photo by grantnakamuraphotography.com
2010/2011 Blizzard Crush… early rise tip and tail, bliss in all conditions!
I went to Academy in Snowbird, Utah last week and for the first time got on a pair of Early Rise skis, the Blizzard Crush. At 98 underfoot, it’s a fatter ski, with an early rise tip and tail, the base of the ski is flat, or 0, from the middle of the heel piece to about four inches in front of the toe piece.
Most of the time, the snow was manky monkey snot, late April in Snowbird, Utah, and when I first got on these skis, I tried to move to the forebody of the ski right off the bat, only to feel like I was falling into outer space. On my Elan Deep Spice, a more traditional big mountain board, I had gotten used to opening everything at the top of the turn, and allowing the ski to run into the fall line. Because those skis have a turning radius of about 30' or so, and are 105 under foot, I didn’t have to do much, and I had a patient top of the turn, adding a shot of rotary at the bottom before opening again. They were happy at speed, but nimble isn’t a word I’d use to describe them.
The Crushes, on the other hand, because they only contact the snow for about a foot and a half of the ski, are incredibly pivoty and easy to turn. I found them turning immediately, I felt at first like I had no control over them, I’d twitch and they’d be under me and across before I was even ready.
On the firm, they felt like a beautiful carving ski, but I was getting a huge amount of chatter. I couldn’t figure out why this amazingly turney ski was bouncing across the firm. Trying to move on it in a traditional way was a disaster, I moved to the front of the ski to try to engage it in the forebody and it just collapsed under me.
“How do you like em?” Katie asked me.
“I’m not sure, I’m confused by them. They feel so weird and different, they won’t act the way I expect them to.”
After four days of playing on them in all different snow conditions, I’d decided that I couldn’t live without a ski like this in my quiver. In fact, this ski might BE the quiver.
The trick? I realized eventually that it was a bit like skiing on a snowblade or a hockey skate. I needed to be right in the middle of the ski and it would work beautifully in the soft stuff. The turning radius when it was in the deep was super short and pivoty. The turning radius when it was on edge on the firm was about 18 meters or so.
Moving forward on the ski moved it off its performance area, so it forced me to stand in the middle of the ski, feeling the entire ski working from tip to tail, curling and bending. Suddenly, my fore/aft balancing quieted down and I found myself listening to my core, softening and firming and working the ski from the feet under me.
We got lucky enough to get about 8” of powder on our last day at Snowbird, and I went out again on the Crush. What a treat. If I thought it performed well on the groom, in the chalk, in the mank, bumps and in the snot, I was totally unprepared for the easy silky smooth ride I was in for in the powder. April what? Let it snow, I’m ready to get out there and bounce!