The Black Pearl 88 has been the most popular women’s ski out of the entire ski market over the past few seasons. We barely have to test it, as a lot of women already flock to it for its versatile, approachable, yet high-end performance, but of course we did anyways. Blizzard’s Women Specific Carbon Flipcore construction has proven to provide a lightweight feel, good edge grip, reasonable amounts of stability, and a very intuitive, natural flex pattern. The Black Pearl 88 is mostly camber, although it also has smooth rocker and even a small amount of early taper in both the tip and tail. Combine that shape and construction and you’ve got a ski that’s known for its smooth feel and performance-oriented, yet easy-going attitude.
Ariel Aidala tested the 166 cm length in the Black Pearl 88 and thought it was “your bread and butter single quiver ski.” We know from past season’s that a lot of different women have chosen the Black Pearl 88 as their do-everything all-mountain ski, so Ariel pretty much hit the nail on the head with that comment. “Narrower than its big sister, the Black Pearl 98, it performs better on edge, but doesn’t charge as well through crud snow.” A wider ski typically will have better punch-through performance for softer, variable snow conditions, but the Black Pearl 88 is noticeably quicker edge to edge and a more appropriate ski for firm snow conditions. Ariel agrees, finishing her feedback by recommending it for “someone who mostly stays on-trail, but may venture occasionally to glades and trees.” We think that’s a great recommendation. Now with the addition of the Black Pearl 82, you can really dial in which width works best for the terrain and snow conditions you ski.
Shannon Walton thought it was a “great all-around ski” after her test runs on the 166 cm length. Shannon gave the Black Pearl 88 some high scores. 5 out of 5 for quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, and forgiveness, with stability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression all coming in with 4’s out of 5. Only flotation was lower at 3 out of 5. “Best for strong intermediate or advanced skier. Easy turn initiation, fun and playful feel. Confidence-inspiring. Was a lot of fun to ski and I felt the ski could do whatever I asked it to.”
Elise Magnant also tested the 166 cm Black Pearl 88 and found it to be a little bit too much for her self-described beginner level. While it is an approachable ski for less-aggressive skiers, Elise is right that it’s not the best choice for a true beginner. “Tested on soft spring corn with some firm patches. As a beginner skier, I felt this ski required a more advanced skier.” Intermediates and advanced skiers with more accomplished technique will find a nice amount of forgiveness in the Black Pearl 88, but it’s a little bit lost on beginners.
Elissa DeGolyer, like the rest of our testers, hopped on the 166 cm length for her test runs. Elissa would “highly recommend this ski to anyone.” From someone who fits boots onto the feet of hundreds of skiers each season, that’s quite a compliment to the Black Pearl 88. “I felt that this ski has the ability to please many skier types. You can carve it if you want to, and you can smear it as well.”
For skiers looking for a versatile all mountain ski, the Black Pearl 88 is a great choice. There’s a reason it’s the most popular women’s ski on the market; it’s a whole lot of fun to ski. You don’t have to be the hardest-charging skier on the mountain to enjoy it, either. Weekend warriors, intermediates, even beginners that consider themselves more on the aggressive end of the spectrum can all get a lot out of the Black Pearl 88.