90, 165 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Liberty Genesis 90

I spend most of my time skiing inbounds in Colorado and Northern New Mexico, so I definitely want a narrower ski in my quiver. In the 90 mm and under category, I had a hard time deciding between the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 and Liberty Genesis 90. The Black Pearl 88 is pretty stiff and has an impressively high top end, so it’s great for making larger (i.e., wider GS) turns at relatively high speeds. The Liberty Genesis 90 was also a great ski to carve on edge — it’s a bit more playful than the Black Pearl 88, but didn’t fall short in the chalky, steep terrain, so for that reason the Genesis 90 would get my vote.

Ski #2: Wider Firm-Snow Resort Ski — Line Pandora 104, 165 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Line Pandora 104

I can’t imagine leaving this ski off my quiver list. The Pandora 104 is such a versatile and solid ski. After spending years on its predecessor, the Pandora 110, I was impressed by the maneuverability of the narrower Pandora 104. It’s impressively stiff for its weight so it’s a blast when making wide, precise turns on steep groomed runs, but doesn’t lack playfulness in bumps or maneuverability in more technical terrain (e.g., steep, tight chutes and trees). Furthermore, because of the Pandora 104’s low weight, I was able to surf on top of fairly deep pow on it as I would have on a wider ski, despite the Pandora only being 104 mm underfoot.

Ski #3: Soft-Snow 50/50 Ski — Armada Trace 108, 172 cm

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Armada Trace 108

The Armada Trace 108 is pretty light for touring and was one of the wider skis I spent time on last year. It floated easily in pow (as to be expected), was stable while skiing fast through corn snow, and for a wider ski, it was maneuverable in variable snow. All of this makes me think this ski would be an extremely competent backcountry and 50/50 ski — especially considering how well it performs inbounds, given how light it is.

I still need to spend more time on some of the current touring bindings to decide on which binding I’d put on the Trace 108, but I’d probably go with something with good downhill performance like the Salomon / Atomic Shift or Fritschi Tecton.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

If I were to add another ski, I would add the Armada Victa 97 Ti as a more aggressive and stiffer ski (probably the stiffest of any other ski in my quiver). Getting this ski over on its edge definitely took power — and I would say more so than any other women’s-specific ski I reviewed last season. But once I got the edge engaged, the Victa 97 Ti was precise, fast, and reminded me of skis from my former race days. It is less playful than the Genesis 90 and Pandora 104, and that makes it a bit less user-friendly and less versatile.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

I am surprised I left the Blizzard Black Pearl 98 off the list. It’s easily one of the most versatile skis I have been on over the past few years — it covers all bases. While this ski may show up in my 1-ski quiver selection, I essentially feel like I don’t need as versatile of a ski when given the option of having three skis.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I was really impressed by the Prior Flute, especially considering its low weight. It felt closest to the Pandora 104 — playful and surfy, but it still held an edge and was adequately stiff. I didn’t spend much time on the Flute (mostly on wet, late-spring snow), so I am pretty eager to get the Flute on more varied terrain and conditions.

Another ski / ski line worth mentioning here is the Nordica Santa Ana 100 and 110. Both skis were favorites among other reviewers, so I am eager to get on them to see how they compare to the Liberty Genesis 96, Line Pandora 104, Prior Flute, and the Armada Trace 108.

The other skis I had my eye on last year were the Blizzard Sheeva 10 and 11. Based on what Kristin and Kara have said about them, I think these skis may have made my list, had I gotten time on them.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Tough question…and I would say sort of a ridiculous question.

I would probably say Blizzard. For a narrower ski, the Black Pearl 88 does a great job at carving on firm snow and is equally stable / stiff on steeper and more variable terrain. The Black Pearl 98 is a great wider ski that can take on pretty much any terrain at any speed (in my opinion, it’s the most versatile women’s specific ski out there). While I didn’t spend time on the Sheeva 10 or 11, I anticipate that the Sheeva 11 would be a pretty reliable soft-snow 50/50 ski, albeit slightly heavier than some other skis out there.

However, it’s hard to imagine my world without a Line ski. So if I had spent any time on the Pandora 84 or 94, my answer may have been Line. With that said, for women’s specific skis (which is where I am often confined given my preferred ski length of 165-172 cm), Blizzard offers more variety than Line. I think my answer would altogether be different if I tended to ski a longer ski and had non-women’s specific skis as options.

Kristin Sinnott

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Ski #1: Everyday Resort Ski — DPS Alchemist Uschi 94, 171 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
DPS Alchemist Uschi 94

While I certainly enjoy backcountry skiing, the majority of my ski days are spent spinning laps at my local mountain. Fortunately, that mountain is Taos where the skiing is fun and challenging, even in a low-snow year such as last season. It was unfortunate how little snow the mountain received, but it reminded me that skiing on any sort of snow can be fun and with that in mind, the first ski in my 3-ski quiver is the DPS Alchemist Uschi 94.

This was my go-to ski at Taos last season as the Uschi A94 skied well on everything Taos had to offer during the dry winter. On soft and firm groomers the ski easily held its edge without getting bounced around. And the ski performed well in soft chop despite it being a fairly lightweight ski. But it was Taos’s steep, tight chutes where quick turns and sometimes even jump turns were required that these skis really excelled. It was easy to make short-radius turns and for once in my life, jump turns were a breeze thanks to the Uschi A94’s light swing weight.

Ski #2: Powder and Crud-Busting Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 110, 177 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Nordica Santa Ana 110

With two sheets of metal and a stout flex pattern, the Santa Ana 110 is a stiff, heavy ski that is most at home charging through the nastiest of chop. But thanks to its generous rocker profile, this ski isn’t just a one-trick pony. In powder, the Santa Ana 110 is better suited for large, fast turns than it is for making quick turns through tight trees. But as all the resort powder days I’ve experienced include lots of skiing through chop, the above combination is what prompted me to include the Santa Ana 110 in my 3-ski quiver. If you’re lucky, the chop section is just the last bit that takes you back to the chair, but even if it’s just a short section, it’s nice to have a ski that works with you instead of against you.

Ski #3: Touring Ski — Armada Trace 98, 172 cm w/ Marker Kingpin bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Armada Trace 98

The majority of my backcountry skiing happens in the spring when conditions typically range from refrozen crud (bad timing) to corn snow. I’ll occasionally get a backcountry powder day, but it’s not the norm for me. With that in mind, I chose the Armada Trace 98 for my touring ski since it’s a stable ski that is fairly lightweight. I’ve found the ski to handle quite well in just about every condition, while not necessarily excelling at any particular turn radius or snow type. In both soft and firm snow and smooth to cruddy conditions, this ski maintained stability through turns and held an edge well.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

If I had a 4-ski quiver, I would add the 167 cm K2 Tough Luv. At 82 mm underfoot, I found this ski to be most at home on groomers where it was fun to rail turns. Since moving out west, I have shied away from narrow-waisted skis like the Tough Luv, but when the only runs open last year were groomers, it was fun to take out the Tough Luv.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

I’m pretty happy with my selection as it wasn’t difficult to come up with those choices.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I think the Blizzard Sheeva 10 could’ve been a contender for my 3-ski quiver if I had been able to get more time on it. The times I skied the Sheeva 10, I found it to be a fun, playful ski that could work as a good resort or backcountry ski. I’m also curious to know how the Head Kore 93 compares to the DPS Uschi A94. And as the old Line Pandora 110 was once my go-to ski, I would like to test the new Pandora 104 and see how it compares to some of my new favorites.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Yep, not going to answer this one right now as I haven’t had the opportunity to test three different skis from the same company.

Brian Lindahl

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Living in Colorado, we have long ski seasons for the backcountry enthusiast and a plethora of resorts to suit all tastes. The majority of my resort skiing happens to fall into two categories, depending on which resort I go to:

(1) Steep, wind-buffed alpine terrain with variable conditions or denser powder.
(2) Deep, light snow in mellower below-treeline terrain that’s full of features.

Two of the skis in my 3-ski quiver are oriented for each type of resort skiing described above. In the backcountry, the skiing I do covers both mid-winter mellow powder before work and all sorts of conditions in consequential terrain starting around late March and lasting through July. Therefore, the final ski will have to be somewhat light to deal with longer tours while still being capable in all conditions.

Ski #1: Above-Treeline Resort Ski — ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm w/ Shift bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
ON3P Wrenegade 108

For use in resorts that have a lot of steep, wind-buffed alpine terrain, I’m choosing the Wrenegade 108 for 4 reasons: (1) it’s narrower than 110 mm underfoot, (2) it still has excellent powder performance, (3) it’s solid and damp, and (4) it’s durable.

With modern shapes, I can’t say I’ve missed having a 110+ mm ski for resort skiing in steep alpine terrain, even on the deepest of powder days. The steep terrain and denser, wind-affected powder is conducive to high speeds, which means float is rarely a problem (since the skis can plane easier at higher speeds). And after the resort gets tracked out (which often happens after a few hours), the narrower and damper platform of an all-mountain charger is much more enjoyable than a wider powder-specific shape.

Given the Wrenegade 108’s performance in powder and its damp, powerful feel, this really is a 1-ski resort quiver for me at resorts with lots of above-treeline terrain. Best of all, ON3P is known for top-notch durability, which is a bonus in the rockier terrain above treeline. While I could mount the Wrenegade 108 with an alpine binding, I always like having the option of touring out the gate at the end of the day, so while I haven’t yet skied the Shift binding, I’m going to go ahead and trust our other reviewers and go with the flow.

Ski #1: Below-Treeline Resort / 50/50 Ski — Whitedot Ragnarok Carbonlite, 190 cm w/ Fritschi Tecton bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Whitedot Ragnarok Carbonlite

For use on deep days in resorts that have a lot of feature-rich, below-treeline terrain, I’m going to pick the Whitedot Ragnarok Carbonlite. Its wide (118 mm) platform works well in less-steep deep snow, and its stout flex pattern offers up an excellent landing platform off cliffs and other features. It may not be the most playful ski, but that’s not really my style, so I’ll happily trade that for a better landing platform and better performance in the alleyways between the trees.

While I could pick the standard Ragnarok (like last year), I’m going with the Carbonlite because (1) I like dual-purposing this slot in my quiver for touring in feature-full minigolf touring terrain, and (2) I’ve found that dampness and mass matters much less in light, dry Colorado powder, as long as the flex pattern is stout and the snow is deep enough. While I could also go with the Shift here, I’d prefer the lighter weight of the Tecton since I’ll tour more often with this ski than I would on the Wrenegade 108.

Ski #3: Backcountry Ski — Dynastar Mythic 97, 184 cm w/ ATK Raider 2.0 12 bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Dynastar Mythic 97

Last year I went with the Line Sick Day 104 for this slot. This year, I’m going to choose the significantly lighter Dynastar Mythic 97. It’s still pretty stable, carves well, and has ample rocker for good performance in powder. The Mythic’s one weak spot is weird crusts, but I don’t really encounter those that often in Colorado.

For the binding, the ATK Raider 12 intrigues me with its all-metal construction, ease of use, and rotating pins (whose benefits are discussed in this episode of our GEAR:30 podcast). However, I also look forward to checking out the new and much lighter Black Diamond Helio binding line, which, coincidentally, is also manufactured by ATK.

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

If I could add one more ski to the quiver, I’d add the Head Monster 88 Ti as a firm-snow-specific ski for when it hasn’t snowed in a while and touring doesn’t sound as appealing has hot-lapping the resort. Another option would be to add a heavier touring ski, like the 4FRNT Raven, Fischer Ranger 98 Ti, or Blizzard Zero G 108 for shorter tours in variable conditions.

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

I haven’t spent much time the last few seasons on powder-capable, ~105 mm skis or on lighter-weight ~120 mm skis. So that really narrows down my options here (see the next section).

But, as for backcountry skis:

Faction Prime 2.0: Really close call with the Dynastar Mythic 97. The Prime is a bit heavier and doesn’t carve quite as well, but deals with weird crusts better.

4FRNT Raven: Less of a close call, as it weighs even a bit more, and is a bit less firm-snow-specific.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

Salomon MTN Explore 95: Everyone at Blister raves about this ski. I’ll get to ski it this year.

Prior Husume: I can’t wait to ski it. Sounds perfect for my first ski.

Folsom Primary — The Hammer Edition: I’m pretty sure Jonathan doesn’t even let go of these when sleeping.

Volkl BMT 122: Definitely up my alley. I love the weight, I love the reverse camber, I love the flex.

4FRNT Renegade: Finally being made in a 191 cm length! See above for why I love the idea of this ski.

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I can’t think of too many companies that have all three of my preferred types of skis: (1) powder-capable all-mountain chargers, (2) light but stout-flexing directional powder skis, and (3) very light backcountry skis. In fact, I can’t think of any company from which we’ve reviewed the 3 styles of skis that fit my needs. Last year I went with Volkl, but the Mantra in its previous form was killed off.

Prior seems very close, but we’ve only skied one of them…

Prior Husume Quadglass: Sounds about perfect after reading what Jonathan has said about it.
Prior Overlord XTC: Is it truly a stout-flexing, powerful, directional, lighter-weight powder ski?
Prior Joffre XTC: Does this lightweight touring ski handle all conditions comfortably?

Then there’s Head. We’ve skied them all, but some of the skis fall short of what I’m looking for.

Head Monster 108: As I asked last year, is the powder performance of the 191 cm good enough? And this one is kind of cheating since the Monster 108 got discontinued…
Head Kore 117: Just about perfect after reading what Paul Forward has written about it.
Head Kore 93 /105: The 105 is heavier than I’d prefer, and the 93 might be too narrow?

Jonathan Ellsworth

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?

Ski #1: Narrower Resort Ski — J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
J Skis Masterblaster

It’s what I would call “appropriately” heavy to make firm conditions fun. And it has a shape, mount point, and flex pattern to also contribute to the fun. (And dear ski companies, props for all the lightweight touring skis, but please feel free to go back to making heavier narrower skis for inbounds use in beat conditions.)

Ski #2: Wider Resort Ski — Prior Husume, 188 cm w/ alpine bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
Prior Husume

If I’m going with only 2 inbounds skis, then this is an easy call, since (1) I think the Husume is a fantastic powder ski – it’s going to need to get really deep before I need more float, and (2) it is heavy enough and stiff enough to hold up to hard skiing in some firmer and very variable conditions, too.

Ski #3: Touring Ski — 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm w/ Fritschi Tecton bindings

Blister's 3-ski Quiver Awards — 18/19
4FRNT Raven

Because it’s yet to ever feel wildly out of place anytime I’ve been on them in the backcountry. (But also, read my full review.)

II. If you could add a 4th ski to your quiver, what would you add, and would that cause you to reshuffle your 3-ski quiver?

I’d go 3 resort skis:

J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm

Folsom Hammer, 188 cm

It has all of the weight and all of the stiffness of a true variable conditions charger, but with a more progressive mount point than most of the skis in this category.

Moment Blister Pro, 190 cm

It’s even maroon this year.

+

4FRNT Raven, 184 cm

III. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?

A skinnier carver. And this is why we probably need to start doing 5-ski quiver selections, right? But the truth is that I very rarely spend an entire day skiing only groomers — 99% of the time, my days are spent skiing some groomers, some moguls, hiking to techy terrain and / or less-trafficked spots, and hot lapping whatever 1 or 2 lines seem to be the best runs of the day. But if I (or if you) spent more time carving up prepared snow, the more I would be looking for a ski in the 72-85 mm range. And 3 of my favorites continue to be the Fischer RC4 The Curv, the Head SuperShape i.Titan, and the K2 Ikonic 84 Ti. (You can read about all of those skis in the “Frontside” section of our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide.)

On the wider end of the spectrum:

ON3P Wrenegade 96: We’ll see if this ski manages to make the list in my upcoming quiver selections.

IV. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I really love all the skis I’ve named, so I think it’s going to be difficult to unseat any of them from my quiver. So I’m going to rephrase this question a little bit to make it read, “Which skis are you most curious about this season?”

#1: Moment Wildcat Tour 108, 190 cm – I have high hopes, and I admit that I have wondered whether this could maybe possibly unseat the Raven as my 1-ski touring quiver?

#2: Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm- I’m curious.

#3: Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm – Sam Shaheen and Luke Koppa skied the Ranger 102 more than I did last season, but I really liked this ski. And the more I think about it … the more I’d probably give this ski the best chance to forcing its way into my quiver.

#4: Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, 188 cm? (See below.)

V. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I just read all of our other reviewers’ selections, and I have to say that they all seemed to have a much easier time with this question than I’m having this year. (Well, except for Sam Shaheen, but he’s an idiot. Though I did laugh really hard when reading about his spring wedding … so at least he’s a funny idiot.)

But it seems that no single company is currently delivering everything I’m looking for. A number of companies are making great (heavier) firm snow skis, a number are making great touring skis, and a number are making more playful, fun all-mountain skis. But it appears that no company is making my ideal ski for all 3 slots.

With Volkl, I could go with the Mantra M5 (skinnier inbounds), and I would happily take the BMT 109 as my single ski for touring. But I haven’t skied the 100Eight, and am not sure I want to go that light for my variable conditions / pow ski. And this is an important ski for me.

With Nordica, I could happily go with a (1) Enforcer 93 or 100 + (2) Enforcer Pro … but I don’t get my touring ski.

But then there’s Fischer:

The Fischer Ranger 102 FR for inbounds, + we’re hearing that the 188 cm version of the Fischer Ranger 108 Ti has been beefed up to be a bit more similar to the Ranger 102. I need to do a good bit of confirming here … and there is certainly a lot of quiver overlap danger … but this could be intriguing. (Especially given that the outstanding carver (the RC4 The Curv) is now also in play. But then I guess I’d be opting for a 180 cm Ranger 108 for my touring ski?

Hmmm … maybe Sam Shaheen is less of an idiot than I thought?

(Nah, we have enough evidence to know that he’s an idiot, but maybe not because of his take on this particular question — at least, this year.)

Finally, I just wrote Luke Koppa and said, “Dear Lord, I cannot figure out my 1-company, 3-ski quiver selections this year.”

Luke: “Yeah it’s tough. But I’m not really surprised. Companies aren’t making skis for each of us, they’re trying to either hit a really broad cross-section of the population, or a specific type of skier. Since we’ve been on so many skis and tend to know exactly what we like, it might mean that we’re pickier. You could cheat a bit and go with ON3P w/ a Wrenegade 96 and Wrenegade 108 and then a tour-layup Wren 96?”

Hmmmm … I don’t think that I’d be marrying that 3-ski quiver this spring, but Luke might be onto something here.

16 comments on “3-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (18/19)”

  1. Awesome article guys!! I find this style helps more than individual in depth reviews because it highlights how each persons personality changes the picks so much!

    Cy you say you’d take the Metal as your bad condition charger. Does the Deathwish not also stand up and perform here with trip camber?

    I’m about to pick a Deathwish as my 2nd ski for my quiver (1st being my Punx). Just want to make sure it shouldn’t be a Metal as I ski in Aus so fairly firm/crud/coral a lot of the time. The idea was to stop having to ride my Punx through trees/ungroomed/fresh. I think you put it well that the Deathwish would be your travel ski regardless of where you are going, that’s exactly what I want from my 2nd ski.

    • Hey Nooli,

      No, the Deathwish totally stands up here. It’s not as damp and confidence inspiring in truly bad snow as the Metal, but I’ve never been frustrated with it on firm days. The Metal is more of a placeholder for me. That third ski is a ski that makes the most of a bad day, a ski that encourages me to ski differently. So honestly, that spot could be held by something like the Sakana too, all I’m looking for is a ski that changes how I look at the mountain on those inevitable days when the conditions aren’t conducive to my preferred style of skiing.

      So no, especially for your travel ski, the Deathwish has a much wider range of conditions that it’s awesome in compared to the Metal.

  2. “When I ski in the resort, I like to ski fast through steep, techy, terrain. The Soul 7 HD encourages this type of skiing…”

    There is something wrong with this statement

  3. Wow, thanks Jonathan!
    Yet another thorough, thougtful review from Blister.
    What width?
    My daily driver is V Works Katana. 184cm. Made the warp factor switch from old swallow tailed Katanas (that I adored) a few years ago and never looked back.
    I’m 5’10, 180. Advanced, old dude. Ski mainly Mammoth.
    Though VERY new to backcountry, just did Haute Route last season. Seems all those guides in agreement, 95cm is widest for all round long treks…at least in Europe. I’ll likely use them more at Mammoth, but want options.
    What are your thoughts for me?
    Thank you,
    Mike

  4. Always love the quiver section. Quick question. Looking for ski to be used mainly in Utah resort skiing for my wife. Moment Hot Mess or Nordica Santa Anna 100. She currently has Kastle LX 82 and Moment Bella’s to bookend the ski she’s looking for. She’s a strong skier. She’s comfortable anywhere on the mountain in all conditions. Thanks for the help. Steve

  5. I appreciate that in the buyers guide you guys list quivers for low snow areas. As an East Coast Skier, I interpret low snow to mean “hard snow”. We unfortuneately have a lot of thaw/freeze cycles. I also vote for 3 ski alpine quivers + 1 touring ski = 4 ski quivers. I now fit into that catagory. After skiing 205 SL racing skis for many years in all conditions, I now have a sizeable quiver. Here is my vote for an East Coast 3 apline ski quiver:

    Fisher RC4 Curve 178cm
    Blizzard Brahma 187cm
    Moment Bibby Pro 190cm

    I am a big guy with a race background and these three skis are all decent to great carvers, are very versitile with good overlap, and will cover all the conditions you will encounter on the East Coast. I also own the Liberty Origin 96 which could count as my touring ski, but I like it too much inbounds as a fun ski and I went lighter for my touring ski, Blizzard Zero G 108 185cm.

    Kudo’s for covering more front side skis that us East Coasters rely on. I would love to see you guys get on some highly regarded Kastle MX’s and Stockli’s. Might also be interesting to do a comparison article on a race ski, vs frontside, vs all mtn, vs ……. pick one from each catagory and go ski them all in a session or two. Keep up the good work.

  6. Good pics. I’m still into heavier skis, my home mountain is aspen, and So here’s my pics.
    Home mountain, aspen.
    Monster 88 177cm for firm days of bumps and grommers.
    Kastle bmx 105 181 cm for day or 2 after the storm
    Line influence 115 185cm for in bounds and heli pow or random spring slush. I know it’s long gone, but can’t imagine a more fun soft snow ski that can still arc them so well on groomers.

  7. I like seeing the Fischer Ranger 102 FR on a lot of your lists even if it wasn’t ever chosen as a part of a quiver, I bought a pair based off of the Blister review and I can’t wait to ski them this winter.

  8. Kinda surprised no Black Crows skis ended up on these lists. They have been well reviewed by this site and you had a good podcast with the company. Looking forward to using Animas as my fat resort ski this year.

  9. I love th thought process behind these Quiver questions! Here’s my take, but it’s a good thing I don’t have to have just 3 skis. There are too many good skis out there!

    Here it is:

    Kastle MX 98 w/ Look Pivot 18s – 194 cm – My inbounds go to ski for the past 3 years and nothing has topped it. Yes, it’s a little much and the tails kick your but in tight trees and bumps, but that’s not what a 98mm wide GS is for.

    Blizzard Scout w/ Marker Kingpin 13s – 193 cm – My touring ski, not great in deep pow, but has that Blizzard reliability in everything else.

    Praxis Super Freerides w/ CAST Pivot 18s – 195 cm – Went full mad scientist with the guys at Praxis, veneer and carbon to lose some weight, added 10mm to the width of the stock Freerides, bumped up the stiffness a tad, and you get a big guy, big mountain pow ski.

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