The Blizzard Cochise has been the tool of choice for more up-and-coming rippers than we can shake a stick at. How’d she fair in the Earlyups Test Session? Read on to find out… Update: More notes added 1/20/2015
Defining Tester Quote: “Damp, stable, fast yet easy to release an edge”
Update 1/20/2015: We’ve skied an additional 10+ days on this ski this season. Couple of thoughts. One, the tune makes all the difference. Perhaps this is universally true with any ski but especially worth mentioning with respect to the Cochise. We’ve aggressively detuned the ski – even taking a diamond stone at a 45 degree angle to the edge underfoot for a few passes. The ski still has plenty of bite but is extremely easy to control in a slide without it beating you up. I’d even go as far as to say the ski is surfy while retaining strong edge hold. Its an extremely precise tool that lets the pilot pick “slarve” or “carve” depending on what the terrain asks. My (Jeff’s) pick for the 2015 season.
Editor’s Note: Blizzard has let us know the production ski does in fact have *slight* camber underfoot. Ours had perhaps 1mm but it was closer to flat than anything else hence we noted “flat”. We just want to be clear that if you see this ski with slight camber it is in fact the same ski we tested.
Blizzard team manager Frank Shine is skiing’s answer to Moneyball’s Billy Bean. Although the company may not have the biggest budget out there, they sponsor more unknown (really good) rippers than any other company we can think of. Those athletes have been working hard on making the company’s product better. Enter the 2014/2015 Cochise.
The new Cochise is slightly softer than year’s prior (~15%). Although far from a soft ski, this change should bring forth a bit more forgiveness to a ski that previously could be a handful even under a strong pilot. Within this category of ski in our test (the 104-108 competition level ski with metal), the Cochise is the only ski to have zero camber. The ski is flat underfoot with gradual rocker lines in the tip and tail. In our previous experience, subtle, gradual rocker lines lead a bigger sweet spot and more stability at the expense of noodling around agility. Enough speculation… How’d it fair in our test? Read on to find out…
- Size: 170, 177, 185 (tested), 193
- Tip: 135
- Waist: 108
- Tail: 123
- Turning Radius: 28.5
- Taper: No
- Rocker: rockered tip/tail, flat under foot
- Construction: Metal and Wood
- Weight: 5.1lbs (medium/heavy)
- Flex: Stiff
- Testers: Patrick, Kruvy, Byl Joe
Summary: This ski rewards solid technique and good fundamentals. A ski for traditionalist who skis fast yet looking for a ski with an easy to release edge.
Buy if… You are a stronger skier, you like damp skis, you are looking for a competition caliber ski with modern shaping/camber profiles applied.
Look elsewhere if… You want the surfiest ski out there, you often get in the back seat, you are a “right lane at 55mph” kind of guy/girl
Friend of Earlyups Rob Dickinson charging on the Cochise to a second place day one finish a few years back
Would you buy this ski: 4- Yes 0-No
Rating: 4 stars
This is an athlete derived ski and it shows. Well built, damp, and made for the 100+/year day skid who skis hard day in day out and looking for a no frills all business ski. In harder conditions the ski was confidence inspiring especially once brought up to speed. It will carve large radius GS turns confidently yet remains easy to release the entire edge, scrub speed and adjust the turn radius as you see fit. This is likely due to the gradual rocker lines in the tip and tail combined with the flat camber underfoot. As a result this brought forth a good blend of “slarve” and “traditional carve” in one package without forcing the pilot to chose. If you need more proof of the skis hard snow ability, take a look at the $@# F&@ Conditions edit by Johan.
Despite its hard snow prowess, two testers commented the Cochise was unnerving while going straight on hard snow “…The Cochise feels vague and squirrelly when running bases flat on groomers…”. We have to suspect this has more to do with the tune & the fact this is a pre-production ski than anything. The ski very well may have been edge high and/or not detuned to those skier’s liking in the tip/tail. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure either way.
In cut up conditions the ski performed as expected. Powerful, damp and neutral though two testers did mention they’d like to size up to the 193. (on the contrary, a different tester mentioned the “185 felt like a 195 at times”). The longer turn radius, rocker profile and flex pattern kept the ski going whatever direction the pilot intended without ill effect. In these conditions it was a stand out ski of the test.
In the deep we found the 108 waisted Cochise to more often be in the snow than on the snow. While this can lead to more faceshots it had a number of our testers reaching for something fatter during the March that was at Jackson. We realize this is a one-ski-quiver test so its a bit of a push and pull to say it “wasn’t fat enough”. Truth is the Cochise is just big enough to be considered a do-everything stick for a place like Jackson. Most here would likely spring for the 118 waisted Bodacious if they could only have one ski. Still, for most mountains, especially between the ropes, its a sufficient tool in the deep and did float better than we’d expect a 108 waisted straight-ish ski to float.
Though the amount of time this ski was really put in the air was limited initial impressions were strong. Again, this is an athlete derived ski. As in, this is the exact ski a number of high end comp skiers are trusting their life with. It comes of little surprise that the ski was nothing short of solid on landing or the run-out thereafter.
At over five pounds in the 185 its no featherweight touring stick. Though, mounted with something like Lars CAST system it would work fine for a jaunt here and there. However, for those that can only afford one ski and find themselves splitting time equally between the ropes and touring, we’d suggest perhaps something lighter like the DPS 112 RPC.
In sum this is a high performance ski for the expert level skier who lacks nothing in the “aggressiveness” category. While a charger “comp” style ski, its brilliance is in how easy it is to vary your turn shape and release the ski’s edge when so inclined. That said, and although softer than years prior it still isn’t a ski I’d put my dad on or suggest my 15 days-a-year buddy from San Fran run out and buy. Its a skier’s ski and meant for the guy/gal who has the legs, brains (or lacktherof) and throttle to make the ski come alive. For the skier looking for a blend of new and old, of great edge hold and slarvey hard pack performance in a 108 waisted package, this is your ski.
For more on Earlyups Test Sessions check our main post here cataloging all skis in the test.