Expert Review: Blizzard Zero G 105
This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2019.
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2019.
The Blizzard Zero G 105 is the perfect touring ski for me. It likes to charge, but it’s nimble enough for skiing trees and light enough for long approaches and big days. It has plenty of float when there’s fresh snow, and it still feels stable in crud and hardpack. While the Zero G 105 likes to be skied aggressively, it doesn’t demand it and is a great ski for strong intermediate to expert backcountry skiers. While the skis don’t feel huge, they probably wouldn't make a good first setup for a beginner.
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 170 lbs
- Model: 2020 Blizzard Zero G 105
- Size: 180cm
- Boots: Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour
- Boot Size: 28.5
- Bindings: Salomon MTN / Atomic Backland (mounted boot center)
- Experience: 18 years
- When I bought these: November 2019
- Days tested: 8+
- Where I’ve used it: Colorado backcountry
- Terrain: Steep trees, open glades, meadow skipping, couloirs, alpine
How it performs
What I was looking for
I bought the Zero G 105 because I was looking for a daily driver for Colorado Backcountry conditions. Weight was a big concern, as I like to get out for big days on the weekend and fast and light tours during the week. The dimensions of the Zero G (132/105/117) made it a top candidate, as I’ve found skis around the 100-millimeter waist category to be ideal for most days in Colorado, and I don’t like skiing steep terrain with a shovel that’s too wide.
Why I chose this gear
For me, 105 millimeters underfoot is the ideal waist range for a do-it-all alpine touring ski. I really like the versatility of how well the Zero G 105 floats in deep snow but still holds an edge skiing steeps. I also prefer a more traditional ski with a flatter tail over a twin tip, and the Zero G 105 fits the bill perfectly. It has a traditional rocker profile with tip rocker, early rise in the tail, and a long section of camber underfoot. The rocker profile is more subtle than a lot of skis with only a couple mm of separation when the skis are base to base. So, even though it feels like a charger it’s not too hard to de-camber the ski and make it feel more nimble. I had been skiing on a lot of Blizzard’s skis, and they’re doing something right.
I considered the Atomic Backland 107 and Black Diamond Helio 105. I decided on the Blizzards because they felt like they had a bit more life to them than the backlands and were more stable than the Helios. Blizzard seems to be doing the best job producing lightweight skis that don’t chatter. I think It’s Blizzard’s FlipCore construction that sets the ski apart. They mill part of the rocker profile into the Paulownia wood core, so when the ski gets pressed it’s under less tension and less prone to chatter. Blizzard’s layer of carbon fiber that they call their Carbon Drive 2.0 frame also helps with power transfer and torsional rigidity. The skis feel light and responsive while remaining relatively damp for their weight. My biggest internal debate was between the 180 cm and 188 cm lengths. I usually prefer long skis, but I spend a lot of time in the trees. After a couple of months of debating ski length with myself, I was able to make up my mind and have been loving the 180s.
What I love about it
- Speed: I love fast skis because the faster I get to the bottom, the quicker I can get another lap! The Zero G really comes alive at speed but doesn’t demand that I am charging.
- Powder: I wasn’t expecting it, but the Zero G 105s became my powder skis. I have several lightweight wider skis to choose from, but a lot of times I’ll grab my 105s when there’s deeper snow because they perform so well, and I’d rather save some weight.
- Trees: Most of my time skiing the 105s has been skiing steep trees. I have to stay on top of them in tight areas, but they are plenty nimble to wiggle my way through tight squeezes when I have to.
- Turn Initiation: The Zero G 105 has a turn radius of 23 meters, which is on the long side for an all-mountain ski, but it’s a little tighter than its predecessor, the Zero G 108’s longer radius sidecut of 28 meters. They like to make big turns at speed, but the ski’s softer flex in the tip and tail and mellow camber profile allow for easy pivoting and playfulness in tight situations. I also like that the longer sidecut radius gives the ski a less pronounced shallower tip that is less prone to hanging up skiing steeps.
- Backcountry: The Zero G 105 one of the best backcountry skis of all time. It’s a light ski, and the underfoot camber gives it a long contact surface while skinning. It also feels balanced making kick turns on the uphill. It’s a great ski for skiing deep powder all day, but it still has good edge hold and can handle anything it gets into.
- Weight: Most of a day in the backcountry is spent on the skin track, so weight is important. At 1,650 grams per ski, they are light enough that I can go all day on them, but they still have great downhill performance.
- Stability: I found the stability to be quite good, though I was mostly skiing in soft snow with very few hard snow days. These skis like to stay planted and have very little chatter compared to other skis of similar weights.
- Flex: The Zero G 105 has a nice consistent flex that softens slightly at the tips and tails. It gives the ski a nice predictable feel that’s powerful underfoot with exceptional grip with some forgiveness at each end.
- Edge Hold: The Zero G 105’s long section of camber and more subtle tail rocker give it good edge hold. They really come to life in powder, but I’ve navigated some icy chutes that I found my way into, and they performed well.
- Other: The Zero G is versatile enough that I use it with a number of different boots depending on the conditions and objective. My main boot for the ski is the Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour, but I have paired the ski with the Tecnica Zero G Guide for more aggressive skiing, the Scarpa F1 for long days, and even the Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio for moving fast with mellow skiing.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Park: I’ve never taken the Zero G to the park or even skied them inbounds, but due to their lightweight construction they can be a little unpredictable in the air.
- Durability: I’ve managed to put a few deeper scratches in the top sheet, but it’s worth noting that I treat all my skis like rock skis.
- Resort: The Zero G 105s are backcountry-specific skis. Putting a binding like the Salomon Shift, Marker Duke PT, or a pair of frame bindings to use them at the resort would ruin it. I think the best setup with the Zero G 105 is a lightweight tech binding like the Atomic Backland Tour or Dynafit Superlite 150. Even a binding like the Dynafit ST Rotation 10 or 12 is more weight than I’d put on this ski. For a similar but more robust ski, check out the Blizzard Cochise 106 as a resort ski.
- Other: When I was mounting these I had one screw that was a spinner. I ended up helicoiling that toe piece, but the rest of the screws were installed normally. I have had no issues since with binding retention.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite day skiing the Zero G 105 was in a backcountry zone that I know well and was starting to explore some of the more distant terrain. After the long approach to the lines I’d normally ski, I crossed a big flat bench and found a more remote and less-traveled area full of pillows and steep glades. After finding a good route to the top, we spent the day exploring new lines that felt like first descents and playing on features deep enough in the backcountry that I normally wouldn’t have brought such a capable ski. Lightening up my quiver in the 105mm waist width range turned out to open up more options than I had thought.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Zero G 105 isn’t a cheap ski, but it has a lot of value for the money. It’s a ski that will be useful and fun in any condition. At $850, it is average to slightly expensive for a backcountry ski, but it uses a lot of carbon instead of fiberglass The DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP has a different ski profile, but it’s a similar size with a lot of carbon in its layup, and it sells for $1,549, so the price of the Zero G is reasonable.
The Zero G 105 is the perfect dedicated backcountry ski. It’s a classic ski shape with modern technology and is incredibly light for its size. It can charge when I want it to, and it’s an awesome size and shape for Colorado backcountry conditions.