2018-2019 Folsom Skis Primary — “The Hammer” Edition

Blister reviews The Hammer from Folsom Skis
Folsom Skis Primary — “The Hammer” Edition

Ski: 2018-2019 Folsom Skis Primary — “The Hammer” Edition, 188 cm

Available Lengths: 174, 178, 182, 188, 192, 195 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2371 & 2374 grams

Stated Dimensions: 141-110-131 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 138.3-109.2-129.3 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 63 mm / 42 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Core: Maple/Bamboo/Poplar + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.0 cm from center; 86.15 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: HEAD Raptor 140 RS / Marker Jester 16 Sole.ID

Test Location: Arapahoe Basin, CO

Days Skied: 3 (so far)

Intro

Last year I worked with Folsom’s Mike McCabe to design a custom ski based on their “Primary” shape. That ski proved to be very fun and extremely versatile, and it’s a build that I still maintain is going to work really well for a broad range of skiers. Check out my review of what we’ll call the Blister Primary.

But while we called that ski one of the most versatile skis we’ve reviewed, I was still left looking for something that really dialed up the high-speed stability that I personally like in a true all-mountain charger.

And that’s when talk of “The Hammer” began.

Since then, Mike and I have spent a lot of time discussing what this burlier version of the Blister Primary would look like. And if you’re interested in how we arrived at the ski that you’re reading about today, you should definitely listen to my GEAR:30 podcast with Mike where we go over The Hammer, as well as a few other new shapes that Folsom recently released.

But now that we have The Hammer in hand and I’ve spent several days on it, let’s take a closer look at how this ski turned out:

Folsom Primary: the original Blister Primary vs. the new Blister Hammer

Here’s what Mike McCabe said was the same between the two skis:

  • Length & Dimensions: 188 cm, 141-110-131 mm
  • Camber molding was set up the exact same way — “SRC” — subtle reverse camber
  • Core Blend: maple, bamboo, poplar
  • Plastics (sidewall, base, tip fill material)
  • Edges
  • The Tune: same structure, same bevels (1 degree base, 2 degree side)
  • The bros that built them.

And here’s what Mike said was changed for The Hammer:

  • Core Thickness: I brought this up on the Hammer by about .5 mm across the entire core length (and a bit more in the tip) to make sure the tip was to your liking.
  • Fiberglass Layup: We added A LOT more fiberglass in The Hammer. We added almost twice as much on top of the core of our 22 oz triaxial fiberglass, and the thought was to add more fiberglass stringers through the tip of the ski to add mass to the tips and tails.
  • Carbon Fiber Usage: I didn’t want to sacrifice too much rebound and versatility in The Hammer, so we adjusted our uni-directional carbon fiber to fight against the fiberglass and add composite load to the ski. This was exceptionally difficult as there was so much fiberglass added to this build.
  • This Hammer edition of the Primary has a tweaked version of our “White Wave” graphic.
Blister reviews The Hammer from Folsom Skis
Folsom Primary (left) and The Hammer (right)

So as you can see, lots of things stayed the same, but there were a couple of important tweaks. And Mike’s final note on these construction similarities and differences simply said, “It’s crazy what you can do by just changing the composition of the ski.”

Shape / Rocker Profile

As we just noted, The Hammer shares a lot in common with the original Blister Primary. But due to how much added fiberglass The Hammer has, it has slightly lower tip and tail splay (63 & 42 mm for The Hammer vs. 70 & 46 mm for our Blister Primary).

And personally, I’m not mad at all about that. The original Blister Primary is almost certainly going to be better than The Hammer in really deep snow. It has more tip and tail splay than the Hammer, it’s lighter, and it’s softer-flexing. But we didn’t design this Hammer for use on the deepest days.

Weight

As we intended, The Hammer is coming in significantly heavier than the Primary — over 200 grams-per-ski heavier: ~2163 g vs. ~2372 g.

At a little over 2370 grams per ski, The Hammer is definitely on the heavier end of the all-mountain spectrum, and that is precisely what I wanted. I specifically told Mike (after our podcast conversation) that I would be psyched to see this ski come in around 2350 grams, and that I wouldn’t be at all mad if it came in a bit heavier, since:

(1) Folsom’s Primary shape is such an easy, pivot-y platform to begin with.

(2) More mass helps to turn a ski into more of a stable, high-speed battering ram.

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis in the ~108mm-wide, all-mountain category:

1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2163 & 2164 Folsom Skis Blister Primary, 188 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2371 & 2374 Folsom Skis Primary – Hammer Edition, 188 cm (18/19)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2530 & 2570 Head Monster 108, 184 cm (17/18)
2599 & 2567 4FRNT Devastator, 194 cm (17/18, 18/19)

In terms of weight, Folsom landed this ski right where I wanted it. While there are a number of other variables that matter a lot when it comes to creating a variable-conditions charger, I was very psyched to see these numbers, and you’ll see that The Hammer is keeping some good company in terms of ~108mm-wide skis that we’ve praised in the past for their performance and stability when skiing fast in variable conditions.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of The Hammer:

Tips: 9-8.5
Shovels: 8.5-9
In Front of Toe Piece: 9.5-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Tails: 8.5-9.5

And for reference, this is how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the original Blister Primary:

Tips: 6-7
Shovels: 7-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Tails: 8-7

To provide some context, the tips / shovels of the original Blister Primary were actually softer than the tips / shovels of the J Skis Metal, just a touch stiffer than the 184 cm (16/17) Black Crows Atris, and quite comparable to the 184 cm 4FRNT Devastator.

At the tail, the original Blister Primary was just a touch stiffer than the Devastator, and just a touch softer than the Atris.

But while all of those skis mentioned are very good skis in their own right, I wouldn’t classify any of them as straight-up chargers.

As for The Hammer…

This is a strong flex pattern. While the original Blister Primary flexes similarly in the middle of the ski, The Hammer stays much stronger as you move toward its tips and tails.

One of the things I’d made clear to Mike is that, personally, I don’t tend to love flex patterns that are super soft up front, and much stiffer at the tails. Again, there are a whole lot of other factors than just a flex pattern that will determine the overall feel of a ski, but I tend to like skis that have a front half that feels similar to their back half. And this is 100% true of The Hammer.

That said, The Hammer certainly isn’t unbendable, and neither Mike nor I were interested in making a ski that was impossible to bend.

Some Questions and Comparisons

(1) The Hammer is definitely pretty burly, but isn’t the heaviest ski out there, nor is it the absolute stiffest ski out there. So how burly does it feel on snow? And how stable is it when skiing at flat-out speeds? And how forgiving or punishing is it? And is there any trace of playfulness?

(2) How similar or different does it feel to the original Blister Primary?

(3) How similar or different does The Hammer feel to skis like the Blizzard Cochise, HEAD Monster 108, ON3P Wrenegade 108, or 4FRNT Devastator?

Bottom Line (For Now)

I just wrapped up my first 3 days on The Hammer, and the initial results have certainly been interesting. Blister members can read my Flash Review to get my initial thoughts on The Hammer, and while I prepare my full review, let us know in the comments section below what other questions you’d like to see me address in the full review.

Flash Review: Folsom Skis Primary — “The Hammer” Edition

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of The Hammer.

(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)

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