“Sensual Dancing,” says the ski, inscribed boldly on its bright pink sidewall. Is this all one needs to know about the all pink Black Crows Corvus Freebird? Not exactly, but it’s a damn good place to start. And by pink, we mean pink. Top sheet, base, and everywhere in between, there is none more pink than the Corvus Freebird.
In the recent Cohen brothers film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the final vignette brings us into a stagecoach where five individuals are discussing the meaning of life. René, the French card-playing philosopher, portends to see through all questions of human virtue and into the true amoral nature of the human experience; he argues we can never know another person in the same way we can know ourselves.
What does this Descartian philosophy of human nature have to do with this very pink touring ski? Well, for one thing, Black Crows is a proudly very French ski brand. The company presents itself as a purveyor of a philosophical approach to skiing rather than that of data and specifications and assignment.
I can buy this philosophical approach to skiing. But plenty of hard-earned dollars have been wasted before on good branding and lousy skis: Ideas are great, but you have to be able to engineer and manufacture that idea if you’re selling skis. Black Crows has a reputation for doing both.
These 188.2 cm skis are 107mm underfoot, have a classic camber shape with generous tip rocker, a flat tail, 21m turn radius, and weigh in at a verified 3980(!) g/pair. That’s a lot of mass and metal to push around for sure. These skis have all the elements of a classic freeride ski (stiff flex, flat tails, long turn radius, early tip rise) and I expect them to perform well, but there is no denying this is a heavy ski.
I mounted the Freebirds with the ATK Freeraider 12 bindings weighing 350g per binding, and cut bright pink Pomoca (Free Pro 2.0) skins, because I am a sucker for color matching. The ski-binding combo weighs 2325g/ski (verified), about 306 grams more per foot than my “normal” ski setup—Moment Wildcat Tour 108 with ATK Freeraider 14s, 2069 g/ski. That’s not really all that much in the grand scheme of things, but all this pink is turning out to be quite a substantial package. It will be interesting to see how these pink planks compare to the Wildcat, which is itself a pretty rowdy all around slayer.
I am hopeful a ski like the Corvus Freebird with all its power and extra heft will have my back when I get a little over excited and blast into a line that is not quite as soft and juicy as it appears and instead has me gripping tight for a wild ride. I like a ski that holds up in variable conditions. A ski that can hang onto a line in adverse snow without excessive wrangling, even if it means I have to drag a little extra mass up the hill to start with. Time on the skintrack and descents will be the ultimate decider on if the additional weight is worth the squeeze.
First Tour Update: Recently I took the fuschia french fries out for their maiden tour, driving the pink planks with my Hoji Free 130 boots. Due to a recent high-pressure system we are sitting on some pretty firm snow. Skinning 3000′ to the summit of Mt. Bachelor through varied water rime ice and chalky old powder, I didn’t notice the weight of the skis being an extra burden, but that could just be down to new ski stoke. On the descent, I encountered moguled out chalky wind board, barely edgeable ice, and even some nice recycled powder over a bulletproof base. The Corvus Freebird was an easy companion through all of it, holding an edge with ease with plenty of power, and allowing some irresponsible speed through some questionable line choices. The 90-degree edge bevel factory tune left me a bit wanting, so before my next tour I’ll throw on a tune and some wax, but initial impressions are so far positive. If a mid-fat, powder-focused freeride ski performed so well in these less than ideal conditions, I think it bodes well for these pink sticks to be an excellent all-arounder. Time to do some snow dances and keep an eye on the horizon for the next big dump, so I can give them a good thrashing in the soft feathery pow we all crave.
*Long term review coming, slightly delayed by a mid-season broken wrist sustained while possibly(definitely) getting too rad in poor snow conditions.
Weight (g): 1953 (183cm)
Lengths (cm): 176, 183, 188
Dimensions (mm): 138, 107, 127
Profile: Traditional Camber, Early Rise Tip
Construction: Semi cap, 120cm double titanal plates
Recommended Use: Powder/Free Ride
Buy the Black Crows Corvus Freebird.
Barry Wicks, also known as @wicknasty, demphasizes the nasty and embraces the kindness. He lives in Bend, Oregon where in a parallel universe he covets all things cycling. And although he might not admit it, some say he was once quite speedy on a bike. Also, amongst WildSnow writers, he has the best hair.