How many pairs of skis do you carry with you? Blizzard Bonafide may reduce that number for you. So, when you hit the slopes, you'll spend less time changing skiis and more time throwing up powder.
I’m the kind of person who prefers one set that can take me down whatever slope or passage I like. So when I see new editions of versatile classics like the Blizzard Bonafide I get excited. Now, we’ve all heard hyped up claims about all-mountain skis that can supposedly handle every terrain with grace. But does this model really deliver?
The Blizzard Bonafide All-Mountain Skis
The Blizzard Bonafide has enjoyed many years among the top skis in the ~100mm waist width category. Over the years, it’s seen some upgrades. The first major improvement was the carbon on its tips and tails. The second was the overall shape redesign, which has given the 2018 and 2019 Blizzard Bonafide models a different form and turn radius than older ones.
The main selling points of Blizzard Bonafide skis are their stability, power, and versatility. It owes its popularity to being a reliable all-mountain ski with plenty of support for play and progress.
The general shape is traditional with a classic easy-turn sidecut for a smooth and consistent all-mountain feel. It’s rockered in the front and back and has camber in the middle. The tails are flatter than the front for better flotation and stability. The tip design is a bit more aggressive, which helps with turn initiation.
This shape helps reduce pressure around the edges, which in turn improves handling and performance in powder. You’ll also have excellent grip on hardpack thanks to the camber. With a waist width of 98mm, it’s capable of freeriding in deep powder while also doing well on groomed slopes. A lower, progressive rocker concept helps improve both groomer carving and off-piste flotation.
The ski core consists of poplar and beech, layered so that the center is stiffer than the tip and tail. Its Carbon Flipcore design frames the core with a uni-directional carbon layer. The base is made from sintered graphite.
There are two layers of Titanal, giving a robust feel and more durability. Then there’s the anti-shock enhancement and binding reinforcement. Bi-directional carbon lines the tail and tip for extra strength without excess weight. Overall, the design aims to produce a responsive, stable all-mountain ski that’s easy to maneuver.
On the mountain
Since we’re dealing with an all-mountain ski, it’s important to consider how it performs in each terrain as a separate qualifier. So I’ll handle different snow conditions one by one.
Where Blizzard Bonafide skis seem to shine the most is on layers of soft snow and packed powder. They’re responsive and quick to turn, popping out of turns with a smoothness and speed that make it easy to chain quick slashes of different length and radius. The balanced flexing makes them stable at most speeds. However, you may get thrown about if you push your boundaries.
In moderate powder, the Blizzard Bonafide stays afloat with ease and enables playful handling. You won’t have to lean back and strain your legs to stay on top in these conditions. At slow speeds, you may notice a bit of sinking and a heavy overall feel. Skiing in more than 12 inches of powder is a bigger challenge with a Blizzard Bonafide set. You won’t struggle much as long as you know what you’re doing. But you will have to lean at times, and you may get bogged down. As long as you stay above 30mph, you won’t run into these problems. But if you want to cruise down deep powder slopes, you’re better off with a wider ski.
Piste and hardpack
Most “all-mountain” skis are little more than mostly groomer-oriented carvers that can also handle a bit of powder and rough stuff. Blizzard Bonafide is more tailored to deal with wilder conditions. But unlike those wide off-piste skis that feel clunky and unreliable on a nice groomer, the Bonafides do a good job there as well.
Whether you tend toward quick weaving or wild carving like a super-g star, you’ll have a great time on the groomer with a Blizzard Bonafide set. They’ll hold an edge very well. You’re more likely to pop out due to tired legs rather than slippage. But unlike super-g carvers, they won’t sink and crash in less tame conditions. So you really can take these skis to any slope you like.
Blizzard Bonafide skis are grippy enough to do alright on ice but not as grippy as GS skis, for example. The main issue you’ll notice on ice is that skis this stiff will inevitably make for a shaky, bumpy ride. So they’re not perfect on the ice, but that’s not to say they’re bad at all.
Something they do handle well is crud. I tend to avoid it like the plague because very few skis can manage it. But the weight and strength of these skis will let you cross cruddy patches without much trouble. If you like adventures among the trees, these skis won’t hinder you. While they are a bit stiff and heavy, they’ll get you through the tight stuff as long as your short radius turns are strong. Keep in mind that you may tire fast.
In summary, Blizzard Bonafide is a reliable all-mountain solution that works more or less everywhere. They’ll shine most in western locales, but I wouldn’t bring them to the ice coast.
How Blizzard Bonafide Skis Compare
It’s hard to evaluate how good a pair of skis really is when looking at it in isolation. To give you a better idea, we’ll provide you with information about Blizzard Bonafide's main rivals.
We’ll take a look at the Head Monster 98, Nordica Enforcer 100, and Völkl Mantra. We’ll compare the technical details and performance against the Blizzard Bonafide.
Head Monster 98
The Head Monster series is a line of versatile all-mountain freeriding skis in a wide range of widths. A pair of Head Monster 98mm skis is a very close match against Blizzard Bonafide.
The main difference in construction is the graphene reinforcement of the silver fir core. Graphene is a carbon material that provides excellent strength with almost no added bulk. This, together with the Titanal laminates, makes the ski very durable and responsive with great dampening and stability even at high speeds.
Reinforced full-length vertical sidewalls make the skis strong around the edges. Overall, they’re flexible and playful with enough weight to give you confidence on rough slopes.
The camber design is traditional in general, but there’s a 20 percent rocker in the tip for easier steering.
On the mountain
Much like the Blizzard Bonafide, Head Monster is like a race ski that can stay steady even in messy snow. It seems a bit more geared toward blasting through crud though. It’s more flexible, so it’s better on bumpy terrains and perhaps a bit more approachable for intermediates.
On groomed slopes, it carves like a super-g ski. If you’re the type who likes to swoop and stay on edge, you’ll love them. If you’re more of a quick zig-zag skier, these aren’t an ideal choice. They’re heavier and have a higher turning radius than Blizzard Bonafide 98s.
Nordica Enforcer 110
The Enforcer 100 is Nordica’s most advanced freeriding ski. It’s designed to be as reliable and playful off-piste as on-piste.
Nordica’s approach to lightweight all-mountain ski design is the Energy 2 technology. It uses a carbon-reinforced balsa wood core with double titanium layers and a sintered graphite base. The result is a light, responsive ski that can handle rough conditions.
Gentle, progressive tip rockers help you lay edges with minimal effort. The tail has a gentle rise that balances turn release with flotation in powder. The skis have full-length ABS sidewalls and a sturdy polyamide top sheet.
With its 100mm waist, it floats a little better in powder, but it may not carve groomers and ice with the same proficiency as the Blizzard Bonafide.
On the mountain
These skis have a slight edge on powder and soft slush. So they’re ideal skis for springtime skiing. They seem a bit lighter and more floaty. You can take it easy for a while and cruise down the powder without getting stuck.
But they really shine at higher speeds. Few all-mountain skis can provide such smooth smearing and sharp edges at high speeds on rough terrain. They’re very stable and flexible, giving you good control in most conditions. Sometimes the tips may feel almost too flexible, so they can take a while to get used to.
When it comes to groomed slopes, they’re fast and have a short turn radius with great edge grip. But you may feel better with the Blizzard Bonafide. The Enforcer isn’t a great choice for east coast slopes or days with hard corduroy groomers. But on a good powder day, you’ll love it.
Mantra skis by Völkl are among the top all-mountain back skis for experienced skiers since ten years back. Each new edition has pushed it even further. It remains a real soft snow beast.
Mantras are now 100mm wide at the waist and feature a full rocker profile, unlike older ones. The core consists of ash in the middle and poplar toward the ends, which makes it sturdy and flexible. It’s a full sidewall, full Titanal design with a polyethylene base.
The rocker design uses a gentle curve from tips to tails. The rocker-matched sidecut and symmetrical flex pattern give it a stable, consistent feel with excellent edge grip and ease of use. The harder you lay an edge, the more powerful the edge becomes.
On the mountain
The metal laminate and rocker design make this ski ideal for charging hard on powder and crud. It’s not the kind of ski you want to take for a casual, mindless cruise. It’s meant for speed and wild slashing, you should work it hard to reap the benefits.
It floats better than a Blizzard Bonafide in powder, and it handles crud with less disturbance. The Mantra is stable at all sane speeds and thanks to the profile you’ll really feel it smooth out in sharp turns. The more you lean, the more it evens out. As a result, you’ll find it more predictable and buttery than most other skis in this category.
Keep in mind that it’s best suited for experienced and aggressive skiers who know what they’re doing in all conditions. It’s meant for off-piste adventures, although it can do a good job on groomed slopes as well.
Initiating turns is easy and smooth, while the rebound has a nice pop to it. The tip is less stiff than on a Blizzard Bonafide, but not overly bendy. The edge-to-edge quickness is excellent.
Pros and Cons
That’s a lot of information to take in. Let’s do a quick recap to summarize the strengths and drawbacks of the Blizzard Bonafide ski.
It’s a formidable all-mountain ski in general, and it’s a close fight between it and the main competitors in every quality. Since they’re all in the same price range and do the same thing, the main deciding factor is overall feel and brand preference.
If you like a stiff-flexing ski that works like a charm on ice and piste, the Blizzard Bonafide is your choice. Those who prefer a more flexible, playful ski that’s better in powder and crud will prefer the Völkl Mantra. If you’re an east coast skier, the Blizzard Bonafide is the clear winner.
It takes a lot of skill to charge with a pair of skis like this. There are no really approachable options that can keep up in this category. While the Blizzard Bonafide is stable and playful, it may have a bit of a learning curve.
If you need a more forgiving ski, the Enforcer or Monster may suit you better. That is if you spend a significant amount of time on messy snow. When it comes to carving groomers, Blizzard Bonafide is still a top choice.
If you’re in need of a trusty one-ski quiver killer for every season and locale, Blizzard Bonafide can give you what you need. It will deliver speed and stability with easy turning in more or less every terrain. It will outperform most all-mountain skis on ice, so it’s ideal for eastern settings. It’s a popular high-performance ski that’s built for excellence. There’s no comparing them to average skis whatsoever.