Black Crows Atris ReviewJanuary 3, 2018
- Fun to schmear
- Easy to turn off-piste
- Great tight turns on steeps
- Lively in soft snow
- Good stability
- Loses performance on harder snow
- Experts only
- A little sluggish edge-to-edge
The Black Crows Atris was one of the best skis we tested from the brand this season, which is saying a lot, as we were impressed with everything on offer from this young brand (10 years old) out of Chamonix, France. The ski featured excellent Float thanks to rocker in the tip and tail, with enough “Medium Classic Camber,” as BC calls it, underfoot for a reassuringly responsive flex. It does feature Black Crow’s semi-cap, step-down design, with a poplar core for liveliness, and some extra confidence in the steeps, where the ski was especially quick edge-to-edge (although one tester felt the cap design felt “a little lethargic,”especially on-piste). For skiers who only want full sidewall, sandwich construction, that means the Atris skis with a slightly lighter, poppier feel, with more plough than authoritative power when carving, especially on harder snow surfaces.
Hard Snow Pleasure was not a strong suit for the Atris, like almost every ski we tested in the Powder Category, but the ski still performed well enough to earn higher than average marks in that classification. Like the Atomic Backland, the Atris was ranked as a fun ski that can be aggressive in big terrain, but that did not exhibit any one particular quality that might help separate it from the rest of the pack. Except in the steeps! The Atris really does rule at hitting the kind of lines that make you stop and choose your options – and potential cruxes – before you drop. Rack it up to the progressive flex and wonderful mix of rocker and camber, that let you ski to your own strengths, rather than making you commit to muscling through a set turn radius or a stiffer flex. It’s a great pick for experienced skiers who are more interested in reliable response.
The Black Crows Atris earned one 10 (out of 10) in the Overall classification, one 8, and then a couple of 6s. Like the Atomic Backland, it didn’t separate itself in any single classification, other than all-out handling big terrain in the steeps (which we don’t call out specifically on our rating sheet). We think it’s a great ski, especially for the kind of talented skiers who hit the hill each day looking to find the freshest lines, especially if they’re at the end of a tight tree choke, or the at the bottom of a cliff. It’s not the most powerful ski in this category and it’s not for hardpack. But it still flat out rocks.
The mix of rocker and camber, along with the poplar core, semi-cap construction and forgiving flex, give the Atris a bit of a lighter, more traditional GS feel in the Powder Category. In terms of Sluff-ability, that means you can set a nice predictable edge in off-piste conditions, then kind of ride it as you stall and schmear out the turn for as long as you want. It’s a pretty fun sensation on this ski, especially in the steeps, where you can quickly get back over the outside ski and do it again.
At the high end in the Stability classification, the Atris scored one 10 and an 8 for how well it held in a variety of conditions. At the lower end it scored a couple 6s for
“feeling squirrely on the hardpack.” The ski does fine gobbling up the groomed right after you get back in-bounds or out of the trees and head for the lift, but it really is at its best in mixed conditions, where it excels without being pushed.
The aforementioned mix of rocker, camber and a nicely progressive flex (see Full Review above), give the Atris a great, responsive Float to plough through mixed conditions without feeling like you’re losing power or ski-to-snow contact. In the Float classification, the ski scored 10s and 8s on every test sheet.
Hard Snow Pleasure
Despite the fact that most of the skis in the Powder Category did not do as well in the Hard Snow Pleasure classification (kind of like most of the Frontside Category posted low scores for Float), the Atris held its own here. It actually earned one 9 – all these being comparative scores, of course – here, a couple of 8s, a 7 and a 6, in deference to the ski’s traditional GS feel, thanks to the medium camber underfoot and the progressive shovel flex.Continue Reading
Peter Kray- Publisher
Peter Kray is a co-founder of the Gear Institute, and a longtime specialist in the testing of skis, snowboards and outdoor equipment.