Consider the love interest who demands just a little more. Maybe not the easiest partner you’ll have in life, but in the end the effort is probably worth it. Ask for a little more, receive a little more…Blizzard’s Zero G skis do just that. These are not beginner, nor even intermediate, skis. The 85mm and 95mm-waisted ZeroGs require attention at times, especially outside their comfort zones. But as a result, they deliver.
(Naming convention note: It appears Blizzard spells it “Zero G” with a space. We mix in the contraction ZeroG here for convenience and reading flow.)
I’d heard so much good about Blizzard’s superlight boards, giving them a try was mandatory. The claimed weights (1176g/ski in the 85-waisted version in the 178cm length; 1247g for the 95mm 178cm) put them toe-to-toe with other brand’s lightweight offerings, but word on the street said they often charged better.
My question really became, which one? The 85 or the 95? I agonized over the two and in the end arrived a workable compromise. I’d own and ski both. (That might not exactly tie in with my “love interest” metaphor above…but I digress.)
Now I could ride both sets of skis and get a thorough understanding of each model’s strengths. Blizzard also makes a 108mm ski (1644g claimed weight in a 178cm), but my experience has been that skis of that width are entirely different tools, while the 85 and 95 skis are much more similar in function and application. When it comes to the ZeroGs, I have a hunch I’m correct in this, but I didn’t ride the 108s, so I’ll have to wait until next season for a take on those. Meanwhile.
I managed to get both Blizzards mounted with Dynafit Speed Radicals — one pair of the newest version (with the plastic tab that prevents rotation of the heel) and one with the last-gen (no internal pin, but ridges on the plastic mounting plate to prevent rotation). The skilled hands at Neptune Mountaineering, in Boulder, Colorado mounted all dead-center. The ZeroGs offer what they call a “rocker-camber-rocker” profile, which you can visually confirm in the shop as a small amount of early rise in the tip and tail, but nothing like the “surfy” shape touted with many other skis these days. The Blizzards ski their true length; you’re not losing anything to a dramatic early rise tip, nor a rockered tail. Put them base-to-base in the shop and you’ll see: if somebody didn’t tell me differently, I’d almost call these traditionally cambered over the length of the ski.
Blizzard touts its “Carbon Drive” guts as the foundation of the skis’ performance. The carbon component of the ski is a sheet across the ski’s width, with tiny sidewalls that drop to the edge. It resembles a cap, though the ski sports a traditional sidewall for much of its length. Think of the Carbon Drive as a “cage” surrounding a paulownia core. No metal to be found, save for the edges.
Carbon…the final frontier. Sure, but only if the engineers nail it. Carbon is infinitely “tune-able,” meaning its fibers offer strength in a single direction only, so depending upon the pattern and layup, the carbon can be progressive and smooth, torsionally rigid, impossibly stiff, chattery and harsh, or some devilish combination of the above. Getting it right isn’t easy.
Blizzard marries the carbon and paulownia, building their “Flip Core” technology — a system by which core of the ski isn’t flexed and manipulated into its camber/profile as much as it’s built and coaxed into that shape. The resulting core flexes more evenly, according to the Austrians. I’m willing to entertain the notion, as Blizzard’s ultra-successful freeride skis like the Cochise, Gunsmoke, and Scout have all relied on FlipCore for the past several years — to great acclaim. Indeed, the ZeroGs basically deliver that FlipCore and rocker-camber-rocker from the rest of the Blizzard line, albeit in tremendously leaned-out versions. Blizzard explains FlipCore and more on their website.
I got both pair of Zero G into my rotation at the end of the hateful, endless, high-pressure dry spell of our Colorado mid-winter. It was just as the climate guys predicted at the avalanche workshop in October: bountiful fall and early winter, followed by that persistent blocking high off the coast, and then a generous spring. Both models were wrung out on just about everything except resort groomers. I rushed to get this review written, but I regret not skiing these on some corduroy because I bet both ZeroGs would be delightful for resort fun. (Note, other WildSnow bloggers have indeed tested the ZeroGs on groom and verified that they do hook up fine.)
That said, the ZeroGs certainly weren’t crafted for corduroy, so I threw everything else at them. Let’s begin with the 95 (21.0m radius, 128mm and 111.5mm tip and tail, by the way). Mounted with the Speed Radical, they weighed 1659g/ski, home verified. I skied a monster, four-foot storm; guided a long day on them, including a 30-minute spell shoveling a skintrack for a nervous guest; scratched down a scoured, shady north face one afternoon; arc’d some GS turns in boot-top hotpow; and naturally tested their turnability with some wiggling in cold snow beneath towering Douglas firs.
As Blizzard promises, the ZeroGs deliver tenacious edge-grip. I’ll credit the torsional stability from the carbon cage, as well as the sidewall construction. The 95 (as well as the 85) feels like a traditional, European-made sidewall ski. Stable, firm, and I found the edge-hold trustworthy. I found the ski reliable, predictable, and without the penalty a rockered ski gives in terms of running length. Lay the 95 over on firm snow and you feel the tip-to-tail edge — good! (As with any torsionally rigid somewhat traditionally cambered ski, how you de-tune the tips and tails of ZeroG is critical. If they feel “hookey” at either tip or tail, time to bring out the stone.)
Early April brought a powerful closed-low through the Four Corners, dumping a good dose of snow throughout the mountains and with a happy wrap-around blast of upslope to the Colorado Front Range to cap it off. Though I’d probably opt for the 108 Blizzard in that situation, I took the 95 out, intentionally pushing it out of its comfort zone. We had 120cm of medium-density snow on the ground. The 95s were going to have to do.
A “surfier” tip would certainly have been a more relaxing ride, but the Zero G 95s were capable. Were they perfect? No, but I could link round, energetic turns on them by staying centered and not driving the tips too hard. Without 20-or-more centimeters of early rise, I couldn’t gun the 95s into wanna-be Seth turns, but if I stayed centered, focused on unweighting and initiating the next turn, they made it happen.
Now, all this requires a willing partner. I can’t say I’d suggest the Zero G 95 to a less experienced skier. I think they’d have trouble keeping them from diving in deeper snow and the lack of significant rocker makes them less forgiving in chop. The carbon-paulownia core, too, requires some attention not to get bucked. There it is. The ZeroGs are not beginner skis.
That said, if I had to own a single pair of skis right now, this might be it. Almost no compromise in a couloir, light enough to go huge in Canada for a week, handles just about every Colorado storm I’ll encounter, maybe a little demanding, but hey…they deliver.
The ZeroG 85
My last couloir ski was Chinese made, skied shorter than its 176cm length (I’m 5’10”, 165 lbs.), I warrantied it twice … so you get it, not a match made in heaven. I used my Cho Oyus a bit on the steeps, but man, as I said, no confidence when overloaded. I was psyched to get on a less-rockered ski with more umphf, traditional sidewalls, and see what all the hype was about.
I tried to outsmart the 85s, too, by riding them in deeper snow (19.0m radius, 116mm and 99.5mm tip and tail). Nothing extreme, but shin-deep untracked on a supportable crust. Just as I’d have probably skied the 108s on my four-foot day, I should’ve taken the 95s out that particular day (on South Hayden, above Ashcroft), but the 85s were a gas. Light snow and a supportable crust made bigger hero turns as possibility and I was smiling at the unexpected willingness of the 85 to ski fast and in soft snow. Total hoot.
Now, in their element, I’m not sure I’ve skied a better mountaineering, couloir, traverse ski. The 85 is light, as in double-take light. Your first day on the up and you’ll be shocked if you haven’t skied one of the truly superlight skis out there. Schlepping the skis on your back, too, is a joy. I typically prefer to A-frame, just to keep the weight closer to my body, but step out of the 85s and mount them on your pack and none of the tiring, annoying swing weight of having heavy boards far from your center of gravity.
The light weight, though, would be for naught if they underperformed on the down. The 85s are balanced, stable, and predictable on hammered boilerplate, so imagine what they do with a few millimeters of edge-penetration. Corn? Forget the 19m turn radius, open them up! The non-existent swing weight means they maneuver capably in tight quarters. They’re simply an awesome couloir-steeps ski.
The other place I think the light weight matters is in breakable crust and grabby conditions. Why? The key, for me at least, in skiing unforgiving conditions like these is redistributing one’s weight more evenly—let’s say 65/35, rather than a more traditional 90/10 downhill/uphill distribution. By skiing both skis more evenly, if one dives or hangs up, you can recover momentarily on the other (usually uphill) ski. You’re less likely to irretrievably submarine your downhill ski, too, if you can quickly unweight it, reset, and keep skiing. A superlight ski helps do this.
Good question. Having logged several days on each and in varying conditions, if I had to own one, I’d go with the 95 Zero G. Quit laughing yet? Yeah, of course, who owns one ski? If I could own two, I’d probably get the 85 and the 108 — provided the 108 is as worthy a ride as the other two. Why? The 85 does what it does exceptionally well, performing on firm snow, steeps, and even variable conditions, as well as dropping a ton of weight. I’d rather harness all that performance and enjoy soft snow on the 108, “lugging” a couple hundred extra grams in place of the 95.
This is 2016, though, and I love skiing. Let us not kid ourselves, by next January I’ll have a set of 108s, too.
Keep in Mind
If there is a down side to the ZeroGs, it has to be forgiveness. I wouldn’t call either ski stiff in a global sense, but compared to a lot of the more forgiving lightweight touring skis out there, the 85 and 95 ZeroGs trend towards stiffer. Couple that with the much more traditional camber and they’re more demanding. This is less a gripe than an acknowledgment of a design decision by the Blizzard folks, but skiers shouldn’t expect an autopilot-ride in variable chop and demanding conditions on either ZeroG I’ve reviewed here. Put another way: An inexperienced skier will find happier times with a more forgiving shape/profile.
I’d love to hear what the WildSnow crew thinks, especially for those of you who’ve skied planks in similar weight class that perform. Fire away and in the meantime, enjoy your spring skimo season. We’re still riding out the remnants of an El Nino winter and I, for one, am psyched!
(Note: Pre-cut Pomoca skins available for all three ZeroG skis. Blizzard is also offering a rando ski with a 65mm waist with a claimed weight of 675-685g, paulownia/Isocore core.)
Shop for Blizzard Zero G skis.
(Rob Coppolillo is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide and the co-owner of Vetta Mountain Guides. His next book, The Mountain Guide’s Manual, is due out by FalconGuides in March, 2017.)
Rob Coppolillo is a mountain guide and writer, based on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound. He’s the author of The Ski Guide Manual.
Stiff, narrow, more traditional camber… Interesting how design trends seem to gather momentum, then reverse direction.
Rob, trying to calibrate your description of them being demanding.
Any idea how they would compare with the vwerks katana?
What did you mean by… “The skilled hands at Neptune Mountaineering, in Boulder, Colorado mounted all dead-center”
Do you mean you actually “center mounted” these or that they just did a nice job mounting them?
Rudi, pretty sure he meant that poor tech binding mounts tend to be off-center left-right, apparently Rob got a good mount from Neptune and called them out. But, perhaps he meant he used the factory mount position, or perhaps both… He’s probably out guiding today or some other equally nefarious activity, I’m sure he’ll chime in eventually. It would indeed be good info to know if he used the factory recommended front-back mount position or not. Lou
Thanks for the eyeballs, gang, and a few thoughts:
See–Indeed, funny how the pendulum returns towards center, and in this case, maybe preserving a bit of the previous trend (tons of rocker) and melding it with longstanding (trad camber) designs. Time will tell!
Rod–I’m sorry to say I’ve not skied any of Volkl’s V-werks boards. Having skied the Nanuq, Nunataq, and several versions of the Mantra, though, I’d say equal quality (excellent), but the Zero G seems a bit more demanding ski than the three mentioned above have been historically (the newer Mantra is stiffer than previous models, no?).
That said, if you compare the numbers in Skialper’s reviews, their testers at least put the Mantra in the same ballpark, performance-wise. It is, though, nearly a kilo heavier! That stable, predictable, do-anything Mantra performance sure is fabulous…but it comes with a weight penalty. The V-werks Katana and BMT 109 are both quite a bit heavier, too. I’d love to ride those things, but haven’t had the chance–let us know if you get a lap or two on the Blizzards and how they compare.
Lastly, Rudi–both. Great job from the Neptune crew AND we mounted the bindings dead-center. Without so much tip rocker, seems the logical thing to do. It’d be interesting to tweak ’em back/forth a bit, just for feel, but I never thought to myself, “Dang, should’ve mounted these XXX” while out skiing. I did have Zach, the head ski tech there, mount the bindings such that I could adjust them to fit my Dyna PDG boots. Haven’t run that combo yet, but psyched to try it for long missions/lazy days. Stay tuned.
One to two feet overnight here on Colorado Front Range–I’ll get some vert on the 95s tomorrow! Hope you’re all slaying, on snow, rock, or something…RC
Nice Rob! Glad to see these boards getting some well-deserved press. Let’s take them out on an adventure soon!
I’ve skied the 95 and 108 this year. Both are category-leading skis of the highest quality. The 95 has been the perfect board for this spring’s melange of conditions from pow to variable to hardpack/refreeze. Love the even, but responsive flex and the dampness in the construction.
Rudi- to elaborate a bit more on the mount, I began with the 95 mounted at zero, then promptly moved them +1cm forward. As Rob mentions, these skis do require some attention (not like a Kastle, but more than a Coomback). +1 gave me a much more balanced feel on the ski, especially in the steeps, where it’s nice to have a little bit of tail back there.
I’m psyched to put some more mileage on these this season.
I was thinking the winter of 2015-2015 would be when everyone began realizing that lighter skis can go downhill fine. But this winter of 2016-2017 has proved to be the one. Amazing choices and ZeroG is a contender for sure. I like the way it gets away from the rocker worship, and the acknowledgment that a good rider is required. Lou
OK cool sounds like you guys both started out at the factory recommend point and then Mike has moved to +1 which is pretty common. I am real interested in these for next year and was also paralyzed by indecision on 85v95. Thanks for a good comparison. Cant wait to see RMNP after this storm!
Well shoot—now Mike has me wondering! Indeed, Mike, we will get out soon (tomorrow morn, 2 ft on the ground in the Park?!).
Rudi–let me know what you go with. As Mike says (he’s also an IFMGA guide and works around the world, so good beta!), the 95 is the more versatile tool, but the 85 sure is great for its “sweet spot.” Good luck!
I have been on the verge of buying a pair of Zero G 95’s for some weeks now, but I have also read similar favourable comments about Salomon MTN Expolre 95. Any experience? Though very different skis, both made in the same factory I think.
I didn’t get myself organised to test either when out in Chamonix this winter, and my main worry is that they may be a bit too demanding for my modest technical abilities. Happily spent all season on Praxis Backcountry (106) but my legs can’t happily lug them & Beast 14’s up 1200+ metre days.
The Zero G 85 was my light ski for longer tours this season. Rob’s review 100% reflects my own feelings about this ski. They are very predictable, precise and cut like a surgeon’s knife. But as any such tools they definitely need an experienced hand. I absolutely love mine for being such reliable partners, especially when things get steep/icy. Looking forward to more reviews written by Bob.
Thanks for such a thorough review Rob. Luckily I grabbed a pair of last season’s 85s for a great price at skimo.
Excellent review of what sound like excellent skis. I have a minor quibble, however. One of the things I like about Wildsnow reviews is the high substance to marketing bs ratio. To say that “Blizzard does a good job of explaining FlipCore… on their website,” is, well, questionable. Subtract the hype about “revolutionary” this and “innovative” that, and all the website seems to offer by way of explanation is, “The natural rocker shape is produced without having to bend or artificially shape the ski in a press.” I won’t bore you with a discussion of why I think this is not terribly informative, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes when I read that paragraph.
Yo See—Fair enough. How about I suss out some more specific info on the FlipCore stuff? Interested?
I can think of one brand that “changed” a ski between seasons and when I got down to brass tacks with an employee, he said, “Well, they just bend the ski a little more when it’s fresh out of the press.” Yeah, I was underwhelmed!
I hear you on the mktg/BS ratio. Let me know if I can bug the Austrians a bit for you!
I haven’t skied either of these skis, and generally don’t like “stiff” skis, so this is just a comment on the capabilities of not heavily rockered, 95-ish waist skis. I’m happy to see ski widths and rocker profiles coming back to a happy medium. Colorado has had a great April and May, with some of the biggest storms, and deepest days coming late in the season. Without necessarily planning on it, I spent some of these days on Voile Vectors, which are 96mm waist for the 180 length. A couple days I thought I might be woefully under-gunnned, but had a blast skiing deep, dry, light snow. We all used to have a blast skiing powder on much skinnier skis, no? If I had to choose one ski for all kinds of back country touring, it would be something 95-ish with moderate early rise tip and upturned tail. Other desirable characteristics are up to user preferences, but like any category/waist width of ski, it’s hard to go wrong these days, as long as a person has done even a little homework/demoing. Pair a ski like this with one of the modern light weight boots ala Backland Carbon or TLT 6 and you have a killer setup for covering ground, skiing almost any terrain and snow condition with only minor compromise in downhill performance. Thanks for a good review Rob.
@Richard H: The Zero G 95 and MTN Explore are not made in the same factory (Salomon is made in the Atomic factory in Altenmarkt, Zero G in the Blizzard factory in Mittersill). Both are excellent skis, but the MTN Explore is more forgiving and pivots easier, plus is an easier ski for a less than expert skier to handle in variable snow. The Zero G is the better hard snow tool, impeccable on icy steeps, but as noted “doesn’t ski itself” – lots of people (myself included) detune the Zero G 95 to mellow the performance a bit (dulling tips and tails an inch or two past the contact points and easing off on the side edge bevel) and find it is still exceptionally precise and grippy.
@Rob: “Any idea how they would compare with the vwerks katana?”
I don’t think a comparison between the V-Werks Katana and the Zero G 95 is especially appropriate, as they are in two distinctly different classes. To me, the V-Werks Katana is a lightish alpine ski that handles all types of unconsolidated snow with ease and does a credible job in firmer conditions, but I’d hesitate to tour on it much because of weight and width (would make a great travel ski paired with the Zero G Guide Pro boot, though. 😉 The better ski to compare directly would be the V-Werks BMT 94 . . . The V-Werks Katana skis easily straight away for most competent skiers. The Zero G 95 definitely requires a centered, adaptable pilot in soft/deep/heavy/crusty conditions – it helps to have a certain depth of experience with full cambered skis and to have mastered a variety of methods of initiating a turn.
Thanks Rob. Definitely interested. In particular, I wonder if they really don’t bend the core when the ski is pressed. If so, it seems that the rocker-camber-rocker shape would require an elaborately milled or otherwise shaped core (which would result in shorter continuous wood fibers, among other things). Does this matter? How is the core made? Does molding a few millimeters of camber/rocker into the core of a 1800mm long ski really effect the ski’s performance in a significant way? And if the Austrians are in the mood to talk, maybe you could ask them: Why not use lighter materials for the core like balsa, or foam, or aramid honeycomb, instead of paulonia? Why not mill out voids? Why not eliminate the glass and use 100% carbon? For that matter, why not eliminate the core?
Interested in 85, as a light safe touring ski for dolomites, i was considering the movement respinse x for its weight and told rigidity, any advice?
thanks for supporting my ski hunger
See, I thought that was an adequate explanation of flipcore on Blizzard’s site, so during production and editing of this post I added that link in. I’ll take full credit for the containing sentence being overly superlative (grin) so Rob is off the hook. I thought it was a decent explanation but the word “good” might indeed be too generous. I edited. Appreciate your attention!
Moving on, Flipcore is simple. This is my understanding based on conversations as well as what I’ve seen in ski factories. With most skis the rocker profile is made by simply molding the skis into their shape, then letting the resins set and hold that shape. Perhaps the core (usually a wood blank) will have some camber if the ski has camber, and perhaps the core will have a bit of a turn-up at tip and tail. With Flipcore, they claim the core is machined with a fair amount of camber then “flipped” so it creates rocker, then the camber is molded in instead of the rocker. This is said to create different tensions than normal in the core, which translate to the ski performing better.
My understanding is that some companies do machine their cores with rocker, but not all. If the core is the same shape as the finished ski, then it would have little to no tension introduced during molding. If the core has no rocker and the rocker is molded in, then tension is introduced. If the core has camber and is flipped, then tension is introduced when camber is molded, but the tip and tail rocker areas would have less tension because they already have some rocker curve due to the flipped camber. So in a sense the Flipcore ski has some rebound and snap tension molded into the core under your feet. In other words, the Flipcore core is “pre-stressed” in the camber area. I can see how that might make the ski have some performance characteristics, such as better snap and rebound.
The Blizzard Flipcore skis do perform well, but the Flipcore part could be all or partially hype. I take this sort of thing with a grain of salt but at the same time feel there is a reasonable amount honesty in the ski industry, so unless we hear otherwise we will figure the “flipped” core is indeed an important part of how Blizzard makes their skis perform.
For those of you with interest in Blizzard, it’s interesting to look at our coverage over past years, and the evolution of their touring lineup:
Thanks for the explanation, Lou. I don’t think this construction detail is important, but I guess I have a pet peeve about marketing hype. Your description of how “(w)ith Flipcore… the camber is molded in,” combined with my own understanding of how skis are made, still makes the claim that “(t)he natural rocker shape is produced without having to bend or artificially shape the ski in a press” sound dubious to me. But, whatever. I recently skied some scary stuff and I think I want a pair of those 95’s.
See, if it sounds dubious, clearly Blizzard needs better copy writers (grin). Lou
Thanks Marc for bring up the Response-X anyone capable of commenting on both of these skis? Seem pretty similar to me, I think the response x is a bit lighter and more expensive, BUT darn if the waist doesn’t fall right in the middle of the 85/95 from Blizzard!
In the same weight class, I was debating between the Blizzard and the Fischer Hannibal 95 earlier this winter. I settled on the Fischer since I’m not a steep ripper and I was coming over to AT from telemarking and got the impression it was a little softer and more forgiving. I have really enjoyed it in the backcountry here in WA, especially for 2 10+ mile traverse days back -to-back in Feb, and last weekend when we had to carry our skis 1.5 miles and 1000ft up the trail last in the N Cascades. Loading the pair of skis on the car easily with one hand while holding a frosty malted adult beverage in the other is awesome!
I think versatility tends to be undervalued, especially in a ski that might encounter a variety of conditions in a day, or even in a single turn. I had friends telling me I should have at least 100mm, but I’ve been on 73s for the last 10 years or so, so I couldn’t quite buy into that. As I get older I’d rather be forced to push the ski a little more and carry less. 🙂 Having said that, I have concluded the Fischers are not great at in-bounds cruising speeds.
I agree with some of the comments about design finding its median. Same thing happened with the hourglass skis 20 years ago. It is natural that design would be pushed to an extreme to find its limits then pull back to incorporate the most useful elements.
Thanks for all the informative posts and discussion—and apologies for the absence. I managed to sneak a summit of Torrey’s today and nab the Emperor Gully–on the Zero G 95s. Wet mank below 11,000ft, a wind/soft-slab off the summit, creamy hot-pow in the gut—yeahoooo! The 108 probably would’ve charged really well today, so let’s commit to another chat next winter, eh?!
I think Lou answered the FlipCore stuff very well. I also put in a question to the Blizzard NA folks, which I imagine will get bumped to Austria. I’ll relay anything complementary to Lou’s post.
Nate Porter—thanks for the good words. I’m with you; a 95 ski can do just about anything we need it to in Colorado. Younger/stronger riders with bomber knees may occasionally opt for a 108 or greater…but in general, in Colorado, a quality 95 ski gets it done. I think I mentioned I ski most days in a TLT-6 (carbon), but had both the Zero Gs mounted so they’ll take a PDG. On consistent snow with some edge-pen, I think the PDG will drive them happily, though maybe not into 5th and 6th gears. We shall see!
So what would you guys recommend for a similar ski for a similar application that is more forgiving? I want a light, 80ish waist ski for firm, steeper snow applications but don’t know if I’m a strong enough skier to handle the atomic 85. The Hagan Cirrus and Fischer Transalp have been on my short list. Would those fit the bill? Thanks for any help.
Jeremy G – I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the Transalp, but based on my in-area Hannibal experience, if by “firm” you mean icy, the Hannibal is capable, but perhaps not really comfortable, especially at speed. But perhaps the narrower profile would make a significant difference with that. They are certainly light!
On a side note I have been using the Profoil skins for the Fischers and have generally liked them. I wrote about them in the comments here: https://www.wildsnow.com/16771/fischer-profoil-climbing-skins-review/
They are not really conducive to ripping them off with skis on, and they are too stiff to hang over a waist belt or tuck into a jacket easily. But last weekend I was skiing in the N Cascades on wet spring snow (50+ deg F) and while my partner tried to dry his skins out between tours, I didn’t care.
Seems like you’re looking in the right direction–all the skis you mentioned get very good reviews. The Movement Responses have a devoted following, as do the Fischers.
One excellent resource (besides the obsessed WildSnow tribe!) is Skialper’s buyer’s guide. You can get a subscription for $9 and they cover just about everything you’d like. The Movements get very high marks (as do the Atomics) in the Skialper book. I haven’t skied any of ’em, though, so I’m of little help!
I’d consider the Dynastar Mythic, too–excellent weight and a surfy tip. It’s slightly larger than you mentioned (97mm underfoot), but with a tad more sidecut than a ZeroG and more early-rise in the shovel, it’s versatile and a bit more forgiving. 1500(ish) grams. Give it a look.
I’m finally replacing my touring setup (188 K2 Coombas, Dynafit TLT) and am having trouble settling on one ski. The real solution would be to just buy a couple pairs, but I’m in grad school and, well, you know.
The three skis I’m looking at are the Voile V8 and V6 and now the Blizzard ZeroG 95. My first question: is there an appreciable difference between the V8 and V6? I’d prefer a skinnier waist, but the consensus from what little I’ve read seems to be that the V8 is just plain old awesome. The Blizzard 95 also seems pretty well suited for the way I plan to use them. I’m kinda stumped.
I split time between Bozeman & Missoula and would use them primarily for early & late season couloir hunting in the surrounding ranges. Classic long Montana approaches. I’m not looking for a specific answer one way or another, more just general thoughts between the three sets.
Thanks in advance, Wild Snow is awesome!
Hi Jason, first off, V8 and V6 are entirely different skis. To choose between those two I’d just go with the waist width you’d think you want. They are both excellent. If you want to put ZeroG 95 into the mix, it’s lighter and less forgiving and at about same waist as V6, which has a bit more rocker I believe offhand. Lou
Hi Jason–Well, I need to confess ignorance (yet again) on the Voile skis–they look like they’re a little floatier in the shovel and friends say they are quite a bit softer flexing, so I think Lou’s estimation (the ZeroG 95 is probably less forgiving, a little more demanding) is generally correct. But that said, if you’re “couloir hunting,” then I’d say the ZeroG is probably going to feel a little more surefooted than my impression of what the Voile will be. More edge-hold, less deflection in the shovel…
They seem like pretty different skis to me. Softer snow, maybe go with the Voile…but firm conditions and a bit more precision in couloirs, I’d bet the ZeroG will be the ticket.
Jason – Rob has got it pretty much down. A better apples to apples would be Voile Vector vs ZeroG 95. The V6 and V8 are totally different animals than what it sounds like you are looking for.
Based on performance to weight (and as much as I love Voile’s skis), I’d go for the much lighter ZeroG 95 for your intended purpose.
Thanks for filling me in, all. This is big help. Truax, Rob and Lou, from the feedback I’m gonna go with the ZeroG 95. I really like its combo of size, stiffness and weight. I can’t wait to search out a solid deal and get out on them. Just might have to do the ‘ski every month of the year’ thing again.
@ Mike Soucy
Is this the Mike S. i knew in Crested Butte another lifetime ago?
Assuming it is, you’re still guiding i take it? If so, awesome . . .
Hey See—OK, after a little delay (the Austrians had their int’l meet over there), one of the kind-hearted engineers responded to your in-depth questions about FlipCore. I will paste his responses below—they follow each of your questions, so hopefully it will make sense. I’ll set the responses apart and put them in quotes…
See: Thanks Rob. Definitely interested. In particular, I wonder if they really don’t bend the core when the ski is pressed. If so, it seems that the rocker-camber-rocker shape would require an elaborately milled or otherwise shaped core (which would result in shorter continuous wood fibers, among other things). Does this matter? How is the core made?
“The woodcore is made by stripes of Pauwlonia glued togheter. Those stripes are around 10mm wide and longer as the ski body.
The woodcore is milled with a 5 axis machine with a tollerance of 0,1mm. This means that in the woodcore we can mill the rocker camber rocker profile and also the right thickness curve to provide the right flex on the ski.”
Does molding a few millimeters of camber/rocker into the core of a 1800mm long ski really effect the ski’s performance in a significant way?
“The rocker-camber-rocker profile is milled on the mould as well. In this way core and mold are fitting 100% togheter without creating stress on the wood itself and on the other materials.
This influence the ski performance as well because all the other materials (carbon, fiberglass, running base…)are glued togheter without internal stress and so they will perform at 100% of their potential.
In addition to that we have a much more precise process to get the right rocker/camber on the ski (reducing tollerances in production).”
And if the Austrians are in the mood to talk, maybe you could ask them: Why not use lighter materials for the core like balsa, or foam, or aramid honeycomb, instead of paulonia? Why not mill out voids? Why not eliminate the glass and use 100% carbon? For that matter, why not eliminate the core?
“The ski must be considered as a dynamic body not just a static one, so it must be strong enough to resist defined loads, it must have rebound and it must have a certain dampening effect as well(basically like a car suspension).
For those reasons we must always use materials that combined togheter that will assure those mechanical characteristics.
As ski core, there are no better materials like wood to ensure stiffness, elasticity, dampening and lighteness as the same time (all the super light skis are done in wood, as well all the WC racing skis are done in wood).
Pauwlonia is a special wood that has almost the same density (weight) like the Balsa, but with much higher mechanical properties. Building a ski in Balsa would need a much higher quantities of fiberglass to make them working, so at the end will be much heavier.”
Why not eliminate the glass and use 100% carbon?
“Carbon fibers are for sure light and strong, but they have a problem… their elongation is extremely limited.
A full carbon body is perfect for a static frame (like on the bikes), but a full carbon ski will never be able to bend enough without breaking.
For that reason into a ski body the carbon material is always combined with fiberglass that allowed the composite to reach the flex values needed during skiing.”
For that matter, why not eliminate the core?
“Thinking a ski like a car suspension, the core is the element that provide dampening effect.
In addition, we should never forget that the ski must have a minimum thickness that allowed to fix bindings (or plates) with screws. The screws dimension as well the screw retention values are belongs international norms (ISO for example).
For those reason the woodcore is a crucial element on the ski construction.
Honeycomb will not work because doesn’t provide the dampening effect and rebound like the woodcore (it is used only on the ski jump or on the cross country skis)
Foams are also not usefull because to be able to guarantee the standard ISO norms they will need a density higher then Pouwlonia.”
OK, hope this helps–bunch of detailed info in there. Lou—factory visit next year? To be followed by some couloir hunting in the Dolomites? I know an American guide who speaks Italian and might even carry your bags in the airport…yeah!
God created trees, for skis. That is clear. Thanks. Lou
That’s a lot of information to process and I really appreciate the response. I’ve read it 3 or 4 times and I get more out of it each time. Thanks Rob, and thanks to the kind-hearted engineer at Blizzard. I look forward to the factory tour/Dolomite couloir post.
Also, my old spring skis developed a loose edge. I’ve been skiing some Hannibal 100’s lately. They’re nice skis, but they don’t fill the niche formerly occupied by the Mustagh Ata’s so I picked up some 95’s. (I expect it’s only a matter of time before my buds stage an intervention.)
Great, See, happy it helped! Let us know how those 95s go…I got to chase around a couple of ex-racers from the Univ. of Colorado yesterday. They both skied with Shane McConkey during their time there…always nice to play “catch up” and try to improve a bit! I was skiing the 85s on firm, not-quite-corn snow…fun!
Days are getting shorter so it’s time to revive this great thread. I’m looking at either the ZeroG 95 or the new Kastle TX98 as a spring tour/long day ski for the Teton area. Kastle is a just little heavier but , damn, I like the way other Kastles ski. Did any of you get on the new TX98s last spring? Any comparison to the ZeroG 95?
Hi TKyle, indeed, looking good for winter here in Colorado! I’d say that’s a hard choice if the increased weight is not an issue… Perhaps we can get Rob to chime in, though I’d imagine he’s on some ridge somewhere in France or something in the middle of keeping clients safe and happy (smile). Lou
Lou—sadly I’m not in the land of fromage and fraternite…I’m home this summer, finishing off a book (stay tuned) that’s due September 1!
TKyle–I haven’t skied a Kastle ski in more than a decade. People rave about performance, but indeed, as Lou suggested, the only quip is weight. (Cost might be an issue, too!) That said, if the legs and lungs are willing, I’d go with whatever you think fits your style. If you’re headed for bigger peaks and endless days…then maybe the weight savings (with barely a performance disadvantage) of the Blizzard is the call. I’m already angling for a set of the 108s for this coming winter…I’m a believer!
But… lighter skis don’t ski as well according to the cogniciti. Lou
Straight up – would you recommend this ski for someone with mediocre skiing ability looking to get a lighter weight, stable set up? If not, what would you recommend? Thanks so much. I’m trying to take advantage of some summer sales.
Uh oh…Lou has “weighed in” (pun intended) on the topic! Listen up!
Jeremy–I’m not sure the Blizzard will be a good fit, as it’s a little less “early rise” or rockered in the tip…which is to say, it’s a little less forgiving in deeper snow and chop.
Something with a bit more rocker in the shovel might feel more relaxed and easy going–and there are bunches of skis that fit that bill. My ski partner raves about his Dynafit Denalis…I’ve loved my LaSportiva Hi5s (and those are going away this year, I believe)…bunches of choices. The SkiAlper review details a bunch of skis and I’d look for something characterized as “forgiving” or “less demanding.”
The WS crew can certainly chime in, too. Lou? Others? Good, versatile ski for our boy, JeremyG?!
I’ve always liked Kastle, but I would not call any of their skis “forgiving.” Same goes for Blizzard. Forgiving? I’d tend to talk something like DPS Wailer 112, or Voile V8. By “versitile” I’m assuming you mean a preponderance of backcounty pow? Or is this a ski you want to use at the resort for quite a percentage? Lou
Well I’m currently on carbon converts in 180 and want a lighter ski for firm/steep/spring/long tours. Ideally 1000-1100 grams, a bit of tip rocker. Exclusively for backcountry. Just don’t want to buy a ski that I won’t feel comfortable on with my relative inexperience.
Hmmm, firm/steep? That doesn’t sound forgiving (smile). Look no farther than Volkl VTA, or go really light with Voile Objective. Another ski I liked last winter was the Scott Superguide 95, but it’s not as light as those. Lou
Jeremy G, as I said above I have been happy with my Hannibals so far, especially on 3000 ft climbs due to the weight. I’m not in the greatest shape (dad, almost 50, etc.), but I am a solid (if unremarkable) skier, and I was willing to give up some performance in exchange for the light weight, and the Hannibal appears to be a little more forgiving than the Zero G from what I read in a variety of places. However, I don’t like them at higher speeds on firmer snow (i.e., resort) and will be looking for something else for that.
Hmm. Those Volkls seem to fit the bill. Can I mount dynafit superlites within their “H” shaped mounting area given the three hole heel? Thanks.
Yes, the Superlight screws fall just fine. Lou
OK thanks for checking Lou
No problem, they’re sitting right here next to me in my studio workshop.
I’ve been on Zero G 85s for about a week this winter so far, and they feel more demanding than I’m used to, even in firmer conditions. I’m seeing it as a challenge and trying to get more technically proficient with my skiing, and hopefully will have great things to say by the end of the season.
85’s are half price on S&C right now. Any way Wildsnow can earn some clicks if one were so inclined?
I’m a little late in commenting on this review by Rob, which by the way I found spot on the money. Thanks Rob!
I bought a pair of the 16 Zero G 95 in 178cm last January from a friend that reps Blizzard. I mounted them with the Meidjo 2.0 tele binding (1612g/ ski) and ski them with the Scarpa TX Pro. I personally love these skis, they are exactly what I was hoping for with the torsional and longitudinal stiffness. I do wish they had a slightly longer powder tip and a touch more tip rocker but then they’d be heavier in swing weight, overall it’s a great ski! They somewhat remind me of the old Karhu (Line) 180cm Jak BC in longitudinal stiffness but these skis have more tail, are more torsion-ally stiff and lighter in weight. They do require a bit more of a weight centered skiing posture, especially in deeper snow, mank and crud.
I put more days in the last year on my Voile Charger 171cm BC’s with my TTS bindings in the BC and my Blizzard Brahma 173cm with NTN FR’s in area. I did get a few good BC days on the Zero G’s in variable conditions which I think they excel in. I also had a couple area days on them late in the season with one 2′ pow day. They totally ripped the groomed, held well and are versatile enough to vary the trun radius from quick slalom turns to long high speed GS turns. I’m fairly light at 145-150 lbs. and 5″7″ and I found them stable at speed especially for their light weight. Over all I’m very pleased with these very versatile Zero G 95’s, they are a nice compliment to my quiver. A mid fat, super light weight tool when I need a ski for big vert and varied conditions. Or a one-ski to take on a trip that might involve a variety of skiing with potentially big BC/ mountaineering days. I do agree these are skis for more of an advanced skier who’s able to weight the ski properly for the conditions encountered, definitely not an auto pilot type of ski.
I thought about buying the Zero G 108 but decided on the 95 for the weight and size. I have my Charger BC for pure BC days, a Voile Buster 176 drilled for the Meidjo and NTN with quiver killers and my Wagner Custom 145/115/125 185cm with NTN FR plates.
I re-purposed my BD skins from the Jak BC’s and then the Voile Vector’s. Sold the Vectors last year and now use these skins on the Zero G 95’s.
I know this is an old post but seeing how these skis haven’t changed for the current year, thought I’d ask:
Any idea what boots Rob was using to push these skis around? Something green from the pic? TLT6p? Scarpa Alien? Vulcan?
It’d be helpful in these detailed ski reviews if you guys could include this info.
I’ve used the ski (ZG 85) with TLT6Ps and La Sportiva Syborgs. Both boots drive up to 95mm pretty comfortably.
Sorry for the delay–just out of a hut trip on the ZeroG 95s. I did all my testing on TLT 6s, without the tongues. I replaced the stock liner with an Intuition “Alpine,” saving a bit of weight and improving warmth. A magic bootfitter helps!
I intentionally mounted both the 85s and 95s with a Speed Radical–but I asked my fantastic ski-tech (Zach at Neptune!) to center the binding for a PDG boot. That said, I haven’t yet skied the PDG boot in either ski, though it’ll happen soon (getting the PDGs fit with an Intuition Alpine liner this coming week).
I have some 108s coming, in the 185cm length and plan to mount those with a Speedlite 2.0 for the TLT 6s.
Hit me with some more questions! I’m around all this week and would love to geek out a bit! Best to all—–
Thanks for the response Rob! I just pulled the trigger on some 185cm 95s that I’ll be using with some TLT6P boots and some Superlight 2.0s. Excited to get them out!
With regards to mounting, about how far off (and in what direction) is your true center mounting line from the recommended mounting line?
Not to speak for Rob here but the PDG has a shorter boot sole length for a given shell size than most other boots. So matching boot sole length to ski boot center would tend to skew the binding location (Binding’s low tech toe) more rearward as compared to the TLT6.
If I was going to move the binding on my 95’s in any direction it would be slightly rearward which would help this ski with flotation in powder. With its relatively stiff longitudinal flex, shorter squarish tip and conservative tip rocker it’s float in powder is a performance trait of the ski that could use some assistance. It’s front of seat sweet spot in pow is not very large.
In my opinion, a 95 is not a powder ski. I’d say mount the ski for it’s intended purpose and use technique to deal with other conditions.
But a few millimeters either way probably isn’t important.
I disagree with See on this one, 95mm is absolutly a powder ski. I’m constantly amazed that people (American’s really) seem to believe they need 110 underfoot to float in powder. 10 years ago, sure. Today, with stiff, carbon skis and rocketed tips getting up on plane is no problem. I ski a modern, 88mm underfoot ski (Dynafit Cho Oyu) in all conditions. I watch my 105mm+ ski parterners move faster than me for the first 2 turns, at which point we’re both going the same speed, but I hauled a lot less ski/skin up the hill. Going back to (relatively)”narrow” ski’s (and the much lighter boots that drive them), has literally doubled the amount of powder I ski on a given day.
Skied the 95 in a 120cm storm last year and it WORKED. Pair it with the PDG and triple the powder?! We shall see!
Hey don’t get me wrong, it’s a good powder ski. It’s just that I have very good powder skis so that’s how I judged them. The other thing is at 150 lbs. I’m not flexing them as deeply as others which helps with float. I’m just saying moving the bindings rearward would be better than a forward bias.
Yeah, after years of using mostly 115+ skis for powder I’ve been thinking about downsizing. (The legs aren’t getting any younger.) I didn’t mean to imply that you can’t ski powder on 95’s. Part of the beauty of deep, soft snow is that it’s a blast on almost anything (maybe less so if you’re wallowing around with tiny skis on a moderate pitch). Back when I used leather boots with laces I was happy as a clam on 55’s. And total surface area matters more than width alone. But I’m pretty sure RVC didn’t get those new 108’s because he needed some black skis.
Ultimate truth, indeed, is that almost any ski is a frickin’ blast in deep snow. Yeahoooo!
You can certainly get by on the 95…but I have a pair of 108s coming, so proof is in the pudding: softer snow, I’ll bump to a 108 and carry the bit of extra weight!
Stay tuned for a more thorough review of the 108. Lou and I have been scheming about it and I’m waiting on a pair in the mail…hopefully in time to take ’em to Canada in February.
Best to everybody—Rob C
Errrr, not quite there Robert. I will admit, everyone he is admitting… today Lou did not have wide enough nor long enough skis. Inverse density snow, around 16 inches deep or more… pulling those tips right down, hit a hole or something that was filled with at least 4 feet of the stuff and simply got buried, one ski must have had it’s tip 6 feet from the surface. This was the Sportiva Sveltes, 96 waist, 178 cm. If I try it again tomorrow it’ll be on DPS Wailer Tour 106, 178 cm. Yes, there are times when width does matter. Not as much as hype would have you believe, but nonetheless, yes, weird snow happens. Lou
So Lou, I’m guessing you have one of the best quivers of touring skis on the planet. Why did you choose a ski named “Svelte” on a powder day?
(I hope today’s mishap wasn’t something that stops you from going out tomorrow.)
I confess that I still am not sure what types of skis are best for challenging conditions like inverse density, higher water content heavy snow, and crud. I know that speed and laser attention to form gets me through it, otherwise I revert to survival turns.
Actually, I think I may know the answer— in the interest of science. Thanks. Almost done mounting my new 108’s. I’m calling it good on the downsizing for now.
See, my weakness is for that light feeling on the feet, you all know that. Usually I get away with it but sometimes I pay the price. Oh, and it’s such a chore adjusting all these bindings (smile)… Lou
My dirty little secret? LaSportiva Hi5–108mm underfoot, surfy shovel, hammers crud/chop and survives upside-down stuff…or at least lets me flail a *little* less!
Keeps the tips up Lou–and get out again tomorrow!
Say what you will about chinese skis…
I spend more time on my 171 Voile Charger BC’s 110 UF with Telemark Tech bindings and older Scarpa F1 Race boots. Not the lightest but it’s great touring combo at 4.4kg for for the skis/ bindings, especially if there are longer flatter approaches or areas of contouring with the BC base. If I did not already own these Chargers I’d be all over the 108’s.
Mounted the 108’s today, and there’s definitely some metal underfoot aside from the edges, but maybe binding plates don’t count. It also looks like the core might have some foam in it. I don’t consider this highly significant even if it’s true, but given all the talk about “flip-core,” I thought it was mildly interesting in a geeky sort of way.
The Zero G’s have an alloy binding retention plate. The core is Paulownia.
Hi, Andy. Do you have inside knowledge (so to speak) about the construction of the 108’s or are you referring to the specs? There is definitely wood in there, but some parts of the core are a very different color and hardness from other parts. The soft parts look like foam. (I’m also wondering if foam, alone or in combination with wood, may be coming back in style.)
Sorry, I was asking Allan, not Andy.
See, there is a core type that’s been around for a while, strips of wood with intervening strips of foam. You’ll see those in skis now and then, for saving weight. Lou
Just to weigh in here as I stopped by to see where others had mounted these…. I bought the 178cm 95 and mounted +0. I’ve found that it floats really well for its width in the shovel and waist (probably cuz it weighs almost nothing…) so I am moving to +1 mount to attain a more balanced feel on rough hardpacked snow. I find the tip to be a bit stiff and planky for this type of skiing. For anyone considering I’d go short. I’m 5’11 170lbs and could probably could ski the 170cm for anything but pow.
That’s what I suspect, Lou… like the Huascaran (also made by Blizzard?). If that core type is used in these skis it’s interesting that the description neglects to mention it, but it makes sense. For wide skis with a traditional thickness solid wood core, that would be a fairly good sized piece of lumber.
My knowledge of the skis and their construction comes from my bud that is a sales rep for Bizzard as well as my experience with the ZG95. I don’t own the 108 so I can’t say for fact that there’s no foam in the core of that ski. I’d be quite surprised if they used foam in the binding area. Usually the choice to incorporate foam in a core along with wood is towards the tip and tail areas of the ski to reduce swing weight.
Per Rudi’s comment I could probably be quite happy with the 171 lengh in the 95 because of its stiffness and my relatively light skier weight. My propensity is towards a longer ski for my 5’7″, 150 build but this ski is on the stiffer side that is typical of this category. I am happy with the ZG95 in 178. If or when I buy the 108 I’ll get the 171 length in that as that’s what I ski in the Voile Charger.
Re. the 108’s: even if there is some foam in there, these boards are still pretty substantial. Maybe I’ll work on my airs and call myself a freerider.
In case anyone cares, I skied the 108’s in powder today. These are some really nice skis. A little hefty, but they feel like they could handle a wide range of conditions.
We care, See, we care! Psyched to get my ride on ’em! RC
I was hoping to hear more remarks on the 108 after you guys (and gals) ski them.
See, What size did you buy and is the weight accurate as described by Bizzard? Have you gotten yours Rob? Any others out there?
On another note, all that Black Diamond ski manufacturing equipment that was producing their skis in China is now in my friend Pete Wagner’s (recently moved to mountain village) shop helping to turn out Wagner skis. They have been playing around with some light weight carbon fortified layups.
I’m on the 185’s and I weigh about 175. I weighed the skis when I got them and they were around 1750g each. Both skis were within an ounce or so of the same weight. I really have my doubts about how meaningful reviews are (among other things) when pairs of skis are sometimes 2, 3, 4 or more ounces apart in weight with obviously different flex characteristics. But that’s another matter…
That’s good to hear on the 108’s. Blizzard and the Austrians in general know how to and take great care in their manufacturing of skis. I’ll bet they ski very well and that additional mass (while not desirable on the way up) will be a benefit in more variable skiing conditions. I couldn’t agree more about the larger delta of some brands pairs of skis. It just proves that they weren’t built with much care and accuracy of content even if they came out of the same forms. I doubt you’ll see that variation in the Blizzard, Fischer, Volkl, LaSportiva, DPS, Voile or Wagner’s for that matter.
Sad to say, I’ve observed the variation in more than 2 of the above.
If anyone is interested, I would suggest weighing whatever pairs of skis you can get your hands on. Based on my admittedly small sample size, I’m guessing you will find a few that are at least a couple ounces apart in weight. And (as a geek who has been hand flexing skis for years) when I flex a pair with a big weight difference, the heavier one is stiffer.
I was surprised to recently notice that my L* S******* S***** skis have noticeably different front tip curves. One is smoothly curved, the other is bent at the base then goes mostly straight to a final bend at the tip.
Not on my 108s yet. Will let you know when I get some mileage! RC
Which factory is building those L*S******s here in the US?
I just weighed my ZG 95’s and Voile Charger BC’s with bindings. The ZG 95’s with Meidjo v2 were 14g and the Voile’s were 34g delta and my Voiles have my DIY TTS bindings with Dynafit speed toes, OMG TTS plate, rod and heel lever with Kreuzspitze cartridges and custom made shims.
I would not subject more recreational type skis to this scrutiny but the upper end skis should be built with care and accuracy.
Kristian, It sounds like those skis should have been culled out in QC. I would not be happy about that especially with the prices those skis command.
Looking forward to you comments on the 108’s Rob!
I was going to ignore it, but I live fairly close to the US mothership, so I will stop by to show them.
I think it would be interesting if ski reviews listed individual ski weights. Wild guess: the skis would mostly be within 20g of each other.
As far as the L*S******s skis, and other skis made by this company; we are fans of them, however; we have had quality issues with a pair of their skis in the past. When you pay top dollar for a leading edge product, the quality should be a “given”, and, if the skis are not of good quality, I would certainly expect that the manufacturer should replace them.
Long ago, I worked for a manufacturer of sports equipment. I was told that a magazine was going to review our product. I confess, I might have exercised some discretion and taken a few minutes to ensure that everything was up to our high standards.
Would love to ask some opinions on choosing between the 95 and 85 – and on sizing…
I’m 6′, 190lbs, strong experienced skier. Skiing mainly in Austrian/ Italian Alps.
I have some 188cm La Sportiva Nano for the powder days.
I’ve ordered some 185cm Zero G 95s as a high mileage touring ski for long days and multi day traverses. Generally I like skis my height a bit better than going shorter. However, I’m wondering if I don’t get too much quiver overlap between the Zero G 95s in the 185cm length and the Nanos in 188cm… and if I shouldn’t pick up the 200g or so weight savings per foot (including skin weight) by going with a 178cm Zero G 85 instead. Especially considering the primary objective for that ski for me.
I’d be grateful for some experiences on the sizing of the skis, and on whether the 200g weight savings per foot will be noticeably on long days or multi day traverses.
Setup is with Dynafit Superlights and TLT 6 P.
Hey Alex P,
Can’t say much for the 95, but I’ve skied pretty extensively on the 85. I’m 178cm and about 75kg with pack on, and I’ve found the 171cm ZG85 to be a great ski for steeps, spring conditions and big days with lots of vertical.
I think you’d like the 178cm. They are stiff and won’t fold under you, and you do need to stay forward on them…but you probably know that already. Great ski, but not an easy one.
6’2 180. On a 179 stiffish 90mm ski. Totally see that kind of sizing for ski touring ans big objectives! I’d go longer/wider only in case of a quiver of one.
Looking for sidecountry/backcountry ski. My resort choice is Bonafides. Been reading about the Zero G 85s and 95s and also Fischer Hannibal 94s. As others have said, my experience is almost any board is fun in quality powder. Key for me is edge grip on the hard and a ski that isn’t rattled in the crud-(think resort skiing 2nd day after a storm and/or sunny mush).
Any input is appreciated!
I have Bonafides for those days I ski resorts – love ’em even if they are kinda heavy.
I might suggest trying these:
(link edit) https://www.wildsnow.com/8970/new-g3-zenoxide-c3-light-fat-and-stiff/
(link edit) https://www.wildsnow.com/14665/ultimate-ski-quiver-2014-2015/
If you like a ski for the hard yet still OK in soft, I think G3 hit it with the Zen 105’s.
You can pick up a set used sometimes at for example MEC Gearswap:
With Dynafits, they’re a great ski – I like ’em as much as my Movements for hard.
Just out of a CHALLENGING week in northern Canada—rain, mank, some good turns, tight trees, open glaciers…did the whole week on ZeroG 95s (178cm; I’m 5’10”, 160 lbs) and loved them. You’ll need to work them a bit more in the crud/mank, as they don’t have a “floaty” or “surfy” shovel….but they’re totally capable with some finesse and commitment.
Don’t know the Hannibal 94, but hear good things.
In terms of edge grip, the ZeroG punches way out of its class (for my Euro buddies—this mean they have the edge grip/hold of a ski way heavier!). The 85 is awesome in couloirs…but for a quiver of one, the 95 is an awesome choice. Crazy light, very low swing weight, awesome performer.
Waiting on a pair of 108s, so we’ll see how those ride!
Best to everybody–RC
@Robert V. Copolillo
thanks for your input!
I think I’ll go for the 185s then.
Any observations on snow buildup on that green topsheet? The white Vapor Nanos stay pretty free of snow, my old black Scott Crusairs alsways carry a ton of snow.
Ah, good question, Alex—-
They’ll build up some snow, I’m sorry to say. The 108 ZeroG is dark blue/black, too–ah, what a drag! Anyway—-I definitely scraped the topsheet while skinning….several times a lap…not ideal, but that’s what it is. Still really psyched on the skis!
Been following this thread and was hoping Robert V.C.would give us an report on the zero G 108’s, maybe you haven’t skied them yet Rob? Anyway, i was really into getting my hands on a pair of G 108’s but can’t find any for a reasonable price. Have bought a pair of 95’s in 185 instead ( I had them dirt cheap). They’re now standing here against my wall and my “big” Q now is where to mount the bindings? I regard my self as a pretty competent and strong skier ( i’m 180cm / 74kg’s 5,11 170 I think in US?) and have a wide range of different skies. I put my Dynastar Pro Rider 184 (it’s the “classic” one, ie traditional camber no tip rocker 100mm under foot, “Legend Pro Rider 100” is their name to be exact) next to my new G 95’s and noticed that the marked “factory center line” is approx +2cm forward compared to the Dynastars (I have the Dynastars bindings mounted dead center to “factory line” and really happy with it). Now because of this I’m thinking of mounting the bindings on the G 95’s at least minus 1cm of center line and hoping to get a “similar feel on the two pairs. Idea is that the G’s are a tiny bit narrower so hopefully I’ll get approx the same “float” in pow. Also worth noting here is that the tip/front part of the Dynastars are much softer than the G’s but on the other hand they have zero tip rocker, ie 100% traditional. So now I kindly ask any of you guys here for ideas and inputs about my thoughts/ideas? Would minus 1cm be a wise choice or can I even go minus 2cm, ie exactly the same position as on my Dynastars, I’m afraid minus 2cm could be too much but minus 1 might very well be “spot on” for what I’m aiming at? Ideas anyone?
I have my ZG 95’s mounted on factory ski center and they ski well. I really don’t think that moving the mount back 10-20mm is going to hurt it skiing and you could gain some added tip float. These skis have a good back seat/ firm tail so I’m not so sure how they compare flex wise to your Dynastar LPR. I personally would compromise and mount them 10mm/ 1cm back if you are inclined to that bias.
Yep, 10mm back might very well be the sweet spot. Just flexed the LPR, I would say they’re a wee bit softer in the tail. But they are also wider, so that make sens. Also have a old pair of the classic Mantra in the same size (2008, so no rocker whatever) and they’ve the exact same center line as the ZG 95’s. Actually also almost identical sidecut. Bindings on that pair mounted dead center and always felt they wanna dip in pow, love ’em on hard pack though. A really, really good ski that old non rockered Mantra! Think I wait a bit more with mounting if anyone else has any inputs. Cheers for yours, Alllan 🙂
RE: Blizzard ZG 95 I am looking at a pair 169 cms but …would it help to go a few cms shorter 164 cms to get better nimbleness on the turns? On Van. Island it’s quite a bit of Coastal concrete to deal with. A blessing if you like it often but I am worried that these will be like slugs for me on the descent in the heavy dense stuff.
scared to commit.
I like big skis for concrete. But that’s me.
The swing weight on the 95s is so dang low…I wouldn’t worry about 5cms affecting “nimbleness”!
I’d have to agree with Rob. I ski the 178, live in the east and find them very nimble and quick to swing through tight terrain. I’d get suggest the 171 or the 178.
I was set to buy the ZG108 but ended up with a pair of Scott Superguide 105’s in the 175cm. I can’t wait to get them out in some pow!
Yeah, I almost pulled the trigger on the 108, but it’s not quite as light (per surface area) as the 95 and 85…..Blizzard also making the Rustler skis this year—definitely heavier, sheet of titanal in them, but they are getting rave reviews and they make a 112mm waisted ski in a 182….it’d be kind of a perfect Canada ski, I think!
Blizzard makes great skis for sure. I already own Brahmas in 173 that are my resort skis and I also have a Wagner Custom with an aspen core, carbon fiber open double helix weave triaxl FG and a bottom aramid core laminate. They are 184cm, 141-115-128 and weigh 2100g. I was looking for a BC ski that slots between my ZG95’s and my Wagner’s (and also my 176 Voile Busters), wow I’m kind of a ski whore:)! But I did just sell a pair of Blizzard made Dynafit FR10’s that I had.
The Scott SG105’s are not quite as stiff as the ZG108’s but plenty beefy in flex and very torsionally stiff. They are also about 300g lighter than the ZG108. Skialper 2017 liked both the ZG108 and the SG105 and gave them both excellent reviews.
Just checking specs on websites, I’m seeing 1750 g for Zero G 108/185 and 1640 g for Scott Super Guide 105/183, so maybe 220 g lighter per pair (assuming I’ve got the numbers right). No one seems to be mentioning dampness.
Well, I guess Rob is mentioning dampness with reference to titanal, but those Rustlers look to be 2040 g in a 188.
Hey See—Yeah, that Scott ski looks cool. Is the Skialper guide out yet? I went to their site and only saw the ’16 buyer’s guide!
The Rustlers—from what I hear, I haven’t skied ’em—are indeed damp, stable, versatile. Way more “new school” shape than the ZeroG, early-rise tip/tail…2040g in a 188 (so must be 1950ish in the 182?), a bit heavy for a monster day…but man, if they ski as well as the buyers down at the Bent Gate and the reviews say…might be worth it?!
Hey See—Yeah, that Scott ski looks cool. Is the Skialper guide out yet? I went to their site and only saw the ’16 buyer’s guide!
The Rustlers—from what I hear, I haven’t skied ’em—are indeed damp, stable, versatile. Way more “new school” shape than the ZeroG, early-rise tip/tail…2040g in a 188 (so must be 1950ish in the 182?), a bit heavy for a monster day…but man, if they ski as well as the buyers down at the Bent Gate and the reviews say…might be worth it?!
The 108s are my most new school skis— there’s no camber underfoot (but I’m an old guy). At least the Rustlers don’t appear to have massive tip taper. I still don’t get what that’s about.
Hey Rob, See- The skialper 2017 guide is on their site. I meant 200g lighter. My 175cm Superguide 105’s weigh 1482g/ ea. So they’re about 200g lighter than the 178cm ZG 108. I stoked on the SG 105’s but have not skied them yet.
My Wagner’s are new school with an elongated powder tip like a waterski. They’re very surfy ski but are very torsionally stiff and carve hard snow very well and are super damp with all the carbon toe that is wrapped around the in the double helix pattern. I’ve toured them a bit on Red Mountain pass and Bear Creek but they’re generally a bit heavy for touring. The Superguide on the other hand…I can’t wait for snow!
Guys, thanks for supporting SkiAlper, they’re the right place for comprehensive binding tests as they’ve got the resources, and are in Europe where most bindings are much more available. I’d love to do huge full-range industry tests as well, but I’d have to quit skiing to have enough time. I’ll keep my approach of doing some testing, oriented to bindings we review and use.
I know from insiders that SkiAlper providing their content online has been difficult. Don’t hesitate to pay for it if you want the information.
Ack, as usual…pilot error on my end! I’ll buy the Skialper guide today! Working on avalanche curriculum edits…so there’s my procrastination strategy–a new buyer’s guide, a credit card…and my kids at school. Gosh, my wife is an understanding soul…
Lou–we should devote some time to the Kreuspitze binding…the hut-keeper at Sorcerer last year (bigger dude, 180ish) had ’em mounted on a carbon Megawatt and wasn’t shy about throwing them around. Crazy light binding with release…seemed like a beefed up Dyna Superlite 2.0….man, beautiful binding.
For what it’s worth, I’m not knocking tip taper. Like I said, I don’t understand it. But I’ve noticed that the skis I’ve tried with this characteristic don’t really appeal to me. Who knows why.
Also fwiw, I’d really like to see some disinterested but technically competent person with access to lots of gear get ahold of some good test equipment, start testing every set of bindings/boots they can get their hands on, and reporting the results. Let the chips fall where they may. (And more kudos to Skialper. Last years gear guide was really interesting.)
Rob and Lou- Rob, I’m with you on the Kreuzspitze bindings. I have some SCTTT and am buying some GT this season. I really like there stuff. They also have some great accessories like a crampon attached ski brake that’s easily removable for touring when you might not want it.
I’m a big fan of Skialper and the level of testing that they do, not just in bindings but also skis and boots. It’s the most comprehensive work in the biz. For instance the Scott Superguide 88 hardy even gets a notice hear in the states but Skialper gave it ski of the year in the touring category because of it’s well rounded and very versatile nature.
See- I think the long tip taper shines in rockered or early rise tip skis in deeper snow, where they tend to help the ski pop up and out of the snow..
Superguide 88 is in our Ultimate Quiver 2017-2018. Such a fine plank. Lou
Lou- After reading the Skialper review of them (and selling off my Dynafit FR10’s) I want a pair of the SG 88! It looks to do it all very well. Funny I don’t; see them on the Scott US website this year.
Yeah, hasn’t it been out for a few years? I don’t remember when they first released… they might have a new model. Ski companies like to do that; make something good then stop making it (smile). Lou
Well, this thread has cost me over the last 18 months. Following feedback above in May 16 I ended up with Salomon mtn Explore 95’s rather than the Zero G 95’s and that was best for me. Worked out well for me last season
In search of a slightly smaller, lighter ski for longer tours, and to carry while climbing in the alps, I have been pondering the Superguide 88’s for a month or two to partner some bargain Dynafit tlt7 boots. Saw the last 2 posts and couldn’t resist. The skis and skins arrive Friday, the Dynafit Superlites to be fitted Monday.
Happy to provide feedback from a plodder during the winter.
Thanks for the explanation of tip taper, Allan. If it works, that’s great, but it seems to me that reducing surface area in the tip would tend to reduce the ski’s ability to resist diving. I wonder if it has something to do with making big boards ski shorter on hard snow. But (again), I don’t really get it.
Lou- Yeah the SG95 and SG88 came out 3 years ago. The SG95 is on v3 cosmetics. SG105 is on it’s v2 cosmetics. Scott hasn’t quit making the SG88, the latest v3 cosmetic of them is for sale in Europe. I saw them on the Telemark Pyrenees site. Scott is just not bringing them over here to the states probably because they think all we want are big fat free-ride boards over here.
See- I really don’t see the tapered (waterski) tip profiles as having a reduction in surface area. Most of the tapered tips are actually longer in profile than more traditional tip profiles. So when skiing powder and submersing the skithese longer tips along with the early rise or tip rocker tend to help the ski rise out of the snow as opposed to dive.
You are correct in the fact that the rocketed tip and tail with camber underfoot geometry help to make big boards ski much shorter on hard pack. The tapered tip on these skis is more about how they ski in soft snow
Isn’t it ironic that infolow up my last post bitching about Scott not bringing the SG88 over to the states wit this post about big skis with rockered tapered tips? ?
Thanks Allan. Re. skinny skis: SG 88’s look to have a lot more sidecut than FR10’s. I’m curious about how newer narrow skis (with moderate rocker and a lot of sidecut) will work for spring steeps compared to old school skis like the FR10’s. (I replaced my old Mustagh Ata’s with Zero G 95’s and am pretty happy with the 95’s. The additional surface area is nice when things warm up.)
See- Yes the SG88 has a much bigger shovel than the FR10 (which your MA had the same side-cut) and side-cut yielding a shorter turn radius than the FR10. The FR10 was a great hard snow and variable conditions ski. The last tour I did with it was the Dana couloir off of Tioga pass on a week old, 12″ snow fall in June. The ski just literally leapt out of the snow that day and the turns were very memorable. My FR10’s went to a younger gal in the NW who is just getting into BC skiing, so they’ll give her some room to grow on them.
According to Skialper the SG88 has the same attributes as i remember in the FR10 but will most likely be qicker turning and have better float in the pow than the FR10. I have not skied them yet but maybe Lou can chime in on their qualities since he is a big fan of them. If I do but them I may buy them in the 168cm vs the 178cm which would be a nice compliment to my 178cm ZG95 and 175cm SG105. BTW I’m 5′-7″, 145 lbs. Thoughts on this.
You’re skiing the ZG95 in the 185cm correct?
Lou- Is your Ultimate Quiver 2017-2018 article up on the site yet? I searched for it but did not find it. Saw your binding version.
Hi Allan, not up yet, I’ll try to get something up soon, probably just a simple list. Lou
I have the good fortune to have 2 new pair of skis. but can only afford to keep one. which one would you keep? BD Route 105 or K2 Wayback 104 ? Greg in Bozeman
Funny you should mention Dana couloir, Allan. The last time I skied there was May of 2016 on some Hannibal 100’s. Snow was mighty sparse and conditions weren’t pleasant. I really should have been on the Mustagh Ata’s that day, but a week of tagging rocks had pulled out an edge underfoot.
I weigh about 175 and I’m on 178 Zero G 95’s. These are my current spring skis and I’m very happy with them. They have enough area to make overcooked corn fairly enjoyable and enough stiffness for Dana and such. Also, their pretty straight. (I’m on 185 Zero G 108’s for soft snow.)
And for mellow soft snow touring I really like the Hannibals, but they’re not the right tool for steep, narrow, hard and bumpy.
Yeah the Dana is a fun ski with great views and you can get a great rhythm in there! I like climbing it from the gate sweepbaround up and over the top to the couloir. I’ve got some shots from that ski. I’ll post a link to a couple if I can figure nd them.
I really don’t need the SG88 with my ZG95 and now SG105. Tests a pretty good BC combo and I have a Voile Buster 118UF in 176 drilled like the 95 and 105. The SG88 is a betttr hard snow tool than the ZG95 the 95’s idboretty darn good though.
Climbing the couloir is good for checking out conditions, but not so fun when others are coming down while you’re going up.
Yes climbing it to check conditions if you’re unsure of them. Its also good to inspect the SE facing pitch off of the summit as it rolls over into the couloir and gets the early sun hit which can create problems in the couloir. Here’s a couple shots fro that day with the week old 12″ snowfall on a mid June day. Someone had climbed and skied it solo the day before we got to it.
Greg- I’d chime in and comment on your choices but I know nothing about these skis. They both make good skis, maybe Lou or someone else could help out.
I’ll take $575 for the pair I don’t keep. local pick up preferred, or ask me for a shipping quote to your place. – – – previously posted. sorry I forgot the sale parts – I have the good fortune to have 2 new pair of skis. but can only afford to keep one. which one would you keep? Black Diamond Route 105 or K2 Wayback 104 ? Greg in Bozeman
Lots of great info here, thanks. I am comparing/contrasting the Zero G 95 with the Vapor Svelte and the Movement Alp Tracks 94. All three of these skis meet my weight criteria and get good reviews. Does anyone have thoughts about specific differences to help me decide?
Well my buddy that is a Scott rep found me a pair of the 16/17 SG88 in 178cm. Needless to say I’m fired up about adding this ski to my BC quiver. This will be the ski for firmer conditions, it will compliment my 178, ZG95, 175, SG105 and 176 Voile Buster. I better not forget about my 173 Voile V6BC. I probably ski this more than anything as it’s my eastern BC ski with a light TTS bindings that I ski with older F1’s. It’s an incredibly efficient touring set up especially with skins.
Hey Steven, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of those skis really. The ZG95 and Alp Tracks would probably be most versatile. The Bizzard is the porker here, if you can call a 1300g ski porkey! 😉
I know this review is a bit older but it’s still relevant since Blizzard did not change an already great construction layup and side cuts of the original Super G’s. I forgot to post this last spring after i skied it but here’s a link to a photo of the Husume Couloir after I skied it with the ZG95 at the end of last March.
Any advice? : I’m moving on from 180cm voile vectors which I’ve loved but are getting beat up and I’m retiring them as my resort ski. Expert skier 185 lbs 5’10.5 in continental snowpack side of nw British Columbia with a penchant for short radius turns at moderate to slower speeds and more skinning then slaying the down. Looking at bmt 94 (availble used in 186) or blizzard zero g 95 in 178 (on sale) . Even though I’m rather more portly than I was 20 yrs ago and often do self support multi day base camp trips (heavy pack on way in and out) I feel like 186 would be too long in the bmt and the 178 blizzard 95s just right. Am I wrong in that assessment? Are the zero g’ 95 and bmt 94 equal choice?
haven’t skied the BMT, but knowing Volkl, it’s a great ski. that said, took my ZeroG95s to Canada for a full week this year, now surviving weird weather/funky snow in the Alps at the moment–it does everything and it’s a great ski. i’m 5’10”, 160, find the ZeroG95 far more versatile than the 85 and much more stable. haven’t skied the 108–but everyone loves it, too!
Aaron, Like Rob states the ZG95 is a great, very versatile ski and it’s light. I owned a 180 Vector and it was a good ski. The Vector has a little more tip rise than the ZG95 but I still find the ZG95 planes up nicely in pow. The ZG95 is lighter, has more torsional stiffness and is a better hard snow ski than the Vector. I have not skied the BMT94 but I know some folks that really like it. The BMT94 is a full rocker ski and Volkl has moved away from full rocker to camber/ tip/ tail rocker in their newer BC skis. The ZG is lighter and holds quite well on hard snow. I also have a Scott Superguide 88 that is a great ski in the same class as these skis and they also make a SG95 as well as a SG105. All are good and versatile skis.
Agreed, Allan, impressive edge hold in the ZG95 and equally surprising soft-snow performance. We just had 40cm in the Vallee Blanche and I was psyched on the up and down! Those Scott skis are popular, too, and garner good review in the 2018 Skialper review.
Good choices! RC
Rob, I’ve had some time on both my 178cm SG88 and 175cm SG105 and I’m having a hard time finding any weaknesses in them. Comparing the SG’s to the ZG95 I’d say they are not as lively as the Zero G’s are but have incredible edge grip. Lou really likes the SG88! I had an area day lwith 20cm of new over corduroy on the 105’s and they were very fun. When I really laid them over carving hard they just ripped the firm corduroy underfoot but popped out easily when I released them. I’m glad I bought the SG105 vs the ZG108 for me at my size and weight 5’7″ 140lbs.. I would have bought the 171cm ZG108 and wanted a little longer sk, so kind of in between sizes on the 108i. Plus I think the ZG108 is even stiffer than the SG105.
Lots of great skis to choose from!!
It’s funny that you hardly see any of the Scott SG skis over here in the states. They are not really on the map here but where you are now is a different story for them. Scott just does not have a big ski presence in the US.
I know…surprising–they deserve to be out there in the US!
Borrowed a friend’s pair of zg 95 185 today for some demo on the ski hill (15 cm pow, chopped pow, minor sun crust under pow, moguls and groomed). Crazy light, feel too long for me. Skis nicely on groomed and powder, feels hooky in any breakable suncrust under powder and harder to carve around in chop relative to my vectors. Likely too long and perhaps needs detuning but I feel like a touch more early rise would help.
I’ve got to wrap my head round moving from a quiver of one to two though with one light ski mountaineering ski and one powder oriented touring set-up.
With a torsional rigid edge-hold ski, tune is huge… good you did a demo, can you get in more than one day? Lou
I’ll chime in that the ZG’s ski “truer” to length than some of the other boards out there. The early rise is more subtle, so the ski feels more full-length to me than some others i’ve ridden in the recent past. It’s also a bit less surfy/forgiving because of this….but I still find it really capable in chunder/chop/broken snow….If you’re accustomed to more rocker/rise, it might feel unruly at first?
Aaron, It sounds like the ski may be a bit longer than you want it. The 178cm would probably be a better choice. Having owned both the Vector in a 180cm and the ZG in a 178cm the ZG is stiffer overall and has a little less tip rocker and tip rise than the Vector. It’s stiffness is also much greater in the fore-body and tail as compared to the Vector. It’s also much more torsion-ally stiff. So it’s going to ski longer than the Vector as Rob states.
I also de-tuned the tips and tails of the ZG where they turn in and up from the cambered area. I also had to flatten the shovel and tail a bit in the tune. They were slightly railed on the ends which can make them feel hooky if they are not flattened out on the ends. A good tune makes skis ski as they should so consider that as Lou states.
Thanks for the input Rob, Allan and Lou, very helpful. I can see from your input that tuning and shorter length make sense to address my concerns (though I have no experience with the effects of tuning). They seem like perfect ski mountaineering skis but I’m still scratching my head on what my quiver looks like over the next couple of years as I’ve never had more than one ski and the vector is the most modern ski I’ve ever been on :).
I bias towards lighter gear focused on ease of uphill effort and my local snowpack is highly variable. Boot top powder is exceptional, dust on crust, sastrugi, windslab and breakable wind crust normal for mid season. I want to increasingly focus on long traverse or ski mountaineering days but also do a lot of multi day self support base camps. I also live 2.5 hours from the coastal mountains and Shames coop ski hill and want to put in more powder touring days.
In a perfect world where I had more cash a 3 ski quiver of light stiff mountaineering ski (20%), ~100+mm light camber more heavily rockered daily driver (60% use) and a 115+ powder (20%). However, a 2 ski quiver is more likely and not sure yet on where to anchor and which end of the spectrum is the specialized ski.
I’m being tempted back to the middle thinking going Canadian with a Findr102 and ZED as my main driver and seeing if I am drawn towards light or fat after that. The zg95 sure is tempting but it would end up being the daily driver touring ski and I wonder if my traditional routes are leading me astray. If I went with something like a Findr102 I could see a ~80mm ski in the mid horizon as a true skimountaineering rig.
The Findr series is G3’s version of the Zero G’s and Superguides. You anchor has to be versatile. But depending on your most prevalent snowpack that could be the Zero G 95 or 108 or the Superguide 95 or 105 or the Findr 94 or 102. They would all do the all around job well depending on the slant of the skiing. I personally would go wider. I’m skiing the SG105 and that works for me. I think the Blizzards are a little stiffer in the tips than the Superguides and the Findrs which makes them a little more forgiving going in. For me my bet is on the SG105 and 88, soft snow hard snow combo is the ticket for me. I have the ZG95 which I ski tele tech/ NTN so I’ll probably relegate it to that style. It’s a great all around ski.
I also just tested a friend’s DPS wailer tour 1 106 and it was buttery smooth. I’m leaning now to mid 100s more forgiving rocker and flex paired with a <90mm for spring. My vectors are the fattest ski I've ever owned so I really don't have the experience to choose informed. Good to try a models out.
Oops, I meant that the Zero G are more demanding initiating the turns or going in because they’re stiffer upfront. Really though I think we’re splitting hairs sometimes.
The Wailer 106A is way heavier than the title skis but they’re touted as great all arounders.They’re almost a pound heavier per ski than my SG105. The tour 1 versions of the DPS skis are good soft snow skis but not anywhere close in overall performance to the others mentioned here. The DPS have more rocker generally so they’ll be more forgiving. You should ski the Suprguide105 before deciding but make sure it’s tuned, they’re pretty railed out of the wrapper.
Guys, you help is needed: I just bought ZG85s from 15/16 season on a closeout (in every review they wrote it is the same as 16/17 version) and they’re all fine expect the minimal camber they have (3-4 mm?). That’s really flat for what you write is a traditionally cambered ski. Wondering if I should recall them.
Sounds ok to me…, but I do not know the factory specification, the pair we have here have about that per ski… Lou
My ZG95 have about the same camber which is about right for these skis. I don’t think I’d want anymore camber as they’re all pretty firm in flex.
My ZG 85s (from 2 years ago) also had pretty minimal camber. I like how they ski, no issues. Really good spring ski for how light it is.
Just down from a week chasing/dodging storms in Italy/France/CH…wow, wild few weeks!
Anyway, loved the ZG95 in just about everything except totally upside-down 60cm on the Gran Paradiso. Would’ve preferred a “surfier” ski like a Helio, wider Mtn Lab, etc…
But…..everywhere else, slushy in Verbier, cold/dry on the Rosablanche, corduroy in LaThuile….they’re awesome.
Love to try a Superguide, but just haven’t found the time. And the G3, too. Tried the El Hombre a few years ago and I wasn’t the pilot for them…love to see what’s changed with that brand.
Anyway, sunshine, crocuses, and glide cracks in the valleys, cold/dry up high, and back to Colorado Monday. Spring!
Hey everyone, we just had a pretty bad comment spam attack, had to change the challenge question below, please note the change. Thanks, Lou
Rob, Wow 60cm must have made some challenging guiding conditions. So inverse conditions, wet /heavy warm on cold dry? The Alps sound like they’re pretty loaded.
I’ve also found that in deep snow the ZG 95 could almost use a rear bias mount to keep the tips up You should try the SG105, it’s a keeper for sure. I’m sure Scott has some in the W/H in SLC. What boots were you guiding on in Europe?
Lou, Thats sucks!!
By the end of the couple days up there, we’d rec’d 80cm total with another 60 forecast! It was craziness…indeed, heavy/warm over less dense atop a 7cm melt-freeze rain crust, then 60-90 rain-soaked grains beneath that. Yikes! We bailed when we got some sun…fled to Verbier!
I’m skiing the TLT6 with the ZeroG’s…occasionally in very firm snow I’ll ski the boots with the tongues…but generally I ski them without…I’ve grown accustomed to the softer front flex and stiff lateral feel (they’re the carbon TLT’s)…love the set up!
I will try the Scotts at some point. Just hefted a pair in Snell Sport this evening—light! Felt a tiny bit stiffer than the ZeroG?
Those conditions you described sound like a loaded bomb, good to bail on that and out of harms way.
That seems like a well matched boot and ski set up. I think with the ZG108’s and SG105’s and wider skis like them that they need some boot to drive them. Your TLT6C with the tongues would probably work well. I’ve got Mtn Labs and Procline Carbon and mostly have skied the 105’s with the Mtn Labs but that’s a lot of boot to lug over long hauls and big vert. I can ski them with the Proclines but I can’t charge as hard down.
The SG’s definitely have softer tips than the ZG’s but they seem as stiff in the middle and tails. A friend has a 178cm ZG108’s and they’re 200g heavier and stiffer than my 175cm SG105 overall. Both are great skis but for me at 140 lbs. I’m happier with the Scott.
I also had to spend quite a bit more time hand tuning both (88 & 105) my Scott SG’s vs the Blizzard ZG95 I have. The Scotts were railed the whole length of the ski and the Blizzard was railed mainly in the tip/ shovel and tail so they were easier to flatten.
Have any of you skied any of the Faction Prime series 1.0 to 3.0? They’re build sounds good and they look pretty cool with their unique rocker profile.
Re. the Factions… nice looking skis. Seems like bcomp balsa/flax cores are taking over the high end touring ski world.
My buddy was skiing a Faction board…and man, he made it look good. He’s a better skier than me, though!
My ZG’s arrived in “good shape” according to the ski tech in Boulder…so I took his word for it. On Colorado snow, though, man…it’s so variable I’m not sure I’d notice a sub-par tune!
Packing for the return home today…sunshine to the summit of Mont Blanc…we should’ve heli-bumped up there and took a lap!
Hey ALLAN about your set-up you mentioned in a post further above:
“I bought a pair of the 16 Zero G 95 in 178cm last January from a friend that reps Blizzard. I mounted them with the Meidjo 2.0 tele binding (1612g/ ski) and ski them with the Scarpa TX Pro.”
I also telemark and I’ve been riding for 2 years on Brahma 166cm mounted with Meidjo 2.0 in the center and also with SCarpa TX. I like them but it’s to heavy for touring. Now I’m looking into a one light ski do it all kind of set-up that is as close as possible to being pretty good in all kinds of conditions.
So I’m looking into the 164cm ZG 95 since they seem to be a great option but I hardly found anybody who have mounted them telemark to ask advices. I have a couple questions for you.
Since there seems to be a consensus that you have to work a little harder to drive them, depending of the conditions, can my weight be a factor? I’m not heavy at 135 Lbs, but I’m strong for my bodyweight and a pretty good telemarker. So do you think my low weight will be a problem to drive those skis.
Also where have you mounted your Meidjo on them? Center, or back? Your thoughts on that, since I will have to drill 13 holes in them I would like to do it only one time.
There is a possibility that I get my hands on a used pair that were mounted alpine. So drilling a lot of holes with the Meidjo plus having a bunch of other holes already drilled, will it be to much and be a problem. Also if I can reuse some holes already drilled, will it be a problem because of the pulling force with telemark bindings and I shouldn’t be doing that?
Thanks for your help.
I have my ZG95-178cm’s drilled for the Meidjo 2.0 (13 holes) and the Kreuzspitze TeleAlp plate which is a TTS style binding plate using the G3 6 hole tele pattern. The hole patterns do not interfere with each other. The beauty of this for me is that I can ski my ZG95’s with either the Meidjo/ TX Pro or Kreuz TTS/ TXP or 2012 green F1’s as tele or use my adapter plates and mount the Kreuz SCTT tech binding and ski them AT with my Procline Carbon or MTN Lab boots.
I mounted my ZG95’s boot center to ski center for both AT and tele. The embedded titinal plates provide good binding screw reinforcement for the Meidjo and 6 hole TeleAlp plates. I use Bindng Freedom inserts to really anchor them all into the ski.
I also combine the Kreuz SCTT low tech heels with the Meidjo to make a great Tele-Alp combo. You can ski them free heel and lock them down if needed in poor snow or if you’re tired or if you wan to just rip alpine turns with the heels locked.
I’d suggest the ZG95 in a 171 or the Scott Superguide 95 in a 168 or the Faction Prime 2.0 in the size closest to these other skis here. I have not skied the Faction but they sound like and look very nice. The on thing they alll have in common is high torsional stiffness and light weight with the ZG’s being the lightest. I’m 5’7″ and 140 lbs. and have no issues skiing the ZG95 or my SG88 in 178cm. I also ski the SG105 in a 175cm.
Here’s some photo links to my ZG95 binding mounts, plates etc….. let me know if you have questions.
Am very interested in buying a zero g 85 for light and fast touring.
For season 18/19 there is a white and a yellow version in the shops in europe. Do you know of the difference is only the topsheet, or also in stiffness/flex? At first I thought the whiteone it might be a softer womens version, but
The blizzard homepage does not show any difference.
I emailed blizzard, but got no response, so i thought i try here.
Any info is appreciated.
Thanks and greetings from switzerland!
Priy, The difference between the yellow and white ZG 85 is just color.
The white and the yellow are the same ski just different color options. The white would be better from an anti-icing standpoint on the tips and tails being white in color.
Many Thanks Allan!
So it shall be the white then.
Wow, the best and most informative review I’ve read of these skis. And I’m super excited to see (a) all the Q&A and request for advice, AND (b) that this has recently been responded to.
My current BC skis are some ’16 Salomon Q96’s (172L x 95w) with some Dynafit Radical ST’s. They do pretty much everything I need them to do, and handle most reasonable powder acceptably well. The “problem”, if you can call it that, is that at 2,250g+ per ski, they’re not exactly lightweight touring skis. I’m looking to pick up something lighter for touring.
I’m really looking at these ZG95’s with some Dynafit Speed Radicals to shave about 750g per ski. I think I’ll lose about 3% of float (surface area). Based on all the reviews I’ve read, yours included, my concern with the ZG95s is they might require more expertise than I have. I’d say I’m far from an expert, maybe mid-level intermediate or slightly up from there.
Having never seen me ski, and knowing nothing beyond what I’ve just told you, do you think I’d be out of my depth here? Is there another 167-172L, 95-98W, <1300g ski you'd recommend more? That might be more forgiving or "easier" to ski?
Mike, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is more forgiving and floatier than the Zero G 95 (I’ve skied both) but still holds its own on firm snow. Great ski at a small weight penalty.
“Put another way: An inexperienced skier will find happier times with a more forgiving shape/profile.“
What would be the closest ski to the zero G 85 that an intermediate skier would be happier with for ice/crud conditions that’s still in the 80smm range.
Thanks so much for the amazing info!
Owen, The Scott Superguide 88 would be one. I actually have a pair for sale on another site. The Salomon MTN Explore 85 would be another. Let me know if your interested in the SG88 I could get you the link.
The Salomon MTN Explore is certainly a very agreeable ski which I use when saving weight. Good though the ski is, beware the pre cut matching skins (made by Pomona). In 2 years both of mine ripped at the plastic section which joins the skin to the steel fixing. First one replaced by the shop last season, second one going back today. Poor design.
I was raised on stiff straight slalom skis in the 1970s and 1980s. I used my stiff, narrow slalom skis in the powder and packed piste alike.
Started Backcountry last year with the Volkl Nanuq 95, also a fairly stiff and straight ski by today’s standards.
Added a pair of Zero G 85s and lighter boots to my quiver this year. Too soon to render a verdict, but I do appreciate shaving 3-4 pounds per foot with the lighter skis and boots.
So far, they ski pretty well, reminiscent of the joyful days of my youth skiing in Western Austria on my Rossignol Slalom skis with my Austrian instructors.
Still haven’t tried anything with more camber and rocker. Old habits die hard!
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