Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Ski Review
I first skied Black Pearls at Mammoth Mountain, as demo rentals from Kittredge Sports. I fell in love with these skis and now own a pair. These are the best skis I have ever tried, and the turns are snappy and the ride down the piste is smooth.
About me: I am a decent intermediate skier (I'll ski groomed black diamond runs at Mammoth, but moguls make me cry a little). I stick mostly to the blue-blacks and really enjoy long cruisers to the base of the mountain. Our home ski resort is Holiday Valley in Western New York, and we do ski ice when the top gets scraped down (a common problem for East Coast ski resorts). I'm 5'6" and like to ski with a 160 cm ski length.
The Skis: Blizzard Black Pearls, 88 cm width for the side-cut, and 159 cm in length. The skis have a sandwich compound sidewall with W.S.D. Trueblend Flipcore construction (a variety of wood is used in different areas of the ski and the core is flipped to work with the natural rocker shape of the ski). The skis are comprised of wide titanal, which is an aluminum alloy that generates a lot of stability, smoothness, and precision when skiing. The skis are made for all-mountain exploring.
Moguls: As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of moguls. I am starting to try to ski smaller moguls on blue runs, but avoid them on the blacks. These skis allow me to pick my turns when and where I want them, and handle variations in terrain with no problem.
Ice: We ski most often in Western New York, where ice is a frequent issue. I was slightly worried about the performance on ice with the wider side-cut, but These skis cut across icy patches with no issue. They flex and grip when they need to, and I was able to get an edge into the hardpan most of the time - and when I couldn't, they were stable until I had crossed the icy region on the slope.
Crud: I define crud as tossed up crunchy or slushy snow. These skis handle crud incredibly well. The rockered ends slide right over uneven terrain and I have had no issues handling conditions this year. I didn't encounter any death cookies this year (icy blocks of snow scattered on the run), but I avoid those like the plague anyway and wouldn't try to hit one on purpose to see how they handle hard obstacles.
Cost: I received my skis as a Christmas present from my in-laws (best in-laws ever, by the way). If you don't have amazing in-laws who gift you with skis, the Black Pearls will cost around $650 without bindings.
Recommendation: Definitely try Black Pearls if you have the opportunity. They're the best-selling women's ski for a reason! I am extremely happy with my skis and can (almost) keep up with the kids now!