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Skiing the '17/'18 Blizzard line

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by ski diva, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. ski diva

    ski diva Administrator Staff Member

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    I had a fun and interesting day yesterday: I got to ski next year's Blizzard's women's skis.

    The marketing director invited me and a few other ski writers for a test drive at Stowe Mountain Resort. For a demo day, conditions were not, shall we say, optimal. After a day of torrential rain and some marginal temperatures, the snow was extremely wet and heavy, topped by ice chunks and grainy stuff the consistency of a Slurpee. What's more, visibility was awful; we had occasional rain and dense fog. You couldn't see a thing; on some runs, it was like skiing by Braille. In other words, super crappy.

    I'm second from the right below. Leslie Baker-Brown, Blizzard's marketing director, is next to me in the blue jacket and brown pants:

    IMG_5799.jpg

    Still, it was fun to get out on the new sticks. As many of you know, I haven't been a fan of the previous Blizzard Black Pearls. That said, apparently a lot of other people are; it was the best selling ski of the year, men's or women's, in 2016.

    But the old Black Pearl isn't the new Black Pearl. Blizzard has made quite a few changes. There's now a Black Pearl 78, an 88, and a 98 (they've eliminated the Samba!). They've made them 20% lighter without any sacrifice in stability or strength, and have increased the sidecut to make it turnier and more responsive. And the graphics are nice, too. There's a light image of a feather on each ski, and the colors fade from either blue to pink or blue to green (the color reflects the waist size, and they're quite pretty — with the exception of the 78, which is pink. They need to do something about that).


    IMG_5793.jpg


    So I skied the BP 78, 88, and 98, and you know what? I actually liked 'em. To be honest, the 78 wasn't great for the conditions at hand. In the choppy, heavy, slushy mess, I got thrown around quite a bit. I'd really like to try this on a nice groomer or on some New England ice; I think I'd get a much better read on the ski. But the 88 and 98 were lots of fun even in the crud we were skiing. Smooth, steady, stable, light, able to power through the mess and still be easy to turn -- in short, fun!

    I got around to trying the Sheeva 10, too, but this really wasn't the ski for the day's conditions. This is a rockered ski that's 102 underfoot (there's a Sheeva 11, too, which is wider), and it looks like it'd be a load of fun for powder skiing. The Sheeva incorporates a sheet of Titanol, which reduces the torsional strength of the tip and tail and improves stability and control underfoot. They also use unidirectional carbon fiber in the tip and tail to stabilize the rockered areas and reduce swing weight. I'd love to get this out on a powder day.

    My take away from all this: Blizzard is very committed to the women's market. They've instituted something called their Women to Women Initiative, which I wrote about here in my blog. The idea is that women's skis are not a sideline, but something they're committed to, on a corporate level. They're making it a point to listen to what women want and to start from the ground up, developing skis and boots that work for US. It's something that all gear companies should do, but for some reason, fail at time and time again. So it'll be interesting to see where this takes them.

    All in all, a fun day. And if you get a chance, try the new Blizzards. You might be pleasantly surprised.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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  2. badger

    badger Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I'm curious to know if you had ever tried the 2016/17 version of the BP. The 2018 is again changed, is that correct? So this would be the third version of the Pearl?

    I did not like the Black Pearl in it's first form. This year I tried the 2017 at Jackson Hole in a 152 on the same snow conditions you mention above. UGH. What I noticed immediately was that the ski was much smoother than I recalled. In these conditions it was ok, but I felt it to be stiff and tossing me around on the hard lumps and bumps. Getting it on softer snow would have been ideal. So my question at this time is, did the 2018 feel better than the 2017? I had skied the Atomic Vantage 85 demo all day in those same conditions and found it a bit friendlier, but not as smooth.
     
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  3. ski diva

    ski diva Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, it has changed from 16/17. And no, I never tried that year's, so I can't give you a comparison. I only tried it when it first came out a few years ago.
     
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  4. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Yes, the new 2018 Black Pearl is a lot different ski, yet, it still has that same playful ease to it! Glad you liked them. I have enjoyed the heck out of my BP 88s that I was able to snag in February (lucky me!)
    Never did get out on the 98. Wanted to last month on a demo day held here, but Blizzard didn't show up :(
     
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  5. SnowHot

    SnowHot Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    It was nice bumping into you Wendy.
    The Women 2 Women Project is making some amazing changes.
    I actually tried a couple skis from the Blizzard tent on Wednesday, all of which I've had a chance to ski in a variety of conditions at different test days.
    You're right that the Black Pearl I really liked the Sheeva 10 for the conditions at Stowe on Wednesday. The changes in this new line up are really good. They've taken a great line up with the Cheyenne, Black Pearl, and Samba and made them even more incredible with the Black Pearl 78, 88, and 98.
    For me, I really enjoy the Black Pearl 98 that I've been skiing, but I think I could just as easily be happy with the Sheeva 10 as my daily driver.
    And the boots!!!! I've got 5 days in my new Tecnica Mach 1 105's and can't say how much I love love love them.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  6. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Oh, that Sheeva...I want to get out on it again because I could easily see it taking a place in my quiver!
     
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  7. newboots

    newboots Angel Diva

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    Was one of these skis previously the Viva? I can't figure it out.
     
  8. SnowHot

    SnowHot Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    No. The men's skis were the Magnum, while the women's were Viva. Now the Magnum line is replaced by the Quattro line, and the women's skis are simply Quattro W
    See full Quattro line here.
     
  9. newboots

    newboots Angel Diva

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    Thanks, Tricia! I was pretty confused.
     
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  10. nopoleskier

    nopoleskier Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Can I ask how they compare to the Renoun?
     
  11. SnowHot

    SnowHot Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    The renouns are damper, and more nimble.
    The Blizzard is more playful
     
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  12. nopoleskier

    nopoleskier Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    thanks! Looking forward to trying the renouns but in the meantime I loved the NEW Blizzard 88's blows the predecessors away that I have.
    Yes, I want them.. (no I don't need them) the rep at demo day was right "you'll be lusting after them" YUP I am.
     
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  13. veronicarella

    veronicarella Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I remember reading that the Quattro for men's is still called Quattro and the Quattro W is renamed to Alight. The women's skis are kept the same - essentially the same shape and construction, but the pre-mounted bindings have moved 5mm forward to allow for better turn initiation for women due to how our centre of mass relative to our bases of support is different than men. Is this correct?

    Oh, how I wish I could try the new Blizzard line.....
     
  14. SnowHot

    SnowHot Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    That is true. I skied the Alight 6.9 at Stowe. Its a serious women's carving ski!

    From Blizzard's literature -
    For the women we have a new title of “Alight” replacing the Quattro name as well as a new ski. The Alight skis use the same shapes, materials, and construction techniques we saw in the women's Quattro skis last season, although have a new mount point that's 5 mm forward when compared to the Quattros. Much like the all mountain freeride collection this mount point helps improve turn initiation characteristics and is designed specifically for women. Again, you can reference back to our article last season if you're looking for more detailed information on the construction of these skis, but remember they're now the Alight collection and have a forward mount point. There is one new ski here, as we mentioned, and that is the Alight 6.9 Ti. It essentially uses the same construction we see in the men's Quattros with two sheets of metal, carbon, and a full cambered shape. This isn't a carving ski for the timid or faint of heart, it's for ripping carving turns at high speeds and is best on the feet of relatively aggressive, powerful frontside skiers (read: race background).

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. nopoleskier

    nopoleskier Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    wow.. I'm going to have to try this one..right up my alley and how I ski.... I love my Atomic Cloud 11's but I love Blizzards!
     
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  16. ski diva

    ski diva Administrator Staff Member

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    I tried those, too. She ain't lying. A fun, rippin' ski.
     
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  17. Lilia

    Lilia Certified Ski Diva

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    Demoed a pair of Blizzard Alight 7.4. Ca in March 2017, Mt Tremblant.

    Very lively skis. Had lots of pleasure. I am 5'6 and was given a 156 cm if I recall correctly. A few runs that I've made on them were apparently not enough.
    Just fell in love with them! Could not find any for sale, though.