2013-2014 Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards — Part 2

Best Skis for Chop and Crud

Volkl Katana

Two Ski Quiver, Blister Gear Review.

The 191cm Katana sets the standard for us, and we can’t wait to finally get on the 184cm model this season. The claim that a ski has “no speed limit” gets used a lot, but in this case, it’s true, and there’s nothing we’d rather grab for hitting big faces and bad snow.


Blizzard Cochise

Two SKi Quiver, Blister Gear Review.

The Cochise is a very capable ski in chop and crud, yet it’s also the easiest and most forgiving ski of our selections in this category. That’s not to say that the Cochise welcomes a lackadaisical skiing style, but it is remarkable how hard you can push these skis without them feeling like total beasts.


Moment Belafonte

Two Ski Quiver, Blister Gear Review.

The hardest question we get asked at Blister is probably, “Cochise or Belafonte?” The rocker profile of the Cochise makes it more conducive to slashing turns and quick pivots, but for fast, fall-line skiing down big faces, tree runs, or mogul fields, we still love the Belafonte.


194cm 4FRNT Devastator

Two Ski Quiver, Blister Gear Review.

The 194cm Devastator gets the Newcomer Award in this category. We’ve only skied the 194 so far (we’ll get on the 184 this season), and it’s a big, heavy, extremely stable ski. Reviewer Paul Forward, who’s everyday ski in Alaska is the 193cm Blizzard Cochise, called the Devastator the most stable ski he’s ever been on—more stable than the 193 Cochise, the 188 Rossignol RC112, and the 195cm LINE Mothership . That’s saying something.



NEXT: Best Women’s All-Mountain Carvers that are also Capable in Firm, Off-Piste Conditions  


13 comments on “2013-2014 Blister ‘Best Of’ Awards — Part 2”

  1. Which ski would you rather have for your resort-specific one-ski quiver in Colorado (mostly Summit County): Blizzard Cochise or Volkl Mantra?

      • Following up on the Mantra vs. Cochise for one-ski quiver, resort-specific ski for Colorado (mostly summit county), would you say that the Cochise are substantially better than the Mantra in the chop/crud that we get in Colorado (because it gets tracked so quickly), such that you would pick the Cochise over the Mantra?

        Having a really tough time with this decision. Seems like on no-snow days, Mantra would clearly be a better pick, but on days with some fresh snow and the resulting chop, the Cochise will be better.

        Any additional insights here would be greatly appreciated.

        • At bottom, you’ve got to pick your width: 98 or 108 underfoot? Both are pretty powerful skis with metal. The Cochise pivots more readily than the Mantra given its rocker profile, and both skis will handle well 12″ of tracked powder as well as firm crud. So that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Some people prefer fatter skis in those conditions, some prefer skinnier. But if you really care about carving performance and mogul performance (and assuming you have solid technique), I’d give the nod to the Mantra. If you care more about 12″ + pow days in Summit where you’ll ski deeper chop with pockets of fresh in the afternoon, I’d go Cochise.

  2. After reading the first of the series I was asking myself “where is the bent chetler? maybe they will put it on a pow jib category”… I wasn’t to far off!

    Then now before looking at the Chop and Crud choices I said to myself “I’m cochise and belafonte are gonna be there”…

    Now I’m asking myself if the rule to pick only “current skis” was too hard to accept since it pretty much ruled out the old Bibby Pro from this list, since it went through more than minor tweaks!

  3. Hi guys, I’ve always read about the ability of reverse sidecut skis on chop and tracked out pow and here I don’t see any of them…does it mean that those skis are good in difficult condition compared to what they are made for (pow), and on a wider spectrum of skis, a traditional stiff skis in the 100mm range it still the best in difficult snow condition?


    • Hey, Matteo – first of all, there are very few *truly* reverse sidecut skis out there. E.g., The DPS Lotus 138 and Praxis Protest are not true reverse sidecut skis, the Praxis Powderboards are.

      And all of those skis do well in tracked *fresh* pow. By “chop and crud,” we intend a wider spectrum: from tracked, fresh pow (“chop”) to firm variable (“crud”). And it’s the latter category where the skis we’ve named outshine – in general – reverse sidecut designs.

      Having said that, reverse sidecut or nearly reverse sidecut skis can be effective tools in breakable crust – see our *Protesting the Backcountry* article for more on that.

      • Thanks so much for taking time to reply me, know I’ve a better understanding of what crud means, and it makes perfect sense on why you choose those skis!

        Keep on the great work guys!

  4. Man, how then Icelantic Gypsy failed to make either power category (playful stick or chop buster) is beyond me. Best of either breed if you ask me. Best company, too!

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