2-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (20/21)

Intro

We recently published several of our reviewers’ selections for 5-ski, 4-ski, and 3-ski quivers and now we’re really getting to the hard decisions, asking them to trim those down to two skis. 

To be clear, there is no single perfect quiver for everyone. It all depends very much on where you ski and how you ski. So our selections below shouldn’t be viewed as our answer to the question, “What are the best skis out there?” Instead, these are our personal picks, and our rationale for why we’d choose them. As always, we’re interested to hear what you’d pick for your own 2-ski quiver, so let us know in the Comments section at the bottom.

More Ski-Quiver Help

For more general suggestions — as opposed to what we personally would pick — check out our 20/21 Buyer’s Guide.

And if you’d like to get our recommendations for assembling your own ski quiver, then become a Blister Member, send us a note, and we’ll remove the guesswork.

Six Questions

For each of our reviewers, we asked them to answer the following questions:

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

V. 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?

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Luke Koppa

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

Since I split my time between lift-accessed laps at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the surrounding backcountry, my 2-ski quiver is where things really start to get tough. There are a lot of versatile skis out there, but picking a single touring ski and a single resort ski is still very challenging. With that said, here’s what I think I’d go with:

Ski #1: Do-Everything Touring Ski — Moment Wildcat Tour 108, 184 cm + ATK Raider 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Moment Wildcat Tour 108

In my 3-ski quiver selections, I had already decided on this ski as my single touring ski, so it’s here for all the same reasons as it was there. It’s light enough for my long days, it feels pretty solid when hop-turning down steep, firm lines, but it’s also very playful and will let me keep trying (and failing) to spin and flip more on mid-winter pow days. I’ll be wishing for a bit more flotation on some days and I’d prefer a narrower ski for sketchy couloirs, but I think this ski makes for the least amount of compromises for where and how I ski.

Ski #2: Do-Everything Resort Ski — Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm + Marker Griffon

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Fischer Ranger 102 FR

Man, there were so many skis I almost picked here. But in the end, I think this is where I finally need to go with something practical, and that’s the Ranger 102 FR for me.

It’s stiffer and not nearly as surfy as some of my other favorite skis, it doesn’t float nearly as well as much wider skis, and it’s not the most damp, most stable option in this class. But again, I think the Ranger 102 FR makes me compromise the least when considering everything from early season groomer laps to CBMR pow / chop days to park laps.

I think the Ranger 102 is an excellent ski and I love skiing it, but I think I’d be most bummed about having it as my only resort ski when the snow is really deep or I just want to mess around at slower speeds (hence my answers to the next question).

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

For this, I’d just revert back to my two inbounds ski from my 3-ski quiver, for all the same reasons:

Ski #2: Firm-ish Snow Resort Ski — K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm + Marker Griffon

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
K2 Reckoner 102

Stupid-fun at just about any speed and in any terrain, this is the ski I’d use when I don’t feel like charging, do feel like trying some stunts, or when I just want to rip some groomers.

Ski #3: Playful Charger — Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, 186 cm + Salomon STH2 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer

Stupid-fun at high speeds and when I do feel like skiing hard and fast, but still balanced and playful enough to encourage trying dumb things and going big when the snow is soft.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

I’ve always had good experiences with Moment’s skis in terms of durability, so I think I’d stick with the Wildcat Tour 108 as my do-everything touring ski. I could go for something narrower, but if I’m going out to ski firm snow in the backcountry, it’s usually to make quick, skidded or jump turns, not laid-over carves, so I think the WC Tour 108 would do fine for me.

And I think I’d again stick with the Fischer Ranger 102 FR. I’ve smacked that ski into a lot of rocks, and despite its thinned-out, carbon shovel, it has held up just fine. While it’d be a bummer if I ended up in Japan or Alaska, I could probably ski the Wildcat Tour 108 if it was just deep, untouched pow. And the Ranger 102 FR carves exceptionally well for what it is.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

Have you seen our Buyer’s Guide? My answer is basically half the skis in that guide.

Jokes aside, I was close to choosing the Line Sir Francis Bacon as my do-everything resort ski. But I think I’d be wishing for something heavier, stiffer, and more stable once the steep terrain at CB opens up.

The Moment Wildcat 108 and Deathwish almost took the place of the Ranger 102 FR since they’re more playful and float better, but I really love carving hard turns when I’m on groomers and the Ranger 102 is a much better carver than both of those skis. Similar story with the ON3P Woodsman 108.

Luke Koppa reviews the Moment Deathwish for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Moment Deathwish, Crested Butte, CO.

Then there are the narrower skis like the J Skis Masterblaster, Dynastar Menace 98, K2 Reckoner 102, and Line Blade. They’d all be a bit more fun than the Ranger 102 when I’m primarily sticking to groomers and / or the park. But I know I’d be wishing for more flotation when the fresh snow finally arrives.

V. 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?

The J Skis Hotshot seems like it could make a really strong case as my do-it-all resort ski. I already know it’s more damp than the Ranger 102 and it also feels a bit more maneuverable. My main remaining questions are how well it will handle days that mostly involve ripping groomers, and how sluggish it will feel in the air.

The WNDR Alpine Vital 100 also seems like a solid contender for my do-it-all touring ski. It’s got more rocker, a more progressive mount point, and a more symmetrical flex pattern than most touring-oriented skis of that width, all of which make me think I’d prefer it over most other ~100mm-wide options I’ve used. I’m confident that it’d feel more secure and damp on firm conditions than the Wildcat Tour 108, so my main question is how well it will float and how playful it will feel in more ideal conditions.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Moment: Wildcat Tour 108 & Deathwish

I’d be content with this quiver. The Deathwish is really versatile for its width and the only real downside is that, for how I ski, I often prefer something with a slightly tighter sidecut radius when skiing on piste.

Line: Vision 108 & Sir Francis Bacon

This would be pretty sweet and definitely checks the “fun-factor” box for me. The main downsides would be that I don’t love the Vision 108 in firm, no-fall terrain, and the SFB will require me to dial back my speed when conditions get choppy or truly rough.

Kara Williard

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

As I narrow the quiver to a two-ski selection, I am picking two skis that do a good job of covering most conditions in the resort, while also being fairly light on the uphill. And my positive experiences with the Salomon Shift binding makes me confident that it would work well for both skis and both applications — inbounds or in the backcountry.

Full disclosure, this is my current quiver and has been for two seasons. Even though I didn’t ski a ton last season while coming back from an ACL replacement, I have been pleased with this as a versatile setup, and the only thing I feel as though I am lacking is a narrower, stiff ski (sub 90 mm underfoot) for those really firm days.

Ski #1: All-Condition Go-Anywhere Ski — Blizzard Sheeva 10, 180 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Blizzard Sheeva 10

The Sheeva 10 has proven to be a super fun, versatile, trustworthy ski. I appreciate how stable it feels while still providing a quick, nimble and playful ride that I have favored since getting back on skis post-surgery. I can open it up on groomers and feel confident in the carve, push it through bumps with ease, and navigate a handful of conditions. For this reason, it serves as an excellent daily resort ski, while still being a bit on the lighter end, which makes it an excellent contender for a lot of backcountry missions.

Ski #2: All-Around Powder Ski – K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance, 179 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance

It is not totally necessary to have a touring binding on this ski, but since I have become a believer in the downhill performance of the Salomon Shift, I figure why not? I’ve had some bigger backcountry days on this exact setup, and despite the weight, I was glad to have the width on soft, deep descents. The K2 Mindbender 115C has proven to be an exceptional powder ski in a variety of places and conditions. By going to a Shift, this ski goes from being a resort powder ski in my bigger quivers to an all-round option for any powder day, lift-accessed or not. I continue to be pleased by the nimble-yet-powerful combination of this ski.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Ski #1: All-Mountain Everyday Charger — Nordica Santa Ana 98, 179 cm + Look Pivot 14

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Nordica Santa Ana 98

I revert back to the Nordica Santa Ana 98 for this just because it is a bit more stiff and damp than the Sheeva 10, and as a result, better handles the often-firm conditions I have grown accustomed to skiing in the resort. I find I can ski the Santa Ana 98 and Sheeva 10 pretty similarly in most conditions,, but I wouldn’t mind the slight increase in stability and narrower width to suit the wide range of resort conditions I find myself skiing most seasons. I will be curious to get on the Nordica Santa Ana 93 to see if I could swap the Santa Ana 98 for something a bit narrower, to balance out the quiver. I haven’t had enough recent experiences on the 20/21 Santa Ana 93 to be able to confidently make that exchange, but I would like to experiment this season.

Ski #2: Powder Ski — Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 179 cm + Look Pivot 14

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free

For purely resort skiing, where chop is more common than untouched powder, I think I’ll go slightly narrower on my inbounds soft-snow ski — at least for now. I’m not totally set on the Enforcer 104 Free, though, as there are several skis I want to try that are a bit wider (e.g., Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free). I also would consider just sticking to the K2 Mindbender 115C, as that has proven to be such a killer powder ski. However, I decided on this since a lot of resort pow days can consist of less than a few inches of new snow and a lot of tracks pretty early on, and I find the Enforcer 104 Free to be a little more agile and composed through the chop.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

I will stick with my Nordica-focused answer listed in the previous question. I have found the Santa Ana series to be phenomenally versatile and admirable in terms of durability. The Enforcer 104 Free may be swapped for the Santa Ana 104 or 110, once I get some time on the women’s-specific versions. I find that both of these skis, the Santa Ana 98 and Enforcer 104 Free, let me have fun in almost anything, and I think the Santa Ana 98 is stable and precise enough to ski some really firm, icy conditions. However, I will be curious to try the new Santa Ana 93, as I might move towards something narrower for my everyday ski.

I also think to my previous experiences on the 19/20 Blizzard Brahma 88 as an option that would be narrower, stiffer, and perhaps better if I had to trust the ski regardless of location or condition (i.e. East Coast). But I have yet to get on the 20/21 Blizzard skis, and it sounds like the 20/21 Brahma 88 is more piste-focused than the 19/20 version. I am eager to spend some time on the new Blizzard skis, namely the Bonafide 97, Brahma 88, and the new women’s Black Pearl series. I have had close to 300+ resort days on my 16/17 Bonafides, so I have little reason to doubt their durability.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

As I just mentioned, I have historically been keen on the Blizzard Bonafide. I have yet to get on the 20/21 Bonafide 97, so I will be curious to see how the redesigned ski compares to the previous iterations, which were previously my go-to choices for stable, responsive, and powerful everyday options. I wouldn’t pick the Bonafide as a ski to tour on due to its hefty weight, so this only applies when looking at a resort-specific quiver.

I am also super keen to try the women’s Black Pearl 97, since it’s the most direct comparison that has existed to the Bonafide, and it’s now available in a suitable length for me to really get a direct comparison. Plus, it’s a lot lighter than the Bonafide 97. It will also be exciting to test the Black Pearl 97 against the Nordica Santa Ana 98, as they both seem aligned with my preferences. And as I’ve now noted several times, I want to revisit the updated Santa Ana 93 as a potential option for a narrower resort ski.

V. 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?

I’ve spent enough time on the Enforcer 104 Free to know that it’s pretty much ideal for my skiing preferences, which leaves me curious to try the 20/21 Santa Ana 110 Free and Santa Ana 104 Free — especially since they’re a bit lighter and potentially more touring-friendly than the pretty heavy Enforcer 104 Free.

After having so many good experiences on the Blizzard Bonafide and Brahma, I am really curious to try the Blizzard Black Pearl 97 and Black Pearl 88, especially now that they are coming in 177 cm lengths. I am also eager to try the new Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I already went this route for question two, and I am sticking to it. I would choose the Nordica Santa Ana 98 + Look Pivot 14 as my everyday ski, and the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free + Salomon Shift 13 MNC as my powder/backcountry ski. But as noted above, there’s definitely potential for change here, once I get on more of the new Santa Ana skis.

Paul Forward

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

Ski #1: DPS Foundation Koala 119, 189 cm

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
DPS Foundation Koala 119

Currently, this is my favorite inbounds powder ski that still provides enough float and general powder performance to handle a day of heli-ski guiding. The pair of the Koala F119 I have is heavy and remarkably stable in all conditions. Day after day last season, this was the ski that I grabbed for days at Alyeska, even if it hadn’t snowed that much. Even more remarkable is that the Koala F119 is also the best sub-120mm-wide ski I’ve used for a day of heli skiing in big terrain. This is an exceptional ski and I could spend most of my season on it.

Ski #2: Black Diamond Helio 116, 186 cm

Blister's 2019-2020 Reviewer Quiver Selections
Black Diamond Helio 116

I’m choosing this here for the same reasons I chose it in my 3-ski quiver: I still spend as much time as possible ski touring, and from November through May, I’m mostly chasing pow. In the spring, the Helio 116 will feel a little sketchy on firm, steep conditions, and on the biggest, steepest, deepest days in the AK backcountry I’ll feel undergunned in terms of length and width. But these are light enough to drag around everywhere and stable and predictable enough that I’ll be happy on the descent the vast majority of the time. These are my Goldilocks AK touring skis. (This is based on the previous Helio 116. The new Helio 115 appears very similar but we haven’t yet skied it.)

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

I would stick with the Koala and add back in the Volkl Mantra 102 for all of the same reasons I listed in my 3-ski quiver.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 3-ski Quiver Selections
Volkl Mantra 102

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

The pair of the Koala F119 I have seem quite burly and have already taken a bunch of rock hits, heli-basket abuse, and other insults without issue. I’d stick with these here because I’ll always want a ski that lets me have close to maximum fun in powder no matter where I am.

I might bump down to something a little skinnier for my touring ski. The Blizzard Zero G 105 is pretty promising as an all-round touring ski, although it’s powder performance is lacking. Based on my very limited time on the Majesty Havoc, I’d have to list it here as a possibility as well. It feels very versatile so far.

At the end of the day though, I like fat skis and I’d be happy to bring the Black Diamond Helio 116 anywhere I go. I’m almost always pursuing pow and I can live with the 116 in just about any snow, other than super hard, icy conditions.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

I think I’ve pretty much covered that above.

V. 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?

I have high hopes for my pair of custom Folsom Rapture’s, but I didn’t get enough time on them last season to make a real statement about them. They are remarkably powerful on edge but still have plenty of float. Stay tuned for more info on those.

Paul Forward on a custom Folsom Rapture, Chugach Powder Guides, AK. (photo by Charlie Renfro)

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I could make do with a DPS 2-ski quiver but I’d be sacrificing a lot in my skinnier ski to get an excellent pow ski. I’d combine the Koala 119 with the Wailer 106. I haven’t skied the new Pagoda Piste version but even the current Alchemist version would fit as a ski that’s good enough in everything from hardpack to pow and still light enough to drag around in the backcountry all day.

I could also live with a 4FRNT 2-ski quiver consisting of the Renegade and the Raven. For me, there are better skis in both categories, but not from the same manufacturer. I’m always going to lean more heavily on skis designed for off-piste and backcountry conditions and both of these 4FRNT skis check those boxes. Unfortunately, neither of them is particularly fun for me inbounds, but I could make them work.

Drew Kelly

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

I spend about 60% of my time skiing Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and the remaining 40% skiing the surrounding backcountry. As such, I’m selecting one ski solely for resort skiing and the other for all backcountry endeavors. Though I considered selecting skis that could complement each other well in both backcountry and resort settings, ultimately I couldn’t get past the fact that I hate compromising with my ski gear. Hence, my selections:

Ski #1: Resort Ski — Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm + Tyrolia Attack2 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Fischer Ranger 107 Ti

I chose this as my resort ski because I love its stability and surprisingly energetic, almost agile ride. With its light swing weight (for how heavy it actually is), shorter turn radius, and stiff flex pattern, I found that I could silly-goat through the steep rocky pitches of CBMR, dance through moguls, and still rail super-g turns on hardpack. Despite being only 107 mm underfoot, the 189 cm version of this ski had plenty of float for me on the elusive Crested Butte pow day. I did ultimately decide on moving the bindings -2 cm behind the recommended mounting point (equating to about -11 cm from true center), which gave the Ranger 107 Ti a little extra flotation.

Ski #2: Touring Ski — Black Crows Corvus Freebird, 188 cm + Salomon Shift

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
19/20 Black Crows Corvus Freebird

Because I ski all year (mostly in Colorado), and because I’m kind of a stubborn, old-school grump, the biggest determinants in choosing my touring ski were stability and versatility across all snow conditions — from powder to hellscape.

In the 188 cm length and mounted -1 cm back from the -10.5 cm suggested mounting location, I found the 19/20 Corvus Freebird offers plenty of float in the low-density powder of Colorado (I have yet to ski the updated 20/21 version). But, at 1800 grams per ski and with ~6 mm of camber and a relatively subtle rocker profile, this is a ski that’s also capable of going mach-chicken down wide alpine faces in corn-snow conditions. As far as using it to ski in August in Colorado … well it performs as well as can be expected, though admittedly in those conditions, I would have preferred the 183 cm length.

My binding choice was more difficult for me to make. I don’t like the single low riser of the Shift, I find the climb / ski transition mechanisms a little ungainly, and am always enticed by lighter bindings … but, ultimately, I’ll pay all those penalties for the sake of precision and having confidence in predictable release-ability. As I said earlier, I have a pretty low tolerance for compromising ski performance for the sake of weight. Also, I like moving slowly in the mountains, which the weight of the Shift definitely facilitates. And though I admittedly haven’t skied the Shift mounted on a Corvus Freebird, I’ve skied both enough to feel confident in this union.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

If this were the case, I would stick with my choice of the 188 cm Fischer Ranger 107 Ti as my wide ski, and add the 184 cm K2 Mindbender 99 Ti.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
K2 Mindbender 99Ti

The reason I’m keeping the Fischer here is partly a symptom of my having not skied a lot of bigger current skis, but also because I just find the Ranger 107 Ti to be beautifully versatile. I added the 184 cm Mindbender 99 Ti mainly because of its increased approachability at lower speeds than the 189 cm Ranger 107 Ti.

Yes, the K2 carves better, but not so much more that its carving performance factored much into the decision here. Mostly, I found the Mindbender 99 Ti to be calmingly damp while generating a surprising amount of snap when coming out of turns in moderately angled terrain. And because, for most of December and January in CBMR, we are skiing groomers and blue mogul runs, I wanted a ski that (at least for how I ski) comes to life at lower speeds while also being very stable at high speeds on ice. I’ve also found that railing turns all day on firm snow while on a wide and stiff ski puts a lot of torsional stress on my hip and knee joints. So despite the overlap in functionality between the Ranger 107 Ti and Mindbender 99 Ti, the K2 just feels more forgiving on my body, while being able to do all the things the Fischer can during our stubbornly persistent early-season conditions.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years, and (b) versatility.)

Since I mainly ski at CBMR, which remains a pile of rocks with some sporadic patches of snow until mid-February, I can’t imagine any ski that would last even an entire season of legit, everyday use. So, I’m just sticking with the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti for my resort ski.

And I’m going to continue circumnavigating the question by keeping the Black Crows Corvus Freebird. The rationale behind this choice is that I ski a lot of terrible conditions and usually just ski my equipment into the grave. And given that snow in the backcountry is often inconsistent and less precise than resort snow, all I require of my skis is that they have two opposing edges still mostly intact.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

As I expected, I really enjoyed the Volkl Mantra M5, Nordica Enforcer 100, now-discontinued Kaestle MX99, and Rossignol Blackops Sender Ti in the resort. But ultimately, I found none of these skis versatile enough. They’re too narrow for me to serve as my sole ski for the resort, and trying to compensate for this by simply choosing the longest length available would make these skis too demanding in moguls and the tight steeps ubiquitous to Crested Butte.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Drew Kelly on the Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Some backcountry skis I considered including were the 180 cm Faction Agent 3.0 and 186 cm Volkl Blaze 106. The Agent 3.0 wasn’t quite damp enough on firm snow and didn’t offer the flotation of the 188 cm Corvus Freebird, and the Blaze 106 just doesn’t come in a long enough length for me to make it the platform needed for landing drops into powder.

V. 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?

For the resort, skis that interest me are the Volkl Katana 108 in a 191 cm length due to its heft, short turn radius underfoot, flatter tail, and rearward mounting point. The Nordica Enforcer 115 Free is also intriguing, given what Paul and Jonathan have said about it.

The backcountry skis I’m hoping to spend some time on are the 189 cm Head Kore 117, 188 cm Blizzard Rustler 11, 189 cm Atomic Backland 107, and the 186 cm Volkl BMT 109. The 192 cm WNDR Alpine Intention 110 also sounds intriguing. Overall, I’m looking forward to trying skis that seem like they’d fit my preferences for rearward mount points, lots of camber underfoot, and flat tails, but also outliers like the BMT 109, Rustler 11, and Intention 110 that have slightly more playful, more rockered designs.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Volkl: Katana 108, V-Werks Katana or BMT 109

The question I’d have here is how much I could adapt to the lack of camber of the V-Werks Katana. I added the potential of the BMT 109 because I haven’t skied any of these skis, and am interested to see how stable on firm snow it is, given its ~1700 g weight. Ultimately, I think it would be the more versatile touring ski compared to the V-Werks Katana.

Kristin Sinnott

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

This season, my 2-ski quiver is almost identical to last season’s and I can only hope that the ski seasons aren’t identical, too. The only changes I made from my 19/20 2-ski quiver are an updated model and being less wishy-washy about bindings.

Ski #1: All-Mountain Everyday Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 93, 172 cm + Marker Griffon 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Nordica Santa Ana 93

As many of you are likely aware, the Nordica Santa Ana series was updated for 20/21. I haven’t yet been able to ski the 104 Free or the 110 Free, but I did spend a bit of time on the new Santa Ana 93 and 98 last season. I loved the older version of the Santa Ana 93, but I don’t miss it much when I’m on the new iteration. The newer version feels a bit more nimble and it doesn’t take as much effort to turn them in tight quarters. And importantly, I love that I can fully trust this ski to perform well, whether charging down groomers, making calculated turns in a no-fall zone, or zigzagging through tight trees.

Ski #2: Powder / Touring / All-Mountain Ski — DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2, 171 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2

For a ski that’s 106 underfoot, the DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2 is a great everyday ski for where I ski. It’s fairly lightweight and doesn’t exhaust my legs, even at the start of the season when my legs are definitely not in ski shape. (Some of my favorite conditions are large, mounded, chalky moguls which can be pretty tiring.) I tend to encounter chalky conditions throughout the ski season and the Zelda 106 C2 performs well on them — it can precisely carve turns when I want, but also pretty easily slide and pivot when I don’t.

For my binding, I chose the Salomon Shift MNC 13 because I feel more comfortable skiing it in the resort than any other AT binding. Last year, I couldn’t decide between the Shift and the Marker Kingpin, but after hearing the Gear:30 podcast with Cody Townsend where pin-toe bindings release-value settings and elasticity are discussed, I decided to err on the side of caution with the Shifts.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

My quiver would remain the same except I would mount both skis with dedicated alpine bindings.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

Based on the fact that this is the second year in a row that I chose this set-up, I think it’s safe to say my answer wouldn’t change by adding a year. This year I won’t get back east to ski with my family, but when I do, I’ll still be very happy bringing the Nordica Santa Ana 93.

Kristin Sinnott reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 93 for Blister
Kristin Sinnott on the Nordica Santa Ana 93, Crested Butte, CO.

What is missing from my quiver is a dedicated powder ski for deep days and a lightweight touring ski. I don’t have any big vacation plans in my near future and I haven’t had much luck hitting big storm days the past few winters so I think it is safe to leave the powder ski off my list. A lightweight touring setup is always appealing, if even just for morning laps up my local mountain, but most of my uphill travel involves carrying a toddler on my back so shaving a few hundred grams from my skis and bindings doesn’t really make my overall setup particularly lightweight.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

Pretty happy with my choices but I would definitely miss skiing on the Blizzard Black Pearl 88.

V. 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?

For the 2-ski quiver, I really like having skis that are approximately 93 mm and 106 mm underfoot. With that in mind, I haven’t spent any time on the Line Pandora 104 or the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, but I’d really like to. I have an older version of the Pandora 110 that was my 1-ski quiver for years and I imagine I might enjoy the newest version. As for the Santa Ana 104 Free, well I’m a fan of the Santa Ana line in general so I wouldn’t be surprised if I really enjoyed them.

For a 93mm -ish underfoot ski, I don’t really see the Santa Ana 93 being ousted anytime soon.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I’d go with Nordica: Santa Ana 93 and Santa Ana 104 Free.

Eric Freson

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

I spend more of my time in the backcountry than the resort, so my 2-ski quiver choices would reflect lots of days spent walking uphill. As we drop to two skis, this becomes a problem for me more with bindings than skis, since I want to minimize weight on the ascent but also do not want to hold back on the descent (especially for my resort days). I still need to spend more time on the burlier AT bindings on the market, but the Marker Duke PT does seem to offer a bit of a cheater option (though I’d still want to have a dedicated touring boot and dedicated alpine boot). The 2-ski scenario also begins to expose just how specialized many of the pieces of equipment we use are, and how your intended use plays a huge factor in gear selection.

Ski #1: Do-Everything Ski — 4FRNT Raven, 190 cm + Marker Duke PT 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
4FRNT Raven

The Raven continues to be a ski that I can trust anywhere I might find myself. It is quite light for its size, predictable on firm snow, and loose in soft snow. In a 2-ski quiver, I would move up to the 190 cm length over the 184 cm in an effort to get more stability at higher speeds and on the firmer snow often encountered at a resort. The Raven’s lighter weight and deep rocker lines make it less ideal for super firm days in the resort, compared to other potential choices, but it’s going to get the job done just about anywhere, and is a ski I’d consider “easy” to ski on days when I’m trying to be mellow. And if conditions are super firm in the resort, I’m probably going to be out in the backcountry anyway.

The Marker Duke PT looks like it could similarly be a great compromise for a ski used everywhere. I’m looking forward to spending more time on it this season, but I know that I would much prefer the Duke PT over a traditional tech binding or even something like the Kingpin when skiing the resort in firm conditions, and the increased confidence inbounds would be worth the weight and transition compromises in the backcountry. The CAST system is also a strong contender, but so far, the Duke PT seems a bit less finicky during transitions and potentially less prone to snow / ice buildup.

Ski #2: Pow Ski — 4FRNT Renegade, 191 cm + Marker Duke PT 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
4FRNT Renegade

Another year, and I still haven’t found anything to displace the Renegade as my go-to “soft snow, big days” ski.

At 122 mm underfoot, I will never feel short-changed on deep days, but with a stiff flex pattern both underfoot and torsionally, I have skied Renegades in some truly heinous conditions without too much drama, either. It’s quick to get on top of the snow, very easy to pivot, and you can shut it down in a moment.

Pairing the Renegade with a binding like the Marker Duke PT really does feel like what this binding was intended for. The Renegade is a soft-snow tool designed with aggressive skiing in mind, and not something I’d likely use for exceptionally long backcountry days or hardpack-resort-hucking, so a burly AT binding like the Duke PT seems like an easy choice here.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Ski #1: Everyday Resort Ski — Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti

The Sender Ti is a versatile ski for the technically proficient skier looking for precision, power, and a big sweet spot. It has the weight, flex, and versatile shape to handle groomers, chalky conditions, and softer, deeper snow — all in the same day. I appreciate a high ceiling of performance and this ski feels comfortable handling frequent starts and stops and speed fluctuations; pushing through piles of soft snow; crossing other skiers’ tracks; and slashing untouched pockets of pow (all the things I tend to do at the resort more than anything else). The Sender Ti doesn’t exhibit any surprising or erratic behavior, and this consistency helped me quickly get comfortable and in a rhythm with it anywhere on the mountain.

As far as bindings, I like stiff springs, good power transfer, a smooth ride, and I don’t like feeling the elasticity / heel rotation of Look Pivots. Salomon’s bindings have served my well for many years, and are what I would use here.

Ski #2: Resort Powder Ski — Blizzard Bodacious, 186 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2019-2020 Reviewer Quiver Selections
Blizzard Bodacious

As I’ve now said several times before, the Bodacious is still my go-to resort pow ski. When the snow is soft, the speeds are high, and the terrain is challenging, the Bodacious is still what I’m going to reach for almost every. single. time.

The Bodacious is currently back in its original shape and construction (though in limited quantities), and that’s a very, very good thing. No speed limit, heavy, damp, and fast. At Crested Butte I’d choose the 186 cm length over the 196 cm for the 186’s ability to fit into smaller places, but at resorts with more wide-open terrain, I’d opt for the 196 cm version for something truly unstoppable.

The Bodacious doesn’t feel like a ski that’s 118 mm underfoot, meaning I don’t feel as penalized by its wide waist when things aren’t especially soft or deep, or on the way back to the chairlift. Yes, this is a very heavy, stiff, and demanding ski. But if I haven’t been skipping leg day and would like to feel like a wrecking ball, I think it’s hard to have more fun than I do on the Bodacious at a resort when conditions are soft and I want to keep my skis pointed down the fall line. Another year has gone by and it’s still my go-to, which just means I have spent a bunch of time on other skis that still don’t replace it in my personal quiver.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

Can I have a pair of the old 187 cm Dynastar Legend Pro XXL’s and J Skis The Metal please? No…? Ok, I’ll go with some currently available skis:

Over many years, I have had exceptionally few issues with my 4FRNT skis. I’d have no second thoughts about trusting them to hold up for the next three years. But I’m going to cheat a bit and just say that I’d pick two that would be most appropriate for my location. That could very well be the Raven and Renegade I picked above, or potentially an MSP if I was going to ski more in the resort.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Eric Freson on the 4FRNT Renegade, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

I am a bit more skeptical about the Duke PT binding holding up to a lot of resort abuse over a period of three years, given how new it is, but there is only one way to find out! Hardpack hammering is hard on any binding, and I have broken more than a few over the years in this manner. But for now, I’d be willing to give Marker the benefit of the doubt, and simultaneously not feel like I was asking too much from the Duke PT to hold up to three years of mixed backcountry and resort duty.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

For a 2-ski quiver, I put a lot of thought into the idea of one backcountry ski, and one resort ski. The idea of having a simple and lightweight touring binding for my backcountry ski and a beefy resort binding on my resort ski has a lot of appeal. But situations where I don’t have the right ski for the day would create more anxiety than not having the ideal binding.

Two skis that were at the forefront of my mind were the Salomon QST 106 and the Folsom Blister Pro 104. While they’re far from identical, they’re both pretty powerful, directional skis. Both are different in character than the 4FRNT skis I selected (heavier, camber underfoot, more directional), but they do a good job of handling a very wide range of conditions. The QST 106 and Blister Pro 104 would not be as nice on the up as the Raven or stay as loose in pow as the Renegade, but I think I could grab either one on any day of the season and never be too upset.

Also the Armada ARG II, because that ski is just giggle inducing. And I’d ski it anywhere and make myself love it, just to ski it in pow.

V. 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?

I have not had a chance to ski the new Blizzard Cochise 106 yet, but I have a lot of love for many of its iterations over the years, and I’m very excited to try it out this season. Easy maneuverability, powerful, decent weight, and good suspension. I don’t have many higher priorities for a ski. If it does, in fact, feel more akin to the earlier iterations, it’s highly likely that it will displace something from my list next season…

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Looking at my other quiver picks, it feels like I need a tattoo on my forehead at this point… 4FRNT would continue to be my go-to brand for a ski quiver of two.

Between the MSP 99, Raven, MSP 107, Hoji, and Renegade, two of the five would make up my quiver. It would depend a bit on where I live and what sort of terrain I had access to, but in Crested Butte, where backcountry skiing is primarily long tours or sled-accessed, it would continue to be the Raven and the Renegade. Or the MSP 107 and Hoji if I stayed primarily inbounds.

Sascha Anastas

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

Ski #1: All-Mountain Resort / 50/50 Ski — Line Pandora 104 + Salomon Shift MNC 10

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Line Pandora 104

After much thought, I think I would go back to my Line Pandora 104, with the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free and the Rossignol Soul 7 both being close and solid contenders.

The Pandora 104 is a bit lighter and more playful than the Santa Ana 104 Free, making it slightly more versatile as an all-mountain / 50/50 ski for me, with the caveat that it’s not quite as stable at higher speeds and on firmer conditions. But I think I am willing to give that up for playfulness if I only had a single resort ski. The (now-discontinued) Rossignol Soul 7 is also incredibly versatile. I loved how easy that ski was to get on edge but also how fun it was for surfing powder, so I would be happy to have that ski as my resort ski, but it’s no longer in the line this year.

I would definitely mount this ski with a binding that had touring capabilities since my other ski is pretty wide and ideal for soft conditions, but seeing that I would be skiing mostly in the resort with this ski, I would want a more reliable and better-skiing binding like the Salomon Shift.

Ski #2: Dedicated Powder Ski / 50/50 Ski — Line Pandora 110 + Salomon Shift MNC 10

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Line Pandora 110

While I have always been impressed by how well the Pandora 104 floats in powder for its width, I think I would want a ski that offered better flotation and maneuverability for when the snow is deeper than 8 inches. While I have yet to ski the newest version, Kristin Sinnott’s comments about the Pandora 110 (see our 20/21 Buyer’s Guide) make me feel pretty confident that it’d fit this role.

Another ski that could potentially work here would be the Armada Trace 108. The 19/120 Trace 108 was pretty light but surprisingly stable at high speeds and easy to get on edge, which could make it more versatile than the Pandora 110.

That said, I think the Armada Trace 108 would overlap too much with the Pandora 104 (and we haven’t skied the updated 20/21 version), so I am inclined to choose a ski with just a little bit more width.

Alternatively, I think the Blizzard Sheeva 11 would be a solid contender for a wide powder ski at 112 mm, though it’d also be notably heavier on the skin track than the Pandora 110.

I would use this wider ski for a lot of touring / side-country skiing and some bigger powder days in the resort, so I would once again mount this ski with a strong touring binding like the Shift.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

I need to spend more time on a few resort skis this year, after last year’s shortened season, so for this quiver, I’m cheating a bit:

Ski #1: Firmer-Conditions Ski — Blizzard Black Pearl 97 + Marker Griffon

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Blizzard Black Pearl 97

Based on my time on the previous Black Pearl 98, I think that the new Black Pearl 97 would be a good option for a resort-only quiver since it is a bit more directional, precise on edge, and more stable at high speeds than some other skis around this width, such as the Liberty Genesis 96, while still being easy and quick to get on edge but also easy to maneuver and fun in the moguls. We got a pair of the new Black Pearl 97 this fall, so I’m eager to see how it compares to the previous 98.

Ski #2: Powder / Soft-Snow Ski — Rossignol Soul 7 HD W + Marker Griffon

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Rossignol Soul 7 HD W

As I noted, this is kind of cheating since the Soul 7 got discontinued this year, but realistically, I’m sure I could still find a past-season pair if I was building a quiver. When I skied it last season, the Soul 7 was so easy to get on edge on firmer conditions but also really easy to maneuver through all sorts of softer snow / powder, which I thought made it one of the most versatile skis I have skied. And in a 2-ski quiver, I think having a versatile “pow ski” would be a priority for me.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Sascha Anastas on the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

I think my answer is still going to be the Line Pandora 104 and Pandora 110. The Pandora 104 has been unchanged for the past three seasons, and I am definitely in the camp of don’t fix what is not broken. As for the Pandora 110, this answer is somewhat risky since I have not yet skied it and am going off what Kristin has said about them, but I still think this quiver would keep me pretty happy wherever I skied.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

I had a really hard time deciding between the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Fee and the Line Pandora 104. As mentioned above, I ultimately opted for the more playful and lighter Pandora 104, given that I would likely spend some time touring on this ski. As for the resort-only quiver, I think the Liberty Genesis 96 was the most difficult to leave off my list, but the Black Pearl 97 seems like a slightly better choice due to its better performance on very firm conditions and on piste.

V. 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?

Given how much I enjoy skiing both the Liberty Genesis 90 and 96, I think the Genesis 106 could easily make the list. At 106 mm underfoot, it could potentially function as a wider all-mountain ski or possibly even a dedicated powder ski. I am curious to see how well it floats powder when compared to the other skis I have mentioned here. Another ski that I have been wanting to get on is the Blizzard Sheeva 11. Based on what Kara has said about it, I think it could serve as a versatile powder ski.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Well, I basically answered this in the first question: Line Pandora 104 & Pandora 110.

Sam Shaheen

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

The touring quiver continues:

Business in the Front: Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm + ATK Raider 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Salomon MTN Explore 95

Every quiver needs a ski that takes care of business. Something no-nonsense, no-frills, no-twin-tip, no fun. Enter the MTN Explore 95. This ski checks all these boxes. Except for the “no-fun” box — it’s pretty damn fun. The MTN Explore 95 gets the job done. Especially when that job involves waking up when it’s still dark and standing on top of lines that make your insides feel like a bag of giant rocks.

Party in the Back: Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm + Shift

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Likewise, a quiver wouldn’t be complete without a party ski. A ski that makes you want to wear shorts, do pond skims, jump off of stuff recklessly, and do generally irresponsible things like ski backwards. The Bent Chetler 120 might just be the ultimate party ski for the backcountry.

I opted for a Shift on this ski — mostly for safety purposes. I must be feeling particularly responsible today.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Ugh, this is the whole reason I’m planning on spending pretty much all my time touring this year — so I don’t have to think about resort skis. Now that the Rossignol Soul 7 HD is discontinued, talking about resort skis is a bit emotional for me. And I’m not gonna cheat (*cough* Sascha *cough*).

In the same vein as my first 2-ski quiver, though, I think you need a business ski and a party ski.

Business: Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Volkl Mantra M5

Party: Moment Wildcat, 184 cm

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Moment Wildcat

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

This has to be one ski for lifts and one ski for touring. No matter where I go, I’ll need to summit peaks so I’ll still take the Salomon MTN Explore 95. Even after all this time? Always.

As for the resort ski, I’d probably scrounge through CraigsList and find a 188 cm pair of my answer to the next question:

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

The Rossignol Soul 7 HD.

V. 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?

There’s a chance that the Scott Superguide Freetour could knock out the MTN Explore in this quiver (*gasp*).

If it proves reliable enough on steeps to warrant the slight weight increase, then that ski would probably get more mid-winter reps than the relatively skinny MTN Explore 95.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Line: Sick Day 94 (business) + Line Vision 108 (party)

Atomic: Bent Chetler 120 (party) + Bent Chetler 100 (party/business)

Jonathan Ellsworth

I. What’s your 2-ski quiver for where you ski most, and why?

Ski #1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm + alpine binding

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Blizzard Bonafide 97

For all the reasons I stated in my 3-ski quiver selections. I feel like this ski is back to being outstanding. It’s a terrific all-mountain ski that is both precise and pretty strong, and it’s got enough weight to it that, when combined with its strong-but-not-insanely-stiff flex pattern, creates excellent suspension in very harsh conditions, while still being a ton of fun in slush, fine in a few inches of pow, and I quite like the ski in moguls.

Ski #2 First Place: WNDR Alpine Intention 110, 185 cm + SHIFT binding

Ski #2 Runner-Up: ON3P Woodsman 108 Tour, 187 cm + SHIFT binding

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
WNDR Alpine Intention 110
Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 3-ski Quiver Selections
ON3P Woodsman 108

This 2nd ski in my quiver is going to have to double as my (1) resort pow ski and (2) single-quiver touring ski.

Problem is that I haven’t skied the Woodsman 108 Tour at all, and I’ve only skied the 19/20 version of the WNDR Alpine Intention 110. We already have the 20/21 Intention 110 at HQ — and I don’t expect it to feel very different from the 19/20.

But I’m very intrigued by the 187 Woodsman 108 Tour, with its 23 meter stated sidecut radius, and it’s stated weight of 1790 grams. If this 2nd ski was only going to be used inbounds, I’d just stick with the non-Tour version of the Woodsman 108.

But if — “IF” — this Woodsman Tour is competitive in terms of stability and suspension as the heavier WNDR Alpine Intention 110? Well, first, that would be very impressive and certainly not a given, but I might opt for it over the Intention 110 since it’s also doubling as my single touring ski.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 2-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Ski #1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm + alpine binding

Ski #2: ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm + alpine binding

III. What’s your 2-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location? (We’re framing the question this way to emphasize (a) versatility and (b) durability — these skis need to hold up for at least 3-4 years.)

I’d feel quite good about my selections above: a heavy-ish Bonafide and a not-super-light Woodsman 108.

IV. What skis were most difficult to leave off your list?

I may be undervaluing here the 20/21 WNDR Alpine Intention 110. I really want to get on this ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth on the 19/20 WNDR Alpine Intention 110, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

I also feel like I’m cheating on the Salomon QST 106, since I feel like it belongs in the conversation with the Woodsman 108 and the Intention 110.

V. 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?

To be clear, there are a lot of skis that I am really excited to get on this year. But when it comes down to seriously knocking out of my 2-ski quiver one of the skis that I’m mentioning here? That seems like a difficult task. So while I have trouble imagining that some ski that I haven’t named here will be in my quiver next year … I have no trouble imagining that we may get on some new skis this year that we will be recommending highly to others — including some excellent frontside skis that we’ve already been getting time on.

VI. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Runner Up:

Ski #1: Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm + Salomon Warden binding

I’ve been back on this ski a bit this season, and I’ve been reminded all over about what a good and versatile all-mountain ski it is. I really like it.

Ski #2: Salomon QST 106, 188 cm + SHIFT binding (resort pow ski + touring ski)

1st Place

Ski #1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm + alpine binding

While I just said that I really like the Stance 96 — and it’s a ski that I would recommend to a lot of people — I personally will stick with the Bonafide because I’d give it the nod over the Stance 96 in very firm, icy conditions (while I’d give the nod to the Stance 96 over the Bonafide the deeper the snow gets). So I’d rather have the Bonafide for more very firm / awful-conditions ski.

Ski #2: Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm + SHIFT binding (resort pow ski + touring ski)

The Rustler 11 is a cool ski, will be a very good resort pow ski for Crested Butte, and a lot of fun in backcountry pow and spring backcountry slush.

I’m pretty psyched on this 1-brand / 2-ski quiver combination, actually. Whereas the Salomon quiver will have me better covered for the middle-range of conditions (when the snow is ranging from shallow but fairly soft to fairly deep), the Blizzard quiver will have me better covered on the firm end of the spectrum and the deep end of the spectrum.

As always, it’s finding the tradeoffs you’re most willing to live with.

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13 comments on “2-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (20/21)”

  1. Wonder what the average age of your testers are? What would an experienced skier with over 55 years of skiing on many of best mountains in North America pick for their quiver? Yup, I’m 66 and I can ski anywhere on a big mountain and have, but I don’t do park or go for big air or try keep up with a strong 27 year old bomber. My dad skied until he was 87 and I hope too. I am a gear geek and can afford the latest skis, but my 2 ski quiver might be different than your pro testers.

  2. Resort Only: Nordica Enforcer 100 and a carvey ski of choice (for me either Head Magnum or Elan Amphibio 82).

    Plus a pair of rock skis, right?! For me, no single ski covers more range than the Fischer Motive 95.

  3. Good fun.. looking forward to the second half.

    Here’s my 2 bobs worth..
    I live on a dry flat continent, so..
    Atomic BC 100 with Shift.. (for Aus)
    Blizzard Rustler 11 with Shift.. (for travel and ‘odd’ Aus Pow day)

    One brand
    Salomon Mtn 95 with Vipec (like toe release).. (tour)
    Salomon QST 106 with Shift.. (everything)
    or,
    Moment Commander 98 with inserts for Warden and ATK R12.. (Aus)
    Moment Deathwish with Shift.. (travel and Pow)
    or,
    Armada Tracer 98 with Shift.. cause I had to pick something versatile to go with the ARG2)
    Armada ARG2 with Shift.. POW!

  4. My number one priority is not getting hurt and my number two is to be able to have fun in as wide of a range of situations as possible. Ski in CO with friends and family of varying abilities and do short tours.

    Touring Ski: Line Vision 108 183, shifts, tecnica zero g tour
    – making the most out of low angle pow, tight trees, and other generally “safer” zones this is such a rad set up
    – avoid steep terrain in the backcountry anyway

    Easy Days in Resort: (same set up as above)
    – when the speeds are slow, this set up is a blast. Side hits, messing around on groomers, little jumps in the park, taking it easy through perfect north facing terrain, soft bumps, etc. I won’t miss the weight in the air, walking around, or with my feet dangling off the chair, or when helping other people with gear. Likely 50% of resort days will be on this.

    Furious Days in Resort (other 50%): Mantra 102 177, sth2, tecnica mach1 lv.
    – this needs to be a one ski quiver for skiing hard no matter what the conditions and what the terrain
    – if its perfect pow maybe will take a few early laps on the vision
    – would go 184 likely in a 3 ski quiver and add a softer, heavy, progressive mounted ski

    I will be slightly annoyed to not have a more forward mounted heavy ski for in bounds, but in the end I think I would miss the grip, support, and power of the mantra too much and already have the fun factor in the prior ski.

    I used to think ski width was the most important distinguisher in a quiver, but recently after some demos have realized if I was building a larger quiver basically every ski would be 95-108 underfoot with more variations on mount point, weight, and playful vs. directional.

  5. I’m 34 and I agree with this sentiment :) I fall somewhere between Luke’s recommendations minus the freestyle and skiing in reverse thing, and Paul Forwards minus 70% of the snowfall!

  6. Fun read! I think a follow up piece and a more important piece could be focused on the boots. One boot quiver or two boot quiver?
    And a follow up to that which is equally important is the boot and “gripper” (binding) compatibility. ISO’s and what the differences are and what they mean. WTR, Grip Walk, and if you buy a new “50/50” boot how it might not work in older grippers.

  7. Right on Jonathan! I’m right there with you on your selection. My current 2-ski quiver is the 17/18 Blizzard Rustler 11 and the 18/19 Blizzard Bonafide. Fulfills most of my needs for the hardest to softest of days. Only thing I wouldn’t mind “maybe” is a lighter playful ski for spring corn days to jib around. Other than that I spend 60% of my time on the Bones and the rest on the Rustlers.

  8. I hope this means we can look forward to a Woodsman 108 Tour review this season. I’ve got the Woodsman 108 for my inbounds ski and love it. I’ve got a QST 99 for my touring ski and don’t love it. Thinking maybe a Tour version of my inbounds ski might be the move to make.

  9. WHAT’S YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NORDICA SOUL RIDER 97? JUST GOT THE DEATHWISH FOR THIS SEASON ALSO. HOPING I LKIE THEM. THOUGHTS?

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