Blizzard Dakota (2014)
The first year we tested the Dakota, named after a feared rodeo bull, testers got bucked around so much they flunked it for being too strong. Then Blizzard stripped out the metal and added foam down the middle, and voilà: Here's a bull you can ride. It's stable, smooth, grippy, solid, and directional - which is to say that it knows where it wants to go and doesn't smear to get there. So you'd better be on it. And if you are, you will show Snowbird's Get Serious Chutes just how serious you can be. McElroy: "This ski charges down the hill like it stole something."
The Dakota, a powder specialty tool, is the widest women's ski in the Blizzard line at 108 mm, and part of the Free Mountain collection. Blizzard's Full Rocker profile combines a flat section under the binding with rocker fore and aft. Like the men's Cochise, which is the same geometry, it's a wood-core, laminate construction with sturdy, grippy vertical sidewalls, but it's a significantly lighter, livelier construction, with a strip of lightweight foam down the middle of the core and no metal laminates. All Free Mountain skis 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). 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. All Blizzard skis are built in the company's Mittersill, Austria, factory headquarters, near Kitzbuhel and the Kitzsteinhorn.
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||163, 170, 177|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.83 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.15 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||2.13 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.54 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.15 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.61 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.34 / 5|