Blizzard adds to the Zero G lineup with the skinnier yet capable Zero G LT 80. Here’s our first look at this 1kg go-long-and-far ski.
I may be 19 and relate more to wider and heavier skis than some older people who edit ski reviews on WildSnow. But I also know no matter how old you are, sometimes, to move efficiently in the mountains, it makes sense to go skinnier and lighter. Blizzard’s reputation in the backcountry scene is solid; their Zero G line of skis, from 85-105, has been used as sliding tools to good effect for several years. Zero G skis check boxes for a long effective edge, stable in steep terrain, and feathery on the skin track (they are on the lighter side).
Blizzard’s newest Zero G, the Zero G LT 80, has a uni-directional carbon wrap that Blizzard says offers some rigidity but an easier-going vibe than some mostly carbon skis. The core is mostly Paulownia with some greater density poplar inlays. The binding zone has two edge-to-edge bi-directional carbon fiber reinforcements, and the ski has a mini sidewall for added durability and rigidity.
I’m a tall skier at about 6’4”. I’m in the longest pair of ZG LT 80s, 178cm; they are a verified 1095g/ski. My intended applications for these skis are long traverses, steep spring skiing, uphill fitness laps, and a ski to throw on a pack for technical climbing, followed by a ski descent.
So far, I’m finding this is a great uphill ski. I have it paired with a Plum R170 binding, so the setup is pretty light for me at under 1300g/ski. Descending on groomers is super fun: the ski bites into turns, doesn’t feel hooky, and is true to its long turning radius of 22m in 178cm. The flex is like a fine wine, or so I’m told; remember, I’m only 19 — the front and tails are not overly stiff, while the middle of the ski is strong (there’s bi-directional carbon there). Each turn’s finish is perfectly smooth.
In the backcountry, beyond making turns, I’ve secured the Zero G LT 80s on my pack while ice climbing to access some skiing and broken trail skinning. The tip is relatively stiff yet soft enough to float while setting a skintrack in deepish soft snow. For comparison, Zero G 85 (check out our full review here) tip width is 116mm, and the LT 80’s is 109mm. And if you are into climbing technical ground with skis on the pack, these are legit skis that won’t weigh you down. Just maybe go with a length less than 178cm — that’s still a lot of ski.
As far as the basics — I’m weak for a slick-looking ski. The shiny black topsheet and orange-red highlights work for me. The tips are notched for race-style skin tips, and the tails include a plastic and notched protector; something that makes sense in touring skis but some manufacturers leave out.
The tip and tail rocker are minimal, and the camber is low. I expect it to be a great tool for spring skiing. For now, if you are uphilling for vert and sweeping down fast to repeat the process, the Zero G LT 80s might be a good bet for a ski that’s more durable and stable than a skimo ski but likes to rip like a GS race board :). Later this winter, and most likely after spring corn season hits, we’ll have a long-term review.
Zero G LT 80 Basics
Available lengths (cm): 164, 171, 178 (testing)
Weight verified (178cm): 1095g
Side cut: 110-80-96
Turn radius: 22m
Core: Paulownia and Poplar
Build Construction: Tecnica calls it the Carbon Drive LT
Cosmetics: Darth Vadar would approve
Aidan is a student at Montana State University and thanks his parents daily, just because.
What skins are you using with these?
Hey Swan, skis arrived with a Blizzard-branded Pomoca skin: pre-trimmed.
Perhaps I’m not the target customer for these skis, but I really don’t understand their place in the market. They seem intended to be an ultralight option without going full race ski. But they really aren’t /that/ light compared to alternatives. In my usual size of 171, it’s only an extra 30g per foot to bump up to the Zero G 85.
That’s probably within the range of variance for these skis. And the Zero G 95 is only 150g more than the 80 LT. I haven’t skied these, so maybe I’m missing something. But I think I’d rather have the more versatile ski the vast majority of the time, considering how small the weight penalty is. These seem like an extremely niche product for those few who care about every. single. gram.
Hey Brian, you make several good points. I suppose sales will dictate if there is a market. I’ve been on a similar ski for a year now: Black Crows Mentis. It’s ~80mm underfoot, 178cm, a bit over 1000kg/ski, with a profile and flex similar to the 80 LT. I love the ski. I use it for fitness uphilling, multi-day traverses, and spring corn here on the volcanoes. Super stable, and so fun to turn, and more durable than a race ski. I also use a ZG 95 for steeper skiing in the spring; I like the slightly wider platform in the steeps. All the skis, the 80, 85, 95 are within a sub 1200g, depending on size. The ZG 95 is a 171cm. I guess it would come down to what type of ski one wants underfoot.
I think(might be mistaken) that this ski is aimed at pairing with a lighter boot. My impression is that a ski like the Zero G 85 is a strong ski that can rip in firm or consolidated conditions and that strength will out perform a light race style boot. The new LT gives you a similar width but a softer ski that can be used with a race style boot with ease. Pairing your fine wines with the proper cheeses is crucial to the successful party.
I guess we’ll see if there is a market in the US, but I can say here in Europe, especially regions without a ton of snow, this type of ski is THE most popular ski. Maybe people have a wider ski for pow days, but day to day they are on a ski like this. Remember the narrower the ski, people often down size down (i.e my 95mm ski is 173 and my 80mm ski is 164) so by that logic the a 164 zero g 80 Lt is 240 grams lighter than 171 zero g 095. The Skins are lighter, and narrower skis climb faster. And you can drive an 80mm ski with light boots like Alien 1.0….so you have to look at the whole system.
Not saying this style of ski is right for everyone, but it definitely has its place for people who priotize uphill speed who don’t race competitively.
I think Brian was asking why Blizzard has two skis that are the same weight and only 5mm waist width difference.
I don’t think he was questioning the use case of a narrower, fairly light ski in general.
I agree with you that the jump to 95mm is pretty big, certiainly in the way it handles, and perhaps weight too.
But as too why they have the 80 and 85?
I was thinking perhaps the shape or flex pattern are very different, giving very different user experiences?
Oops, miss understood then. Curious the 85 isn’t even on blizzards website in the men’s category, but can found as a women’s ski. Agree, 5mm and 30 grams seems to be splitting hairs between the two skis.
Love my 178 ZeroG 85s in consistent snow. In truly variable & crusty, they take me for a hell of a ride (must be a combination of this skier’s abilities, height and weight).
Can also vouch to their durability. They literally saved my life when pinballing off the couloir’s walls down 200m vertical, taken down by a particuraly heavy sluff. They were on my pack when climbing and spared me the brunt of impacts. The tips looked horrible, but a competent workshop revived them for a particular “memento” – still happily skiing them!
I believe the ZG80s only exacebrate the positive and negative traits of 85s.