Expert Review: 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken tested the 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 88 skis at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2023 Blizzard Black Pearl 88 and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed, but don’t forget, every skier is unique; if you have any questions on the Black Pearl 88, 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.
What does Blizzard claim about this ski? [Sara] This is the most popular women's ski out there. It's advertised as an intermediate advanced ski, but I really do feel like it's versatile enough that almost anyone can enjoy it.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Jessica] I loved the Black Pearl 88's. They're the best women’s ski on the market for a reason, and I can absolutely see why this ski is owned and beloved by so many women. It just carved so well, and there's just so much you can do on this ski.
[Sara] My overall impressions of these skis were really positive. I had a lot of fun on them, even as an expert advanced skier, I thought that they were really fun.
Describe the shape of the ski and its profile? How does it impact the skiing experience? [Jessica] These skis are rocker-camber-rocker, and they are more directional than their bigger sister, the Sheevas. These are going to excel on groomers and in light powder.
These skis are also incredibly smooth thanks to the Flipcore technology, which is proprietary to Blizzard. It is really cool because it means that they're the only ones who have this.
[Sara] One of the cool features of these skis is called Trueblend technology, which means in the varying lengths of the ski, the stiffness is going to be adjusted. So, say you've got a 140-something for a really smaller female ski, those are going to be a softer ski than what you would find in the 170 version of the ski.
How is it on groomers? [Jessica] Through the groomers was definitely where it excelled the most. Edge hold was super, super great. It was really, really responsive to everything that I wanted it to do. I could really lay my hip into the ground if I wanted to on the groomers, which was awesome.
[Sara] They held an edge really well on the groomers. They're a little bit more narrow than some of the other Black Pearls, so they're directed more towards a groomer skier, and they did fantastic on the groomers.
How does it perform at speed? [Jessica] They held up really, really well at high speeds. They were also able to get through narrow trees and, at slower speeds, do some tighter turns—which is why the ski is really cool for any level of skier. You can go as fast or as slow as you want on this while remaining in control.
[Sara] I felt really comfortable, really in control and decently surprised with the off-piste ability of these skis. I took them out a little bit more and they were a little bit chattery at higher speeds in that off-piste stuff, but I don't think that's a big concern because the conditions that we have here right now are not very common.
How does it handle chop and chunder? [Jessica] We had non-ideal conditions this morning, and we were skiing through some tougher ice chunks, and these handled everything beautifully and got through it with no issue.
[Sara] I took them in some of the trees and some chunder and they held up pretty well in there as well.
How is its maneuverability riding in the trees? [Jessica] They are 88 underfoot, so they are a little bit narrower than some other big mountain skis, but I still took them in the trees and they did phenomenal. What I was most impressed with the ski was how well it did in the crud in the trees.
[Sara] They really excelled at short turns, and when we took them in the trees they held their own.
What location would you pack these skis for? [Sara] I'd recommend these for anyone in most parts of the country if you're sticking to groomers. They'd be a good daily driver for somebody on the East Coast, for sure.
What terrain is the ski not ideal for? [Sara] They're not super wide, so I'd probably avoid too much deep snow with them.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Jessica] I would recommend these skis to mostly intermediate to advanced riders, but I definitely wouldn't cut out aggressive beginners. Beginners looking to improve a ton could totally handle this. They might be a little bit hard to get used to at first, but it's definitely a ski that could stick with you for the long run. I would recommend these skis to intermediate to advanced skiers, and beginners as well, if you're trying to be an aggressive beginner and really look to progress.
[Sara] I'd recommend these primarily to an intermediate to advance female skier. However, I do think that they'd be a suitable ski for a progressing beginner or even just an expert skier looking for a good all-around groomer, all-mountain ski.
Who should avoid this ski? [Sara] I would not recommend these skis to somebody who's either looking for a playful terrain park type ski or maybe a freestyle, freeride ski that's going to hold up well in powder.
Skis work differently for everyone, so if you want some help finding the right skis for you, chat with Jessica, Sara, or another Ski Expert here on Curated. They’ll provide free, personalized recommendations on the best setup for you.