Blizzard Samba 2017 - Ski Mag

Blizzard Samba (2017)

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Blizzard Samba

Rating: 3.72 / 5
Price: $780.00
Year: 2017
Level: 2
Gender: Female
Waist Width: 98
Tip/Tail/Waist: 131-98-116
Lengths: 152, 159, 166, 173

Stability at speed: 3.90 / 5
Hard snow performance: 4.03 / 5
Crud performance: 3.93 / 5
Flotation: 3.08 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.70 / 5
Overall: 3.72 / 5

The Samba, a perennial favorite, slipped to No. 3 last year. But it returns to its place at the top of the rankings with the second-highest Overall Impression score in the entire test. (Only another Blizzard beat it, the powder-specific Sheeva.) Testers agreed it does best at high speeds for hard-chargers, but Blizzard has worked to lighten it up over the past couple of years, and it won’t overpower lightweights with a more finessed style of attack. It’s the picture of versatility, with top-five scores across the board. Cunningham: “All the right combinations of stability and maneuverability and float and edge bite. An ideal daily driver from bell to bell.” Moffatt: “Strong enough for women who love speed, but still approachable and versatile enough for intermediates.”

The 2017 Blizzard Samba is the women's version of the similarly wide (98 mm) and highly sucessful men's Bonafide. It's metal-free and softer flexing, so it's lighter, livelier, and easier to manage than the Bonafide. And while it offers a little less buoyancy in deep snow than the women's 104-mm Sheeva, the Samba will be carvier than the Sheeva, quicker edge to edge, and about equally happy on Western softpack as it is in powder. 

Blizzard's Women's Freeride collection includes four women-specific versions of the Austrian brand's highly successful bull-themed all-mountain skis (each is named for a famous rodeo bull). For 2017, all models return unchanged except for new graphics. Waist widths range from a soft-snow-surfing 104 mm (Sheeva) down to an Eastern-hardpack-carving 78 mm (Cheyenne), with two all-conditions candidates (Samba, 98 mm; Black Pearl, 88 mm) in between. All are sturdy laminate layups with edgy, full-length/full-height vertical sidewalls, and all feature the same core construction-a mix of poplar and beech, for durability and responsiveness, with thicknesses tuned to be appropriately lightweight and softer flexing for women. All are metal-free, so they'll be light and lively, rather than too heavy, edgy or overdamp. Rocker tip in tail enhances their soft-snow flotation and makes them easy to pivot and steer; positive camber underfoot gives them enhanced edge grip, rebound energy, and carvability on hardpack. Tapered tips (where the widest part of the ski is moved toward the binding) give all models an added measure of slashy surfiness in soft snow. All are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down; flat surface up). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. The newer Carbon Flipcore, in all models, has a layer of strong, light carbon-fiber reinforcement through the rocker area in the tip to save weight, increase stability, and reduce the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis. 

Blizzard, founded in 1945, is based in Mittersill, Austria, about 15 minutes from Kitzbuehel. It's part of the Tecnica Group, which includes Tecnica and Nordica (also Rollerblade, Lowa, and Moon Boot). The Mittersill factory produces both Blizzard and Nordica skis, as well as some skis for other brands. -J.C.

Notes: The 2017 Blizzard Samba is the women's version of the similarly wide (98 mm) and highly sucessful men's Bonafide. It's metal-free and softer flexing, so it's lighter, livelier, and easier to manage than the Bonafide. And while it offers a little less buoyancy in deep snow than the women's 104-mm Sheeva, the Samba will be carvier than the Sheeva, quicker edge to edge, and about equally happy on Western softpack as it is in powder. 

Blizzard's Women's Freeride collection includes four women-specific versions of the Austrian brand's highly successful bull-themed all-mountain skis (each is named for a famous rodeo bull). For 2017, all models return unchanged except for new graphics. Waist widths range from a soft-snow-surfing 104 mm (Sheeva) down to an Eastern-hardpack-carving 78 mm (Cheyenne), with two all-conditions candidates (Samba, 98 mm; Black Pearl, 88 mm) in between. All are sturdy laminate layups with edgy, full-length/full-height vertical sidewalls, and all feature the same core construction-a mix of poplar and beech, for durability and responsiveness, with thicknesses tuned to be appropriately lightweight and softer flexing for women. All are metal-free, so they'll be light and lively, rather than too heavy, edgy or overdamp. Rocker tip in tail enhances their soft-snow flotation and makes them easy to pivot and steer; positive camber underfoot gives them enhanced edge grip, rebound energy, and carvability on hardpack. Tapered tips (where the widest part of the ski is moved toward the binding) give all models an added measure of slashy surfiness in soft snow. All are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down; flat surface up). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. The newer Carbon Flipcore, in all models, has a layer of strong, light carbon-fiber reinforcement through the rocker area in the tip to save weight, increase stability, and reduce the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis. 

Blizzard, founded in 1945, is based in Mittersill, Austria, about 15 minutes from Kitzbuehel. It's part of the Tecnica Group, which includes Tecnica and Nordica (also Rollerblade, Lowa, and Moon Boot). The Mittersill factory produces both Blizzard and Nordica skis, as well as some skis for other brands. -J.C.

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