Rating: 3.21 / 5
Waist Width: 81
Stability at speed: 4.07 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.75 / 5
Crud performance: 3.02 / 5
Flotation: 1.47 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.92 / 5
Overall: 3.21 / 5
The Viva, last year's winner, finishes in a virtual tie for first. It's possessed of all the quali- ties of a high-performance carver: full-sidewall grippiness, metal smoothness and flow. But though it likes to be pushed hard, its performance is manageable. The 81-mm waist never trenches too deeply and presents an easy-to-find sweet spot. Testers agreed that it inspires confidence and keeps calm in a crisis. Barnes: "It's a power suit. Do women still wear those? Looks good and gives you confidence."
NOTES: The Viva X8 is Blizzard's widest All Mountain Women ski, with a 124 mm tip and 81 mm waist. This tip is designed just big enough to crush through light powder and corn, but the waist is skinny enough to hold an edge on hard pack snow with ease. Its 13.5 meter radius is also quite short, built to navigate through any terrain with quick and snappy turns. For something similar but slightly skinnier with a shorter radius, check out the Viva X8's sisters, the Viva X7 and Viva X7 Ti.
The Viva X8 is part of Blizzard's All Mountain Women series, which specializes in skis that are designed to rip groomers like a race ski, but also hold up well on varied terrain thanks to slightly wider dimensions. Rocker Camber Rocker technology features a cambered middle section that is constructed to allow for smooth turns on groomers and varied hardpack, and a rockered tip and tail for floating on powder and getting over not-so-smooth conditions with ease. This is used in many of Blizzard's freeride skis, intended to taking on all types of terrain. 3 Matrix technology aligns the camber profile, sidecut, and construction of the ski so they lie perfectly aligned on top of each other, designed for extra stability at high speeds. Sandwich Compound Sidewalls featuring durable ABS and phenol plastics designed to keep edges safe and locked down on the snow. Lastly, Dura-Tec integrates aluminum tip protectors, thicker top sheets, tail protectors, and more, designed to keep the ski as durable as possible over time. If you rip turns down groomers most of the time, but also like to tear through power and other varied conditions every once in a while, this is one of the best series Blizzard has to offer you.
Blizzard, based in Mittersill, Austria, was founded in 1953. Its U.S. headquarters are in West Lebanon, N.H.