Sep 04 2012

Review: Blizzard’s Kabookie

Right from the get go Blizzard’s Kabookie delivers confidence. By modern backcountry standards it is not a light ski, but by resort standards it isn’t a tank either. At 8 plus pounds per pair it is light enough to be bearable on the uphill, provided you aren’t pairing them with a pair of overweight slackcountry bindings. They are stout enough to slay whatever snow snakes lurk in the depths of funky snow known by terms like Cascade Crud, Sierra Cement, frozen chicken heads or mashed potatoes.

Blizzard’s Kabookie • 133-98-118 • $850

In 20 years of testing skis I’ve learned that if a ski can handle the nasty stuff, especially the gooey, oozing variety, powder performance is a non issue. At 98mm underfoot the Kabookie is wide enough to float you in soft snow, but not so wide it can’t hold an edge on firm or icy snow. In a day of testing at Sugar Bowl ski resort it handled all manner of spring conditions with aplomb, from early morning frozen corn to heavy slush by midday. Powder was non-existant, but as I just mentioned, if a ski can cruise through mush, powder performance is a given.

While there have been plenty of changes in the size and shape of skis in the last decade, the big winners consistently seem to incorporate the radical changes in small proportions. The Kabookie has slight camber in the middle and a slight rocker in the tip and tail. In the shovel that early rise is enough to improve flotation while trailbreaking – up or downhill – but not so much that it robs you of the leading edge of the ski for banking high speed carves on firm or icy snow. Wood core construction delivers a smooth stable ride at speed with a snappy rebound on the turns. Blizzard would have you believe this isn’t just any old wood core, but due in part to the use of their flip-core construction.

I’ve heard a lot of marketing smack over the years and whether it’s true or not only matters if the results are worthy of praise. In this case they are, so whether it’s the wood core or the flip-core construction is a bit of minutia you can debate when you belly up for a beer after the sun sets. Either way, the Kabookie rocks in a lot of conditions.

The slight rocker in the tail is, unfortunately enough that when you jam them in the snow they will deflect a bit, but not so much that you can’t easily jam the tail under your other ski when making a kick turn on the skin track.

The tip of the shovel is shaped fairly flat so it may present a problem for simple wire loop skin tip kits unless they are really wide. Bent wire tips will tend to work better, especially the deep wire loop from Colltex, or G3′s swiveling hand hooks.

If you’re looking for a solid, one ski quiver or a ski that will deliver excellent performance in a wide range of conditions, in or out of bounds, you won’t be disappointed with Blizzard’s Kabookie.

MSRP: $850
Dimensions: 133-98-118 mm
Lengths available: 166 / 173 / 180 / 187 cm

Related Posts
Kabookie Review on EpicSki.com
Sierra Descents confirms Kabookie rules

© 2012

  • Justin Bultman

    Im looking to get these skis but don’t know were to mount them, my previous skis were  twin tips mounted by the previous owner at about +10cm, and I like the way they ski. But these are not twins and are befuddling me for a mount point?!
    Thanks, looking forward to a response!

  • Dostie

    Mounted mine at the recommended boot center position, with Axls. Can’t comment on mounting forward to have good backward skiing. ;) If you just ski forward, not switch, mfg. recommendation rocks. 

  • Justin Bultman

    Thank you very much; I actually am not sure the length  though… Im an intermediate (advanced?), just started tele this year, got about 50 days in souteastern Indiana, picked it up pretty fast but in looking for a one ski quiver, these seem to be it. I’m 5’9″ 190lb  25 have been alpine for 20 years before picking up tele. This year I skiied old piste pipes that broke. They were 169, with bishop bombers. I’m heasitant to go up  to 173 because of where I ski, the variable conditions and my ability and down because I think it’ll be too short for me and my weight, thanks again and I look forward to a response!

  • Dostie

    For your weight I’d say 180ish. For your experience I’d say 170ish. For the long haul, Axl’s or Enzo

  • daveb56

    Hi, looking at a pair of Kabookies and interested in your thoughts on size.  I’m 6′, 187 pounds, usually ski with a 10-25 pound pack, 57 years old, advanced skier but not an “expert” and strong but not aggressive or a hard charger.  Torn between 180 cm and 187 cm.  Currently skiing BD Drifts in 186.  Ski mostly in Oregon Cascades and Siskiyous.  Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Dostie

    Just skied with a friend with very similar stats, except I would call him a bonafide expert for skill level. Same age but 10# lighter. He had 187s and wishes he had 180s. The 187s are harder to manuever on a kick turn where shorter is better. The 180s have enough flotation, especially in maritime snow.

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