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Low intermediate skier - demoing 2020 skis - C6 Apollo, Black Pearl 88, Sheeva 9

fgor

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Today my mountain had C6, Blizzard and Nordica onsite and doing demos. I didn't get around to demoing any Nordica skis as after lunch they'd packed up and gone - I thought the demo people were staying later, however I got some solid testing done in the morning. The weather may have been a factor in them leaving - aside from the first hour or so of the morning, visibility was almost nil and I was being snowed on half the time.

About me - 5'3/160cm, 115-120lb intermediate or low intermediate skier. I ski in New Zealand - often icy conditions, apparently comparable to US East Coast. Current skis - Salomon Origins Crystal 151cm.

C6 Apollo

c6 apollo.jpeg

C6 is a New Zealand manufacturer of skis. The ski I tried was the Apollo: https://www.c6skiing.com/skis/apollo . I didn't pay attention to what lengths I was given - I was initially handed a 162cm ski to try, which I found fine, then swapped to a 155cm which I found to be A TON OF FUN. This is a super turny ski and it grabs and holds an edge really well in turns. It's also incredibly lightweight! I found it fun and stable. It gave me the confidence to go and try out a red run that I'd been nervously avoiding since I fell down it my first day of the season. I wish I'd had an opportunity to try this ski again in the afternoon (different conditions) - but C6 vanished rather earlier in the day than I was expecting.

Blizzard Black Pearl 88

bp88.jpeg

I tried this in a 159cm. After the C6 Apollo I wasn't sure if I'd like this ski. It's very well rated which made me suspicious that maybe I wouldn't like it? Partially because people got very excited about the K2 Mindbender skis but they didn't do anything much for me. It's also a light ski, I believe it's got some commonalities with the C6 in that both have carbon in their construction. It's also the widest ski I'd tried up to this point by 2mm. However, this ski also turned out to be a ton of fun! I could do some great turns with it but also throw it around where the snow had piled up/fallen/got a bit lumpy. This was an awesome ski and I felt like I could tackle anything on it. I ended up heading down my newly-conquered red run a couple of times on this ski and also the below Sheeva 9 - all these skis gave me the confidence to tackle new areas of the mountain.

Blizzard Sheeva 9

sheeva 9 - 1.jpeg sheeva 9 - 2.jpeg sheeva 9 - 3.jpeg

I tried this in a 157cm. It's also very light, the demo guy suggested it was lighter than the BP88, and it's definitely the widest ski underfoot that I've tried at 92mm. I did a few runs on the BP88, then a few runs on the Sheeva 9, then immediately another run on the BP88 down the same run as I'd just taken the Sheeva 9, to compare as directly as possible. The Sheeva 9 (I'm repeating myself here... today was just a really good day for demoing) was ALSO a ton of fun (how many times can I say that phrase, seriously). I could throw it around incredibly easily and I just bounced over lumps of snow. I found the BP88 a little easier to hold an edge on and I was a little more confident weighting the front of the skis on the BP88, so after I went back and forth between the two skis, I had to say that for me, the BP88 very narrowly edges out the Sheeva 9. However if New Zealand was more prone to thick powdery snowfall or I was maybe doing only 50% piste and 50% or more backcountry/sidecountry, I'd say the Sheeva 9 would be the winner. I found both skis very easy to handle as well as being forgiving (to my style of skiing anyway).

Also I am a big fan of the fluorescent underside of the Sheeva 9. I've attached photos to show how it glows and colours the snow beneath it :smile:

I haven't liked all the skis I've demoed - maybe only about half of them - but today was just a lucky day for demoing, and these three skis immediately jumped to the top of my list. (other favourites - Head Total Joy, which I still think is a seriously fun ski and REALLY rewards the tips being weighted, and Dynastar Legend 84 which is super forgiving and fun and the sidecut makes it crazy easy to turn. I demoed these a few weeks ago. I also recently enjoyed the Line Pandora 84.) If I were to own any one of these three skis I'd be absolutely over the moon. I'm seriously tempted to get one of these. Today had fairly marginal conditions - frequently nil visibility (seriously, I didn't see the edge of a cat track until I was 2 metres away from it, and I got vertigo a couple of times from being in a complete white out and having no visual points of reference, and had to sit down) so I often couldn't really see what I was getting into. The snow was fairly decent but had random bumps from built up/skied-around patches of snow, and the occasional scraped-smooth slightly icy patch. I'm still new to my local mountain (moved to this city only last year) and I got lost during a couple of runs because I didn't see a turn off point, and I had the confidence to just keep going onto new terrain that I couldn't see at all with these skis. Skiing is already so much fun but they made it A TON OF FUN :P
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
Skiing is already so much fun but they made it A TON OF FUN :P
Sounds like you made great use of the demo opportunities the other day! No surprise that the reps closed up early given low visibility. Not many people are interested in demo'ing when it's snowing hard.

Had never heard of C6. I can see why the Apollo would be fun at 82/83 underfoot. Did you notice that they provide turn radius for all four lengths? 11.6 @ 155cm to 14.1 @ 177cm. The 155 is 126-82-110. That's very similar to my first pair of all-mountain skis in terms of tip and tail, although mine were a bit narrower underfoot. It's good that you had a chance to try two different lengths.

"This ski was developed over time on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. A mountain with the widest range of snow conditions and terrain out there. From carving turns on ice to powder in the glacier, this ski loves it."
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I could do some great turns with it but also throw it around where the snow had piled up/fallen/got a bit lumpy. This was an awesome ski and I felt like I could tackle anything on it.... I could throw it around incredibly easily and I just bounced over lumps of snow.

Today had fairly marginal conditions - frequently nil visibility.... The snow was fairly decent but had random bumps from built up/skied-around patches of snow, and the occasional scraped-smooth slightly icy patch.... I ski in New Zealand - often icy conditions, apparently comparable to US East Coast.

@fgor, it sounds like you are looking for a ski you can "throw around" easily, right? And have I got this accurate, you will be skiing on mostly hard snow conditions?
 

fgor

Certified Ski Diva
#4
Sounds like you made great use of the demo opportunities the other day! No surprise that the reps closed up early given low visibility. Not many people are interested in demo'ing when it's snowing hard.

Had never heard of C6. I can see why the Apollo would be fun at 82/83 underfoot. Did you notice that they provide turn radius for all four lengths? 11.6 @ 155cm to 14.1 @ 177cm. The 155 is 126-82-110. That's very similar to my first pair of all-mountain skis in terms of tip and tail, although mine were a bit narrower underfoot. It's good that you had a chance to try two different lengths.

"This ski was developed over time on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. A mountain with the widest range of snow conditions and terrain out there. From carving turns on ice to powder in the glacier, this ski loves it."
Yeah, I was there first thing (one of the first on the lift - the seat was covered with ice and snow) so I got to make the most of the morning having better visibility. Most of the cloud was at the lower half of the skifield so I just went up to the summit and had some gorgeous runs.

Yes! It's got an impressively tight turn radius @155cm. Makes me proud that we're producing some very cool ski equipment here in New Zealand. One of my friends has an older version of the Apollo @ 177, his is more rockered and he finds it makes a distinctive noise because of the carbon. Apparently they've improved that in the meantime though, and I didn't notice any noisiness.

@fgor, it sounds like you are looking for a ski you can "throw around" easily, right? And have I got this accurate, you will be skiing on mostly hard snow conditions?
Haha, I didn't know I was looking for such a ski until I tried three skis back-to-back yesterday which all felt super light and easy to turn! The C6 in particular is a very lightweight ski. "Light and turny" was definitely the theme of the day. Correct, especially in the latter half of the day, I find conditions get icy/scraped hardpack and/or slushy, depending where in the skifield you are.

I tend to nervously look right in front of me while skiing to make sure I'm not going to ski onto uneven terrain, but yesterday I struggled to do this at times due to the shocking visibility. All three skis I tried gave me the extra confidence to keep making turns even when I couldn't see the snow condition. Plus I watched at least three people in two minutes fall down a steepish run with variable snow condition (but good visibility) before attempting it myself, and I didn't fall :smile:
 

Jersey Ski Girl

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Yeah, I was there first thing (one of the first on the lift - the seat was covered with ice and snow) so I got to make the most of the morning having better visibility. Most of the cloud was at the lower half of the skifield so I just went up to the summit and had some gorgeous runs.

Yes! It's got an impressively tight turn radius @155cm. Makes me proud that we're producing some very cool ski equipment here in New Zealand. One of my friends has an older version of the Apollo @ 177, his is more rockered and he finds it makes a distinctive noise because of the carbon. Apparently they've improved that in the meantime though, and I didn't notice any noisiness.



Haha, I didn't know I was looking for such a ski until I tried three skis back-to-back yesterday which all felt super light and easy to turn! The C6 in particular is a very lightweight ski. "Light and turny" was definitely the theme of the day. Correct, especially in the latter half of the day, I find conditions get icy/scraped hardpack and/or slushy, depending where in the skifield you are.

I tend to nervously look right in front of me while skiing to make sure I'm not going to ski onto uneven terrain, but yesterday I struggled to do this at times due to the shocking visibility. All three skis I tried gave me the extra confidence to keep making turns even when I couldn't see the snow condition. Plus I watched at least three people in two minutes fall down a steepish run with variable snow condition (but good visibility) before attempting it myself, and I didn't fall :smile:
Do you think the Black Pearl is good for powder and groomed or icy terrain? I am considering getting them for Colorado if they are good for powder.
 

fgor

Certified Ski Diva
#6
Do you think the Black Pearl is good for powder and groomed or icy terrain? I am considering getting them for Colorado if they are good for powder.
So I did end up buying the Black Pearl 88, as such now have quite a lot of experience with it - probably another 20+ days. However I don't have much powder experience in it - the BP88 isn't really a powder ski from what i'm told, it's more of a all-mountain-frontside-oriented width. Maybe the BP98? (though I haven't tried it) The BP88 can definitely handle powder but I'm unsure how deep before you'd want a wider ski, as I've only skied powder a couple of times and I had no idea how to ski powder most of that time so I can't really weigh in :smile: it's plenty rockered at the tip though! however in my experience it handles ice like a champ, especially when it was freshly tuned, and it's really nice on groomers and surfs easily over a bit of fresh snow or ungroomed terrain. I'd have to let other weigh in on its powder performance as I just haven't had much experience.
 
#8
Thanks for your feedback. I was concerned it might not be great for powder. If anyone else has any feedback I would love to hear it.
I really like the Blizzard Sheeva 9 for being very versatile in many conditions and terrain, the Santa Ana 93 could also be something to try. Are you going to demo? Loon has a demo day the first Friday in December each year that’s fun. Blizzard, Nordica, Volkl, Rossignol, Atomic and plenty of other manufacturers are always there.
 

Bookworm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I have the BP88 and I’ve only skied our west with them (CO, UT). I haven’t encountered deep powder, maybe 8”, and they were ok, (felt too short. I’m 5’5” and am on 156) but I’m new to mountain skiing and skiing in the 21st century, so I don’t have the technique yet. They are really easy to ski otherwise
 
#10
Thanks for your feedback. I was concerned it might not be great for powder. If anyone else has any feedback I would love to hear it.
I own the original Black Pearl, which is 88 underfoot. I used it as my all-mountain skis for trips out west for several years. Used them at Alta last April because I'd treated them with Phantom so they were good in warm temps and in fresh snow.

When the BP88 was my OSQ for flying trips, I wouldn't bother to rent powder skis for fresh snow up to about 6 inches the first couple seasons. As I gained experience in powder and improved technique, that went up to about 8 inches. Did one "adventure run" at Snowmass in 10+ inches of fresh powder in trees (following a L3 instructor who was part of a group gathering, with my ski buddy as a sweeper). With the fluffy snow, the issue was lack of experience in that type of terrain and snow more than the choice of skis.

I've since demo'd the BP88 a few times. It's a better design, especially for hardpack groomers. However when there was 8+ inches of fresh snow at Taos a couple seasons ago, I opted to switch to the BP98. I had 5 free days of demos as part of Women's Ski Week and Blizzard was one of the brands available. The BP88 was on my list of possible replacements for my old Black Pearls. But I fell in love with the Stöckli Stormrider 85 at Taos. I skied them in 10+ inches of fluffy powder more than once last season (Taos, Grand Targhee, Bridger).
 
#11
I have the BP88 and I’ve only skied our west with them (CO, UT). I haven’t encountered deep powder, maybe 8”, and they were ok, (felt too short. I’m 5’5” and am on 156) but I’m new to mountain skiing and skiing in the 21st century, so I don’t have the technique yet. They are really easy to ski otherwise
Depending on the terrain and snow, might not be as short as you think. Although for powder, longer is better.

I was using 145mm for the BP88 at Taos and @santacruz skier had the 152mm. I'm 5'0", 111 lbs. She's just a little taller but a bit lighter. Our Ski Week instructor thought we had the correct length. When I had longer demo skis the first day I rented, she thought they were too long. I'd taken out skis that were around 159cm since that's the length of my Black Pearls and Stormriders.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Thanks for your feedback. I was concerned it might not be great for powder. If anyone else has any feedback I would love to hear it.
Can you define powder? How deep? How often? How long until it turns into tracked out powder? How tall are you and what do you weigh?
I skied the Black Pearl 88s very happily for two full seasons in Utah cutting my teeth as an intermediate skier with very little powder experience. They gave me a ton of confidence in mixed conditions, including powder. For bigger powder days (10 inches or more) I'd drag out my Santa Ana 100s. Partly because I could since I already owned them.

So, are the BP 88s an ideal powder ski? No. Are they capable and confidence inspiring in 6 inches of powder, or cut up/skied out powder? Yes. I will say, I'd rather have a ski like the BP as an every day ski than a big fat powder ski as a daily ski for the few runs that are actually untracked powder, then have to skid around on the fat skis the rest of the time on the runout groomers to the lift.

Do I prefer how the Santa Ana 88s handle untracked powder better than the BP 88? Yes. Do I ski an 88mm width ski about 99% of the time here in Utah, even in crud and powder? Yes. But our resort does get tracked out really fast these days, and I'm not one to hit the hike for turns stuff just yet.
 
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#13
@Jersey Ski Girl There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of posts about the BPs if you do a search. When they were newly redesigned (2017? 2018?) they made a huge splash and for awhile it seemed they were about 90% of the posts here! Well, not really 90%. But there is a lot of info.
 
#15
I've heard a lot about the Total Joys, and now I really want to try them.
Have you checked out any of the Head Joy line? I liked both the Absolut Joy and Total Joy when they first came out. Bought the AJs for east coast skiing in 2015. The next few years is seemed as if Divas either really liked Joy skis or really disliked them.

What I'm more interested in checking out more is the Head Kore W 93 as an all-mountain choice. Did a couple short groomer runs at a free demo day last March. They were great fun!
 
#17
Have you checked out any of the Head Joy line? I liked both the Absolut Joy and Total Joy when they first came out. Bought the AJs for east coast skiing in 2015. The next few years is seemed as if Divas either really liked Joy skis or really disliked them.

What I'm more interested in checking out more is the Head Kore W 93 as an all-mountain choice. Did a couple short groomer runs at a free demo day last March. They were great fun!
Head Kore 93 W high on my list as skis to demo. Love the Head Wild Joy and Great Joy so know I would like a little more playful ski. In my size, the width is actually 89 in a 153.
 

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