(For 2013/2014 the Bonafide is still the reference ski in the 98mm category, its unchanged except for a sweet new graphic update)
By: Jim Moore, AMGA Certified Ski Guide
Late last January I set out to find a 98mm waisted ski that was versatile enough to ski soft and cut up snow well, but could still hold an edge on ice without getting me sketched out in exposed hard snow conditions. I tried skis in this category from all the major manufacturers and found out the ski I liked the least was the brand I had been on for the last 19 years. The clear, overall winner was the 2012 Blizzard Bonafide.
The conditions were firm, as the resorts like to call it, in January, and I was skeptical about finding a wider ski that I could trust. As a backcountry guide I get into all kinds of heinous snow conditions on the same day and the same mountain as part of the job, so I need something I can trust on wind-scoured boilerplate on the peak in the morning and spring slush at the bottom by afternoon. The Bonafide kicked butt in the hard January-drought conditions, allowing me to trust it right off the bat. With its 2 sheets of metal and a real structural sidewall, it felt like a little carving ski, nimble and quick even though I was skiing it in a 187. It easily won Best in Show at the on-snow demo days.
Next came the soft snow, skiing it in powder when I wanted to keep weight down in the backcountry and not have to haul a larger ski up the hill. With its rocker and wide tip, the Bonafide felt right at home as if powder was its specialty. It was kind of funny- I didn’t even notice the rocker until I wanted and needed it.
The next concern was how a stiff ski was going to behave in ‘dust on crust’ conditions when there was just enough snow to hide the bumps and frozen coral heads lurking underneath the fresh. I remember it was my first run of the day, I was being filmed and all I could think about was getting bucked off when I hit those hidden surprises. Was this where those 2 sheets of metal were going to become my enemy? Not too worry… the Bonafide turned out to be quite forgiving with its wide tip not being easily deflected when something reached up to smack me. When I saw the film later that day, I realized that all I had to fear was fear itself- the skis (and me) looked totally solid. The Flip Core Technology really works. Thanks Blizzard.
Now its July and after spending the winter, spring, and part of summer roaming around on mountains in all types of terrain and snow conditions and a ski season pushing 200 days, I can attest to the Bonafide’s versatility. It excelled in spring corn conditions, was solid in the slush, and even surprised me in one last test- the July suncups. Once the temps rose to summer status and the snow cupped in the afternoon melt and then froze again, the smooth slopes gave way to a minefield of suncups and shark fins. Again, the wide tip and rocker came to the rescue and it allowed me to actually enjoy the mountain, in all its variable conditions, from top to bottom.
The Bonafide definitely is an All-Mountain ski. It can easily handle anything the resort can throw your way and has become my do-it-all, Swiss Army Knife ski on the backcountry peaks.
North Shore Adventures
AMGA certified ski guide