Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Sheeva, 172cm
Available Lengths: 158, 165, 172, 179 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 169cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 134-104-124
Stated Weight (g): 1,880 at 172cm
Stated Sidecut Radius (m): 17 at 172cm
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech + Fiberglass & Carbon Fiber Laminate
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots/Bindings: Black Diamond Shiva Mx and Lange RS 120 S.C. / Marker Jester (DIN at 8)
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area; Summit County & Crested Butte, Colorado
Days Skied: 12
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Sheeva, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]
For the 2014-2015 season, Blizzard is replacing the Dakota with the Sheeva as their widest women’s ski.
The Sheeva is the women’s version of the Blizzard Peacemaker—the skis are exactly the same with respect to their dimensions and they share the same rocker/camber profile (tip and tail rocker with camber underfoot). The only difference is that the Sheeva has a slightly different core construction than the Peacemaker (bamboo and paulownia instead of bamboo and poplar) which makes it a bit lighter and flex a little softer.
In his review of the Peacemaker, Blister reviewer Jason Hutchins spoke highly of the ski and described it as “an aggressive, freestyle-minded, all-mountain skier’s dream.” I am a little less “freestyle-minded” than Jason, but I still enjoyed getting to know the Sheeva as a more playful, yet still powerful addition to the popular 100-110mm underfoot all-mountain category.
Some ladies will be sad to see the burly, hard-charging Dakota go, but a lot of people are likely to enjoy the Sheeva, and I think it will be more accessible to a wider range of skiers.
Fresh, Blower Powder
My first run on the Sheeva was in near perfect conditions at Alta: a foot of light, untracked powder on Gunsight. With its 104mm waist, tip and tail rocker, and relatively traditional sidecut shape, I figured the Sheeva would do well here, and it certainly did.
As I made quicker, medium sized turns down Gunsight before opening things up into Greeley Bowl, the ski provided plenty of float, and the rockered tails smeared out and released easily through each turn.
Even though the Sheeva has a much more playful design than the 2012-2013 Dakota or the Samba, the ski still has a distinctive strong, stable, and predictable feel that is pretty characteristic of Blizzard’s Free Mountain line. Jason described the typical feel of Blizzard skis as: “smooth flex, torsionally stiff, lack of sidecut in the tip, predictable in variable, above avg. swing weight for the size.” So, while the Sheeva is the most fun, playful Blizzard I have ridden in these conditions, it doesn’t feel quite as loose and surfy as a lighter, more dedicated soft snow/powder ski like the Rossignol Savory 7 or the Volkl Shiro.
(I should say that I’ve only skied the 2012-2013 version of the Dakota, which had two sheets of metal in its construction and yielded a heavy swing weight and a stiff flex that could feel very demanding at times. The 2013-2014 model of the ski was made without the metal laminate, though I have not skied it.)
On the deepest days, I would most likely opt for a wider, more powder-specific ski than the Sheeva. While skiing anywhere from a few inches up to a foot of new snow, the Sheeva will still allow you to have plenty of fun, but it is going to feel a bit more demanding than a ski like the Savory 7.
Inevitably, the untracked snow on Gunsight and Eagle’s Nest turned to deep, soft chop after a few hours.
One of the greatest strengths of the Dakota and the Samba is their ability to power through chopped-up snow. And I found the Sheeva to also do very well in these conditions. The Sheeva is quite a bit more forgiving than the Dakota, but the ski still felt powerful when driven aggressively through these chopped conditions.
The Sheeva’s tips have a relatively stiff flex that allowed me to push the ski quite a bit harder than other softer, playful skis in its class like the Savory 7 or the Line Pandora. The Sheeva was happy to work through or over troughs and bumps, and could also nimbly float across the surface of the chop. But despite their stiffness, the tips never made the ski feel too jarring. I had no issues with tip deflection, and I was able to ski fast through bumpy runouts with confidence, while also maintaining the ability to shut down my speed quickly.
Once this soft chop consolidated into larger, firmer piles, or when underlying hard moguls were exposed, the Sheeva was slightly more challenging to manage. I still felt like I could ski the Sheeva more aggressively than the softer, lighter Savory 7 in these conditions, but it didn’t provide the same level of stability and as high of a speed limit as a more directional, big mountain ski like the Dakota.
At a certain speed, the Sheeva’s shorter effective edge caused it to become fairly unpredictable, so it was up to me to slow down a little and be a more precise with my turns in order to work the ski smoothly through the bigger, heavy chop.
Bumped-up, Frozen Hardpack
I spent one morning on the Sheeva in frozen crud that had not softened at all. Although these conditions would be challenging on any ski, the Sheeva wouldn’t be my first choice, and the lighter, softer Savory 7 definitely wouldn’t be. As Jason also noted in his review of the Peacemaker, in really firm, bumpy snow that requires more skidded slarve turns, the decreased effective edge of the ski can make it feel fairly unstable. Here I would have preferred a more directional ski like the Samba, which has less tail rocker (more effective edge).
For a playful, all-mountain ski, I was extremely impressed by how well the Sheeva carved on groomers. As I mentioned before, the ski possesses that characteristic Blizzard feel that makes for an incredibly smooth, stable ride when ripping fast groomer laps, even though the ski has tip and tail rocker.