Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Female skiers looking for something they can carve with, as well as those who spend most of their time on-piste in calm, controlled environments.
- Pros: Solid, reliable construction. This ski also gives you quick edge-to-edge and excels at carving. It provides quite a bit of value and has nice stability.
- Cons: Not the best option in deeper snow. Lacks real playfulness and requires quite a bit of work to stay in control. Low versatility as well.
- Alternatives: Faction Dictator 2.0X, Rossignol Soul 7, Volkl Secret 92
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these skis by looking at their traits, breaking down each unique feature, and talking with people who used them first hand.
The Black Pearl 88 is a decent ski that performs well on freshly groomed snow. It has a solid shape and unique construction, two characteristics that add to the overall performance. You’re going to need to focus if you want to properly control the ski, which may turn some people off, but it will give you excellent stability if you put in the work. This is one of the best carving options for those who already know how to carve, but it lacks some key versatility.
The Black Pearl 88 utilizes a special Flipcore technology that gives you reliable stability as long as you’re consistently moving forward at the start of each turn. While that’s good, it also means that you’re going to lose some of that stability if you decide to relax or shift to the sweet spot. You need to stay aggressive with these.
Something else to note is that the ski doesn’t quite seem to hold up for larger skiers. While lighter riders will have no issues with the force or power, those who weigh a bit more might not be able to get the control they want. Even so, most riders will receive good results as long as they work hard to stay on top of the skis.
There are few female-designed skis that can touch the Black Pearl 88 when it comes to carving. While this is not the choice for those that want to try and butter across the snow, it’s fantastic when it comes to digging in and holding an arc. This is not the ski you break out when you want to navigate through the trees or hit the terrain park. It’s what you use when you want to swoop around at higher speeds.
That being said, as noted with the stability, the Pearl 88 is a ski that requires some work to properly use. You can carve well, but only more experienced will be able to get the most from the Pearl 88’s. Even so, once you get the hang of the model you’ll be able to carve with the best of them. Just note that the 15m turn radius is a bit misleading. This ski, while effective, has a bit of a wider radius than advertised.
Construction and Durability
Outfitted with a TrueBlend Flipcore, the Black Pearl 88 features a lot of stringers laid out in a grid format. That then makes the ski much stiffer in key areas, such as around the middle, and softer in areas where you need a softer flex. That stiffness in the middle and softer in the tip and tail is not revolutionary, but it does create a solid construction that I appreciate.
Another part of this area is the Carbon Flipcore WSD construction, which uses a unidirectional carbon-fiber sheet on top of two layers of fiberglass. That takes away some weight. On top of that, the sandwich compound sidewall works wonderfully with the dura-tec to give the pair extra durability and strength throughout the entire design.
Powder and Crud
This is not a ski suited for the deep snow. The 88mm waist has its benefits, but being able to float on powder is not one of them. You might see some good results in around six or so inches, but anything more than that and the ski won’t be able to hold its own. The thin frame simply can’t stay on top, especially when the snow gets really deep.
That being said, the skis do a good job in chunky, off-piste conditions. That’s mainly due to the stability, which helps you stay in control and focused in all sorts of variable terrain. You’ll be able to crash right through uneven snow and you have enough quick turning capabilities to get through and crud.
Price and Value
The Black Pearl 88 is going to give you quite a bit of value, but there are some caveats to that. It has a strong construction, especially in the steel edges, and the overall durability holds up nicely. That being said, it’s not a cheap ski. It also lacks versatility. If you want something that’s mainly for on-piste riding, this is likely worth the price. If you want to spend your money on an all-mountain option
What I Like
If there’s one thing to like about the Black Pearl 88, it’s how well it does in rough, off-piste conditions. Even if it’s not ideal for fresh snow, the ski excels at keeping you stable no matter how crazy the terrain gets underfoot. That’s quite nice for a lighter option and enables you some extra control, even if you aren’t going to use them out of bounds that often.
I’m also a big fan of the general construction. These skis don’t do anything new or special on that end, but they have enough reliability through the wood core to give you key stiffness in the middle and softer things up towards the ends. The materials used here are also top-notch. That’s especially true of the sandwich compound sidewall.
What I Dislike
The Black Pearl 88, while effective in what it does, is a bit limited in scope. It’s great in the resort, and doesn’t quite go beyond that. That’s not a huge issue if you only need that, but I would have liked to see more versatility. Considering the price, you’re paying a good amount for something with limited applications. That never sits well with me. If you want a one-quiver option, it’s best to look elsewhere.
The Black Pearl 88 is a solid ski that might not be for everyone. If you want something similar that branches away in certain aspects, give the following options a look.
- Faction Dictator 2.0X – The Dictator 2.0X is an affordable ski that has amazing stability at higher speeds. The build is high-quality, especially considering the price, and it’s able to take on just about any condition with ease. You’re going to need to work to properly maneuver the model, but if you can handle it, you’ll get good results.
- Rossignol Soul 7 – The Soul 7 (review) is a ski that, unlike the Black Pearl, does a solid job in powder conditions. It’s playful and the stability, while not the best on the market, is more than efficient for most riders. You’re definitely going to have to shell out some money for this one, but the versatility is worth it.
- Volkl Secret 92 – If you’re after a versatile ski, look no further than the Secret 92. This option from Volkl is able to take on a range of conditions, terrain, and locations with ease. Not only that, but it’s easy to operate and a blast to use. The design also makes it nimble and quick, making it an excellent choice for those who need to maneuver.
What is this ski’s turn radius?
The Black Pearl 88 has a turn radius of 15m. However, it does feel a bit wider in practice.
How much does this ski weigh?
The Black Pearl 88 has an average measured weight of 3.5 pounds per ski.
What is the Black Pearl 88’s shape?
This ski has a rocker/camber/rocker profile to increase general handleability.
The Black Pearl 88 is not a bad ski. Though its use is a bit narrow, the lightweight feel and strong edge grip combine with the stability and natural flex to give you a great resort option.
You’re not going to take it off-piste too often, but when you do it has what it takes to handle a lot of different conditions and terrain. If you’re willing to work and don’t mind the lack of versatility, this ski is worth the price.