Blizzard Tecnica’s New Backcountry Gear
Sister brands Blizzard and Tecnica have both long been two of the most respected alpine brands in the industry. Both are headquartered in the cradle of where skis and boots, respectively, began—Blizzard in Mittersill Austria; Tecnica near Montebelluna, Italy. In recent years, the brands have also made names for themselves in the backcountry scene, earning cachet for solid gear that delivers both tourability and skiability.
This season, there are a few notable introductions from the brands—Tecnica’s new featherweight boot, the Peak; Blizzard’s new unisex freeride backcountry ski, the Hustle; and Blizzard’s revamped unisex mountaineering ski, the Zero G. Here are our previews of all three.
Tecnica Zero G Peak (W and M)
Tecnica’s first sub-1,000 gram boot is the most complex the brand has ever created, taking three years to design. Unlike many boots in its class, it was made with downhill performance as priority No. 1 and fit as priority No. 2. It boasts a women- or men-specific semi-overlap design in the lower shell that dramatically improves both downhill performance and comfort, with a foot plate made of bidirectional carbon fiber to add torsional strength and improve power transition. The brand invested some grams in a proper liner, which is also built specifically for each gender. Both the liner and the shell are customizable by bootfitters, which is pretty revolutionary in this category. It has an impressive 75 degree range of motion in walk mode, and our sources say it skis shockingly well (look for an official Powder Cloud review later in the season). With weight savings like this, it may just give you the latitude to go a little heavier on your ski. The women’s Peak weighs 905 g at a 24.5 MP; the men’s weighs 995 g at a 26.5 MP. (Our only complaint is the smallest size is a 23.5, leaving some—women, especially—with the still-impressive but heavier Tour Scout.)
This ski, which comes in three waist widths (94 mm, 102 mm, and 112 mm) bridges the gap between traditional touring and freeride skis—and demonstrates Blizzard’s commitment to making high-performance backcountry skis. Made in the same molds as the brand’s popular Rustler and Sheeva freeride lines, the Hustle shaves weight with a new True Blend core of made of beech, poplar and paulownia wood. (The idea of True Blend is to create a core that’s softer in the tip and tail to make turn initiation easier and stiffer underfoot for edge-grip.) Instead of metal, Blizzard adds a lightweight carbon-fiber laminate for added strength without the weight. The Hustle 9 weighs 1,750 at 180 cm; the 10 weighs 1,800 grams at 180 cm; the 11 weighs 1,950 at 188 cm.
Blizzard Zero G
Blizzard has updated all of the Zero G skis, which are the brand’s classic fast-and-light offerings, with a new structural layer, the Carbon Drive 3.0. Previous Zero G skis had a carbon fiber layer, but it didn’t go the full length of the ski. The new layer wraps the entire ski, and the shape of the layer has been amended to make the skis less rigid in the tip and tail, which made the previous models feel a bit twitchy and not super forgiving. The new ski is stronger in the rear two-thirds than the front, making it easier to initiate turns, smear in powder, and navigate crud. The new models promise increased playfulness, stability, and edge-grip. It weighs in at 950 grams. A single ski Zero G 85 weighs 1,110 at a 171 cm; the 95 weighs 1,260 g at a 178 cm; the 105 weighs 1,540 at 180 cm.