Black Diamond broke into the ski market two years ago with a collection of telemark, mountaineering and alpine skis that all shared the same fundamental trait: they were incredibly light. With limited distribution (look for these skis in mountaineering stores rather than traditional ski shops) and mediocre graphics, they’re not for everyone. But if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry, you’ll love how light these skis are.
Length: 170, 180, 190
Dimensions: 134-102-120 @ 180
MSRP: $600 Stoke: 7
The wood-core Verdict earned the same score for 2008 as in 2007, and got our testers excited in exactly the same way: “Great in the pow” and “very predictable, carves up the groomers and is easy and fun to ski” were two comments that reflect just how fun the Verdict is. And, of course, there’s that wonderful, light feeling that these skis have on your feet. Mount them with some alpine touring bindings and seek out the fresh stuff.
Length: 182, 192
Dimensions: 136-110-126 @ 182
MSRP: $640 Stoke: 7
Testers found the Zealot to be a beefier offering than other skis we’ve seen from Black Diamond. “Stiff,” said one. “Awesome if you are in a huge open bowl of fresh,” added another. The Zealot is another very solid offering from Black Diamond and combines two elements — light weight and beefy feel — that are tough to find in one ski. It skis like a monster, making it an ideal big-mountain choice for experts who like to ski outside the ropes.
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