The Sheeva 10 is my favorite ski I have never owned. I think the ski is an incredible one-quiver resort ski for the Pacific Northwest, and that they provide an ample runway for growth. But as someone who to test, collect, and turn over gear somewhat regularly, those qualities were deal breakers. But those are selling points for most skiers are after, so I thought I’d share some thoughts.
I’ve gotten 4 days total on both the 164 and 172 sizes, and I’ve also got some long term feedback from my friend, Lauren. I helped Lauren land on the Sheevas in 2020, when she was progressing into off-piste terrain and needed and upgrade from her borrowed beginner carving skis. Big thanks to Lauren for her notes!
Construction (size 172)
To really appreciate how the Sheeva 10 handles, it helps to understand it’s made and how it’s different from its peers before connecting those features to its on snow performance.
We’ll dive in to how these specs inform how the Sheeva handles, but to learn more, check out the Construction Cheat Sheet.
Sheeva 10 & Ability Level
As you notice from the chart, the weight, flex, turn radius, and mount point all point to being a little easier and a little more maneuverable than the Sheeva 10’s peers. This ski really serves the skier looking for something agile, nimble, and easy to turn. I really like it for advanced intermediates who are starting to venture off piste. They let you explore tougher terrain with quick, controlled turns, and they let you ski slowly while still keeping turns fluid and consistent. Lauren echoed those opinions, saying they were appropriate for where she started out last season, moving into off-piste runs at Crystal. And they don’t hold her back now that she’s comfortable on blacks and venturing onto double diamonds.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t work for experts. Skiers who spend a lot of time in tight trees or in techy, steep terrain will get along quite well with the Sheeva. Stevens always has powder stashes in the less gladed-out groves (on a usual season – RIP) and I really miss the Sheevas when I venture into the stashes between Wild Katz and Schim’s Meadow.
Next, we’ll get into the Sheeva 10’s performance in various types of terrain and snow conditions, from best to worst:
Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain
Starting with the Sheeva 10’s greatest strengths: quick tight turns. As I alluded to in the specs, the Sheeva is incredibly nimble and easy to turn, thanks to a rather tight turn radius, deep rocker lines, and a slightly more forward mount point. Making short radius turns felt super intuitive, and I found them to be particularly unique in that I could ski them slowly without sacrificing fluid and connected turns. Within the first few runs on them, I felt confident taking them to steep, dense tree runs where they slashed and smeared through tight pines with ease.
I was just as pleased in the bumps, where they were nimble and responsive, but also very forgiving if I popped out of the zipper line or got off balance.
The Sheeva 10 is one of the best skis I’ve ridden for tight, short radius turns. The Pandora 104, Santa Ana 98, and Elan Ripstick 102 all want to hang out a bit longer in the fall line and make slightly longer, arcing turns. The only ski that comes close to the Sheeva’s quickness and agility is the DPS Yvette Alchemist 112. I’d be interested to see how they compare against the Icelantic Maiden 101, Liberty Genesis 101, and the Moment Sierra, which look nimble by their specs on paper.
Some skis have really stiff tails. It helps make the ski more stable at speed. But to turn the ski, it needs to bend, and stiff tails means the bendiest part of the ski is in the tips and shovels. You need to lean forward to put pressure on that part of the ski. But when we’re in intimidating terrain, we tend to sit back. It’s a defensive position so that if we fall, we fall on our ass or hips instead of taking the fall with our noggins. Those skis with stiff tails become really hard to steer if you’re not confident and leaning into gravity.
The Sheevas have softer tails than skis like the Santa Ana 98 or Secret 102, and therefore they’ll oblige you when you steer them from the backseat. But they definitely feel best and reward you when you’ve got a good, forward position. It’s an “all carrot, no stick” sort of encouragement to improve technique.
The Sheeva 10s were impressive on groomers, especially for a wide ski marketed as playful and progressive. The soft tips were happy to bend and get up on edge, while the strength of the ski underfoot gave me confidence to really lay them over – even if the tips started to flap a bit. The skis also have very little taper. If taper’s new for you, I have a visual here from the Construction Cheat Sheet. For a ski with a lot of taper, when the ski is on edge, that narrow pointed section at the tip of the ski isn’t in contact with hardpack snow. You’ve got less metal edge digging into the snow. The Sheevas are less tapered, so their edge hold feels more secure than some of their peers.
Like their off-piste performance, they favored tighter turns on piste. They rebound nicely at the end of the turn, but don’t have quite as much pop as some other playful skis, like the Black Crows Atris Birdie and Camox Birdie.
The Sheeva 10s do pretty well in skied out, chopped up crud. The ski is solid and stiff enough underfoot to resist deflecting completely when the soft tips ran into variable snow. And since they’re super forgiving, if you do get tossed off your game, they make it pretty easy to recover.
If stability and chop performance are paramount, the extra weight on the Volkl Secret 102 pays dividends in variable conditions, and if you’re willing to trade into something narrower, the K2 Mindbender Alliance 98TI and Nordica Santa Ana 98 add to your options. But all three would come with fairly sizable tradeoffs in soft snow.
Taking the Sheevas out in 7 inches of fresh snow solidified to me that these are an off-piste oriented all-mountain ski, not a narrow powder specialist. I didn’t have any issue with tip dive. The soft tips that bend up and plane in soft snow get the job done. The Sheeva also has deep rocker lines made powder skiing loose and surfy, but that heavier, dense midsection likes to sink in the snow. They ski well in powder, but they just don’t create the buoyant, floaty feeling that some of the wider freeride and powder skis have.
They outski their peers in the 100-ish width class in powder, which is a testament to the Sheeva’s versatility. But if you’ve got a daily driver in the high 80’s or 90’s at the waist, I’d reach for a Line Pandora 104, Liberty Genesis 106, Mindbender Alliance 106 C, Black Crows Atris Birdie, or Volkl Blaze 106 W. Or go for a Sheeva 11 if the traits listed here seem up your alley. (Don’t let the width intimidate you. If you think you can handle a Sheeva 10, the 11 shares very similar DNA, just with even better float and off-piste handling).
Long Arcing Turns
The only time I wasn’t thrilled on the Sheeva 10s was on the open bowls and faces where I felt confident and wanted to let them run. They don’t like sitting in the fall line and are quick to cross it. Lauren noted the same thing, saying that she finds herself pointing across the slope sooner than she intends sometimes.
The Sheeva 10s ski quite short. I first tried the Sheevas when I was upgrading from a 162 Pandora 95. Those older Pandoras were known for skiing short, so I expected that the 164 would provide the extra length and stability I was looking for. They felt shorter and less substantial, so I swapped them out for a 172, a length that felt extremely intimidating at the time. But the sizing felt right on, and all of these notes about being nimble and agile are based on my experience with the 172. It’s been 3 seasons since I first skied the Sheevas, and now I feel a little between the 172 and 180 sizes. (And most of my freeride skis are in the 168-170 length).
Lauren saw the same pattern. She loved her 158 DPS Ninas for touring and zeroed in on the 156. I rarely push women towards a certain option when they’re shopping, but I rallied hard for her to get the 164s. It was an intimidating number, but now she’s glad she didn’t go any shorter.
There’s a reason Blizzard added an additional size with the 180, so don’t be afraid to size up. Below is a profile view of the Black Pearl 97 and the Sheeva 10, and you can see that rockered tips and tails accounts for a much larger portion of the Sheeva. The “effective edge” is the part between the shovels and tails that’s actually in contact with the snow at all times.
Who should buy it?
Anyone with the chops to ski off-piste who’s looking for a 1-quiver ski that lives up to the all-mountain marketing fodder. It’s good in some terrain and conditions, great in others, and never really felt like it had major weaknesses. But there are 3 types of skiers who will probably get the most out of the Sheeva 10s:
- Ballsy intermediates – the women who are really pushing their limits and seeking out challenging terrain. These make it so easy to keep turns tight and speed slow and controlled. They allow you to ski cautiously, but with rhythm and flow that makes you feel like a strong and confident skier; there’s less side slipping and struggling. They’re also an economical option since they’re competitively priced, versatile enough to get by with one pair of skis, and provide a pretty long runway for development.
- Vacation skiers – not everyone has the luxury of living within an hour or two of the resort, and I think these are a strong fit for the skier who has to travel to ski. The versatility means you always brought the right tool for the terrain and conditions, and they’re incredibly intuitive, so you won’t lose days searching for the sweet spot. Even better, their easy nature means you’ll still have the legs to drive them on day six of a weeklong ski vacation.
- Advanced to expert skiers who value maneuverability and control for the bumps, glades, and tight technical terrain.
Sheeva 10 vs Rustler 10
The Sheeva 10 and Rustler 10 are different skis. The Rustler’s DNA is largely the same, but it got beefed up after receiving lukewarm reviews its first season. The 172 Rustler 10 weighs 1880g compared to 1674g for the 172 Sheeva. That puts it more in line with the Santa Ana 98 and 104 FR, Rossignol Rallybirds, and Fischer Ranger 102 FR. The Rustler 10’ll offer more stability at speed and in crud and an inclination to slightly longer turns.
Is the Sheeva a good option for a touring ski?
At 1674g, the Sheeva 10’s not an insane option for uphill travel. It’s a tad heavier than the Pandora 104, Mindbender Alliance 106C, and Blaze 106 W. It’ll get the job done for most day trips, but most women look for something lighter if they’re also carrying glacier gear, overnight gear, or both.
A better option might be the new Blizzard Hustle 10. The brand hasn’t confirmed the specs for the ski, but they’re confirmed to be a touring ski and the sizing and naming convention lead me to believe they’re uphill-friendly versions of the Rustler and Sheeva. Information and weight stats will be added here once confirmed by the brand.
A quick final word…
I see a lot of debate whether women’s skis should exist. Skis don’t know what’s in your pants, and our bodies don’t really need anything beyond smaller sizes and lightweight-friendly flexes.
But socialization demands different things. Women shop differently. We make less money. We are less confident in our skills and that we can drive any ski we pluck off the shelf. We build smaller quivers. We don’t upgrade skis as often. We dread the shopping process, avoid ski shops at all costs, and spend a lot of time researching before purchasing. Blizzard stands out for making skis that address these traits. Their women’s products stand out for being versatile across conditions and serving broad ranges of ability levels, making them a strong platform for progression.
I live for the day that women enjoy ski shopping and confidently pick up a new addition every season or two. But for the time being, I commend Blizzard for meeting women where we’re at and building a strong assortment that meets our needs.