2023 Blizzard Sheeva 9 Review
Introducing the top-rated women’s all-mountain ski of the year
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 8.31/10
- Rank: #1
- Versatility: 8.4
- Crud Performance: 8.4
- Playfulness: 8.2
- Responsiveness: 8.2
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 8.4
- Quickness: 8.4
- Stability at Speed: 8.4
- Carving: 8.6
- Flotation: 7.6
- Forgiveness: 7.6
- Price: $650
- Lengths: 148, 157, 164, 172
- Dimensions: 124-92-114
- Radius: 14m (164cm)
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Crud Performance (#2), Stability at Speed (#3)
- Cons: Playfulness (#5), Responsiveness (#7)
Allow us to re-introduce you to this year’s chart-topping women’s all-mountain ski: the Sheeva 9, a more freeride-oriented all-mountain option compared to her more directional sister, the Black Pearl 97. Though the Sheeva 9 has been around for a number of seasons, she’s always been overshadowed by the Black Pearl 97—until now.
Cut from the same cloth as Blizzard’s popular unisex Rustler line but with a lighter core, the Sheeva 9 features the same construction designed to focus more on off-trail performance than groomer performance. That includes tip and tail rocker to promote better float and make smearing turns through crud and mank easier, as well as Blizzard’s Carbon Flipcore technology, where a layer of Titanal and bi-directional carbon fiber reinforce a multiwood core.
That blend of a powerful core and more playful profile allows the Sheeva 9 to shine in the crud, with testers praising its ability to plow over and through variable snow conditions above all else.
That said, thanks to traditional camber underfoot and that sturdy core construction, it’s just as comfortable on groomers and hard snow. If you think all-mountain skis aren’t great for carving, you haven’t tried the Sheeva 9 yet. It may have a 92mm waist, but this ski positively rails on edge, especially when you dial up the speed. Proof: This ski was among the top three performers in the Carving and Stability at Speed categories.
While the Sheeva 9 wasn’t the top scorer in all categories, it was the most consistent scorer across the board. No other ski tested in this category had the same balance of skills or perfect mix of dependability and energy, which is why the Sheeva 9 is this year’s category-winner. Testers unanimously agreed that the Sheeva 9 is a do-it-all ski that shows no real weaknesses in any snow condition or terrain type.
“I knew this ski to be a one-ski quiver, so no surprises on how well it performed,” noted tester Avery Pesce, an expert skier from the East. “This is a Best in Test all-mountain ski. She’s quick to respond to whatever you throw at her, whether it’s whipping through the trees, plowing through bumps and mashed potatoes, or hot-lapping it on groomers. A super-energetic and dependable ski you can reach for in all conditions and not be let down.”
Testers did give the Sheeva 9 lower marks (relatively speaking) in the Playfulness and Responsiveness categories, noting that you pay a small price for the heavier construction. Compared to some of the other skis tested in the women’s all-mountain category, the Sheeva 9 is stiffer and has a slightly higher swing weight, so it doesn’t respond as quickly to slight movements and pressure. “So stiff that it hooks up a bit in hard bumps,” commented tester Erika Northrop, who calls Taos, N.M. home.
However, it’s worth noting that most ladies tested the Sheeva 9 in the 172cm-length, and with Blizzard skis, you feel every advertised centimeter. So don’t let the lower responsiveness and playfulness scores dissuade you if you’re a confident all-mountain skier who gravitates towards a ski with a sturdy platform. Strong intermediates will find the Sheeva 9 an approachable and confidence-boosting all-mountain tool, so long as they size down. In the longer lengths, the Sheeva 9 packs a punch best suited to experts willing to dial it up to 11.
“Anyone who wants to play off-pise, then go fast and take chances on-piste, will dig this ski,” said Northrop. “This is just a really solid and dependable all-mountain ski,” summarized Jackson Hole ski patroller Michelle Nicholson.
Jenny Wiegand is SKI’s managing editor. Born and raised in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jenny grew up exploring the Alps on skis, bikes, and her own two feet. She has since traded in the Alps for the Rockies to seek new trails, new adventures, and write about her favorite sport—skiing—in her new home of Boulder, Colo. Since joining the SKI Magazine editorial team in 2018, Jenny has written and edited stories for SKI’s print and digital outlets. A lifelong skier and former club racer, Jenny is also a self-proclaimed gearhead and puts that knowledge to good use as one of SKI Magazine’s official gear testers.