Ski: 2020-2021 Line Blade, 181 cm
Available Lengths: 169, 176, 181 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 178.8 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2050 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1999 & 2060 grams
Stated Dimensions: 154-95-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 154.0-95.3-124.0 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (all lengths): “tight”
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 49.5 mm / 27 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm
Core: Aspen + titanal sheet w/ cutouts + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered 1.3 mm
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.0 cm from center; 82.4 cm from tail
As Jonathan Ellsworth noted on our GEAR:30 podcast, the 2020-2021 season seems to be the one where many companies are dialing back the taper, rocker, and low weight of their past skis and reverting to more traditional ski designs.
That’s true … but the Line Blade and women’s Blade W are two of the very obvious exceptions. These are not traditional skis in any regard. They have a super tight sidecut radius for their width, a unique metal construction, and a shape and top sheet that many skiers would call a bit … odd.
Personally, I got excited about the Blade as soon as I saw it, mostly because it looked a lot like the Line Sakana that I love. I now have one day on the Blade and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review for my initial on-snow impressions, but in the meantime, let’s discuss the wacky design of this ski and how it compares to the other skis in its class. Spoiler alert — it’s not really similar to anything.
What Line says about the Blade
“Created to carve, cut, slash, and burn, the Blade will reignite the euphoria of the turn, leave only deep cut trenches in its wake, and a sh*t eating grin on your face. Featuring a versatile 95mm waist width, a massive shovel, and Gas Pedal Metal technology, the Blade is an aggressive and agile all-mountain charger that will allow you to carve, slash, drift, and power through turns like never before.”
Just looking at the Blade, I don’t think Line is far off when they talk about its ability to carve, leave deep trenches, and leave a “sh*t eating grin on your face.” Just look at its giant shovel.
But their talk about its ability to slash, drift, and be “an aggressive and agile all-mountain charger” seems like more of a stretch. Why? Let’s dive in:
The Blade starts pretty normal with an aspen wood core, but then Line mixes it up by adding what they’re calling “Gas Pedal Metal.”
In layman terms, that’s essentially a sheet of titanal metal that’s separated into two portions (front half and back half), both of which feature cutouts in the middle of the sheet. Line’s ski designer, Peter Brigham, said that the goal with this metal construction was to get much of the damping and torsional rigidity you typically get with a full sheet of titanal, but cutting out some of that sheet lets you get more energy and rebound when you flex the ski.
Shape / Rocker Profile
It’s immediately obvious that the Blade has a unique shape. 95 mm underfoot is nothing crazy, but when you combine that with a 154mm-wide tip (!!!), you get something very, very different. The Blade’s shovel is extremely wide compared to its waist, and its tail isn’t exactly narrow at 124 mm wide.
In terms of taper, well, there’s almost none. The Blade’s shovel does technically have a tiny bit of taper, but it’s very minimal compared to most skis in its class. And when I was measuring the Blade, the widest point in its tail is essentially at the very end — functionally, the ski has no tail taper. In other words, this ski has a ton of effective edge.
In terms of rocker, the Blade is definitely on the more conservative side for modern, 95mm-wide all-mountain skis, though the Blade has slightly deeper rocker lines than most narrower carving skis. Usually, we wouldn’t compare a 95mm-wide ski to much narrower carvers (in the ~65-85 mm range), but given the Blade’s shape, those actually seem like fair comparisons. The Blade’s rocker lines are shallow compared to something like the Volkl Mantra M5 or J Skis Masterblaster, but they are deeper than narrower carving skis like the Head Supershape i.Titan, Fischer RC4 The Curv Curv Booster, etc. And while the Blade has a lot of camber underfoot, it also has a semi-twinned tail.
So, as will be a theme here, the Blade doesn’t share a lot in common with most skis in its class. It has a very minimally tapered shape, and while its rocker lines are shallower than most 95mm-wide skis, it does still have tip and tail rocker and a pretty high tail (for a directional ski).
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Blade:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Unlike the Blade’s shape, there’s nothing crazy going on here. The Blade has a pretty accessible tip and shovel, it then slowly and smoothly stiffens up in the middle, and finishes with a tail that feels pretty similar to the tip.
If anything, the Blade does stand out in that its flex pattern is pretty round / symmetrical, and not crazy stiff. It’s softer overall compared to the Volkl Mantra M5 and Nordica Enforcer 94, though it’s not crazy soft and overall I just like how even its flex pattern feels.
Line actually isn’t disclosing the true sidecut radius of the Blade, but they do list it as “tight.” Looking at the size of the Blade’s shovel and tail and its much narrower waist, I think that’s accurate.
Our pair of the 181 cm Blade has a mount point of -7 cm from true center, which is fairly progressive, especially for a ski with this much sidecut. Most skis we see with super tight sidecut radii have very traditional mount points, but the Blade does not. It’s not as far forward as most of Line’s freestyle skis, but it is fairly far forward for a directional, metal-laminate ski in this class.
In what has not been a theme in this First Look, the Blade is fairly average in terms of weight. At around 2029 grams per ski for the 181 cm version, the Blade is heavier than some skis like the Elan Ripstick 96, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, and Black Crows Daemon, but lighter than skis like the Volkl Mantra M5, Nordica Enforcer 93 & 94, and J Skis Masterblaster.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–20/21)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
1928 & 1933 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2042 & 2062 Dynastar M-Pro 99, 186 cm (20/21)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–19/20)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2324 & 2359 Kastle MX99, 184 cm (18/19-19/20)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Line says that the Blade is supposed to be able to both carve and slash, so will that actually be the case, given its tight sidecut radius and minimal taper & rocker?
(2) Given that the Blade looks a bit odd on paper, is this a niche ski for a very particular end-use, or could it serve as a true all-mountain ski for some skiers?
(3) Few of the current 95mm-wide skis have as little taper and rocker as the Blade, so will it be a standout in terms of turn initiation and edge hold, and how maneuverable will it feel when you take it off piste?
(4) The Blade uses metal in its construction, but Line is emphasizing its energy and pop. So how damp vs. energetic will it feel, or will it offer a nice combination of both characteristics?
(5) One of the only skis on the market that looks similar to the Blade is Line’s own Sakana, so how will the two compare?
Bottom Line (For Now)
While many skis are looking more similar to each other, Line is taking a step in a different direction with the Blade. It has a super tight sidecut radius, metal-laminate construction, minimal rocker and taper, and all in all looks like nothing else on the market. Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review, and then stay tuned for our full review later this season.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Blade for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.