Black Diamond Verdict Touring and Telemark Ski - Gear Review

April 18, 2007

For a long time it's been tough to get the best of both worlds: 1) fresh pow in the backcountry, and 2) the right fat skis to enjoy the pow. That's because hardly any backcountry ski companies like Tua or Black Diamond had been offering a fat ski, so you either had to ride with mid-fats or you had to skin with heavy resort-style skis. But that problem is no longer an issue since Black Diamond released their answer to the conflict: the aptly-named Black Diamond Verdict ski (view all Black Diamond Skis) -- a lightweight alpine touring and telemark ski with fat 98mm waist for good runs in the pow. The actual dimensions are 128-98-116 on the 180cm model, which means they are definitely a good ride and aren't too hooky in the powder. However, that means that on the groomed (that we all inevitably have to suffer through when doing side-country laps) they really don't arc a turn as nicely as some other fat skis I've ridden. But that is a tiny price to pay to have some killer powder boards under your feet in the backcountry. Also, that fat waist makes it easy to stomp out landings in deep snow -- I was able to charge diving board cliffs and ride away without putting a hand down. Not something I would normally want to do on a touring setup (though I owe some credit to the bombproof alpine touring bindings I had mounted on the Verdicts, too - the Fritschi Freerides. Now, of course the Verdict definitely isn't the Armada ANT Pro Alpine Ski, which is expressly designed for switch landings in the pow. So if that's what you're hoping to get out of the Verdict, you'll have to continue to wait (or just sweat it out and skin the uphill on heavy alpine skis). Also, the graphics aren't as cool as Armada skis, Line skis, K2 skis, and several others out there -- but that's what stickers are for, right? So for those of you who have been waiting for a reasonably fat ski that is lightweight and a great ride in backcountry powder, the Verdict is your answer. Buy Now: Search for Black Diamond Skis

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