2017 Blizzard Brahma SP Ski Review: Exceptionally Durable. Exceedingly Rare. // Ski Reviews
The Blizzard Brahma has become one of the most popular all mountain skis on the market in recent seasons, especially among relatively advanced skiers. We’ve seen a few different versions of the Brahma over the year. The original ski was a wood core (built using Blizzard’s Flip Core method) and two sheets of metal. For 2017 Blizzard introduced carbon to the Brahma, much like they did to the Bonafide in previous seasons. For 2018 the Brahma has a shorter turn radius, a more abrupt tip shape, and there is a new “Ca” version that drops the metal laminates in exchange for just carbon (we’ll be releasing both a 2018 Brahma and Brahma Ca review). On SkiEssentials.com you’ll find a whole slew of different Brahmas from 2016 all the way up to the brand new 2018 versions, but you may see a ski in there that you’ve never heard of: the Brahma SP.
You won’t find the Brahma SP for sale in many places as they were originally intended to only be a part of what Blizzard calls their “Premiere Rental Program.” This program was designed to offer brick and mortar rental shops a superior product compared to traditional rental skis. The Brahma SP is based off the consumer version of the Brahma, but there are some differences that set it apart from any other Brahma on the market. Here at SkiEssentials.com we think it’s a great ski for a lot of people and we jumped on the opportunity to purchase a good amount of the Brahma SP when Blizzard decided to offer them up for sale.
Blizzard wanted the Brahma SP to be both more durable and more user-friendly than the retail Brahma that uses two sheets of metal. The Brahma SP does not use any metal in its construction, rather uses what Blizzard calls Sandwich Compound Sidewall Carbon construction. A ski with metal in it is much heavier than one without, which can be tiring and challenging for beginners, intermediates, or just less aggressive skiers of any ability level. It does provide excellent stability and dampening properties at high speeds, but at the cost of increased weight and reduced maneuverability. Carbon, on the other hand, is exceptionally lightweight and gives a ski excellent responsiveness and energy. While it doesn’t have the same smooth, damp feel as metal, it’s becoming a very popular material for ski construction. The light weight that Blizzard has achieved with the Brahma SP is really what makes it significantly more user-friendly than the Brahma with metal. It retains tip and tail rocker and camber underfoot, which is what makes turn initiation so smooth and easy on this ski, but you’ll never feel like you’re fighting the weight or power that comes along with metal.
We mentioned that durability was another focus for Blizzard and that’s perhaps where this ski sets itself apart from the rest of the Blizzard collection the most. The Brahma SP uses a special durable top sheet, a metal tip protector, and thicker edges and base material. If you’re at all familiar with rental skis you’ll know the amount of abuse they go through. Skiers renting their equipment typically don’t take the best care of it. Skis will get dropped on hard surfaces, slammed into gondolas, and just not treated with the same level of respect as when they’re someone’s personal skis. Because of this misuse rental skis need to withstand a lot. What’s great about buying a ski that was intended for rental purposes as a personal ski is you’re never going to dish out the same wear and tear as a series of renters would. If they’re designed to last as rental skis, they’re going to last for years and years as a personal ski.
So, what kind of skiers should buy a Brahma SP? If you’ve been eyeing a Blizzard, but don’t want two sheets of metal, this is a rare opportunity to pick one up. Some of you might be sitting there thinking, “but there’s now a carbon version of the Brahma, the Brahma Ca!” You’re not wrong, and there are actually a lot of similarities across the two skis in terms of construction. Both, for example, use wood and carbon in their core and Blizzard does say that the Brahma SP is similar makeup to the Brahma Ca. The difference here is that with the Brahma SP you’re getting an adjustable Marker TP 10 binding included in the asking price and of course you get all that extra durability that we talked about. It’s going to be a relatively relaxed, relatively forgiving all mountain ski for less aggressive skiers that don’t need those two sheets of metal, but it’s still going to provide high performance skiing. The wood core and carbon fiber give it solid torsional stiffness and edge grip for skiing firm snow and the 88 mm waist width and tip and tail rocker retain the versatility that the Brahma is known for. The turn radius actually splits the difference between the 2017 and 2018 consumer Brahma. The 2017 has a 19 m radius at 180 cm, the 2018 has a 17 m radius, and this 2017 Brahma SP has an 18 m radius, so not a huge difference there, but it will feel slightly more responsive than the original Brahma shape.
Do two sheets of metal make you nervous? Do you miss the old Blizzard Bushwacker? Are you looking for an affordable all mountain ski with an adjustable binding? Is durability a high priority for you? Do you like to ski a wide range of terrain, but don’t consider yourself exceptionally aggressive? If you answered yes to one of more of these questions, this hard-to-find Blizzard Brahma SP could be for you.