The Blizzard Samba is the women’s version of the popular Blizzard Bonafide. The Blizzard Samba has a softer flex than the Bonafides, but with nearly identical dimensions. In our men’s review of the Bonafide we found the ski to be a bit of a beast. It was a bit sluggish and required an aggressive approach. The Bonafide excelled off piste though, and is a great ski for those who like to ski fast in rough terrain. We were hoping that the lighter weight and softer flex of the Women’s Samba would make it a bit friendlier on the groomers, but were worried It may take away from the ability to crush the chop. In the end we found the Samba to be a stable, powerful, lively ski that can handle just about anything off piste, and still does a fairly decent job carving the groomers.
Conditions: Soft Chop, Freshly Groomed, Hard Pack, Icy steeps, and Bumps
Bindings: Salomon Z12
On the Snow Feel: The Blizzard Samba is a pretty stable ski that takes a bit of effort to maneuver. It has a subtle amount of tip and tail rocker, but I definitely would not call it playful or easy to swing around. With a beefy construction and decent amount of camber the ski felt strong and stable on most terrain.
Powder: The Blizzard Samba is 98mm underfoot and has a decent amount of rocker in the tip and tail. I wouldn’t call it a powder specialist, but it’s decent in the deeper snow. The Samba is definitely most at home off piste, and as things get deep it’s capable of keeping you floating through.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Blizzard Samba isn’t quite as beefy as the Bonafide, but it still feels like a solid ski that caters to more aggressive skiing. At first it felt pretty sluggish and difficult to turn, but as we started to ski faster and harder the Samba came to life. Those who like to ski fast will appreciate how much the Samba likes to be pushed. At speed it was easy to maneuver and it was relatively quick from edge to edge. It does take a bit of effort to get them to flex, and even when you do they aren’t as lively as a more frontside oriented ski. Ski them slow and they will feel sluggish and difficult to turn, but ski them fast and they will feel quick and lively. They are definitely not carving specialists, but they were still pretty fun when we were on the groomers.
Speed: The Blizzard Samba is a ski that likes speed. With a 19m turn radius we felt most comfortable just letting the skis run and making longer turns. They can still be quick when you need them to be, but they aren’t as stable when forcing them into shorter turns. These ski like to run, and that’s what we let them do. We did notice a small amount of chatter when things firmed up, but for the most part they were quite damp and stable. Ski them fast, and you’ll have a lot of fun.
Uneven Terrain: This is definitely were the Blizzard Samba is happiest. It’s a relatively stiff ski with a pretty beefy construction. This helps them blast through the soft chop well and helps to keep you from getting bounced around. Although the amount of rocker in the tip is subtle it helps to keep the tips above the chop, and the stiff construction helps to reduce deflection. It can be a chore at speed if things get firm though so you need to stay on top of your game.
Edge Hold: This is the area we found the Blizzard Samba to lack a bit. They did fine on smooth firm groomers, but as things got steeper and more roughed up it was a bit harder to get a good edge hold. It’s not bad, but don’t expect them to rail on firm snow.
Flex: The Blizzard Samba is a pretty stiff ski overall. It’s not quite as stiff as the Bonafide, but it’s not as soft as we usually like to ski. That being said, it still rides well, and wasn’t as much of a chore to ski as the Bonafide.
Switch: The Blizzard Samba isn’t great at riding switch.
The Blizzard Samba is most at home off piste, and definitely a fun ski for blasting through chop. They are okay on the groomers, but don’t expect them to rail like a front-side oriented ski. They are not easy to maneuver at slower speeds so timid riders will find it to be a bit much. Aggressive skiers will like how much the Samba likes to be pushed. They are stable and damp at high speed, but also become much more maneuverable. They are quick from edge to edge, but like to make a bit longer turns. When things get a bit rough the Blizzard Samba does a great job of smoothing things out. This is great ski for those who like to spend the majority of their time skiing off piste in less than ideal conditions.