Featured Image: Christopher Newett
Last year, we described The Masterblaster as having “handling reminiscent of a Corvette, paired with the all-terrain capabilities of a Land Cruiser.” Apparently, that wasn’t enough for the team of designers at J skis. This year, they’ve upped the ante, turning that Land Cruiser into a certified EarthRoamer.
The biggest change is the size of the ski itself. The redesigned Masterblaster is slightly wider underfoot than years past, expanding from 96 mm to 99 mm at the waist. Instead of trying to manufacture a ski that could hold its own on everything from polished groomers to chopped up trees to powder days, the larger 21/22 iteration of the Masterblaster leans more toward a true all-mountain ski, with more float and stability and a need for speed.
But don’t be fooled, even this wider model maintains a solid edge and good grip on firm slopes. While we loved the 96 mm version of the Masterblaster for mobbing groomers, the new version suites the all-mountain category better. A slightly increased rocker makes the ski more playful in soft snow and a larger sweet spot delivers versatility in challenging terrain, while low swing weight and just a smidge of camber makes sure it’s still fun in the trees, covering all of the technical bases. It isn’t quite as quick from edge-to-edge as last year’s carving-forward shape, but our testers experienced major improvements in how it handles steeper parts of the mountain.
So, why did Levinthal & company nix the 96 mm waist? Other plans were brewing: The team at J skis decided to split the old version in two, creating the grippy, groomer-focused Fastforward 92 and this year’s Masterblaster. The ingredients of the Masterblaster remain true to the original build, with a maple core and Titanal layer creating a high-powered, stable, and damp ski. The narrow Titanal laminate on the top and bottom of the core ends before the tip and tail of the ski, reducing swing weight and smoothing out the exit of the turn.
Compared to other skis in the category, the Masterblaster has a fairly standard tip rocker and a narrower tail, which loses some ability to surf, but makes it much stabler in hard snow conditions. For J skis, with a birthplace is in the woods of Vermont, being able to expertly handle variable and chopped-up conditions is a must. Even with full height sidewalls and a beefy edge, the Masterblaster is nearly the same weight as its former self, allowing it to turn on a dime and destroy everything in its path.