2nd Look: 2012-2013 Black Diamond Element

Up to this point, my experience on the Element hadn’t really been much different than Julia’s. But while she skied mostly untracked powder in Niseko—and, amazingly, not a single full run on a groomed trail—I got to put the Element on hardpack and corduroy for a few days. I was nervous that the forward mount would create instability at higher speeds on groomers, but the Element proved me wrong.

The rocker in the tip and tail and the 115mm underfoot makes the Element an excellent powder ski, but the camber underfoot allowed the ski to perform particularly well on groomed runs. At lower speeds, I found myself making gradual and wide-radius turns. But as I got up to speed, the Element showed me what they could really do.

Black Diamond Element, Blister Gear Review
Morgan Sweeney on the Black Diamond Element.

Given their width, the Element performed exceptionally well on groomed trails. These skis carved from edge to edge with surprising ease, and, even with a lack of fresh snow on the mountain, I had a blast ripping down groomers on the Element. My movements were easily transferred to the tip of the ski at the beginning of each turn and held through the completion of the turn, as each arc connected to the one before.

When it comes down to it, these skis don’t like to be skied lightly. The Element is best suited for aggressive and proficient women skiers who point their skis down the line and charge. This isn’t to say that the Elements don’t have a touch of playfulness, but it certainly isn’t their defining characteristic. Though the Element performed well in variable conditions, it probably wouldn’t be my first choice for an all-mountain ski.

If, however, you are an aggressive skier looking for a big-mountain powder ski that can rip down the steepest groomers and float effortlessly on the deepest days, I think you’ll love the Black Diamond Element.

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