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Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Skis Review: Fast All-Mountain Performer With Improved Flex

Editor Mary Murphy holding up the blizzard Black Pearl 88 ski and smiling(Photo/Jason Hummel)

The 2022-2023 Blizzard Black Pearl women’s ski has everything people loved about the versatile original — with a few new twists.

Hot chocolate in hand. Parking spot secured. First chair. Clear skies. The only thing that could make this bluebird day better was the new Blizzard Black Pearls. These skis are a mainstay for the brand, and the 2023 version is no exception.

Blizzard’s Black Pearl skis have been a popular choice for women on the mountain since they hit the scene in 2011. You’ll see a few pairs in almost every lift line you wait in, on any mountain. The 2022-2023 Black Pearl 88s are the same fun, reliable, fast-charging ski people have fallen in love with, with improved flex and a few new changes to the wood-core construction.

In short: For skiers who ride the whole mountain, the latest Blizzard Black Pearl 88s are a versatile addition to your quiver. They’re great for speeding down groomers, skiing bumps, and even carving powder turns. With slightly softer flex in the tip and tail, the latest Blizzard Black Pearl 88s are the most responsive iteration of the ski yet.

Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Ski Review

Profile view of the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 ski; (Photo/Jason Hummel)
(Photo/Jason Hummel)

I’ve never owned any previous models of Blizzard’s Black Pearl. But I did demo a pair 4-5 years back, so I have a baseline idea of how this ski rides.

Our other female ski tester and I tried the 171cm and 165cm lengths, respectively. They performed amazingly on groomers, but they can also easily handle variable snow, terrain, and conditions, making them a reliable ski anywhere on the mountain.

During our ski test, this ski’s versatility was one of its most impressive aspects.

Bottom line: The Black Pearls just feel good. You can charge hard on them, sure; but at other times (like in powder), they feel nimble and light. The rocker-camber-rocker profile is great for making quick turns, and the skis handled well while navigating bumps.

And while they are fairly light, they aren’t the lightest ski on the mountain, or even just among Blizzard’s lineup. But that’s OK; the weight makes them a bit more stable at higher speeds. I found the weight of this ski comparable to other Blizzard and Black Crows skis of the same waist width (and slightly heavier than models with the same waist width from Elan and Line, for context).

Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Specs

  • Lengths: 153, 159, 165, 171, 177 cm
  • Sidecut: 128/88/110
  • Radius: 14-16 m
  • Weight: 1740 g (ski only)
  • Core: Poplar and beech wood
  • Technologies: TrueBlend wood core, sandwich compound carbon sidewall, anti-shock layer, women’s-specific design construction
  • Profile: Freeride rocker (rocker-camber-rocker)
  • Tail: Flat
  • Best for: Groomers, all-mountain, moguls
  • Price: $650

What’s New for 2023

The wood core and construction underfoot, as well as the flex of the ski, are the two big differences.

These skis have what the brand is calling WSD (women’s-specific design) TrueBlend Woodcore technology (which first entered this ski in 2021). Blizzard used beech for the core and slightly changed the placement of the poplar stringers. The lighter-density wood core does change the flex — for the better, in my opinion. Overall, these skis have a stiffer flex underfoot but really soft flex in the tip and tail.

Other changes include a refreshed and oh-so-sleek blue topsheet on the Black Pearl 88s. Also, the 2023 model is no longer available in the previous 147cm length.

Editor Mary Murphy in a teal jacket and orange pants skiing on the 2022 Blizzard Black Pearl 88 skis
Skiing on the 2022 Blizzard Black Pearls; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Conclusion

Bottom line: These skis do well in lots of different conditions. In just one week, I tested them from temps between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit all over the mountain. Strap on these skis, rip down some groomers, and there’s no way you can’t have some fun.

They also work for skiers of varying experience levels. But after testing over a few weeks, we decided these new Blizzard Black Pearls are best for those who are intermediate-to-advanced skiers who prefer narrower width underfoot and want to ski the whole mountain.

The Blizzard Black Pearls are a great all-around option. If you ski the full season and are looking for an all-mountain ski that can handle the occasional moguls and powder days, definitely add the Black Pearl 88s to your shortlist.

Check Price at evoCheck Price at REI

A close up of water beading on the top sheet of the blizzard black pearl 88 skis; (Photo/Mary Murphy)
(Photo/Mary Murphy)
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