The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2012-2013 Black Diamond Gigawatt

Ski: 2012-2013 Black Diamond Gigawatt, 185cm Black Diamond Gigawatt

Dimensions (mm): 163-135-141

(Megawatt: 151-125-131mm)

Turn Radius: 28 meters

Weight Per Ski: 2610 grams / 5.75 lbs.

Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Marker Griffon (DIN) 10

Mount Location: Factory Recommended

Test Location: Niseko, Japan.

Days Skied: 3

There were two primary reasons for taking the Gigawatt with us to Hokkaido, Japan:

(1) There is tons of snow here. And if you haven’t figured out that the Gigawatt was built for tons of snow, well, then I hope for your sake that you are at least really good looking.

(2) This past summer in Las Leñas, Argentina, I fell in love with the Black Diamond Megawatt, and it became one of my all-time favorite skis. The Megawatt is so good, I was incredibly curious to see what BD would do—could do—with an even fatter iteration.

But this puts the Gigawatt in sort of a tough spot. Since I think the Megawatt is pretty much perfect, how could the Gigawatt be anything other than a disappointment?

To Black Diamond’s credit, they haven’t simply pushed out the dimensions of the Megawatt and given it a new name. The Gigawatt is a fully rockered ski (well, our pair looks like it has about a 7cm flat section underfoot), and there is a serious amount of tip and tail splay.

The Megawatt has a big shovel. The Gigawatt’s is…Gigantic.

The good news is that, in deep snow, the Gigawatt retains many of the performance characteristics of the Megawatt—a really surprising amount, actually, given that the rocker profiles of the Megawatt and Gigawatt are very, very different. (The Megawatt has traditional camber underfoot, lots of tip rocker, and a modest amount of tail rocker.)

I can’t help but think of the Gigawatt in terms of the Megawatt. But while I believe that is a useful comparison, the Gigawatt deserves to be evaluated first on its own terms. So before I go down that road of the Gigawatt / Megawatt comparison, let’s look at Black Diamond’s own description of the Gigawatt:

At a massive 135 mm underfoot, the Black Diamond Gigawatt is the biggest, baddest ski that Black Diamond makes. By combining an extended running length with a tip-to-tail, fully rockered profile, the Gigawatt achieves longboard-style, powder skiing bliss with enough edge underfoot for confidence on groomers and hard snow. That profile, combined with the weight-saving ribs and channels of our iconic Formula One Technology, allows this supertanker to still be responsive and quick edge-to-edge-critical for a ski this size.

So, does the Gigawatt live up to BD’s marketing material?

Mostly, Yes. And mostly, with a resounding Yes.

11 Comments

  1. Jakob February 27, 2012 Reply

    thanks for the report…I was thinking about the gigawatt this year as I was offered a killer deal. But after reading your report I think it was right to not buy it (it was past the great powder days in the alps anyway).
    I will definitely get something fatter (I’m skiing the blue 192er Zealot and absolutely love it in everything other than super tight trees and bottomless) for next season. Right now I got my eyes on the new Carbon Megawatt as the weight sounds just too good to be true (I would mount it with a Marker Tour)12. Do you by any chance plan on reviewing that one soon as well? I would very much like to hear about it in comparison to the normal megawatt. I would use it in about 70% of the days with lift access plus some/little hiking. I would like to know if there are any major disadvantages due to the lower weight. From what I hear the carbon MW got the old shape so might be slightly worse on hard snow and a touch better in the soft (which would suit my needs)
    anyway always fun to read your reviews!
    cheers Jakob

  2. Sydney March 21, 2012 Reply

    I love your reviews, they are so in depth and give one a good idea of the feel of the ski. I wish you had the time to review every ski.
    Which ski, gigawatt or megawatt, is best for skiing trees? The obvious choice would be the megawatt because it is smaller, but the gigawatt’s full rocker profile might allow it to pivot better. And, which ski is better for steep back/side county? I think that having more tail would be a great boon in the steeps, but would love your expert opinion.
    Thanks.

    • Author

      Hi, Sydney – glad to hear that the reviews have been helpful. I think your hunches about the Megawatt and Gigawatt are exactly right. But tell you what: I’ll take the Megawatts out tomorrow morning at Alta, ski some trees, and tell you what I think. I haven’t been on the Megawatts since I skied the Gigawatt in Japan, so I’m overdue, and I haven’t really had the Megawatts in tighter trees, where the Gigawatts certainly do pivot easily. (And thanks for giving me a good excuse to get back on a ski I really like.)

      • Author

        Sydney – just an update. I spent more time on the Megawatt, and in trees, especially tight trees that are NOT bumped up, I would likely go with the Gigawatt because it is easier to pivot. I was skiing pretty steep, bumped up trees at Alta, and the Megawatts (unsurprisingly) didn’t feel terrible quick there. But if those trees are bumped up, you may not love having to negotiate the even bigger shovels of the Gigawatts through mandatory turns in huge moguls….

        As for open steeps, yes, that’s where I would prefer to have the tail of the Megawatt, especially if you’re going to encounter wind scoured sections or aspects.

  3. Sydney March 27, 2012 Reply

    Thanks so much. I greatly appreciate your time and efforts.

  4. Zurab December 2, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for your report… Now I just can’t choose Megawatt carbon or Rossi Squad 7

  5. Scotty February 27, 2014 Reply

    I don’t like you. I live in my happy little s7 world thinking all is well until I found your website. I have a love/hate relationship with the materialistic aspect of skiing. I like cool stuff but I hate submitting to the man and buying new skis. But now, all I do is look at your reviews and try to find good deals! I could actually be skiing instead of researching skiing. Enough with the frustration, I am submitting to materialism.
    i found a sub $300 deal on new gigawatts. I ski Mt Bachelor. Flat, good amount of pnw snow, occasional tight trees, some cut up, wind blown, whiteouts. I was thinking I needed the Opus, but this is such a good deal maybe it might be worth it for the 10-20 days a year I could use the gigs. You said four ski quiver. How about a two ski quiver, maybe paired with an SFB, megawatt, or Cochise for trips to Jackson and for spring mank and corn on mt. B.? I love ski trips and kind of use mt. B to just stay in shape for trips.
    I know there haven’t been any comments on these skis lately. I hesitate to even comment because all of the info is really already there to glean, but should I pull the trigger on the Gigs? I am 5’11” 160, thinking about the 185s.
    Thanks a bunch!
    Scotty

    • Author

      Ha. Well, Scotty, I like you – but only since you’ve finally come to see the error of your ways w/r/t the S7….

      And I would argue that, more than any other review publication in existence, we do the most to push back against the stupid “you MUST always have the latest, greatest”-trend in the stupid review world. If we think a new product represents an improvement, we will say so. If we don’t feel that way … we will say so.

      As for the Gigawatt and the 2 ski quiver … I personally would pair it with the Cochise. But honestly, I’d probably still rather pair a Cochise with a Megawatt. I would NOT want to own a 2-ski quiver of the Megawatt and Gigawatt. Maybe the Opus and the Gigawatt if you don’t care about having a ski that will ski well in difficult conditions (the Cochise) and you want a jib ski (Opus) to pair with a directional deep-powder specialist (Gigawatt). But those aren’t questions I can answer for you. All I really can tell you is that I’m glad you’ve come to realize that the S7 sucks. :)

  6. Nooner November 27, 2014 Reply

    I ski the Megawatt as almost a daily driver in western Canada and am sort of contemplating a Giga as they are getting blown out places for pretty cheap right now. Am I drunk to have both these ski’s in the quiver? Is this way too much overlap for a similar purpose? Thought process is the full rockered 185 could be a fun deep snow ski and a little surfier in the trees and tight. Kind of tempted as the full range of the Zealot, MW, and GW could cover a lot of fun big mountain bases.

    • Author

      I don’t know whether you’re drunk, Nooner, but if you are, you are a very good speller when hammered.

      And since you say you are using (and seemingly enjoying) the Megawatt as a daily driver, I could absolutely see pairing it with a Gigawatt. These skis are different, and you’ve pinpointed exactly what the Gigawatt would bring to the table. So yeah, you’ll have 2 skis of fairly similar widths, but you aren’t complaining about the performance of the Megawatts, and the Gigawatt is a different, surfier ski. I’d say pull the trigger and pour yourself another drink.

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