2020 Blizzard Bonafide

The Blizzard Bonafide has earned a strong following among aggressive advanced and expert skiers. It has a 98 mm waist width, two sheets of titanal metal sandwiching a poplar and beech wood core, and bi-directional carbon fiber in the tip of the ski. It’s described in the Blizzard catalog as using a rocker/camber/rocker profile, but there’s really not much rocker at all. It’s more pronounced in the tip, but is still very low-rise, and is almost non-existent in the tail. Its construction is comparable to that of race skis, which makes it relatively stiff, and fairly heavy as well. It’s known for its stability, power, vibration-damping, and its ability to charge through any type of snow condition. We were happy to put that reputation to the test.

Brooks Curran tested the 187 cm length, which happens to be the longest available in the Bonafide. We really liked Brooks’ feedback on the Bonafide, and he has a lot of experience on advanced/expert skis, so his opinion is very valuable. “The 100 mm flat tail category gets asked to do everything and the Bonafide is perhaps the gold standard. Just as happy with slow smear turns as huge arcs on hardpack. Could be called heavy, but for me that’s what makes them so special. The ultimate one-ski-quiver for the hard-charging east coaster.” Keep in mind that Brooks is a very good skier. Some skiers will find those smearing turns a little more challenging than Brooks did.

James Stewart skied the 180 cm Bonafide and gave it high scores for both stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip, two criteria in which we expect the Bonafide to excel. “Bonafide is a classic at this point. There is a bull on it for a reason. The ultimate crud-buster. Set it on edge and hang on.” The Bonafide’s ability to stay stable and poised at high speeds through different snow conditions is one that’s almost completely unmatched by any other ski. Hands-down it has impressive stability.

“What can you say about the Bonafide?” asked David Wolfgang after skiing the 180 cm length. “It’s the new benchmark for this category. A rock-solid ski that will handle anything you throw at it.” His reaction reminded us a lot of James’. Both found the Bonafide performs well on the feet of even the most aggressive skiers. You’ll be hard-pressed to out-ski the Bonafide, no matter how good you think you are.

Brad Schauerman also tested the 180 cm Bones (their affectionate nickname) and was really impressed by how well it carves, especially considering that 98 mm waist width. “This is a great no-joke carving ski. Awesome on groomers and pretty decent through crud. Excellent from edge to edge, quick and nimble. A fun ski to carve and go fast on.” With speed is how the Bonafide likes to be skied. It’s nice to know Brad found it to be relatively quick and nimble considering its weight and that it’s fairly wide, especially for firm snow applications.

Annie MacDonald was psyched we put the Bonafide on her list of skis to test. She got on the 180 cm length and was impressed by its performance. 5 out of 5 for stability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. “Really solid tip to tail! Torsionally stiff, but flexes really well. This ski loved opening it up in GS turns and accelerating when you shift your weight onto your heels. Got some kick! Great ski for aggressive skiers in a variety of conditions.”

The way Annie ended her feedback is probably the most important thing to remember about the Bonafide. If you’re not a relatively aggressive skier, there are probably better options for you. If you’re looking for power, vibration damping, and stability, however, there aren’t many skis that can even come close to the performance of the Blizzard Bonafide.

Testers

Brooks Curran

Age: 24Height: 6'2"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Ex-racer, now backcountry freerider

Evan Caha

Age: 30Height: 5'10"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and adventurous with a love for high edge angles

Annie MacDonald

Age: 56Height: 5'7"Weight: 118 lbs.

Ski Style: Lots of style, grace, and power

David Wolfgang

Age: 67Height: 6'3"Weight: 230 lbs.

Ski Style: Strong, deliberate, and smooth

James Stewart

Age: 30Height: 6'2"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, playful, and fun to follow

Brad Schauerman

Age: 28Height: 5'9"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Trees, trees, and more trees just like a squirrel

Chuck Waskuch

Age: 47Height: 5'8"Weight: 180 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth and Controlled

27 Comments on the “2020 Blizzard Bonafide”

  1. Bought the Bonafide as I ski the Brahma and love them for their stability and versatility. I really enjoy the Bonafide also ,however I think they are a more narrow focus ski as they have considerably less tip Rocker than the Brahma yet even more power which I find makes them less versatile which I feel is counter intuitive for a 98mm ski.
    I guess if you are a strong skier who likes to charge hard, over 200lb, and skies hard pack, dust on crust and crud all the time they are perfect.

  2. I have the early 2012/2013 Bonafides in 173 and have loved that ski in all conditions. I’m 49, 6’0 195lbs, expert level and I’m looking for a new ski. I prefer glades and bumps to frontside groomers. I prefer a shorter ski for playfulness and quickness in the trees. The only negatives I’ve experienced with the Bonafides is tip chatter at speed and doesn’t hold an edge that well on ice. What ski would you recommend for me? Should I just replace it with another pair of Bones? Also, I don’t get the trend of going back to longer skis? I don’t need any more speed, I’d actually like to slow down. I blow by everyone I ski with on my 173’s. Is there a downside to going to a 166?

    1. Hi Robert!
      First off, at your size and ability, I would not downsize. The theory is that the skis are so stable, even at shorter lengths, that you can use a shorter ski and still retain the benefits of the longer lengths, thus making skiing easier. There’s no substitute for an appropriately sized ski.
      The 2019/2020 Bonafide is lighter in the tips and tails thanks to the addition of carbon fiber, and the turn radius has been shortened a bit since your version. This makes it a better turning ski, so that will make them more playful. It doesn’t do much for tip chatter and edge grip, but it doesn’t sound like those are your top priorities. At the ~98 mm underfoot width, you probably won’t get the edge grip your looking for in any ski, really. On the slightly narrower and grippier side, the Volkl Mantra M5 and the Rossignol Experience 94 Ti are worth a look, but if you’ve been happy with the Blizzard, there’s not a whole lot of reason to change. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks so much for the quick response! I’m not sure I understand your comment being “The theory is that the skis are so stable, even at shorter lengths, that you can use a shorter ski and still retain the benefits of the longer lengths, thus making skiing easier”. Wouldn’t that imply that I can go to a 166 and still retain the benefits of a longer ski, but have an easier time getting around tight tree lines?

        The other ski I was considering is the Volkl RTM 84 because it looks like it would ride on rails on the front side, but not sure how well it would do in the glades and bumps? I just don’t know if I would miss the playfulness of the Bones?

      2. Hi SE!

        Thanks for the quick reply. It seems like guys my size and level are on 180 or 187. Most seem to think the 173’s I’m on are too short, yet I find them almost perfect. I think the 166 would be even better. Less speed, easier to turn in the bumps and trees. Just not sure what I’m giving up by going from 173 to 166?

        What would you recommend as the MOST PLAYFUL one ski quiver for skiing glades and bumps in the East?

  3. @Robert
    “What would you recommend as the MOST PLAYFUL one ski quiver for skiing glades and bumps in the East?”

    What if you wouldn’t consider going shorter on a stiff ski, but go same length on a more flexing ski? Have you considered Bizzard Rustler 9 or 10, for example?

  4. If you want a fun, playful ski to bounce around in the moguls and dodge the trees going by, I recommend the Elan 88’s. I bought a pair of the 86’s last year, and despite a pretty extensive quiver built up,over the years, this is the ski Imgravitate to for Eastern skiing if there is any snow at all on the mountain … George

    1. Hi Matt!
      Same build, different topsheet and graphic. The new topsheet is a bit more durable and doesn’t seem to chip quite as easily as the 2019. Have fun!
      SE

    1. Hi Davide!
      Versus the 2016, the current Bonafide has a shorter turn radius and carbon in the tips and tails for a lighter swing weight. It’s turnier, but no less stable or stout. Versus the Bent Chetler 100, the Bonafide’s two sheets of metal put it in another league in terms of stiffness and burliness. If you like the 2016 Bonafide, the BC 100 will feel light, quick, and flexible. Hope that helps!
      SE

  5. If I have an option of getting the 2019 Bonafides for $200 less than the 2020 Bonafides, what would you recommend?
    I never know if they really change/improve the ski that much year over year to not get the last year ski for a cheaper price.

    I skied the 2020 Bonafides (173 and 180) and loved them. Prefer the 173 as felt it as as stable but a little lighter to carry and easier to turn as well as better at the end of the day when a little tired.

    1. Hi Bo!
      The big change is the new True Length core technology. They’re building each length with its own core that makes the ski actually ski differently and more true to size. I skied both the 183 and the 189. At 6/2 220, I found the 183 to be stiff and turny while the 189 was super-smooth and intuitive. So it seems like it works, as the stiffness of the core makes a big difference in the overall character of the ski. They’re coming in at 97 mm underfoot for 2021, so a slight tweak in the numbers. The 189 was an absolute blast–stiff and responsive, but also nimble and quick. Hope that helps!
      SE

    1. Hi Bo!
      We skied them the other week and they perform very similarly to the 2021 Enforcer 100. I skied the 189 in the Bonafide versus the 186 Enforcer. I’d like a crack at the 191 Enforcer 100 just to see how that compares, as the skis have different flex and rocker patterns per size. Loved the 189 Bonafide–fit my size and style very well.
      SE

  6. (Double post as I incorrectly typed my email in my previous comment— feel free to delete it). I just bought a pair of 2020 Brahmas. I’m an expert level skier who is very physically strong with a competitive ski background. I mainly bought them for Eastern skiing to be able to ski them anywhere as fast as possible. We tend to get a lot of ice and not much snow, and based on your review I figured these would be the right pair.

    Now I have a little buyer’s remorse. I’m wondering if I should have bought the Bonafide. Would it have given me extra performance due to the extra weight? I keep reading about tons of hype about the Bonafide and how they’re a lot of ski. Sounds like the right choice for me. I love carving, skiing like a lunatic, and hitting moguls. Keep in mind that I have a powder ski for deeper snow as well.

    1. Hi Ryan!
      Sounds like you’re a Bonafide skier, even with the powder ski–there’ll always be a place for those. But for all-mountain high speed ripping, the Bonafide is burlier. It’s still an amazing carver–I see skiers here in Stowe who rip the most amazing turns on those. I think you’ll find the Brahma twitchy while the Bonafide doesn’t really do that. Have fun!
      SE

  7. I have a pair of 180cm Bones, bought ’em new in 2012, with at least 200 days on them. Best skis ever, high speed GS turns, powder, and some bumps. I am a life long skier with a mix of some racing, ski patrol & ski instructor experience. Mostly I free ski with with friends and family here on Vancouver Island. I am 72, 5’10”, and 165 lbs.

  8. I am looking for a ski that can do everything. I’m on patrol in the PNW and need to ski crud, set ropelines in a foot of new, run toboggans on ice. A one ski quiver. I’m a woman, 5’ 10” 140lb. I skied the Black Pearl 98 but want some metal. Also tried the Rustler 10 and the Sheeva 10. Haven’t tried The Bonefide. Looking for stability, hate chatter, low swing weight and short turn radius.

    1. Hi Mary!
      Sounds like the Bonafide will do it all except for low swing weight. You can make it do shorter turns, but it’s by no means a slalom ski. Also check out the Fischer Ranger 99 Ti if you’re looking for another option. Hope that helps!
      SE

  9. I have the 2019 Rustler 10 in 172cm. It’s a great ski for many different conditions, but the tip chatters a bit at higher speed (~40mph+), and I want to be able to go a bit faster with confidence. I am 29, 5’7″ 155lb, advanced intermediate level. Would the bonafide be a good fit to replace the rustler 10 or is there anything else I should look into? I am also not sure about the length. Would 173cm be a bit too much for jump turns down steeper terrain or in moguls? I demoed 166cm and loved it, but I am not sure if 173cm would potentially provide more stability. I am looking for a western one ski quiver primarily skiing in the PNW. Please help. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi George!
      Keep in mind that with added stability at speed, you’re losing playfulness and maneuverability. Yes the Bonafide will be more stable at 40+, but how often are you going that fast and is it worth the sacrifice? I assume you’re keeping the Rustler, so a second ski could/should be on the narrower side like the Bonafide. I’d also check out the Volkl Mantra M5 in a 170–might be a good middle-ground ski. Have fun!
      SE

  10. Hi, I’m 5’10” and about 190 and 51 years old. I’m an advanced skier and have been riding the 2012-13 Bonafide at 180 cm which I have been great. However, I recently demo’d the 2019 model and found them more playful and easier to maneuver in the bumps and trees. I’m also skiing with my young kids more and find my bonafides a lot of work when I dial down the speed. Ideally I’d like a bit more playful ski that doesn’t require me to sacrifice too much of the stability , calmness and edge hold that I love in my bonafides. The reviews I’ve read have got me thinking about the Mantra M5, Rustler 9 or 10, Salomon QST 99., or the Bonafide 97 for 2021. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Cheers!

    1. HI Scott!
      On the slimmer perspective in terms of sacrifice, I’d say the QST is the way to go. The Mantra and Bonafide 2021 aren’t really enough of a change while the Rustler is likely too far on the other end. The QST fits a nice niche in this world, as the skis are quite stable and easy to turn. Comes in a 181 as well, which is nice. Have fun!
      SE

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