The Mt. Rushmore of Ski Suspension (Ep.143)

On Blister's GEAR:30 podcast Jonathan Ellsworth & Luke Koppa discuss one of the most important concepts in ski design: suspension. So what do we mean by “suspension”? Are terms like “plush” or “damp” synonyms, or are there important differences? And what are some of the best skis of all-time when it comes to suspension? Let the debate begin.
Luke Koppa blasting through the cloud on a Mt. Crested Butte pow day.

Today we’re talking about one of the most important concepts in ski design: suspension. So what do we mean by “suspension”? Are terms like “plush” or “damp” synonyms, or are there important differences? And what are some of the best skis of all time when it comes to suspension? Let the debate begin.


  • Updates & fake IG accounts (0:00)
  • Suspension: concepts, terms, & questions (6:29)
  • Our Mt. Rushmore selections (20:26)
  • What We’re Celebrating (53:18)


11 comments on “The Mt. Rushmore of Ski Suspension (Ep.143)”

  1. what about Stockli? I found the 105 both plush and damp. Heard there’s a 102 coming out next season and would be very curious what you guys think of these skis. Thanks!

  2. I had the latest Stockli SR 105 in 188. I’m bigger guy so have a lot of bigger heavier skis. I found the SR 105 to be very damp and plush for it’s weight and how easy and lively it is, but it is not nearly as damp and plush as other skis I have like the new Moment Commander 108 in 188 or the Blizzard B97 in 189 (2410 grams). I know it seems like a different world than the Stockli, but if you can get on a Commander 108 in 188 would recommend A/B ing it against the Stockli.

  3. The 189 K2 Pettitor 120 is to me the winner at this, even more so than the Black Ops Gamer 118.
    At the right mount point, Goldilocks.
    The longest Pettitor (pull length c. 190) is to the Black Ops 118/Gamer (Pull c. 184.5) what the old Bibby Pro 190 is to the old Bibby Pro 184. All playful chargers, but the longer skis are more bombproof stable, when moved a bit forward the right amount for each skier (generally for a bit bigger people), than the shorter ones, while retaining a lot of playfulness (Sean Pettit turny, when at the right mount point – just like the Rossi Black Ops Sender Squad is reported to be).

    Adjusted a bit farther back, but not too far, the K2 Pettitor 120 skis like the Sender Squad at the recommended line – amazing but less playful. But both get “more turny”/playful in a good way when moved forward a bit.

  4. It’s pronounced ka ta na. Even syllables. On another topic, it’d be nice if you went down the metal rabbit hole. I’m curious.

  5. I’d love to hear the same discussion on the other end of the spectrum. Energetic, lively, poppy etc.- How they relate to each other and to the dead/damp/plush end of the spectrum

  6. Surprised K2 mindbender 99 wasn’t mentioned. Crazy good suspension. The Rossi black ops 98/ holy shred is also awesome. Must be a smaller version of the 118/gamer.

  7. Just listened to this one – very interesting! As someone who currently rocks the Moment DW (but has never tried the WC), I’m curious how much you guys think atypical camber profiles (triple camber in this case) play into suspension? In my mind, my DW 190 is not soft but nor is it stiff, fairly light for what it is but not crazy light (I’m on the updated aspen/ash, not sure if you guys have tried that since you haven’t tried the new WC), but I do feel like it maybe gets a bit more suspension out of that triple camber profile. Not that it matters – I was just curious. (BTW – I wanted the WC when I bought last year, but the guys at Moment convinced me to try the DW even though I thought the triple camber seemed weird. I’m one of those complete cult-converts now!)

  8. Giggeling to myself a bit when you guys are so suprised about a 194cm, 2400g Ski with a -6cm mount point. Doesn’t another ski exactly like that come to mind, that has existed for a quite a while? Maybe the one, that Kristoffer Turdell just won the Wold tour on?
    Jokes aside, this was a super interesting conversation! Loved the super deep dive on the difference between plush and damp/dead.
    Just one point I want to add is that all of this highly depends on the size and weight of the skier, too. At least in my opinion. A ski that feels dead to a 70kg guy (because he is not strong/heavy enough to flex it) may feel perfectly plush to a 90kg guy and vice versa.

  9. Hi fellas, you mentioned that ski suspension is pretty subjective because of factors like a skier’s style. Snow quality, stance, binding/boot interface seem to fall in this category as well. Using some admittadly basic logic, one factor would benefit greatly from a less subjective outlook and that’s a skier weight. How does blister think about the relationship between skier weight and ski suspension? Is there a need in the ski industry to move towards a less subjective measurement about skier weight for a more informed consumer?

  10. New JJ comes in at 2250grams in 185cm seems to me like what you guys are on target with as far as weight and playfulness. Aspen ash core with 2.5 thicker edges this year slight stiffer tip and tail. Tight turn radius for tress bumps and seems like it has the smoothness yet lively and snappy.

  11. Jonathan and Luke should try some SG/DH skis (I assume that Drew has based on his background). They’re designed to rail turns on ice at 70+ mph, so world class suspension is a given, but they don’t really come “alive” until you get past 40 or so. Below that they just feel dead and extremely heavy.

    The closest recreational ski I’ve used is the Pro Rider, and they’re a bit similar in the sense that they feel dead and sluggish until you get a decent amount of speed up. They both have the characteristic that when they do come alive they make high speeds on rough snow feel slow and predictable, though obviously the Pro Riders don’t handle as well on ice.

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