2020 Blizzard Black Pearl 98

The Black Pearl 98 is the widest ski in Blizzard’s women’s all-mountain line. The collection as a whole has emerged as one of the most popular series of skis on the market. They have an excellent blend of performance that can satisfy a lot of different skiers. A poplar and beech wood core is used in a classic sandwich construction style with full vertical sidewalls. There’s no metal in the Black Pearl 98, but it does use a uni-directional carbon frame, which improves overall performance while keeping the weight at a minimum. This 98 mm width is the only ski in the Black Pearl line to cross over into the width range of their more freeride-oriented Sheeva skis, but this ski uses much less rocker and early taper compared to those skis. With 4 skis in the Black Pearl line and 3 in the Sheeva collection, Blizzard is giving women a lot of choices.

Kelsey Boleski tested the 166 cm length in the Black Pearl 98 and sung its praise in her scores and comments. Kelsey did mention that the 166 cm length felt like it was on the short side for her, but that didn’t stop some high scores. 5 out of 5 for quickness/maneuverability, forgiveness, versatility, and overall impression. No other criteria received anything lower than 4 out of 5; those are really impressive scores. “It’s no surprise this continues to be one of the best women’s all-mountain skis on the market. It wants to ski and have fun, regardless of the type of skier you are.” That’s always been one of the best attributes of the Black Pearl. A wide range of ability levels and skier styles will really enjoy them.

Kristi Brown also tested that 166 cm length. She didn’t leave us with a tremendous amount of written feedback, but that doesn’t really matter. She gave the Black Pearl 98 full scores across the board. 5 out of 5 for every criterion from Kristi, which is always a sure sign a tester has found a ski that works really, really well for them. She did leave us with one comment, describing the Black Pearl 98 as “super easy” and “super fun.” As an expert skier, Kristi can ski just about anything, and knowing that the Black Pearl 98 satisfies all her needs, while still being easy to ski, is darn impressive.

Elissa DeGolyer also skied the 166 cm Black Pearl 98 during our test and thought it felt “super lightweight” while also having a great feel on the snow. The highest scores from Elissa were for flotation, quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, versatility, and overall impression, all of which received 4’s out of 5. Elissa recommended them “for all-mountain skiers who want no frills.” The concept of “no frills” is referring to the relatively straight-forward shape of the Black Pearl 98. Not a ridiculous amount of rocker, not a silly-looking shape, rather a shape that’s proven to perform well in a lot of conditions.

Annie MacDonald scored the Black Pearl 98 4 out of 5 in every single category, very similar to the even feedback from Kristi. Like the rest of the testers, Annie was on the 166 cm Black Pearl 98. “This ski was solid! Skied its length, but would like to try it longer.” Annie did mention that the 166 cm felt a little short, and being familiar with her skiing, we agree she’d be better off on the 173 cm length. “Edges held well. Good on groomers and probably great in powder because it’s fairly light. Good all-around ski for advanced girl skiers, but also appropriate for intermediates.”

The Black Pearl 98 is a great choice for anyone looking for versatile performance for the whole mountain. Holds an edge well on groomers, plenty wide enough for soft snow, and light enough to ski a whole day without feeling overly fatiguing. It’s a great choice for an all-mountain ski on the wider side of the spectrum.

Testers

Kristi Brown

Age: 49Height: 5'9"Weight: 133 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, precise, very smooth and skis with a lot of finesse

Elissa DeGolyer

Age: 30Height: 5'4"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Precise, aggressive, extensive ski racing background

Kelsey Boleski

Age: 29Height: 5'8"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Freeride oriented with a competitive background

Annie MacDonald

Age: 56Height: 5'7"Weight: 118 lbs.

Ski Style: Lots of style, grace, and power

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