Review: Blizzard Thunderbird R15 Wide Body

Model year: 2021-2022
Sidecut: 126-76-107
Size: 174 cm
Radius: 15 m
Technology: full sidewall, two sheets of titanal, True Blend woodcore, Active Carbon armor, full-camber

About this ski

Blizzard have replaced their Quattro on-piste line. The Thunderbirds are the skis to replace them. There’s a long radius R18, a short radius R13 and the medium radius R15. Of the R15, there’s also this ‘Wide Body’ version. Wide Body being relative of course, it’s still a narrow ski with 76 mm underfoot.

These Thunderbirds have Blizzards new True Blend woodcore. This means that in the woodcore, denser types of wood are placed strategically to increase the strength in places where you want the ski to be stronger. Underfoot mostly, thinning out towards the tips and tails of the ski. A full sidewall and a carbon sheet under the binding give the ski a bit more umph.

Strong skis

Make no mistake: these Thunderbirds are by no means mellowed-down consumer skis. They are stiff and demanding. Precise and powerful too, but not at all suitable for lightweight or lazy skiers. With a slightly aggressive bite, tremendous edgehold and a stiff-ish flex, these skis are for advanced skiers only. The Wide Body is the least punishing of the entire line (which says something about the regular R15 and the R18 as well – the R13 is a different story).

If these skis are for hard charging, technically good skiers – how do they relate to the Firebird line? In my opinion, there’s a 95% overlap between the two. If anything, the Firebirds are more versatile and damp compared to the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are not at all bad skis – they are beautifully built. I just don’t understand the why. Granted, the Thunderbird R15 WB is some $ 250 cheaper than the Firebird HRC, which relates mostly to the binding system that comes with it. But other than that: same target audience, very similar ski.

In conclusion

A strong ski for a (technically and physically) strong skier. A tiny sweet spot, a huge overlap with the Firebird HRC. A  more accessible ski for the (advanced) intermediate skier would have added more to the Blizzard line-up in my opinion.

Characteristics

PlayfulStable
ForgivingPunishing
LivelyDamp
SkiddingCarving
Low speedHigh speed
Short turnLong turn
Soft snowHard snow

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