Given all the hard charging claims, I was curious to see how the 182cm, 110mm-waisted Zealot would compare to the 182cm, 106mm-waisted MOMENT Belafonte. Let’s just say that all the ink spilled in the discussion of the Zealot’s stability ought to be collected and dumped onto the Belafonte. That ski charges, and is much more stable and much stiffer than the Zealot. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, of course, it’s just depends what you’re looking for. If I was going to ski bumps all day, I’d grab the Zealot in a heart beat over the Belafonte. But for charging? No contest.
So if the Zealot isn’t a missile like the Belafonte, what about its playfulness? I wouldn’t exactly call the Zealot super playful, and remember, BD calls it “ultra-damp.” To me, it was less playful than another ski with similar dimensions, the Rossignol Sickle. (The 186cm Sickle has a tip to tail length of 182.25, and has dimensions of 140-110-133mm.) This is a bit odd, since the Zealot has a lot of camber, and the Sickle has none. Typically, then, playfulness and pop would seemingly be characteristics of the Zealot more than the Sickle….
BLISTER reviewer Jason Hutchins has skied both the Zealot and the Sickle, and he really likes both. We’ll soon post his 2nd Look review of the Zealot, which is great because, while the camber profile of these two skis are very different, they definitely feel like they’re members of the same class.
I’m actually most curious to hear Jason’s take on the Zealot because he’s lighter than me. He also skis light on his feet – lighter than I do, I’m sure – and he pretty much never makes a mistake while skiing (which is why I can’t stand him).
Jason spent more time than I did on the Rossignol Sickle, but I didn’t find the Sickle to be as stellar of a charger or a chop ski as he did. My hunch is that he and I may also feel a bit differently about the Zealot, and I’m inclined to think that lighter skiers – say, 165 lbs. and down – might fall into the sweet spot of and be best suited for the flex profiles of both the Sickle and the Zealot. (And yes, I’m certainly wading into speculative waters here, so just stow that tidbit in the back of your mind, especially if you’re 185+ lbs.)
The Zealot is a forgiving, intuitive ski that will not overwhelm intermediate skiers, and will serve well advanced and even expert skiers – especially lighter expert skiers. You will reach the speed limit of the Zealot sooner than that of the Nordica Girish or the MOMENT Belafonte, but the Zealot is still a good groomer and hardpack ski. It’s 110mm waist and it’s medium flex will make it fun in deeper stuff, but I do worry a little bit about all that camber, and would be happy to see that dialed back a bit.
If the Zealot sounds like your ski but you’re on the fence about the length, I’d size up, especially if you think you’ll be pulling the Zealot out on deeper days.
There are lots of interesting options available in the 110mm-waisted class, and I think (lighter) skiers looking for a versatile, predictable everyday ride will be the most inclined to pull the trigger on the Zealot. And when they do, they’ll enjoy it, especially if they come in with a better sense of what the ski does and doesn’t do.
If you don’t find yourself skiing many really deep days , I could definitely see the Zealot standing as your one ski quiver.
And if you do get out in bigger storms, I could see pairing the Zealot up with a bigger board (like the most excellent BD Megawatt) and imagine you feeling very good about your winter setup.
Jason’s 2nd Look review of the Zealot is now up, and I my suspicions were right: he felt that the 12/13 Zealot did everything he asked of it. Take a look.