Blizzard Zero G 85 Ski — Skinny Arrow for the Quiver

Post by blogger | May 2, 2016      

Get skinny. Isn’t that what everyone wants? Perhaps not always, but try dropping a kilo or two sometime. You might like it. Case in point. We pulled in a pair of Blizzard Zero G skis at 85 mm waist 164 length. Not a Hokkaido powder slayer, but what a fun ski for spring dense-snow tours and resort uphilling. Literally a “one kilo” plank at 1063 grams each, in the top 12 on our weight/surface chart. These trim little guys asked for lightweight bindings so we mounted a pair of Dynafit Speed Radical and went after it (an even lighter binding would do the Zero G even better, in my opinion, depending on end use).

Blizzard Zero G 85, in the top dozen of our lightest tested skis.

Blizzard Zero G 85, in the top dozen of our lightest tested skis.

Zero 85 is definitely what I’d call a rockered ski, what with about 260 mm measured from the tip and 160 from the tail (measured with one ski on flat surface). Yet that’s not excessive and is combined with a truly cambered midsection; shaping that Blizzard calls “rocker camber rocker.” On hardpack, we found the rocker to be hardly noticeable, in a good way, as the ski was easy to initiate but without the “washy” feeling of a heavily rockered plank when using somewhat lazy edge sets. In soft snow the 85 felt as expected: not the joy of a wider underfoot platform, but enough width to have fun unless conditions got really challenging. In that case, a more rockered and wider ski was clearly superior.

I was amused by the info Blizzard prints on the Zero G topskin: 0.69 g /cm2. That’s weight per square centimeter, and exactly matches our own “weight score” of 69 derived by our spreadsheet and published here. That’s pretty good, about the 14th lightest ski on the chart as weight/surface. I would have like to see it a few steps lighter. On the other hand it skis well and is clearly durable (mounting screws went in solid, wood core carbon construction inspires confidence, edge steel wraps tip and extends to tail protector).

As for recommended lengths, if you’re after a resort uphilling or pure ski mountaineering ski, you might be able to go short on these. At my height of 178 cm and weight of 72 k, I was happy with single runs on hardpack after uphilling on our 164s, but the ski did feel short (as it probably should have). Lisa found them to be perfect as she is the right height and weight for 164 cm as a bit short, but not too short. Next length up is apparently a 171 cm version, which is what I’d probably use if I wanted to stay on the compact side but be a bit more comfortable.

From Lisa: Often with super lightweight skis, performance is somewhat compromised. Not so much with the Blizzard Zero G 85. I love these skis because they feel like feathers on the climb and wings on the down.

During long backcountry tours I didn’t get distracted by what I was hauling on my feel; instead the weightless Zero G’s let me revel in the beauty of the wilderness around me. And while skiing, they performed well enough to give me confidence to cruise thru spring corn and dense powder. Albeit, something wider is sometimes nicer, but the mid-80 width in a touring ski has been proven all over the world. Works for me.

Certainly, Zero G 85 is a fine choice for a fitness uphilling ski. Light enough to save our body from repetitive motion abuse, yet robust enough to keep downhills fun instead of terrifying. Along those lines, would it be good for “citizen” skimo racing? Perhaps, though something more specialized could be more fun for competition.

In summary, we’d call this one of the best “80 mm” touring skis out there. If you like that kind of width, definitely consider.

Shop for Zero G 85

Size tested: 164 cm
Weight: 1063 grams per ski.
Dimensions (measured): 115/84/99, sidecut 31 mm, 19 meter radius
Binding offset for our 164 cm testers: 210 mm


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13 Responses to “Blizzard Zero G 85 Ski — Skinny Arrow for the Quiver”

  1. George May 2nd, 2016 11:29 am

    Nice compliment and validation for ski companies to copy your “weight scores”.

  2. Niko May 2nd, 2016 11:53 am

    Just rode these for the first time this weekend mounted for tele. They performed amazingly well considering the conditions, with 8-10 inches of powder on top, they were still confidence inspiring and an absolute blast!

  3. Lou Dawson 2 May 2nd, 2016 1:32 pm

    George, indeed, there was an amusing amount of stuff in the background going on after we published that chart. We were not the first to do it, been done over the years, but as far as I know we were the first to publish “modern” specific to backcountry, as comprehensive as we did and are doing… I think it’s had an overall positive effect both on honesty in marketing (remember the Soul 7 being advertised as “light”?) as well as evolving ski design, but sometimes I think they’ve made some skis that lacked durability just so they could sell them based on their amazing lack of weight. Lou

  4. Jeremy May 2nd, 2016 1:55 pm

    Any thoughts on this compared to the Fischer Transalp 80 or 88? Seem like pretty similar skis.

  5. Lisa Dawson May 2nd, 2016 5:52 pm

    Jeremy, we tested a pair of Fischer Transalp 88 in 163cm last month (a full review is coming). The Transalp 88 has similar construction with rockered tip and Paulownia core with carbon inserts.

    The Transalp 88 is dynamic and fun to ski. It’s a bit heavier than the Blizzard Zero G 85.
    Weight: 1198g per ski (length 163cm)
    Dimensions: 121-88-109
    Radius: 18

  6. Lou Dawson 2 May 2nd, 2016 6:59 pm

    I’d add that the Fischer has a bit more rocker, or at least so I recall. Pretty similar construction, really, except the Fischer has that side tapered core that leads to that super thin sidewall. I’m not sure that makes much difference over the vertical sidewalls of the Blizzard, but something to be noted as a difference. Lou

  7. Ben W May 3rd, 2016 12:39 pm

    I’ve skied the Hannibal 94 and the Zero G 95. The Blizzards are a bit damper (this may have been influenced by bindings: Plum Guides on the Fischers and Kingpins on the Zero G’s) and stiffer. But both are remarkably stable for the weight. The Hannibals are a bit more vague in the tip, but the tail locks into a carve nicely as you’d expect of a Fischer product.

    . Both are great products- predictable and capable in a way that ultra light skis most definitely were not a few years ago. Compared to similar skis from a few years back such as the original Manaslu or Trab Stelvio Lights, these skis are considerably better in every conceivable way. For those of you who still believe ultra light skis suck all the fun out of the descent, things have changed.

  8. Nathan May 3rd, 2016 7:51 pm

    How would you compare this ski to the Voile Objective that you reviewed recently?

  9. Rob May 4th, 2016 1:14 am

    Is this a new 2017 top sheet design or a North America specific one?

    How would you compare this to Salomon MTN Explore 88 if you had a chance to test that one?

  10. Lou Dawson 2 May 4th, 2016 4:22 pm

    Rob, I’m pretty sure it’s a new look for next winter, and the ski might have a few small tweaks as well. We’ve had some folks out on Salomon but not much of a take other than to say they liked the skis. Lou

  11. john morrone May 5th, 2016 9:43 pm

    lou, I’ve been skiing dynastar cham 87s for the last few springs, really like the solid mid and tail flex, it really rails on groomer and firm corn, and the bit tip floats nice in pow- just skiied them in shin deep at grands montets and highlands bowl recently, but the big tip also gets pretty twichy in funky conditions- how do these new light blizzards ski?

  12. Wookie May 13th, 2016 7:01 am

    Blizzard has made a huge comeback in the last years – specially in Austria, where they used to be a household name. Bad management killed the brand but some new guy bought the name and appears to be making great skis again. The ski club kids over here are all on them….the colorways are so very very Euro (neon combined with…uh….non-neon)

    Anyway – I’m curious to hear about their long term durability. Its not really fair to compare them to the old blizzards – I suppose, but I had so many delams I wanna know these aren’t gonna do that….please keep skiing these!

  13. Kevin S May 13th, 2016 9:44 am

    Wookie- Blizzard is owned by the Zanatta family that also owns Nordica, Tecnica and the Lowa boot company. So they have strong manufacturing (behind the brand and yes cool neon for racers, my kids included. Also, they recruited a number of Volkl engineers over to design skis so there is significant depth in their R&D to pull from as the ski world brings more development to the AT segment.

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