Individual Review Long-Term Review: 2018 Blizzard Bonafide

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Philpug, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    It is not news that my history with the Bonafide goes way back to the beginning. I received my first pair the spring that we arrived in Tahoe and in fact I actually still have them, complete with their "85mm" wrong graphics. Through the years I also have had every model including the recent carbon-infused ones. Fast forward to today, it is the first time we can say that the new Bonafide can be referred to as "all new."

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    People immediately started to ask me, What did they change? It is easier to reply with what is still the same, and that is the just the name, the 98mm waist width, and the lengths. Everything else has changed, we don't even see "Flipcore" on the graphics. So what is the difference? Let's start with the shape. Blizzard added a few millimeters to the shorter, more purposeful tip, which goes from 133 to 135 mm, and the tail, which goes from 118 to 119 mm. This does not sound like much, but it drops the turn radius from 21 to 18 m in the 180cm reference size (I still stand by the metric system being a subjective unit of measurement). It is not the widths only that enhance the turn feel but more that the ski is softer and bends with a more balanced flex, allowing the new Bonafide to turn better.

    There were some initial concerns that "Oh, they shortened the turn radius, now it will be like a slalom ski" or "Oh, they softened the flex, now it will be wimpy." I will confidently say neither is the case; you can put the pitchforks and torches back into the closet and relax ... until the next manufacturer evolves your favorite iconic model. Yes, the Bonafide is an icon of a ski; when it was introduced, it immediately perched itself as the 98mm ski that all others were measured against. Where the armor of the Bonafide started getting tarnished and other models started taking away from the Bonafide's sales were not in the power side, but in easy and playfulness, the characteristics that the Bonafide was lacking. It has the power down in spades, but over the years the ski had gotten progressively more demanding and it wasn't where the sales were.

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    Reinventing a ski like the Bonafide is a risky endeavour. You want to make it better but you don't want to ignore or dismiss what brought it to the dance in the first place. Blizzard succeeded in that task with the Bonafide (and Brahma/Brahma CA). The new shape, flex, and profile were felt immediately when finally got the ski on snow. I recall that first time I skied the Bonafide in 2011 and how special it was but every year it seemed to get less and less special. I know Blizzard said they didn't mess with the anything but the ski felt like it got progressively stiffer and uncompromising as it got older, simply less fun and more work.

    The new graphics...FINALLY. I have been clamoring for Blizzard to change the graphics so that even with an asymmetric motif, the skis can be switched left and right and still look good. With the new Bonafide, just drop the skis on the snow, click in, and ski away. You don't have to try to match the bull up or make sure the left ski is on the left foot, etc. We are all a bit vain, and this did matter with the previous skis.

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    I received new Bonafides over a week ago but I was not able to get on them until now. I didn't ski them at Copper or Snowbasin because I knew I had these waiting at home, and I needed to get on other skis that I didn't have 24/7 access to. Did you see the episode of The Big Bang Theory when Raj got a new iPhone and they savored every moment of opening the box and taking the plastic off? Well, I felt the same way with the new Bonafide; I knew that I wanted the experience to be special. I double-checked the measurements when I mounted them and put an extra coat of wax on. I should have sent them to @smoothrides but my schedule didn't allow it. Then ... the waiting.

    Finally on snow. We had a lot of snow in the day or so before I skied the Bonafides. The groomers were perfect; although they are not the terrain that the Bonafide was designed for, they need to ski well anyway. I immediately noticed how much quicker the turn-in with the ski was -- the new shorter tip's mission was accomplished. Through the turn the new shape was evident, two for two. Finally, all of this was done on a blue trail under slower to medium speeds. Hat trick, mission accomplished. Blizzard made what the Bonafide was always known for available at a lower entry point. Now, how does the new Bonafide feel where you expect it to perform, off piste and at speed?

    The snow that we received set up fast. While you were able to cut through it, it was not easy at all to ski; this is where the Bonafide excelled and was in its element. The 2018 Bonafide skied just as I expected it to, no fanfare nor fightback, the shorter turn radius didn't make the ski nervous and the softer flex didn't allow the ski to fold like a cheap card table. At speed it was still solid and unless I skied them back to back with the current model, I hesitate to be concerned that the top end might be lacking.

    Will the new Bonafide be the game changer that the original one was when it was introduced six years ago? No, the landscape has changed and there are many more good options to choose from, but it is now a indeed a better Bonafide. It is still on the power side of the spectrum but that power is no longer required, merely suggested. It is neither dumbed down nor a caricature of itself; it is still a Bonafide and should be on a better skier's short list of skis to consider for next year.

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    • Who is it for? Still for stronger, better skiers, but not as demanding; just more mature.
    • Who is it not for? Lightweights; the ski still needs to be worked.
    • Insider tip: No need to size up or down, whatever size you are skiing now, stay with it.
     
    amlemus, 1chris5, Mendieta and 8 others like this.
  2. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

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    Nice review.

    It sounds like the changes are good. Almost like the ski is aging gracefully, which is something I aspire to! :D
     
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  3. Daves not here

    Daves not here Getting on the lift Skier

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    @Philpug I love my Carbon flavored Bones that I got for last season (2015/2016). You convinced me I should go that direction and you were right! Don't try to convince me that there is a better Bones that I need to be on! Don't do it! ;)

    I can see the changes (not calling them improvements as that is subjective to the skier) would open up access to a lot of different skiers - and can understand why they went there. Maybe in a few years when the legs are older I will grab a pair.

    Great insight as always!
     
    Philpug likes this.
  4. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

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    Thx for the review Phil. Looks like the new Bones are a great option as a daily driver for Colorado resorts. Are they good in the bumps and off trail (chopped up powder and old powder), trees, etc? when it has not snowed in a week.

    What you mentioned about what happened to the Bones throughout the years is exactly what turned me off of them.
     
  5. Jed Peters

    Jed Peters World's Most "Okayest" Skier Skier

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    If they're so great, why were you so slow on them? :)

    I can't wait to get on them...give em a whirl. I skied Alex's 2016-17 bones this afternoon. He was on you-know-what. And yes, he couldn't believe that they were that good either.
     
    Tricia and Andy Mink like this.


  6. SkiEssentials

    SkiEssentials Slashing Turns and Prices Pugski Sponsor

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    That is an excellent way to describe it.
     
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  7. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have a couple of days under my belt with the new Bonafide at this point. I cannot say at any point did I feel I missed the old one.
     
    LeLeedler, MAC57, Ken_R and 1 other person like this.
  8. fatbob

    fatbob Making fresh tracks Skier

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    ERM re the left and right don't people (who are moderately serious about skiing) keep their skis footed so when they do ding an edge or get excessive wear they have fresh edges to go to? I always have.
     
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  9. Xela

    Xela On the way to Squaw Skier

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    Phil, do you recommend something else for a lightweight? I weigh 150 and still enjoy my first-year bones in 180, but I do think they can be a bit much at times.
     
  10. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    If you are willing to go a couple of mm wider, the upcoming Rustler 10 will be a great option. Otherwise the Volkl 90Eight, Armada Invictus 99Ti and even the Enforcer are viable for a lighter skier.
     
  11. Lucky

    Lucky At the base lodge Skier

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    Stop it Phil, you are going to make me spend money.
     
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  12. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Sooo..I should just shut down the site? Our motto should be "You spend money so we don't have to..."
     
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  13. SkiEssentials

    SkiEssentials Slashing Turns and Prices Pugski Sponsor

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    I (Jeff) am the same weight as you and I think as long as you're relatively aggressive (which you probably are if you ski original Bones) you certainly won't be disappointed.
     
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  14. Xela

    Xela On the way to Squaw Skier

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    Hmm. Is the Rustler 10 sort of like a wider Kabookie?
     
  15. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    its a new thing.

    Slightly twined, one sheet of metal and some carbon. lets just say its splits the difference in stiffness between the new Carbon Bonafide and the old fairly softer Peacemaker.
     
    SBrown likes this.
  16. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    The Kabookie was a LIGHTER Bonafide, not softer, designed to be better going up hill.

    @Josh Matta is correct, think of a stronger more all mountain biased Peacemaker.
     
    MAC57 likes this.
  17. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    Nice review. Any pics of the rocket profile, Phil? The way the modified tip shape integrates with rocket profile is probably critical to how the skis works in mixed snow. Also, any changes under the hood (construction/materials), because that's at least as important as the geometry. I am all in for easier to turn, unless it gets hookier in chunky snow. 18m is a bit short for a charg-ish all-mountain ski, although I ski them longer than 180, and presumably a 187 will be around 20-21m which is just about the sweet spot. If you have a demo unit, I'd be happy to hop on it at some point.

    P.S. I actually like asymmetric graphics, lets you save one edge for the "oh,crap, how do I get down this" moments....
     
  18. Xela

    Xela On the way to Squaw Skier

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    Of course. when I get into those siuations, I'm rarely able to take off my skis.
     
  19. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    Anticipation is the key here :)
     
  20. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    One of my deciding factor with a ski is when I am out and I think, "Boy if I was on XXXX today, it would be a perfect or even better day.." I was out today on the new Bonafide and I could not think of a ski that I would rather had been on. The conditions were 4-6" of medoum to light snow with some windbuff on top of a great base. Sooo good, so much fun.
     

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