We've been talking about 98mm skis for a while, and they seem to bring up more questions every season. It's nice to have a one-ski quiver when traveling, something that is neither too wide nor too skinny; the Armada Trace 98 and Blizzard Black Pearl 98 both fit the bill. One is a fresh face in this category; the other is coming out of a midlife makeover. If you see them side by side in a ski shop, you may think it doesn't make a difference which one you choose. They're both 98, right?
This new lineup from Armada is an answer to the demand for lightweight skis. There used to be a trade-off in performance when a ski was made lighter, but that has been addressed with the integration of Armada's Crystal Mesh in the construction. The Trace 98 was one of my surprises of the ski show. With the length that I skied and the 98mm waist, this ski was amazingly nimble, easy to turn, and quick edge to edge.
As a part of Blizzard's Women2Women Project, the Black Pearl 98 has taken the place of the Samba. It has a slightly wider tip and added carbon, resulting in a quick turn initiation and pop that make it super fun in tight spots.
- Why choose the Trace 98? You want a daily driver that is nimble and super fun in bowls.
- Why choose the Black Pearl 98? You want a daily driver that maneuvers nicely in tight spaces like trees and chutes.
- Other skis in class: Rossignol Sky 7 W, Völkl 90Eight, Dynastar Legend 96W, Head Great Joy, Rossignol Sky 7 HD W.