Black Diamond Carbon Series Skis

| March 7, 2014 | 18 Comments

For 2014/15, Black Diamond Equipment has added three new carbon-infused skis to their line – the Carbon Aspect, Carbon Convert and Carbon Megawatt.  BD has had carbon offerings in the past, but this year the carbon skis are not only being built in their own factory, but also have special construction details which make them even lighter yet.

cabon-1
Blue and red carbony goodness from Black Diamond. I’m missing the Carbon Convert, which fits right into between these two sizes.  The Aspects on the are more of a traditional “Euro” ski and the Megawatts are All ‘Merican muscle.

The carbon line-up offers variations on a proven theme – if you liked the existing Aspects, Converts or Megawatts, those are still available, but now you can also get them in even lighter versions.  I’ve been skiing on a pair of 176cm Carbon Aspects for most of this season and have recently been out on some 178cm Carbon Megawatts.  The funny thing about lightweight skis is how quickly you adjust to the new, lighter weight and how suddenly everything else seems so much heavier.  For reference, I was on a shorter, narrower ski last season (BD Currents) and the 2014/15 BD Carbon Aspects are not only 2cm longer and 2mm wider, but they also weigh less.  Carbon has a way of spoiling you and skewing the scale.

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That said, I was not an immediate fan of carbon skis and like Superman and Kyptonite, they do have their weakness, which is namely icy, rough conditions.  To me, carbon seems to work well in situations with an even flex, like powder, corn, windboard or groomers, but once it starts twitching on blue ice, there is no getting it back. Conversely, skis with lots of dampening metal in them do a great job biting into the blue, but then again, they are heavy.  Pick your poison.

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BD has shaved some grams by running 7/8th length metal edges, which takes some getting used to.  My first thought was “Hmmm, looks dicey.” and then I forgot all about it and never had a second thought. Saves weight, works great.  No problem.

I’ve also been spending some time on a pair of 178cm Carbon Megawatts this season which have almost changed my mind about phat skis.  Almost. They are admittedly much lighter and now available in a shorter length, but you’ll still get smoked on the uphills if your friends show up on trad skis as the entire fat ski package adds up – wider skis, bigger skins, more snow on the top sheets, requires bigger boots to drive them and they often require rebreaking a few inches of extra wide trail.  That said, they are damn fun on the downhill as long as you can open it up.  My new fat ski strategy is to make sure everyone is on their fatties beforehand – “8:00am at the trailhead, and we’re going fat, right?”

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Powered up super dumb fun – throwing plumes of graupel on a 15 degree slope.  Try this at home.

I’m not much of a gram counter because the ultimate weight of a set-up depends on the entire skis/boots/skins/skis package, but I can attest that these puppies are about as light as possible in a durable ski.  I think a balanced set up is far more important and see things like Scarpa Aliens on 145mm skis and/or Marker Dukes on Goode skis all the time in the Wasatch. I’ve got a pair of the new Vipecs on the Carbon Aspects and have paired that with side of nylon skins for climbing power.  It’s slightly heavier than need be, but skis well, has good release and climbs like a mofo.  On the Carbon Megawatts, I’m running brakeless ST Verticals and Nyhair skins.

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Help support StraightChuter.com and carbonize your quiver with a pair of Black Diamond Carbon Convert Skis ON SALE NOW from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…
carbyconvert

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Category: Gear Reviews

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

Comments (18)

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  1. Bill Balz says:

    Hi Andrew, if you are going for speed and burn on non powder days, what are you finding as your go-to setup now that skis are getting so much lighter? Length amid width, skins, boots, etc. Is there a max length you use for skinny steep couloirs? Thanks!

  2. Hi Bill – I’m still partial to something like the BD Aspect which is a nice all around ski, especially in the lightweight carbon version. It is 90mm underfoot, and I’m skiing a 176cm, but if I ruled the world, I’d make it in a 172cm. I combine that with some nylon STS skins and Maestrale boots. For long extended tours in the spring, I use a pair of 168cm Stigma, which are a notch lighter and the length makes them a bit quicker in tight chutes.

  3. cdosti3333 says:

    Concur and ’tis good to see we agree on some things, if not all. ;)

  4. Has your affinity for narrower skis (Chogori, etc) now passed entirely, or is the non-availability of even lighter narrow skis, at least from some manufacturers, influencing your ski choice?

  5. Hi Charlie – I’d go with choice “B” – there just aren’t that many narrower skis available anymore and 90mm seems to be the new narrow. From a manufacturers standpoint, I can understand as narrow skis just don’t sell, at least in the US. On the otherhand, the huge super-fats from a few years ago are also going away. Really wide skis kind of remind me of a sledge hammer – they are great for crushing powder, but not very subtle in tight trees, chutes, firm snow or for skinning/climbing.

  6. Cool – thanks. Glad to hear your spirit-of-the-narrow ski is alive and well!

  7. Phil says:

    It’s really nice to see more and more choice in the lightweight skis…
    Do you feel the carbon version of the Aspect has a similar flex and feel (other than weight) to the non-carbon Aspect?

    Also, any initial thoughts on the Fritschi Vipecs?

  8. Greg says:

    I too am curious about the difference between the carbon and non-carbon versions of the skis. Light is great but not if it ruins the ride.

  9. Doug says:

    Hey Andrew I keep looking all over the place for a weight on that new Carbon Aspect in the 176, any idea?

  10. Hi Doug – I’m not much of a number keeper and my skis are pre-production samples, so I can’t really say anything but “really light.”

  11. Andrew,

    would it be insane to chop the tail off of Carbon Megawatts or Carbon Converts?
    Could you ask a friend at BD about what material to expect if making a cut across the tails? I’d gather that as long as only fiberglass is exposed, it’d be fairly safe for the ski core, but if a cut would go through wood, proper epoxying would be neccessary to protect the wood from water.

  12. Christian – aside from voiding the warranty, I’d be concerned about the tails delaminating. ??? Are they just too long? I’ve cut off some tails on the regular BD skis and there isn’t much beef in that part of the ski – just thin layers. I “painted” over the cut with epoxy and they seem to have held up, but I only have about tend days on them.

  13. Yeah, I’m looking at the Carbon Convert, and the tail pictured here:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IMG_3394-convert-tail-rocke.jpg

    seems like more than what I need. Is a tail like this good for anything more than riding fakie or sliding back and forth in a tight spot such as a couloir?

  14. Hmmm, by the time you went to all of the time and effort to cut the tail off, figured out where to remount the bindings and then voided the warranty, I’d say just look for a different pair of skis.

  15. Gavin says:

    What are the skies and bindings in this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnWDLhLo9k

  16. Gavin – The skis are K2 Mt. Baker Superlights and the bindings are Dynafit Comforts. Both of the skis and bindings have been replaced by newer versions by now (this is kind of an old video) and in the grand scheme of things, this is referred to as Alpine Touring, or AT equipment.

  17. Karl Wolf says:

    Hey Andrew, do you consider the Converts a sledge hammer? Or are you talking about the Megawatt’s? It’s hard to know what people consider wide skis these days. Also, did you size up in the Converts? I am 5’7″ and 1/2 and 160 pounds and ski almost exclusively in the backcountry. According to the BD size chart I am between the 172s and 180s. Several people have recommended the 180s, including a guy I talked to at BD but that seems like overkill?

  18. Hi Karl – I’ve only demo’d the Convert at a ski resort ski demo, so I don’t know how it would be for BC skiing. But, many of my friends love them, especially the bigger guys in the 6′ and 175 lbs range. I’d like to give them a try, but as far as I know, the Carbon Converts don’t come in a 174ish range and a 180 is way too big for me as a backcountry ski, especially when doing kick turns.

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