I knew it from the minute I saw it that the Slant Blaze would be the next ski I would own. So last week I caught up with Slant Skis owner Josh Bennet and arranged to pick up a pair for a demo. I am big on supporting local ski companies in the same way I support local ski areas. You can’t get any more local than Slant Skis, which are hand built just 3.8 miles down the road from Alpine Meadows.
There’s two things to know about the new Slant Blaze skis. At 102mm underfoot, they are in the ”sweet spot“ of do-it-all skis. The inclusion of a carbon fiber mat into the traditional Slant construction allows for less bamboo, which means a little less weight. That carbon also brings some decent stiffness and torsional rigidity to the ski. The other design elements include nearly equal front and rear rocker, and a tail that is only a few millimeters narrower that the tip. These skis are clearly intended to go in two directions, not that I was testing that feature.
My selection of testing days wasn’t ideal. These cry out for a powder shred day. Yeah, I should have been there Tuesday. Instead, I picked a day that included some perfect groomers, some firm ice, some quasi-corn, some slush and some coral reefs. The Slant Blazes rose to all of those challenges.
Anybody that has ridden a ski built with a significant amount of carbon fiber knows that the material tends to add a lively poppy feel. Skis that add metal to bring stiffness often bring a lot of dampening, and those skis feel like riding a 2 x 4. Some people like that. The Slant Blazes are not a lazy mans’ ski. You have to actively ski them and they will return to you a very energetic ride. Let yourself get into the back seat and you will get bucked. That poppy energy is awesome for skiers that see every bump on the mountain as an air opportunity.
The rocker on both ends gives the ski a short effective edge. That means you’re getting a lot of pounds of force applied to every millimeter of edge. That gives the great edge hold on groomers and firm snow. Put a little slough on that groomer and the tip and tails can get thrown around where there is no edge contact, a trait which is shared by all rockered skis. Again, you can’t get lazy in the back seat, drive those tips!
That same rocker construction pays off big time in powder and chunder. Tips and tail are in a preset position to initiate turns. That short base also allows you to have a short turn radius in bumps and trees. There’s also far less ski to trip you up when you accidentally ski into a coral reef or field of frozen broccoli.
The Blaze fills a gap in the Slant line up between the Ambush, at 112mm underfoot, and the Hindsight, at 95mm underfoot. It also combines some of the best elements of the Cornelious, Ambush, and Hindsight into one ski; then throws in some carbon fiber for spice. I am anxious to add them to my ski quiver.
Many of the new Slants, including the Blaze, have bamboo top sheets with sublimated graphics. As we have reported before, Josh builds skis with quality construction. Slant is one of a very few manufacturers that offers a 2 year warranty on their skis.
All new Slant Skis for 2016-17 are currently on sale for pre-orders through April 20th. Josh has simplified things this year as you can shop at Slant website and just enter the coupon code ‘unofficialalpine’ to get 40% off some great skis. You also get that awesome feel of supporting a local company that totally supports their product. We’re proud to support them at Unofficial Alpine.