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2018 88 Black Pearls vs 2017 Black Pearls

irinab

Diva in Training
#1
Hi! I'm new to the forum and looking to buy my first pair of skis. I recently moved to the PNW and will have easy access to skiing for the first time, hoping for 15+ days so I thought I'd invest in skis. I generally ski blue/black groomers and some trees but I want to get more into ungroomed tracks and moguls.

I tried out the '16/'17 Black Pearls in Heavenly and really really enjoyed them. I also tried the Nordica Santa Anas which didn't feel as stable and gripping, but this was also under slightly icier and wet conditions.

I'm currently deciding between the 159cm '16/'17 and '17/'18 88 BP's. It looks like the main difference is the deeper sidecut, and I wanted to see if anyone who has tried the '17/'18s out could tell me whether they are that different and whether it would matter significantly for me.

Thank you!!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Hi! I'm new to the forum and looking to buy my first pair of skis. I recently moved to the PNW and will have easy access to skiing for the first time, hoping for 15+ days so I thought I'd invest in skis. I generally ski blue/black groomers and some trees but I want to get more into ungroomed tracks and moguls.

I tried out the '16/'17 Black Pearls in Heavenly and really really enjoyed them. I also tried the Nordica Santa Anas which didn't feel as stable and gripping, but this was also under slightly icier and wet conditions.

I'm currently deciding between the 159cm '16/'17 and '17/'18 88 BP's. It looks like the main difference is the deeper sidecut, and I wanted to see if anyone who has tried the '17/'18s out could tell me whether they are that different and whether it would matter significantly for me.

Thank you!!
Welcome!

I skied the BP for several years. Took a quick demo run on the new BP 88 last season. I liked them better. If I were buying the BP 88 again, I would definitely want the newer design. What are your stats? I'm an older, petite, advanced skier and bought the 159cm. Still have them as my rock skis, but went with something else last season as my go to skis for trips out west.
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#5
Hi, @irinab! Welcome!

There's a thread about the 2018 changes here:

http://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/2018-black-pearl-s-no-more-samba-2-sheevas.21477/

If you use the "search forums" function you'll find more. Glad to have you. Where do you ski?
I did check out the thread and it seemed like everyone was a big fan of the 2018 88 BPs but there wasn't any direct comparison to the 2017, mostly older models? I'm also just not sure if the improvements matter that much at my skill level, although I am looking for skis to grow into.

I've moved around quite a bit but I've mostly skied in the Andes and the Swiss Alps... Last season was my first time skiing in the US and I went to Park City and Heavenly. Hoping to get Whistler and a few Washington resorts in this year!
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#6
Welcome!

I skied the BP for several years. Took a quick demo run on the new BP 88 last season. I liked them better. If I were buying the BP 88 again, I would definitely want the newer design. What are your stats? I'm an older, petite, advanced skier and bought the 159cm. Still have them as my rock skis, but went with something else last season as my go to skis for trips out west.
Hi! I know they did a big overhaul for the 2017 BPs, would you say the 2018 ones you demoed were significantly different from those?

I'm in my early 20s, 5'4 and ~150lbs. I rented the 152cm last season as the ski shop said they ski long. Didn't have any issues with the length but I'm going to purchase 159cm so I can grow into them more.
 

nopoleskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Welcome! I have older BP's (2014) I demo'd the new BP 88's they are a fine ski to grow into and much better than prior versions. the older models had some tip flap on firm surface (eastern conditions) the new version has no tip flap and is a smooth easy turning ski. I think It is a great choice for an every day driver in the West.
I have skied my BP"s up to 8" of Western Powder w/no problem. Yes to get the 159cm.
I hope you get to Whistler it's an awesome Mt and HUGE!! Happy ski shopping and skiing!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
I owned the original BPs (2011 version) which remained basically unchanged through last season. I now own the 2018s and skied them a TON last season. If I had to give a quick summation to the difference, it would be that the 2018 is a bit more "precise" with the new sidecut. Goes right alone with what nopoleskier said above--less tip flap and better on firmer snow, without sacrificing on softer snow. Shorter turn radius is evident, they are just a bit zippier and "turnier". Yet, you can vary the turn shape to your heart's content.

I LOVED the older version, but I love the newer version that much more. They are a go-anywhere, do-anything with confidence ski. A real hero ski for me. The carbon makes them feel smooth, yet poppy and lively.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
Hi! I'm new to the forum and looking to buy my first pair of skis. I recently moved to the PNW and will have easy access to skiing for the first time, hoping for 15+ days so I thought I'd invest in skis. I generally ski blue/black groomers and some trees but I want to get more into ungroomed tracks and moguls.

I tried out the '16/'17 Black Pearls in Heavenly and really really enjoyed them. I also tried the Nordica Santa Anas which didn't feel as stable and gripping, but this was also under slightly icier and wet conditions.

I'm currently deciding between the 159cm '16/'17 and '17/'18 88 BP's. It looks like the main difference is the deeper sidecut, and I wanted to see if anyone who has tried the '17/'18s out could tell me whether they are that different and whether it would matter significantly for me.

Thank you!!
I did check out the thread and it seemed like everyone was a big fan of the 2018 88 BPs but there wasn't any direct comparison to the 2017, mostly older models? I'm also just not sure if the improvements matter that much at my skill level, although I am looking for skis to grow into.

I've moved around quite a bit but I've mostly skied in the Andes and the Swiss Alps... Last season was my first time skiing in the US and I went to Park City and Heavenly. Hoping to get Whistler and a few Washington resorts in this year!
Hi! I know they did a big overhaul for the 2017 BPs, would you say the 2018 ones you demoed were significantly different from those?

I'm in my early 20s, 5'4 and ~150lbs. I rented the 152cm last season as the ski shop said they ski long. Didn't have any issues with the length but I'm going to purchase 159cm so I can grow into them more.
Certainly seems worth getting a pair of skis for the coming season. What boots are you going to use?

If I were buying BPs right now, I would definitely make sure they were the newer design.
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#10
Welcome! I have older BP's (2014) I demo'd the new BP 88's they are a fine ski to grow into and much better than prior versions. the older models had some tip flap on firm surface (eastern conditions) the new version has no tip flap and is a smooth easy turning ski. I think It is a great choice for an every day driver in the West.
I have skied my BP"s up to 8" of Western Powder w/no problem. Yes to get the 159cm.
I hope you get to Whistler it's an awesome Mt and HUGE!! Happy ski shopping and skiing!
I owned the original BPs (2011 version) which remained basically unchanged through last season. I now own the 2018s and skied them a TON last season. If I had to give a quick summation to the difference, it would be that the 2018 is a bit more "precise" with the new sidecut. Goes right alone with what nopoleskier said above--less tip flap and better on firmer snow, without sacrificing on softer snow. Shorter turn radius is evident, they are just a bit zippier and "turnier". Yet, you can vary the turn shape to your heart's content.

I LOVED the older version, but I love the newer version that much more. They are a go-anywhere, do-anything with confidence ski. A real hero ski for me. The carbon makes them feel smooth, yet poppy and lively.
I hadn't heard about any tip flap issues with the 2017 but I'm very excited for the BP's! I honestly just like how the 2017 look better but will take performance over aesthetic, so I'm leaning towards the 2018 based on everyone's raves. I'd only had sport rentals until last season and having my own boots and great skis has made skiing even more enjoyable.

Very excited for ski season to start, thank you both!!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Definitely don't buy solely based on topsheets--they end up covered in snow, anyway!
Sounds like you have great boots.
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#13
Definitely don't buy solely based on topsheets--they end up covered in snow, anyway!
Sounds like you have great boots.
That's why I'm here getting some expert advice (: I loved the 2017's and I'm not sure how they could be any better since they were a huge upgrade from sport skis but guess I'll just have to anxiously wait for two more months to try them out!

Thank you all for your help!!
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#14
Just an update for anyone looking into Black Pearls - I contacted a few ski stores and they told me that nothing has changed between the 2017 (blue with feather) and 2018 88 Black Pearls (purple and light blue) except for the topsheet and a small change to the sidecut. Blizzard switched to the carbon flip core in 2017 so if you find a good deal for last year's skis (or you are not a fan of glitter) you wouldn't be missing out on anything other than the sidecut change (:

Happy ski hunting!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Just an update for anyone looking into Black Pearls - I contacted a few ski stores and they told me that nothing has changed between the 2017 (blue with feather) and 2018 88 Black Pearls (purple and light blue) except for the topsheet and a small change to the sidecut. Blizzard switched to the carbon flip core in 2017 so if you find a good deal for last year's skis (or you are not a fan of glitter) you wouldn't be missing out on anything other than the sidecut change (:

Happy ski hunting!
I'm sorry, but you've been misled a bit. The changes to the sidecut alone makes them ski differently enough that (IMO and the opinions of a lot of others) the newer design is worth it. The old design was a GREAT ski, but this newer version is just that much better. The sidecut change has changed some of the weaker characteristics of the old ski for the better. It handles hard pack FAR better, has a shorter turn radius (I can really feel this change) and just feels, to me, more connected to the snow. Turn initiation is a lot "cleaner" and more precise on the new version.

Here's another review that backs up that assessment: http://www.skiessentials.com/Chairlift-Chat/2018-Blizzard-Black-Pearl-Ski-Review/

Ski mag talks about changes that were made to the carbon layup, as well. https://www.skimag.com/gear/blizzard-black-pearl-88-2018
And also how the new shape has better snow contact. (This is where I feel it in turn initiation.)

Let's just say, as much as I did love my old pair, I was not looking at another pair to replace them, having sold them two seasons ago. Their weaknesses made me turn elsewhere. Until I demoed the 2018s to write reviews for Pugski.com. I had spent the entire morning on different skis, and conditions were HIDEOUS. I took them out for my last run of the day, exhausted, zero visibility, snow conditions all over the map, and I could not have chosen a better ski to help me get down the hill. I took them out again the next day twice, to make sure I wasn't fooling myself. They are that much better and ski that differently, yet they DO maintain the zippiness of their predecessors, and the overall ease to ski. But that new sidecut just changes how the tip engages SO much. I used to almost have to hunt for the tips on my old BPs, but, not so on the new version.
 

irinab

Diva in Training
#16
I'm sorry, but you've been misled a bit. The changes to the sidecut alone makes them ski differently enough that (IMO and the opinions of a lot of others) the newer design is worth it. The old design was a GREAT ski, but this newer version is just that much better. The sidecut change has changed some of the weaker characteristics of the old ski for the better. It handles hard pack FAR better, has a shorter turn radius (I can really feel this change) and just feels, to me, more connected to the snow. Turn initiation is a lot "cleaner" and more precise on the new version.

Here's another review that backs up that assessment: http://www.skiessentials.com/Chairlift-Chat/2018-Blizzard-Black-Pearl-Ski-Review/
Ski mag talks about changes that were made to the carbon layup, as well. https://www.skimag.com/gear/blizzard-black-pearl-88-2018
And also how the new shape has better snow contact. (This is where I feel it in turn initiation.)

Let's just say, as much as I did love my old pair, I was not looking at another pair to replace them, having sold them two seasons ago. Their weaknesses made me turn elsewhere. Until I demoed the 2018s to write reviews for Pugski.com. I had spent the entire morning on different skis, and conditions were HIDEOUS. I took them out for my last run of the day, exhausted, zero visibility, snow conditions all over the map, and I could not have chosen a better ski to help me get down the hill. I took them out again the next day twice, to make sure I wasn't fooling myself. They are that much better and ski that differently, yet they DO maintain the zippiness of their predecessors, and the overall ease to ski. But that new sidecut just changes how the tip engages SO much. I used to almost have to hunt for the tips on my old BPs, but, not so on the new version.
So I have done an absurd amount of research on this ski because I am the most indecisive person I know. Blizzard switched to carbon in 2017 (so anything from 2011 to 2016 was stiffer and had significant tip flap), and every person I spoke to has told me that structurally it is exactly the same, but the shape has changed slightly. However, the latter part did not come up with anyone except for SkiEssentials so I was skeptical about the information I got from other sources and posted here for advice. Just wish there was more reliable information from suppliers.. I guess I am also a little nervous about buying skis I haven't tested out since it is a big investment but seems like I'd be just fine on the 2018s.

I don't think a slight difference in the turning radius would affect me, but I'm sure it would have a significant impact on more advanced and meticulous skiers. Obviously since you tried the 2017 and the 2018 it seems to have had a significant effect on how great the skis are.

Skiesssentials:
"There weren’t any changes to the construction of the Black Pearl 88 from 2017 to 2018, but there was a change to the shape of the ski. The 2018 Black Pearl 88 has a slightly shorter turn radius than the previous version. The 166 cm Black Pearl had a 17 m turn radius in the 2017 ski and now has a 14 m turn radius for 2018, for example. The overall feel of the ski will be very similar in terms of weight, flex pattern, etc, but likes to make slightly smaller turn shapes now and some skiers find it to be touch more responsive as the shorter turn radius pulls you into a turn a little quicker. Both the 2017 and 2018 versions are great skis and if you prefer a longer turn radius that would actually be reason to stick with the 2017."

Skis.com:
"The WSD was new to the Black Pearl last season and that ski has not changed aside from graphics. The newest construction with the WSD is lighter and slightly more forgiving than the first few years the Black Pearl was produced."

Evo - both online and in store - same response as Skis.com
 
#17
Why don't you talk to someone at Blizzard? Or a store that specializes in Blizzard (the only one I know of is Northern Ski Works in Ludlow, VT). When you get conflicting information, go to the most reliable source.

I have faith in the information you get here, though. The women posting are very knowledgeable; some are test skiers for reputable dealers - a good place to get your advice!
 
#18
Skis.com's answer re "WSD" (as in women's specific design) is strange & puzzling, because these skis were designed with women in mind in the first place. I've had good dealings with SkiEssentials, and I'd trust them, regardless of who you buy from.
 
#19
I would trust SkiEssentials over the marketing copy in Skis.com .

Note that turn radius depends on length. So if you are getting a length shorter than 166cm then the difference in radius will be less.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
I also would trust skiessentials. I have bought the last 3 skis from them and find them very responsive to questions. I think the confusion here is the difference between construction materials and shape. Both are important and create a different "feel" to the ski. The tip flap issue was likely handled by the introduction of carbon in 2017. However, the 2018 has a much shorter turn radius and that can be a very big deal for those who like to ski bumps or trees. @contesstant has been a huge Blizzard fan for as long as I've known her. I'll take her word for it that the 2018 is significantly improved.
 

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