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Posts Tagged ‘blizzard kabookie’

Test The Best: Backcountry and AT Ski Preview for 2014-2015

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

If you read our blog regularly, you know we get to see and test all the new gear about one year before it hits the shelves at the shop. These are always some of our most popular posts, so if there is anything missing that you want to hear about, just let us know in the comments section at the end of the post.

This year we headed down to Mammoth for a full day of ski testing and then had some extra random days in Utah, the Tahoe backcountry and at our local resorts like Squaw and Alpine. Here is a brief rundown of everything we tested and those that made the cut for the ski wall during the 14-15 winter season.

Blizzard Scout and Kabookie pictured with the Cochise2014

Blizzard Scout and Kabookie pictured with the Cochise 2014

Blizzard Skis/Tecnica Boots:

This was our first season offering Tecnica boots for men and women along with two models of Blizzard skis: Kabookie and Scout. Starting with the popular Tecnica Cochise line of boots, Tecnica updated the Cochise boots with a better fit, tighter heel cup, improved liner, new graphics and lighter buckles. The main difference between the Cochise Pro and Cochise Light is going to be the existence of the nicer power strap on the Pro model, and the Light model will come with Tech soles in the box while the Pro model will have Din soles.

As for Blizzard Skis, all we can say is WOW! They ski like a dream, hold an incredibly strong edge, transition smoothly and, in general, were some of the best skis we skied all day. The only downfall is that they are not exactly light, but they are not very heavy either. In our testers’ opinions, these are some of the best one-ski-quiver options you can buy.

 

2015-Volkl-skisVolkl Skis:

The clear highlight in the Volkl line is the new BMT line, which highlights the V-Werks construction in three new skis (or more accurately, three models of the same ski with different waist widths). The V-Werks Katana launched  this year and has been a solid, lightweight performer that drives with power and determination. The BMT skis on the other hand, are even lighter, can hold an edge as well as all Volkl skis but initiate their turn really smoothly and rapidly, and are therefore really highly targeted to the backcountry crowd along with a strong crossover appeal to that person who spends their time about 50/50 between resort and backcountry. The Volkl BMT skis will come in a 94, 109 and 122 waist. These are light, indestructible, fast turning, strong edge holding, smooth riding skis. Two thumbs up for sure!

 

 

 

 

salomon-q-bc-lab-skis-2015Salomon Skis and Boots:

We only skied two of Salomon’s skis and they were the Rocker2 100 and Q BC Lab at 114 under foot. The Salomon Q BC Lab (Dims: 140/114/128) is a takeoff from their running line where the S-Lab series represents the best, newest technology and highest end materials that shoes can be made of and developed for. This ski is the new entry into Salomon’s backcountry foray.

Out of all the skis we tested that were in the 115 underfoot category, the Q BC Lab easily beat them all with its immediate responsiveness, lightweight construction and overall consistency in the given conditions. In the same vein, the Rocker2 100 excelled in its class. It wasn’t the edge holder that the Blizzard skis were, but it was a solid, transition enjoying, responsive ski. I would say that the 2015 Salomon skis were the surprise winners of the day.

 

k2-coomback-skis-2015K2 Skis:

The most exciting part of the K2 line is the addition of the famous Coomback ski in a 114 waist. For 14-15 there will be two different Coomback skis available. This particular test day didn’t really beg for a ski that was 115 under foot, but after coming from the Salomon S-Lab, I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same as the Salomon and while it will be a fun and playful powder ski, it is not a ski that can do it all. The Coomback 104 skied similarly to years past and will be a dependable one-ski-quiver long into the future. The ski for the day today was the K2 Annex 98 with its metal top sheet and sandwich sidewalls, this ski held its line just like the Volkls before it. The Annex series is a great choice for that person spending more than 60% of their time at the resort.

 

 

 

 

2015-poc-helmet-goggle-review

 

 

Before I wrap this up I need to mention two of our favorite pieces of winter gear that we’ve been fortunate enough to test, review, and sell – although gear from POC Sports sells out fast because it’s in such high demand. POC helmets and POC goggles are insanely comfortable and integrate perfectly together, creating an almost seamless fit. POC goggles provide superior visibility (peripheral span and contrast/clarity) and, as if you’re not already aware, POC helmets have been repeatedly proven safer than the rest.

 

 

 

 

After a long day of lapping the slopes of Mammoth and trekking to and from the demo tents, we ended testing over 15 skis between two people. Not bad for an average day of work! Check back here for updates as the skis become available and more skis are tested out for the 14-15 season.

 

Best Skis of 2014: New Skis & Winter Gear Demo At Alpine Meadows

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

This post was a group effort from three hard-chargin’ TMS employees: Dave, the owner, F.O.H. sales rep Ryan, and Adam, a punk snowboarder. Collectively, we spent two consecutive days at Alpine Meadows ripping around on new skis, boots, bindings and a splitboard that are set to release next winter. A few products were reviewed by more than one tester and not all reviews are fully positive, but we thought you should hear each valid perspective so we included everything below in raw, uncut form. Here’s what we thought of the new winter ski equipment you can expect to see soon from your favorite brands.

k2 pinnacle 130

K2 Pinnacle 130 (Dave)

I started the day with the K2 Pinnacle 130 boots on my feet and a pair of K2 Annex 108s in the 174 length attached to those. I was excited to try K2’s new boots as there has been a lot of press around them lately and K2 themselves are very excited to have a full boot and ski line for the first time in a long time. First things first, from appearances, you can tell K2 has really polished the look on these boots and unlike some other lines, they match up nicely with their skis. Not that cosmetics matter that much to me, but it is unbelievable to see some companies match up new boots with their new skis and have them just be the ugliest of colors that go together. Okay, back to the important things: a translucent bottom shell allow you to see right through to your Intuition liners on the inside and the size and shape of the buckles makes them very easy to manage. I particularly like the K2 Powerbuckle, which is the top “power strap/buckle combination”. It was designed to offer a larger range of motion than you get with most buckles. This makes touring more efficient yet still offers the power and stability you need to ride hard and fast with confidence. Unlike most other “sidecountry”-marketed boots these days, K2 has integrated the Dynafit toe tech fittings into their boots and therefore there is no need for two types of soles. Swapping soles is no longer an issue, simply because you don’t have to do it. I like this a lot because it will help bring the price down as you don’t need multiple soles, and it will be easier to go from a backcountry Dynafit setup to a resort-oriented alpine setup. All in all, I think K2 has a winner here and you will for sure see these on our shelves for the 2013-2014 season.

K2 Annex 108 (Dave)

After many years, K2 has decided to redesign their “sidecountry” line and has done away with the perennial favorite, the Sidestash, and replaced it with the Annex 108. There is also an Annex 98 (formerly the Hardside) and an Annex 118 (formerly the Sideseth). I was a big fan of the Sidestash so I decided to give the Annex a try. I was not disappointed. The Annex 108 skis perform just like the I remember the Sidestash skiing, but it has a little more rocker in the tip and more of a kick-tail for maneuverability in the rear. Skiing mostly on groomed runs, this ski held an edge great and did not waffle or bounce at high speeds. All in all, a great ski that will definitely be part of our selection next year.

salomon Q105 ski

Salomon Q105 (Dave)

Salomon has also updated their wildly popular and best-selling Rocker line, plus split it up a bit. Next year, expect to see
the Q-series of skis billed more as Salomon’s backcountry setup with the Rocker2 staying in the line as the frontcountry setup. The Rocker2 108 was one of our most popular skis this year, so I decided to ski the Q105, which is mimicked after the Rocker 108m but with less rocker, especially in the tail. I think this is going to be an excellent soft snow ski, as it did chatter quite a bit on the hard pack and groomed surfaces I was trying it on. While the Rocker2 really does excel in a wider variety of conditions, the lighter weight of the Q105 skis will make it a contender in the backcountry market.

technica cochise pro light 130

Technica Cochise Pro Light 130 (Dave)

This will be one of the newest boot additions to our wall for the 13-14 season. I didn’t know much about this boot before trying it out, but was pleasantly surprised. The stiffness in ski-mode is great and really (more…)

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