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Posts Tagged ‘Black Diamond Justice’

Black Diamond 2010 Ski Comparison – Megawatt vs. Justice vs. Zealot

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Back in February I was lucky enough to get to demo the entire 2010 Black Diamond Power Series Ski line. Now that we have all of these skis in the shop for a side by side comparison I thought it would be a good time to update my reveiws a bit and answer a few common questions about how the skis compare. I’m going to focus on the three newest (and biggest) models in the line the Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot. I have skied the Verdict and Kilowatt as well so if you have any questions about how they compare feel free to ask. Overall the entire Power Series lineup is awesome, and compares well to the offerings from any major ski manufacturer.  If you haven’t tried BD skis or still see them as only suitable for tele skiing or superlight long distance touring; do yourself a favor and demo a pair, they will change your mind in a hurry.

Black Diamond 2010 Power Series Skis

Black Diamond 2010 Power Series Skis

The Megawatt was new for the 08/09 season and aside from spiffy new blue graphics, is largely unchanged for the 09/10 season. BD says that the tip is stiffer and that they have optimized the fiberglass layup but I don’t think either of these changes will significantly effect the way they ski. There is no reason to change what was already one of the most versatile powder skis on the market. Although its waist dimensions (125mm@188 and 120mm@178) are squarely in the ultra-fat ski range and the huge rockered tip provides as much float as anyone would need, these are surprisingly usable all over the mountain. They may not be the most fun ski on hardpack, but they won’t have you heading to the car to switch skis when your local resort is tracked out by lunch. They have minimal camber underfoot and a large 42m turning radius which makes them very comfortable making big turns through variable snow and the big rockered tip makes them easy to maneuver in tight spaces in deep snow. That big rockered tip gives it the surfy/smeary feel in powder that makes people fall in love with powder specific designs.  These are also great for touring in soft snow, the tip makes it easy to break trail in deep snow and the regular camber underfoot provides good grip when skinning. Also the 188 weighs only 10lb 4oz per pair, surprisingly light for such a big ski. I reccomend the new BD Ascension split skins for these because regular skins get very  heavy when they have this much surface to cover.

2010 Black Diamond Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot Rocker and Camber Profile Shot

2010 Black Diamond Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot Rocker and Camber Profile Shot

The Justice is an all new ski for 2010 and has been getting quite a bit of attention from the ski community. It is a hybrid of the powder specific geometry and shape of the Megawatt in a lighter and more all mountian package. At 115mm under foot it fits nicely in the line in between the 120-125mm Megawatt and the 110mm Zealot. It has more camber, a little more sidecut and much more subtle rocker than the Megawatt. They kept most of the characteristics that make the Megawatt a great ski and put them a package that is more usable for people that want something they can ski everyday. It will be great for people that want a ski that is great in powder and usable all over the mountain, but don’t need an ultra-fat like the Megawatt. Like the Megawatt, the shorter length is perfect for most ladies and smaller guys. Don’t be afraid if 175 is longer than you are used to skiing, the tip rocker makes them feel short and they are very light and easy to ski. The Justice also will be the ski of choice for backcountry skiers that love the shape of the Megawatt but want a lighter ski to take on longer tours. The 185 Justice weighs only 9lbs 7oz per pair and has only a slight kick tail not a full twin tip, making it ideal for touring.

2010 Black Diamond Skis, Profile Shot of Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot

2010 Black Diamond Skis, Profile Shot of Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot

The Zealot has been in the BD line for a while, but the 2010 version gets a significant makeover. Still available in 182cm or 192cm and 110mm at the waist, for 2010 they softened the ski up a bit and added some subtle rocker to the tip. The result is probably the most versatile ski I’ve ever ridden. It will rule the resort in all conditions and be light enough to take anywhere. It’s got a much more traditional camber profile than either the Megawatt or Justice through the body of the ski which makes it feel very lively. You can definitely feel the camber in the tail compared to the other two skis, these want to snap from turn to turn and carve on hard snow compared to the Megawatt and Justice which are content to slide and smear around. I didn’t notice the tip rocker at all on hardpack but it was very noticeable in soft and variable snow. They just charged through crud and didn’t feel hooky at all in variable snow. They don’t quite have that powder specific floaty/smeary feeling that the Megawatt and Justice do in pow, but this is a different type of ski. It’s much more of an all around big mountain ski versus the other two which are more on the powder specific end of the spectrum. Incidentally the 182cm Zealot weighs 10lb 4oz per pair, exactly the same as the 188cm Megawatt. Light enough to tour on but by no means an ultralight ski, these feel solid and powerful in any snow conditions.

2010 Black Diamond Megawatt, Justice, and Zealot Rocker Profile
Megawatt, Zealot, and Justice with ski straps around the waist to show weighted rocker profile

Megawatt, Zealot, and Justice with ski straps around the waist to show weighted rocker profile

Black Diamond 09/10 Preview

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

09/10 BD Skis. Megawatt in blue on the left. Profile shot of Justice (red) and Zealot (green)

I was lucky enough to get to demo a lot of new 09/10 skis at Alpine Meadows this past wednesday and thursday. The conditions weren’t great for testing powder skis, but we managed to find some soft slushy snow on wednesday and some chalky lines with a dusting of new snow on thursday. I tried most of next years Black Diamond power series as well as a bunch of skis from other manufacturers.

The standout of the demo for me was the new BD Zealot 182. The Zealot has been in the BD line for a few years now, but the changes for next years model make it feel like an all new ski. It has the same stiff flex, minimal sidecut, and 110mm waist as the previous model, but BD added a long, low rise, rockered tip that really makes this ski stand out. The ski flat out rips, it would be a great one ski quiver for Tahoe. The stiff flex and minimal sidecut charge through crud, and the rockered tip keeps the ski on top of heavy slush and other soft snow. It skis more like a traditional big mountain ski compared to the Megawatt and Justice, but the rockered tip eliminates any hookiness in variable snow or crust and keeps it on top of the pow.  I skied the Zealot in both 182 and 192, the 192 skis like a stiff 190+ ski even with the rockered tip and would be a perfect ski for 200+ lb guys who like to ski fast in all conditions, but was a little much for me in tight spaces and steep bumps. The 182 felt absolutely perfect for me at 6′ and 175lbs even though I usually ride skis in the 185-190cm range, it will most likely be on my feet for most of next season.

09/10 Black Diamond Zealot

09/10 Black Diamond Zealot

Another of my favorite skis from the demo is the new Black Diamond Justice. Its basically a narrower version of the Megawatt. It has a  rockered tip, 115mm waist and pintail shape. It has less rocker or early rise in the tip than the Megawatt and slightly more than the new Zealot. It is perfect for those that think that the Megawatt may be a little too much to handle or too specific to soft snow. This is also a softer and lighter ski than the Zealot, and I think it will excel in soft snow in the backcountry. They are perfectly manageable on hard snow, but they really came alive for the few turns when I found some soft snow. Not to say they felt bad on hardpack, they were very predictable and manageable which is much better than some rockered designs that can be scary on firm snow. In the soft they felt very surfy and like they could make any size turn you felt like making, its a feeling that I personally love. The 175 size should be a perfect powder ski for ladies and smaller guys. Don’t be afraid if 175 is longer than you usually ski, they are very light, maneuverable, and easy to ski all over the mountain.  This is a powder ski that you can ski every day and the people that are lucky enough to get a pair next year are going to be in for a treat. UPDATE 10/15/09: All of these skis are now in stock and ready to ship! Its going to be a GREAT winter!

09/10 Black Diamond Justice

09/10 Black Diamond Justice

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