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

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


Well, it’s once again that time of year. Some of us in the Northern Hemisphere are already skiing, while the rest of us are chomping at the bit. One of the most entertaining ways to fill time before ski season is thinking about your dream ski quiver. Assembling a ski quiver (whether hypothetical or real) is certainly fun, and it’s a great way to procrastinate and make the hours at work just fly right by.

But it can also get a bit tricky — and cause the more obsessive among us to start going mad. We get a lot of questions about whether ski X is too similar to ski Y to have both skis, and even more questions about how, in general, to think about putting together an effective quiver.

So the first things to figure out are:

(1) Whether for you, personally, it’s worth owning more than a single pair of skis. And then,

(2) How to put together a group of skis that will help you get the most out of every day on the mountain.

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 reviewers’ personal picks, and their rationale for why they’d choose them.

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.

1, 2, 3, 4, or 5-Ski Quiver?

This year we’re once again starting with our picks for 5-ski quivers, partly because it’s just fun to think about this stuff, and partly because we do know a lot of people with some pretty expansive quivers. Plus, even if you’re opting for a 1- or 2-ski quiver, seeing how we think about assembling a larger quiver may still be beneficial in terms of you sorting out the compromises you’re willing to live with.

So between our Buyer’s Guide quiver section + what we have here, we hope to help you figure out (a) what size quiver makes the most sense, and (b) give you a bit of direction on how best to think about assembling your own quiver.

We’ll be starting with 5-ski quivers, then narrowing it down to our 4-, 3-, 2- and 1-ski quivers over the course of the coming weeks.

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 5-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 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Three Final Notes

(1) For our quivers, we’re only including skis that we’ve actually spent time on, but we will allow some speculation regarding skis that we think might fit into our quiver once we get to ski them / ski them more.

(2) Some of our reviewers will also expand on which bindings they’d put on which skis if there are some particular reasons they made those choices.

(3) We will be updating this post with more options from some of our other reviewers in the near future, but we’d also love to hear your answers to some or all of our four questions, too, so please do so in the Comments section.

5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

Before diving right in, here’s some background info on the skiing I typically do. I spend the vast majority of my season in Crested Butte, predominantly riding lifts at Mt. Crested Butte from December through March. I also get out in the backcountry a bit during the winter and much more in the spring / summer.

Given that, I think I’ll split my 5-ski quiver into one dedicated touring ski, one 50/50 ski, and three skis for the resort.

Ski #1: Majesty Superwolf, 178 cm + Moment Voyager XII /ATK Raider 12)

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

The Superwolf is still my favorite touring ski for the spring / summer when my days tend to be longer and I’m typically seeking steep, firm couloirs or open bowls covered in corn. The Superwolf’s suspension and stability are excellent for its low weight, and it handles weird snow conditions better than almost any other ski I’ve used in this class. It’s a predictable ski that I can rely on for the whole gamut of spring conditions.

As for bindings, I’m still a massive fan of the ATK Raider platform. I’m opting for the Moment Voyager version because it comes standard with ATK’s excellent freeride spacer, which helps further improve the binding’s power transfer and ride quality (makes it feel a bit less harsh than without the spacer). This binding is light enough that I actually notice the significant difference between it and something like a Fritschi Tecton, but the Voyager / Raider skis better than anything else I’ve used in its weight class. And I basically always run my release values and DIN settings at 10, so I have no need for the burlier version.

Ski #2: Line Blade, 181 cm + Marker Griffon 13

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

Throughout the whole lift-accessed ski season, I am very rarely choosing which ski(s) I ski on a given day purely based on whether I want to ski them. We have a lot of skis to test so I’m on a different ski almost every day.

However, I give myself a few days throughout the season when I just ski what I want to ski, and for nearly all of those days last season, that ski was the Line Blade.

The Blade is certainly not a traditional carver and there are plenty of other skis that are objectively better at things like edge hold, power, stability, turn-shape versatility, etc. But I don’t care about that, because this is my quiver selection, and the Blade is one of the most “fun” skis I’ve ever tried. I will have a pretty good time on this ski, no matter the conditions. It makes otherwise boring terrain way more interesting, which made ski days with my less experienced friends and family last year a ton of fun. And yet, I was also pleasantly surprised by its versatility each time I brought it into Mt. Crested Butte’s steep and technical off-piste terrain.

Regarding alpine bindings, I really don’t have strong preferences. Realistically, I’d just go with whichever 13 or 16 DIN alpine binding I could get at the best price and that would work with my boots. For now, I’ll just say the Marker Griffon cause I think it looks cool on the Blade.

Ski #3: Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm + Marker Duke PT 12

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Line Sir Francis Bacon

This is still one of my all-time favorite skis, and it’s once again gonna be in several of my quivers this year.

I like the SFB and Blade for a similarly subjective reason — it’s almost impossible for me to have a bad time on either ski. Despite that similar rationale, they accomplish that in very different ways.

“Playfulness” is hard to describe since it can mean a lot of things to different people, but in my mind, the SFB is “playful” in every interpretation of the word. It’s easy to bend, it’s easy to throw sideways, it’s got a low swing weight, it’s poppy, and it feels perfectly balanced in the air / while skiing switch.

So while I’ll take the Blade when conditions are firm and/or I’ll be mostly sticking to groomers, I’ll reach for the SFB when the snow is a bit softer and I want to flail around in the air.

Last year I had alpine bindings on the SFB and had a fatter dedicated touring ski, but this year I’m opting to ditch the wider touring ski and just put a 50/50 binding on the SFB. That’s because I just don’t get out in the backcountry all that often during the winter months, and the days I do get usually involve shorter distances where a heavier setup isn’t as much of a pain. Combined with the SFB’s low weight, I think I’d be happy with this compromise, which lets me add one more dedicated resort ski.

As for binding choice, I admittedly haven’t used the Duke PT 12, but based on my time with the Duke PT 16, I feel pretty comfortable using the platform primarily in the resort and for a handful of days in the backcountry. I never run my DIN settings above 12 and the Duke PT 12 is notably lighter than the 16, so that’s what I’d choose.

Ski #4: Dynastar M-Free 108, 192 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Dynastar M-Free 108

This ski was one of the biggest surprises for me last season. As we discuss at length in our full review, the 182 cm and 192 cm M-Free 108 feel like pretty different skis. The 182 is ultra surfy / loose, but that comes at the expense of stability. The 192 maintains a good bit of the playfulness of the 182, but the 192 is significantly more stable.

The result is a ski that gives me the confidence to hit some bigger airs and make fewer turns, but that I can also easily shut down and that feels pretty natural in the air. In this quiver, I’d likely be breaking out the M-Free 108 on the days following a big storm or when it’s snowed a few inches — the kind of days when the snow is forgiving enough to encourage me to take risks, but not so deep that I’m wishing for a true pow ski.

The SFB is also fun on those days, but it’s better for bopping around at more moderate speeds, whereas the M-Free 108 is excellent for pushing my limits.

For bindings on this one, I just think the gold Pivots look sweet on the M-Free 108, so that’s the rationale here.

Ski #5: Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, 186 cm + Salomon STH2 13

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

Of all the skis I’ve tried over the years, the Blackops Gamer is still my personal favorite. That’s because it is not only one of the most stable skis I’ve ever used, but it also caters to my more playful, loose skiing style. I have yet to ski anything else that offers that combination.

I’d be breaking out the Gamer on pretty much any powder day when it’s snowed more than a few inches. And really, the ideal conditions I’m picturing for this ski aren’t untracked pow, they’re the soft chop that follows. Because for me, the Gamer makes blasting through chop basically as fun as skiing pure pow, and chop is primarily what I end up skiing on resort “pow days.”

As for bindings, the STH is easy to step into in deep snow, so that’s probably what I’d put on my pow ski.

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

The Salomon MTN Explore 95 could have served as my spring touring ski and I would be totally fine with that. It’s still really good. I just like that I can get away with a bit less weight on the Superwolf, and I like the Superwolf graphics better.

There are a whole bunch of mid-fat touring skis I was tempted to include, including the Line Vision 108, Moment Wildcat Tour 108, J Skis Slacker, Sego Condor 108, and WNDR Alpine Intention 110. But given that I spend the majority of my time riding lifts during the winter months, I think the 50/50 compromise with the SFB makes sense for me.

As for my inbounds skis, there were tons of skis that narrowly missed the cut.

The Black Crows Mirus COR and Folsom Spar Turbo are somewhat similar to the Line Blade in terms of being a blast to carve and still working off groomers, but the Blade is a bit more versatile than the Mirus COR while being a bit more fun on groomers (to me) than the Spar Turbo. And of course, traditional carvers like the Fischer RC4 The Curv and K2 Disruption 78Ti would be better for carving bigger turns (particularly when conditions are icy), but I have zero interest in skiing them off piste and, for me, they lack the subjective fun factor of the Blade.

Blister reviews the K2 Disruption MTi, Disruption 78C, Disruption 78Ti, Disruption 82Ti
Luke Koppa on the K2 Disruption MTi, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

There are plenty of all-mountain skis I could be happy on. I wouldn’t be super mad if you swapped the 192 cm M-Free 108 for almost any 105mm+ ski in the All-Mountain Freestyle section of our buyer’s guide, but none match its stability. I might also miss having a narrower, more versatile all-mountain ski, such as the new J Skis Masterblaster or Fastforward, Fischer Ranger 102 FR / 94 FR, Shaggy’s Ahmeek 95, Nordica Soul Rider 97, or Volkl M6 Mantra.

The decisions to include the Line SFB and Rossi Blackops Gamer were the most straightforward for me.

The SFB is a unique ski because of its playfulness and low weight, and the RMU Apostle 3.0 106 is probably the only ski I can think of that has the traits to potentially replace it (but I’d need way more time on the Apostle before I do that). I like the Season Nexus for many of the same reasons I like the SFB, but especially in this quiver, where the SFB is the ultra-playful 50/50 ski, the Nexus’s stiffer flex and heavier weight make it less ideal.

As for the Gamer, the Volkl Revolt 121, DPS Koala 118, Season Forma, and Prior Northwest 116 were the closest alternatives for me. But with a mid-fat all-mountain ski that’s as stable as the M-Free 108, I want a pow ski that’s even more stable in chop, and that’s 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?

I still need to try the Armada Stranger, which could maybe unseat the Line Blade. Several of my friends love the Stranger, and I should finally be trying it at the start of this season.

Or maybe the Season Kin will replace the Blade as a fun-times tight carver? I’ll find out soon.

We just got the new J Skis Masterblaster and Fastforward in for testing and I’m pretty confident I’m going to really like both, based on my time on the old Masterblaster. We’ll see if they end up in my quivers next year (or maybe the smaller quivers this year, since I’ll have skied them by the time we publish those…)

I really liked the 4FRNT Hoji when I skied it at the Blister Summit last year, so maybe that’ll work its way into my quiver?

If Rossi ever ends up making the rumored Blackops 110 (aka, a narrower Gamer), it seems like that would have the best chance of replacing the M-Free 108.

I’d also love to get on some of ON3P’s new skis, with the Jeffrey 110 and Woodsman 110 both seeming like potential competitors to the M-Free 108.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Once again, no single brand makes skis that perfectly fill all the roles I want in a 5-ski quiver, but here are my top picks:

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

I’d be pretty psyched on this quiver, with the main downfall being that I don’t get any heavy, damp chargers. But I bet I’d end up getting better at tricks with this quiver.

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

I’d be pretty happy with this one. I haven’t skied the Camox Freebird, but it seems like a decent choice for spring touring. The Mirus COR fills the role of the Blade pretty well, the Camox is a solid all-rounder, the Corvus is fun for directional dayz, and I like the Anima as a playful but pretty stable pow ski. Main drawback is not having a wide-ish 50/50 ski, which could be the Atris, but I like the Camox more than the Atris and I suppose I could put a beefy AT binding on the Corvus and be pretty content.

Moment: Deathwish Tour, Frankenski, Frankenblade, Deathwish, Chipotle Banana

While it’s wide, I’d use the Deathwish Tour as my do-everything touring ski and be pretty happy. I’d also be content using the regular Deathwish for most of my resort skiing, the Chipotle Banana for resort chop, and then the Frankenblade and Frankenski for when I want to mess around. I could throw a Commander in there, but the current versions are a bit less playful than I like (i.e., they’re fairly traditional, directional, metal-laminate skis).

K2: Wayback 106, Disruption STi, Reckoner 102, Mindbender 108Ti, Reckoner 112

I’d be pretty happy with this one. The Wayback 106 would work well as a do-everything touring ski, I love the Reckoner 102 as a super playful ski, the Mindbender 108Ti is a really versatile, stable ski, and the Reckoner 122 is a blast in pow. I haven’t skied the Disruption STi, but based on my time on several other Disruption skis and my preference for tight turns on groomers, I think I’d like it. Main complaint here would be not having a ski that’s a blast for nuking through chop.

5-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER 5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

After six winters in Taos Ski Valley, I moved to the Gunnison Valley last year. Thankfully, a lot of what and how I love to ski carries over to Mt. Crested Butte. While I am a somewhat conservative, directional skier, I am pretty obsessed with steep, technical terrain. I love to ski no matter the conditions, and though I always choose steeper terrain above all else, I still love moguls, groomers, slushy spring days, and really any excuse to be on skis.

About 90% of my days are in the resort, but I also enjoy challenging missions into the alpine and I do find myself in the backcountry in the early and late season. Similar to Dylan, I am opting for one touring ski, one 50/50 ski, and three resort skis.

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

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

Last season I tortured myself a lot with a heavy touring setup, and I am pretty willing to admit for the first time that heavier isn’t always better. I am also really glad that I got to spend some time on WNDR Alpine’s Vital 100 (cambered version) at the 2021 Blister Summit. While I didn’t get to tour with it, I was impressed by the Vital’s downhill performance for being on the lighter end (at least compared to my previous skis). It felt lively, responsive, and predictable — even as I took it on some refrozen laps down Mt. Crested Butte’s Headwall. While it isn’t the lightest ski in its class, it provides a level of stability that inspires confidence, especially in unpredictable or firm backcountry conditions. It’s also a ski that I felt was really easy to maneuver and jump turn with, which is something I am looking for when picking a lightweight touring setup.

Ski #2: Burlier Touring / 50/50 Setup – Santa Ana Free 104, 172 cm + Salmon Shift MNC 13

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

This combination really caters to my skiing preferences while also being pretty versatile in everything from crud to powder. While I have about 15 resort days on this ski (updated review coming soon), I would love to throw a Shift on it and lean on it for softer days in the backcountry, or on shorter tours where I don’t mind the bit of extra weight but feel inclined to ski something that is damp, stable, and responsive. It’s also just a go-to ski that I would like to have around, particularly for resort days when a few inches of snow have fallen.

Ski #3: Resort All-Mountain Ski – 4FRNT MSP CC, 172 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections

One of my favorite skis for exploring Mt. Crested Butte, the 4FRNT MSP CC provides a balance of stability and playfulness that I look for on most resort days. While I have spent a lot of time on the women’s version, the MSP CC, I also spent a couple days on the standard MSP 99, which makes it possible for me to ski a longer length at 181 cm. Between the two, it’s hard to decide which I’d want to spend more resort days on, since the overall characteristics between the two skis are pretty similar.

However, because it’s Crested Butte and I often feel quite humbled as I get out and explore the technical zones of the mountain, I’ve found myself preferring slightly shorter skis. The 172 cm MSP CC offers enough stability and damping while also being a bit easier than the 181 cm, allowing me to ski almost any condition, or zone, without feeling too intimidated. It’s also a bit more quick, fun, and relatively playful, and I found myself skiing bumps a bit more fluidly with the shorter length. From moguls to groomers and tight, technical terrain, I’ve been impressed by the MSP CC, making it my daily driver for most resort days.

Ski #4: Lighter All-Mountain Ski – Rossignol Rallybird Ti, 178 cm + Salomon Warden 13

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

This slot is a little harder to fill and realistically, a 5-ski quiver might be bigger than I would actually want. But for the sake of this hypothetical quiver, I’d want something that feels different from the MSP CC, perhaps slightly wider, and a bit easier to flick around. The Rossignol Blackops Rallybird Ti checks those boxes and was another ski I really enjoyed. I’d take out the Rallybird Ti when it’s a little soft, or a little slushy, or maybe I am just tired. It’s not a very demanding ski, and yet it handles most conditions well.

Ski #5: Resort Powder Ski – Nordica Santa Ana 110, 179cm + 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?

For several seasons, I have relied pretty heavily on the Blizzard Sheeva 10 in the past few years. I know it’s bound to show up in my quiver selections, particularly as we narrow things down.

I’m a huge fan of the 21/22 Volkl Secret 96, which proved to be one of the most versatile all-mountain skis I tried last year, but again, I am likely going to slot it into the smaller quivers since it does so many things really well. I found myself going back and forth between the MSP CC and the Volkl Secret 96 as my daily resort ski, and they are both skis that I like enough to almost be interchangeable, but I find the MSP CC to be just slightly quicker and more maneuverable, while still feeling comparably damp and stable.

Generally, I also felt inclined to include a ski that was less than ~100 mm underfoot, but realistically, I just don’t feel like I would choose that ski on most days of the season. If I were to include a narrower ski, I would consider the Atomic Maven 93 C, which was a really ripping ski for groomers, while still performing fairly well across the rest of the mountain, too. The Nordica Santa Ana 88 could also potentially fill that narrower role, but there are just so many skis in the 96-105mm category that I really enjoy. So I opted for more of those skis, rather than replacing one of them with something narrower that I might not actually spend that much time on.

Kara Williard reviews the Atomic Maven 93 C for Blister
Kara Williard on the Atomic Maven 93 C, 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?

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. In particular, I’d be curious to try some of Moment’s skis, especially the Bella.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

This requires a bit of speculation since I haven’t yet tried the new Santa Ana Unlimited skis, but I’d go with Nordica:

Nordica: Santa Ana Unlimited 93 (lightweight touring), Santa Ana 104 Free (burlier touring / 50/50), Santa Ana 88 (narrower resort ski), Enforcer 104 Free (daily resort ski), Santa Ana 110 Free (resort powder ski)

5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

My style and preferences are pretty similar to Luke’s, with the major differences being that my style is a bit more heavily influenced by freeride competitions and I like to flip and spin a bit more than he does (or maybe I’m just usually not the one carrying the expensive camera?).

Other than that, I spend almost my entire winter in Crested Butte, with somewhere around 80% of my days being spent riding chairlifts and the other 20% spent skinning uphill to access a variety of backcountry lines. I’m also opting for one touring ski, one 50/50 ski, and three inbounds skis.

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

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

The Raven is a pretty easy pick for my go-to touring ski, due to how versatile and reliable it is. When I was going out to ski a backcountry line and I wasn’t quite sure what the conditions would be like, the Raven was always the ski I would reach for.

Sure, there are lighter, more traditional options out there like the Salomon MTN Explore 95 or Majesty Superwolf, which are a little easier to drag uphill and more ideal for steep, firm stuff that is encountered later in the season. But quite honestly, I don’t get out as much as I should in the late spring after the lifts stop running and Hartman Rocks opens for biking, so I do most of my touring throughout the winter. I’m also someone who prefers drifting and slarving my turns in the backcountry, whether it be in soft powder or on spring corn, and the Raven is perfect for that. It also comes in at a weight that I don’t mind dragging uphill, but that I am thankful for when I encounter some less-than-ideal snow conditions.

The 4-Lock skin attachment system on the Raven is kind of a no-brainer, and I also really like the Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 skins that come with the ski.

As for the Moment Voyager XII, I actually haven’t had a chance to ski this binding, but I am willing to trust Luke and take a leap of faith here. I like the idea of having a lighter binding that performs well for its weight, and I am willing to sacrifice some downhill power transfer and performance over a heavier binding like the Marker Kingpin 13, since I rarely encounter very firm conditions in the backcountry.

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

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

This would be sort of a niche ski in my quiver. This setup would function as a 50/50 ski, handling both deep inbounds pow days as well as deeper backcountry days and backcountry jump sessions.

This ski would probably be used mostly at Mt. Crested Butte when we’ve received over ~8 inches of fresh snow. On powder days, I love surfing and buttering around, and a playful powder ski like the Vision 118 is a great tool for the job. We skied the 183 cm model this year, and I found myself wanting a bit more stability out of it, hence the 189 cm length here. I also found myself enjoying how the Vision 118 handled soft chop, so this is a powder ski that I can still enjoy skiing bell-to-bell at the resort.

I also really like finding a nice place for a jump in the backcountry and then building and sessioning a jump with some friends. I am scared to try new tricks in the park, so this is where I try out new rotations and axes (and sometimes end up landing on my head). The Vision 118 is balanced and relatively light, making it easy to flip and spin around. I would also likely mount the Vision 118 around 2 centimeters forward of the recommended line to make switch takeoffs and landings easier, as well as make the ski a bit more balanced in the air. I previously had the 184 cm Bent Chetler 120 as my ski for this duty (not in hypothetical ski quiver world, but actually in real life), and while I enjoyed how light, balanced, and freestyle-friendly it was, I prefer the 189 cm Vision 118’s heavier weight for those choppy in-runs and runouts. It also makes for a more stable and damp inbounds ski.

As for the Marker Duke PT 16, it is important to me to have a burly, durable, reliable binding here as I will likely be crashing a lot. The Duke PT skis just like an alpine binding in the resort, which is ideal since I am not willing to compromise there. I’m picking the Duke PT 16 over the Shift here because I’ll likely be switching between boots a lot, and I don’t like dealing with the Shift’s finicky AFD adjustment. That’s just me being stubborn.

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

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

This was one of my favorite skis last year because it was stable and damp enough to encourage me to ski fast and push myself, but it is also a lot more maneuverable, playful, and forgiving than most other all-mountain chargers out there. The Comp 110 would act as my mid-to-late winter daily driver.

The Comp 110, designed with the help of Freeride World Tour champion Isaac Freeland, is kind of a unique ski in that it is designed to be skied hard through a variety of snow conditions, but it is also designed to be a bit easier to flip, spin, and take off or land switch. I really liked the way that translated on snow — I felt I could push the Comp 110 just about as hard as I wanted to but it was still intuitive to flip and spin, and I enjoyed taking it through the park. This ski does feel most at home in soft snow, but it doesn’t feel too wide for when it hasn’t snowed in a week. Sometimes at CB, we get delayed openings of certain sections of the mountain a few days after a storm, so it is nice to have a ski that performs well in both skied-out stuff but can float well in fresh powder, too. I’d also mount this ski +2 cm of the recommended line.

As for the Pivot 15, I like the feel and all-metal construction of it, so why not.

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

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

This would function as my firm-snow, spring, and park ski. I really like how playful and easy to ski the Reckoner 102 is. It is fun to carve on days when I might be spending more time on groomers than usual, but it also feels really at home all over the mountain if you’re willing to deal with the fact that it isn’t the most stable ski out there.

On slushy days in the spring or firm days when it hasn’t snowed in a long time, I usually spend more time in the park or just trying to hone in my freestyle side by flipping, spinning, and buttering everything. The Reckoner 102 is a pretty ideal choice for a freestyle ski that can be enjoyed equally both in and out of the park.

Ski #5: Black Crows Mirus COR, 184.2 cm + Look Pivot 15

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Black Crows Mirus COR

I’ve come to appreciate skis that carve well and have tight radii, and the Mirus COR is the “fun carver” that I’d go with as my early and late season ski when I just want to carve my way down the mountain. I don’t come from a racing background and I don’t spend enough time only skiing groomers to justify having a dedicated carving ski in my quiver, but there’s something about carving some tight turns down the mountain that puts a smile on my face.

I like the Mirus COR because it is very easy to ski, skis and carves switch quite well, and is freestyle-friendly enough to be fairly easy to spin and butter around. I would likely spend lots of time on it in the early winter when there isn’t enough snow for off-piste skiing, and in the early spring when I’m looking to spend more time carving than on the Reckoner 102.

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

I had a hard time leaving the 186 cm Black Crows Camox off this list. It is a very versatile ski that I really came to enjoy in chalky steeps, in the park, and on groomers. It just isn’t quite as soft and loose as I’d like for an all-mountain freestyle ski.

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 fairly easily had the 181 cm Line Blade in here in the place of the Mirus COR. I do prefer the Mirus COR because I think it skis switch better, feels quicker edge-to-edge, and is more balanced and freestyle-friendly.

I also have come to love the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 over the years, and it is a very fun powder touring ski that makes mellow terrain really fun, yet can be skied surprisingly hard for how little it weighs. I would just prefer something a little heavier for resort skiing, since I don’t ski enough deep backcountry pow to justify having such a lightweight pow touring 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 187 cm ON3P Woodsman 110 or 102 have a good chance of making my list, given that the 187 cm ON3P Woodsman 108 was one of my favorite skis of all time. I haven’t had a chance to ski the new ON3P Woodsman 110, and while I am pretty confident I’ll like it, I definitely want to ski it.

There’s also the new Sego Comp 104, the narrower version to the Comp 110. This ski is likely a more practical daily driver than the 110 for Crested Butte, and while I am also pretty confident I’ll like this ski, I want to wait until I get on it to say for sure.

There are also several skis that Jonathan and Luke really like that I have yet to ski, and I really need to. Some examples are the Fischer Ranger 102 and 94 FR, the Nordica Enforcer Free skis, the Salomon MTN Explore 95, and the Moment Wildcat. Maybe one of these will appear on my list next year.

The new J Skis Masterblaster and Fastforward seem promising, as well as the Nordica Enforcer 104 Unlimited. Like Luke, I am also very interested in the Armada Stranger, and I am also curious about the Armada Whitwalker as a 50/50 ski.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

This is a good question that doesn’t have a perfect answer in my case:

#1: Sego: Wave 94, Condor 108, Comp 110, Big Horn 96, Big Horn 114

I haven’t skied most of these, but based on my time on the Comp 110 and Big Horn 106 as well as Luke and Jonathan’s take on the Condor 108, I have a good feeling I would be happy with this quiver.

#2: Moment: Wildcat Tour 108, Deathwish, Commander 108, Wildcat 101, Wildcat

I suppose this quiver is missing a ski narrower than 100 mm underfoot, but I am not too worried about that since I’ve spent a lot of time on relatively wide skis. This seems like it would be a pretty fun quiver though, and I am looking forward to getting more time on a lot of these skis.

#3: Folsom: Completo 100 Carbon, Rapture, Spar Turbo, Cash 106, Primary 104

This quiver is kind of a cheat code because I can tweak each of these skis to work best for what I have in mind and really dial them in. The TRN TEK would really be a cherry on top but I am not sure I am cool enough to own it. If you’re not familiar with the TRN TEK, you need to come to the Blister Summit.

Part Two:

5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

First, a short rant. As noted below, my 5-ski quiver would look a lot different if I could draw from skis no longer being made. It would be a tough call between the Folsom and my old DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 and both my pow touring ski and inbounds pow skis would be different. With that said:

Folsom Rapture, 192 cm (custom, shallow reverse camber) + Marker Jester Pro

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

This is currently my work ski of choice for my job guiding heli skiing in Alaska. I’ve now written about it a few times but it provides the best combination of float, stability, carving power, and all-round versatility for a big mountain powder ski of anything currently on the market.

Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm + Marker Jester Pro

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

There might be a better ~100mm all-mountain ski out there for me but I haven’t found one yet. The Mantra 102 provides great stability at high speeds while still being easy to pivot in tight spots. On groomers they carve as well as any ski around this width I’ve used and can handle high angles and high speeds with aplomb. The 191 cm is fun but since I’ll have other wider skis for fresh snow, I’m sticking with the 184 cm length for quickness.

Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm + Moment Voyager XVI

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

There are a number of great 100-110mm lightweight touring skis out there but the Zero G 105 strikes a nice balance of float and stability while still being reasonably light. These and the Moonlight skis below are the skis most likely to be replaced by something else once I get some more time on snow this season.

Moonlight Cruiser 120, 185 cm + Moment Voyager XVI

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

DPS discontinued the Lotus 124 Tour (except for a limited edition Powderworks version that may or may not be the same shape as my pair) and Black Diamond has changed the Helio 116, both of which were my favorite pow touring skis. I only have five days on these Moonlight skis this season so far, but they are very light (the “Superlight Carbon” version, in particular, is insanely light!), provide plenty of float, and seem to be a pretty good all-round big terrain Alaskan powder touring ski. I need to play with these some more and might substitute in the new version of the BD Helio or DPS 124 if I get a chance to ski them, but so far the Moonlights show promise and are among the few truly fat, very light skis on the market.

Moment Chipotle Banana, 193 cm + Marker Jester Pro

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Moment Chipotle Banana

Similar to my issue with pow touring skis, my favorite inbounds pow day skis no longer exist in the forms I loved. The DPS Koala 119 has gotten lighter and the current Moment Wildcat is also lighter than my old Moment Blister Pro. I haven’t tried the new iterations of those skis but I’m skeptical they are as good at crushing crud and chopped-up maritime pow as their predecessors. The Chipotle Banana, however, is an all-out chop annihilator. It’s just fine in fresh pow but really comes into its own once the hill starts to get tracked up on a powder day and smashes through cut-up snow better than just about anything out there, regardless of waist width. Combine that with a rocker profile that allows for quick pivots and skids and this is a ski that feels way more versatile inbounds than its waist width would suggest.

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

Apart from materials, I can’t figure out what, if anything has changed on the DPS Lotus 124 in its new Pagoda construction, but I have a long history with that ski and would love to try the new one. As several readers have mentioned, it would be wonderful if I could get my hands on the new version. We’re hoping to make that happen this season.

The Faction La Machine was the surprise highlight ski of the year for me last season and while it didn’t quite fit into the above list, it’s an all-round great pow ski that can double as pow tourer. I suspect it will show up in some of my other “quivers.”

Paul Forward reviews the Faction La Machine for Blister
Paul Forward on the Faction La Machine.

And as I’ve mentioned, there are a lot of discontinued skis that I absolutely love and which are in regular rotation in my current quiver over anything currently on the market.

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 place a significant priority on weight when it comes to my touring skis and am looking forward to trying out a few new models this season. Luke didn’t find the ultralight Movement Alp Tracks 106 to be great in less consistent snow during his abbreviated time on it, but I wonder how it will fare up here in Alaska. I have a pair waiting to be mounted.

For inbounds skiing, I am really interested in trying the Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad. Based on what Jonathan has said, this could be the ultimate Alyeska ski for me, but we’ll see if I can pry it away from him…

I’ve been saying for years that I need to try a pair of the Atomic Bentchetler 120 with light bindings to try as a pow tourer but there still hasn’t been a pair around for me to check out.

And I must try the Fastforward from J Skis because, well, the name is awesome.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

It feels like cheating to say Folsom because they make custom skis but I could happily make it through a season on a Folsom quiver. Despite only having skied the Blister Pro 104 and my Raptures, those skis give me confidence that the good folks at Folsom could round out the rest of my ski needs, except maybe a very light pow touring ski. I’m not sure how light of a ~105mm touring ski they can make but if they can get it close to 1500-1600 g I could make that work for even multi-day spring tours. I suspect even the lightest layup they could do of a Rapture would be a lot heavier than my current pow tourers (1600 g for a ~120mm ski) so that would be the other limitation, but I bet we could figure out something I could work with.

For non-custom brands, it would be really tough because I’m quite particular about my powder skis and many of the few >120mm skis currently on the market don’t do it for me as a work ski. I can’t think of a single company that makes a great pow ski for my job as a heli ski guide AND a fun, damp charger AND a light touring ski. Blizzard is close with a Bonafide or Cochise, Rustler 11, and Zero G 105 and/or 95, but I have thus far struggled with the new Blizzard Spur and the Rustler 11 isn’t quite big enough for my preferences as a heli ski. Plus there’s no lightweight pow touring ski from them and there are a lot of days when I love having a fat ski for local tours.

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

Kristin Sinnott

(5’8”, 125lbs / 172 cm, 56.7kg)

I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 5-ski quiver, and why?

I always feel a bit strange putting together a 5-ski quiver because it feels like such a luxury. But then I start thinking about all the skis I’ve had the opportunity to ski and I realize it’s hard to narrow down the selection to five pairs. Oh how Blister has changed me. I recognize I’m completely spoiled. Please don’t hate me.

Anyway, when building this quiver, I started with the categories I wanted then worked out which ski would be my top choice for each.

A little bit about me so you know where I’m coming from with my choices: I’m a very directional skier who gravitates towards intuitive skis. I usually keep my skis on the snow (although my goal every season is to be more playful), I love almost every type of terrain and most snow conditions, but I really love steeps with chalky snow. Also, I am not a snow snob. My apologies for turning this into a ski dating profile.

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

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

I really hope I’m able to do more backcountry skiing this season but realistically, my tours will likely include me carrying my son in a backpack. So I’ll be spending my uphill time on mellow runs with zero avy risk. Also, when I tour with my son, we tend to picnic and play in the snow pretty hard and we typically miss the good skiing window (at least in the spring). The Ripstick 94 W is predictable and stable (at least for its weight), so I feel comfortable hopping on it knowing that it can withstand some crud / refrozen snow skiing.

The Ripstick 94 W almost made my list in the everyday all-mountain category, but because it’s fairly lightweight, I decided to include it as my backcountry ski.

I would mount these skis with the Marker Kingpin because I like how it skis. I don’t have too high of hopes for any big backcountry missions this season so the added weight doesn’t really bother me. And I have the added bonus of also potentially being able to use the Ripstick 94 W on resort.

A Fun Ski: Moment Frankenblade or any ski blade

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Moment Frankenblade

When I ski, I usually spend my time on the chairlift making voice memos about the gear I’m skiing. Especially the skis. When every day on the mountain is a “work day,” it’s nice to have a setup that you don’t have to think about. I’m certainly not complaining about getting the opportunity to test loads of skis, but it’s nice when I can quiet my brain sometimes. So … snowblades.

I threw snowblades in my quiver last year because (1) I wouldn’t have to write about them, (2) I thought it would be fun to use them when teaching my son to ski (it was — especially for magic carpet days), and (3) it would be a ski that would be purely for fun. Somedays I get on the mountain and am lucky to get three runs in. When that happens, I’m typically left to find my fun on my own with only end-of-the-day groomers for options, and snowblades have proven to be a fun option for that.

I definitely was called out last year for saying, “as long as I can get three runs on the snowblades today, I’ll be happy.” It was closing day. And Easter. And I succeeded and had a blast.

I heard Luke Jacobson is sending some Moment Frankenblades to HQ. I am already scheming how to steal them from Luke Koppa while also eagerly anticipating Jonathan hopping on the shorties for his first time.

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

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

When thinking about this ski, I was looking for something in the 92 to 98 mm range because I’ve found skis in that width range to be great everyday skis for me; narrow enough to carve well, yet wide enough for me to comfortably take off-piste into soft and firm snow. The Volkl Secret 96 performs exceptionally well in both scenarios. It’s a great carver, especially for its width, and it has some energy / pop to it similar to the Nordica Santa Ana series. But, unlike the Santa Ana series, I didn’t find myself being thrown into the backseat as much on the Secret 96.

The Secret 96 is also quite damp and can handle a wide range of snow conditions, or at least that’s what I found during my limited time on them last season.

Our other reviewers have spent more time on the Secret 96 than I have, but both the 163 cm and 170 cm lengths immediately clicked for me.

The 163 cm felt more playful while I felt I could go faster and charge a little harder on the 170 cm. I was tempted to choose the 163 cm here since I enjoyed popping off little bumps on it, but I ultimately decided on the 170 cm because I have the Ripstick 94 W if I’m looking for a more playful ski.

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

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

When thinking about a well-rounded quiver, I knew I wanted to include a narrower all-mountain ski. When the mountains start opening in November, I’m as eager as anyone to hop on a lift and make some turns, even if there’s only one run open and it’s a firm groomer.

For those conditions alone, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 would be a great option. They are easy to ski, I don’t need strong legs (my pre-season ski workouts have been fairly non-existent this season) to make them perform, and they can make small and large radius turns equally well. Perfect for dodging skiers on crowded runs.

But the Black Pearl 88 is more than just a groomer ski, which is the main reason I’m including it here. I reached for this ski all season last year and happily took it all over the mountain. From carving groomers to sliding turns in chalky bumps, I found the Black Pearl 88 to be a fun ski.

This would also be the ski I’d be most likely to take when traveling to the east coast or to any mountain that is groomer friendly and/or bump oriented. I am currently back east and, unfortunately, I did not fly with any skis due to my relatively quick visit and the fact that most mountains are still closed. But if I had packed skis, I would have packed the Black Pearl 88 (and the Renoun Earhart 88).

Powder / Soft snow ski: Wagner Summit 106, 172 cm

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

The fattest ski I’ve been on in the past few years is 110 underfoot. And while I felt like I could have used something wider a few times last season, I think something in the 106 range will work well enough for me on most days.

Wagner made custom skis for the inaugural Blister Summit, and I was able to test a pair out. If you listened to the Wagner GEAR:30 podcast, you already know how much I love this ski, but if you haven’t heard it, now you know. Wagner now makes the Summit 106 as a “Factory” ski so you can purchase this exact model if you’d like.

From the first turns, this ski just clicked for me. I loved them so much that I was tempted to text Jonathan that I was done testing skis and would just ski the Summit 106 from here on out.

In previous years, the DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2 always seemed to find a place in my quiver and it was one of my favorite skis. But when I A/B’d the Zelda A106 and the Summit 106, I found I preferred the Summit 106. The Summit 106 is more stable, performed better in chop, had less tip chatter, and was generally more predictable. The biggest takeaway from my time on the Summit 106 is that the ski was able to disappear underneath me. At the top of each run, I try to come up with something to think about when skiing so I can evaluate the ski based on that when I get back to the chairlift. Each time I tried this with the Summit 106, I would start skiing and my mind would go blank, or at least there was nothing I needed to note because I never found any quirks or things I was struggling with when skiing.

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

Every time I hop on the Renoun Earhart 88, I am always a little surprised by how light it is and how well it performs. Even typing this, I’m second-guessing my choice of the Black Pearl 88 but ultimately, I went with the Black Pearl 88 because it is a more traditionally shaped ski that’s a bit better on piste. Honestly, though, I would be happy with either of these skis filling this spot in my quiver.

The Salomon QST Stella 106 will be missed and honestly, I tend to overlook this ski because the design is not new. But whenever I get on the ski, it reminds me of what I’ve been missing. I left it off the list mostly because I couldn’t justify having two 106 mm skis, even in my 5-ski quiver.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Kristin Sinnott on the Salomon QST Stella 106 (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

A pair of telemark skis would also be nice. Honestly, I’m starting to miss the days when I would skin up my local mountain at sunrise or sunset on my telemark skis. The tours were more about getting some fresh air, exercising, and unwinding. When you only get to do one lap, a lap on telemark skis feels so good and usually left me a little exhausted. But I’m not a good enough telemark skier to ski with my son on my back so I haven’t taken them out in four years. Hopefully, this is the season.

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 a fan of the Nordica Santa Ana series and I’m a bit surprised none of them made this list. The new Santa Ana Unlimited 93 recently arrived and I am eager to test them. I would not be surprised if that ski makes my list next year as my backcountry ski of choice, but we will see.

I spent half a day skiing the 4FRNT MSP 107 at the Blister Summit and came away impressed. Really impressed. Given more time on them, I think there is a good chance they would have made this list. I’d also like to test the MSP CC because (1) Kara speaks highly of them and (2) I’m always interested in testing a ~100mm ski.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Ironically, I think I’d go with Nordica: Santa Ana Unlimited 93, Santa Ana 110 Free, Santa Ana 104 Free, Santa Ana 98, and Santa Ana 93. I have yet to ski the 104 or Unlimited but I’ve heard great things about the 104 from fellow reviewers and the Unlimted is in my possession waiting for snow.

Wagner would also work, but this answer feels a little like I’m cheating because I only had a chance to test 2 pairs of their new factory / Summit line of skis and there are only 4 skis in that line. But I’m still listing it because the Summit 106 is my current favorite pair of skis and there really aren’t any rules to this thought exercise. So the five skis would be the Summit 107 for off-piste resort days, Summit 106 as a 50/50 ski, Summit 105 for touring, Summit 97 for firmer days in the resort, and for the fifth pair, I’d ask Wagner to build me a narrower all-mountain ski in the 88-93 mm waist range.

5-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER 5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

Though I’m the Bike Editor at Blister, I am also an avid skier. I live in Western Washington and tend to do something like a 65/35 resort/touring split through most of the winter. So for my five-ski quiver, I’m going with two touring skis, two resort skis, and one 50/50 option.

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

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

First up is the ski that I’ve used for the majority of my touring days over the last several seasons, and the one I’ll use as my mid-winter touring daily driver in this quiver: the 4FRNT Raven. I love this ski for how predictable and consistent it is in weird, crusty, tricky snow, while also being a lot of fun when conditions are more favorable. If things are super deep I might want to break out a wider ski (see below) but the Raven floats alright for its size, especially if you have a bit of room to get them up to speed. The Raven is just a super versatile, predictable ski for a big range of backcountry conditions, and it easily gets a nod here.

The pair I actually own in real life is mounted with G3 ZED bindings, and I’ve mostly been happy with them — once I got hold of the stiffer heel track spring that G3 started using after the first year of the binding — but I’ll be spending a bunch of time on the Moment Voyager this year. Based on what Luke and a couple of my friends have had to say about them, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Voyager unseats the ZED as my choice here, but since I haven’t yet skied them, the ZED it is for now.

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

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

This slot is getting used for the lower-snow resort ski in my quiver, and for that position, I’m going with the Volkl Mantra 102. For where and how I ski, I don’t really need a true, dedicated frontside ski, but I do want something that (1) carves pretty well (2) has very good suspension for when things — both on and off piste — inevitably start to get roughed up and (3) can handle a fair bit of soft-ish, probably very heavy chop without feeling too hooky and hard to manage. The Mantra 102 fits the bill really well. If I spent more time skiing really big moguls, I’d probably want a ski that feels like less work there, but at least for where I live, that’s a tradeoff I’m okay with. And then if we’re talking about deeper, softer snow / soft chop, well, that’s where my next ski comes in.

I’m pretty happy skiing most decent alpine bindings and wouldn’t be mad about putting several different options on here, but I like the simplicity and all-metal construction of the Pivot 15 so they’ll get the nod as my first choice.

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

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

The Praxis FRS is the ski I grab for a lot of resort days where there’s at least a bit of new snow, even if it’s not super deep. Compared to the Mantra 102, which is going to be my other primary resort ski here, the FRS floats a lot better, is much looser and pivot-y, especially in deeper snow and soft chop, and is a bunch more playful while still having fairly good suspension and being stable enough to charge a bit once things start to get chopped up. And see the end of my blurb about the Mantra 102 above re: binding choice.

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

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

If I get to have five skis, I want one of them to be a big, dedicated powder ski, and I love the Praxis Protest in that role. It floats well (like you’d expect a 192 cm long, 128 mm underfoot ski to), is comfortable making just about any turn shape imaginable in 3D snow, and manages to have somewhat decent suspension for when the resort pow starts to get cut up into soft chop, while being just light enough that I’m willing to do some shorter tours on it, too. And that’s where another strength of the Protest comes out — in addition to being a really good powder ski, it’s also a great tool for making weird, upside-down snow a whole lot of fun. I’ve had days touring on my pair where I was having a good day, only to turn around and look up at my partners for the day — all strong skiers — were punching through funky snow on narrower, more traditionally shaped skis and having a very hard time.

And for this ski, I want a binding that I’m comfortable skiing hard on inbounds, but can still do some touring on, and in this case I’m going with the Salomon Shift. I haven’t skied the Marker Duke PT yet, and while I like the CAST Freetour system for some use cases, I want to be able to use a rubber-soled AT boot with the Protest, so the Shift it is.

Ski #5: Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm + something light

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Salomon MTN Explore 95

Finally, I’ll add a pair of Salomon MTN Explore 95s as a spring touring ski, for longer days on volcanoes and the like. The 177 cm version would very likely be the way to go here, but I’ve only skied the 184 and know I like it, so I won’t cheat here. It’s just a bit lighter than the Raven that I’ll be doing most of my mid-winter touring on but has much, much better edge hold on very firm, refrozen snow — one of the few scenarios in the backcountry where the Raven leaves quite a bit to be desired for me.

Binding wise, I’d be inclined to mount something really light on these — something like the ATK Trofeo (which I admittedly haven’t skied). I’m not going to be skiing super aggressively on these, and just want to cut whatever weight I reasonably can for very long days and lots of vert.

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

Honestly, not a ton. I’m very happy with this quiver and have a lot more to say for the next question — both in this quiver and the subsequent smaller ones.

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 many other people here at Blister, I’m a huge fan of the original 190 cm Moment Bibby, and if all the stuff Luke Jacobson said in his rundown of the Moment lineup on GEAR:30 about the latest version of the Wildcat getting back to the feel of that ski is true, it’ll unseat the Praxis FRS for that slot. The Bibby and the FRS are pretty similar in a lot of ways, but the Bibby feels just a bit more stable and composed in really heavy chop, which would give it the edge for me.

I could definitely see myself getting along really well with the Rossignol Black Ops Gamer in that same slot, but I haven’t skied that yet either. The recommended mount point is a little farther forward than I’d normally gravitate towards, but everything else about it sounds pretty great, and I’m more than a little curious.

I’m also intrigued by the ON3P Billy Goat 118 Tour. If that ski happens to click, I could see myself dropping the MTN Explore 95 from my quiver to use the Goat as a much lighter mid-winter pow touring ski instead of pulling my Protests into 50/50 duty.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

I have to cheat a little bit here — I don’t have an answer that I’m thrilled with where I’ve actually skied all five options that I’d be inclined to pick.

That said, I think I’m going to go with Moment for this one, with the Deathwish Tour, Wildcat 101, Commander Tour, Wildcat, and Chipotle Banana as my picks. And if Luke Jacobson is wrong about the new Wildcat being a worthy replacement for the old Bibby that I love so much, I’ll just need to drive down to Reno and fight him.

This one’s even more speculative since most of these skis got redesigned this year and I’ve skied none of the current versions, but an ON3P quiver of a Woodsman 102 Tour, Wrenegade 102 Ti, Woodsman 110, Billy Goat 118 Tour, and Billy Goat 118 also sounds pretty solid.

5-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 5-ski quiver, and why?

1: Touring: 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm + Shift MNC 13

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

This has been my personal choice for years now, and while there are now more touring skis than ever before that I could be pretty happy touring on, I still love the Raven.

Interestingly, I have found myself recommending the WNDR Alpine Vital 100 — the cambered version — to people when I think the Raven could be a good fit for them, but I have reason to think they might prefer that touch of traditional camber for skin tracks or for firmer conditions, etc.

2: K2 Disruption 78 Ti, 177 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
K2 Disruption 78Ti

Of the current crop of frontside skis (skis that haven’t recently been updated or discontinued), this is my current favorite. It provides good edge grip on frozen groomers, it can be pushed very hard, but it also feels compliant at less-than-mach-looney speeds. Granted, we will very shortly be getting on a few skis that might provide some stiff competition here, but the Disruption 78 Ti is my current frontside pick.

3: Folsom Spar 88, 182 cm – custom build

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

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been going back and forth a lot on this #3 ski. Initially, I was thinking I’d put a ~95mm wide ski here, one that works really well on pretty firm conditions.

But I can’t quite get myself to say that the current iteration of the Blizzard Bonafide is the ski I’d want for skiing hard and fast on firm moguls (which is what I would end up doing a lot of on this particular ski). The current Bonafide is a very good ski, but it could end up being a bit too demanding for this type of everyday, all-mountain use.

And I am a bit worried that the J Skis Masterblaster might be a bit too soft-snow oriented for the same application, and I have yet to try the new J Skis Fastforward.

Then I remembered: the Folsom Spar 88. All of our reviewers loved the stock version we skied and reviewed, myself included.

But what I would do is call up Mike McCabe at Folsom and have him build me a Spar that’s a little bit heavier than the version we reviewed (like 50-100 grams, max), and maybe just a tiny bit stiffer.

Basically, I want a stable ski with pretty plush suspension that will be fun in firm moguls, not too loose and not too locked-in on firm steeps, and not overly stiff and demanding. This custom Spar 88 of mine won’t carve as well as the ski above on very firm groomers, but when the groomers soften up a bit, it will be a blast.

And just like that, I’m feeling very, very good about my #3 ski.

4: Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Blizzard Cochise 106

With this latest version of the Cochise, I’m back to loving this ski. And the 185 cm length feels perfect for all-mountain everything in Crested Butte: it’s stable, maneuverable in tight spots, and quick enough for me. So when conditions start to soften up enough or the steeps are getting covered with punchy snow, this is when it’ll be time to put away the Spar 88 and break out the Cochise.

5: Rossignol Blackops Gamer, 186 cm

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

Another favorite ski, given its outstanding suspension combined with a progressive mount point that keeps the ski feeling quick. And fun. It’s also a powder ski that works really well when all that powder gets tracked out, or you’re skiing steep, scraped-off lines. Just a fun, confidence-inspiring ski.

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

Rossignol Blackops Sender Squad, 194 cm

I love this ski. But I don’t feel like it’s the best fit for me at Crested Butte. (The shorter, narrower Blizzard Cochise 106 feels a little bit like a lighter, narrower, shorter Sender Squad.)

But if the area you ski most has more open lines or big faces — and you’re good with the width of this ski — this ski is special.

Wagner Summit 106 with Shift MNC 13

I was really, really impressed with this ski. And when Pete Wagner said he designed this to be the perfect “travel” ski, I think he nailed it. For people looking for a single ski to take to Colorado or Utah or California or to the southern hemisphere to do a mix of inbounds skiing and touring, this ski hits a sweet spot of stability, intuitiveness, light-ish weight, quickness, and fun.

WNDR Alpine Vital 100 – cambered

Do you like the sound of the 4FRNT Raven with a bit of traditional camber? There’s a reason I’ve been recommending this ski so much recently.

Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm

I love this ski, too. For punchier snow I’ll opt for the more maneuverable Cochise 106, but of the ~100m wide, stable, directional skis on the market, this is my current favorite.

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?

Fischer RC4 The Curv – this has been one of my top-2 favorite frontside carvers for years. But the ski got tweaked, so I wanted to wait to see if it is still one of my all-time favorite carvers. The good news is that I’ll be spending time on it soon.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer RC4 The Curv for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Fischer RC4 The Curv, Crested Butte, CO.

HEAD Supershape e-Titan – The previous version (i.Titan) has been my other favorite frontside ski, and the story is the same as with the Fischer Curv RC4. Stay tuned for more on these skis.

Moment Wildcat, 190 cm – see David Golay’s comments above.

IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 5-ski quiver, which company would you pick?

Hmmm, this was quite difficult this year for me. I won’t go through each brand and why none felt like the clear-cut answer here, but I guess that just means that no brand happens to be scratching my particular set of 5-quiver itches. So with that said, here’s where I’ve landed:


1: Touring: Blizzard Zero G 105, 180 cm
2: Frontside: Blizzard Firebird WRC or Thunderbird R15, 170 or 175 (I’m cheating here, since I have yet to ski these. Hoping to change that this season.)
3: All-Mountain Firm: Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm
3: All-Mountain: Cochise 106, 185 cm
4: Pow: Rustler 11, 188 cm

44 comments on “5-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22)”

  1. Has anyone gotten on the Armada stranger? seems to be a common category of ski choice for you all. Would love to hear any major differences to the Blade or Cor

    • Not yet, but I should finally be skiing it this season since one of the shops here has some demo pairs, so I should at least be able to publish a Flash Review.

  2. I dig the superwolf a ton. Have you guys gotten on the carbon version? If So, what are your thoughts on the ride compared to the regular superwolf?

  3. Hey Luke, a quick question about your Line 5-ski quiver. I see you selected the Line Blend as one of your skis there. It seems like the Blade might be the ski you’d reach for when things are firm or you’re sticking to groomers, so I’m wondering when you might reach for the Blend? Maybe a stupid question, because it’s obviously a very jibby ski. But any other circumstances when you’d reach for it? Asking because I’m a big time Line fan, and an especially big SFB fan, and I’m trying to find a new mid 90s ski that I’d reach for when conditions aren’t so soft. Thinking about the Blade and also the Sick Day 94.

    • I was frankly struggling to think of a 5th ski for that quiver and picked the Blend just cause I think it’d be a fun ski to use in the park. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to try it, I was just going off its reputation for being a really soft ski that’s fun at slow speeds. Seems like it could be a good narrower ski to complement the SFB, though the Blend definitely won’t be as loose and likely not as light.

  4. I always like these.

    One thing the 5 ski quivers always make me wonder about is basically the following.

    Assuming you were choosing a quiver of as many skis as you like that each have distinct use cases, how many skis would you own? Basically, how many “slots” are there for each of you?

    • For me, I think I’d be totally content with a 5-ski or 6-ski (add another dedicated touring ski) quiver. That said, I think I’d also be like 90% as happy with a 3-ski quiver. And if I didn’t tour at all, a 2-ski quiver would be fine, too.

  5. Just wondering why the Black Crows Nocta never gets a mention on Blister? Ski Essentials my other go to review guys, who really seem to know their stuff, love it.

  6. Love quivering time! Enjoy the thought processes. For me I have Monster 98 (bought brand new in May so not yet skied), Fischer Ranger 102FR, Line Sakana, Salomon QST 106 with Tecton’s as my 50/50 and Origin 112 (ex-demo pair). All bought with much insight and input from Blister (particularly the very patient Luke). As mentioned in a previous podcast, if you can find decent secondhand pairs it’s easy to end up growing the quiver very cheaply.

    Looking forward to others chiming in and would also love to see a review of the Nocta one day, too many skis to review them all!

  7. The star of my five ski quiver is the Elan rip stick 106 regular , it’s a do everything ski always fun , my whole quiver is mounted with attack binding in order to keep the same stance except my back country set up I also use a older pr for back country

  8. Hi Mark,
    my quiver currently has 12 Skis. If I could have more or as much as could I would have n+1 skies
    My wife disagrees strongly ;-)

    • Hi Holger, I salute you sir, but now you’re just teasing me. I think 12 might be a stretch for me but could easily see me getting near 10 if I am not careful! Our wives are on the same page and probably not wrongly…

      • @Holger and Cholmeski

        I have 13 or so skis for myself, the wife has another 7 or 8.

        That said, I think there is a A LOT of redundancy in my quiver and a more disciplined mind would probably sell their less preferred versions of certain skis.

        • @Holger, Cholmeski and Mark;

          I stopped counting at 20 pairs. No wife though (who would probably have saved me from going quiver loony….).

  9. Hey Dylan, I’m also thinking about picking up the Mirus COR this year and was wondering if you had experience on both the 184 and 178. I was going to grab the 184 but after Black Crows released their new promo videos and said everyone was riding the 178 (even their 6’1” rider) and to size down I’m second guessing myself now. Thanks for any insight in advance.

    • Hey Ryan,

      I’ve actually only spent time on the 178 cm length. If I were spending the majority of my time on groomed terrain, I think I’d be totally happy with this length. I think it also might be best if you plan on skiing plenty of tight moguls and trees on it.

      I opted to go for the 184 cm length of the Mirus COR because I think it would offer some more all-mountain versatility when skiing fast in off-piste terrain. The shovels of the 178 length have felt short when trying to ski fast through chalky steeps, which is something I’d likely be doing on this ski in the springtime if I am not carving up a groomer. I’m glad the 184 still has that 13 m radius for making tight turns, too.

      We still need more time on the Mirus COR before we can post our full review and dive into the finer details of the ski, but upon first impressions, the Mirus COR is a ski that I wouldn’t be hesitant to size down on.

  10. I love the choices that include the “resort powder” which is what many of us experience in The West. Some flotation/rocker for the first runs of the day, some strength for chop, some camber for carving on soft snow, and narrow enough to have fun in the trees.

  11. You guys going to get on the latest Moment Wildcat this season? Looks like weight is back to being in range of the old Bibby at ~2300g this year.

    Also hope you guys can get on some ON3P skis this year, although I know they are in tight supply.

  12. Couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea of ski designers now having to be [more] physically afraid of Blister reviewers. Appreciate the humor and the personal character in everyone’s writing.

    • Ha, come to think of it … it has to be true that we have threatened more physical violence toward product designers than any other gear review outlet ever.

      Of course, we only threaten because we care so much about this stuff!

    • I don’t *want* to fight Luke Jacobson. But my current pair of Bibbys aren’t going to last forever, and they’re a special ski. So for everyone’s sake, I hope he’s right about the new, heavier Wildcat.

      • Come to think of it, I also once had a hand in getting Jed Yeiser concussed (not on purpose). So I guess I have something of a track record here.

        I’m nice in person, I promise.

  13. I feel like one of the slots in a 5-ski quiver needs to be a dedicated rock ski.

    Yes, you don’t actually buy that new for the purpose from this year’s stock, but something like “which ski from last year’s quiver do you keep for rock skis, while you sell the others?” or “which kind of ski do you try to pick up at a ski swap for cheap”

    You’re most likely to be using it early in the season which will mean a lot of groomers as the snow fills in, but you’ll be champing at the bit to get off piste where there’s thin coverage. Also end of the season in the spring where the mornings are frozen solid groomers and the afternoons are soft and slushy with rocks starting to poke out.

    My thought would be a narrower, stiff all mountain ski. Something that carves well on the groomers and can hold an edge in ice, but is still fun to take into the trees and bumps and has a enough stability to power through end of season crud.

    I have an old Kendo sitting in this slot, but I’d think a Mantra, or Enforcer 94 type ski could fit here even better.

    • Good call OH. I bought a pair of very used Head Monster 88’s for €90 a year ago. Top sheet looks awful but bases, edges and bindings are fine. Really like them and wish they were still made – not sure what today’s nearest equivalent would be? Not a rock ski as such but far less careful with them, and will run them until they die and then make them into something.

  14. Love these posts! I’m wondering if any of you ever get on anything from Kastle or Voile. I’ve found some very old reviews on Blister but sadly nothing recent. They make such fantastic skis, I hope some day you guys get some to test! My current quiver is 5 and I find that to be the perfect number (2 resort, 2 touring, 1 50-50):
    1) resort low tide: 2019 Kastle fx85 (best ski ever)
    2) resort daily driver: 2022 moment sierra (doing a daily snow dance so I can finally get these on the snow)
    3) winter touring ski: voile supercharger
    4) volcano/mountaineering ski: BD helio carbon 88 (not a big fan of this ski, still searching for sub-6 lbs ski that I don’t hate)
    5) 50-50 powder ski with shifts: moment wildcat tour (I can drive these surprisingly hard on groomers also).

  15. Any thoughts on the OGSO skis? These look very interesting to me, but I am hesitant in trying them out due to limited information about them.

  16. If you gave us the height and weight (and maybe age) of each of these reviewers, it would help the readers to choose the appropriate length for skis that are of interest to them.

  17. Love the quiver discussions, but mine is shrinking. Not actually(to my wife’s chagrin] but in use. as a dedicated downhiller, i don’t need a touring ski, so 2-3 is PLENTY. hear me out.

    I have the head monsters in 88, 98, and 108, an old stockli laser sc, and a line supernatural 115 in my “active” quiver. but since I got the monster 98, I ski that 90% of the time. Since then, I can’t see needing more than 3. A wide carver around 85, a “monster 98” and a 115 pow ski. And to be honest, I can skip the wide carver as my 177cm monster 98 can arc like crazy, skis resort pow, crud, and bumps like a champ, and then my 115 for heli/bottomless days. maybe it’s my age, but knees are clear, they are much happier on under 100 if their is a bottom and edging. and in my low snow for a western home mountain, most of our pow days past December are not bottomless. we are skiing pow but bottoming on the bumps underneath. and then one is really edging and over 100 puts torque on my old knees that they don’t like. sure I can carve my 115s, and especially my monster 108s, but my knees have spoken! Under 100 is far easier on the knees. and 8 inches of fresh and piles are crushed by those monster 98s. 2-3 pairs is PLENTY for me. It’s tough for a gear junky to admit, but I don’t need as much gear as I used to.

  18. Interesting that Paul lists all his alpine quiver skis with Jester Pros – I thought Paul since a long while was using STH2s since he thought they were easier to get into in deep snow, did Marker close the gap on that with the latest generation or is there another reason that Paul switched?

    • There was a mention in one of the blister podcasts. I won’t try and paraphrase too much, but may have been a long-term reliability issue? I can’t recall the details, and can’t remember which episode.

    • We got some time on the Switch last season at the inaugural Blister Summit, and we wrote two short blurbs about it in our 21/22 Winter Buyer’s Guide on how it performs as an all-mountain freestyle ski and as a park ski.

      We’ll be getting more time on it this season, stay tuned.

  19. @Luke, wondering if you have other Couloir/Sneffel-styles skis to recommend. Love the Majesty option, just curious about looking into other alternatives to compare. Thanks

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