Sizes: 169.4, 179.4, 185.4
Weight: 3320g / pair @179.4
Materials: Paulownia and poplar, tri- and bi-axial fiberglass and carbon.
Features: ABS semi-cap sidewall construction, 19m radius, progressive rocker in the tip, camber underfoot, light tail rocker.Buy Here
A couple years ago, most skiers likely had never heard of Black Crows. The Chamonix-based brand officially launched in the U.S. this fall (with a soft launch in Jackson before that), and since then has all but dominated. The "core" French skiers behind the brand started building skis because they weren't able to find a ski that they could use top-to-bottom through a variety of snow conditions–that was fun all the way down. While I wasn't likely to find something in my Boulder backyard to rival their Chamonix testing grounds, I gave it a good old fashioned Colorado try in as much different snow as I could find. Off the bat I was taken by the clean aesthetics and the catchy one liners on the sidewalls (i.e. "Hunting Time") of the touring-specific Navis Freebird. It looked like a ski that wanted to have a good time–so naturally I started with the shittiest snow I could find.
Weighing in at just over 3.5 pounds per ski (nearly a pound lighter than last year's model) the paulownia and poplar core is covered in carbon and fiberglass, making it light enough for long tours, but stiff enough for puckering descents. In semi-frozen chunder snow I was surprised to feel stable and not get thrown around considering how light they felt. The long rockered tip made it easy to be nimble when shark fins and other surprises popped up halfway down my line, and the slightly rockered squared-off tail meant I had the length when I needed it, but it released effortlessly when quick moves were warranted.
After a few days of searching for as much different snow as I could find, I wanted more. Translation: I was having fun, even on the crap snow. There's no denying part of this can be attributed to being out with a great crew with lots of inappropriate jokes–but mostly I didn't want the days to end because I was having too much fun skiing. Well played, Black Crows, well played.
Skiing Hot: Versatile and fun in the best and worst of snow.
Skiing Not: A heavier and more aggressive skier was able to overpower them while charging a groomer, but didn't experience that while touring. Interpret as you will.
PHOTO: Crystal Sagan