The quiet calm of a mountain after a snowstorm. The untracked, white powder lays before me, beckoning me to come closer. I glide through, barely marking the snow, floating on top of the foot of new snow that had come the night before. A small adjustment and I turn with ease. It is peaceful and the skis seem to keep the peace, quietly making their way down the mountain. The only sound is a soft swish as I turn in the snow.
From Chamonix, France comes an independent ski brand that is slowly starting to show up all over the world. Started in 2006, Black Crows are popping up at ski resorts more and more. When I walked into a small ski shop in Golden, I was looking for skis to demo within the next few weeks. Here I was first introduced to the Black Crows.
I liked the simplicity of the Atris Birdie and how light it felt, as I wanted a ski I could take into the backcountry. I was told how everyone who got the powder ski loved it. It was a beautiful, but expensive ski, and I was also drawn to a few others. I wasn’t sure on the Atris Birdie and I left the ski shop empty handed.
That next week, I demoed dozens of skis. From Salomon to Icelantic to Rossignol to Head, I tried skis from nearly every different brand. And while I had found a few I liked, my mind kept going back to the Black Crows I had been introduced to in the store. I never demoed them, something which I had not wanted to do on an expensive set up. After reading multiple reviews for weeks, I decided the Atris Birdie would the be the ones for me.
When I put them on, it was love at first slope. I have skied many different skies over the years and very few have compared to these Atris Birdie. These skis are meant for powder and are very playful in it. They are incredibly light for a wider ski. The weight is not listed anywhere for the 169s, but the 160s weight in at 1619g for each individual ski, and the 178s weigh 1775g for each ski.
The ski measures 169cm long with a 106mm waist. I am 5 foot 5 inches, so I am skiing a bit longer ski than recommended, though I prefer longer skis. The Atris Birdie does not ski like 169 ski though. With it having a double rocker, I did not notice a huge difference between it and a 162 ski that is flat. Its profile is double rockered with a medium classic camber.
Others who are not used to skiing a longer ski might have some trouble navigating it the first runs. The only time I noticed it was a little longer was on my first mogul run. The snow was choppy, rather then the powder I had been hoping to get. The tails bumped into the back of the bumps a couple times but I was able to adjust after a few turns.
The ski itself does well on almost all conditions, but powder is where it truly shines. Though not as wide as some of the other powder skis on the market, it still performs amazingly well in deep powder. While some have expressed concerns that with a ski not as wide, the tips would dip down, the Atris Birdie stays afloat.
I have taken them for many test runs and they perform very well under most conditions. The Atris Birdie is a very stable ski. There is some chatter when going fast on groomed runs but it still does great when charging them. People who prefer the fastest speeds might not like the Atris Birdie as it does hang back a little. Despite that, it charges very well in powder, and still maintains higher speeds solidly.
The skis also perform well at fast and slow speeds on off piste terrain. They do well when snow is packed down and still are manageable on ice. When conditions get very choppy, the skis do buck some but after a run, I was used to the bucking and able to adjust accordingly. Here it felt a little slow to transfer from edge to edge, but overall, they still were great to ski on in these conditions.
While the ski is not recommended as a touring ski, I have still used it in the backcountry. Since it is a lighter ski, I have not noticed a big difference skinning uphill in weight. Thinner skis would do better on ascents; however, I did not want to lose the versatility of these skis. I wanted a ski I could take out in powder days in the backcountry without worrying about tips diving. I compromised with the bindings and went with the Marker F12s, which you can read about separately in my review here. This does add some weight to them compared to tech bindings. The skis are still lighter than other powder skis with the lightweight tech bindings on them though.
The Atris Birdie is listed as an all mountain, big mountain, and powder ski. The skis are listed at $769.95 from Black Crows’ website and the new 2018 version is now available.