2010-2011 Black Diamond Justice, 175cm

2010-2011 Black Diamond Justice, 175cm, Blister Gear Review
Kate Hourihan reviews the Black Diamond Justice, Blister Gear Review
10/11 Black Diamond Justice

Ski: 2010-2011 Black Diamond Justice, 175, cm

Dimensions (mm): 138-115-123

Turn Radius: 33m

I was a little skeptical of the Black Diamond Justice, despite the good things I’d heard about it. I had previously owned a pair of Black Diamond Verdicts that I’d never grown to love, and I was worried that I might find the Justice to be a stiff, unplayful ski that was hard to turn. I’m a smaller girl and a telemarker, so I like a ski that turns easily, floats well, and pops….

Day 1: It was chilly and partly-cloudy day at Alta. Six inches of snow had fallen a few days ago, and conditions were soft but pretty tracked out. Given Black diamond’s burly reputation, I thought I’d start with a gentle groomer to feel out the ski. The first run was smooth and my first turn was near perfect. After just three turns, I nodded and gave my friend a thumbs up of approval. The Justice skied fast and beautifully carved turns. They didn’t feel like a fat powder ski forced to negotiate a groomed run, nor were they as burly and stiff as I had feared.

I then ventured out to Devil’s Castle to explore, sidestepping only a little way. There looked to be some soft, nearly untracked snow below us. I watched a friend ski before me. It looked soft but a little grabby, and I watched him take deliberate, careful turns. Then I dropped in. The snow was smooth in places, but there were buried ice chunks and random patches of wind effect. The skis preformed well, but turning wasn’t effortless. The Justice need to be driven with confidence. When they are, they impress with how well they plowed through chop. Once a turn was initiated I could trust them. The only place I felt caught off guard was making a little playful alpine turn at the bottom of the run. My edge grabbed me by surprise. While I could make a quick but intentioned tele-turn, a mindless, playful maneuver didn’t seem possible, which can probably be attributed to the stiff, non-rockered tail.

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2010-2011 K2 Slayblade

2010-2011 K2 Slayblade, Blister Gear Review

Board: K2 Slayblade 155cm, Goofy

Boots: K2 Thraxis (stiff)

I’ve been on a bunch of boards over the years, and I am always looking to check out the best boards out there. I’d been hearing some buzz for a while now about the K2 Slayblade, and I decided that it was time to try one.

The first K2 I ever rode was an early 90’s super thick and super stiff directional board, appropriately named the “Gyrator.” K2 has made some updated versions of this board in the last few years, incorporating what they call, “powder rocker,” which is just their term to signify that a particular board has the greatest amount of tip and tail rocker in the K2 line up.

The Slayblade, however, caught my attention for exactly opposite reasons: SETBACK TWIN: it has no tip or tail rocker, ¾ stance shift, and no camber underfoot. They call it their “flatline” design. When I got my hands on one, I also noticed that the Slayblade was thin and near weightless. (Flatline. Get it?)

Admittedly, K2’s Powder Rocker shape had me dreaming of endless powder days spent bumping down super fluffy pillow lines. Then I remembered that I live and ride in Taos, where I need a board that is versatile enough for pretty much every snow condition and terrain type.  TAOS has been called a four-letter word for steep. Sometimes, it can be described as icy and rocky. It offers world class riding and numerous technical lines off the ridge in two directions. The Slayblade sounded like it could be a good fit for the place.

First Run: On any snowboard, the first thing you notice is how well it skates:  One foot in, pushing towards the lift line, or running it out towards another lift.  The two lifts are connected by a run called the 5 to 2, which is essentially a narrow blue catwalk traversing the mountain. It is a great chance to move with one foot in and saves time on the important days!

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