The 2014 Blizzard Brahma: Filling a Void // Ski Reviews
As Blizzard slowly builds their arsenal of Flip Core skis, you may be noticing that each season brings about only a few new models and minor changes to the existing lineup. It seems to me that Blizzard lives by the old adage "If it's not broken, don't fix it." Skis like the Blizzard Bonafide and Blizzard Black Pearl prove their capabilities year after year, without any need for adjustments. With this in mind, it's clear that the Blizzard Brahma is a powerful and essential addition to the Blizzard Flip Core lineup.
Enter the all new 2014 Blizzard Brahma. Prior to this season, there was a void in Blizzard's lineup. If you wanted a stiff ski, with a waist width below 98mm that still featured Blizzard's trademark Flip Core rocker construction, then you were out of luck. Of course the Blizzard Bushwacker is 88mm underfoot and features Flip Core, but it lacks any metal in it's core. It's still a great ski, but it's a little too soft for skiers looking for a hard charging front-side ski. So this year, Blizzard introduced the Brahma. Essentially the little brother of the Blizzard Bonafide, the Blizzard Brahma is 88mm underfoot, features two layers of titanium, and of course, Blizzard's signature Flip Core profile.
When I had the opportunity to ride these skis at a Blizzard demo last winter, I had understandably high expectations. After all, Blizzard's Flip Core has proven to be exceptional on every other ski. Plus, Blizzard already had the Bushwacker which features an identical sidecut, as well as the Bonafide with two layers of titanium. So really, the Blizzard Brahma is a brand new ski, that uses elements that have been proven in other models. With this in mind I clicked in and set off to put these bad boys to the test. (Quick aside: this is pretty genius in my opinion, and really shows the strength of the planning behind Blizzard. It's really no wonder that they've been able to power back to the forefront of the ski industry).
The conditions on this particular demo day were about as perfect as you could ask for. It'd snowed a few inches over night, but by morning it had stopped and the sun was back out. The result was smooth trails with pockets of snow to be found off to the sides. Just like with every other Blizzard ski, I felt comfortable on the Brahmas as soon as I started heading down hill. I can't quite put my finger on it, but Blizzard skis always have a way of making you feel comfortable instantly. There's no learning curve, no figuring out how to ski the ski. You just click in and go.
So the first thing I did upon getting off the gondola at Stowe, is head straight for Gondolier. The top section of this trail allows you to feel out the skis with a mix of a moderate pitch and small patches of moguls. But it's the lower half of the trail where things really getting going as the pitch gets steeper, the trail gets wider, and the terrain more variable. From here, Gondolier is a straight shot to the bottom of the Mountain, with the left side groomed and the right side left as moguls. On this particular day, there was copious amounts of powder on either side of the trail; perfect for putting the Brahma's to the test.
As soon as I let these skis open up, I knew that they would meet my expectations. As with every other Flip Core ski from Blizzard, the Brahma's felt exceptionally stable and powerful. With a moderate amount of tip rocker, these skis had no issues taking on the loose snow that had chopped up on the trail. When it came time to put these skis on edge, they held me firmly in place throughout my turn.
And that's really what I find the most enjoyable about Blizzard's Flip Core. With a lot of rockered skis, you find that when you lay it on edge, the tip of the ski will flex up, into the turn. With Flip Core skis, there is an extra stability in the tip that causes hard carves to be remarkably stable and consistent. When you put a Blizzard ski fully on edge, you are locked into a carve. All you have to do is essentially hold your position and weight, and the skis are going to do the work for you. As you would expect with an 88mm waisted ski with two sheets of metal, the Brahma felt very capable of laying down hard, fast carves.
Of course with a freeride oriented ski like the Brahma, it's important to test out a variety of terrain to see it's all mountain abilities. For the second half of my run down Gondolier, I decided to test out the right side of the trail where there was a mix of moguls and soft trail-side snow. Sure enough, the Brahma's met expectations as they proved to be nimble enough to navigate the moguls, as well as playful enough to put a couple of fresh tracks in some untouched snow.
Ultimately, there were no real surprises with the 2014 Blizzard Brahma, and that's exactly why I liked this ski so much. It was made to fill a specific void in the Blizzard line up, and it filled that gap perfectly. What Blizzard needed was a stiff ski, with a waist width below 98 mm that had the playful energy of their Flip Core series. As soon as I stepped into the ski and aimed it down hill, I knew exactly what I was getting into. In my opinion, the new Blizzard Brahma is the perfect choice for any skier who wants to feel confident buying a stiff, freeride style ski with a waist width below 90mm. If this is the type of ski you're looking for, then I can assure you that the Blizzard Brahma will not disappoint.