The Blizzard Black Pearl is the little sister of the Blizzard Samba, but just like with the men’s side there are a few key differences in the two. To us, the Black Pearl is more friendly and easier to ski all over the mountain. The Samba is a fantastic ski, but it also seems a bit more dead and unresponsive than the Black Pearl at slower speeds. The Black Pearl is lightweight, easy to maneuver, great on the groomers and yet powerful enough to handle the chop off piste.
Conditions: Soft Chop, Freshly Groomed, Hard Pack, Icy steeps, and Bumps
Bindings: Marker Squire
On the Snow Feel: The Blizzard Black Pearl is a stable ski, but it still feels like it wants to have some fun from time to time. Its light weight makes it easy to maneuver and although it responds best when driven, it still has a slightly relaxed easy going feel to it. It’s a freeride ski that likes the frontside just as much as off piste.
Powder: The Blizzard Black Pearl is a frontside oriented all mountain ski. It can definitely handle the powder, but with an 88mm waist it just doesn’t have the same float as wider skis. It still can be fun in the deeper snow, but it takes a lot more work. The tail is tapers quite a bit from the tip and sinks in the snow helping to keep the wider rockered tip above the powder. Again, you’re not going to “float” really well, but we didn’t experience a lot of tip dive either.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Blizzard Black Pearl is a bit softer than its men’s counterpart, but it’s still a solid ski that likes to be driven. The light weight does, however, help to keep the Blizzard Black Pearl easy to maneuver. Rocker in the tip also helps to keep swing weight low, so it’s easy to transition into the turn. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get the ski on edge, but you do need to drive the ski to get it to flex. When you do the Blizzard Black Pearl will treat you to pretty powerful rebound. The 18m radius is intimidating, but even though the tail is pretty stiff, it wasn’t hard to release from the turn. Short to medium radius turns were lively and fun. It seemed like ski that was happy when being driven and swung into every turn, but at the same time it wouldn’t punish laziness. It was far more relaxed than I thought it would be, and even at slower speeds it was easy to maneuver. It’s solid on the frontside groomers, but it is definitely a freeride ski at heart.
Speed: The Blizzard Black Pearl feels pretty damp at speed. They feel smooth when cruising the groomers, and even as things get roughed up they felt stable. They ski a bit short because of the rocker profile, but even with the 165cm they felt stable and fast. When you want to slow things down and get more “creative” the ski would allow you to that as well.
Uneven Terrain: The Blizzard Black Pearl does a great job in chopped up snow. It’s not quite as powerful as the bigger Samba, but it feels solid and stable underfoot. As the groomers became roughed up we didn’t have to slow down much at all. The rocker helps to keep the tip pointing up, and the ski is powerful enough to blast through deeper piles. It definitely takes a bit more work than the Samba, but the Black Pearl is capable of some fun when the snow gets a bit rough.
Edge Hold: Edge hold of the Black Pearl was pretty good on hard packed groomers. Even on firm icy steeps we felt it did alright, but it did have more tendency to skid a bit on the steeps.
Flex: The Blizzard Black Pearl is softer then the men’s, but still a medium stiff to stiff ski. The tip is slightly softer than underfoot.
Switch: The Black Pearl is a freeride ski, but not quite great at riding switch.
The Blizzard Black Pearl is a fantastic all-mountain ski. It’s damp, stable, and quite solid, while still retaining some of its freeride attitude. It’s relatively easy to maneuver, and yet still stable and solid on the groomers. It likes to charge when you drive it, but it can be easy going when you don’t. It’s not a powder specialist, but is capable of taking you off piste when the snow is a bit deeper. It does a decent job when the snow gets roughed up, but it won’t blast through quite as well as the wider Samba. It’s really a great all around ski for just about any condition.