Jul 18 2012

BC Ski Review: Black Diamond’s Revert

Black Diamond’s new crop of skis for the Twelve-13 season are the most shapely backcountry skis they have ever produced. That does not mean they have dramatic changes in the sidecut of the ski, but rather, the whole gamut of ways to shape a ski, including the sidecut but more importantly, the shape of the surface, from subtle to dramatic camber underfoot and mild to wild rocker at the tips and tails.

BD’s Revert, part of their new Free Touring Series of skis. 122-95-110 mm $749

The Revert is an interesting ski in the mid-fat range with a waist width of 95mm. Some may call that low-fat or skinny but here at EarnYourTurns I’m adamant about reining in grade inflation on fat categories. 95mm is wide enough to give plenty flotation in soft snow, without being so wide you can’t hold an edge on firm snow with a binding as neutral as a Switchback or NTN’s Freedom. By comparison, edge hold is not a function of a binding with training heels, but rather the boot.

What sets the Revert apart from many other skis is the slow but fairly dramatic early rise tip and tail. It begins a full 14½” (36 cm) from the tip, and 11″ (28 cm) on the tail, yet the tip and tail don’t rise up much more than many popular twin tipped skis.

The rocker with the Revert is dramatic enough that the effective edge of the ski is noticeably reduced on firm snow so they act like much shorter skis. This makes them turn faster, but they are less stable at speed on hard snow. Based on testing other skis with a similar early rise tip, but without an early rise tail, the apparent shortness of the Revert, on hard snow, comes less from the early rise tip and more from not having much tail to hold on to the turn with.

Testing skis in nature’s most challenging condition – powder!

As soon as there is any depth to the snow surface, the shallowness of the early rise tip and tail allow the Revert to dig in and deliver nice round turns with the same flex and springiness you would expect for a full length traditionally shaped ski. This makes them an excellent backcountry ski where speed is not the norm, but round turns in fresh, soft snow is the goal and without having to lug a widebody up the hill on the skin track. That early rise tip and tail also makes the Revert nimble and less likely to get caught up in the funk and junk of crud snow, making them great for most in-bounds conditions too.

That’s another aspect of the early rise tip and tail, reduced surface area contact for less drag while skinning – or so BD claims. Is it a valid claim? It makes sense and I have little doubt that on an extended flat approach I would appreciate this aspect of an early rise tip and tail. The reality is I only experienced the Revert while skinning uphill. The early rise tip is always appreciated when breaking trail, but since I didn’t do any extended flats I’ll simply agree BD’s claim is theoretically valid, but if you really want gliding efficiency on the flats, you want a skinnier ski, or at least one with a waxless base. ;)

It would be misleading to call this an all-mountain ski, if only for its inability to carve turns on hard snow. It can hold an edge on firm snow, but won’t drive a round turn. However, if you made this a dedicated, soft snow ski it would be great in the backcountry. The early rise tail isn’t so dramatic that you can’t do a tail jam at a switchback on the skin track, and in soft snow these skis make beautiful round turns.

Black Diamond
MSRP: $749
Dimensions: 122-95-110 mm
Lengths available: 165, 173, 181, 189cm
Weight/pr: 7 lbs., 10 oz. (3.46 kg)

© 2012

  • Corser

    Could someone do a comparison of the Revert and the Saint? Those are my top two choices for new skis this fall.  Looking for a lightweight ski, but performs well in most conditions, especially the “sierra cement” and chunky mashed potatoes.  Any experience with the Volkl Nanuq?

  • Dostie

    Go to the Gear nav pull down above, then click on Skis/ Mid-Fat…or this: https://www.earnyourturns.com/category/gear/skis/mid-fat/ 

    G3 Saint review here: 

    Hope that answers your Q.

  • Corser

    Thanks.  I would love to see a review of the Volkl Nanuq and the Dynafit Manaslu and how they compare to the Saint and the Revert, if you ever have the opportunity.  Looking for the perfect “quiver of one”…

  • Vince

    I ski a 175cm (non rocker) ski at 6’2 190lbs. With a ski like the revert would a 181cm be too short for me ? I want it for skiing the trees on the East Coast and general backcountry. Telemark of course.

  • Dostie

    Given your weight and preference for 175s the 181 sounds about right. On the firm it will act like 170, in soft, like 181.