7th Annual Blister Awards, SIA

• The “Dying to Try It” Award •

You might notice a pattern here:

– Nordica Enforcer Pro
– Nordica Enforcer 110
– Nordica’s Women’s Santa Ana 93, 100, and 110

Nordica Santa Ana skis, SIA 2017 Blister Awards
Santa Ana 110, 100, and 93 on the left; new Nordica Astral’s on right

We’ll say more about the Santa Ana’s in Part 2.

– Armada ARV 116 JJ

2017/2018 Armada ARV skis, SIA 2017 Blister Awards
Armada ARV Line: ARV 116 JJ, ARV 106, ARV 96, ARV 86.

Armada took the JJ 2.0 and tweaked it a bit, moving the taper slightly forward and decreased the taper angle. They also slightly increased the sidecut radius, and added a beveled nose to increase playfulness. In theory, they took a very popular powder ski whose most common complaints were a lack of stability and too much taper, addressed these issues, and claim to have made the ski even more playful. Interesting.

– Fischer Ranger 115

We’ll stop saying this, I promise, but … we’ll say more about the Ranger 115 in part 2.

– K2 Cool Bean & K2 Split Bean Snowboards

K2’ Cool Bean (solid board) and Split Bean (split board) were born from the shortboard movement, making boards shorter and fatter. From the K2 site: “These attributes give the K2 Cool Bean and Split Bean a surf-inspired flow, glide on all types of snow and effortless glory on the groomers.”

We’ve already begun testing the two boards, with the Cool Bean currently in Japan, and the Split Bean currently in Alaska. Short & Fat never looked so fun.

K2 Cool Bean
K2 Cool Bean


• The “Extreme Makeover” Award •

– Blizzard Spur

Whoa, what the…

Asymmetrical tips and tail shapes are now everywhere, and our beloved Spur went under the knife and is now basically unrecognizable.

2017/2018 blizzard spur ski, SIA 2017 Blister Awards
2017-2018 Blizzard Spur

The current Spur has blown us away for being far more comfortable across a range of conditions (good and bad) than a ski this big and fat should.

The 17/18 Spur gets a rather wild new tip and tail shape, and it cuts weight, too. According to Blizzard, “The new Spur is a total modernization of the traditional powder ski and is unlike anything we have ever done before.”

You don’t say.

Blizzard engineer, Michele Botteon, also adds this: We approached the Spur design using inspiration from surfboard shapes because true powder is, in many ways, similar to water. So much of what you see is based on Hydro-Dynamics.”

Well we look forward to surfing snow on the new Spur, because on the face of it, this ski is going to ride very, very different from its predecessor.


• The “We’re Finally Going to Review It!” Award •

– Fischer Pro Mtn 95 Ti

We’d been trying to get on this ski for a while, along with the Pro Mtn 86 Ti.

The good news is that we now already have a couple days on the 95 Ti, so stay tuned for a First Look and a full review soon.

fischer pro mountain ski, SIA 2017 Blister Awards
Fischer Pro Mountain 95


• The “Good Idea” Award •

– Black Crows Vertis

You know what’s fun? Carving. But not everyone thinks that carving skis look cool. So why not make a cool-looking ski that doesn’t make you look like you’re trying to go win a FIS world cup event? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, we just think there’s room for some skinnier skis with a different vibe that were designed to kick ass on-piste.

Black Crows agrees, and new for 17/18 is the 85mm-wide Vertis.

Black Crows Vertis Ski, SIA 2017 Blister Awards
Black Crows Vertis

And yes, we do wonder exactly how well it will hold up to its racier-looking counterparts. (Also worth noting: the shape of the Vertis is such that it looks like it will feel more comfortable zipperlining moguls than some of those more race-inspired skis. Is it possible that we are moving into Fischer Motiv 86 Ti territory here?)


• The “A Picture’s Worth a 1000 Words” Award •

SIA 2017 Blister Awards
6 pm, SIA: Jonathan Ellsworth’s first food of the day.

Non-stop meetings sometimes mean that your very first food of the day comes at 6 pm, and in the form of two chocolate chip cookies and a macro brew. (Thanks, Icelantic Skis, for the cookies. The beer I found in a corner.) I don’t even know whether this counts as cookies and beer for breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

NEXT: Part II, which includes classic Blister Awards like “Gear we were most tempted to Steal,” Good Trends / Bad Trends, and one of our favorites, the “Swagger” Award…

13 comments on “7th Annual Blister Awards, SIA”

  1. -Line Sick Day graphics totally ripped off from Burton Customs of a long time ago, 1997-1998.
    -Fischer graphics might be improved and might appeal to close minded 40 year olds but they are still way too euro tech for me!
    – Please try out the Armada Tracer 118, might be a gooder.

    • I think the under 40 whiz kids in the ski design rooms are drop dead color blind. Graphics are horrid. A simple black or white ski that doesn’t look like a multi colored bill board will go with all clothes. Have you kids ever heard the term color coordination? Think about it.

    • Triple that vote had to order a set to see for my self bring the snow the specs looked good technology as well. From what I’ve heard from the pros its a ripper. Surfy stable yet quick in the trees. I’m a lighter guy and prefer more directional skis as to a a neutral stance charger like the bibby. Rossignol super 7 is too soft and 190cm too long. Hopefully the tracer 118cm in a 180cm for a guy who’s is 5’8″ 140 and skis majority of the time in the trees off piece in the powder.

  2. The new Head graphics are hot. Sick Day topsheets are not. The new Fischer topsheets seem pretty mediocre. Where is the imagination?

    All-time winners – Line Sir Francis Bacon – topsheets white with blue trees. Atomic Coax with Indian Chief circa 09-10? Atomic Bentchetler – several years; Line Mordecai – female; Ski Logik – several; Bibby Pro.

    An article on some of the best topsheets in recent years might be interesting. Probably lots of opinions out there. However, I imagine there would be strong consensus on a few designs.

    • Hi Ben,

      if you like wood veneers, check out the new Majesty Skis catalogue:

      Some of my top picks: Moment Vice 2014, Line SFB 2015 (seen live it really looks like an oil painting)
      and Line MPO 2014.

  3. Awesome stuff. Thanks!

    Just say no to asymmetrical skis. If I get a nice digger on a left ski’s inside edge in the middle of an epic Jackson pow day, I want to shrug my shoulders and say “sorry, you’ve been demoted to the inferior role of right ski for the rest of the day”.

    Vin Diesel?! I hope all you guys have seen Pitch Black.

  4. Nice write-up – Thank U. The New Head Kore series are no joke. I had a chance to demo the 90 and the 105. The 90 was smooth yet powerful yet strong on edge. I could not believe that it had no metal in it. The 105 was a beast and I demoed it in a size down from the longest length ( I think it was a 180cm). They both rip***

  5. So what’s the difference between the Descensionist kit and the rest of the Patagonia line? Have the Powslayer bibs for storm days and have been thinking about getting the Reconnaissance for spring/sunny/all round days. Do these new pants seem to be a better option? Thanks!

  6. Update the Armada Tracer 118 rips! No chatter great in the trees light stable damp rips. Firm flex no joke tails and tips are soft but it is a stiff ski. Great fro skiing the chopped up crud. My legs felt fresh all day really impressed with how well it performed in the trees a well balanced ski. Seems to be very durable edges like to rust but keep them clean are your goood to go. They can charge too as well! Steep tree powder skiing is what I do and they did awesome in those conditions 10/10

Leave a Comment