2016 Blizzard Bonafide Ski Review: Now with Carbon! // Ski Reviews
Over the past few years the Blizzard Bonafide has positioned itself among the highest performing skis on the market. There’s a reason why you see a lot of them on the hill: they are exceptionally versatile. They’re wide enough to float through soft snow, yet responsive and quick enough to put a smile on your face while carving up a groomer. In fact, the Bonafide performed so well it left a lot of us wondering how they could possibly make it better.
Apparently, the answer is carbon. With the 2016 Bonafide, Blizzard has taken an already incredible ski and done the seemingly impossible in making it even better. Blizzard has added carbon to the rockered areas on the ski, calling it Carbon Flipcore. The idea is that it adds increased stability, while reducing swing weight and vibration or chatter in the tips and tails. In theory this should provide increased maneuverability, while retaining or improving stability, giving the skier new found confidence in all conditions. Is this true? I put it to the test to find out.
During the SIA Ski Test at Copper Mountain in February 2015, I was lucky enough to test about 30 pairs of 2016 skis, the Bonafide being one of them. I actually skied it in two lengths, the 180 and 187cm. At 5’10”, 150 lbs, some might say I would’ve been better off skiing the 173, but I personally tend to gravitate towards longer skis. I started my test of the Blizzard Bonafide on the 180cm. During ski tests I typically ski the same trail all day. If you’ve been to Copper Mountain, chances are you skied Main Vein off the American Eagle lift. Main Vein is a relatively wide, rolling blue square. In my opinion it’s great ski testing terrain; there are steep sections, ungroomed side trail sections, and big open pitches great for carving. What made it an even better ski test situation was the 4 inches of fresh that had fallen the night before.
The Bonafide immediately impressed! Ski tests can be tiring, and I was anticipating a relatively heavy ski that would require a lot of effort, but I was immediately surprised at how easy it was to maneuver. I started my test of the Bonafide by airing into a little ungroomed section on skiers right just as the first steep pitch of Main Vein starts. I did so confidently, as the older Bonafide models have always been extremely stable. The 2016 Bonafide did not let me down. Instead of being less stable due to the lower swing weight, it actually just felt more playful. I still felt the same confidence the older models provided, but as soon as I got in the air I could feel the weight difference. I could easily make quick maneuvers and it really shined in the ungroomed sides of the trail.
From there I hopped back on piste for the rest of the run. I’ve always thought the Bonafide was a great groomer ski considering how wide it is. Somehow, Blizzard has made it better both on trail and off. I expected the Carbon Flipcore to take a little away from the responsiveness and edge hold during a powerful carving turn. It actually felt the opposite. Blizzard’s claim that the tips and tails have less vibration seems to be true. The ski is very calm, while still providing the power and responsiveness that I expect from a Bonafide. It may not have added much extra power to the ski, but it certainly didn’t take any away. It did, on the other hand, make quick turns much easier than the older Bonafide models. I could easily go from big fast Super G turns to slower, quicker, pivoting turns and the ski knew exactly what I wanted it to do. Main Vein didn’t have any real moguls, but the 4 inches of fresh snow that had fallen did provide some excellent terrain for testing such quick turns and I’m confident the 2016 Bonafide will be a better mogul ski than previous versions.
After skiing the 180cm Bonafide I skied back to the Blizzard tent and instead of returning the ski, I exchanged it for the 187cm. The longest length of the previous Bonafide was always something I stayed away from. That much ski with two sheets of metal always seemed like it would just be a freight train and not that much fun. After skiing the new model, I had the confidence to go try the 187cm.
The term freight train still applies, that’s for sure, but it’s more like a freight train crossed with a Porsche. I did the same run, airing into the ungroomed side of the trail on skiers right. As soon as I landed I felt like I just teleported to a big mountain competition. I kept the tips pointed straight downhill exiting the little zone with abundant speed. At my weight on the 187cm, these things rip! Granted, it’s a lot of ski, but I was blown away by how stable they were while rocketing through steep, chopped up terrain. The carbon tip and tail are so quiet and forgiving that when combined with two sheets of metal almost feels like suspension.
To my surprise, the skis were still pretty quick at the 187cm length. This is a testament to just how much of a difference it makes reducing swing weight in the tips and tails. When I wanted to make a quick turn it didn’t feel like I was on a 187cm with two sheets of metal, yet when I pointed it and wanted the stability, it was there. Blizzard has done a commendable job retaining the stability of the Bonafide while significantly improving the maneuverability of the ski.
My advice? If you’re already a Bonafide skier, but maybe your current pair is getting worn out, just go buy the 2016. You’ll be blown away. If, for example, you were on a 173cm Bonafide and felt it was a touch short, with the 2016 version you can confidently go up a size if you were between sizes in the older editions. If you’ve never skied a Bonafide at all (where have you been the past 5 seasons?!) definitely try to get on a demo pair this season if you have a chance. It’s a ski that almost everyone can appreciate and could easily replace at least one existing ski in your quiver. Don’t have the luxury of owning multiple skis? Don’t fret, the Bonafide is one of few skis that can actually be a one ski quiver. The only downside is with the Bonafide in your garage, any other remaining skis may be filled with jealousy and boredom.