2021 Blizzard Bonafide 97

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lengths: 165, 171, 177, 183, 189 cm
radius: 17 m at 177 cm
sidecut: 136.5/97/118.5 mm at 177 cm
price: $ 449.96

The Bonafide 97 marks the latest update and adaptation of this iconic ski. This new version has proven to be the most versatile yet, while still retaining the power and stability that made the original Bonafide and all the preceding versions so popular. For 2021, we get Blizzard's new True Blend technology, in which they position higher density wood in specifically engineered spots alongside lower density wood. The amount and position of that higher density wood changes based on length, which enables Blizzard to custom tune the amount of stiffness in each length. Longer skis should be stiffer, right? Makes sense, but that's not often the case with traditional ski construction. Blizzard also uses two sheets of metal and an additional metal sheet just under the bindings, which sits on top of rubber. We still get tons of vibration damping and power, but the tips and tails are a little more compliant than ever before, which increases the versatility of this ski. We also get more length options, 5 instead of 4, with a shorter gap between lengths, which should help skiers hone in on what works best for them.

Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Wood Core
Two Titanal Layers
Trueblend Flipcore
All Mountain, Groomers, Powder

Bob St.Pierre, as well as a number of our testers, were lucky enough to test both the 183 and 189 cm lengths, the two most appropriate for his size. Remember, performance changes a little bit per length, which I suppose is true for any ski, but even more so with True Blend technology. High scores from Bob on the 189 cm length, all 4s and 5s! "The 189 is my jam! Much better for my size, with the new build making a big difference in terms of stability. Pretty quick in the bumps and a blast on the groomers. What a great update to the Bonafide! Great feel and a natural and intuitive personality." In contrast, his scores dropped a little on the 183 cm. "True Blend is the new thing and this makes the 183 ski a lot differently than the 189. The 183 felt a bit too precise and short, good for bumps and quick turns, but a bit balky when opened up." Regardless of which length he preferred, Bob "loved the new tips and tails, giving the ski a tad more skid and smear-ability than previous versions, but still very burly, especially underfoot."

Marcus Shakun was another tester who got to try both the 183 and 189 cm lengths. Based on his feedback, he too preferred the 189, which makes sense considering both Bob and Marcus are big guys. "This Bonafide is the most versatile version I have skied since the Bonafide came to fruition. The new construction has made it so much more versatile, especially within each length. In the longer length, I was a little worried about the maneuverability, but when I went into the bumps it was easy to maneuver and kinda forgiving in the shovel, which has not typically been a thing with the past versions. I see it for a variety of skiers now that you can ski it all over the mountain, especially now with the length options making it so much more versatile for skier preference. Edge hold and stability have never been a question with this ski. The ski was almost too powerful before. Now it's more versatile and maneuverable, and all that is made possible without sacrificing that power and stability the ski is known for." Kenan Van Vranken got on the 183 cm length and if you watch the video that goes along with this write-up, you can see him blasting carves through fresh snow conditions. "True to Austrian heritage, the Bonafide wants to charge. Wide open smooth groomers were a breeze with absolutely relentless edge grip. Through chop, the skis kept composure, though this demands a forward skiing style. For a lighter, more intermediate skier, the Bonafide remains a stretch."

It's pretty easy to say this new version of the Bonafide is the best yet. We've always been impressed with the ski, but the new True Blend construction and the changes to tip and tail shape and flex pattern is the refinement it needed. Still powerful, still makes other skis in the lift line cower in its presence, but it has a touch of forgiveness that was lacking in previous versions. That means it's easier to manipulate turn shape, easier to maneuver it, and more fun to take into variable off-piste conditions and tricky terrain. Great job, Blizzard. Just don't ever take away its limitless stability, please and thank you.