Blizzard Viva 8.0 (2013-2014) Review

August 23, 2013
Blizzard Viva 8.0 (2013-2014)
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
85
Edge Hold
9
Turn Initiation
9
Versatility
6
Stability
8
Forgiveness
6
Value
7

The Good

  • Strong and steady; can handle steeps and speed
  • Quick and lively feeling; quite resonsive
  • Easy to initiate turns; excels at short-radius turns
  • Stiff enough to perform for hard-charging experts

The Bad

  • Not a forgiving ski for low intermediates who are not getting on edge consistently
  • Small sweet spot
  • Not a confidence booster for lower level skiers
  • Tail can throw you if you get in the backseat
THE VERDICT

A quick and lively frontside ski with great edge hold and rebound energy. It requires some precision to stay on top of a small sweet spot. Therefore it's best suited for high intermediates through expert skiers who are able to pressure the tip and roll the ski on edge.

FULL REVIEW

Folks at Blizzard call the Viva 8.0 their “little black dress” in the women’s line. It doesn’t quite go with everything because of a fairly narrow waist (80mm). But it has an amazing frontside prowess for those who like a race-ski feel underfoot.

Carving
Blizzard uses a wood core, sandwich sidewall construction and a fairly stiff flex in the Viva 8.0. It also has Flipcore technology, which adds rocker in the molding process instead of bending it in by hand. This seems to be a bigger deal with the wider skis that have more rocker. Whether it’s the Flipcore or not, the Viva 8.0 feels well-balanced and smooth and really quick edge-to-edge.

To me, it feels like a tuned-down race ski and therefore accessible to high-intermediates who can pressure the tip of a ski and roll it on edge. It favors slalom turns but at the right length can handle big, wide turns as well.

It’s a good choice for skiing steep groomers and therefore a great east coast ski or west coast groomer ski for skiers with some technical abilities.

Versatility
The Viva 8.0’s versatility comes from its ability to transition well between turn shapes, speed, and slope angle. It’s so quick edge-to-edge that it feels responsive and changes direction quickly. I like making quick turns down the fall line. An 80mm waist makes it more appropriate for hardpack. It’s a stiffer ski so it doesn’t absorb bumps but makes strong turns around them or down the zipper line.

Stability
The Viva 8.0 has excellent stability at speed. I would pick this ski for the early-morning run at Vail before the public crowds up the slope. On steeps, it feels stable underfoot if you stay balanced. It’s stiff and has race-ski edge hold with no tip chatter at high speed.

Forgiveness
This ski is not as forgiving as other soft skis in the category. It can feel as if you get thrown from the tails if you get in the back seat and it has a small sweet spot. However, when you find the sweet spot underfoot, then the ski feels easy to maneuver and really responsive.

Value
The suggested retail price (remember most shops charge less than MSRP) is on the pricey side at $800 for a flat ski. But like fine wine, you are getting quality with the Viva 8.0. It’s for the discerning skier who likes a rich, full wood core feeling with a racy edge.

Sidecut: 120-80-105
Available lengths: 151,158,165
Turning Radius: 16m at 165cm

 


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WHERE TO BUY
MSRP
$800.00
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