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Mar 02 2015

Review: Blizzard’s Zero G

Last week I managed to get out on Blizzard’s Zero G for two days and can confirm they are a worthy contender for next year’s addition to your quiver. The Zero G is Blizzards entry into the lightweight, carbon enhanced backcountry ski category that continues to amaze with skis weighing less than three pounds per ski, but performing like heavier versions. If you’re set with a fat, rockered powder ski but need something more svelte that can handle a variety of conditions, particularly refrozen morning corn or a day under the lifts with week-old scratchy hard pack, the Zero G will keep you satisfied.

Zero G 95 from Blizzard - 125-95-105 at 1300g/ski.

Zero G 95 from Blizzard – 128-95-111.5 at 1250g/ski.

My first few runs were on exceptionally well manicured groomers at Sugar Bowl, especially considering how little natural snow has fallen this year. There was the occasional patch of polished ice, some well shaped moguls and heavier, man-made sugar snow. There was no question the Zeros would slice through the junk, and they did, leaving a nice round swath. They didn’t pummel their way though the heavy stuff, as a heavy ski is capable of doing, but they sliced through with no hesitation. In bumps they had a playful energy. Transitions to ice caused the tails to break loose, but that was pilot error, not a deficiency in the ski. Soon as I adjusted my weight the tails held tight. On the runout to the bottom of the run they held a rail while laying down some sweet giant slalom turns going 65 km/hr. Fast, but admittedly not Olympic fast.

On the skin track they float fine when breaking trail and who wouldn’t prefer to wear a ski that weighs less than three pounds (1300 g) per foot. That is the maximum weight per Blizzard’s catalog, or it could be as light as 1200 grams. My postal scale says that’s realistic, measuring 4lbs, 9oz. (2070 g) with a Kingpin mounted, or 5lbs., 6oz. (2440 g) with a Griffin. Subtract the weight of the binding and Blizzard’s numbers appear conservative.

Where the Zero-G comes up short, as its 95mm waist might suggest, is in fresh, light pow. They just don’t float as well as, say a Vector, because they lack much rocker in the tip and tail. There’s enough there that the skis don’t dive, and they release easily at the tail when submerged, but not as easily as the rockered designs we’ve all been spoiled by lately. Unless you’re dealing with more than a foot of fresh, the Zero G will not disappoint you in pow – I mean, what ski really does anyway? In the more common varieties of soft snow, from overripe corn to full on mush, the Zero G gives plenty of float, with a smooth flex that uses Blizzard’s Carbon Drive Technology to add resilience to the wood core while shaving weight, both longitudinally and laterally at the tip and tail. For the few days it is truly blower, you probably have a different ski already in your quiver, wishing there were a reason to be used.

As you would expect with any true backcountry ski, the Zero G comes with notches in the tail for climbing skin hooks. Unfortunately, there are no holes in the tip for converting to a rescue sled.

Overall, highly recommended for those who see the value in a mid-fat ski that isn’t pretending to be fat, rather, it intends to be a reliable partner in a variety of conditions in the quest for adventure with skis. If you want to really shave weight and girth, there’s a narrower version with an 85mm waist, men’s and women’s versions. And for those who disagree with me and want full fat there’s the option of getting a 108mm waisted Zero G.

Zero G 108 - got fat if you want it.  136-108-122mm

Zero G 108 – got fat if you want it. 136-108-122mm

Blizzard
Zero G 95
MSRP: $850
Lengths available: 164, 171, 178, 185 cm
Dimensions: 128-95-111.5 mm
Radius: 21m (178cm)
Weight/ski (178cm): 2 lbs., 14 oz. (1250 g,  ± 50 g )

Zero G 108
MSRP: $950
Lengths available: 171, 178, 185 cm
Dimensions: 136-108-122 mm
Radius: 27m (185 cm)
Weight/ski (178cm): 3 lbs., 12 oz. (1650 g,  ± 50 g)

© 2015

  • Zach Fletcher

    Hi Craig
    I have been out of the Ski game for 7 years but i’m exited to make a come back this year. In my former ski life i was a freestyle coach and backcountry skiers living in Tahoe. I want to bring skiing back into my life with light, long, and fun ski tours that cover lots of terrain. I have a light pair of Teck bindings and a pair of TLT 5 boots. I only want to purchase 1 set up this year and a mid fat ski like the Zero G 95 seems like a good candidate for my goals of light, long, and fun( meaning still will float a bit in the soft snow). I’m also looking at the Fischer Hannibal 95 as
    another midfat under 1300 grams a ski. Do you have any experience or opinion about the differences between the two similar ski’s. What would you go with?
    thanks a ton
    zach

  • Dostie

    Without looking up the relative weights I’d be inclined to go with the Hannibal as my recollection is it was a more versatile ski. Both are light. Just to add confusion, I would also recommend the Volkl BMT94 – probably even more than either of the two you ask about – but it ain’t cheap.

  • Green Caribou

    Any thoughts on the ZeroG 95 vs the Hannibal 94? I am thinking as a versatile all around ski. We don’t get a lot of blower pow in the Pacific NW, but plenty of junk and I want a nimble ski since I tend to ski control with turns and we have a lot of trees.

  • Dostie

    That’s a tough comparison. Age-addled memory suggests the Hannibal is more damp than Zero-G making it more theoretically versatile. But my synapses could be inverting the two. ;)

  • Green Caribou

    From what I’ve found from various sources that seems to be accurate. The main knock I’ve seen on the ZeroG is that they are so stiff they get knocked around in chunky snow instead of rolling with it. The word is that the Hannibal is more even-flexing. I ordered the Hannibal (Vipec binding and Cosmos II boot). I’ll report back when I get to use it. :)