When Jason Levinthal announced he was leaving Line Skis to start his own company, everyone was eager to hear his thoughts on the current state of the ski industry. Blister Gear Review published a 20 Questions piece with Jason, while newschoolers conducted this Q&A.
In the flurry of interviews and media hype surrounding Jason’s move, another interview took place. As Levinthal learned more about Blister Gear Review, he asked Blister’s founder, Jonathan Ellsworth, to flip roles—Jason wanted to interview him, and hear more about the principles behind Blister and what makes Blister unique.
This video is compiled from Jason’s interview with Jonathan.
Blister is an anomaly in a sea of ski-related websites. Since its inception in 2011 Blister has adhered to a stringent manifesto designed to separate it from other review sites, and help consumers find real information.
The full manifesto can be found here and is definitely worth a read.
There are several things that really set Blister apart. Most gear review publications accept money from the companies they review. Blister doesn’t. This means that Blister can write totally unbiased reviews without any hidden motivation to recommend certain items. In fact, Blister doesn't even allow the companies it reviews to buy advertising space on the site.
When Blister reviews a product, they are trying to provide the most complete and helpful information possible. They review gear over a number of days and even weeks, testing it in a wide variety of conditions. They try to steer clear of cliches, focusing instead on the important nuances of how a piece of equipment responds to different types of use and different conditions.
This honesty and commitment to the reader are refreshing. In an industry full short reviews poached from the manufacturer’s own product descriptions, it is very rare to find a long-form review designed to help skiers, bikers, boarders, climbers, and kayakers figure out which ski, bike, board, rope, or boat will work best for them.
Blister has a team of over 50 reviewers. These aren’t nameless, faceless magazine reviewers. Each reviewer has a bio with their height, weight and information on their style and preferences, so it’s easy to figure out how much you have in common with a particular reviewer. This is drastically different from traditional review publications who are content to review a pow ski as “works well in soft snow” and a park ski as “works well for jumps and rails.” Blister requires more thought from the reader, which in turn leads to more informed and intelligent purchases.