Thanks for this review of the Blizzard Black Pearl 2012 and also the Blizzard Viva8.1 IQ Max 2012. I am a hard-charging skiier about your size and age and ski very aggressively while always aiming to improve despite skiing for more than 30 years now... I've been on Volkl G20 men's skis in 178cm for the past 12 years now and have always skiied men's skis as I couldn't stand the "concessions" to us girls. Alas, it's time to buy a new pair and I feel like a couple of these women's skis are worth exploring. I tried the Black Pearls yesterday and had a lot of fun, they put a big grin on my face. I found they started to chatter though a my normal rate of speed, although maybe that due to downsizing to 166cm.
I'm wondering if you care to do a quick compare/contrast of the Black Pearls vs. the Viva 8.1 for me. Also, curious if you've tried the Volkl Kenja and what you'd say about them up against the two Blizzards.
So you say you're at the 2013 show. Seriously, I can wait until next fall to buy at this point. What do I need to know? Buy one of these two Blizzards (or Kenja) or wait for 2013?
Thanks so much!
P.S. my view on the graphix-- aggressive, kick-ass women skiiers will like it as long as the skis rock too because it matches how they feel going AFTER IT. Mellower, more feminine styles of skiiers maybe not.