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Dec 08 2014

Review: BD’s Carbon Convert (2015)

What is it about skis that is so danged exciting? As much as I like to think they are just another utilitarian piece of gear to get me to the goods, the fact is, the sensation of skiing comes primarily from the ski. Everything else is just connecting you to it, although, with tele, the connection system adds to the sensation. Regardless of that petty distinction, the reason skis are such an endearing subject is their contribution to skiing is integral, nay, essential to the experience.

Viva le Carbon Convert - in white. Don't let it out of your sight!

Viva le Carbon Convert – in white. Don’t let it out of your sight!


So even though I like to discount the importance of skis, since any skier worth their salt can and will adapt and elicit a smile from any ski, some skis just do it with a whole lot less effort. They tickle the meter without even trying and you can’t help but giggle in delight after taking ‘em for a spin. Such is how I might describe Black Diamond’s Carbon Convert. In a single word, I’d say, “playful.”

Downhill Chops

Don’t be mistaking these for park skis, but when the snow is deep, and particularly when it’s heavier and thus grabby, or hooky, the Convert eludes that grasp to allow fast, fluid turns. In tight corners, like tightly spaced trees or rocks poking through on a thin snowpack, they were nimble.

On open slopes they held an edge better than anticipated. On super hard ice, well, narrower skis just hold better. They held their own on frozen and polished conditions, but given a bit of texture to the surface, even though hard, the Converts bit in and held fast; at least they did so with training heels. I didn’t have the chance to drill an extra set of holes and ride ‘em free heel. ;)

Of course, in soft snow they were stupidly fun. I mean, you’d have to be stupid to not have fun with these in fluff, but they do pretty darn well in the aged or manky varieties of soft snow too. As for crust, that always depends on the crust and driver skill, not a skis shape, so YMMV in crust. Still, with a waist of 105mm, there are a lot fewer cases of crust that will trip you up and a whole lot more variable stuff you can power through, including the common crud.

Goin’ Up?

Carbon Convert's 3D shape.

Carbon Convert’s 3D shape.

As to uphill capabilities, duh, they’re light, and the tips floated beautifully on my tour, but it wasn’t super light so flotation was easy to achieve. Even though the limits of levitation weren’t stressed the tip has enough early rise, a nice slow rise I might add, that it can’t help but rise with each step and if the snow is so light that these sink in it, then you need to quit complaining you’re in such deep, light fluff, okay? That slow rise means there’s plenty of edge when you want it for carving down spring corn, or windbuff.

If there’s anything I’m not blown away with it’s the rise in the tail. It makes the ski super playful and I like that about it. For my style of skiing, I’d rather have a flat tail though; for two reasons. I prefer rebound at the end of my turn, something a flat tail requires. I can have fun with a flat or rockered tail for turning but a straight tail jams into the snow better, either for stashing your skis in a snow bank, or doing a tail jam at a switchback. With the Carbon Convert, BD straddles the line between too little and too much tail rocker, striking a nice balance between the two. I know I’m not with the majority on this, so don’t take my criticism of the Convert’s tail too seriously, especially if you like tail rocker, and even more so if you don’t know what a tail jam on a switchback is. In fact, if you’re in that camp, you might consider the tail rocker to be too little.

If the weight didn’t tip you off that these skis are meant for going up mountains, perferrably with skins, the metal clip on the tail should, providing a durable notch for climbing skin hooks.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a new pair of skis, skis that can shave a pound or more per pair while maintaining good backcountry performance, not racing on rutted, hosed down courses or making GS turns on ice, then you’ll probably really like these skis.

Oh, and there’s one other thing I like about these skis: their snowy hue. It isn’t that snow might not still collect on the tops of your skis. But on some days, when the wind is blowing and it’s cold and the sun is out but it’s not too intense, dark skis will still collect snow like a vacuum. BD’s line of backcountry skis this year will not, or do so on a lot fewer days than any ski of color will. Viva le Caucasion Carbon Convert, but pray you don’t eject from them on a powder day ‘cuz you’ll pay Hell to find ‘em!

Black Diamond Equipment
Carbon Convert
MSRP: $900

Length
164
172
180
188
Weight/ski
1.3 kg
1.4 kg
1.45 kg
1.55 kg
2 lbs. 14 oz.
3 lbs. 1 oz.
3 lbs. 3 oz
3 lbs. 7 oz.
Dimensions (mm)
131-105-116
132-105-116
133-105-117
134-105-117
Turn Radius
21m
22m
23m
24m

© 2014
 


  • np

    Since BD doesn’t have a good history for claiming accurate weights, can you report the actual weight?

  • Dostie

    I’ll have to get back to you on that since I don’t have a pair handy but I do know where I can weight at least a couple different sizes to see how their published weight compares with the weight in a shop. If you’re counting grams though, there are lighter skis available elsewhere. At a certain point though, is the savings worth the compromise in performance? Depends on your goals, right?

  • Mickey

    I just got a pair of the 188s, which came in slightly under the advertised weight.

  • dave

    Did you prefer the carbon aspect or the carbon convert overall?

  • skier6

    np
    my new 180 cm Carbon Converts (no binding) weigh 1484 grams/ski on my postal scale.

    1863 grams/ski with Dynafit Speed Turn bindings. Incidentally I skied them at the resort today on some icy runs . They held quite well on the ice /hard snow at moderate speeds.

  • Dostie

    My preference has been sub-100mm for a long time, so my preference was for the Carbon Aspect over the Convert. Most BC skiers I know prefer something in the 100-110 range, but they also tend to lock their heels and I don’t.