The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Black Crows Corvus Review

The Corvus goes hard and expects that you do too.
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Price:  $850 List | $849.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fast, powerful, steady on variable surfaces
Cons:  Slow to roll over
Manufacturer:   Black Crows
By Rob Woodworth ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 31, 2018
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 8
  • Float - 25% 7
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 9
  • Crud - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 7
  • Carving - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 5% 6

The Skinny

Hailing from the legendary peaks of Chamonix, the Black Crows Corvus is a proven steep-and-deep all-star. The stiff flex and generous camber of this ski make it a very solid and reliable ride for big mountain charging. It is decidedly directional with a long turn radius and vertical sidewall that provide good stability for high-speed turns aimed straight down the fall line. Progressive rocker and a buttery shovel flex allow the Corvus to charge through even the most undesirable conditions. They are strong but playful; buoyant but nimble. This ski is certainly designed for the hard-charging skier looking to slay some powder turns down massive aspects, not a weekend warrior who wants do-it-all powder ski. These things rip.

Product Overhaul

The Corvus has been given a total makeover since our testing period. Get the details below.

October 2018


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Corvus Updates


Since we tested this ski, Black Crows completely vamped it, giving it a slight graphic change-up, reverse camber with a flat underfoot, an upturned tail, and titanal plates. It also has had a sharp price increase of $100 this year. See the new version shown below in the first photo, followed up by its predecessor on the right.


Here is a breakdown of the details:
  • Double Titanal Plate Laminate — The new Corvus has integrated metal into the laminate, meant to add stiffness to the ski.
  • Reverse Camber — Last year's Corvus had camber underfoot, but this newest version is flat underfoot.
  • Partial Twin Tip — The tail of this year's Corvus is turned up, allowing you to ski backwards if you're into that kind of thing. Last year's tail was flat.
  • Price Increase — Up $100 from last year, this new version rings in at $850.

Please note that as we haven't tested this updated version, the review that follows still refers to the version we previously tested.

Hands-On Review of the Corvus


We tested the Corvus in the 193cm (193.1 actual) length. Focusing on more aggressive alpine performance, this ski is the second narrowest option in the Corvus big mountain lineup.

The Corvus' was happiest when driven fast...really fast. It was happiest on steep pitches.
The Corvus' was happiest when driven fast...really fast. It was happiest on steep pitches.

Stability at Speed


There is no doubt about it; the Corvus is a ski built for speed. It is a directional, stiff setup that has traditional camber mellowing out into progressive tip rocker. With a popular woodcore and triaxial fiberglass reinforcements, it is both damp and reliable while ridden at speed. In fact, the Corvus performed best when it was driven straight down the fall line in steep terrain, which is why we awarded it a perfect score in this category. Even on skied-out terrain, the Corvus stays accurate and smooth when you turn it up to 11. It's a purebred steep hunter that prefers wide-open speeds.

Carving


At 193cm and boasting a burly 21m turn radius, the Corvus has a solid amount of effective edge to crank out some pretty bossy turns. On firm or icy snow, it is fully capable of locking in an edge that allows the rider to create angulation for more aggressive turn shapes. However, the big-mountain spirit of this ski was evident in that it was more fond of making faster, more direct turns than racer arcs.

The Corvus has a preference for steep alpine terrain.
The Corvus has a preference for steep alpine terrain.

The vertical sidewall of the Corvus is quite pronounced underfoot and tapers out towards the tip and tail. The result is confident edge hold that can also release turns with ease and stop on a dime. They were sometimes sluggish in initiation and needed higher speeds or steeper pitches to bring it across the hill. But with progressive rocker in the tip and a slightly lifted tail, the Corvus can pivot and swing through a wide variety of turn shapes. Though, if you prefer a ski that has an easy initiation and a more lively bounce, there are probably better options out there.

Crud


The burly construction and preference for speed make the Corvus a very reliable option for skied-out terrain. The poplar woodcore provides a great platform for dampening blows and the layer of fiberglass keeps the ski active and light through bumped out or variable snow. A soft-flexing shovel with gradual rocker minimizes deflection to keep the Corvus on track regardless of where you point them.

The Corvus sprays a little on their approach to a spicy line beneath the Fingers.
The Corvus sprays a little on their approach to a spicy line beneath the Fingers.

Normally, we would look to metal laminate skis for giving superb stability in cruddy conditions - though we were wholly impressed with the wood/fiberglass combo found in the Corvus. It is both (relatively) light underfoot and robust enough to cruise through manky snow without getting chattery or squirrely. Whether it be slush, chunder, or frozen crust, the Corvus will stay reliable and true.

Float


With a 109mm waist, the Corvus is a mid-fat offering from Black Crows big mountain lineup. Even though there are wider, more rockered skis in this review, we thought that the Corvus had a fair amount of floatation and surfability in the deep stuff. Designed to tackle difficult aspects and manage hefty drops, the Black Crows big mountain lineup excels when the conditions are steep and deep—and the Corvus is no exception.

The Corvus was a total riot to ski in the steep and deep  but had a tendency to sink in low-angle powder.
The Corvus was a total riot to ski in the steep and deep, but had a tendency to sink in low-angle powder.

We found that in super light, low-angle snow this ski could sometimes struggle to maintain speed or rise to the top immediately after bombing-out. But if you're comfortable adopting an aftward stance, the Corvus will plane-out just fine. The Corvus' forte is bouncing in and out of steep, chowdery chutes and not mellow glades.

Playfulness


To some, the Corvus may not sound like categorically 'jibby' ski. It is a directional, full-sidewall big mountain tool that has a fair amount of traditional camber underfoot. Though depending on what type terrain you like to ski, and how aggressive a rider you are, it can certainly earn points as a playful powder board.

The Corvus is stiff and prefers longs turns. But it can also get some solid air time.
The Corvus is stiff and prefers longs turns. But it can also get some solid air time.

One of the strengths of this ski is it's stability. It's super stiff underfoot, moderately stiff in the tail, and has a progressive softness towards the shovel. So if you like to huck big drops and get tubbed in the white room, you'll certainly like to romp on the Corvus. It also had no issue bringing around 3s and backies in the deep stuff.

Versatility


By no means is the Corvus a one-trick-pony. It was consistently delivering for us in a wide variety of terrain and conditions. But it may not suit all riders as a daily driver. If you live in a climate that has heavy snowpack and spend most of your days hunting steep lines, you'll surely get lots of miles on this ski. Otherwise, you might find a better all-around powder ski than the Corvus.

Best Applications


It almost feels redundant at this point to remind you that the Corvus undoubtedly favors big lines with lots room to run. Aggressive alpine riders will be right at home on this ski. The 193 was a lot of material to manage for some of our not-so-large testers, so we would recommend a shorter length if you prefer quick swing weight.

The Corvus stiff and unforgiving  lending a stable ride to hard-charging skiers.
The Corvus stiff and unforgiving, lending a stable ride to hard-charging skiers.

Value


At $850 a pair, the Corvus is within the familiar range of market price for a powder board. Which is not necessarily cheap. But while it's not the most affordable or versatile option out there, we think it has a very high-quality construction. The Black Crows design team has innovation and attention to detail that you don't typically find in their price range.

Conclusion


The Corvus is easily the most popular offering from Black Crows. It's been making consistent appearances on the FWT, and we're keen to drink their neon pink kool-aid. It is an in-your-face big mountain slayer that is confident at speed, stable in slop, and maintains an edge in icy cirques. If that sounds like a grand ol' time to you, then you'll probably find a friend in the Corvus.

High-speed whiteouts on the Black Crows Corvus.
High-speed whiteouts on the Black Crows Corvus.

Other Versions and Accessories


This review was performed on the 193cm length. The Corvus is also offered at 188cm, 183cm, and 175cm. The most similar relative in the Black Crows lineup is the Atris, which is just a hair narrower at 108mm underfoot.


Rob Woodworth