Expert Review: 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Skis [with Video]

Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken tested the 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 97 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.

A skier on the 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Skis.

Curated Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2023 Black Blizzard Black Pearl 97 and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every skier is unique; if you have any questions on the Black Pearl 97 or would like recommendations on what ski would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.

Before we jump in, a quick note that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands, all of these reviews are completely unbiased.

Brand Claims

What does Blizzard claim about this ski? [Jessica] The brand claims that this is a high-performance ski, good for any condition. It has a wood core, and they took off one millimeter from the core this past year to reduce the weight a little bit as they saw that the swing weight of the tail was a little bit too advanced for some skiers. They also took out the rubber dampeners, which didn’t have a notable impact according to the brand rep. They made this ski a little bit softer and a little bit lighter. In particular, they made the tails very soft this year to help with turns and control on the mountain.

Overall Impressions

What is your overall impression of this ski? [Jessica] These skis are one of the most popular women's skis on the market, and I can see why. They're really, really easy and really, really responsive. You can take them anywhere. They're a do-anything type of ski.

These skis come in a variety of sizes, the 82, the 88 and the 97. This is going to be the widest size of the Blizzard Black Pearl lineup, meaning that these are going to be more all-mountain than the other two options. These are going to excel the most in the trees, in all-mountain terrain, and in light powder. These are definitely a ski for more West Coast conditions.

[Sara] First impressions, this is a fairly stiff ski. It worked pretty well for me in variable conditions, and took them on some groomers. They hold up well at speed. There's not a lot of chatter, but I did have a hard time kind of holding my edge and trusting the edge. Overall, this was a pretty solid ski.

What is the shape of the ski and the ski profile? How does this impact the skiing experience? [Jessica] These skis are made with a TrueBlend Flipcore, which means that basically the shape of the ski in the core is not pressed. It's actually already in the shape of what the ski is going to be. This helps the ski with rebound as it gets right back to the shape it's supposed to be.

[Sara] This is the widest of the Black Pearls and the Black Pearl 88 is actually the most popular women's ski out there. This one's just a little bit wider than that. A lot of the same technology is in this ski that's in the Black Pearl 88. This ski does have a little bit of camber in it, but it was definitely not a hundred percent at home on the groomers. It does pretty well, but it's definitely more of an off-piste ski.

Carving

How is its edgehold and stability? [Jessica] The 97s definitely felt a little bit less control, but that could also have to do with the conditions that we were skiing this morning. We really had some tough conditions this morning. Everything is pretty frozen over from yesterday. When I was trying to really lay into a turn on the groomers, I started to slide out a little bit, which made me not trust my edges. This isn't ideal, but that could have to do with the sharpness that we're dealing with here. But they have Sandwich Compound Sidewall construction, which is usually fairly good.

[Sara] I didn't experience too much chatter on the groomers, it was just the edge hold that wasn't quite on par with some of the other Black Pearls. I don't think this chattered at all.

How is it at speed? [Sara] There's no speed limit on this ski, you can take it as fast as you want.

Freestyle

Any playfulness in the ski? [Jessica] This skis is a camber and rocker, which makes it a more playful ski. It is really responsive to whatever you want to throw at it. They listened to everything that I wanted them to do.

Freeride

How would it be in powder? [Sara] We didn't get any powder today, but I think that it would do all right in a few inches of fresh snow.

How is its maneuverability riding in the trees? [Jessica] It got really warm yesterday and frozen overnight but they actually held up pretty well in the trees. I found them to be pretty nimble in the trees.

[Sara] This ski performed pretty well in the trees and in variable conditions. It did an alright job making some pretty quick turns in the trees. I didn't have any problems there.

What terrain is the ski ideal for? [Jessica] This is going to be a Midwest to Western ski, as it is a little bit wider and it does do a little bit better on light powder and more snowy conditions.

[Sara] It does better in a little bit softer snow. It held up pretty well in the chunder and variable conditions. I would take this in the trees, maybe in some moguls. The best spot for it, I found, was definitely in a little bit softer snow off piste.

What terrain is the ski not ideal for? [Jessica] The only thing that these didn't do as well on is groomers. They didn't carve as well as the 88s.

[Sara] I probably wouldn't take it on the groomers a whole lot since it's a little bit wider. You're going to have a lot more fun on the 88 if you're trying to do more groomers.

Recommendations

Who would you recommend this ski to? [Jessica] These skis are going to be made for an intermediate to advanced skier. These skis are intermediate skis, but as an intermediate skier, you can push these all the way to expert if you really desire. The Black Pearl 97s are a ski that can really last with you. They're just so versatile and good on all different types of terrain that that's why these are so popular.

[Sara] I'd recommend this ski to an advanced skier, maybe an aggressive intermediate skier, and someone who's looking to kind of explore the whole mountain and have a good ski to progress with.

Who should avoid this ski? [Jessica] I wouldn't recommend these skis to somebody who's hopping out of rentals as a beginner. This is not going to be your ideal first pair of skis. Somebody who's a beginner skier might want to try the 82 or the 88s first before moving up to these 97s as they're a little bit wider and that makes them a little bit more difficult to control. I also wouldn't recommend these skis to people who are skiing mostly East Coast conditions.

[Sara] I would not recommend this ski for a beginner skier or somebody that's looking to see a lot of deep powder.

Skis work differently for different skiers. If you want some help finding the right skis for you, chat with Jessica, Sara, or another Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best setup for you.

Selling Blizzard on Curated.com
Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Skis · Women's · 2023
$699.95
Ski Expert Jessica Whittam
5.0
Jessica Whittam
Ski Expert
Jessica here! How can I help?
Ski Expert Sara Beeken
5.0
Sara Beeken
Ski Expert
Sara here! How can I help?
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Written By
From the moment I learned how to walk, my parents had me on skis. Growing up I raced on the east coast, traveling to Upstate NY, NH, and VT. Once I got into highschool my love for racing started to fade as I was introduced to the park. Skiing in the park gave me a freedom like no other. This new fou...
A North Carolina transplant to Colorado, by way of South Lake Tahoe, CA! I grew up skiing and racing at Beech Mountain, NC. After studying Recreation Management at Appalachian State University and competing on the race team, I returned to Beech Mountain as a Race Coach! Within a few years, I became...

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