Expert Review: Blizzard Brahma 88Published on 03/08/2023 · 8 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2021.
Photo by Wesley Bryden
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2021. For information on the latest model of this ski, check out the 2023 Expert Review.
The all-new Brahma 88 by Blizzard is a strong, stable, and damp ski that rules over the frontside of the mountain. It's a high-quality ski from one of the best ski brands that thrives in a variety of snow conditions and types of terrain, from frozen groomers to boot-deep powder on trails and in the trees.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 Blizzard Brahma 88
- Size: 177cm
|Available Lengths (cm)||165, 171, 177, 183, 189|
|Ski Dimensions (mm)||128 - 88 - 110 (tip-width-tail)|
|Weight (g/ski)||2100 at 177cm length|
|Sidecut Radius (m)||16 at 177cm length|
|Core||Poplar/Beech TrueBlend + Titanal (2.5 layers) + carbon tips|
|Sidewall||Sandwich Compound Sidewall (Ti)|
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 190lbs
- Experience: 38 years of skiing
- When I bought these: March 2021
- Days tested: 3 days
- Boots: Lange XT130
- Boot Size: 27.5
- Where I’ve used it: Stevens Pass, WA
- Terrain: Advanced to expert terrain including groomers, trees, moguls, and powder.
How it performs
What I was looking for
For years I have been searching for a pair of skis that likes to run fast and charge hard like a traditional race ski but handles as well anywhere in the resort and in varying conditions. After Covid made it nearly impossible to demo different types of skis, my goal was to find stability and grip at speed and an edge so dependable I can place bets on them. I was looking for the right skis that would not only handle skiing fast but also perform better while doing it and handle my local PNW conditions and snowpack which often includes heavy and harder snow.
Why I choose this gear
I went with the Blizzard Brahma 88s because I was looking for dependable and predictable performance at speed. Nothing lets me ski to my top potential like a ski I can trust, and for me, the Brahma 88s fit the bill after comparing options with similar dimensions and specs. For the days when Mother Nature leaves groomers as the best option, I felt like these were the best skis for the day.
There were a few other skis on the market that seemed like they might have been a good match for the performance I was searching for, but none had the same edge control and flex pattern that the Brahma offered.
Note on ski length: While not a fully cambered ski, there is small rocker in the tip and tail, the Brahma 88 has a long effective edge, and it skis shorter than most all-mountain skis. I generally prefer longer skis, most of my personal skis are above 180cm, but for the Brahma, I choose 177cm and I think it's the perfect length for me. The shorter skis have a smaller turning radius for increased versatility in tight terrain like moguls and trees, but they still provide excellent stability.
What I love about it
- Speed: These skis are intended for advanced and expert skiers who want to go push their limits. They are stable at speed and gave me one of my fastest days on the slopes with on and off-piste performance.
- Edge hold: Grip! I had heard these skis had an excellent edge hold on hard snow and ice and they did not disappoint. The camber of the skis, combined with Blizzard's TrueBlend wood core technology and long effective edge, lets me put all of my weight into the edges for a smooth and powerful turn. They really shine on steep groomers and hard-packed conditions. Love the carving character and torsional rigidity!
- Turns: Overall, these skis are easy to initiate turns. While they were very responsive at speed, the weight and shape are felt a little more when negotiating slower turns. At speed, they get edge to edge very quickly and feel like a truly playful ski carving while also carving with precision.
- Groomers: As I mentioned above, this is where the skis absolutely shine and left me smiling all day long. The Brahma 88 is a carving ski that let me shred short and long turns in corduroy like a pro with their sidecut.
- Trees: I was pleasantly surprised by how agile these skis performed in tight places, especially with variable conditions in the trees. They held fast on ice and pushed through the heavier snow easily, allowing me to link turns and claim the couple of lines I was looking for. Overall, great maneuverability.
- Durability: Given the way I have ridden the skis, I can confidently say they are holding up well and should last for years. The Brahma 88s have proven incredibly durable after skiing them aggressively in a number of conditions here in the Cascades. They have not shown any unexpected wear and tear that can accompany the nature of that skiing. The ABS sidewalls and TrueBlend core of the ski are both factors that contribute to this.
- Weight: The Brahma 88s are not lightweight as they are made with two sheets of metal, and that suits my riding style just fine and helped me feel more stable. Often when skiing fast and aggressively, lighter skis can feel less stable or the tips may chatter. With the Brahma 88s, it was a great weight-to-performance ratio and that really helps to cut through and out of that Pacific Northwest crud.
- Stability: Stability was another aspect of these skis that I absolutely love. They are stable, with the perfect amount of dampness underfoot, and left me feeling confident at high speed on firm conditions. I've mentioned it before, but that edge grip on-piste impresses here as well.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Powder: 88mm wide is a relatively narrow waist, and with a small rocker profile in the tips and tails combined with slight taper, these obviously do not belong in the powder skis category. Although they performed better than expected in the deeper snow I encountered, these are never going to be the first choice on a deep powder day like a wider ski with softer flex would.
- Moguls: Performance on the bumps was better than expected but they are still too heavy and stiff to outperform other options.
- Park: Despite the name Brahma inspiring some rodeo-quality aerial images, the weight and only slightly raised tail don't offer much for performance as a park ski. They are certainly sturdy enough to stomp and slide but you are better served with dedicated freestyle skis if you're spending most of the day in the terrain park.
- Backcountry: Getting back to the weight and width of these skis, along with the camber; backcountry skiers should look elsewhere as they are not designed for ski touring.
- Switch riding: With very minimal tail rocker, this ski is not designed for switch riding.
Favorite moment with this gear
These skis really shined for me the moment that I finally had one of the steepest groomed runs on the mountain to myself and picked an ideal steep fall line. Although it was mid-day, I was able to pick a line that let me put all of my weight into the mercy of gravity and the skis. The skis responded perfectly during the initial long sweeping turns at top speed, anticipating my weight transfer and almost springing me into the next turn. I couldn't ask for better grip and stability as well as minimal vibrations. As I transitioned off the main trail, over a slight hip and closer to the trees, I pushed the Brahma 88s harder into tighter linked turns in slightly heavier snow and they responded perfectly. The flex of the skis had me rebounding with a pop from turn to turn as efficiently and confidently as ever. Excellent balance between the stiffness needed for that speed and the forgiveness needed to keep you rolling over anything unexpected encountered in your line.
Value for the money vs. other options
Although they are typically a little more expensive than similar skis in the all-mountain category, Blizzard is one of the most respected alpine ski manufacturers, and you are paying for their industry-leading innovation like the TrueBlend flipcore which combines an exclusive blend of different woods, and in my opinion, they are worth the price. Other skis that I looked at with the same waist width were the Rossignol Experience 88, Atomic Vantage 90 ti, Nordica Enforcer 88, K2 Mindbender 90ti, and Volkl Kendo.
In summary, the Brahma 88s are a premium ski at a premium price. If you're an advanced-to-expert skier looking for high-end performance (sorry beginner and intermediate skiers!), these skis deliver. Although they are never going to be the perfect one-quiver ski setup for bigger mountains that float in deep snow conditions, for those who are looking for an all-mountain ski with versatility that will let them charge hard and fast all over the front side, these skis will put a smile on their faces all day long.
|Best-in-class stability at high speeds, both on and off groomers|
|Confidence-inspiring edge hold on firm snow|
|Requires a competent pilot to handle, but riders are rewarded with a ski that can be pushed as hard you they want and it will come back asking for more|