4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22)

Blister's 2019-2020 5-ski Quiver Selections
Article Navigation:  Intro //  Luke K. //  Kara W. //  David G. //  Dylan W. //  Kristin S. //  Eric F. //  Paul F. //  Jonathan E.

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, and stay tuned for part two in the coming days, when we’ll add quiver selections from several of our other reviewers.

To be clear, there is no single perfect quiver for everyone. It all depends very much on where you ski and how you ski. Our selections below should not be viewed as our answer to the question, “What are the best skis out there?” Instead, these are our reviewers’ personal picks, and their rationale for why they’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 Guidance

For more general suggestions — as opposed to what we personally would pick — check out our 21/22 Buyer’s Guide.

And if you’d like to get our recommendations for assembling your own ski quiver, then become a Blister Member, submit your question via the Blister Member Clubhouse page, and we’ll help you decide.

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?

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Luke Koppa

(5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg)

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

When moving from a 5-ski quiver to one with four skis, I’m not letting go of a couple of my favorites, but I’m also switching up a couple and going with a single touring ski and three resort skis.

Ski #1 (Do-It-All Touring): Line Vision 98, 186 cm + Moment Voyager XII

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Line Vision 98

In my 5-ski quiver I had my current favorite spring touring ski, the Majesty Superwolf, as well as the Line Sir Francis Bacon with a 50/50 binding.

For this quiver, though, I think I’m going to just go with a slightly more versatile touring ski for all the backcountry skiing I do. There are several skis I was debating for this spot (see below), but I think I could be pretty happy with this setup for everything from my few mid-winter pow hunts to my numerous spring and summer days spent looking for steeper couloirs and open bowls.

This is mostly because the Vision 98 is both pretty dang light for its size and it has a shape, flex pattern, rocker profile, and mount point that cater to a more balanced, playful skiing style. It definitely wouldn’t be my top pick for hop turning down legit ice, nor is it going to float as well in deep snow as wider alternatives. But it handles most things pretty well, and equally important for me, it’s one of the few lightweight touring skis in this width that caters to my skiing style and preferences.

I tested it in the 179 cm length and liked that a lot in the spring, but I think I’d end up preferring the 186 cm for year-round use (better flotation, better stability).

As for bindings, the Moment Voyager XII / ATK Raider 12 is the bindings I’d put on pretty much any dedicated touring ski I would own.

Ski #2 (Fun-Times Carver): Line Blade, 181 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Line Blade

Nope, not giving up this one yet.

The Blade has the ability to turn just about any of my days on any mountain into fun ones, and while I’m guessing that common sense will take over in the smaller quivers and I’ll ditch it at some point, I really want this ski in my life. When I’m just cruising groomers with my friends, the steeps aren’t in great condition, or I’m otherwise not trying to ski super hard in gnarly terrain, this is the ski I want to be on.

Ski #3 (Playful All-Mountain): Season Nexus, 183 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Season Nexus

This is the other switch up from my 5-ski quiver.

I absolutely love the Line Sir Francis Bacon, and it will be dearly missed in this 4-ski quiver. However, the Season Nexus kind of lets me combine the SFB and Dynastar M-Free 108 (from my 5-ski quiver) into one ski for this 4-ski quiver.

To me, the Nexus basically feels like a slightly stiffer, more stable, and more precise Sir Francis Bacon. Since I still have the Line Blade for my goof-around laps, I’m not as sad about giving up some of the playfulness of the SFB, in exchange for getting a ski that’s going to be a bit more comfortable when I want to ski a bit faster and harder all over the mountain.

The Nexus isn’t nearly as stable as the M-Free 108 (especially the 192 cm), but I’m content with using the next ski for any days when high speeds, bigger drops, and consequential terrain are on the menu. And the Nexus is a lot more engaging on piste and at mellow speeds, compared to the 192 cm M-Free 108, so I think I’m pretty happy with this compromise.

Ski #4 (Pow / Chop Charger): Rossignol Blackops Gamer, 186 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Rossignol Blackops Gamer

I’m including this ski again for all the same reasons as before: it’s stupid fun in chop, it floats well enough for resort pow days, and it’s pretty versatile for its size.

In this quiver, I’d be breaking out the Gamer more often than with my 5-ski quiver, since I no longer have a mid-fat charger. The good news is that I’ve happily skied the Gamer on days when it hadn’t snowed in weeks, and while I’d rarely be doing that with this quiver, I know I’d be totally content skiing the Gamer any time it’s snowed at least a few inches.

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

The Line Sir Francis Bacon and Dynastar M-Free 108 for all the reasons they were included in my 5-ski quiver picks.

As for the touring ski, I mentioned above that there were a lot of skis that narrowly missed the cut and that I’d probably be nearly equally as happy using for all my human-powered days.

The first one is the DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP. That ski is extremely versatile and I think it’d make for a great 1-touring-ski quiver for a ton of people. However, its design is just too directional for me to pick it for my own quiver. If DPS made a Pagoda Tour version of the Koala 103, though…

The WNDR Alpine Vital 100 was also really close to filling that spot — it handles most conditions really well, it caters to my skiing style, and it’d definitely be an upgrade over the Vision 98 when it comes to stability and edge hold when hop turning. But given that most of my backcountry days involve long approaches, combined with my refusal to ever actually try to do anything to help my cardio (apart from the skiing itself), I want a lighter ski.

Luke Koppa reviews the WNDR Alpine Vital 100 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the WNDR Alpine Vital 100, Crested Butte, Colorado.

I think I could also be pretty happy on a wider ski, like the Vision 108, Moment Wildcat Tour 108, or Weston Summit. Realistically though, I’d be spending more time hauling this setup up spring lines than slashing through mid-winter pow, so I’m opting for something a bit narrower and lighter.

As for my resort skis, the Blade and Gamer were once again no-brainers for me. The Season Nexus, though, was a closer call. I would be pretty happy using most mid-fat all-mountain freestyle skis for that slot in my 4-ski quiver. Some notable contenders include the Whitedot Altum 104, Sego Big Horn 106, Moment Wildcat, DPS Koala 103, Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, J Skis Hotshot, and RMU Apostle 3.0 106.

What really made the decision for me was the Nexus’s combination of fairly good stability and a shape and flex pattern that make it really fun for carving tight turns on piste. At Mt. Crested Butte we ski at least part of a groomer every single run; while I totally understand those who prioritize off-piste performance above all else, I’m not content to view groomers as something to “just get over with” as you head to the lift to get back to the steeps. And while arcing huge turns is fun in its own way, I much prefer higher edge angles and tighter turns on piste. The Nexus lets me do that, while also being loads of fun elsewhere on the mountain.

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 answer here is the same as it was in my 5-ski quiver selections, but to reiterate a few notable ones:

I’d love to try the Armada Stranger and see if it could potentially be as stupid-fun on groomers as the Line Blade while also somehow being more versatile.

I just mounted the J Skis Fastforward and Masterblaster last night and am very excited to ski them in the coming days. They wouldn’t really fill the roles outlined in my 4-ski quiver, but they might find their way into my smaller quivers.

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

Same as always, I would never actually own a quiver of skis all from the same brand. Nearly every brand makes at least one ski I get along with very well, but I have pretty specific preferences and no brands make skis that fit those in all categories.

With that said, Line would be my best option:

Line: Vision 98, Blade, Sir Francis Bacon, Outline

My only complaint here is that I don’t have a heavy, wider ski for blasting through chop at high speeds.

These other brands would also work pretty well, but I’d be missing out on at least one or two of my ideal types of skis for a 4-ski quiver (e.g., playful touring ski, tight-turn carver, playful all-mountain ski, stable chop / pow ski).

K2: Wayback 106, Disruption STi, Reckoner 102, Mindbender 108Ti

Volkl: Blaze 94, M6 Mantra, Revolt 104, Revolt 121

Black Crows: Camox Freebird, Mirus COR, Camox, Anima

Moment: Deathwish Tour, Frankenblade(?), Deathwish, Chipotle Banana

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER 4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Kara Williard

(5’9”, 153 lbs / 175 cm, 69.4 kg)

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

Similar to the 5-quiver scenario, for this quiver I chose a touring ski, a 50/50 ski, and then a couple resort skis that provide good versatility for most conditions. A 4-ski quiver is more realistic for me, and brings into the mix some skis that I find to be really versatile, rather than super niche.

Ski #1: Dedicated Touring Setup – WNDR Alpine Vital 100, 176 cm + Fritschi Tecton

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
WNDR Alpine Vital 100

Unchanged from the 5-ski quiver, my touring-specific ski is the WNDR Alpine Vital 100, and it’s here for all the same reasons as it was in my 5-ski quiver. I was impressed by the Vital’s downhill performance when I tried it at the Blister Summit last year, and while it isn’t the lightest ski in its class (though lighter than my previous AT setups), it provides a level of stability that inspires confidence, especially in unpredictable or firm backcountry conditions.

Ski #2: Burlier Touring / 50/50 — Blizzard Sheeva 10, 180cm + Salomon Shift MNC 13

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Blizzard Sheeva 10

The Blizzard Sheeva 10 has served as my 50/50 touring ski for the last couple of seasons. Because the 5-ski quiver provided the option for more variation among my resort-specific setups, I gravitated away from this ski when looking at a broader quiver. For a 4-ski quiver, though, I am bringing it into the mix because it does everything really well, and I end up spending as much time on-resort on the Sheeva 10 as in the backcountry. It’s a little more playful than my main resort ski below, the Volkl Secret 96, so I feel that I have good options no matter what the conditions are, and I can opt to spend the day on the Sheeva 10 if I want something a little more forgiving and quick. It’s also just slightly more playful than my previous pick for this slot for the 5-ski quiver, which was the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free. Both skis are really good at most things, but the Sheeva 10 is just a little bit easier to turn and command in tight and technical terrain, making it a slightly better pairing for the Secret 96.

Ski #3: Daily Resort Ski — Volkl Secret 96, 170cm + Salomon Warden 13

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Secret 96

The Volkl Secret 96 was a ski that I was thoroughly impressed with across most conditions last season. It’s a strong and powerful ski that provides confidence on firm or inconsistent snow conditions in a way that a more playful ski like the Sheeva 10 cannot. I appreciate how well the Secret 96 carves, despite its width, and because of its width and overall stability, it felt really good on pretty rough snow conditions, including off-piste crud. I would choose to ski this almost any day on resort, unless I was specifically looking for something a little quicker, more forgiving in the tail, or if there was a few inches or more of soft snow, in which case I would look to the Sheeva 10 or my resort powder ski, listed below.

Ski #4: Resort Powder Ski — Nordica Santa Ana 110, 179 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2019-2020 Reviewer Quiver Selections
19/20 Nordica Santa Ana 110

This is my go-to powder ski and one of my favorites for when the powder gets tracked out (which is realistically what most of a resort powder day consists of). The Santa Ana 110 is great in soft snow, but it also handles crud and chop really well. It’s comfortable at higher speeds but is also easy to shut down and maneuver, with easy transitions from larger, faster turns to quicker, smaller ones. Unfortunately, we still haven’t been able to get on the latest version, so here I’m referring to the previous-generation 19/20 ski.

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

As the quiver gets narrower, I had to balance out my 50/50 ski to be something that serves more playful purposes. I opted to land somewhere in the middle on my 50/50 ski and my playful resort ski, which resulted in the Sheeva 10 as my 50/50 ski. It was hard to leave the 4FRNT MSP CC off the list, but the Sheeva 10 and the Volkl Secret 96 combo provides a versatile set of options.

Kara Williard reviews the 4FRNT MSP CC for Blister
Kara Williard on the 4FRNT MSP CC, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

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?

Similar to the 5-ski quiver, there are a lot of skis I want to spend time on this season.

I am really eager to try the new Nordica Santa Ana Unlimited series, the more backcountry oriented versions of the standard Santa Ana skis. I’ll be curious to see how the Santa Ana Unlimited 93 compares to the other Santa Ana skis, and see if I could be happy on a touring ski that light.

Also, as far as lightweight touring skis go, I still have a lot of skis that would be useful to get on. In particular, I am interested in the DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP, which Luke and Dylan recently published a review on.

I think I need to spend some time on more playful all-mountain skis that would provide better contrast to the more directional, metal-laminate skis I tend to favor, however, when it comes to narrowing down a quiver I would always choose something more damp and stable over playful.

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

Still unchanged from my 5-ski quiver, just dropping the narrower resort ski, I would choose Nordica:

Santa Ana Unlimited 93 (lightweight touring), Santa Ana 93 (narrower all-mountain), Santa Ana 104 Free (50/50 ski), Santa Ana 110 Free (resort powder ski).

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

David Golay

(6′, 165 lb / 183 cm, 74.8 kg)

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

I’m not going to deviate much from my 5-ski quiver here — the first cut is pretty easy. There will be a much bigger shakeup once we get down to three.

Ski #1: 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm + G3 ZED 12

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Raven

First, I’m holding steady on the 4FRNT Raven as my primary touring ski. It’s predictable in a huge range of conditions and is a ski that I can grab on most days and at the very least not feel like it’s wildly out of place. I’ll miss the Salomon MTN Explore 95 on some big days, especially in the spring when the snow starts getting harder, but the Raven will get the job done.

Ski #2: Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Mantra 102

As I alluded to when talking about the 4FRNT Raven above, I’m just dropping a touring ski in going from five skis to four, so no need to change up the resort part of the program at all. The Mantra 102 stays as the lower-tide ski, for all the reasons I included it in the five ski quiver.

Ski #3: Praxis FRS, 188 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Praxis FRS

Same story here. As in my 5-ski quiver, the FRS will be the resort ski that I break out if conditions are at least a bit soft, but not deep enough to merit the next ski in the lineup. It’s a lot looser and more playful in soft snow than the Mantra 102, and of course floats quite a bit better, while still having pretty good suspension and being reasonably stable in dense, heavy chop.

Ski #4: Praxis Protest, 192 cm + Salomon Shift 13

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Praxis Protest

This is probably the last quiver I can justify keeping the Protest in, but even though it’s a fairly specialized tool, I manage to log a decent amount of time on mine each year, and they’re so much fun in the right conditions that I’m going to hang onto them as long as I can. And like I said in the 5-ski quiver article, these aren’t just a pow ski for ultra-deep days — they also make certain kinds of weird, crusty, and/or upside-down snow (stuff that we encounter all too often in the PNW) a lot more fun, too. And like before, I’m putting a Shift binding on the Protests so I can log a mix of resort and touring days on them.

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

Dropping the Salomon MTN Explore 95 was maybe not the most practical choice, and with this quiver, there would definitely still be some days in the spring where I regret not having a more traditional touring ski that inspires more confidence in really hard conditions than the Raven. But I’ll manage, and look back on the mid-winter days I spent in deep snow on the Protest and hopefully think it was all worth it.

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?

Like I said in the 5-ski quiver article, the updated Moment Wildcat and the Rossignol Blackops Gamer could both unseat the Praxis FRS for that slot if and when I get some time on them. This slot continues to be, by far, the trickiest one for me. A lot of my favorite options for it have been changed or discontinued (pour one out for the Blizzard Bodacious) and I haven’t tried a number of the more promising replacements yet.

I also forgot about the Rossignol Sender Squad when I wrote this part of the 5-ski quiver article, but based on what Jonathan has said about it… consider me intrigued.

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

As with my main 4-ski quiver, I’m not going to change a ton here, and instead, just make one cut. So Moment once again gets the nod, with the Deathwish Tour, Wildcat 101, Wildcat, and Chipotle Banana roughly covering the same bases as my main selections. There are definitely going to be days when I wish the Deathwish Tour was a little narrower, and I’ll probably miss having a more directional charger of a resort ski at times, but this remains my best idea for a question that inevitably involves some compromise. I know the Commander line exists, but I’ve only skied the original Commander 108 and didn’t love it so here we are.

There’s probably a version of a Praxis quiver that I’d be pretty happy with too (especially given their options for customization) but the FRS is, amusingly, the narrowest ski from them I’ve ever been on so I’m not very confident in my choices for that one.

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Dylan Wood

(5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg)

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

If you read our previous 5-quiver ski article, then I’ll admit, you’re probably going to be bored by my 4-ski quiver. Why? Because it is the same as my 5-ski quiver, minus one ski. I’ll summarize why I want each ski in my quiver and why I decided to cut the missing ski here.

For my 4-ski quiver, I’ll be going with one dedicated touring ski, one 50/50 powder ski, and two resort skis.

Ski #1: 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm + Moment Voyager XII

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Raven

Reliable, predictable, and enjoyable, the Raven is the ski I tend to reach for when I don’t know the conditions I’ll be skiing that day, and it hasn’t ever disappointed.

Ski #2: Line Vision 118, 189 cm + Marker Duke PT 16

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Line Vision 118

Light enough for shorter tours and stable enough for inbounds chop, the Vision 118 is one of my favorite playful powder skis.

Ski #3: Sego Comp 110, 187 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Sego Comp 110

The Comp 110 has an awesome mix of stability and maneuverability. It is a unique all-mountain charger that suits my style really well.

Ski #4: K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
K2 Reckoner 102

I found this ski to be very playful, fun to carve, and easy to mess around on. It would be an excellent spring ski and feels totally at home in the park.

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

As you can see, I decided to end things with the Black Crows Mirus COR. It’s not that I don’t like you, Mirus COR, but I feel like we haven’t been clicking as much lately. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s just that…

…ahem. Sorry about that.

On a serious note, the time I would be missing the Mirus COR the most would likely be early season when mellow groomers are all that is open and I just want to lay some trenches skiing both forward and backward. I’d also miss them late season for the same reason.

I feel as if the K2 Reckoner 102 is a fun enough ski to both jib around on and carve to omit the Mirus COR here. While it can’t be bent into as tight of carves, the Reckoner is still a fun carver for what it is and a very fun ski for trying to make the most out of early season groomers and side hits. I’d also take it over the Mirus COR for spring off-piste skiing, or on firm days where I just want to hit the park.

I also think the Black Crows Camox could have very well made this list in place of the Reckoner 102 for reasons I discussed in our 5-ski quiver article.

Luke Koppa, Dylan Wood, & Jonathan Ellsworth review the Black Crows Camox for Blister
Dylan Wood on the Black Crows Camox, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

I also could have very well combined the Raven and Vision 118 into one touring ski and kept the Mirus COR, but we will get into that in future quiver articles here soon.

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?

Everything I said in our 5-ski article applies here. Although, I could really see the 180 cm Armada Stranger or 181 cm Season Kin taking the place of the Reckoner 102 here, and they might help me miss the Mirus COR less.

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

#1: K2: 184 cm Wayback 96, 186 cm Mindbender 108Ti, Reckoner 112, Reckoner 102

I’m guessing this would be a pretty fun quiver, though I’ll admit that I haven’t skied anything here but the Reckoner 102.

#2: Armada: 180 cm Tracer 98, 192 cm Whitewalker, 190 cm Declivity 108Ti, 180 cm Stranger

Personally, there’s a whole lot of guessing and not a lot of experience with these skis here, but I think I would be quite content with these skis.

#3: Moment: 184 cm Wildcat Tour 108, 184 cm Deathwish, 184 cm Deathwish 104, 184 cm Wildcat 101

I hope to get on most of these skis this season.

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Kristin Sinnott

(5’8”, 125lbs / 172 cm, 56.7kg)

Similar to Dylan, my choices aren’t going to change too much as I start reducing the number of skis in my quiver. I removed the ski blades for this 4-ski quiver, but everything else stayed the same. I definitely have “favorite” skis.

Backcountry Setup: Elan Ripstick 94 W, 170 cm + Marker Kingpin

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Elan Ripstick 94 W

Nothing is changing here. I’m keeping the Elan Ripstick 94 W in my quiver and I would plan to use them primarily in the backcountry. But I would bring them out for days I plan to solely ski with my son because they would be just a bit lighter than my other setups and for that sort of mellow skiing, I’m fine using a Kingpin.

Everyday all-mountain ski: Volkl Secret 96, 170 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Secret 96

Nothing changed on this one. The Volkl Secret 96 really clicked with me last season and I am excited to hop on it again this season for some more extensive testing.

Narrower all-mountain ski: Blizzard Black Pearl 88, 165 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Blizzard Black Pearl 88

I’m keeping the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 but it really is a toss-up between it and the Renoun Earhart 88. Both skis perform well on and off-piste but when thinking about the skis, I tend to gravitate more towards the more traditional design of the Black Pearl 88.

I am currently writing this from New Hampshire and while most of the mountains are still closed around here, I really wish I had packed the Black Pearl 88 and Earhart 88 and taken an extra day down in Killington to make some turns. I miss skiing the East and the new snow has me jonesing to take some runs. Next year.

Wider all-mountain ski: Wagner Summit 106, 172 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Wagner Summit 106

The Wagner Summit 106 is staying on my list for the 4-quiver but I incorrectly labeled them in my 5-quiver. I plan on skiing the Summit 106 all season and not just in powder or soft snow, so I’ll call it my “wider all-mountain ski.”

I skied the Summit 106 on a few powder days last season, but most of the time there was a mixture of firm and soft snow and the skis were still a blast to ski. The biggest compliment I can give a ski is that the ski “disappears” when I’m testing it. I’m not sure if that makes sense to everyone, but whenever I finish a run on the Summit 106 and I try to come up with some talking points regarding the performance of the ski, I can’t think of anything. It’s an extremely intuitive ski and I don’t need to adjust my skiing style to accommodate any quirks the ski throws at me because I haven’t noticed any quirks.

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

The Renoun Earhart 88 because it really was a toss-up between them and the Blizzard Black Pearl 88. But don’t mistake my indecisiveness for meaning that the skis are completely alike, because they aren’t. I just really like how both of them perform and I could only justify one 88 mm ski in my quiver.

I’ll miss having a pair of skis that I don’t have to review, like my old pair of telemark skis or a pair of snowblades. But the skis on my list are all ones I love, so skiing them definitely won’t be a chore. And skiing different skis all season long isn’t really a chore either, just sometimes I’d like to turn my brain off when I ski.

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 new Nordica Santa Ana Unlimited 93, the 4FRNT MSP 107, and the MSP CC. I’m also looking forward to hopping on some new-to-me skis from Moment, 4FRNT, Folsom, Wagner, Rossignol, Dynastar, Salomon, Renoun, and WNDR Alpine at the Blister Summit. I had the opportunity to ski a bunch of new skis at the Summit last year and I’ve already started compiling a list of skis I want to check out this year.

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 3-ski Quiver Selections
Kristin Sinnott on the Nordica Santa Ana 93, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

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

Ironically, I think I’d go with Nordica. Ironic because I didn’t include a single Nordica ski in my quiver for, I think, the first time ever. I love the Santa Ana series and would choose the Santa Ana Unlimited 93, Santa Ana 110 Free, Santa Ana 104 Free, and Santa Ana 93. I have yet to ski the current versions of several of these skis but I’ve heard great things about the 104 from fellow reviewers and the Unlimited is in my possession waiting for snow.

Wagner would be my other choice and I would include all of their new Summit/Factory skis. I would miss having a narrow all-mountain ski. The four skis would be the Summit 107 for off-piste resort days, Summit 106 as a 50/50 ski, Summit 105 for touring, and the Summit 97 for firmer days in the resort.

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Eric Freson

(5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm, 79 kg)

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 in Crested Butte. My quiver selections reflect a desire to be skiing off the top of stuff and down the fall line wherever I might be. As I’ve mentioned in the past, 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 more than “right tool for the job.”

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

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Raven

This is a setup I can trust anywhere I might find myself in the backcountry. The Raven is pretty 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. The new 4-Lock skin system also eliminates tail clips and makes skins shorter, lighter, and more compact. What’s not to like?

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.

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

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Renegade

I have owned the 4FRNT Renegade in its various iterations since its inaugural release (still petitioning them to 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 here, 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 I 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.

And after a season of abusing the Market Duke PT 16, I have been left impressed. I didn’t experience any pre-release or forward pressure issues during my time with the Duke PT, the toe piece was really quite easy to switch in and out during transitions and was not incredibly snow sensitive, and finally, it skis like a traditional alpine binding. I do wish it had a higher climbing riser, since I’d typically be mounting this binding on bigger/heavier skis and can benefit from any advantage when pointing heavy setups uphill.

Ski #3: Everyday Resort Ski — Salomon Stance 102, 182 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Salomon Stance 102

The frequency with which I grabbed the Salomon Stance 102 came as somewhat of a surprise last season, simply due to its relatively short overall length and ample tip rocker for a personal everyday resort ski. Shorter than what I typically gravitate toward, I was impressed with the Stance 102’s edge hold, stability, and power.

While I knew on paper that I would probably like this Salomon before ever skiing it, its construction, flat tail, and torsional stiffness on snow nonetheless had me impressed with the Stance 102 in the 182 cm size we have. This ski does require good form, consistent forward pressure in your boots, and its tail is what I would call “high energy,” but all this leads to a strong directional charger. Its ample tip rocker helps it to ski shorter than its stout tail would suggest in steep and tight terrain, yet it’s still able to carve impressively well on groomers

Not as loose or smeary as some of the other all-mountain chargers I tend to enjoy, the Stance 102’s ability to find edge hold and traction in truly firm snow conditions helped to make it a more practical everyday choice during our low-tide season, and I wound up spending more days on it even after the review process was complete (full review to come this season, once we get some photos).

As far as alpine bindings go, my preferences haven’t changed. 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 — Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad, 194 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad

The Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad has “squad” in its name. Need I say more? What other classic Rossi skis does that remind you of? The Sender Squad displaced the Sender Ti as one of my go-to skis last season, which came as a bit of a surprise given the generally tight and technical terrain that Crested Butte Mountain Resort features so predominantly.

It’s 194 cm long, very, very damp, yet is relatively approachable with its forward mount point and not overly crazy stiff flex pattern. It’s fun in soft snow, but more importantly and more special (to me) is its top-shelf ability to soak up shitty runouts. It’s heavy, it’s damp, it skis well with a forward or centered stance, and it isn’t so much work to pilot that you can’t still have fun.

The Sender Squad is a versatile ski for the technically proficient skier looking for power and a big sweet spot. I appreciate its high ceiling of stability and it also 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 Squad doesn’t exhibit any particularly surprising or erratic behavior, and this consistency helped me quickly get comfortable and in a rhythm with it quickly.

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

First and foremost… the original Blizzard Bodacious. Come back!

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.

To that same point, the WNDR Alpine Vital 100 Reverse Camber is a ski I’d really like to have on my list. Its smaller waist and reverse-camber profile make it very interesting to me as a potential Raven replacement. I got to ski the Vital 100 Camber at CBMR last season during the Blister Summit and was impressed by its stability and power for its weight and size class. Given my penchant for enjoying rockered skis in powder and variable snow conditions in the backcountry, I think the Reverse Cambered version of the Vital 100 is very intriguing, but with no time on the reverse cambered version, it can’t displace the Raven just yet.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Eric Freson review the 4FRNT Raven for Blister
Eric Freson on the 4FRNT Raven, Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Austin Gibney)

Finally, the 192 Dynastar M-Free 108 was a ski I had some really enjoyable days on last season. I found it to be an “easy and playful charger,” as ridiculous as that sounds. The M-Free 108 has great suspension qualities, is pivoty in tight spaces, and can be pushed hard when you open it up. But it does these things in a way that isn’t as punishing as you’d expect, or how other skis in this category can be. For a ski this large, it doesn’t require you to be skiing at 10/10 all the time to keep from getting your ass kicked. If I enjoyed spending more time in the air and less time attacking the fall-line, the M-Free 108 would have been my choice over the Rossignol Sender Squad.

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 WNDR Alpine Reason 120 Reverse Camber is a ski I’m looking forward to spending time on this season, and that we have in hand (just waiting for snow!). I got to watch it in action during last year’s Blister Summit and I have been anticipating getting to try them since. I’m interested to see how the ski’s reverse camber, weight, and turning radius come together, and how wide the resulting sweet spot for terrain and snow conditions winds up being.

The Salomon QST Blank is another ski I’d really like to get a few days on this season. Maneuverability and good suspension are two of the most important criteria for me when deciding how much I’m going to enjoy a soft-snow-specific ski. I ski a lot of soft fluffy snow in tight spaces in the CB backcountry, and I enjoy ample rocker on my powder-specific skis. I have gotten along very well with several Salomon skis, and having never clicked into a pair of the QST Blank’s, I’d be very curious to give them a go.

Finally, 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.

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 for another year.

The Raven and Renegade would stay as backcountry tools, admirably covering a huge range of conditions. 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 for soft snow and powder days.

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Paul Forward

(6’, 200 lbs / 183 cm, 90.7 kg)

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

I’m going to stick the same skis as are in my 5 ski quiver, minus the “Resort Pow” option. The Folsom Rapture is good enough inbounds that I’ll use it on the lift-served pow days and drop the Moment Chipotle Banana. There’s nothing new here otherwise.

Folsom Rapture Custom, 192 cm + Marker Jester Pro

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Paul Forward's Folsom Rapture

For all of the reasons I’ve written about before, the Rapture is my go-to work ski and is probably the most versatile ski I’ve found for all-round heli skiing. (I’d happily take the older Alchemist version of DPS Lotus 124 as an alternative to the Rapture but it’s unclear how different the currently available Pagoda version is.) While the Rapture is an exceptional big-mountain Alaska ski, it’s surprisingly pleasant on lift-served pow days as well.

The Jester Pro has become my go-to binding after having had some recurrent durability issues with my Salomon bindings. The Markers inspire confidence that they’ll stay on when I really need them to and I still trust that they’ll release if needed.

Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm + Marker Jester Pro

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Mantra 102

Just as with my 5-ski quiver, I’ll still need an all-round lift-served ski for all of the non-pow days. As I’ve said before, the Mantra 102 is a great carver that is still fun, stable, and quick enough off-piste in just about any conditions or terrain. I’ll stick with Jester Pro’s for this application as well.

Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm + Moment Voyageur XVI

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Blizzard Zero G 105

This is a very versatile touring ski that will suffice all year from early season shallow pow to corn in the spring. It might feel a little unwieldy in roughed-up couloirs late in the year and will feel small if I take them on a pow day instead of my dedicated pow tourer (see below), but overall they’ll serve my needs whatever I find myself climbing up into.

I’ve used just about every ~300g touring binding on the market and the ATK/Moment is at least as good as anything I’ve tried. For this application, I’d probably remove the Freeride Spacer and brakes to save weight and complexity.

Moonlight Cruiser, 185 cm + Moment Voyageur XVI

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Moonlight Cruiser

I’ve come to realize that ski touring is my favorite form of skiing but because I’m a dad, I live near the base of Alyeska, and I heli ski most days from Feb-April, I’m not usually in that great of touring shape anymore. As a result, weight has become my priority and I’m always looking for the lightest ski that I can still have fun on, even if there might be better options at higher weights.

I still don’t have a ton of time on these Cruisers but so far they are probably the second-best lightweight pow touring ski I’ve used, and they’re one of the only light fat skis currently on the market. (The first being the discontinued DPS Tour1 Lotus 124 that I’d prefer if still available.) The Cruiser is fun in deep pow while still being light enough for long days and lots of laps. I’ll be writing up a proper review of these when I get more time on them, but the few days I’ve had on them are promising enough to include them here for deep days of human-powered skiing.

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

Other than the skis I mentioned in my 5-ski quiver discussion, I’m pretty happy with this if I’m restricted to current-model-year skis. As I mentioned in the 5-ski quiver, this would look quite a bit different if I could pick skis from any model year.

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’m still really excited to spend some time on the Movement Alp Tracks 106. They are so ridiculously light and have an intriguing shape that may well prove quite versatile.

I’ve recently been quite intrigued by the prospect of a new superfat Folsom powder ski which could also be pretty disruptive to my pow-focused quiver.

I still haven’t skied the Volkl Katana 108 and the newest version of the Blizzard Cochise 106. I love skis in this waist width but haven’t yet found anything that really works for me in recent years.

Finally, I really need to ski the Black Diamond Helio 115. The previous Helio 116 was an exceptional all-round powder touring ski that was remarkably versatile for its width, and we’re working on setting up a review of the latest version this season.

Paul Forward reviews the Black Diamond Helio 116 for Blister
Paul Forward on the Black Diamond Helio 116 Carbon, Alaska.

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 have to say Folsom again, despite the fact that some might consider picking a custom ski maker for this to be cheating. I don’t think they can make as light of a touring ski as I prefer, but in every other category, I’m sure I’d be quite content.

4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Jonathan Ellsworth

(5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm, 79 kg)

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

#1: Folsom Spar 88, 182 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Folsom Spar 88

I’m feeling very good about the custom Spar 88 that I talked about in my 5-ski quiver selection. It’s a good carver on groomers that becomes a great carver on softer groomers. It also might be the most comfortable and capable 88mm-wide truly-all-mountain ski currently available.

#2: Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free

I’m going to stick here with the same ski as last year, the Nordica Enforcer 104. It’s a capable ski that also feels comfortable all around the mountain and it has a playful side. This has been one of my favorite skis for Crested Butte, and I’m sticking with it.

#3: Rossignol Blackops Gamer, 186 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Rossignol Blackops Gamer
Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Raven

If it ain’t broke…

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

The ski that I found myself most tempted to squeeze in here was the Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm. But then I reminded myself that this quiver series isn’t done yet. Stay tuned.

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?

If the 190 cm Moment Wildcat is back to feeling very similar to the original Bibby / Blister Pro … then the Rossi Gamer will have some serious competition.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Luke Koppa, and Sam Shaheen review the Moment Blister Pro / Wildcat for BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth on the 19/20 Moment Blister Pro / Wildcat, Crested Butte, CO.

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

My 2nd place 4-ski quiver selection from last year is now my 1st place selection for this season — except for a change on ski #4:

1: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm
2: Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm
3: Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm + SHIFT binding (resort pow + pow touring ski)
4: Blizzard Zero G 95, 185 cm + ATK Raider 12 or 14

When conditions are deep, I’ve got the Rustler 11. For longer tours and / or when the snow has consolidated, I’d break out the Zero G 95.

16 comments on “4-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22)”

  1. David, have you looked at the billy goat any for weird upside down snow conditions in the PNW? Scott said he designed that ski specifically for Crystal?

  2. Hey Luke, quick question, about this part of your description of the Blade: “When … the steeps aren’t in great condition .. this is the ski I want to be on.” Do you mean that the Blade performs well on steeps that aren’t in great condition? Or like, you’d be staying away from the steeps on a day like that and just sticking to groomers with your beloved Blade? Feel like you prob mean the latter… but wasn’t sure.

    As always, thanks for publishing all this great content for all the ski psychopaths out there. Appreciate it!

  3. Great picks! This year I bumped my quiver up from 3 skis to 4. I’m usually 70/30 backcountry/resort in the PNW, so my quiver:

    Firm snow resort: Volkl M5 Mantra + Griffon

    Soft snow resort, 50/50: WNDR Intention 110 (cambered) + Duke PT 12

    Mid-winter touring: Line Sick Day 114 + Rotation 10

    Spring touring and mountaineering: Volkl VTA 98 + Alpinist

  4. I like this post your personal quiver! Note this is the quiver I own but not necessarily the quiver I now want..

    1: Moment blister pro 184 + sth 16
    Resort pow ski. Would consider putting shifts on it for touring on truly deep days or very heavy snow. To quote Jonathan “for all the reasons”

    2: Moment wildcat 108 184 + shift
    Quiver of one backcountry. I like how the shift skis and the predictable / certified release boosts my confidence and is worth the weight penalty to me. Probably I should put an atk raider on this and move the shifts to the blister pro

    3: Moment meridian 107 187 + gold pivots
    This is the most fun ski I’ve ever been on bar none. Carves very well (as long as you can live with basically zero energy out of the turn), so stable at speed, chop destroyer, yet pivots on a dime. Most fun bump ski I’ve ever been on. Only downside is more than 4-6” of fresh it is a bit lacking in float. Still fun in those conditions but you need a more pow specific ski. It takes some practice to land airs on this, it doesn’t stomp like the blister pro and land backseat at your peril. I ski this any day it’s not ice, not just raging groomers, and not more than boot deep.

    4: Moment wildcat 101 190 w/ attack 13.
    Raging groomer or mellow day ski. I’m still getting to terms with it but I’ll pull this out on firmer days or days I just don’t want to be on the meridian. Still fun enough to take off groomers and noodle around on but will handle what ever I get into that day.

    I think you can guess what my brand of choice is for a quiver!

    Really want to get on the chipotle banana.

  5. I really love the quiver articles, but man do I wish there was a little east coast representation in here (and really on the Blister site in general). For northeast, an everyday resort ski should be mid-90’s waisted, fresh maybe 104 – 108 if you want to use it more than twice per season, 70-80 for early season and groomers. Not sure how/if the backcountry ski selection would change but maybe not much. Yes, folks can argue these #’s up a little bit, but certainly hard to ever think about a 120ish waisted ski in any east coast quiver or to think about 104 or 106 as a daily driver.

    • Also wish there were more east coast reviewers/context. Hard to know how some of the skis in the 90-100mm range would translate over to east coast conditions

  6. +1 on getting east coast reviewers into the mix. That said, I optimize my quiver for west coast trips and don’t really care that it makes no sense for east coast skiing – this year I’m running BC100s as my DD/dadski and black ops sender squads for whenever I feel like pushing things harder. The squads are new, and widest skis I’ve owned, so I’m excited to test how impractical they really are on some of the crappy local hills.

    • just picked up a pair of Soul Rider 97’s for my local hill dad ski to be able to ski backwards and tool around. Might be a new quiver selection slot “Dad Ski” or “Mom Ski”.

    • This used to be my approach as well as I live in the Midwest and would rather optimize for Utah/Colorado trips rather than my local 800ft hill with only man made snow. But then I listened to the gear30 episode with Greg Klein from Willi’s and he really made a strong case for buying frontside-specific skis for Midwest/east coast so now I’m conflicted. Would love to hear more insight from other east coast skiers on quiver selection.

  7. Eric Freson,
    If your missing the Renegade with full width wood core with no sidewall you should try a Skevik Anton 122 .
    Cdn mfg from Vernon, BC factory direct

  8. For a narrower resort ski, please try to get a hold of a Praxis Slugger (102 mm waist)…
    19m radius in the 185 cm

    I’ve really enjoyed this ski for the resort and like its versatility for steeper, technical terrain also.

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