Black Crows Navis Freebird Touring Skis Review
An in-depth review of the Black Crows Navis Freebird touring skis
For a small, independent ski brand based out of Chamonix in France, Black Crows have an impressive worldwide reputation - especially when you consider they’ve only been in business for a decade.
Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet, both passionate freeriders, met their future business partner in the Grands Montets cable car in the winter of 2005/2006 and in true French style, they pitched him their idea for a ski brand over a glass of fine red wine. However by all accounts once Christophe Villemin had heard their plans he didn’t take much convincing to get involved. The industrialist became the money man in the partnership, and Black Crows was born.
“Each ski weighs just 1.65kg, making them as easy to skin up on as they are fun to ride down.“
Their initial idea was to create a ski big enough to float in powder that was also nimble enough to turn quickly. That might sound like a contradiction in terms but the Corvus, the ski they launched in that first season, managed to combine those two characteristics very effectively. Off the back of that first model which they still make to this day the brand built a reputation in Chamonix, a town where people are famously choosy about their gear. From there, word spread quickly to the rest of the skiing world.
These days Black Crows have a full range of 18 different models which even includes piste skis, but the backcountry is still where their heart lies. The Navis Freebird is just one of the excellent powder skis they produce. The reason we chose this over the other models they make is that for a backcountry and touring ski, it’s impressively versatile, handling crud, chopped up snow and champagne pow with equal aplomb.
With Black Crows’ lightweight Freebird Gene 2 construction, these manage to combine the ability to float in soft stuff with the agility to handle tight turns. At 102mm the waist is reasonably wide but not so wide that you can’t carve on hard pack snow or ice. As Black Crows put it, “it strikes a balance between fatness and skiability".
The profile features camber under the feet (which helps with edge hold and carving ability on ice) and rocker at the nose (making it easier to keep your tips up). Best of all for ski tourers is the fact that they’re good and light. Each ski weighs just 1.65kg (for the 179cm model) making them as easy to skin up on as they are fun to ride down.
Black Crows Navis Freebird Touring Skis Stats:
- Price: £620
- Weight: 3300g
Shot on location in Chamonix
- Thanks to our accommodation partner Adventure Base