Ski: 2016-2017 Blizzard Zero G 95, 185 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 164, 171, 178, 185
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.2 cm
Stated Dimensions (185 cm): 128-95-111.5 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 127.5-93.5-111
Stated Weight per Ski (185 cm): 1350 grams (+/-50 grams)
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1353 & 1376 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (185 cm): 22 meters
Core Construction: Paulownia + Carbon Fiber Sheet + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 51 mm / 11 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4-5 mm
Recommended Line: -10.6 cm from center; 81.0 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Salomon MTN Explore / Marker Kingpin 13
Test Location: Mt Hood, Oregon
Days Skied: 2
The Blizzard Zero G 95 comes in at a very impressive sub-1400 grams per ski in a 185 cm length. We posted our Flash Review of the Zero G 95 with our initial impressions a few weeks ago, and it’s time now to round out those impressions.
The ski is pretty stout. It’s a directional, lightweight ski with a backbone. I’d sum up it’s flex pattern like this:
Tips: 7 out of 10
Tails: 8 or 9
And given it’s set back mount point, it’s fair to call this ski pretty traditional — except for that whole part about coming in at 1350 grams in a 185 cm length.
Also, the construction of this ski looks and feels impressive. We’ve skied far heavier skis (i.e., 600+ grams heavier) that don’t feel this well put together.
So, so far so good.
On the Snow
Unsurprisingly, these go uphill nicely. At ~1350 grams per ski, I found it less about how noticeably light the ski feels feels compared to the other touring skis I’m often on (Volkl BMT 109, Line Sick Day Tourist 102, G3 FINDr 102), it’s probably just that I feel a bit fresher, longer.
So think of it as far more of a cumulative thing than an “every step” kind of thing.
(Having said that … those of you walking uphill on a 2000+ gram ski and a frame-style binding will almost certainly notice an ‘every step’ kind of difference.)
— Day 1 —
We dropped in pretty late in the day, and the snow was extremely slushy. This was the very definition of “isothermal snow,” – i.e., bottomless slush, and it feels a bit like skiing in sand. When the snow gets like this, width and minimal traditional camber underfoot and maximal tip rocker and tail rocker typically make a ski easier to release, and the Zero G 95 isn’t really any of those things. And the Zero G 95 didn’t kill it in this stuff.
But some important context: reviewer Cy Whitling was with me, and he was skiing on the Kitten Factory All Mountain (~2000 g per ski) + G3 ION 12 + Fischer Trans Alp boot … and even though the All-Mountain is a 105mm-wide ski with more tail rocker, he wasn’t having a much easier time than me. This snow was tricky, and in such conditions, I would have preferred to be skiing the Zero G 95 on firm / variable conditions. I think I would have had an easier time.
Then again, I doubt that many of you will regularly be skiing in snow that is that grabby and unsupportive.
And then … we got back down to Hood’s groomers, and that was equally interesting.
These were 4pm groomers, and Timberline was already closed. So the slopes were empty, and the snow had been pushed around all day long. But there was a much more supportive & firm base under that layer of slush. And I was very impressed by how solid the Zero G 95 felt on edge. I was able to lay these skis over, and they felt very laterally stiff and solid. I was nuking down the groomers, and began to scare myself a bit by the speed – not because the ski was falling apart, but because I hadn’t skied here before and I wasn’t sure if I was about to go carving hard through some massive ice chunks or what have you.
— Day 2 —
I was bonking pretty hard on the skin up Mt. Hood. Two pretty bad blisters had formed & opened up while climbing Hood the day before, and that wasn’t helping anything. Also, the snow hadn’t solidified the night before, so we were still skinning up isothermal snow (again, think deep sand that gives way as you try to skate up it.)
But mostly, this just felt like one of those days where you don’t have it, so I’m certainly glad that I wasn’t dragging a heavier setup uphill.
We’d hoped to summit Hood today, but by the time we got to Crater Rock, everything above it had socked in hard. So we hung out for a bit, took in the great views down below, and headed down.
With a ski this light, it’s a good thing when the snow provides the suspension, and this snow did. I was able to rip medium to large turn shapes easily, and the Zero G 95 felt very composed.
Granted, this is soft snow and easy-going terrain. But if these are the sort of conditions and terrain you tend to ski in — and if you tend to have relatively long approaches — well, I can at least say that I would very happily be reaching for this Zero G 95 + Kingpin combo.
As we got closer to the top of the Palmer Chair , the snow turned into the dreaded spring glue, that very sticky, grabby stuff where a heavy, wide ski with a lot of tip and tail rocker tends to work best (at least, in my experience).
So again, nothing about the design of the Zero G 95 sets it up to excel in such conditions, but let’s recap what we’ve found so far:
This 185 cm ski comes in at ~1350 grams.
(1) In decent — not perfect, but in even “decent” softer snow — this ski performed very well.
(2) In spring slush with a fairly firm layer below it (the previous day’s groomer), I could arc and carve this ski with a lot of speed and power.
(3) In grabby, hot, spring snow, this ski didn’t feel any better than any other lighter touring ski I’ve been on.
NEXT: Three Questions