Building on its foundation in the Big Mountain genre, Black Crows continues to flesh out its collection, adding an on-piste ski, the Vertis, and the all-terrain Daemon for 2108. We didn’t get enough data to rate the Vertis, a shame since our limited experience suggests it would be a fun alternative for the Frontside Finesse skier. Unlike a lot of Black Crows’ models, the Vertis is fully cambered and connects with the snow from its mildly rockered tip to its square, relatively flat tail.
The baseline of the Daemon is the Yin to the Vertis’s Yang, a thoroughly decambered ski with a flat spot underfoot barely long enough to fit a binding. With so little ski in the snow, you’d expect to have the carving properties of a bald tire, but when the Daemon is tipped, it grips. A little Titanal in its undercarriage gives it an authoritative bite that keeps the Daemon on course. It’s a strong ski with a playful attitude that simplifies off-trail skiing.
One of our Recommended models last season, the Atris, returns to the line with a few changes intended to improve its comportment at speed without deadening its lively feel and quick reactions. Black Crows lengthened the sidecut radius to 20m (from 18m), slightly softened the flex and reduced the severity of the rear rocker.
Regrettably, we didn’t get any data on the new Atris so it doesn’t appear here, but we suspect it belongs on any list of the best Big Mountain models.