Line Skis is known for thinking outside the box with ski design, and the Line Blade W is a perfect example of that mentality. | Line Skis photo.
Life is too short to ski boring skis. Thanks to Line, we don’t have to. The first time I saw the Line Blade W I did a double take. The funky looking ski is not exactly your run of the mill all-mountain ski, with a narrow waist, super fat shovel, and blocky top sheet design, it’s a quick way to strike up a chairlift conversation. It sounded goofy and fun, and with long windows of high-pressure in the forecast for the Tetons, it was the perfect season to get on a pair of Blades.
Line is known for thinking outside the box in terms of ski shape, and the Blade is proof of the company’s dedication to shaking things up. At first glance, the most unique aspect of the Blade is the ultra-tight sidecut. The 92mm waist with a 140mm shovel is dramatic (but intentional), built to combine the quick edge-to-edge feel of a narrower ski, with the ability to plow through chopped up crud. With less than ideal conditions in the Tetons this season, the Blade has truly been the hero of the season this year, a ski that makes bulletproof groomers and manky bump runs feel like a blast. It’s not a powder tool, and that’s perfectly ok.
The Blade W has a very exaggerated and unconventional shape. | Line Skis photo.
Inside, the aspen wood core is enhanced by Line’s Gas Pedal Metal technology, a sheet of titanal separated in the front and back with cutouts in the middle which create the dampness and torsional rigidity that metal provides, while maintaining a lively and energetic feel when pressing into turns. It’s responsive and nimble—with an undisclosed turning radius just labeled as “tight”—and the zippy and maneuverable feel draws inspiration from slalom skis, but with a softer, more approachable design that doesn’t leave you locked into a turn like a true race ski would. In fact, the kick tail design makes it so that you can slide right out of a turn at any point, seamlessly transitioning into the next.
Above all, the Blade has reminded me how fun it can be to lay into turns. Smearing around on fat powder skis for the past few years, it’s easy to forget that magical feeling of zipping around the resort with true edge control. It may sound a little strange, but as someone without a racing background, this ski has reminded me how fun it is to actually turn. While it was love at first turn on wide-open groomers, I was impressed with how the Blade excelled on steep chalky bumps at Snow King and Jackson Hole. With no taper and a ton of effective edge (the radius of the ski extends much farther into the tip and tail than on most other skis), turns feel intuitive and controlled with easy edge-to-edge transitions. The soft flex weaves through bumps with ease, building more energy with each turn.
The only real limitation I found with the Blade was trying to clock super high speeds. While it feels super stable and quick when getting on edge, it loses some of that if you aren’t really engaging it. It does tend to get a bit unpredictable when you’re straightlining on flat bases. Don’t get me wrong, you can still go fast, but this isn’t the ski I would reach for if I was trying to Mach down the hill with abandon (remember, this ski is for turning). A big part of that is probably because this ski is designed to be skied short; I’m 5’8” and usually ski a 172-175 cm ski, but went with the 167cm Blade. The Blade W is designed first and foremost with turning in mind. | Line Skis photo.
What’s really cool about this ski, as weird and unconventional as it is, is that it’s still approachable for most skier abilities. It doesn’t take an ex-slalom racer to get it to do what you want, but the more energy you put into it, the more you get out of it.
All in all, the Blade is a wild ride, one that inspires confidence in conditions I typically avoid. It’s both aggressive and playful, powerful yet maneuverable, and the perfect balance of creative and reliable. It’s a wickedly fun all-mountain ski that makes subpar resort snow feel like a blast, an ego-boost for my subpar carving skills, and very much a highlight of a dry winter in the Rockies. I can confidently say the 2021/2022 season was definitely the Season of the Blade.
From The Column: TGR Tested
Is hardbooting a sign snowboarding is finally moving out of its mom's basement? With Phantom's newest Slipper HD boot system, it just might be. The number of snowboarders in the backcountry has been on the rise. Only seven years ago I remember frequently receiving remarks from other recreationalists like it was something novel: “oh a splitboarder.” Even at busy trailheads like Colorado’s Berthoud Pass, it was rare to see other human-powered snowboarders. In the last two or so years I'd be
The North Face and Pattie Gonia (they/she/he) are teaming up to host a Summer of Pride, aiming to celebrate how nature lets you be who you are, and all of the beautiful ways that you get outside. With workshops, panels and activities for all, Summer of Pride is about exploration in all shapes and forms. Their mission is to help cultivate community together through a love for nature and having a good time outside. The tour heads to Portland, OR, Columbus, OH, Denver CO, and San Francisco, CA.
The season isn’t over here in the Tetons! With the Tram re-opening for summer ops last weekend, it’s still possible to ski up high. Conditions are even still pretty good. We’ve been seeing folks getting after it up on Cody Peak, but Teton Brown went right for the big prize – Central Couloir. After looking really thin all year, some spring snowfall finally brought it back from the dead, and Brown went for it. Not bad for May 25!