Blizzard Black Pearl (2017) - Ski Mag

Blizzard Black Pearl (2017)

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Blizzard Black Pearl

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Rating: 3.31 / 5
Price: $720.00
Year: 2017
Level: 2
Gender: Female
Waist Width: 88
Tip/Tail/Waist: 123-88-108
Lengths: 152, 159, 166, 173

Stability at speed: 3.79 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.43 / 5
Crud performance: 3.33 / 5
Flotation: 2.79 / 5
Forgiveness: 2.95 / 5
Overall: 3.31 / 5

The Black Pearl has been squatting at or near the top of the rankings for a number of years now, admired by testers for its multitool versatility (and reliably pretty graphics: a “badass beauty,” said one tester). Some of the women thought it might be a little stiff and bossy for tentative skiers, but not all agreed. (Especially if you bring a healthy body weight to it, they argued.) Ratico: “Stable and playful and fun in all conditions.”

The 2017 Blizzard Black Pearl offers a waist width (88 mm) that's quick and edgy enough for all but the hardest Eastern hardpack yet buoyant and smeary enough to make Eastern powder days fun. Stick to the groomed? It's an ideal width for carving up soft Western velvet without trenching too deeply at high speeds. 

Blizzard's Women's Freeride collection includes four women-specific versions of the Austrian brand's highly successful bull-themed all-mountain skis (each is named for a famous rodeo bull). For 2017, all models return unchanged except for new graphics. Waist widths range from a soft-snow-surfing 104 mm (Sheeva) down to an Eastern-hardpack-carving 78 mm (Cheyenne), with two all-conditions candidates (Samba, 98 mm; Black Pearl, 88 mm) in between. All are sturdy laminate layups with edgy, full-length/full-height vertical sidewalls, and all feature the same core construction-a mix of poplar and beech, for durability and responsiveness, with thicknesses tuned to be appropriately lightweight and softer flexing for women. All are metal-free, so they'll be light and lively, rather than too heavy, edgy or overdamp. Rocker tip in tail enhances their soft-snow flotation and makes them easy to pivot and steer; positive camber underfoot gives them enhanced edge grip, rebound energy, and carvability on hardpack. Tapered tips (where the widest part of the ski is moved toward the binding) give all models an added measure of slashy surfiness in soft snow. All are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down; flat surface up). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. The newer Carbon Flipcore, in all models, has a layer of strong, light carbon-fiber reinforcement through the rocker area in the tip to save weight, increase stability, and reduce the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis. 

Blizzard, founded in 1945, is based in Mittersill, Austria, about 15 minutes from Kitzbuehel. It's part of the Tecnica Group, which includes Tecnica and Nordica (also Rollerblade, Lowa, and Moon Boot). The Mittersill factory produces both Blizzard and Nordica skis, as well as some skis for other brands. -J.C.

Notes: The 2017 Blizzard Black Pearl offers a waist width (88 mm) that's quick and edgy enough for all but the hardest Eastern hardpack yet buoyant and smeary enough to make Eastern powder days fun. Stick to the groomed? It's an ideal width for carving up soft Western velvet without trenching too deeply at high speeds. 

Blizzard's Women's Freeride collection includes four women-specific versions of the Austrian brand's highly successful bull-themed all-mountain skis (each is named for a famous rodeo bull). For 2017, all models return unchanged except for new graphics. Waist widths range from a soft-snow-surfing 104 mm (Sheeva) down to an Eastern-hardpack-carving 78 mm (Cheyenne), with two all-conditions candidates (Samba, 98 mm; Black Pearl, 88 mm) in between. All are sturdy laminate layups with edgy, full-length/full-height vertical sidewalls, and all feature the same core construction-a mix of poplar and beech, for durability and responsiveness, with thicknesses tuned to be appropriately lightweight and softer flexing for women. All are metal-free, so they'll be light and lively, rather than too heavy, edgy or overdamp. Rocker tip in tail enhances their soft-snow flotation and makes them easy to pivot and steer; positive camber underfoot gives them enhanced edge grip, rebound energy, and carvability on hardpack. Tapered tips (where the widest part of the ski is moved toward the binding) give all models an added measure of slashy surfiness in soft snow. All are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down; flat surface up). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. The newer Carbon Flipcore, in all models, has a layer of strong, light carbon-fiber reinforcement through the rocker area in the tip to save weight, increase stability, and reduce the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis. 

Blizzard, founded in 1945, is based in Mittersill, Austria, about 15 minutes from Kitzbuehel. It's part of the Tecnica Group, which includes Tecnica and Nordica (also Rollerblade, Lowa, and Moon Boot). The Mittersill factory produces both Blizzard and Nordica skis, as well as some skis for other brands. -J.C.

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