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

Blister's 4-ski quiver selections for 2019-2020
Article Navigation:  Intro //  Luke Koppa //  Kara Williard //  Eric Freson //  Sam Shaheen //  Kristin Sinnott //  Jonathan Ellsworth

Intro

We recently published several of our reviewers’ selections for giant 5-ski quivers, and now we’re asking them to *gasp* cut that down to a 4-ski quiver. So below you’ll see some of their picks for 4-ski quivers, including recent additions from Kristin Sinnott & Jonathan Ellsworth.

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 should not 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 4-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.

Four Questions

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

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

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

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Luke Koppa

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

Narrowing my 5-ski quiver down to 4 skis, I’d opt to cut one of my inbounds skis, given that my backcountry days still vary a lot between mid-winter and spring / summer, so I’d still want two dedicated touring skis to serve those very different purposes. With that in mind, here’s how I think I’d set up my 4-ski quiver for my backcountry and inbounds days around Crested Butte.

Ski #1: Spring / Summer Touring Ski — Majesty Superwolf, 178 cm + ATK Raider 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Majesty Superwolf

I was close to ditching this dedicated spring / summer touring ski and just using the Vision 108 for all my touring. But I still spend enough time on steep, consequential, and often firm lines that require very long approaches to warrant a dedicated, skinnier, lighter AT ski. While the Vision 108 is light and predictable in most conditions, I also prefer a narrower ski with less sidecut, rocker, and a stiffer flex for when I really don’t want to slide out after a hop turn. So, for better or for worse, my 4-ski quiver isn’t going to look particularly different from my 5-ski quiver.

The Superwolf and Salomon MTN Explore 95 are my current favorites for this purpose, and same as my 5-ski quiver, I’m opting for the Superwolf pretty much just cause I like its graphics more and it’s a tiny bit more playful than the MTN Explore 95. But most importantly, the Superwolf is light, skis really well for its weight, and it’s a ski that can both hold an edge for icy hop turns and still feel comfortable arcing bigger turns in softer corn and slush.

Ski #2: Mid-Winter Touring Ski — Line Vision 108, 183 cm + Fritschi Tecton 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Line Vision 108

For most of the “winter” months, my touring typically involves finding stashes of fresh snow on fairly moderate-angle and often tight terrain (that hopefully has some stuff to jump off). The Vision 108 is a really playful ski that makes that sort of terrain more interesting than a lot of the similarly light directional skis I’ve used, but the Vision 108 still feels really light on the skin track and it can easily handle non-pow conditions when I find out that the overnight gusts have relocated all the fresh snow to another aspect. 

Ski #3: Playful All-Mountain Ski — K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm + Salomon Warden MNC 13

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

Oooo something new!

I was split between the Reckoner 102 and Line Sir Francis Bacon for this slot. Both are exceptionally playful skis that work really well all over the mountain and in the park, and both have let me dabble more and more with (somewhat controlled) flailing around in the air and on the ground. I.e., they’re versatile, and importantly for me, they make all sorts of terrain and speeds fun, not just the gnar.

I’m opting for the Reckoner 102 this time since it handles firm conditions and carves better than the Sir Francis Bacon. It’s never going to match the on-piste precision of a narrower, more directional ski, but I’ve still had a blast laying down very hard carves on it, even when the snow is quite firm. And more importantly for me, it makes all sorts of features that lay just to the side of groomers much more interesting than any directional ski would. Given that this is the ski that I’ll likely be using for most days when the snow is fairly firm, all of that gives it the edge over the SFB. This definitely won’t be the ski I’ll be using for when I feel like skiing really fast and / or going bigger than normal, but it’ll be a ton of fun on just about any other day.

Ski #4: Playful Charger — Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, 186 cm + Salomon STH2 13

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

In this smaller quiver, I’ll still be breaking out the Gamer on any day it’s snowed more than a few inches. But given that my only other inbounds ski is very playful and not super stable, the Gamer will also be on my feet when I know I’m going to be skiing some of CBMR’s more consequential terrain (e.g., pretty much every time I go out with reviewer Eric Freson and he wants to scare me a bit). And if it’s brutally firm but I still want to head off piste, I’ll probably still be using the Gamer because of its amazing suspension and surprising versatility (for how wide it is). This ski is just about perfect for me and I’m not looking forward to when I need to cut it.

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

Like, a ton of skis.

I debated going with the Atomic Bent Chetler 100 or Armada Tracer 98 as a single, do-everything touring ski and then getting another inbounds ski. But the Bent Chetler 100 would feel a bit heavy for the really long spring / summer days, and I’d also want something a bit looser / more maneuverable for skiing deep snow in tight trees. The Tracer 98 would be better than the Superwolf for deeper days, but it’s not a super playful ski and I think I’d be wishing for more flotation on mid-winter days.

I was really close to adding the Dynastar Menace 98 or J Skis Masterblaster to my inbounds quiver, since they’d be a lot more fun than the Reckoner 102 when the conditions are firm and I want to go fast. But each year, I feel like I’m personally trending toward more playful / less stable skis, especially for firmer conditions. I find the Reckoner 102 (and Line SFB) so intuitive that I can still feel pretty comfortable at speed, but they make slower speeds and smaller hits so much more fun than heavier, more stable skis. Why force myself to grunt through fast skiing on terrible conditions when I could just accept the fact that the conditions don’t suit that sort of skiing and instead get on something that makes them actually fun? That’s basically how I rationalized my narrower inbounds ski this year.

Luke Koppa reviews the J Skis Masterblaster for Blister
Luke Koppa on the J Skis Masterblaster, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

And of course, it was tough to leave out the Sir Francis Bacon, but the Reckoner 102 is the closest thing I’ve found to a narrower version of the SFB, so I’m actually not super conflicted about that choice for this quiver.

Then there are a ton of really good, ~102-110mm-wide skis that I could be very happy on: Moment Wildcat 108, ON3P Woodsman 108, Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, Icelantic Nomad 105, Sego Big Horn 106, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Whitedot Altum 104, to name a few. But given how versatile I find the Reckoner 102 and BLACKOPS Gamer to be, I think I’ll be content without an option in between.

And same as in my 5-ski quiver, there are many pow skis that I really like, most notably the Moment Wildcat, Volkl Revolt 121, Line Outline, and Whitedot Altum 114. But I find the BLACKOPS Gamer to be more versatile than most of them on firm conditions, and none match the high-speed stability of the Gamer.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

Moment Wildcat Tour 108 — lots of potential to replace the Vision 108 as my mid-winter touring ski. During my brief time on it so far, I’ve been loving it.

J Skis Hotshot — I think I’m going to really like this ski as I spend more time on it, though if I keep my 4-ski quiver set up the same way, I’m not sure it’d have a place in it since the BLACKOPS Gamer serves as my playful charger and I think I’d want something lighter and more playful for my narrower inbounds ski.

Volkl Revolt 104 — I know it’s more stable than the Reckoner 102, but my main question during my extended time on it will be how the Revolt 104 compares to the Reckoner 102 and Line Sir Francis Bacon in terms of overall playfulness.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Line: Sick Day 94, Vision 108, Sir Francis Bacon, Vision 118

Definitely making some compromises here, but I think I’d be content using the 179 cm Sick Day 94 as my narrower touring ski. Then the SFB would be my daily driver, and I think I’d go with the 189 cm Vision 118 as my pow ski since I suspect that it’d be a bit more stable than the 186 cm Outline, though it’s a close call between those two.

Moment: Deathwish Tour, Commander 98, Frankenski(?), Wildcat

The Deathwish Tour would be my do-everything touring ski, the Commander 98 would be my firm-snow charger, and I know I absolutely love the Wildcat as a pow ski. I haven’t skied the Frankenski, but I think that could serve as my more playful all-mountain / park ski, though I could also likely be happy on the new Wildcat 101.

Volkl: Blaze 94, Blaze 106, Revolt 104, Revolt 121

This would likely work quite well, with the main downside being that the Blaze 106 isn’t as playful as I’d personally like for my mid-winter touring ski.

J Skis: Slacker, Masterblaster, Allplay, Friend

Main drawback here is that the Slacker isn’t super light and is pretty wide for those longer spring / summer touring days. Other than that, I think I’d be psyched on the quiver, assuming that I get along as well with the Allplay as I think I would.

Kara Williard

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

To provide some background: I’ve spent the last several years living and working at Taos Ski Valley and my heart is centered around steep terrain. But aside from that, I’ll pretty much ski anything — moguls, groomers, not so ideal conditions — you name it.

I am coming back from an ACL replacement, and consequently didn’t get my usual days last season so I am feeling a little out of the loop. But I also know that getting back on skis last spring was a journey and provided some interesting insight into a more rudimentary and slow approach back into skiing, and my quivers this year will somewhat reflect that.

I also recently moved to Gunnison, Colorado to pursue a Master’s degree, and I am eager to spend as much time as possible exploring Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the backcountry around the area.

With that in mind, my 4-ski quiver would consist of two resort skis and two skis with touring bindings.

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

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

This is the ski that sets my standards for what an all-mountain ski should be. While slightly altered in dimensions from the previous iteration and with one sheet less metal, this ski still offers it all in terms of what I want from a damp, responsive, everyday tool for resort skiing. It is smooth and stable, while still feeling playful and maneuverable. The Santa Ana 100 was my main contender for the last two seasons, and the Santa Ana 98 still fills the same role after spending a few days on it last season. While the 98 is a bit lighter, it’s still a hard-charging women’s ski. The Santa Ana 98 provides the confidence I want from my everyday ski, both when I just need something predictable as I’m getting my legs back under me, and when I want to ski harder.

Ski #2: Resort Powder Ski – K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance, 179 cm + Look Pivot 14

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

The K2 Mindbender 115C has proven to be an exceptional powder ski in a variety of places and conditions. From bottomless days in Japan to enough dust-on-crust to constitute a Taos powder day, I have been stoked on this ski in a variety of conditions, even as things get chopped up. I continue to be pleased by the nimble-yet-powerful combination of this ski.

Ski #3: Lighter Touring Setup – Blizzard Sheeva 9, 172 cm + Fritschi Tecton 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Blizzard Sheeva 9

Last spring, after my injury, I spent time getting back on skis with the sole goal of getting uphill and rebuilding some muscle. Those days made it obvious how fun and worthwhile having a slightly lighter and narrower setup is for me. This setup would primarily serve as a training setup, and one that prioritizes weight over performance. That said, I didn’t go super light on the ski, as I still want that damp, stable feel that I think Blizzard has dialed in nicely in their Sheeva series. By keeping things a bit shorter and matching it with a tech binding, the 172 cm Sheeva 9 is a fun option for early season training and getting the ski legs back. There may very well be a lot more skis in this category that would fill this need (and that are lighter than the Sheeva 9), but I have yet to spend time on them, so this is my choice for now.

Ski #4: Versatile / Powder Touring Setup – Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 179 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

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

I am super eager to get on the women’s version of this ski (Santa Ana 104 Free), but in the meantime, I will stick to the Enforcer 104 as my do-everything touring ski. Anytime I am looking to ski at my full capacity on backcountry day, I would choose this setup over the previously listed touring setup. The Enforcer 104 Free is a really versatile ski, and I find that it can smoothly make its way through a variety of conditions. Yes, it’s very heavy for a touring ski. But paired with a Shift, there will likely be some days that I would take this ski in the resort when I want something in between my first two skis.

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

It remains a toss-up between the Santa Ana 98 and the Blizzard Bonafide for my first ski. I have yet to get on the 20/21 Bonafide 97, so I will be curious how the redesigned ski compares to the previous iterations, which were always my trusty everyday tools when it came to the stable, responsive, and powerful feel that I prefer.

I am also super keen to try the women’s Black Pearl 97, as 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. 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.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I’ve spent enough time on the Enforcer 104 Free to know that it pretty much suits my every wish for a versatile and well-rounded ski, which leaves me curious to try the 20/21 Santa Ana 110 Free and Santa Ana 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.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I feel like I stay pretty consistent on this answer, but as I stated above, I have A LOT of skis I want to spend time on this winter, which could very easily change my pick.

For me, it’s always a toss-up between Nordica and Blizzard. Since I have yet to spend time on the new Black Pearl line from Blizzard or try the new Bonafide 97, which I have previously been a diehard fan of, I will defer to Nordica on this one. Santa Ana 98 for everyday resort ski, Santa Ana 93 for a somewhat lighter touring setup, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free for wider touring setup (likely to be exchanged for the Santa Ana 104 Free once I spend some time on it), and Enforcer 110 Free or Santa Ana 110 Free as my resort powder ski.

Eric Freson

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

I typically divide my time roughly 70/30 between backcountry skiing and resort skiing around Crested Butte. My quiver reflects my desire to be skiing off the top of stuff and down the fall line wherever I might be. Fundamentally, I’m also pretty stubborn, and will work hard to make the ski I want to be riding work regardless of the conditions, making my choices skew towards the “hammer meet nail” side of the spectrum.

Ski #1: Everyday Touring Ski — 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm + Marker Kingpin 13

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

Fundamentally, this is a setup I can trust anywhere I might find myself in the backcountry. The Raven is light for its size, predictable on firm snow, loose in soft snow, and at 184 cm long and 104 mm underfoot, it offers the right mix of stability and maneuverability to accommodate me if I have a rope and ice axes in the pack, or a GoPro on my head and a mouthguard in my mouth. For a ski like this, I love the centered skiing stance the Raven encourages, I like its stiff underfoot flex, and I like its overall extreme versatility.

I have had good experiences with the Marker Kingpin 13 — it has release value settings that are high enough that I’m not constantly stressing about pre-releasing, a bit more elasticity than a traditional tech binding, and it’s quick and easy to get in and out of, even in treacherous spots. I haven’t skied the Duke PT yet, so I’m not yet ready to put it on this list.

Ski #2: Big Day Touring Ski — 4FRNT Renegade, 191 cm + Marker Kingpin 13

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

I have owned the 4FRNT Renegade in its various iterations since its inaugural release (bring back the full-width wood core and no sidewalls!). Having skied many, many wide and soft-snow focused skis over the last 10 years, I still haven’t found anything to displace the Renegade as my go-to “soft snow, big days” ski.

Fast, smooth, and predictable, the Renegade lets me focus on where I am headed rather than where I am when skiing. At 122 mm underfoot, I will never be wanting for more flotation on deep days, but with a very stiff flex pattern both underfoot and torsionally, I have skied Renegades in some truly heinous backcountry 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.

I don’t think it would be fair to call the Renegade totally “practical,” but if I know there is 6+ inches of fresh snow and I’m not trying to skin all the way from Crested Butte to Aspen, I typically reach for the Renegade over just about anything else.

Ski #3: 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 BLACKOPS Sender Ti has a cool name, and became my go-to resort ski for much of last season thanks to its excellent blend of power, precision, and suspension.

What I enjoyed most about the Sender Ti was just how willing it was to meet me at my level of energy output for the day. It was nice to click into a ski that I knew wouldn’t be working to kick my ass all day long, but that also wasn’t going to leave me wanting when I needed it to show up and handle some more aggressive skiing.

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. I appreciate a high ceiling of performance and it 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. 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.

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 me well for many years, and are what I would use here.

Ski #4: Big Day / Resort Powder Ski — Blizzard Bodacious, 186 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2019-2020 Reviewer Quiver Selections
Blizzard Bodacious

When the snow is soft, the speeds are high, and the terrain is gnarly, the Blizzard Bodacious is what I’m going to reach for almost every single time. A good example of getting it right the first time, the Bodacious is currently back in its original shape and construction, 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 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 you haven’t been skipping leg day and would like to feel like a wrecking ball, I think it’s hard to have more fun at a resort when conditions are soft and you want to keep your 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 quiver.

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

Since I spend a lot of time in the backcountry, and often put in some long days climbing technical routes with skis on my pack rather than my feet, it would be nice to have something like the Salomon MTN Explore 95 in the quiver as a lighter, smaller, and more nimble option. But I find it to be a more specialized tool for firmer days and longer missions, and it doesn’t displace any of my current selections. I got to spend a bunch of days on it last season and was always impressed with its versatility. But it still doesn’t replace the Raven in my quiver for the skiing I do and my preferences.

The Armada ARG II is another ski I’d love to have leaning on the wall in my garage. The original ARG is one of my favorite pow skis of all time, and I’d really like to get some time on the ARG II to see if it still holds up to the high standard I remember, as well as check out the changes Armada has made to the ski. A very specialized tool no doubt, but my most memorable turns came on the original ARG. We’ll have to see if we can pry it away from reviewer Paul Forward.

It is also hard to leave a ski like the J Skis Hotshot off this list. I found its predecessor, the J Skis Metal, to be a versatile, damp, smooth, and fun ski that simultaneously manages to be powerful and playful. A ton of fun for bouncing around the whole mountain, and generally having a good time regardless of conditions. With good float in soft snow, I was also impressed by how well The Metal did in variable and firmer conditions, too. It strikes an excellent balance as an everyday resort ski quiver of one, which made it hard to leave off this list. I’m eager to get on the new Hotshot this season to see how the two compare.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I got to ski the Kye Shapes Numinous a number of days in the backcountry last spring. But due to Covid, I never got to ride a chairlift with ‘em. I don’t ski like Kye, but I’d like to, and the Numinous made me feel like I could.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Eric Freson on the Kye Shapes Numinous, Crested Butte, Colorado.

It has a pretty tapered shape, symmetrical rocker profile, and forward mount point — all of which make it a very playful ski. But then it’s also pretty strong and heavy, which made it very comfortable at high speeds. The weight is a little less ideal when used exclusively in the backcountry where I was, but made it clear this was a ski that would work well for me inbounds. So while it worked well in the backcountry, it really feels to me like a ski that would shine with a binding like the Marker Duke PT, and would be skied both inbounds and out. Or just as an inbound pow ski. Definitely one I’m excited to get some resort laps on this year, and one that might be in a 2-ski quiver for me.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

For a single-brand quiver of four, I’d go with 4FRNT.

In my mind, the Raven, MSP 107, Devastator, and Renegade are still some of the most interesting skis from one brand today, and would cover me in about any conditions I might encounter. I also really like the Hoji in soft-snow-resort or backcountry settings, but given that it overlaps the Raven and Renegade so much, and is less desirable as an everyday resort ski for me, the MSP 107 and Devastator would cover my bases well with highly adaptable firm- and soft-snow options. That said, given the significant changes to the Devastator this season, my decision may change after I’ve spent time on it.

The Raven and Renegade would stay as backcountry tools, admirably covering a huge range of conditions. I’ve really enjoyed 4FRNT ski shapes, and I think the MSP 107 is enough ski for me to be content with it as an everyday resort bruiser. And then the Devastator would be the more playful option.

Sam Shaheen

This year, for a whole host of reasons, I will likely spend the majority of my time touring around Colorado. So my quiver selections will reflect that — here goes:

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

Pow Ski #1: Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm + Shift MNC 13

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

This ski is just so damn fun. We’ve said so much about it in our reviews, Buyer’s Guides, and past Ski Quiver Selections that I’m not sure there’s much more to say — so I’ll leave it at “so damn fun.” (Spoiler alert, this ski is in just about every one of my quivers this year.)

Pow Ski #2: Renoun Citadel 114, 186 cm + ATK Raider 12

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Renoun Citadel 114

For my second pow ski, I’m going with the Citadel 114. This ski has the unique Renoun characteristics that the whole line shares (playful at slower speeds and stronger at higher speeds). But in my opinion, the Citadel 114 seems to be the best application of the Renoun technology that I’ve been on. It is a very surfy ski that is super intuitive while still remaining distinctly more directional than the Bent Chetler 120. And although it’s narrower than the BC 120, the Citadel 114 probably gets the nod on the deepest days due to its softer flex, wider shovel, and more rearward mount point.

Pow Ski #3: WNDR Alpine Intention 110 + Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
WNDR Alpine Intention 110

Pow ski #3 you ask? Indeed. If I get four touring skis, damn right I’m going to have three pow skis. The Intention 110 with the Shift is the closest thing to a 50/50 ski on my list. If I (miraculously) meet a girl with a mountain house who can also convince me to pay over $100 for a day pass, then this is the ski I’ll bring (no way I’m waking early AND buying a day pass). The Intention 110 would also get brought out on days where I’m not as confident that the conditions will be excellent. I feel more comfortable skiing weird snow on this setup, since it’s a bit heavier and more damp than the two prior skis.

Ski #4: Mountaineering Ski — Salomon MTN Explore 95 + ATK Raider 12

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

Finally, a practical ski. There still isn’t a ski that I’m picking over the MTN Explore 95. It is just a great ski to have under my feet when I really, really, really shouldn’t fall. And although I haven’t skied the newest version of the Raider 12, Luke Koppa’s word and my absolute fanatical love of the previous version make the binding for this ski a pretty easy call.

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

Leave off? I had a hard time coming up with four touring skis. I mean, I picked three skis over 110 mm underfoot. Come on.

Jokes aside, the Scott Superguide Freetour was difficult to leave off but it has a bit too much overlap with the MTN Explore 95 for me. When I’m touring I’m usually either skiing pow or steep peaks and I decided I don’t need two peak-bagging skis (and therefore, I obviously needed three pow skis).

On Blister's GEAR:30 Podcast, SCOTT’s CMO, Reto Aeschbacher, discusses the brand's skiing history, the new 20/21 Scott Superguide skis, and more.
Sam Shaheen on the Scott Superguide Freetour, Courmayeur, Italy.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

I think the Scott Superguide 95 might be able to edge out the MTN Explore… but I haven’t been on it enough to definitively say that.

Actually, no. I take that back. There’s no way the Superguide 95 can top the MTN Explore for me. My loyalty will not waver.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Is there even a company that makes 4 touring skis?? Well yeah, there are, but I don’t think any would be totally ideal.

First pick would probably be Scott: Scrapper 115, Superguide Freetour, Superguide 95, Superguide 88.

Second pick would be Line: Vision 108, Vision 98, Sick Day 104, Blade (w/ the ATK binding, purely for the novelty)

I could also do Atomic: Bent Chetler 120, Bent Chetler 100, Backland 107, Redster SG FIS

Kristin Sinnott

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

Having already gone through the process of picking a 5-ski quiver, my choices aren’t going to change too much in my 4-ski selections. But I will be removing 2 of the skis and replacing them with a lightweight and perhaps more versatile option. While this is all hypothetical, I already miss having the other skis in my quiver.

Ski #1: All-Mountain, Dawn/Dusk Patrol, & Kid Skiing — Renoun Earhart 88, 170 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Renoun Earhart 88

In my 5-ski quiver I included a pair of snowblades and the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 as my first two skis. I’m a bit surprised Jonathan hasn’t scolded me for including snowblades, but based on the comments, it’s nice to know I’m the only parent who reaches for snowblades. And while I would certainly miss both of those skis, especially the Black Pearl 88, the Earhart 88 is almost 300 g lighter than the Black Pearl 88, making the Earhart potentially more versatile for what I have in mind.

Last season I used the Earhart 88 when skiing with my son on the magic carpet, skating uphill with him in my arms, bootpacking in the spring, and for lift-serviced skiing. It’s an extremely lightweight and intuitive ski. Great for carving but also good in chop and crud for its weight, thanks to Renoun’s “VibeStop” construction that allows the skis to feel stronger and more damp the harder you charge.

Where I live, the local mountain has a non-restrictive uphill policy and my son and I have taken advantage of that the last two years. Pre-child, I found myself getting a number of powdery pre-work runs in, but nowadays, the fresh corduroy is what we seek. Last spring I started carrying my son and his skis and boots in my kid-carrier to the top. With 40+ pounds on my back, the lighter my ski is, the better. I know I certainly could have chosen a lighter binding, but I am designing this ski for use on-piste and off and I’m not comfortable skiing a pin binding while spinning lifts, especially after listening to this podcast.

Ski #2: Everyday Resort Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 93, 172 cm + Marker Griffon 13

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

The Nordica Santa Ana 93 didn’t make my 5-ski quiver but I did mention that it would likely show up as I narrowed down the skis. And here it is. When I think back to last season, the Santa Ana 93 is the first ski I think of for all-mountain skiing. I wish I was lucky enough to ski more powder days, but it just isn’t my reality right now and having a 93mm-wide ski has proven to be a nice width for skiing groomers, steeps, and bumps — all favorites of mine.

Ski #3: Everyday Resort Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 98, 172 cm + Marker Griffon 13

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

The Nordica Santa Ana 98 made my 5-ski quiver, and while I almost dropped it here, I wanted a ski that would bridge the gap between the Santa Ana 93 and the Zelda 106. I tend to reach for a ski around ~100mm wide for post-storm days (when the bumps aren’t too big) or days when I want to be a bit more aggressive. I’ve skied a number of skis in the 100 mm range but I find I prefer the Santa Ana 98 for the extra pop of energy it provides at the end of each turn, its ability to charge through chop and crud, and how easy it is to carve. Overall it is an approachable, stable, and intuitive ski. The new version of the ski isn’t quite as stable as the old Santa Ana 100 but it’s still one of the most stable skis in this class. And the new design makes short, quick turns in tight spaces even easier.

Ski #4: DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2, 171 cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

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

If you’ve read any of my quiver writeups, you’ll know I like intuitive skis. I like hopping on a ski and immediately feeling comfortable. The Alchemist Zelda 106 C2 is intuitive and that is why it keeps making my list. The Zelda A106 handles groomers and chalk well but also floats enough to be used as my backcountry and resort powder ski for this quiver.

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

The Blizzard Black Pearl 88 is a great all-mountain ski that I enjoyed every time I skied it last season. For this round, I went with the Renoun Earhart 88 and couldn’t justify having two 88mm-wide skis in my quiver. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Black Pearl 88 makes its way back on my lists, though.

Additionally, the Line Pandora 110 is a lightweight ski that could easily have made this list, but I went with the more versatile Alchemist Zelda 106 C2 as it is a bit more stable when I’m skiing more chopped-up snow in the resort.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

The Black Pearl 97, Moment Sierra, Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, and Nordica Santa Ana 110.

I haven’t skied any of these yet, but based on what I’ve read from fellow reviewers and my experience on other skis in those lines, I think these all have potential to make this list.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I’m going to abstain from answering this question again as I haven’t been on enough skis from a number of brands to make an informed answer. My goal for this season is to broaden my brand horizons.

Jonathan Ellsworth

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 4-ski quiver, and why?

Ski #1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
Blizzard Bonafide 97
Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free

If the Fischer Ranger 102 FR and Blizzard Cochise 106 had a love child… I think that it would look a whole lot like the Enforcer 104. And for that reason, I’m really not mad at all about this drop from 5 skis to 4 skis. In fact, I think I felt worse about not having a spot for the Enforcer 104 in my 5-ski quiver.

Ski #3: Rossignol Black Ops 118, 186 cm

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

(Though again, there is likely going to be an intense A/B battle this season between it and the updated Moment Wildcat.)

Ski #4: 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm + ATK Raider 12 — or ATK Freeraider 14 (see below)

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

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

(1) A dedicated, frontside carver.

Mostly because, by doing so, we get the predictable (and sometimes insufferable) comments that include false statements about the versatility of dedicated carvers.

So again, and to be clear: dedicated frontside carvers are phenomenal tools. We love them. We know how to use them. Please read our full reviews of them and please see the “Frontside” section of our Buyer’s Guide before you assume that we don’t know what we’re missing.

And please feel free to tell us in the Comments Section all about your favorite frontside carvers. We’d love to hear about it. (Seriously, we would.) But please stop telling us that our quiver selections are wrong. These are our selections, which we’ll use for the ski area / areas that we ski the most.

Also, if you want our recommendations for frontside skis for you … read our frontside reviews. See the Frontside section of our Buyer’s Guide. Or become a Blister Member and send us a note. We can definitely help.

Finally, our ski area here in CB opens in a couple of days, and we are going to be testing a bunch of frontside skis. So stay tuned.

(2) Honestly, not a ski, but the SHIFT binding. While I don’t think I would ever actually do this, I wouldn’t be against owning one pair of Ravens with ATK bindings on them, and another pair of Ravens with SHIFTs on them.

I still really like the way the SHIFT skis. I also really like the low weight of the ATK Raider 12, and how well it skis for how light it is. And we’ll see what we think of the ATK 14.

(3) My final thought on this question is that we are really fortunate to have so many good skis on the market. There are a lot of skis — maybe more than ever? — that I could swap in to my 5-ski and 4-ski quivers. Now to be clear, what I am not saying is, “There are so many good skis out there that you can’t go wrong!!” I find that statement utterly sloppy and lazy. There are lots of good skis. There are not a lot of good skis that are exactly the same, and there are even fewer skis out there that you will like equally well. Which is why our primary goal around here is to help you determine which one or two skis will work best for you out of the ocean of options that we all have.

III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?

Funny, since I wrote my 5-ski quiver piece, I keep wondering / worrying that maybe I am not undervaluing the Rossignol Sender Ti (the 106mm-wide ski). Maybe I am. So I’m looking forward to getting more time on it again this season, and doing another round of pitting it against the Nordica Enforcer 104, Moment Wildcat 108, Blizzard Cochise 106, and ON3P Woodsman 108. (And yes, this is one of those occasions where I think to myself, “I like my job.”)

Jonathan Ellsworth, Kristin Sinnott, & Luke Koppa discuss on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast some of the K2, Blizzard, Nordica, Rossignol, Dynastar, & WNDR Alpine skis they've been reviewing, and more.
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Cochise 106, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

And ever since Blister Member, Luke, posed the question to me … I also find myself quite curious about the ON3P Woodsman 116, and how it compares to the Moment Wildcat (116) and the Rossignol Black Ops 118. (I’m going to call it the Black Ops 118, hope Luke Koppa doesn’t notice it and change it, because seriously, Rossignol, you should not give such a fantastic ski such a stupid, stupid name.)

As for ATK bindings, we’re really looking forward to testing the Moment Voyager, which is the ATK Freeraider 14 with some slight modifications. Will that binding replace the ATK Raider 12 for me? We’ll see.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 4-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I’m going to switch it up here, just for kicks:

1: Salomon Stance 90, 182 cm + Warden
2: Salomon Stance 102, 183 cm + Warden
3: Salomon QST 106, 188 cm + SHIFT binding (this will be my deep-day resort ski + pow touring ski)
4: Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm + ATK 12 (for longer tours and / or early season and spring touring)

The problem with this quiver is that it feels like the QST 99 should be in here … and yet … I can’t find a place for it. The other problem is that I haven’t yet skied the Stance 90 or 102, only the Stance 96. So this is sort of a Hail Mary quiver.

Another way I could go here, and this is much less of a Hail Mary quiver:

1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm
2: Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm
3: Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm + SHIFT binding
4: Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm + ATK Raider 12 or 14

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16 comments on “4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (20/21)”

  1. RETURN OF SAM.

    Was fully expecting the four ski quiver to be mtn explore 95, soul7 180 w/ atk raider, soul7 188 w/shift, soul7 188 with griffon.

    Also, if you get 4 skis that won’t ride chairs, I feel like an urban ski is a must, even if you never use it. Gotta keep those options open.

    • That Soul 7 quiver sounds pretty intriguing…

      But I’m even more excited about adding in an urban ski though. Probably with a CAST binding.

    • Got the Salomon mtn 95 as my backcountry ski paired with the ATK 14 here in Australia this past season and found both to exceed my expectations.
      Looking foward to your review on the ATK 14 as i found it to be an excellent piece of Italian Engineering and the power transmission thanks to the freeride spacer to be oustanding .

  2. I feel that it’s my job to cheer whenever the Bodacious is mentioned on Blister. Woo hoo! I love the ski that much and am on my third pair of 196s.

  3. I have to admit, it will take some serious on snow time with the new Rossignols to get me to commit to a Rossi ski again after my general disappointment with the old 7 series. Although, I have my old Super 7s mounted with Dynafits and they work ok for BC. The Blackops seem cool, but I think they need a 190+/192/194, my experience on on shorter skis with this shape and mount point has led me to believe that a 186 will be too short for my size (6’1″ 205). After being on Anima 194s the last couple seasons, I’m already a little concerned my unmounted Wildcat 190s will be too small, let a lone a forward mounted 186.

  4. Really curious about the Reckoner. I am looking for new skis and can’t pull the trigger. I had an absolute blast on the Rustler 10, but the Reckoner decided to throw itself into the mix… hopefully I can find a place to test it out

  5. Sam, what days do you think you would use the Line Blade with the ATK Raider? Wide open spring corn lines or literal slalom trees? Also, your off handed pick of the Atomic Redster GS was intriguing. If you only get 1 or 2 days at the resort every year what would be the best ski? I could see a frontside/groomer ski being the best tool for the job because groomers are such a novelty after a season of backcountry.
    Might make a fun podcast topic!

    • Hey Jacob! The Redster GS (probably mounted with a Shift) is mostly for lounging around Vail Village in my never ending quest to meet Mikaela Shiffrin while looking as relatable (and mysterious and rugged) as possible. As for the Blade setup, when the forecast calls for smooth ice in the backcountry, I’ll have the proper tool and everyone else will be jealous.

      • Haha I bet she has a clause in her Atomic contract that states she is required say hi to people in the base area with the same skis as her. Plus, imagine the look on her ski tech’s face when they see the Shift on it. The backcountry Blade would be a hilarious set up and would be a great addition to the “spin the bottle and take the ski that it points to out for the day” game that we talked about a couple of years ago during a summer A-Basin day.

  6. Hey Jonathan and Luke, just wondering if you weren’t constrained to where you ski most, what would be your favourite (currently available) untracked POW ski?

    • I think my favorites right now are the Volkl Revolt 121 and Line Outline, though I’m 99% sure that if I got to try the Armada ARG II, that’d be my favorite for pure pow.

      That said, if I was only skiing untracked pow, and especially if it was not on big / steep terrain, I’d just ride a powsurf board. I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with them.

    • I’m not Luke or Jonathan but I’m lucky enough to ski a lot of untracked pow and have skied most of the fat pow skis on the market in recent years. If it’s truly untracked and deep enough to never touch anything hard underneath, it would be really hard not to always take the DPS Spoon, if you can find a pair. Short of that, the Lotus 138 is pretty awesome and DPS still does limited runs of them. The ARGII is fun but is a much heavier variation of this kind of ski and has a skinnier front area relative to the rest of the ski. I like heavy skis most of the time but in pure pow, light is fun. For more traditional shaped skis, the Liberty Genome is a hoot.

  7. I do enjoy the quivers! Seeing as mine now stands at 4 now seems the right time to chime in. In the order I bought them
    Salomon QST, 106 181, Tectons – swapped from AAtack‘s and skied for the first time yesterday. Will be my touring ski as I learn to tour this season
    Line Sakana, 174, admittedly bought on a bit of a whim after reading the Blister review (a dozen times), but funnily enough became my daily resort ski (have probably 20 days on them now – that’s a lot for me!), a lot of fun though the next ski is taking over as my daily
    Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 177, was not even considering this ski until I skied it at a test weekend in Sölden a year ago. Enjoy the stability gain vs the Sakana
    Liberty Origin 112, 184, bought a pretty much mint ex-demo pair with demo AAtack bindings this summer. Looking forward to some pow days and having never played with mount points now I can!
    If I was going to add a frontside carver then right now would be Völkl Deacon 84, have skied them a couple of times at test weekends and really liked them. Others would be AK Green 82, small Swiss brand, was my benchmark carver until I got on the Völkl Deacon’s; Stöckli AR83 only had a few runs but liked it a lot, when will we ever get those Stöckli’s on Blister? Would love the try the Fischer RC One GT 86 and Head Supershape.

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