Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010/2011 Blizzard Crush... early rise = bliss in all conditions!

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!

17 comments:

Stewart said...

Yes, they hit it home on this ski. For those guys out there try the "Answer".

Bill said...

I have skied the "Answer" way too long turn radius. but for flat powder and crud runs works ok.

The best serious Blizzard mtn ski in 2009 line is the Atlas, has a 20 meter turn radius , stable and fast on groomers absolutely rips through crud , powder and steep.

As long as you do not buy into high edge angles early on the steep misconception they fly:) (like all skis)

Kate Howe said...

The Atlas is another wonderful versitile ski, really great at skiing the whole mountain. I haven't been on the Answer, but if its at all like the crush, it has a long turn radius on the groom and a tight, pivoty, suppleness in the off piste.

Its a very different ski than the Atlas for sure, and worth playing on for a week! The longer I was on them the more I could do on them.

I'm thinking even though they are heavier than I want them to be for back country, I'm thinking it would be worth the weight for day trips!

What did you feel the difference was between the Answer and the Atlas aside from turn radius? And where did you feel the turn radius? Was it on groomed snow?

Bill said...

I like to let my skis ski. That means to maintain dynamic balance. In that way, footwork is central. The less force the more finesse, the better. From that power is used as situation and desire dictate.

The Answer has a long turn radius. So, if you are on flatter runs in powder, off trail, bad snow they are fine. There is not much falline deflection.

What is the turn radius of the Crush? What length were you on?

My Atlas are 180 and 20 as I wrote.
They are fine on groomers and at speed. Turn radius is fine for open steep and would like more on tighter steep.

I skied an Oceanic Shahman 188. That turn radius was tighter and frankly right therein steep. Slight pressure off the ball of the foot and the ski turns:) Also enjoyed the Rossi S7 188, Draggy on flatter crud/deeper snow, awesome on rain soaked , lol

Jessica said...

If you are looking for the men's version of this ski, it is called the "One". It is officially the unisex counterpart. And for good reason. It could be a one ski quiver, as she said...

Wade said...

for a somewhat old school skier, my wife, do you think this little bit of rocker would be annoying? she's a level 2 cert from years ago, 40yr old, skis 20 to 30 days a yr now, it would be her soft snow ski. He didn't like Kiku, hated pontoon, but I thought this may be just little enough to get the benefits..
thx,
wade

Wade said...

PS, typo, she didn' like the Kiku.

Also,
I like your blog. Nice presentation and writing style.
thx for you thoughts.
Wade

Kate Howe said...

Hey Wade! I've pulled mine out of storage and they are sharp and waxed. Now I'm just sitting there staring at them.

I think that this is a truly phenomenal ski. It may challenge your wife's "old school" ways, but this may not be a bad thing.

As I said in the post, it took me about a week to let go of my old paradigm and really listen to the ski. As soon as I stopped trying to move forward aggressively, but just trusted myself to stay in the center, reducing my concept of moving forward down to about a 2 1/2 foot length of ski, I was VERY happy on this ski.

Your wife might be quite happy on the Chronus, which you can find here: http://www.blizzard-ski.com/index.php?id=5#90,1,284,0,0
It has a more traditional side cut, at 125/88/109 it floats very very well, but doesn't have the extreme early rise of the Crush.

I would definitely say that as a Level 2 cert, she has the skills she needs to enjoy these skis, I loved them in the bumps, they are pivoty as all get out and come around quick.

I would encourage your wife to get out there and demo a pair for about four days, thinking of them as snow blades or roller blades, and listen to the ski. With a little bit of patience and willingness, she will get it figured out and be in for the ride of her life!

I hope this helps, and please let me know how your experience goes!

best,
Kate

Kate Howe said...

Wade, I would also say that I am not a huge fan of big planks, they feel unwieldy to me in all except for the conditions they are designed for, deep powder.

I was previously on a pair of skis that were huge for me underfoot, (not Blizzards)they were 105, with a 30 m turning radius or something like that, and I felt really unhappy unless I was in soft snow on them. It took me weeks to get the transition from the groom to the pow. While it was fun to play in the deep stuff, the ride back to the lift was always kind of a bummer. I like to play on every piece of the run I can find.

This, I think, is why I'm so impressed with the Blizzard line up, the whole Titan line (which includes the Atlas and the Chronus) and the Search line (which includes the Crush), because this is a ski that is SO MUCH FUN in the powder, but stays fun in all other snow conditions as well.

For me, its the best, most versatile ski I've been on, and I'm hooked.

Hope that helps!

Kate

Wade said...

Great comments and feedback, thanks.
Demo's are tough, but I'm going to go ahead and buy 'em for her. I'll just have here read your tips as well, since they' be much better coming from you then me (husband coaching is rarely a good thing, no matter how softly presented).
Thx!
Wade

Kate Howe said...

Awesome, Wade, enjoy! She's gonna love em. Let me know how it goes!

MichelleC said...

What length are you skiing these? Found your review through google. I'm eying them to use in the Pacific northwest. Currently ski 170 mantras. The local ski guy is pushing me towards 177s. Seems long but with the rocker may be the right length. I'd like to demo but may not be able to in that size. Any thoughts?

Kate Howe said...

Hey Michelle! I'm on a 177, I'm 5'10", and my regular all mtn ski is a 165. This length is perfect, its such an adaptable ski! I thought it might be too long, as well, but because its so nimble the length just makes it FLOAT! Go for it, you are gonna love it, and let me know what you think! Best of luck!
Kate

Anonymous said...

Kate, part of the marketing on this ski is all about the slider binding options. please share your experience if you have used more than one option. thanks for your post as it reconfirmed the purchase i made yesterday! i cannot wait to get on these planks, and share my feedback in a week. i purchased the 163cm, am 5'4" and hope that the length suits me as i agree with the other Michelle, that was not an easy decision.
-michelle d.

Anonymous said...

didnt take a week.....it was love at first day.

Michelle Carnes said...

Hello,
This 35 overweight mom of 2 girls (6 and 9) just came across your blog here while researching the Crush. I just bought them used and look forward to using them asap after reading your post. I demo'd K2's Backlash last week and had and AMAZING day. My husband was then on a mission to find me the perfect ski. The shape ski, however fun on the groomed, just wasn't cutting it anymore. I live here in Snoqualmie Washington and go skiing while the kids are in school 2-3 days a week... many times just me and my ipod. This mom can relate. Thanks again and I can't wait to try out my new Crushes!!
Sincerely,
Michelle Carnes

Anonymous said...

I have been on my Blizzard Crush skis for one and a half seasons. I am 65, 5'6", 130 lbs,and ski on the 170 length. I found the shorter length a little squirrely. I love these skis and they have made me a better skier by trying to ski up to the ability of the ski. I just finished a 5 week women's class and the instructor kept suggesting I try a narrower waist ski for steeps and moguls. I could keep up with her easily on the blues and do all the short, tight turns behind her on the black runs. Finally, on the last lesson day, I demoed some Stokli Rotars with a 15 degree turning radius, but could not go fast on them, although the edge hold was amazing. Also tried Heads, but neither were as fun, stable and fast as my Crush skis. I also think they do fine in the moguls with amazing edge hold on groomers and slick, sided out snow. The stability comes from the 98mm waist and the heavy weight of the ski, which can be both a pro and a con. These are a great all mt. ski!!