1-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices (14/15)

One ski, For Every Day on the Mountain, Any and All Conditions

We started out with our 3-Ski Quiver Selections, then narrowed things down to our quivers of two. And now, another round of cuts.

The One-Ski Quiver is the Holy Grail of the ski world. Practically anybody can make either a really good pow ski or a fantastic carver, but to design a ski that will excel across a whole host of conditions? That’s another thing altogether.

Actually, the One-Ski Quiver is basically a fantasy, one that’s easy to imagine but impossible to achieve. All ski designs result in tradeoffs.

But while the single ski that perfectly handles all conditions doesn’t exist, there are a number of skis that do a number of things well.

So in what follows, we’ll name the skis that, in our view, come closest to the ideal given where and how we ski. There is no best answer to the One-Ski Quiver question, but there are absolutely better or worse answers depending on the tradeoffs you are willing to live with.

We’ve put the question to our reviewers, and hopefully their answers will help you figure out which single ski would make sense for you.

The Questions:

I. What’s your one-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?

II. What’s your one-ski quiver for Taos?

III. What’s your one-ski quiver for the Canterbury Club Fields, New Zealand?

IV. What’s your one-ski quiver for skiing around the East Coast?

V. What’s your one-ski quiver for the next 2 years, regardless of location?

VI. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

VII. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Next: The Selections

• Will Brown

Julia Van Raalte

• Jason Hutchins

• Scott Nelson

• Brett Carroll

• Paul Forward

• Jonathan Ellsworth

• Tucker Nixon


58 comments on “1-Ski Quiver: Reviewers’ Choices (14/15)”

  1. You guys really need a reviewer that talks about Touring more, or for each reviewer to choose one touring ski as well. While I love the quiver pages and explanations, it’s never given me much insight into what touring skis are good these days. :(

    • Hey Burgess,
      These guys are the best in the business and very professional. If you have specific requests for reviews, you should ask in a polite tone, not tell them what they need to do. Read your message again.
      Have a good season.

      • Bruce, while I “appreciate” the lecture I feel like you missed the point.
        These are indeed very qualified individuals, who do great work.
        However, as I tried to point out their current work is missing out on a very large demographic.
        Touring is a massively booming sector of skiing, and when not a single reviewer make any real mention of a touring ski whether it be in the 3, 2 or 1 ski quiver it’s obvious that something is missing.
        Additionally, if those who work in the media industry can’t handle a little constructive criticism (even if it be in my rather blunt wording), perhaps they work in the wrong industry.
        So thanks for your “advice”.

  2. A 104mm underfoot ski as an East Coast one-ski-quiver? I guess if you’re living in Vermont, not working, and able to ski only on powder days. For most people, I think that’s way too wide. A one-ski quiver should be able to handle 80% of the conditions you’re going to see. Most East Coast skiers are going to be spending a lot of time on groomers.

    • Hi, Matt – thanks for the comments. If you read Jason & Will Brown’s comments about the Peacemaker, you’ll see that they both note that *that* particular ~105mm ski will sacrifice hardpack performance, but they’d live with that compromise for other reasons.

      The other thing that I think is worth noting is that *width*, in and of itself, isn’t everything.

      There are some narrow skis that carve well, and there are some fatter skis that carve well. It’s always interesting to hear comments that seem to imply that you can’t get a ~105mm ski up on edge, then bend and carve it.

      Personally, I really like carving the ~88mm-underfoot Volkl Kendo and the Salomon X-Drive 8.8. I also like carving the ~100mm-underfoot Rossi E100 and Volkl Mantra. And the previous Line Influence 115 and current Moment Governor (both ~115mm underfoot) are also very fun skis to bend and carve. Width isn’t everything.

      • Thanks for the reply Jonathan. I certainly agree that newer 100+ mm skis get on edge and carve nicely. I have a pair of Soul 7. When I demo’d them I was shocked how good they are on the groom, and I no longer travel with 2 pairs of skis on trips.

        That said, my current quiver includes a 71mm rec racer, 2 pairs of 88mm, and the Soul 7 at 107mm. I’d probably still put the Soul 7 lowest on the list if I was picking a OSQ for the east. Personally, I just like the edge-to-edge quickness of the narrow skis on groomed slopes. I think width does make a difference there.

        I guess if your’e always looking to get off-trail, then a wider ski is certainly better. I just found that when I lived back east, the days when off-trail skiing was good were few and far between.

  3. Jonathan,
    Currently have a 183 TST quiver of 1 and considering picking up a pair of used 186 Automatic’s for resort pow days out West. After reading your reviews of the Blister Pro/Old Bibby Pro you have me jonesing for the Moment. Please talk me out of bypassing on the Automatics and selling the TST’s to buy the 184 Blister Pro (as a 1SQ).
    Middle aged dude, 5’10”, 175lbs whose 2014/15 plans include 8 days Mid-Atlantic, 6 days Colorado, 5 days Utah, 5 days Whistler.

    • Alright, Paul, since I’m supposed to talk you out of the Bibby: (1) in general, it’s nice to have 2 skis rather than 1 ski. (2) The Bibby is far superior to the TST and Automatic in variable snow. But if you’re not skiing variable snow—sticking more to groomers/moguls or fresh, unchallenging snow—the Automatic is a really fun, easy ski in pow, and the TST is a pretty fun, easy ski to carve. (3) If your pow days are spent skiing *really* tight trees, the Automatic is a bit quicker than the Bibby. It is not as stable (cf. #2), but it is quick, easy, and fun.

      How’d I do?

      • How’d you do? Total fail. The stoke burns hotter!

        Just pre-ordered the BP’s from the Moment website…..AND now I’m keeping the TST too since I’m buying your “in general, it’s nice to have two skis” point.

        While I wish my days out West were spent floating through “fresh, unchallenging snow”, the reality will mostly likely be a few pure pow rides and a plethora of tracked out chop runs.

        Props to you guys and Luke on the graphics, the only thing sicker is going to be the wife when she sees the credit card bill.

      • Jonathan,
        A quick update with follow-up question. First, let me thank you for the review and advice on the Blister Pro. Since my last post I’m a couple years older but still 5’10” 175lbs. I also moved to UT and after two seasons on the 184 BP I can attest that it is everything that you described. Killer in Pow and even better in the afternoon resort chop, truly slays! Also, I did, in fact, keep the quiver at 2 with the 183 TSTs coming out on firm days. But after this season I feel the need to mix it up, dumo the TSTs and go to a quiver of 3 to get:
        (1) a better firm snow, front-side carver – after reading your review I’m thinking the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 in a 179 (less rocker so a bit shorter?); and
        (2) something fun and easy to ski mostly in steep, tight trees and spring corn/slush- initial thoughts are the 178 Sir Francis Bacon, 174 Rossi Sickle, or the 178 Rossi S7.
        What say you?

  4. Living in the real world, skiing plenty, but when the home and work schedule allow (as opposed to the powder schedule) I couldn’t go beyond 100, so my choice would be the Nordica Enforcer, which is sadly gone, so my new Hell and Backs better measure up!

  5. Bruce’s paternalistic lecture

    These “best in the business” guys have a lot of difficulty being accurate and descriptive, nearly every review reads the same except where they are bragging about the locations for testing, that sometimes changes.

    The niche cornering they reveal through the bragging on wealth and travel luxuries, that’s smart. But it doesn’t persuade me they’re any better at ski reviewing than a few of my totally unpaid never reported-on ski friends. It’s nice they review a lot of stuff that seems to be covered only by consumer reviews at Backcountry.com, that’s refreshing. But the reviews aren’t really all that great. They’re a lot like Steve Jones at Dirt Magazine in the UK, same stock phrases, same embellishments to help the reviewer feel authoritative and, um, genuinely badass.

    • Dear bag o’ donuts – I assume that’s your given name, since I don’t imagine you to be the kind of person who only criticizes behind the cover of a pseudonym…

      I’m sorry that you haven’t found our reviews to be very accurate and descriptive.

      We’ve posted hundreds of reviews, then received feedback from thousands of readers who went on to demo or buy those products. You can read the comments yourself, but it seems that about 99% of the time, those readers say that they found our assessments to be on point. If that weren’t true, I’m certain we’d receive a lot of well-deserved complaints from the people we’d misled and whose money we wasted.

  6. Hi

    First of all – this is a great website, well done! I have been reading it for a while and it offers the most fair, thorough and interesting reviews I have found online. Keep it up!

    Do you anticipate getting your hands on any Whitedot skis any time soon? I would love to hear your thoughts on the Preachers in particluar as a one ski quiver (particluarly as I just bought a pair…)

    • I would also like to know if any of you have skied the Supernatural 115? I’m curious how it might compare to the 108 and get your thoughts on how it may work for a bigger skier like me (6’3″ & 235 lbs, northwest skier, snow usually soft-ish but a bit heavy)?

      Love the work you all do and this is always the first place I look for quality info on ski equipment performance!

      • Hey, guys – while we did ski the Influence 186 Influence 115 (and reviewed it) and got a little time on the 192 Influence 115, we have not skied the Supernatural 115, so can’t comment on the SN 108 vs. SN 115, and I don’t think it’s safe to make comparisons based on the Influence 115 vs. Supernatural 108.

        So yeah … I suppose we ought to get time on those 115s…. Sorry we can’t be more help yet.

  7. Brett, great reading your review. I own the Influence 115, and keep coming back to its unrockered tail. It sometimes takes a bit more work, but it feels SO much more satisfying when it comes to finishing a turn, that it’s worth it to this older and definitely old-school skier that carves everything this side of truly bottomless powder.

    I keep trying, but I just keep kind of hating a wishy-washy tail.

    FWIW, your favorite Influence 105 can still be found at VERY attractive prices in many locations (though I understand you guys are in the biz of reviewing current skis, not leftovers, with the possible and notable exception of the Moment Blister Pro).

    • Tom, I’m glad you liked the review. I also very much agree with your praise of the Influence series, it sounds like we love the 105 and 115 for similar reasons.

      I’m happy to hear that there are still some 105s out there, I wasn’t sure if there were any new ones left. If you’re looking for a narrower version of the 115 that still has all the attributes that come with its fat, unrockered tail that you love, I’d recommend picking one up.

      Have a great winter, whichever Influence you end up on.

  8. Jason H gave some recommendations in his review of the Peacemaker on mounting the bindings that are different than the recommended line. Jonathan or Will do you have anything to add on this topic?

  9. Heya Blister.

    I’ve been reading tons of reviews this year and you guys are doing a great job. Currently i’m in Espace Killy and i will be working and skiing for the entire season. People told me that getting advice is easy in a ski area like Espace, but i struggle to find someone who is really willing to help. Am i doing it wrong?

    The thing is that i’m looking for my very first pow ski. I just got some fresh (and almost free) Elan 82 xTI skis for the piste, but i really want to hit the powder aswell this season. I can ski any piste (advanced rider i would say), i weigh 160 lbs and i am 6’5.

    The skis i’ve been looking at so far are the rossi soul 7 (for the good reviews and since people talk about it as a forgiving ski), the salomon rocker2 108 (Salomon never let me down) and maybe the atomic automatics. Do you have any advice/opinions besides what i can find in the reviews? I want something that’ll float, turn easy and be able to play (this is not the most important factor though). So far i am really hooked on the soul 7. Also, if i take them for a ride before buying, will i then be able to tell if they are good or not when i never tried any other pow skis?

    Thanks in advance!!

  10. Blister Guys,

    Grew up skiing Idaho and Utah “DRY” powder. In addition, the snow stayed soft for several days. I now live in the Lake Tahoe area, Reno NV, and get to experience heavy wet ‘Sierra Cement’ powder. Two runs and everything has turned to Bay Chop. Love to ski the timber but that goes fast also. What are your thoughts for a two ski quiver. 5′ 11″, 185 lbs, 66yrs old, can ski anything but not has aggressive and fast as in the past.

    • Hey Reese,
      I live in Reno as well and understand what you mean about the Sierra Cement and “Bay Chop”. 20% of your day is skiing untracked powder and 80% is skiing chop. This year I am going with the Moment Blister Pro in a 184cm, I am 5’8″ 165lbs, 50y/o. I have had the Rossi S7 and Super7s the past two years and they were too soft in the shovels when it got chopped up. So I think the Blister Pros will solve that problem. When I read the blogs and reviews here, I always pay attention the “chop section” because it seems like there are a lot of great powder skis, that don’t ski chop well, and living in Tahoe, that’s a big problem. Hey if you want stop by the Moment Factory in Reno, the guys are super cool and will let you demo any ski free of charge for the day. By the way, I don’t have any friends or family that work for Moment or any allegiance to them.

  11. Armada Declivity 184cms, 128/98/118mm dimensions…these skis are something special…first day out skiing the alpine and some tight trees on the new boards and they absolutely dominated snow that varied from oh so carefree fun and easy…to the worst, heinous breakable rain crust transitioning to shin deep mashed powtatos…It snowed/rained/snowed 45cms during an intense coastal warm storm yesterday…these skis have made me into a better skier, on the first day on them. Never been so impressed on a first date. A just right mod/stiff round flex, just enough of a symetrical sidecut, a hair of a rockered tip that didn’t dive under the crust…all worked as advertised. No wishy, washy hookiness or wierdness in the crust or moist mank, great edge engagement and carving on the good snow…tails finish a turn nicely with just the right amount of release at the end to say ‘thank you’. Super intuitive and balanced while standing on the sweet spot and steering the ski with shin pressure… Can’t wait to ski them in better consistent snow and rail some groomers…I have a hunch they will deliver much ski love in prit near everything aside from super deep but that may be outside their intended design parameters anyway. So far, oh so good! (Terrace, B.C., coastal snowpack, 170 pound skier, 35 years skiing, 25 years ski touring, skis driven by Dynafit Mercury boots with and without attachable forward flex stiffening tongue…performed better with tongue inserted)

  12. I can not believe you guys left best rock skis out of your selections. It is not a quiver without a rock ski. Great reviews. Thanks. Hope to see you on the Kachina lift.

  13. After reading your reviews and reconsidering, I just bought 186 Line Supernatural 100 as my primary ski. I was willing to sacrifice ultimate crud busting power for the eagerness to make all turn shapes. Given your finding of the tips sometimes not planing, I bought Marker Schizo bindings to mount, and if I notice this in powder, I’ll play with sliding them back 5-10 mm. I was also just leery of a 108-110 ski as an all day ski, especially the Cochise and the Supernatural 108, which both seemed geared for all out bombing all of the time. So it came down to the Supernatural 100 and the Bonafide, and I picked the Supernatural 100 as it appears to be just a slightly relaxed Bonafide. Can’t wait to get on the snow. Thanks for all the great info.

  14. If you call the Tahoe area your home ski area you only need 2 skis to handle anything, the Moment Bibby and the Moment PB&J’s and if your a powder whore the Donner Parties are unreal.

  15. Jonathan,

    Both the Volkl Mantra 177 and the VWerks Katana 184 ended up somewhere on your OSQ list. I’m thinking about picking up one of these two skis for the upcoming season at PCMR and Canyons. I had been skiing the 184 or 190 Old Katanas 90% of my days for the 6 seasons at Alta and the Bird. Man that ski was perfect for Little Cottonwood deep ass chop.
    But now that I moved to PC, the 190 Katana seems like a little too much ski for most my resort days. The trees are tighter, the chop is shallower, and there just isn’t as much room to let the Katanas run at full speed. In the quiver, I have the 4Frnt Renegade and EHP for softer days, and a Volkl Nanutuq for touring.
    So 177 Mantra or 184 Vwerks Katana for a 5′ 9″ 150 lbs guy who loved the old Katana and is skiing Canyons/PCMR now? Is the Mantra noticeably better on groomer and bumps? I’m sure the VWerks is better in pow, but I have other skis for that already. Or would you go with a 185 Cochise instead as a more forgiving, quicker Katana? The last wrinkle is that if I got the VWerks, I’d probably sell my Nunatuqs and mount the Vwerks for touring bindings and alpine bindings with BF inserts…
    First world problems! Thanks in advance blister crew.

    • Hey, Dan – given your current quiver, I’d be inclined to go with the 177 Mantras. As an everyday, hasn’t-snowed-in-2-or-3-weeks ski, it just seems like it’d make more sense than the Cochise or the V-Werks. Any of them would work, of course, but the 177 Mantra would seem to be the best tool for the job, and I think you’ll have a lot of fun carving and moguling around on them.

  16. Hey Reese

    I found for around Tahoe you only need 2 pairs of skis The Moment Bibby and the Moment PB&J they will cover all the bases, and if you want a really deep day powder ski the Donner Party is unreal.

  17. Just A/B ed the Line Bacon 184 and the Rossi Sickle 181(last year of production) at Vail over Thanksgiving holiday. Missed Monday/Tuesday knee deep blower powder. Tuesday evening warming temps and 30 minute freezing rain put a 3/16 inch ice layer on top of pow. We arrive Thursday to breakable crust over 6 to 8 inches of heavy powder, especially nearer the base. Best to ski what has already been skied and stay out of the trees where it was even deeper. The long groomer into top of Prima’s baby bumps led to bigger bumps in the middle, steeper section to crusty chop below. The last two sections of breakable crust over heavy powder, very tricky, tracked and untracked, led to Highline which had the best snow on the mountain(less crust, more powder but not deep). Bacon felt lighter and quicker with more pop, makes me want to go airborne. Rossi was more damp, stable, felt heavier and smoothed out the ride. I was surprised by the effectiveness of the Bacon in the heavy, crusty sections. I could ride back on the tails like water skiing or pressure the tips,especially concentrating on engaging the uphill ski tip, and slice thru at speed like a knife making big gs turns. Total confidence. The Rossi, smoothed out the ride, being more damp, and was equally inspiring. I was surprised by the groomer performance of the Rossi. So much fun. Both skis handled the bumps on Highline with finesse or power, whichever is preferred. Groomer check, bumps check, breakable crust/heavy snow check, I have been on the Bacon twenty days, the Rossi 1 1/2 days. The bacon is good in powder, no worries. Haven’t got the Rossi in pow yet. Both are incredible tools. I am still figuring out the Rossi, like riding the tails in the bumps and groomers and swishing around. The big difference is feeling the ski flex more with the bacon. Love them both. My buddy demoed the Cochise, Bonafide, Mantra, Kendo. He really liked the Kendo. Looking forward to Kendo review. The 184 Mantra was smooth in all conditions but not as quick as the others.

  18. Hey Will,
    Where did you have the peacemakers mounted at when you skied them? And when is your review of them coming out? Thanks.

  19. Any suggestions for a 1 ski quiver for work and play . I’m work lift maintenance at Copper and need to go all over the mountain in all conditions. I telemark 100-130 days per season and am pretty strong in most conditions and terrain but not the ripper I was 20 years ago! I had 3 vintage Dynasty Legends and liked ‘m a lot but moved to the Liberty Varient 97 when the Legends were dropped for the Cams. Call me traditionalist (F’ing Old Guy), but I like camber and flat tails. I love the Liberty Variant but it seems to have broke down and gone flat in 150 ski days. So what are your thoughts for an all mountain 100ish ski, 180 max length that rips in all conditions, will last more than 1 winter, is forgiving enough for an ancient Tele skier. Really like the Liberty and may just replace them, but also thinking of Line Supernatural 100 (I know, twin tips), Blizzard Bonfire, Dynasty 6th Sense Slicer, SurfaCE Daily, and Ramada TST

    • Hey, Mike – have you figured something out yet? Easier thing is to say which skis I think you can cross off your list, given what you say you’re looking for: Supernatural 100, Armada TST.

      And did you mean the Blizzard Bonafide? It’s a good all-around ski that meets most of your criteria. (BTW, I’m going to be getting time on the Variant soon, curious to check it out.)

  20. Born again skier here. I recently started skiing again (3yrs ago) after a 19 year snowboarding hiatus and have been having a BLAST!! However, having trouble finding my ski of choice. I have skied on K2 Fujatives, DPS Wailer 112 (demo day), and currently ski the Head Hammered in a 181 length 115mm underfoot. I really liked the DPS, but they are way too pricey for me. I didn’t like the Fujatives very much, they didn’t handle the crud at all. I do like my Head skis, but they are heavy and a little stiff. They handle fairly well despite of that.

    That said, I ski the Ogden resorts mostly and occasionally get down to the SLC/PC area. I’m 6′ 190lbs and I am an intermediate/advanced skier, but looking to improve. I like to goof off more than going fast. I am looking for a more fun, playful, forgiving ski for our area. I have read some of your reviews and was thinking the 185 Opus would be the ticket. If you could confirm that choice or suggest another and also a binding, mounting location, and size of ski, it would really help me out.

    Thanks and keep up the good work,

    • Hi, Ryan – apologies for the late reply – and thanks for your helpful description of what you’re looking for.

      My only hesitation with the Opus is that the 185cm version is a very soft ski. At your weight, you might want something a little more inherently stable? The other skis that come to mind are the 184cm or 190cm Line Sir Francis Bacon, or the 186cm Moment Bibby – you might want to check out those reviews.

      • It was too late! Ha ha, I already bought the Opus!….. and we haven’t gotten a drop of snow since!

        I have skied them one time on terrible snow and they were fine, but I can’t wait to really get to try them out. I got them mounted with Marker Griffon at -2cm (the Pollard’s choice line) and I really noticed the long tail, but I also noticed that they “feel” very light at that mounting. They are not light skis, but feel a lot lighter than my Heads.

        Thank you for your reply. … even as late as it was.

  21. Praxis 9D8 are a ripping one ski quiver item. Though… I don’t think a single ski quiver is a reality for those valuing the right gear for the right conditions.

  22. Finally got to ski my new SN108 yesterday.Wow, now I know what you’ve been raving about. Although I am using it in a quiver of a Stokli race ski, hell and back, SN108 and Influence 115, I can see how this could be an amazing one ski quiver. I have a feeling it will be my go to ski instead of the hell and back.

    I’m 5’11” 165 lbs and ski about 60 or so days a year mostly in Aspen. Yesterday was a hardpack day because its been awhile since we’ve gotten any real snow. I was expecting to just ski one run with the 108s and then switch them for the Stocklis because of the near east coast conditions. Skied a quick groomer lap and was surprised by the great grip they had on the icey groomers. They carved powerfully and locked in to the turn. It had the ability to slarve if asked and vary the turn shape at will. At speed they were super stable in the turn and had less tip flap while straightlining than my hell and backs.

    Off the groomers they handled the huge bumps that have formed very well as they smeared turns to scrub speed. Although a relatively stiff flex, they bent well into the bottom of the bumps and were overall very forgiving to fore aft balance errors. They had a perfect blend of dampness and energy. On my feet, it definitely felt like a charger. I very much appreciated its ability to absorb the most annoying vibration from under feet on frozen snow. Plenty of feedback still but didn’t transmit some of the harshest energies.

    At the end of the day, I was extremely impressed by all aspects of the skis ability. But most impressive was the way they instantly felt like an old favorite. It had a huge sweet spot and didn’t take any time to get used to it. I’m very happy with my decision as I was worried not having demoed them because not available around here. Your reviews were spot on. Thanks again for the great reviews!

      • Jonathan- What are your thoughts on the SN108 versus the Moment PB&J? I think I remember seeing lots of praise for the PB&J in last years OSQ awards, similar to the amount that the SN108 has received this year. From reading all of your reviews, it sounds like the PB&J is a bit more playful than the SN108, and better for skiing switch, but the SN108 is more damp and has a higher speed limit. It seems that both skis have surprisingly good edge hold on groomers, are good in up to about 12 inches of fresh, and are stable at speed. Is that an accurate description?

  23. I´m 5´9 176 lbs and I have found a great deal on the Peacemaker. My question is if it is to soft for me/the wrong ski for me? What ski do you think would suit me? I like to carve big fast turns on the groomers, ski of piste and to jump in the park and on natural features. I ride the Prorider 105 today but I want something a bit more playful. I do a few 180:s and some slow switch skiing with my kids.

  24. I’m 6’5″ and 235 pounds and am looking for a 100+ ski to compliment my two ski quiver of PT 89, and Hell and Back. I would consider myself a advanced Intermediate East Coaster that skis 80% groomers at a good pace with some 20% off-piste and cautious moguls. At 62 years old, the SN 108 has my attention but have considered the BD Zealot at 192, and the Line SFB as well. Any recommendations for an older big guy for mostly long and medium arching turns with good to excellent stability?

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