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French brand Black Crows has been one of the cooler brands to arrive in North America in the last decade. Its skis look sharp thanks to progressive freeride shapes, traditional construction techniques, and very hip graphics. Skiers in places like Jackson Hole and Aspen are undoubtedly familiar with the brand, but, because Black Crows skis can be hard to find to demo outside of these places, most of the brand’s popularity is spread via word of mouth.
The brand’s flagship All-Mountain Wide option, the Corvus (and the Corvus Birdie for women) could be a great one-ski quiver option for some skiers out West. With a 107mm waist, no camber underfoot, poplar wood core sandwiched between two sheets of Titanal, and a 21-meter turn radius, the Corvus looks like a fun, burly freeride ski. But it hasn’t always agreed with the SKI Test crew. In fact, for the three years it’s been entered at SKI Test, the Black Crows Corvus only scored high enough to make one Gear Guide in 2020.
This begs the question: Is the Black Crows Corvus a good ski?
What’s Great about the Black Crows Corvus
With a 21-meter turn radius and two sheets of Titanal, these skis seek the fall line and demand room to move. In places where steep alpine bowls are prevalent and easy to find—the Alps, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming—the Corvus skis are happier than Paddy O’Connell skiing in tight jeans on a spring day.
The metal layers in the Corvus are 120cm long, which means they don’t run from tip to tail. This softens up the rockered shovel and rear of the ski, providing poppiness and playfulness while the metal underfoot still provides solid stability in chunder and chop. In other words, these are built for big mountain and freeride skiing and are fun to get airborne on.
“The Corvus has a playful appeal for new school skiers but character for power,” wrote tester Bob Gleason at the 2019 SKI Test in Taos. “Its direction of motion is solid, but it is readily finessed to adapt to variations in terrain.”
Year after year, the SKI Test crew also commends how the Corvus can do all of the above at moderate speeds. Skiers don’t have to always go pedal-to-the-metal to get the most from this ski, making it a solid option for skiers who are starting to master double black diamond and extreme terrain and are ready to add elements of speed and air to their skiing.
For freeride skiers who are already at the next level and confident about it, the Corvus provides plenty of stability that can go punch-for-punch with the strongest skiers out there. The skis can even handle moguls if there is enough muscle to drive them properly.
“A fun ski if you have the confidence to push it,” wrote tester Mark Syrovatka in Taos in 2019. “If this ski is good at one thing, it’s staying stable.”
What’s Less Great about the Black Crows Corvus
With a 21-meter turn radius, two sheets of Titanal, and zero camber underfoot, the Corvus skis in the trees and tight spaces like a bull in your grandmother’s kitchen. Because of the lack of camber, this ski ultimately prefers to go straight or sideways in many situations where variations in speed are critical. “These skis start talking back in bumps and in tighter areas,” wrote Luke Larsen in Taos. “Sometimes I thought I knew where I was going, but the ski had other plans.”
Additionally, the very traditional semi-cap construction of poplar sandwiched between metal gives the ski a bit of a heavy feel. While many European and American brands have cracked the code on how to effectively use modern materials like carbon, basalt, cork, and more to maximize a ski’s feel on snow and provide different levels of energy, the Black Crows set-up feels a lot like skis that were built a decade or two ago but with a more modern shape. “Makes an easy, slow, rounded, skidded turn but feels like a barge on the long radius arc,” wrote PSIA-pro Peter Donahue at Taos. “Lots of stability there, but the antithesis of nimble.”
Ultimately, finesse skiers and those looking for a wide ski that can carve should definitely try this ski before they buy. But aspiring and accomplished freeride skiers will be happy with the Black Crows Corvus.
Black Crows Corvus Details
- Lengths (cm): 176, 183, 188, 193
- Dimensions (mm): 138-107-127
- Turn Radius (m): 21 (188 length)
- MSRP: $870