Understanding Blizzard's Flip Core Rocker // Ski Industry News
Without a doubt, one of the key elements to Blizzard's recent success is their highly acclaimed Flip Core technology. The odd thing is, despite the technology's popularity, it remains somewhat hard to distinguish what exactly "Flip Core" means. Now in its third year of production (first introduced in the 2011-2012 lineup), Flip Core remains as popular as ever, and only slightly less mysterious. After skiing Blizzard's line of Flip Core skis for the past few years, we can certainly can attest to their stability and ease of use. Still, the details of Flip Core's unique construction process remain murky for most. As a result, we figured we should take the time and do our best to explain what exactly Flip Core is, as well as how it improves the performance of the ski.
Flip Core all started as an idea back in 2010 when the late Arne Backstrom (former Blizzard athlete) was skiing with Blizzard rep Clem Smith out in California. On a whim, Arne mentioned to Clem that he thought rockered skis were being built the wrong way. He suggested that rather than profile a ski's core and bend it in the mold, Blizzard should try profiling the core of the ski, and then flip it into the mold, giving it a pre-formed rocker profile. In short, the idea was presented to the engineers at Blizzard, and the result was Flip Core.(Read about Flip Core and more in our interview with Jed Duke).
So how does Flip Core work exactly? Well typically when a ski is made, it's core material is profiled into a subtle arch shape. This profiled core is then placed on top of the base materials, in a mold that's in the shape of the camber profile of the ski. Other materials such as metal, fiberglass, and the top sheet are then added on top of the profiled core. At this point, the mold compresses and the ski is subjected to intense pressure as all of it's materials become bonded together.
The difference with Flip Core lies in that very first step, when the core profile is constructed. At this point Blizzard creates the camber profile of the ski, on the top side. The core is then flipped into the mold which matches the camber profile that Blizzard has already given the ski. From here on out, the construction process is the same as most other skis. The top layers are placed on top of the core, and pressure is added.
With all of that said, it still might be unclear what the actual advantage of Flip Core is. Ultimately, the key to the technology's success is the fact that the wood in the core of the skis, isn't stressed in the construction process. As a result, the end product has a much more natural flex, as the rocker profile of the ski is the actual shape of the wood, and not the result of bent wood.
The on snow translation of the Flip Core process is clear. If you've ever skied on a Flip Core ski, you've undoubtedly noticed the stability of the rocker. Even on a ski like the Blizzard Bushwacker, which has no metal in its core, the rocker profile is exceptionally stable on firm snow. Of course when you do add metal to the ski, such as the Blizzard Brahma or Blizzard Bonafide, the result is an unbeatably versatile ski. With Flip Core, you're able to lock into fast, firm carves while still being able to stop on a dime. Flip Core rocker gives your skis more stability than other rocker profiles, allowing you to take your skis from 60 - 0 in a split second. This kind of stability induced "speed bleeding" is helpful not only on the groomers, but in the powder too. When Arne initially brought up the concept of Flip Core, one the things he envisioned was a ski that could scrub speed like no other. He wanted to be able to ski big mountain lines, and safely drop his speed as quickly as possible when he found himself in sketchy situations. As Arne expected, the stability of Flip Core helped greatly in these situations.
Speaking of backcountry lines, Flip Core also improves a ski's ability to float in powder. Due to the fact that Flip Core maintains the natural shape of the core, without bending it, the flex of the skis have an incredibly smooth, even flex. Skis like the Blizzard Gunsmoke or Blizzard Cochise have no problem staying afloat in the powder with Flip Core. With the natural rocker shape, your skis simply have no reason to sink.
In short, Flip Core is a superior rocker technology, because it gives the ski a natural, stable flex that simply can't be matched by traditional ski construction. By avoiding the need to bend the wood core of the ski, Blizzard has allowed the wood to maintain it's natural shape without additional stress. The result of Flip Core, is a complete lineup of skis that have a remarkably smooth, consistent flex that'll be sure to impress even the most skeptical skiers. If you haven't been on a pair of Blizzard skis in the last few years, then you've been holding yourself back for too long. Make this season count with a pair of Blizzard Skis!