2017 Blizzard Brahma Ski Review: Introducing: Carbon // Ski Reviews
For the past few seasons the Blizzard Brahma has been one of the most popular skis on the market and if you’ve ever skied one you’ll know that there’s a good reason why. Blizzard’s Flipcore construction, especially in their all mountain skis, provides snappy, responsive characteristics while retaining solid versatility across different terrain and conditions. With a 88mm waist width, the Brahma is arguably the most versatile all mountain ski in the Blizzard line-up (especially if you’re located on the east coast) and has always featured relatively even performance both on and off-piste. For 2016 Blizzard added carbon to the tips and tails of their Flipcore all mountain skis, with the exception being the Brahma. While the Bonafide and Cochise were given snazzy new technology and graphics, the Brahma remained unchanged. For 2017, however, Blizzard has updated the Brahma to match its bigger brothers and we’re excited to report on how the changes to the ski have affected its performance.
If you read our review of the 2016 Blizzard Bonafide, you’re already familiar with the changes in construction that the Brahma has undergone. You’ll also know that we were genuinely impressed by the changes that were made to the Bonafide. The Bonafide has always been an extremely high performing ski, but the 2016 version took it to a new level. The same can be said for the Brahma.
The Brahma has received the same “Carbon Flipcore” updates as the Bonafide and Cochise did for 2016. Essentially, Blizzard has used carbon in the rockered sections of the ski, both in the tip and the tail. This noticeably reduces swing weight while also increasing torsional stiffness and reducing vibrations and chattering through the tips of the ski at high speed. The graphics of the redesigned Carbon Flipcore skis show the carbon areas of the ski and are very aesthetically pleasing. We’ve been digging the simplified Blizzard graphics over the past few seasons and were happy to see that the introduction of carbon didn’t come along with overworked graphics. The Brahma, in fact, might be the best looking ski in the 2017 lineup. The dark gray color matches well with the carbon sections and is all broken up by snazzy neon green highlights.
So, it’s got the new construction and it looks great. That really doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t ski well. We sent out a series of testers on the Brahma over the past couple weeks at Stowe Mountain Resort. We were able to test the skis in a variety of conditions, although the only length we had available was a 187cm (the longest of the four Brahma lengths). Our testers range in size, so we had a good mix of reports from those who should have been skiing the 187cm as well as those who probably would’ve been better off with a 180 or even a 173cm ski.
All of our testers thought the new Brahma is an improvement over the original version of this ski, which is saying a lot as the Brahma has always been one of our favorite skis. The most common feedback we received from all of our testers, regardless of their size or ski style, was that the skis are exceptionally smooth. This was one of Blizzard’s goals when changing up the construction of their Flipcore series. By adding carbon to the tips and tails Blizzard was attempting to reduce vibrations and tip chatter at high speeds, and they’ve done a commendable job accomplishing this. The skis stay extremely quiet and smooth through chopped up snow even at really high speeds. Even our biggest, most aggressive tester never found the skis were unstable, rather stayed smooth and calm during aggressive skiing and through different snow conditions and turn shapes.
Which brings us to another strength of the new Brahma, its ability to make different turn shapes. By using carbon in the tips and tails Blizzard has also reduced the swing weight on the Brahma making it easier to make pivoting, sliding turns. This was most noticeable for our smallest, lightest tester, who felt the 187cm length was at least one size too big. Even on a ski about 10cm longer than what would be appropriate for someone his size (5’10” 150 lbs) he was able to get the tail edge of the Brahma to release with ease, going into pivoting, smearing turns. We found this to be more noticeable than the previous version of the Brahma, which felt more at home on edge making rail road track style turns. Although we didn’t have any real off-piste conditions in which to take the new Brahma, we’re pretty confident in saying it’s a better off-piste ski than the previous Brahma. Where the old Brahma perhaps outperformed itself when comparing on and off-piste skiing, the Carbon Flipcore Brahma seems like a very even range of performance characteristics.
That being said, the new version of the Brahma still absolutely rips when you just want to make GS and Super G turns at high speeds. We found the more rounded your turns are, the better the ski responds. Those who like to arc turns from one side of the trail to the other will love the Brahma. It absolutely excels at making big, round, high speed turns. Its smoothness helps to alleviate any bumps or chopped up snow on the trail and allows you to just focus on the amount of energy you’re putting into your turns. The more energy you put into the Brahma, the more it gives back. It’s not the type of ski that rockets you out of one carving turn into another, but still has plenty of power for those who want to charge and make aggressive carving turns.
As you might have guessed, our opinion of the new Brahma construction is pretty synonymous with our opinion of its redesigned bigger brother, the Bonafide. Both skis retain the high performing characteristics that have made them so popular over the past few years, but are slightly more versatile, a bit more user friendly for non-expert skiers, and overall are just smoother skis than the previous versions. If you’ve been a fan of the Brahma, or if you’ve had your eye on it in years past, definitely try to get on a pair of the new 2017 version next ski season. Or if you’re ready to pull the trigger, we have a small selection of the new skis available now.