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2012-2013 Black Diamond Element

Ski: 2012-2013 Black Diamond Element, 175cm black diamond element image

Dimensions (mm): 141-115-123mm

Turn Radius: 21 meters

Boots / Bindings: Rossignol Radical World Cup 110 / Marker Griffon / (DIN) 7

Mount Location: +1.5cm from recommended line

Test Location: Niseko, Japan

Days Skied: 3

Given the excitement from fellow reviewers about Black Diamond skis, including the Megawatt and the AMPerage, I put the Element at the top of my list of skis to review in Japan.

The Element, a lady’s version of the AMPerage, measures 115mm underfoot and is offered in both a 165 and 175cm length, making it one of the larger women’s skis available. It is described as a big-mountain pow ski with a women’s specific flex.

It’s day 7 in Niseko, and it has probably stopped snowing for a total of five hours since we have arrived.

Not only is the quantity of snow impressive, it is also incredibly light. My first day I took out a ski slightly narrower than the Element, and while it performed well, I was excited to ski the Element and have a little extra width underfoot. Fortunately, it kept dumping, and our second day was even deeper than the first.

Black Diamond Element, deep snow in Niseko, Japan.

Julia Van Raalte, Center 4 area, Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Before I delve into explaining the Element’s performance, I’ll put in a quick word on the ski’s design and construction. Lots of ski companies put out a ski that is the “women’s version” of one of their men’s skis, and they considerably slim down the ski’s dimensions and flex. Black Diamond, however, maintains the exact dimensions of the 175cm AMPerage for the Element.

The Element’s flex is softer than the AMPerage, making the ski more suitable for a wide range of women. But don’t worry; the Element is still no noodle. And as I noted above, Black Diamond offers a 175cm length for those hard-charging women looking for a longer ski.

The Element is a twin tip with tip and tail rocker, and camber underfoot. It has a significant amount of sidecut, as well as a pretty wide shovel that enhances floatation.

The Element has a poplar and birch core and a fiberglass-wrapped torsion box cap for increased torsional rigidity.

Given that the Element is marketed primarily as a powder ski, I was excited to ski them on our second day in Niseko. The snow was deep. We got up early to take a short, avalanche safety course that is a prerequisite for access into the “Avalanche Control Area” of Mizuno no Sawa, in the Niseko Village ski area.

Julia Van Raalte on the Black Diamond Element, Mizuno no Sawa area, Niseko.

Julia Van Raalte, Mizuno no Sawa, Niseko Village.

As I weaved my way through the untracked snow among the patches of snow-covered birches, the Element seemed to glide along the surface. The snow was incredibly light and deep, and though I’m sure I would have still had fun on any pair of skis, the Element had impressive float, contributing to a really fun and fast ride.

In the untracked snow, the Element had enough stability that I felt comfortable heading straight down the fall line at pretty high speeds. It was important that I stayed forward the faster I skied; however, I also had fun sitting back and making bigger turns surfing the snow. The skis are light enough that you can control them from the backseat, which was great on this type of snow (though not always an ideal position to ski in). In general, I found the Element to be pretty forgiving.

As we moved over to the trees off the Center 4 Chair at Hirafu, the patches of birch became thicker. Even though the Element is a wider women’s ski, their light weight and shape made them feel extremely playful and maneuverable, and I could maintain faster speeds even through the tightest trees.

2 Comments

  1. Janie January 11, 2015 Reply

    How tall are you? I’m 5ft 4in 115lbs. Ski very aggressively. Mounted 165s 1cm fwd of factory and they feel super short… Did I make a mistake?

    Thanks!!

    J

    • Julia January 12, 2015 Reply

      Hi Janie,

      Thanks for reading! I’m 5’6″, 125lbs, and from my experience with the 175s, I definitely felt like they skied much better +1.5 forward. They didn’t feel too short for me, so it’s possible the skis might be too short (especially if we’re so close in height and you ski aggressively)? I don’t believe that mounting them on the recommended line would have made them feel that much longer, and I think they will ski better for you forward. Hope this helps!

      Julia

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