2017 Blizzard Quattro RX: Get Ready to Go Fast // Ski Reviews
If you happened to miss the article, back in December the SkiEssentials crew was given an early preview of Blizzard’s 2017 ski lineup. Although there are changes in their Flipcore, freeride categories, the biggest news is the introduction of their new frontside line, the Quattro series. SkiEssentials had the opportunity to pick up some early production Quattro models and we are excited that we’re among the first to offer the new Quattro line for sale online! Of course, when the skis showed up we took a pair of each for our demo fleet at our physical store, Pinnacle Ski and Sports in Stowe, VT. We grabbed three Quattro models, the RX, RS, and 8.0Ti for some morning turns at Stowe Mountain Resort and are excited to share our experiences in a series of ski reviews.
The first ski we’re going to take a closer look at is the 2017 Blizzard Quattro RX. The RS and RX sit at the top of the Quattro line boasting more carbon than the rest of the line and a special extended binding plate designed to transfer power with ultimate quickness and precision. The RX is the wider of the two platforms with a waist of 84mm (the RS is much narrower at 72mm). We had just received an inch of fresh snow the night before our Quattro test morning and the groomers were soft packed powder. They were great conditions for testing frontside skis, but because the top inch was relatively soft, the wider RX was arguably the most appropriate ski for the conditions.
In addition to its 84mm waist the 2017 Blizzard Quattro RX also uses 2mm of tip and tail rocker, unlike its skinnier brother the RS. This helps make turn initiation smoother and more natural when there happens to be fresh snow. Instead of a cambered tip pushing the soft snow away, the rocker allows the tip to engage much more easily as it doesn’t require firm snow to push back against it. Because of the aggressive construction of the RX, however, once you get in that turn it’s exceptionally powerful. Even our biggest tester, Marcus, was skiing the 174cm length and never once felt he was pushing the ski beyond its limits. In fact, the RX seems like one of those skis that doesn’t really have a limit. We’ll be sure to take it out on a really firm, borderline icy day to see if we can find one, but in fresh conditions it held an edge through anything at whatever speed we wanted to go. It’s also exceptionally quiet and stable at speed for a ski with so much energy and responsiveness. We credit this to the combination of waist width, metal, carbon, and the rockered tips and tails. The RS, much narrower and full camber, was not as quiet as the RX.
We also found the Quattro RX released its edges easier than the RS due to the waist width and tail rocker. Where the RS wanted to hold on to a carving turn, the RX was willing to release its tail edge and go into a smearing, sliding turn much more easily. It does surprisingly well in variable conditions for a ski designed to rail groomers with such power and precision. The Quattro RX is bound to be a favorite among aggressive skiers who want solid of performance around the whole mountain while still retaining a race-ski-like feel when on-piste.
Because of the overall stiffness and aggressive nature, however, we would not recommend the Quattro RX to intermediate skiers. It rewards those who are in an aggressive, offensive skiing position. If your weight starts to fall into the backseat or if you stop attacking downhill, the skis will let you know you’re getting lazy. There are other skis within the Quattro line that will be significantly better cruising skis. The Quattro RX wants to be skied. It’s somewhat like a Formula 1 car, the faster you go the happier the skis are and the better they perform. Although they do release their tail edge much easier than full cambered skis and advanced skiers should have no problem skiing them slowly, the Quattro RX certainly prefers high speed skiing.
The Quattro RX, and we are so far finding this throughout the rest of the Quattro line, also likes to turn. Its 16m turn radius in the 174cm length provides pretty quick carving turns. We were able to manipulate turn shape on the Quattro RX and it will make a variety of different turns, but it’s happiest making relatively quick, snappy turns that are somewhere between true slalom and GS turns. In a similar nature to the way it rewards skiers who attack the mountain, it also rewards those who are really dropping their hip and arcing their turns. If you point it straight down the fall line it’s not exceptionally unstable, but it’s like the ski is saying, “hey, we’re supposed to be turning…” And that’s not a bad thing by any means. The Quattro RX is a ski designed for high speed carving turns. If you want to ski straight down the fall line, go pick up a longer ski with a long turn radius and point it. We’ll be behind you making perfect carving turns on our Quattro RX.
So what’s our overall take on the new 2016 Blizzard Quattro RX? Every single one of our testers was genuinely impressed by the ski. Its ability to enter a high speed carving turn in relatively soft snow is almost unmatched by anything else we’ve ever skied. It’s unbelievably powerful, stable, and quiet when you’re trying to push as hard as you possibly can. It rewards aggressive skiers with lively, energetic, and extremely responsive turns. At first we were questioning the 16m turn radius, but it provides a perfect turn shape for the ski and enables make dynamic carving turns even on relatively mild pitches and doesn’t seem like too small of a turn shape even at Mach 1 speeds. We’d like to put a World Cup racer on a pair and see if they can find its limit, because the SkiEssentials staff certainly could not.