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2016 Völkl Kenja, Yumi and Blizzard Black Pearl

ellae

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hi All,
I demoed a few different skis today (Saturday, November 28, 2015 with spring-like conditions), and wanted to offer my 2¢. I know a lot of you ladies rip - I do not. I'm going into my third season, and am an intermediate skier. I chose to demo today to find the right skis to bring me to the next level, and ultimately placed an order for one of the pairs below before I even left the mountain.

I'm still pretty new to skiing, so I'm not well-versed in ski review lingo, but I'm going to do my best with these, anyway.

About me:
Height: 5' 3"
Age: 26
Weight: 140 lbs
Ability: Intermediate
Equipment: 2012 Völkl PRL (Twin Tips)
Salomon Z12 Bindings
111-84-111, 155

Skis tested (All with Marker Squire bindings):

2016 Völkl Kenja

127-87-106, 163
I demoed these skis first thing in the morning. I had the sense to start on a beginner trail, since I don't have much experience with skis other than my twin tips. Well, I sure learned quickly that my "aggressive ski stance" was NOT that aggressive, and needed to be adjusted immediately, or else would say a quick hello to the trees. After I gathered my bearings, I took a more advance trail and got used to them, though I slid the tails around a lot.

Impressions:

• They were very, very stiff. I found them hard to turn, not very forgiving, even with the rockered tips.
• They're skis for expert/advanced skiers. Unless you're powerful and aggressive, they'll ski you.
• They just felt "big." I found them to be heavy, wide (could be an optical illusion that got into my head, since the waist is wider on the skis I did choose), and bulky.
• They're a great ski for someone making the transition from race skis to all-mountain skis. They're preferred by my friends who used to race, and I sure see why.

Conclusion:
After a few runs on these, I decided that there wasn't anything I liked about them. It's nothing against them, so much as it is that my severe lack of experience was preventing me from unleashing their full potential. However, in a few years I could see myself re-visiting these as an expert ski.


2016 Völkl Yumi
125-83-103, 154

These felt more relaxed to me after skiing the Kenja. I didn't have to work as hard to get them to do what I wanted to do, though, that said, they didn't feel as stable as the Kenja.

• Bouncy, yet pretty solid. I enjoyed that it turned quickly, much like my twin tips
• Great intermediate-advanced ski. It felt dependable and stable, but it didn't have quite enough "oomph." I wanted something that was going to put me on the borderline of being uncomfortable, and these didn't do it.
• Personally, I didn't like the lengths offered. 154 felt like it would feel too short pretty quickly, and 161 seemed a little long for a ski with so much edge contact.

Conclusion:
I had a lot of fun on this ski, it just didn't differentiate itself enough from what I'm already skiing on. Back to the tent we went.


2016 Blizzard Black Pearl
123-88-103, 166 and 159

I felt like Goldilocks a little bit, trying skis out today, and it was hard to set aside my Völkl preference and even try the Blizzards. While the Kenja was "too stiff/tough to ski" and the Yumi was "too soft/didn't present enough of a foreseeable challenge," the Black Pearl was "juuuuuust right!"

Someone had the pair of 159s, so the tech handed me the 166s and said, "You'll be fine on the groomed trail with this length, but I probably not in the trees." Since, you know, it's November, I didn't plan to take them into the trees. I popped these bad girls on, and went to start my "usual route," wanting to get to know them a little bit before doing anything crazy. Applied my stance knowledge from the previous eye-opening experience the Kenja provided, I felt pretty good, until my first real turn. I was entirely unprepared for the way the Black Pearl was ready to hook. It was like someone pulled a rug out from underneath me - they just want to ski!! I ended up on my back, stunned, and of course I was laying under the lift. Thankfully it's pre-season, and no one really has their ski legs yet.

I stood up, brushed the slush off, and the rest of the runs went really well. They were definitely too long, and the 159s felt much better underfoot.

Impressions:
• I felt like it was a really versatile ski, good for intermediates looking to get better and experts looking to shred.
• They turn like a DREAM, just set-it-and-forget-it around the corners, with just the right amount of flex. Very stable through crud and bumpy snow.
• While the waist was the widest, these felt the sturdiest and most nimble to me. They're also pretty light, so they're easy to control. However, since they grip and rip, I need to get out of that twin tip habit of sliding my tails. It's basically time to learn to ski again.

Conclusion:
I said yes to the dress! Er, I mean, I said... "wheee!" to the ...ski?
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Yes, the Black Pearls are a fantastic ski! I had the same impression the first day I took mine out (on demo, HAD to buy them that day!) So did you end up buying them??
 

ellae

Certified Ski Diva
#6
Yes, the Black Pearls are a fantastic ski! I had the same impression the first day I took mine out (on demo, HAD to buy them that day!) So did you end up buying them??
YES I DID! I bought bindings earlier in the week on sale, so I just had to find the skis to match! I ordered them online from my cell phone, sitting in my car hahaha. I hope I'm ready for them. I already told my boyfriend, "Look, these are going to kick my butt for a few days - please be patient."

They should be here before next weekend!!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
That's so awesome--new skis are always a blast! Having a ski like this that asks you to step up your game but doesn't SCARE you into stepping up your game is an important tool in progressing as a skier.
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
You all are making me want to try the BP again. I demo'ed them last year and HATED them. I really wanted to love them, and after reading all of the posts on here raving about them, I still wonder if I just had a bad pair. The lady after me who tried them hated them too. Demo days at snowshoe are up in the air right now, but if they open well go and Ill try them again.
 

ellae

Certified Ski Diva
#9
You all are making me want to try the BP again. I demo'ed them last year and HATED them. I really wanted to love them, and after reading all of the posts on here raving about them, I still wonder if I just had a bad pair. The lady after me who tried them hated them too. Demo days at snowshoe are up in the air right now, but if they open well go and Ill try them again.
You ought to! That could very well be the case, but they also may not suit your style. One more chance on them would let you know :D
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Funny thing is I demoed everything he had and LOVED the Sambas (bought them ASAP after that) and the Cheyennes. The BP should have worked but I could barely ski them!
 

ellae

Certified Ski Diva
#11
Funny thing is I demoed everything he had and LOVED the Sambas (bought them ASAP after that) and the Cheyennes. The BP should have worked but I could barely ski them!
I wanted to try the Sambas!! The rep had them, but someone was hogging them. He did have the Cheyennes though, but I was so excited after the BPs that I didn't want to try anything else.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Funny thing is I demoed everything he had and LOVED the Sambas (bought them ASAP after that) and the Cheyennes. The BP should have worked but I could barely ski them!
The Sambas are a LOT more ski to handle so if you loved those, the BP's should have been a lot of fun as they require a similar forward stance but the BP's are a lot more easy going as a ski. So, yes, I'd agree that you need to try them again, but make sure it's not just the same pair you took out last season!
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I hope it wasnt me-I felt like a beginner on the BPs! I could barely turn them and almost wiped out on a black. Found them super hard to ride and I got off them going "crap. maybe I'm really not that good!!". I had demo'ed Kenjas two weeks before that and found them fun, so I assumed based on all of the Divas raving about the BP i would like them too.

. Funny you say that about the Sambas-they felt like home, super easy from the first turn, and made me feel super confident. The Cheyennes felt that same way, just a little less fun in the soft wet snow we had (though super fun on groomed runs).
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I hope it wasnt me-I felt like a beginner on the BPs! I could barely turn them and almost wiped out on a black. Found them super hard to ride and I got off them going "crap. maybe I'm really not that good!!". I had demo'ed Kenjas two weeks before that and found them fun, so I assumed based on all of the Divas raving about the BP i would like them too.

. Funny you say that about the Sambas-they felt like home, super easy from the first turn, and made me feel super confident. The Cheyennes felt that same way, just a little less fun in the soft wet snow we had (though super fun on groomed runs).
That makes zero sense at all--I would absolutely blame the tune. Again, the Samba is a LOT more ski to handle so I would definitely not consider it pilot error at all. And I've been wanting to try the Cheyennes, although I did just buy a used pair of Kastle's that fill that space in my "quiver".

I haven't skied my Black Pearls yet this season as my niece has been borrowing them but I am anxious to. I loved mine until a boot change, then I struggled with them. I made another boot change and am hoping they feel like "home" again. The Sambas are currently kicking my butt (OK, actually, I think the early season ice sheets are kicking my butt, but...) I can fiddle fart around on the BP's more than the Sambas.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
I hope it wasnt me-I felt like a beginner on the BPs! I could barely turn them and almost wiped out on a black. Found them super hard to ride and I got off them going "crap. maybe I'm really not that good!!". I had demo'ed Kenjas two weeks before that and found them fun, so I assumed based on all of the Divas raving about the BP i would like them too.
This is how I felt on the Black Pearls compared to my Kenjas. I had a really hard time working the ski, but I blamed it on the length... 152... so I dunno.
 

LauraVa

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Funny thing is I demoed everything he had and LOVED the Sambas (bought them ASAP after that) and the Cheyennes. The BP should have worked but I could barely ski them!
Bad tune? Agree that you should have had no problems on the Black Pearls if you can ski the Sambas.
 
#18
@Jersey Fresh - I felt the same way about the BP, I tried them last year and couldn't get off of them quick enough! I talked to the rep afterwards, and we talked about what I didn't like about them, and he recommended the Samba (but didn't have it with him). But I managed to get my hands on a demo later in the season, and woooohooo!! As you said, they felt like home, we just instantly clicked.

I wouldn't blame the ski, or you...different skis please different people.
 

snow addict

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Yeah, if you have a habit of sliding tails of your skis BPs won't like it, plus tails are much softer than say tails of Kenjas so you will be thrown off. And you shouldn't ride twip tips like that either, so good time to kick some bad habits. Congratulations on your new skis!
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Y'all are making me feel a lot better! If demo days happens this year (its iffy if they will open for them this weekend) Ill try to get my hands on the BP to try them again. I think they were the right size (163) but the fact that the girl after me didnt like them either makes me wonder if it was a bad tune. So well see! Glad it worked out and I got the Sambas as they made me ski better than I ever have.
 

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