Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain
What the Cochise gives up at speed in wide-open, firm snow, it gets back doubly-so in maneuverability. For a ski that is still quite stable, I found that I could quite quickly break the tails free. The Cochise responds immediately when skiing with the quicker and more deliberate moves that are required in tight terrain. The grabbing and biting that was somewhat unnerving in more open terrain and at higher speeds, actually became a benefit — when compared to the old metal Katana, the Cochise exhibited much quicker response and higher levels of precision when attempting quick turns.
In tighter terrain, the Cochise is also surprisingly forgiving. The tail flowed easily when moving through moguls and other terrain variations. And, if I did ever get hung up, it was quite easy to recover. Both the tips and the tails offered up good support without feeling punishing. Not many skis I’ve been on have felt this well balanced. For example, on the spectrum of more-forgiving / easier-going skis, the Liberty Origin 106 is a lot less supportive in the tips than the Cochise. And, on the charger end of the spectrum, the Monster 108’s tails are a lot more punishing than the Cochise’s.
In tighter terrain, the excellent balance and forgiveness of the Cochise reminded me of the 182 cm Ranger 108 Ti, which is impressive, given that the Ranger 108 Ti has a significantly lower speed limit in more open terrain.
On groomers, the Cochise will go where you tell it to go, nothing more and nothing less. If you fall back on your heels at the end of a turn, it won’t take off on you. But it also doesn’t have the snap and energy out of a turn that other skis have (like the Fischer Ranger 108 Ti or the Line Supernatural 108). So if you’re looking for a fun and exciting carving experience on smooth groomers, there are better ~108mm-wide skis out there. But making long, fast turns through bumped-up groomers can be fun and exciting in its own right, and that’s where the Cochise performs much better than all of the lighter skis I’ve been on this season.
While I haven’t yet had the Cochise out in any big storms, I have been able to ski the Cochise in about a foot of untracked, wind-affected snow. I didn’t find the Cochise to float as well as the Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, but it’s still pretty capable in the powder we’ve had. In more open terrain and when skiing fast, it definitely floats well if you commit and drive through your turns, but the Cochise isn’t an extremely floaty ski at slower speeds, or in flatter or tighter terrain.
And while I did find that I could break its tails free in powder a bit easier than the Ranger 108 Ti, the Cochise is not an extremely slashy or playful ski, either. If you want more float, the 185 cm Cochise is pretty short (measuring at 183.5 cm), so stepping up to the 192 cm model could be an option. But we suspect that untracked powder still won’t be this ski’s forte, and there will certainly be many other ~192 cm long, ~108 mm wide skis that will provide much better float in powder, if that’s your priority.
If I had to identify a single area where the Cochise is most at home it’s soft chop. I’ve been spending a lot of time on lighter skis lately (e.g., Salomon QST 99, Fischer Ranger 98 and 108), and it feels great to get back onto a heavier ski and just smash through soft chop again. I’ve missed this. A lot. Whether going straight or sitting in a high-angle, sustained carve, there’s no doubt that the Cochise does a great job steamrolling through shallow trenches and ruts, especially when soft. The ski is very stable in these conditions, and its tip rocker allows it to plow through chop slightly smoother than the Monster 108. And later in the day when the snow becomes more firmly packed, the Cochise’s traditional camber underfoot adds a bit of suspension over the old metal Katana.
The Cochise does a lot of things very well. It isn’t the best powder ski at this width, nor the most stable and powerful ski, nor the most maneuverable ski in tight terrain. But the combination of its shape, flex pattern, and construction puts the Cochise in the upper echelon of each of these categories.
So would I still call the Cochise a “forgiving charger,” as we called the previous iteration of the Cochise? Yes, since I found the ski to be one of the more forgiving and maneuverable skis on the charger spectrum. The skis I’ve been on that are damper and smoother than the Cochise feel more demanding and more specialized, whereas the Cochise as a very good jack-of-all-trades for advanced to expert skiers.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS