Seemingly out of left field comes some impressive new lightweight skis. That is, if left field were defined as the Blizzard factory in Austria and you gloss over the fact that Blizzard manufactured many skis stamped with other, well-known, backcountry brand names. Now showing off their clandestine experience, Blizzard added a three-dimensional layer of carbon fiber across the enter length and width. This Carbon Drive makes the ski stiff in all directions while offering a relatively damp ride with smooth flex. They also built in sidewalls to help the edges penetrate crusts and ice, while offering more protection from rocks. A rocker + camber profile is just what the doctor ordered for the variable conditions you find while climbing mountains. The Zero G 85 is just what we ordered for classic mountaineering.
Full-length sidewalls are rare for a ski this light, offering dampness, edge hold, and durability.
Carbon Drive technology is a unidirectional weave in a three-dimensional pattern that just works.
Metal edges also run the full length of the ski so you aren’t compromising an inch on the steeps.
Paulownia wood core with the carbon frame offers a reasonably stiff ride with some rebound.
Update 2016/17: Just a new topsheet.
Update 2018/19: Blizzard again updated the graphics while keeping the same construction.
Update 2019/20: While Blizzard did alter the construction for the 19/20 season, our head ski testers (Eric and Jason) commented that the Zero G 85 skied much the same as previous models (read: its essentially the same fantastic ski). This updated model got new topsheet graphics, as well.
Hey Karl- I have skied the old version extensively and the 19/20 model a few times. While the 19/20 is supposed to have been tweaked a little I would say it skied very close, if not the same, to the previous version. Maybe a bit easier to initiate a turn but not much. Felt very similar to me.
This is our second pair of Zero G 85, so that should say something. For ex-racers who ski fairly aggressively and can handle a few extra grams, these are awesome, and inspiring to ski. Compared to some other manufacturers high 70 waisted skis, these have just enough float (especially in the waist) to not sink on exploratory missions. Have been out on a few 10+" days in the Rockies, and while I still reach for a fatty with more than that, these handle light powder and crud with ease, but also rip open the groomers and crust. Only gripe is they don't have a skin notch in the tip, but that can be remedied.
Hi guys, great thread on the ZG 85s. I'm leaning toward picking a pair up this year, but have two questions.
1. Length - i'm 188cm tall and 82 kgs. I usually ski 183 or 185 skis, but they are typically heavily rockered. With a flatter tail and subtle rise of the ZG85, should i go for the 178 or the 185?
2. How they ski - sounds like they are the right tool for multi lap at the resort or longer days BC, i previously tried out Dynafit Cho Oyus and thought they were terrible, felt like ice skates. The ZG85s don't look similar in design, but are close in weight. Help calm my PTSD.
Hi Jared, I think the 185 would be best for you based on your #2. The longer length will make this ski feel more stable and damp. This ski is definitely different in its personality and I doubt you'll find any similarities with the Cho Oyu beyond weight.
I highly recommend mounting these skis 1.0 - 1.5 cm forward of center.
I initially mounted them centered. Skied them 10 days....and I hated them. I felt like I could just not get forward enough to actually engage the ski. They were really unpredictable and I was super bummed. I recently re-mounted them 1.2cm forward of center and now they're great. Skied them yesterday over some melted out avy debris in a steep couloir and they behaved beautifully. They also skied the upper mountain smooth corn wonderfully, of course.
I don't like typical "mountaineering" skis because they're usually too short and too soft for me, sacrificing stiffness for lightness. Not so with the Zero G 85. It comes in a 185cm, awesome, and it's a very stiff ski. The Zero G 85 is a different beast than similar width/weight skis from Voile, K2, Volkl, Dynafit, or Black Diamond. Much better for those of us that are 180lbs+ and skiing with a full bc pack. This ski is also better, imho, for people who are uphilling at resorts and skiing fast down groomers. This ski has the oomph to actually rail on early morning groomers, if that's your thing.
I do wish the ski had more of a early-rise tip to get up over punchy snow, but given other options, I'll take the stiffness and 185cm length of these over other skis in this category.
The more I use these skis, the more I love them. Maybe it's because I learned to ski on skinny K2 planks back in the dark ages, but I almost feel more comfortable on these than the ZeroG 108s, which I also adore. Different tools for different tasks, perhaps, but in any case the 85s really seem to punch above their weight class. At speed they feel amazingly stable. They're incredibly nimble and responsive, even at the 171cm length, which is perhaps a bit long for my 5'7" stature at least for this type of ski. In the true test of their mettle, in firmer conditions they perform admirably although they chatter around a bit: they're pretty stiff and seem to transfer a healthy dose of shock to my underpowered legs and knees. That said, in the same conditions, like the 108s their edge-hold is confidence inspiring even if they're less forgiving of frozen bumps. I've skied them in 2-3 feet of not-quite-feathery pow just to torture myself and found that they handled just fine and were surprisingly fun, even if they didn't quite have the requisite float of fatter boards. They often feel quite demanding. I've read other reviews to this effect and can finally weigh in. With these skis and my pedestrian ski technique, I mustn't let my guard down lest I become a mere passenger to the skis; If I'm not driving these with firm intent, I'm holding on for dear life. I feel the same with the 108s, but the effect is magnified significantly with their skinnier siblings. Perhaps it's their overall stiffness or my own shortcomings as a skier. In any case, they're whipping me into shape as I use them and I'm fine with that. I'm currently skiing these with TLT Superlite 2.0s and La Sportiva Spectre boots. Both seem more than adequate for the task. Finally, I bought the women's model based on price. Unless you need them longer than 171cm or hate blue topsheets, there's no reason not to do this as they're otherwise identical to the men's version.
Q: what is the difference between the man's version and woman's 85? for example beside the top sheep color different and I notice the weight a little different (for example man's 171 weight at 1120 g and woman's are 171 cm at 1105 g which has 15 g gap), is the build slightly different?
A: Liming, according to Blizzard the men's and women's zeroG 85 are the exact same construction. The only difference is the top sheet color. Regarding the weight difference, when we receive an order of skis here at Skimo Co we weigh them and report the average of the batch. This is to verify specs. What you are seeing is the variance of averages between the men's and women's versions. Individual skis from batches vary in weight, this range is often >15g, so I wouldn't read too much into the 15g weight differences between the men's and women's versions.
I have this ski (G85, last year model) in 178cm length and have not mounted them yet as I started having doubts about the length. I'm 175cm tall, 165lbs. moderate skier. Do you think I'll have trouble on a skin track and with tight turns with this ski? My current ski is Hagan Y-Drive 170 cm and it works fine for me, just getting beat-up. You think 8 cm increase in length with G85 will make a big difference for me?
My other option is to try to sell G85 at 178 cm length and get a 171cm version from you.
Hey, I'm looking to buy these or the 95 mm. I just can't decide which one. This will be my primary set of skis.
I'm a girl, 178 cm tall, 65 kg. I rented the 85 171 cm last spring when ski-touring and loved them. I'm just thinking maybe the 95 is a bit more all-round and afraid the 85 will submarine when there's more powder?
My second question is about the length. I did like the 171 cm although it sounds so short? Which length would be best suited for me? And do I lose anything by going with the 171 or 178?
I've previously skied a lot on a freeride set from Rossignol 98 mm, 178 cm but no touring on those.
Hi Ingrid, I have good news! You really can't go wrong with any choice or combination of choices you are considering.
The Blizzard Zero G line are all great skis! My personal rule is that if a person can only have 1 ski, that ski should be 95mm under foot. It's such a versatile size and typically for a very marginal weight gain vs. an 85mm ski.
As for 171 vs 178... The 171 will be much more nimble on the skin track, and while skiing in tight terrain. In lots of deep snow the 178 will give you a touch extra float. This choice is going to be a personal decision based on which you value more, the ease of use on the uphill or the added float and stability on the truly deep days.
Hi, I've demoed the 85 in a 178 and the 95 in a 185. I'm in the market for the 85- looking for a light ski for big days, traverses, spring, and uphilling at the ski area - and can't decide whether to go 178 or 185. The 178 felt short and like it wanted to submarine in powder. Felt great but short on hardpack. The 185 95 felt perfect. I'd go 185 85 but wonder if I should go lighter with the shorter ski. 185 would be less work in 3D snow though. 80g per ski difference it appears. I'm 6'0, 160lbs with a racing background. Currently on a 180 voile vector that I'm happy on as a daily driver but wish it was lighter. I ski in the Colorado rockies. Thanks
Hi Nick, I'm the same size as you and I have the 171! Yes the 185 would be help a bit in soft snow, though it without a huge rocker and being fairly stiff that isn't it's sweet spot. For big days, traverses, spring, and resort uphilling that you mention, you won't want the extra length. 178 it is!
Really great ski for what I used it for- lots of groomer tours before lifts spin. And even a couple laps on the chairs when I didn't have enough time to switch to alpine gear.
I used the 185cm. The ski is very stiff, but the tip and tail rocker allow for a little easier turn engagement and disengagement in a ski with that much length. I was able to get this carving up to around 45-55mph before I started to get a little concerned about the chatter and jumpiness. These are not a damp ski at all. You feel the energy course through them. But they hold a wicked strong edge. These skis suck with aplomb in any snow deeper than 4". Keep them away from pow. Def light enough to make uphill a breeze. A very fun, unique ski which serves the terrain I am around very well.
Sadly for me I passed my pair on. I am kind of inbetween sizes on these. With my TLT6s I just couldn't get the tip engagement on the 185s to every feel much better than vague. And the 178s with the tip/tail rocker were just a little too short and thus a little skiddish and the speeds I was wanting.
They are direct competitors when considering weight and dimensions, but each ski has its own sweet spot. While both are fairly versatile, the Zero G 85 seems more hard snow oriented and a better carving ski, whereas the Voile will end up being a bit easier to ski in variable and soft conditions. Just depends on your application.
Given the overwhelming feedback, I'm seriously considering these skis for a lighter setup this year. I have a kingping + mid-fat 102cm skis but they tend to be a little on the heavy side for long days.
Now I'm just wondering which length. I'm 172cm and my current setup is 178cm. I've always enjoyed longer skis, especially when I try to get a bit more aggressive. However for a more "couloir" setup I'm wondering if taking the g 85 with a length of 171cm would make more sense? Would do you guys reckon?
These skis are a fantastic ski mountaineering tool. They are light, stiff and have outstanding edge grip. The only caveat I have about these skis is that you really do have to ski well on them - they are unforgiving of backseat skiing and reward very good skiers (which I am aspiring to be as a result of these skis!)
So far there's no dramas with durability, and they have performed excellently in firm snow conditions. If you want a lightweight ski for spring / firm snow focused descents, look no further.
Blizzard has tapped into some kind of magic in the ZeroG line. The weight on these is stellar and they rail in any snow which is even remotely soft. In the hard stuff, they can be a little prone to chatter, but they do shut up quickly with some strong input to the front of the ski. The tapered tips make for a surfy and predictable ride in soft snow, but the tradeoff is the loss of a little precision when making very tight jump turns. Maybe that's just a function of my technique, though. It also gives up a little effective edge.
As with every ski in the ZeroG line, the lateral stiffness is unreal, lending a precise and responsive feel to the ski.
I concur with the other reviewer who laments the lack of a tip notch. Had Blizzard included one they would have created an excellent speed touring/casual race ski. Aside from that my main gripe with this ski is that for only 100g more, you can have the ZeroG 95, which given my experience with both strikes me as the way to go. A tip notch would really have differentiated this ski a lot more from its slightly bigger brother.
These skis are the real deal. I had been in the market for something along the lines of the Dynafit Cho Oyu when I came across these skis on Skimo. I have around 10,000 ft of climbing and skiing a variety of conditions, and have some initial impressions. First, they are light. They are just under 5 lbs for the pair in the 170. Obviously not race light, but certainly light enough to bring up pretty much any mountaineering objective. The kicker is how they ski. These skis rail. In firm snow off the summit of Mt. Hood last weekend, they held an edge on 45 degree refrozen corn. By far the most secure I have felt coming off the summit in those conditions. The snow quickly transitioned to corn snow, which is where these skis really shine. The slight early rise in the tip and tail give the skis a loose feeling, meaning they turn when and where you want. Even in the glop near the bottom of the mountain, they turned nicely and didn't get hung up. For a speed touring and mountaineering ski, was impressed.
I only wish these had a tip notch for speed skin setup. With the carbon layup, I'm afraid to dremel my own. That would also void the warranty, I think.
I ski these with Dynafit speed superlites and TLT 6ps. 5'9, 180lbs.
I will add that Skimo.co is by far the best online retailer I have purchased from. So many helpful answers on this site. Shipping is very prompt. And obviously the curated selection is unlike almost any other retailer in the US.
So this is a follow-up review with another couple dozen K of vert on my 0G 85s. the more I ski them, the more I like them. Durability wise, the are holding up well despite using them during the Oregon summer on volcanoes (volcanic rocks are hard on skis). No core shots despite some pretty hard impacts with with rocks. There is some chipping around the tips in the skin attachment area, but its pretty minimal.
In terms of ski performance...wow. I have now skied these in corn, refrozen corn, ice, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, and straight up pow. Despite their (lack of) weight, these guys have no problem holding a line in heavy and wet conditions. They are a blast in corn snow. What surprised me most was their pow performance. These skis have so much energy! They simply bounce from turn to turn in the pow. They are somewhat forgiving if you get caught in the backseat, or need to slide out a turn, but they perform best when you're driving your tips and using good technique. Be sure to detune the tails a little if you tend to slide your tails.
Frankly, I could see the 0G 95 being a quiver of one. The 85 is a little lighter, but doesn't quite have the float on the deep days. The 85s are an excellent complement to a powder touring, or an awesome ski on their own if you don't frequently ski deep snow. I'll post again about durability. But in terms of ski performance, I could not be happier.
A friend of my brother in laws recommended I purchase my gear through you. He fed my excitement to get going since Ive been a nordic/alpine guy for 35 years. Its time to start going UP the hills.
Whats the best skin to match these Blizzards? And would you recommend a better "all terrain ski" for the price for an east coaster (vermont) who goes back-woods and ski hills primarily? He recommended 170cm length to 178cm with ~85midfoot and ~ 1200 grams weight.
Lastly...I am a 30 in a boot size with a fairly wide forefoot (need wider toebox). he recommended the Dynafit Seven Summits... do you concur?
And lastly, can you recommend a shop in southern vermont for mounting? Im afraid to go just anywhere. Do you have any connections in the Stratton/Winhall area?
Hi SSB, the matching skins are the easiest. The Pomoca climb pro glides also work, which are made by the same company. I wouldn't question his recommendation on skis, these will handle well in those conditions.
I'm confused about the boots since you listed a ski, but check out our boot fitter. Unfortunately we don't have any recommended mounters in that area, but we can handle those.