Sliding into their ninth season of obsessive form-function design, French free ski brand, Black Crows has become known for their innovative shapes and striking design aesthetic. For the 2016 season the unconventional brand further differentiates themselves from the masses by introducing a collection-wide geometric-inspired graphic and dividing their line between two ski shapes, single and double beak (meaning single tip rocker, and tip and tail rocker). The aesthetic and technical division is incorporated into all four of the company’s ski categories, from big mountain and all terrain to women’s and men’s touring.
Experts and weekend warriors alike will surely be drawn to the three-dimensional “Monocrow” pattern, which offers a welcomed diversion from the midst of winter whiteness.
Rising to the top of the of the collection as the new king of the freeride/freestyle mountain is Anima, a 115mm underfoot, double-beaked beast of a ski designed for those who want to charge the mountain with speed but still have the freestyle flexibility to do butters, hit booters and shut down speed on a dime.
Looking at the shape, Anima features only a 60 percent cambered alpine construction, but still accomplishes a longer, 21 meter turning radius. This feat of design is seen in action when Anima’s progressive rocker is put on edge, thus increasing the ski’s effective edge and giving it the ability to carve big GS-style turns. Successively, a slight adjustment in sidewall angulation and the skier can throw ‘em sideways to quickly cut speed on command.
Anima further differentiates itself from the big mountain segment with a unique hexagonal articulated tip. What does this do, you ask? Well, in the heavily accented words of French professional skier, ski shaper and design guru, Julien Regnier, “it doesn’t do anything… but… when you create the right pressure in the powder, the powder is going to go like poof!” So, there you have it folks. Turn left, turn right, run them out and put the pressure to the powder.
Not to be overshadowed, the all-new Corvus Freebird is well worthy of some close attention too. Based on the rough and tumble, big mountain slaying Corvus—the ski that started it all for Black Crow—the new 109mm-waisted set of touring planks is intended to be a trusty, efficient and confident companion for big days in the backcountry across variable terrain. The single beak, tip rocker design helps it handle deeper snow while its flat, early rise tail provides edge grip in more “sporty” conditions, making the Corvus Freebird an ideal tool for when you need float, a carving edge and performance playfulness on the way up AND down the hill.
And while we haven’t skied the newest models in the Black Crows line yet, the brand’s growing notoriety in North America as a serious contender in the big mountain, freeride and backcountry scenes can be at least partially attributed to the easily agreeable assumption that, “when a ski is skied in Chamonix, the capital of freeriding, inevitably, it gets skied elsewhere.”