We’re back from the SIA tradeshow in Denver, and we would have had these Blister Awards posted earlier, but we’ve been doing a whole lot of this the past 3 days…
…and spending less time writing. So we’re kind of in one of those ‘sorry not sorry’ situations.
The good news, however, is that underneath all of that pow are a number of new products, and the detailed reviews are about to start coming very soon.
But I digress. The 2016 SIA was a good show. Our climbing editor, Dave Alie, hosted a few of us at his home. He and his fiancee made us feel special:
Ok, on to Part 1 of the 6th Annual Blister Awards from SIA…
• The “Rest in Peace” Award •
– Volkl Shiro – Beloved by many (especially those who sized up on this ski), the Shiro gets replaced by the Confession … which we are very, very interested to check out. And we’ll be saying more about that ski soon in an upcoming post.
– Fischer Motive 86Ti – We are very, very sad to see this ski go, but all might not be lost. See below…
• Sayonara Award •
Frame-Style AT Bindings.
Let’s be honest, frame-style bindings have always represented a pretty big compromise. It’s a compromise that has made sense for a number of people (and admittedly still does make sense for some people), but if you’re using them to tour, they add a significant weight penalty to your setup, a penalty that gets harder and harder to pay as tech bindings get better. And if you aren’t touring in them, the added weight of the bindings is still a negative, the frame structure can affect the flex pattern of your skis, there is sometimes an increase in stack height, and did we mention the weight gain?
Again, despite all of these compromises, frame bindings still make sense right now for some people. But we are not going to be seeing more innovation in frame bindings, we are going to see the demise of frame bindings.
• The “Dying to Try it” Award •
We talked about this on the Blister Podcast (Wait, what? You didn’t know we were doing a podcast? You really need to go check it out. Our totally unbiased review of it is that it’s the greatest podcast ever. So give them a listen. You’ll like them.)
– Salomon QST 118: On our recent podcast with Cody Townsend (you know, on the Blister Podcast you maybe just learned about), Cody is calling the new 192 cm QST 118 the best ski he’s ever skied. That alone has us intrigued. But we’re pretty intrigued by the QST 99 and the QST 106, too.
It’s a bit hard to locate these skis just by flexing them — are these direct competitors to the Rossi ‘S’ series? The K2 Pinnacle series? The DPS Wailer series? The Blizzard Brahma / Bonafide / Cochise / Bodacious? We really can’t say. The skis get progressively softer as you move from the 99 to the 108 to the 118, but none of them are noodles. We shall see…
-Kitten Factory Tours Lite: Kitten Factory has several skis we’re interested in, but the Tours Lite really caught our eye. Beyond just having a great name, the Tours Lite combines a very low weight (claimed 1600 g per ski in a 184cm) with a solid flex and fairly playful shape. We’ll see if Kitten Factory has managed to build a ski that’s a blast both on the skin track, and on the way down.
– Line Pescado: Eric Pollard has always been influenced by snowboarding and surfing, and, while swallow tailed skis have been done before, the Pescado looks like it will ride more like a snowboard than anything we’ve ever seen.
• The “Extreme Makeover” Award •
-Fischer Motive 86Ti: One of our favorite skis is going to look very different next year. Fischer claims that they’ve managed to improve upon the performance of the 86Ti. We’ll see. The new Pro MTN 86 Ti has a much wider-looking tip, and the tail remains pretty serious.
The Motive 86Ti was remarkable because it excelled in 3 areas: groomers, moguls, and off-piste, while most skis in this width range are lucky to excel in 2 of these three areas. So we’re very curious to see what this new ski can do, and we’ll be putting time on it soon.
NEXT: The “Thank You for Not Screwing Up a Good Thing” Award, The “Gear We’re Most Tempted to Steal” Award, Etc.