The tale of the Black Pearl 98 is instructive on several levels. On the construction front, this Pearl has been through several phases, including periods when it was a direct copy of a men’s model. It still uses the same tool as the unisex Bonafide – perhaps the greatest all-terrain ski ever – but Blizzard switched to a Women’s Specific Design (WSD) a couple of seasons ago. What’s notable is that the model that most closely matched the Bonafide was a flop, but the WSD Pearl 98 is so well-balanced women want to take it everywhere. The current Black Pearl 98’s became a couple of steps quicker last year when it adopted a tighter sidecut with an earlier contact point. Along with the weight savings from WSD, its new, deeper sidecut makes the Black Pearl 98 feel narrower and consequently quicker edge-to-edge.
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