Cage Match Comparison 2021 Stöckli Laser AR vs 2021 Blossom Cross Wind

Philpug

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Stöckli's Laser AX has become the reference ski in the “Premium Just Under 80mm” category, and it is jockeying the recently introduced Laser AR to do the same in the next width higher ... but there is a contender from the hills of Italy that is trying to out-Stöckli Stöckli with a level of quality that is on par but at a price point that significantly undercuts the Swiss brand. That ski is the Blossom Cross Wind. Who is Blossom, you ask? Well, Blossom is a small boutique ski builder with history dating back into the 1970s when its factory produced some of the most respected skis of that era: skis that were labeled Spalding.

When Stöckli reintroduced the Laser AR two years ago, its acceptance started slowly but the appeal and popularity grew. I believe the slow start was because the initial review/test skis weren’t tuned well. As more people got on the 83mm wide-body AR, it started to find its following. At 83 mm underfoot, the AR skis just as you would expect it to: a wide AX versus a narrow Stormrider 88. The feeling is more frontside all-mountain than off-piste all-mountain, and it does reward the technical skier.

Blossom? Again, Blossom is far from an overnight marvel. It has been around for decades, producing some of the highest-quality skis at any price point. The narrower 77 offerings (yes, plural) have a following with many here on the site, but we are going to talk about the 85mm Cross Wind here. For full transparency, I haven’t personally skied the Cross Wind. For this Cage Match I don’t think I have to have skied it to know how it will perform and compare against the reference Stöckli because I have skied its sibling with the same construction and width but a shorter turn radius. Keeping the tip and tail within millimeters of the White Out but bringing the waist out to 85 mm allows the Cross Wind to extend the turn radius from 14 to 16.8 m in the reference 172cm length. These changes give the Cross Wind longer legs with a longer turn radius. The cost might be a bit of loss in edge-to-edge quickness, but the gain is that an exceptional build in a wider platform opens the ski to more adverse conditions.
  • Why choose the Laser AR? You know what works and you are willing to pay for a well-earned reputation.
  • Why choose the Cross Wind? You are open to the idea of trying a new brand; you don't mind saving a couple of hundred bucks by buying direct.
  • Insider tip: Either of these is available flat or with a system binding.
 
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Philpug

Philpug

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I need to update this Cage Match.

For this Cage Match I don’t think I have to have skied it to know how it will perform and compare against the reference Stöckli because I have skied its sibling with the same construction and width but a shorter turn radius. Keeping the tip and tail within millimeters of the White Out but bringing the waist out to 85 mm allows the Cross Wind to extend the turn radius from 14 to 16.8 m in the reference 172cm length. These changes give the Cross Wind longer legs with a longer turn radius.

The Cross Wind does NOT ski like a wider White Out but more a narrow 88mm ski. The 18 meter sidecut really comes out here and the Cross Wind in a comparision against a Stöckli, it really should have gone up against the Stormrider 88.
 

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I'm looking forward to it. I wish Blossom made something to compete with the Stormrider 95.

I've discussed this with Blossom and they are quite aware they have a "hole" in their collection. Due to the uncertainty of the market due to Covid-19, I doubt we'll see something developed for the 21/22 season, but more likely in 23/24.

Mike
 

Tony S

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I need to update this Cage Match.



The Cross Wind does NOT ski like a wider White Out but more a narrow 88mm ski. The 18 meter sidecut really comes out here and the Cross Wind in a comparision against a Stöckli, it really should have gone up against the Stormrider 88.
Interesting. What's the rocker profile of the Cross Wind?
 

Blossom Skis

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What rocker profile? ;) It is pretty much a full cambered ski.

I agree with Phil on this one. There is a barely noticeable, if any, early rise in the Turbo Collection (White Out, Cross Wind). What Blossom does do is soften the tip for the first 5 - 10 cm or so to provide the same ease of turn initiation that early rise does and help the tip float a bit in deeper snow.

I don't notice it at all when skiing on groomed terrain... Exactly as I would want it!

Mike
 

Noodler

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I agree with Phil on this one. There is a barely noticeable, if any, early rise in the Turbo Collection (White Out, Cross Wind). What Blossom does do is soften the tip for the first 5 - 10 cm or so to provide the same ease of turn initiation that early rise does and help the tip float a bit in deeper snow.

I don't notice it at all when skiing on groomed terrain... Exactly as I would want it!

Mike

Many manufacturers overreacted to the rocker craze and stuck rocker on skis where it just didn't make a lot of sense. It's nice to see Blossom not fall victim to the insanity and understand when it's appropriate and valued.
 

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I agree with Phil on this one. There is a barely noticeable, if any, early rise in the Turbo Collection (White Out, Cross Wind). What Blossom does do is soften the tip for the first 5 - 10 cm or so to provide the same ease of turn initiation that early rise does and help the tip float a bit in deeper snow.

I don't notice it at all when skiing on groomed terrain... Exactly as I would want it!

Mike

I wonder if Blossom learned that full camber, soft tip thing from all the Rossi race skis they built.
My White Outs turn in similarly to my Rossi Heros and IMO Rossis tend to have soft tips.
That is where the similarity ends though.
The Heros just want to hold on to a turn forever while the White Outs release easily.
Skis are like a lot of other sporting giz, there are a lot of ways to get to the same place of excellence.
 
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Philpug

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I wonder if Blossom learned that full camber, soft tip thing from all the Rossi race skis they built.
My White Outs turn in similarly to my Rossi Heros and IMO Rossis tend to have soft tips.
That is where the similarity ends though.
The Heros just want to hold on to a turn forever while the White Outs release easily.
Skis are like a lot of other sporting giz, there are a lot of ways to get to the same place of excellence.
I don't beleive Blossom produced Rossignol race skis. Nordica yes, Rossi no.
 

Blossom Skis

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I wonder if Blossom learned that full camber, soft tip thing from all the Rossi race skis they built.
My White Outs turn in similarly to my Rossi Heros and IMO Rossis tend to have soft tips.
That is where the similarity ends though.
The Heros just want to hold on to a turn forever while the White Outs release easily.
Skis are like a lot of other sporting giz, there are a lot of ways to get to the same place of excellence.

As Phil said, Blossom has never built skis for Rossignol. As far as grip at the end of the turn, I would think the performance of the Blossom Numero Uno collection and the Tail Wind would be a better comparison to the Hero series, as the White Out is not built in a "racing" style but for high-end all mountain performance.

My two cents, anyway!
Mike
 

Dakine

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As Phil said, Blossom has never built skis for Rossignol. As far as grip at the end of the turn, I would think the performance of the Blossom Numero Uno collection and the Tail Wind would be a better comparison to the Hero series, as the White Out is not built in a "racing" style but for high-end all mountain performance.

My two cents, anyway!
Mike

Well, so much for that theory.
I'm not really talking about grip at the end of the turn, I'm talking about ease of release.
I haven't skied my #1SCs yet but the Whiteouts have something about them that is different from other skis.
I think it has something to do with the relatively straighter shape of the back half of the ski.
The wide tip sidecut on the Whiteouts looks like it is pushed more forward than other designs.
Whatever it is it makes it much easier to recover from having your weight back at the end of the turn.
If you do that on the Heros you get sucked into the decreasing radius death spiral.
Me like.
 

Blossom Skis

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Well, so much for that theory.
I'm not really talking about grip at the end of the turn, I'm talking about ease of release.
I haven't skied my #1SCs yet but the Whiteouts have something about them that is different from other skis.
I think it has something to do with the relatively straighter shape of the back half of the ski.
The wide tip sidecut on the Whiteouts looks like it is pushed more forward than other designs.
Whatever it is it makes it much easier to recover from having your weight back at the end of the turn.
If you do that on the Heros you get sucked into the decreasing radius death spiral.
Me like.

Got it. Glad you're enjoying them. Now just tell all your ski buddies to buy some :D !!

Mike
 
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