In the just-beyond-race-weight ski segment, the Blizzard Zero G LT 80 (yeah 80mm underfoot) renders a steady ski that harnesses that great Zero G edge hold in a trimmed-down package ready for all sorts of big mission skiing (except the missions for the real deep snow).
Zero G LT 80 Stats
Available lengths (cm): 164, 171, 178 (testing)
Weight verified (178cm): 1095g
Side cut (178cm): 110-80-96
Turn radius: 22m
Core: Paulownia and Poplar
Build Construction: Tecnica calls it the Carbon Drive LT
<What’s the ZG LT 80 For?
What are the things that will matter most with this ski? It is, at least in my young eyes, a tool for specific applications. I bet that if you brought the 80mm underfoot Blizzard Zero G LT 80 to a first-grade show-and-tell in some mountain town, most kids would recognize right away this is no powder ski. Further, with its slim build (110-80-96), it is not so hot in mank, variable trending to deep variable snow, or a mid-winter volcano pasted with sastrugi. So skiing these types of snow, or terrain splattered in this type of snow, is not where I’d apply this tool.
I discussed the ski’s construction a bit in my first look. Have a glance at that to learn more. But what we know about Blizzard’s Zero G line of skis, the venerable 85, 95, and 105, is that a long effective edge and nimbleness on firm snow still apply. Whatever you want to call ski mountaineering, I think the new ZG LT 80 fits into that broad swath of skiing. It’s just a skinnier version of the above.
I’m a tall one at 6’4″. And I wanted to test this ski, at 178cm., for a few specific purposes. One was for throwing on my pack during technical climbing with a ski objective above, and the other was for general fitness laps. And I’ll touch on this in the close-out, but this might be an ideal spring volcano ski too.
Let me take a step back a bit. When I was a wee lad, my dad hooked me up with a ski-mo setup as my primary touring gear. I had gray PDGs skis and boots with a Speed Turn binding. It was, and remains, a good setup for a kid who liked to take long strolls in the woods on skis. Anyhow, I was busy then getting dizzy going round and round doing nordic ski laps in mid-winter, so much of my experience touring was on spring volcanoes. The skimo setup was fine in corn and could handle some vibrations and a toss-about when conditions weren’t exactly smooth and uniform. To say that I eventually sullied on a race setup for real skiing is accurate.
I still have those race skis ten years on. But they’re still race skis and chitter and chatter like race skis. I want a short, light, skinny ski that still skis like a ski with solid bones. I’ve found that in the ZG LT 80.
Paired with a Plum R-170, the ski, for me, feels light underfoot as I’m most often clicked in with a Scarpa F1 LT boot. What I like about uphilling with this ski is that when I descend, I can have the kind of fun I’m looking for, which is speedier and aggressive wide-radius turns.
The ski wants to turn big, as its turn radius is 22m. They certainly are damper than my skimo skis — that might be a function of the mini-sidewall, the Carbon Drive LT construction, or a combo of a bunch of things. The thing to know is the ski feels great powering into and out of turns. It is mildly poppy and gives some return on the energy put into it.
Some skiers out there find bliss with an 80mm ski. If you are looking for a ski with a carbony feel and zip to it like a Dynafit Blacklight Pro, this ski isn’t it. The ZG LT 80 skis with less of that carbon buzz, which is not a bad thing. I really want to say that I’ve spent a lot of my young life skiing volcanoes in spring and early summer. As expressed already, if you like 80mm at the waist and moderate runs on warmer weather volcanoes are your jam, eyeing the ZG LT 80 is appropriate.
While using this ski strapped to my pack for technical climbs, I’ve found the 178cm a bit too long. I know this might be nonsense to some and an afterthought at best if it isn’t already nonsense; I get that. Even with my 6’4″ build, I want a shorter ski if the ZG LT 80 is tugging on my pack during ice climbs. Blizzard also makes a 171cm in this model, so there is that.
The Close Out
Skinning with the ZG LT 80 is winning. They are nimble on tight kick turns, and I still consider the ski, at 1095g/ski, pretty light. As an all-around steep terrain ski, or in situations where I expect the surface to be relatively unsmooth, I might go wider, to the 90mm or 95mm width range.
But let’s face it, you head out to some local hills like I did when I was home for the holiday break, and you’ll see all sorts of folks uphilling for fitness. You don’t need a big boot to drive this ski. Anything in the speed touring (1kg) field of play will work. I bet a fine pair of race boots work well with the ZG LT 80. Anyhow, this would make a supreme uphill ski. The upside is that you should have a durable ski able to take years of abuse that remains light but feels like a ski should feel which is solid and stable and not twitchy.
Aidan is a student at Montana State University and thanks his parents daily, just because.