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Blizzard Bonafide Review

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Price:  $840 List | $545.00 at Amazon
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Pros:  Stable, stiff, relatively little tip rocker
Cons:  Tips dive in soft snow, stiff
Manufacturer:   Blizzard
By Mike Phillips, Nate Greenberg, and Scott Donaghey  ⋅  Jan 25, 2016
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63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 9
  • Carving - 20% 7
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Powder - 20% 5
  • Playfulness - 15% 4
  • Bumps - 5% 2

The Skinny

The 2015-2016 Blizzard Bonafide features carbon in the rockered portions of the tip and tail of the ski, and what Blizzard is calling FlipCore technology.

The Blizzard Bonafide is an all-mountain ski which will be favored by ex-racers and speed addicts. The Bonafide likes to turn once you get it going about 25 m.p.h. and will handle best at high speed. Our testers all agree that this is a big boy ski that demands good skiing skills and won't allow you to let off of this thing. This ski is stiff and takes a good amount of power to get it to respond. Without the rockered tip, this would be a wide waisted GS ski. The low rise tip of the Bonafide doesn't do it any favors in soft snow, where it tends to dive and not provide as much float as other 98 mm waisted skis in our all-mountain ski review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Blizzard Bonafide is a stout ski that is recommended for strong skiers who are looking for a ski that will specialize in firm snow and on groomed terrain. It's primary competitors for this terrain type and snow conditions are the Rossignol Experience 100 and the Dynastar Powertrack 89. This ski has less tip rocker than many other models featured in this review. We were able to ski a shorter size without sacrificing effective edge and it helped to make the ski a little bit easier to turn.

We tested the 180cm Bondafide. Even for taller, heavier testers this felt like plenty of ski. The Bonafide has a wood core, with pretty minimal tip and tail rocker. It has camber underfoot and the ski feels stiff all around. The 21 meter turn radius was best for making high speed, large radius turns. Basically this ski loves to go fast and get pushed hard.

Performance Comparison


An all-mountain ski should be capable of handling any kind of conditions thrown its way. Here Scott Donaghey and the Blizzard Bonafide rips up some chalky winter conditions at Mammoth Mountain.
An all-mountain ski should be capable of handling any kind of conditions thrown its way. Here Scott Donaghey and the Blizzard Bonafide rips up some chalky winter conditions at Mammoth Mountain.

Stability at Speed


The Bonafide really shines once it is at speed. Below about 25mph, it turns like a boat, above it it handles like a Cadillac. One of our testers said that without the rocker this would be like a wide GS ski.

The Bonafide is damp and loves to go fast. It is plenty of ski to push on while going fast, so that it doesn't feel chattery or insecure at speed. It is less responsive than the Volkl Mantra, but once up to speed and in the turn, the long turn radius it prefers are smooth. The low rise tip rocker and minimal tail rocker gave us plenty of edge for secure feeling arcing turns on firm snow. The Dynastar Powertrack 89 is easier to ski but not as stable at speed as the Blizzard Bonafide.

The Bonafide just needs a little speed to charge.
The Bonafide just needs a little speed to charge.

Carving Performance


Although short and wide for a dedicated groomer ski, this thing rips. Having a wide open, manicured slope allowed us to let loose on the Bonafide. It feels strong and capable at high speeds and when we have plenty of room for big fall line turns. The Bonafide was revered for its on-piste performance. The Rossignol Experience 100 is quicker turning and makes easier small radius turns at lower speeds.

Mike making the most of a ski like the Bonafide that likes to be pushed hard.
Mike making the most of a ski like the Bonafide that likes to be pushed hard.

Powder Skiing Performance


The low rise rocker tip of the Bonafide does it no favors in powder conditions. It is tough to keep the tips up and keep you from sinking too much. With many bouncy small turns it is possible to stay on top a little bit more, but the Bonafide doesn't really like those turns without quite a bit of work.

Working to keep the tips up on a shallow pow day at Mammoth Mountain.
Working to keep the tips up on a shallow pow day at Mammoth Mountain.

We were much more fond of the Editors' Choice award winning Volkl Mantra, which is also exciting and capable on piste; but handled soft snow conditions with strength and grace.

Crud Performance


While not a crud buster, the Bonafide is plenty of ski to plow through some lousy conditions. There is plenty of ski here for variable snow conditions, but we don't feel this ski is very forgiving. Therefore we ended up having to ski hard and take some leg abuse from firm, skied up off-piste conditions.

The Bonafide holds an edge just fine in tough conditions, as long as you stay on top of them, but not without the consequence of getting bucked around a little bit. It really shines on consistently firm, wind hammered conditions thanks to its excellent edgehold. However, the low profile tip tends to dive when things get thick and sloppy. When that transitional snow starts to refreeze, buckle in for the ride.

While the rockered tip of the Dynastar Powertrack 89 tends to flop around in refrozen chopped up conditions, the narrower waist makes it more nimble and less prone to getting hooked up and overpowering the skier. Even better, the new Dynastar Cham 2.0 97 has a similar rocker profile to the Powertrack, with a wider shovel and a wider waist. Wider waisted skis handle thick spring conditions well and the wide shovel helped to deflect bumps better.

Working for a little air on the Bonafide.
Working for a little air on the Bonafide.

Playfulness


The Blizzard Bonafide didn't score big points with our crowd for playfulness. It likes business more than pleasure, unless you open them up in consistent, somewhat firm conditions. The fully rockered shape of the Volkl Mantra makes that ski a little bit more loose when you want it to be, and that helps it to stand out against the Bonafide when we considered playfulness. The Mantra is quicker turning and handles moderate speed and tight/steep terrain a little bit more smoothly than the Bonafide.

Scott  again showing us what he expects a playful ski to do.
Scott, again showing us what he expects a playful ski to do.

Bump Skiing Performance


The Bonafide is way too stiff to smash bumps. It needs speed to get comfortable and unless you can really take a beating in your legs, this ski is a lot of work to bounce through the moguls. Softer, more rockered skis like the K2 Pinnacle 95 have more fun and are more practical for getting into the bumped up stuff.

Best Application


This ski excels at firm conditions and on groomers. The balance between performance on groomed terrain and in soft snow conditions was too far off for us to consider the Bonafide to be a really versatile all-mountain ski. If you ski them hard enough, they will be just fine in most conditions. Some of us felt like as soon as you let off of these skis they were tough to ski and it was easy to get bucked around. Their generally imposing nature left us feeling like we should only bring them out for the right conditions…mostly firm and pretty consistent snow types.

Value


This is a well made ski. Although it is not the most versatile model we tested, it is a good value for a ski that belongs in a quiver.

Conclusion


The Blizzard Bonafide is a big boy ski that wants to be pushed hard. It is stiff, fun to ski on big open slopes with consistent terrain, and keeps you honest when conditions get tricky. We recommend the Bonafide for expert skiers who demand a stiff ski, spend a lot of time on firm snow, and do more skiing on piste. For this reason, for the rest of us it may be better suited as a ski to come out during just the right conditions. It skis better overall than the Rossignol Experience but lacks the versatility and soft snow performance of the Volkl Mantra.

Other Versions


The Blizzard Bonafide is available in four lengths (166cm, 173cm, 180cm, 186cm).


Mike Phillips, Nate Greenberg, and Scott Donaghey