Here is what Blizzard says about the Black Pearl 98 (which comes back unchanged for 18/19):
“If you are looking for a ski that can float through powder, bust through chopped up crud or carve on the groomers, the all-new Black Pearl 98 is the ski for you. At 98mm underfoot and featuring Carbon Flipcore W.S.D., the Black Pearl 98 is light and easy with exceptional versatility and performance for any terrain or snow condition you can throw at it.”
Blizzard is clearly going for the one-ski-quiver category with this ski.
On groomers, the ski is incredibly responsive and precise. It is quick to lay over on edge and hold it throughout the turn, even with its short 15 m sidecut radius, it will hold turns and carve large arcs at high speeds. Very stable at high speeds and equally as stable and comfortable at lower speeds on more moderate terrain as at higher speeds and on steeper terrain.
The Black Pearl 98 will accommodate a wide range of skier abilities.
Compared to Blizzard’s new Sheeva 10, the Black Pearl 98 is a bit stiffer throughout, which isn’t surprising given that Blizzard is promoting the Sheeva 10 as more of a fun, playful ski.
Compared to the HEAD Wild Joy, the Black Pearl 98 is noticeably softer in the tips, shovels, and tails, but the Wild Joy is also one of the stiffest skis on the market.