By: randosteve|Posted on: January 20, 2011|Posted in: Gear, Gear Reviews | 74 comments

Black Diamond ski testing at Snowbird in December.

Not only is Black Diamond now the title sponsor (along with Subaru, click here to read more) of the Freeskiing World Tour, it is stepping up it’s Power Series ski line-up for Fall of 2011 to meet the needs of hardcore skiers as well. With traditional sandwich construction skis (Zealot, Verdict, Warrant, Ember) almost reverse camber  (Gigawatt) and tip-and-tail rocker (Amp, Element ) additions to the lineup, as well as a reduced weight carbon Justice (I’ve been skiing this one for a couple months now) Black Diamond will have a really well rounded selection of skis to choose from no matter where and how you ski.

The biggest addition to the Black Diamond skis of the past is the sandwich construction to a few of the new/revamped models, specifically the popular Zealot and Verdict ski, as well as the replacement for the Kilowatt, called the Warrant. The Warrant will also be offered in a women’s version called the Ember. The Zealot and Verdict will also be made with 3-D metal to increase stabilityblack-diamond-2011-zealot-verdict-warrent-and-ember at speed and dampen the ride, while the Kilowatt/Ember will not have metal, in order to keep the weight down and offer a bit more forgiving ski. I skied both the Zealot and Verdict at Snowbird about a month ago and can attest to the power and edge hold these skis now have. Not that they didn’t have juice before, but the new skis are smoother and are a little less nervous than past versions.

192cm (136-110-125) 10lb 13oz
182cm (135-110-123) 10lb 2oz

190cm (136-102-123) 10lb 2oz
180cm (134-102-121) 9lb 8oz
170cm (132-102-120) 9lb 1oz

188cm (132-95-119) 9lb 1oz
178cm (130-95-118) 8lb 10oz
168cm (128-95-116) 7lb 8oz

Ember (W)
168cm (128-95-116) 7lb 8oz
158cm (126-95-115) 7lb 1oz

LOTS of metal in these 2011 Black Diamond Verdicts.

When I tested these new skis, there was about a 14 inchesof new powder, but I didn’t get on the new Gigawatt, full rocker offering until late in the day. This was the first full-rocker ski I have ever been on, and I came back with a smile. Yeah, they were a little weird on the black-diamond-megawatt-and-gigawattharder snow, but they performed like a hover craft and turned on a dime in the softer cut-up stuff. I don’t really see myself ski touring on the 135mm waisted Gigawatt, but if I were to go heli-skiing or something, it would definitely be the first ski I would reach for. The popular Megawatt gets retooled in flex and an increased running surface, but it also gets more side-cut. Most of these changes come from feedback from some of the athletes who are skiing the Megawatt a lot.

195cm (163-135-141) 12lb 9oz
185cm (163-135-141) 11lb 11oz

188cm (151-125-131) 11lb 4oz
178cm (145-120-126) 9lb 11oz

black-diamond-amp-and-elementDuring the test, I had the most fun skiing the new Amp (Element for the ladies). A full tip-and-tail rocker ski that replaces the Justice in the Power Series line. Offered in three sizes (185,175,165) the Amp should be a great choice for someone looking for a surfy slarver (slash/carver). This was also the first time I’ve skied a tail rocker ski and I was a little worried about how it would feel, but the Amp had enough stiffness built into the tail that it turned and carved quite well. It was a really fun and playful ski.

185cm (142-115-124) 10lb 2oz
175cm (141-115-123) 9lb 8oz
165cm (139-115-123) 9lb 1oz

Element (W)
175cm (141-115-123) 9lb
165cm (139-115-123) 8lb 6oz

black-diamond-carbon-justiceThe biggest news and most relevant to myself, is the placement of the Justice in the Efficiency line (alongside the Drift and Aspect). With addition of some carbon-fiber and a paulownia wood core, BD has managed to reduce the weight of the Justice by a full pound per pair. I’ve been skiing the 175cm carbon Justice (138-111-123) and it comes in at only 8lbs, which is the part I have really liked. I’ve also been surprised at how well the 175cm length holds up to fast and aggressive type skiing (and I weight more than you think), compared to the 185 red Justices of this year. Great performance, at a reduced weight? I’m sold!!!

185cm (140-115-125) 8lb 6oz
175cm (138-111-123) 8lb

The graphics? I’d say you love them, or hate them. The Justice graphic has grown on me over time, though I was originally ho-hum about it, and I like the look of the Zealot and Amp the best out of the rest. To each, his own I guess.