In 2015/16 Austrian brand Blizzard came up with the now legendary Blizzard Pearl - a female-specific ski which went on to become the biggest selling ski in the US, outselling all 1,200 other models both in units and dollars sold.
With such an established reputation for producing innovative, legitimate, high performance skis for women, we were super psyched to take the brand new Blizzard Sheeva 9 for a spin at this year's ski test in Galtur, Austria.
At 92mm underfoot, the Sheeva 9 may be the narrowest offering within Blizzard's hugely popular Sheeva ladies series but it's certainly no lightweight when it comes to on the mountain performance. Whilst its older and fatter sisters - the Sheeva 10 and 11 - most definitely belong in the freeride category, the Sheeva 9 is a more subtle, practical and versatile beast that's capable of doing the business in a wider variety of mountain terrain.
Beautifully balanced thanks to its stiff Titanal metal plate and lightweight wood core, we found the Sheeva 9 to be a super stable yet perky and playful mountain partner that was easy to ski from the get go.
The 14m turning radius combined with a lightweight construction means the Sheeva 9s are easy and fun to manoeuvre no matter whether you're looking to lay down some quick short on-piste turns or negotiating more challenging terrain. We had a genuine blast with these skis ripping around the resort and were absolutely delighted with how they performed even when faced with narrow, steep and bumpy sidecountry sections.
Yes you can turn them on a sixpence, but what's really impressive about the Sheeva 9s is their ability to hold a line and power through the turn when travelling at speed. All you have to do is point, press and commit - these Blizzard babies will do the rest.
If you're looking for a ski that can handle the occasional heaven-sent powder day then the Blizzard Sheeva 9s will do the job in ankle-to-shin deep fluff but if you're partial to Japanese-esque blower face shots then you'll need something a little wider than 92mm underfoot to deliver the requisite float.
At £440 without bindings, the Blizzard Sheeva 9s are bang on our anticipated price point for a ski of this quality and versatility. If you're looking for a seriously fun all-mountain ski for occasional freeride forays then the Sheeva 9s are right up there - overlook them at your peril!