Expert Review: Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Skis Women's RedPublished on 08/26/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2021.
Epic day on the Blizzard Black Pearl 97s in Breckendridge, CO. All photos courtesy of Victoria B.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2021.
The Blizzard Black Pearl 97 skis are an excellent, do-it-all, one ski quiver option for skiers that ski everything and everywhere.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Women’s Red
- Size: 171
- Height: 5’8”
- Weight: 165 lbs
- Experience: 20+ years of skiing
- When I bought these: March 2021
- Days tested: 20
- Mount position: Standard
- Boots: Tecnica Cochise Pro W DYN Alpine Touring Boots
- Boot Size: 25.5
- Bindings: KneeBindings Shadow
- Where I’ve used it: New England, Mid-Atlantic, Colorado
- Terrain: Groomers, Trees, Moguls, Powder
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was on the hunt for a versatile option that would work as my go-to ski in New England and annual trips to Colorado. I wanted something that performed well on New England ice, could hold an edge at high speeds, float through powder, and cut through cruddy conditions.
Why I chose this gear
Many reviewers and publishers named these the best women’s all-mountain skis on the market. I wanted something with a short turning radius, and this was the shortest radius available for a wider 97mm ski. I considered and demoed the narrower Blizzard Black Pearl 88, but I wanted something more versatile in Colorado trees and New England chop.
What I love about it
- Speed: Despite being a lighter, wider ski, these perform very well at high speeds. I haven’t noticed any speed wobble/chatter and can fly on them. The beech wood construction in the midsection of the ski provides great stability and power transmission.
- Edge hold: The edge hold is surprisingly great on these skis, even on New England ice. Like most Blizzard skis, the Black Pearls feature a sandwich compound sidewall, along with the stiffer midsection that makes it easy to hold an edge. With a fresh tune, I can confidently put these on edge and have not experienced any slippage.
- Turns: Especially at higher speeds, the skis feel more natural performing longer, arcing turns, but can still make quicker, slalom-like turns with a bit of work. The rocker-camber-rocker construction helps out here, along with the short 16m turn radius on the 171cm option.
- Groomers: As mentioned above on speed and edge hold, these perform quite well on groomers. They offer a stable ride, even on ice.
- Powder: Not the lightest or widest option out there, but the rocker on the tips of these skis helps them float well in fresh snow. It's a great option for someone who only skis on occasional powder days.
- Durability: I’ve only experienced minor scratches on the topsheets from use. Despite skiing over what felt like rocks in the spring, the core/base held up extremely well, and I didn’t sustain any major damage.
- Weight: These are light, in my opinion. I switched over from a heavy all-mountain ski with a full sheet of titanal, and these made an insane difference. These are not the lightest ski on the market but are not as weighty as other options.
- Stability: Despite being a damp ski, these are still pretty stable on groomers yet playful in mixed conditions.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Trees: The tips and tails of these skis are quite stiff, and they’re a bit damp overall, so they’re not the most user-friendly option in the trees.
- Moguls: Outside of natural conditions in bowls/trees, I haven’t skied many bump runs with these skis. They’re a bit on the longer side for me, so they definitely require a bit of work to turn quickly in the bumps.
Favorite moment with this gear
The first time I skied these was on a late spring day in New England, with freshly groomed but soft hardpack. I took it easy first, trying some short slalom turns along the edge of the trail, and eventually let it rip, picking up speed across the wide trail. The faster I skied, the more stable the skis felt, and I was amazed to be able to ski like a GS racer on 97mm skis.
Value for the money vs. other options
These are a great value for someone looking for a one ski quiver. They truly do it all. I haven’t skied similar models like the Nordica Santa Ana 98 and the Black Crows Captis Birdie, but these were worth every penny to me.
These skis check off every need in the book. They offer a powerful yet maneuverable ride that allows great women skiers to conquer any terrain confidently. This is the best option available for advanced to expert women skiers that are looking for a do-it-all daily driver.