Blizzard Black Pearl 88 ReviewDecember 22, 2017
- Versatile in turn shape and snow condition
- Great edge grip
- Well balanced
- Not very energetic underfoot
- Flotation lacks slightly
Updates to the top-selling Blizzard Black Pearl 88 improve the performance of this go-to ski for all levels. For 2018, Blizzard tweaked the Black Pearl 88 by adding more sidecut and decreasing tip rocker, prompting “Most Improved” votes from testers on what was last season’s top-selling model. It’s a risky endeavor to try to improve on a winner, but in Blizzard’s case, the risk paid off.
Last season Blizzard added Carbon Flipcore W.S.D. (women’s specific design), with a thin and lightweight unidirectional carbon fiber originally designed for touring skis. This season, sidecut tweaks add more interest for advanced skiers who felt that earlier iterations of the ski lacked rebound out of the turn. However, the top-selling ski does not lose the maneuverability that had benefited so many intermediate skiers. In fact, testers felt that the ski was still forgiving while also dynamic and able to match the energy of the skier when aggressiveness and terrain intensity increased.
Blizzard sandwiches the carbon frame around the wood core to create an even flex while maintaining torsional rigidity. “The ski has the reflexes of a feline with not even a split second of hesitation on edge change,” said one tester. “Adds more interest for the aggressive skier while maintaining user-friendliness for intermediates,” said another.
On average, the Black Pearl 88 received high scores, the highest in Stability and Turn Shape Variability. Though the rocker (created by Blizzard’s Flipcore, which creates rocker in the mold instead of bending it into the ski) adds maneuverability, the ski scored slightly lower scores for Flotation and Carving Pleasure. More aggressive testers found the ski damp and lacking in energy underfoot, particularly in short turns. However, all ranked the ski “Excellent” in overall rankings. According to one tester, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 is “a shockingly fun Frontside ski that’s stable off the groomers and stellar on them.”
The Black Pearl 88 received moderate scores for flotation. With Flipcore, Blizzard adds rocker into the mold for more natural rockered profile. The sidecut of the 88-mm waisted ski provides adequate platform for moderate all-mountain conditions but not for powder.
Testers lauded the Black Pearl’s Stability through a variety of turn shapes and snow conditions. Testers noted the ski’s dampness. Blizzard’s Carbon Flipcore W.S.D. construction is designed for stability, torsional rigidity and a moderate flex by combining a unidirectional carbon layer with a reduced weight core that includes bamboo.
Blizzard’s Full Sidewalls provide constant pressure along the length of the skis. Testers gave above average scores for Edge Hold, commenting on the Black Pearl’s “accurate edge hold” and “reliable hold on hardpack.”
Testers gave the Black Pearl fairly high marks for Carving Pleasure. They called it “dynamic,” “well balanced” and “a stellar carver for a wider ski.” Some testers commented on the ski’s dampness, noting that it’s not as energetic underfoot as other skis in the category.
Turn Shape Variability
Testers gave the Black Pearl 88 high scores for Turn Shape Variability and noted the versatility in turn radius and variable snow condition performance. Though short turns may not be the ski’s forte thanks to its moderate 88 mm waist, it can handle slalom turns, transition well into GS turns and back again.Continue Reading
Krista Crabtree- Skiing
Passionate about women’s ski camps and women-specific gear, Krista organizes women’s ski programs at Eldora and Vail, including her own camp called She Skis. A former editor at SKI Magazine, she currently runs the ski test for OnTheSnow.com.