The Velvet Hammer
SkiTalk Tester
Nov 1, 2015
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Ah, 76, 78, 79. This seems to be the sweet spot for a ski that can carve up the groomers, rip a zipper line, or help someone work on technique. For me, it is the sweet spot for a ski that puts a smile on my face. I was fortunate enough to be able to ski all three of them early in their lives, and the Blizzard Black Pearl 78 in its newest evolution. The differences between these skis are nuanced rather than drastic.

As I noted in my individual review, the Black Pearl 78 is the little sister to the Black Pearl 88 -- not the insignificant little sister, more like the bratty sibling who gives back what you give her.

The DPS Alchemist Cassiar 79 (aka the Trainer) is a diversion from the usual suspects at DPS, usually known for big-mountain powder skis. After all, the name is Drake PowderworkS, so a 79mm-waisted ski isn't something you expect. However, its energy, balance, and carving ability are fun, playful, and poppy -- especially when you are seeking out bumps and trees,

Meanwhile, the sleeper brand, Liberty, has produced a new ski that is mind-blowing fun in similar terrain. The V76 is slightly stronger for someone who has a little more power.

I can't say enough about these three skis and how much fun I had on them, but when you're looking for a way to distinguish them, this is how I'd bring clarity to the mix:
  • Why choose the V76? You are looking for a narrow ski to carve groomers, ski moguls, and charge hard when crud appears.
  • Why choose the Black Pearl 78? You want a charger that skis well on groomers and rips through moguls.
  • Why choose the Trainer? This is the ticket for a seriously lightweight ski that carves nicely, rips moguls, and has a playful poppy feel for a lighter skier.