Black Crows Corvus Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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