Let’s keep this simple: The Black Crows Atris, and the Atris Birdie for women, is a fantastic ski for 95 percent of my days. Pure and plain, it rips all over the mountain. It’s the sweet spot in the Black Crows’ lineup, with universal appeal that translates to me skiing whatever I want on any given day. Could be trees in a thick storm, the great wide open in the high alpine, or average wind buff days at the ski resort.
Black Crows gave the Atris a classic shape that many ski companies have dialed in recent years--camber underfoot, early rise in the tip and tail. New this year, Black Crows touched up the design, giving the Atris a longer turning radius and softer flex, and making the early rise in the tail more pronounced. These tweaks make the Atris more stable at higher speeds than previous years, without compromising its versatile and playful DNA.
The Birdie, which is a tad softer than the men’s version, comes in two sizes, 169 and 178 centimeters. It’s made with a poplar wood core and semi-cap construction, and a 20-meter turning radius, a bump from previous models. The bright orange top sheet is an eye-catcher and the chevron design is a thicker white in the center, a visual cue that mimicks the camber design of the ski.
When I took the Atris Birdies out for a spin at Powder Week, I felt graceful and confident. I’d bring these to steep, no-fall-zone lines in the Alps, or I could mess around on the Atris all day inbounds, popping off jumps and rocks and arcing turns on groomers. The progressive rise in the tail is soft, buttery, and forgiving--so I could ski without fear of punishment.
At times, the Atris’ 109-centimeters underfoot felt a little slow transferring from edge-to-edge, so I’d probably grab another pair of skis on super firm days. And those who like to press the gas petal all the way down may find they lack a little “oomph.” Otherwise, the Atris is a ski to get high on. And Black Crows is already experiencing a high in the United States, a market they’ve only just begun to establish themselves in. A lot of people are jiving on Black Crows, for good reason. They make solid skis that prove themselves. Meanwhile in Chamonix, Black Crows has already climbed to the top of the ladder, a place they’ve been since breaking out in the late aughts. It’s only a matter of time before they achieve that status on this side of the Atlantic. --Julie Brown