The Blizzard Cochise has been around for several seasons, and is a ski that has won numerous awards. Last season was the first I had to ride the Cochise, and I’m probably only one of a few that wasn’t blown away with this ski. I think it is a fantastic, very well made, and high performance ski, but for me it just doesn’t fit my style. Everything I knew of the Cochise suggested that last season was more forgiving than past seasons, but I still found it to be on the beastly side. I found that you have to ski pretty aggressively, and even then the ski just seemed a bit boring to me. If you weren’t always driving the ski it just seemed unresponsive and unexciting. That being said, the 2015 Blizzard Cochise did have its place on the mountain. I think if you’re the type of skier that just wanted to straight line and blast through chop it was fantastic. But if you’re like me and wanted something that was also fun, energetic, and a bit more exciting it wasn’t quite there. I found it to be a ski that you either loved, or hated depending on your style of skiing.
The Blizzard Cochise is back for 2016, and has been upgraded again. While much of the Cochise remains the same, Blizzard added a slight taper to tip and tail. In addition, Blizzard has added carbon in the tip and tail. One of my biggest complaints with the 2015 Cochise was that it just seemed tiring to ski. I felt like I really had to work it to turn, and I was excited about the new changes for 2016. Initially it seemed that maybe it would increase maneuverability a bit, and make the Cochise a bit friendlier to ski.
I have only spent a day on the new Blizzard Cochise, and I have yet to compare the 2015 and 2016 models side by side. I can say however, that I found myself thinking the same thoughts while skiing the 2016 as I did when skiing the 2015, and thus far I haven’t noticed any major differences in performance. If anything there may be some very subtle differences, and only skiing side by side (run after run) would allow me to differentiate these skis into two distinct rides. I hope to get some more time on the 2016 this season, and talk in more detail about certain aspects, but for now I have updated my initial thoughts on the 2015 Cochise with my thoughts on the updated Cochise.
2016 Blizzard Cochise On Mountain Video Ski Review
Conditions: Powder, Chop, Hard Crust, Groomers
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Jester
Ski Personality: The Cochise is a powerful big mountain charger that likes long radius turns at speed, but it takes some work everywhere else.
On the Snow Feel: (2015) The Blizzard Cochise is a powerful, stable, and burly all mountain charger. It has a stable feel on soft or firm conditions. The small amount of rocker in the tip does give the ski a bit more maneuverability in the soft snow, but this does not feel like a surfy and playful powder ski by any means. (2016) I feel that this still holds true for the 2016 Cochise. Even with the new taper and carbon tips, the ski felt solid and stable. It’s easy enough to pivot from side to side, but I wouldn’t call it super maneuverable or playful.
Powder: (2015) The Blizzard Cochise has a subtle amount of rocker in the tip and is 108mm underfoot. For 2014/2015 the tip is also 15% softer, helping to increase floatation, but it’s still not a soft ski. For me the Cochise was great up to about a foot of fresh snow, but after that the ski doesn’t float as well as a wider powder ski. It seems like the Cochise would rather blast through the powder, rather than float on top. It’s still fun (and great for face shots), but you will be longing for more float when the snow is really deep. (2016) This also still holds true for the 2016 Cochise. It’s still a heavy and stiff ski that doesn’t float as well as a ski with a softer flex. With a small amount of rocker in the tip and a 108mm waist, the Cochise will float in the deeper snow, but it’s not great for it’s size. This is a capable ski, but not necessarily going to be your go-to on a really deep day.
Turn Initiation and Carving: (2015) Rocker in the tip helps to keep swing weight down and make turn initiation a bit easier. Even though the 2015 Blizzard Cochise is 15% softer this year, it’s still a pretty stiff ski that takes quite a bit of effort to get onto edge. When flat, the ski is maneuverable and it’s pretty easy to turn sideways and skid turns, but to get the ski on edge it takes quite a bit of speed. Once on edge the Cochise felt very locked in. I didn’t have a chance to ski the 13/14 Blizzard Cochise, but I would guess that the 2mm of added Camber in the 14/15 didn’t make a huge difference. The Cochise is stiff, and if you put a lot into the turn and really get them to flex, your treated to a nice powerful transition, but in short to medium radius turns I found it hard to get the ski to flex. Somebody who weighs a bit more (I’m only 150lbs), would probably have an easier time flexing the skis into the carve, and would probably find the ski to be more lively. For me, however, the ski felt like it really needed a lot of speed to make it come alive, and it was really fun making large radius turns at high speed. (2016) The updated Blizzard Cochise has a small amount of taper in the tip and tail. Often this helps with turn initiation by making it easier to tip the ski on edge, and not requiring as much of an angle before the edge engages. I expected the updated Cochise to be easier to get on edge, but I didn’t notice a really big improvement here. If there was any difference between the 2015 and 2016 Blizzard Cochise it was really subtle. The ski is still quite heavy, and very stiff. At slower speeds I found the ski slightly unresponsive. At higher speeds, the ski responds better, and it was easy to pivot from side to side. I still wouldn’t call the Blizzard Cochise maneuverable, and without speed it was very hard to get the ski to bend. The faster I went, the easier I could bend the ski into the turn (still not “easy”). What has disappointed me over the past two seasons is just how “boring” the ski feels to me. Sure it was easy to pivot from side to side, and I can make turns down the mountain. But, the turns just seemed somewhat “lifeless”. Maybe I’m too light, or maybe I’m just not skiing aggressive enough, but the Cochise just never excited me. Maybe it’s the very large turn radius (27m), but I just didn’t find a ton of snap from edge to edge. I also didn’t find the ski very quick, and I felt like I had to work hard to transition from edge to edge. I have never had the same issue with the Moment Belafonte, or other similar skis. I’m not saying that the Cochise isn’t powerful or energetic, but I feel like you have to work hard to get it there. And don’t expect to make a lot of short or medium radius turns. This ski needs to run fast and straight, and if that’s your style, more power to you.
Speed: (2015) After a few runs, it’s pretty easy to see where the Blizzard Cochise excels. It’s a stiff and burly ski that really likes speed. The two sheets of titanal really help to keep things damp, while the stiff flex keeps down any tip chatter. I never really noticed any speed limit on the runs we lapped as long as you kept the ski one edge. As soon as I took a bases flat approach I felt much less stable. (2016) This definitely still holds true for the upgraded Blizzard Cochise, maybe even more so. The addition of carbon in the tip and tail adds some rigidity and dampness to the ski. I’d also say that the upgraded Cochise doesn’t really feel any lighter than last season. So you still have a heavy and burly ski with the added dampness of carbon. Let the Cochise run and hang on.
Uneven Terrain: (2015) The Blizzard Cochise also excels in the uneven and variable terrain. While the subtle rocker helps you to float above the crud, the stiff construction allows the ski to just blast through these conditions. Even at speed the Cochise was stable in the crud. When taking a bases flat approach the ski can get bumped around slightly in the hard crud, but put the ski on edge and the stiffness really helps to blast through anything. The Ski is also easy to turn sideways allowing you to scrub speed quickly when things get a little too rough. (2016) This is another area the upgraded Blizzard Cochise is just as good, or even slightly better. The ski is damp and stable, especially at speed. It has a stiff construction that can blast through crud really well. Adding in a small amount of taper seems to make the ski slightly more maneuverable, so finding you’re way through crud is easier. Of course this ski is more capable blasting through crud than riding on top, but it’s nice to know you can maneuver around things if you need to.
Moguls: (2015) For me the Blizzard Cochise felt heavy and sluggish in the moguls, and although they softened it up 15% for this year, it’s not all that forgiving. (2016) I didn’t find the 2016 any better in bumps, but I think there are some people out there that will find the Blizzard Cochise fun in this terrain. I just find them a bit too stiff and heavy, but maybe some people like just blasting through with no regard for their knees.
Edge Hold: (2015) I was really surprised at the edge hold of the Cochise. For a wide waisted rockered ski, the Cochise does a fantastic job on the hard pack. Although the Cochise felt more at home, or at least more fun, in the soft snow, the Cochise does great in the hard pack (as long as you keep it one edge). (2016) This still holds pretty true for the updated Blizzard Cochise. The ski has a lot of torsional stiffness, and holds well on edge. The problem is getting the ski on a high edge angle. This takes speed and work, and if you’re on hard pack or ice you need to be sure it’s on edge.
Flex: (2015) Blizzard softened up the Cochise 15% for this year, but it is still a stiff burly ski. I would classify the tips as stiff to very stiff, while the rest of the ski is very stiff. (2016) Without having these skis side my side, it’s hard to say if one is more stiff than the other. To me the 2016 still felt like a stiff ski overall, with maybe a slightly more forgiving flex in the tip.
The Blizzard Cochise (2015 and 2016) are both a fantastic and well-built ski, but it definitely requires a certain style of skier to ride it. It’s not very forgiving and so caters to those skiers with good technique. If you are a heavy or aggressive skier that likes going fast, you will love the Cochise’s damp, crud busting capabilities. If you’re a smaller, or less aggressive skier, the Cochise will demand a lot of you. With the Blizzard Cochise you need to be on your game, but when you are, you will be treated to a very fast, damp, and stable ride. The ski was easy to pivot from side to side, but if you’re looking for a ski that is quick and snappy, I’d probably look elsewhere. The Cochise is also decent in the pow, but if you’re looking for that surfy playful ski, the Blizzard Cochise isn’t it. I didn’t really notice a huge difference in the 2015 and 2016 skis. They aren’t super hard to pivot, but I found them difficult to get on edge and bend into the turn. I think they cater to aggressive skiers that are okay working hard to get the ski to flex. They are powerful and energetic, but they take a lot of effort to get them to respond. If you like going fast and straight, you’ll love the Cochise. If you like a more energetic ski that requires less input, you’ll probably not like the Cochise. Likewise, if you’re more of a finesse skier. This is definitely a GREAT ski for some, but I think you’ll either love it or hate it, depending on the style of skiing you prefer.