Blizzard Black Pearl (2014)
In their reviews of the Black Pearl, several testers digressed to carry on about Johnny Depp. (Gear analysts? Yes. Mature adults? Not so much.) But we actually see the analogy. This ski is smart and smooth enough to get out of any predicament and so charismatic it steals the show. And it's a plunderer all right, charging lines and hightailing it past anyone who gets in its way. Its talents are wasted on anything less than a strong leading lady, but it won't waste its energy punishing you for being off your game. Gibbons: "For the speedster looking for versatility."
The Black Pearl is the narrowest and least expensive ski in Blizzard's Free Mountain line, with an 88 mm waist designed to suit everyday conditions for frontside skiers who don't need a specialty powder ski. Blizzard's Full Rocker profile combines a flat section under the binding with rocker fore and aft. Like the men's Brahma, with which it shares the same geometry, it's a wood-core, laminate construction with sturdy, grippy vertical sidewalls, but it's a significantly lighter, livelier construction than the men's version, with a strip of lightweight foam down the middle of the core and no metal laminates. All Free Mountain skis are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. All Blizzard skis are built in the company's Mittersill, Austria, factory headquarters, near Kitzbuhel and the Kitzsteinhorn.
|Level||Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||152, 159, 166, 173|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.94 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.63 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.64 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||4.01 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.39 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.24 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.68 / 5|