7th Annual Blister Awards, SIA

• Swagger Award •

– TIE: HEAD and Atomic

I mean, whoa. HEAD is talking a BIG game about their new KORE series: “Everything else is fluff. This is KORE.”

And they go on to say, “Our hyper-strong triaxial carbon weave provides death cookie-defying torsional rigidity for supreme responsiveness and edge hold that even makes [Axel Lund] Svindal smile.”

!!! S-W-A-G-G-E-R !!!

Again, the primary story here is that the KORE series is coming in crazy light weight for skis that HEAD is positioning as inbounds skis. I even said to HEAD’s product manager, you don’t really want me to go A/B, say, the KORE 93 against the best, much heavier, dedicated-inbounds skis in the ~95mm-underfoot range, do you?” “Absolutely I want you to do that” was his reply.

First, that was a very badass, Vin Diesel response. Nice. And second, game on.

But not to be outdone…

By now, you may have seen some of Atomic’s marketing for their new Ultra XTD 130 boot: former guest of the Blister Podcast (and more importantly, one of the best downhill racers ever) Daron Rahlves, running the Kitzbuhel course in a pair of Ultra XTD 130s.

2017 2018 7th Annual Blister Gear Review SIA Awards
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130

This sub-1500 gram touring boot is being promoted as a “no-compromise” ski boot. To steal a line from Kanye: “[Atomic’s] in the buildin’ / swagger on a hundred thousand trillion.”

We’ve already got a bit of time in this boot, and will begin some serious A/B-ing of it tomorrow. Stay tuned…


• The Nasty Women Award, part I •

– Ski Boots that Aren’t Slippers

We have been hearing lately from more and more women asking us who is making a women’s-specific boot that isn’t a total noodle. So this has become a personal mission of mine to help those hard-charging women identify the best options in existence.
And to this end, there is some good news for 17/18.

Salomon is now making a 120-flex women’s boot.

And Tecnica is making a women’s Mach 1 in a 115 flex, and they are also making a women’s Zero G Guide Pro AT boot in a 115 flex.

By no means is stiffness the only factor that goes into making a legit boot, but we are extremely psyched to see our female friends getting some more powerful options.

Of course, these flex numbers don’t really mean anything — one company’s 105-flex boot might be as stiff or stiffer as another company’s 110 or 115 flex boot. But we are committed to clarifying the situation here, and to that end, our testing of the women’s HEAD Raptor 110 RS begins tomorrow.


•  The Nasty Women Award, part II •

– Bringin’ back Metal

For 17/18, Nordica’s Santa Ana line (93, 100, 110) has been redesigned with 2 titanal sheets to increase dampness. The wood core was made lighter so that the overall weight of ski didn’t increase significantly, but we hope / expect these Santa Ana’s to have a significantly higher top end and better suspension than the current Santa Anas that don’t have any metal.

And for the record, we couldn’t care less if you actually prefer soft-flexing boots and skis. That’s awesome, too. This is simply about getting great options for everyone, and we’re psyched to see certain manufacturers stepping up to do exactly that.


• The “How the Hell Have We Not Skied This Yet” Award •

– Line Blend

Oh, crap. Last year, I wrote: “If this award sounds familiar, that’s because we resolved to review the Blend last year, but didn’t get around to it. (Sorry!) But enough is enough, and this year, we’ll buy each of you a beer if we don’t get this ski reviewed. (Or we’ll make our associate editor, Cy Whitling, do 1000 pushups. You can decide.)

LINE says this ski is on the way. And given that it is going to be really complicated logistically for us to get each of you a beer … I think we can all agree that our associate editor, Cy Whitling, needs to do 1000 pushups…

– Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti

This isn’t our fault. We swear. And we hope to get on it soon, but perhaps there is a bit of consolation that we have already been getting the Fischer Pro Mtn 95 Ti on snow, and will be reporting back shortly.


• Best Graphics •

– Head KORE series

2017 2018 7th Annual Blister Gear Review SIA Awards
Head KORE Series

Some of the usual suspects continue their good work in the graphics game, like Liberty, Faction, Black Crows, etc.

But honestly, you need to see these KORE skis in person. They aren’t just dipped in black paint, they are beautifully textured, and the HEAD logo looks sweet on them.


• Worst Graphics •

– Line Sick Day Series

2017 2018 7th Annual Blister Gear Review SIA Awards
Line Sick Day Series

I mean, nothing against palm trees or sunsets or Miami Vice or anything, and granted, tropical patterns and pineapples became a bit of a thing on ski wear last year, and on the Sick Day series. And furthermore, these graphics aren’t ugly. But putting palm trees and beaches on skis — isn’t this sort of like painting a sailboat on the side of an airplane? Or dressing your dog up like an alligator?

2017 2018 7th Annual Blister Gear Review SIA Awards
We’re confused.

NEXT: Most Improved Graphics Award, Outerwear Awards, Etc.

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