Blizzard Viva 8.0 (2014)
No doubt about it: Austrians know how to build a carving ski. The 8.0, with its rip-ready 80-millimeter waist, wood core, and sandwich-sidewall construction, is snappy, stiff, and stable, but it has a surprising measure of forgiveness for a ski that loves its edges this much. The ease of initiation and transition may come from the rocker profile: Last year, Blizzard gave this model its Flipcore technology, wherein the core goes into the mold upside down to use the wood's natural reverse camber. Maybe Austrians need to get in the race-car business. McElroy: "Can you say, 'Ferrari'?"
At 80 mm, the Viva 8.0, which returns unchanged from last year, is the widest ski in the Viva series of frontside cruisers, with just enough width and rocker designed to prevent and aggressive female carver from trenching too deeply in soft snow. Of all the Vivas, it has the most wood in its core construction, for durability and responsiveness. It's also the only Viva sold flat (no binding). The Viva series is the female counterpart of Blizzard's Magnum men's offering of frontside cruisers with moderate waist widths appropriate to everyday East and Midwest conditions. To suit women, the Vivas feature lighter, softer constructions, built for reassuring hard-snow performance, with in most cases grippy, solid vertical sidewalls. Blizzard gives all but one of these frontside cruisers a touch of rocker tip and tail - to ease transitions and absorb shocks - though it's almost imperceptible. Where the Magnum men's models feature full wood cores at the high end, Viva models feature lighter constructions with foam cores reinforced with wood stringers for durability and integrity. Most Viva models are sold as system packages with Marker bindings, with the exception of the flagship 8.0, which is sold flat. All Blizzard skis are built in the company's Mittersill, Austria, factory headquarters, near Kitzbuhel and the Kitzsteinhorn.
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||151, 158, 165|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||4.16 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.24 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.91 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.68 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.43 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||1.98 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.52 / 5|