The 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker: Bringing Flip Core to the Park // Ski Reviews
One of the best perks of working in the ski industry has to be all of the demos you get to enjoy every Spring. This past year was no different, as I was able to give the new 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker skis, a test ride when our Blizzard Rep, Ivar, brought a pair up to Stowe. It was an overcast day, with temps in the mid 30s. The snow that day was firm, with a lot of chopped chunder to be found. On days like this, soft skis should stay home, and the stiffer boards should come out to play.
Going into this Blizzard demo, I definitely had my eye on the 2014 Peacemaker from the get-go. My current skis for every day use are a pair of All Mountain twins, with a waist width of 102mm. The Blizzard Peacemaker on the other hand, is an all mountain twin tip at 104mm underfoot. Both skis feature a similar rocker profile, with camber underfoot and early rise in the tip and tail, so I was curious to see how they'd compare. Safe to say, these skis were right up my alley.
I also hadn't been on a Blizzard ski since they switched ownership some 5+ years ago, so I was eager to see how the brand had grown. Particularly, I was excited to try their new Flip Core Technology and see what all of the hype was about. As soon as I clicked into the Blizzard Peacemaker for the first time, I knew I was going to be a fan. You know how sometimes you click into a ski, and you instantly know how it's going to ski? The 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker gave me that exact feeling.
It just so happened that the lift was downhill from where I'd parked, so I figured I'd get right to it. Dropping in switch, I felt completely comfortable on the Peacemaker. Sometimes it's easy to hook your tails on a pair of twin tips if the sidecut is too drastic. On the Peacemaker, I felt completely comfortable. Even with a mount point between traditional and center (my every day skis are mounted true center), I had no problem at all riding switch. I knew exactly where the tails were, and I knew exactly where the tips were. I didn't need to worry about hooking an edge, or knocking my skis together… nothing like that. I know this might sound confusingly simple, but you'd be surprised how often a quick "switch" test will put a ski on my bad side. For lack of better explanation, the 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker made skiing switch incredibly simple.
Of course, riding 100' backwards to the lift is hardly enough of a test for a brand new ski. The next challenge that the Peacemaker's would have to conquer, was Nosedive, one of Stowe's several wide, groomed runs. This particular trail is the ideal testing grounds for new skis, because it features a little of everything. Up top, the trail starts as a black diamond and offers moguls to your left, or groomed trail to your right. Almost immediately, there is a big left hand turn where a new trail forms straight ahead, and Nosedive continues down to your right. If you opt to cut the corner, you're treated to a quick steep shot that offers a few solid, open powder turns. From here out, the trail is a mix of expert and intermediate pitch, with moguls or groomed terrain, depending on your preference.
The 2014 Blizzard Peacemakers absolutely devoured the trail. Up top, I was able to make a couple of quick transitions in the moguls before finding myself at the afore mentioned powder field. Let me clarify something about this area quickly. While it is pretty open, there are also several short, spindly trees that you have to watch out for. Upon dropping in, I was able to make one wide, loose turn, before having to bring it back in to navigate a couple of tight trees. After making it back to the trail, I had a moment to reflect. "The Blizzard Peacemakers just handled that flawlessly," I thought. My every day skis would have been too soft to shut down my speed quickly and without washing out. These skis on the other hand, had no issues at all transitioning from a wide open turn to a series of tighter maneuvers. Put simply, even if you never take the Blizzard Peacemaker into the terrain park, they're still incredible all mountain skis that have the added benefit of a twin tip tail. My only explanation for their ability to do this, is a combination of their mid-range flex, as well as Blizzard's Flip Core Rocker.
Let me take a step back real quick and give a brief explanation of Blizzard's Flip Core Rocker. (Longer explanation available here). Ever since rocker came out, companies have essentially been bending the core of the ski in the mold during the ski's final pressing. Blizzard Flip Core skis are created by giving the core of the ski the shape of the rocker profile before it even makes it to the mold. The result is a ski with a natural, consistent flex.
Now keep in mind that I'm a full fledge skeptic when it comes to things like this. Usually, my theory is, "False claims until proven true." Well, let's just say that the Blizzard Peacemaker quickly erased my skepticism, and I'm now a full supporter of Flip Core. After my experience at the top of Nosedive, it was time to test these ski's speed limit. The rest of the trail is a moderate pitch, and fairly wide. I put the skis through the test, mixing up quick slalom style turns with much longer arches that took up the entire width of the trail. At times I would pop to switch, either on a whim or a side jump, and really put the Peacemaker's on edge. Before I knew it, I was back at the lift, fiending for another run. It was official, I had been blown away by Blizzard's Flip Core.
Of course what would a review of a twin tip ski be if it didn't touch on it's performance in the terrain park? (Editor's Note: It would be incomplete). Rest assured, I was able to take the Blizzard Peacemaker for a spin through Stowe's North Slope terrain park. Unfortunately I had to hold off on the rails because it was a demo ski, but I was able to take it through the triple jump line. With a twin tip ski over 100mm in the waist, the biggest concern in the park is always going to be the ski's weight. While you can't deny that the Blizzard Peacemaker is less nimble than a park ski with a waist width closer to 80mm, I can say that all things considered, the Peacemaker handled itself quite well in the air. After testing the first jump with a straight air, I decided to try my luck on a quick 360 on the second jump. Spinning on these skis was almost identical to the skis I use every day, so the spin came around totally naturally. I decided to press my luck with a 540 on the last jump. As it turns out, I actually over compensated for the additional size and spun closer to a 630. I'm pretty sure you can predict the outcome of that. All falls aside though, I was very impressed with the Peacemakers in the terrain park. I had no trouble warming up to jumps with them, and I'm sure they'd prove to be just as stable on rails as they are everywhere else on the mountain.
All in all, the 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker is one of the most fun skis that I've ever been on. It has the perfect every day width for a ski that you want to take anywhere and everywhere. At 104mm, these skis are wide enough to let you surf across powder and slush, but are still nimble enough to hold a firm edge on groomed runs. The rocker profile is also spot on, with it's rocker, camber, rocker shape. Personally, this is my favorite profile as it brings the best of all worlds together. Early rise in the tip to improve float and turn initiation, camber underfoot for liveliness and edge hold, and early rise in the tail to exit turns, scrub speed, and improve switch skiing. Toss in a good mid-range stiffness, and you have an incredible All Mountain freestyle ski.
What it all comes down to for me though, is the unquantifiable ease of use. I really can't stress enough how comfortable I was on these skis as soon as I clicked in. I've been fortunate enough to demo easily over a dozen skis this season, and on several occasions it's taken me multiple runs to start "figuring out" how a certain ski wants to be skied. Sometimes, I leave a ski still totally unsure of what it's real sweet spot is. With the 2014 Blizzard Peacemaker though, finding the sweet spot was incredibly simple. As it turns out, the Blizzard Peacemaker's sweet spot is the entire mountain.