The Corvus Freebird’s are a staple of Black Crows Ski line up and for the 2020/21 season, they got an upgrade. While more of an evolution than a revolution, this upgrade made the Corvus Freebird Skis stiffer with an adjusted taper and stouter flex. They now use a full poplar wood core rather than the previous poplar/ paulownia laminate which makes them even burlier than before. The ski lengths are slightly longer as well to accommodate this new stiffer flex and almost true alpine construction which provides a hard-charging high-performance backcountry ski experience. Upon first look, you won't notice much difference since all the technology upgrades are under the hood and the Corvus Freebird’s still sport their all pink top sheet, however, they are slightly fatter at the front with a less pronounced rocker and narrower underfoot and in the tails. The tips are now 140mm instead of 139, a modest increase but they appear fatter given that the waist goes from 109 to 107 and the tails are reduced from 122mm to 119.
Get a closer look at the new 2020/2021 Corvus Freebird Skis in this video review:
With a generous yet albeit less pronounced rocker in the tips than the previous version, the new Corvus Freebird Skis still float effortlessly in deep powder snow. Their 140mm wide tips were made not only for powder but also for busting through crud and variable snow.
The camber underfoot is generous and provides a nice pop from one turn to the next which facilitates a quick and smooth transition from edge to edge even though they are relatively fat at 107mm in the waist. Built into the middle of the skis is a Titanal Mounting Plate which was added to better accommodate heavier more burly touring/alpine bindings like the new Marker Duke PT or Salomon Shift. This also helps to improve the ski's torsional rigidity which is never a bad thing.
In the tails, you'll find very little to no rocker even though Black Crows states they have a rocker/camber/rocker profile. I would call these tails almost dead flat and some of the least rocketed tails on any of the skis we’ve reviewed. This helps to lengthen the effective edge of the Corvus Freebird Skis which allows you to fully complete turns rather than slarve your way through corners. Having a flat tail also allows the Corvus Freebird Skis to perform kick turns on steep and technical uptracks with relative ease since as you can dive the tail of one ski beneath the other. There is also a built-in rubber stopper complete with skin clip attachment notch on the tails which is a nice feature as it increases the longevity of the skis and also prevents your skin's tail clips from inadvertently un-clipping from the ski, which no one likes.
The sandwich/ semi-cap construction and thick Poplar wood core provide the mass required to make the Corvus Freebird a stable and versatile ski that shines in a variety of snow conditions and terrain. The tip-to-tail edge hold is well-distributed which means that they can tackle just not blower pow but also compact and icy snow as well. This is also due to the ski's impressive torsional rigidity which means you can charge a bit more aggressively with confidence and you won’t be disappointed, unlike most backcountry skis which only excel in softer snow.
Since trying these skis at last year's Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival (which is normally held each winter here at Whitewater Ski Resort) I’ve been wanting to spend more time on these skis. After my initial few inbound laps on the Corvus Freebirds I knew this was a ski we had to review in more depth to see how it would perform on more than just groomers. The Corvus Freebird Skis were designed primarily as a backcountry ski that gives up nothing when it comes to performance and yes, this means that they are a little heavier than your average backcountry ski, but, if you have the fitness to get these pink planks up the skin track you will be amply rewarded on the way down. When I say ‘heavier’ I am not talking about 'alpine ski heavy' but simply 'backcountry ski heavy' which means that the Corvus Freebird Skis are at the upper end of most backcountry ski’s weight, but as I said before, their performance will quickly make you forget about those extra grams.
This is an expert ski, there's no doubt about that as they like to be ridden hard, driven with confidence, and allowed to go fast. They are at their most fun when you open up the throttle and lean into the turns knowing that their impressive edge hold has your back in any kind of snow. I’ve tested the Corvus Freebird Skis on groomers, spring re-freeze, crud, pow, dust on crust and slop, and in each snow condition, they've excelled. They simply ski anything you can throw at them which is thanks to their ideal dimensions of 140/107/119mm. With a pronounced tip rocker, generous camber underfoot, and flat tail they bust through snow and complete short and long radius turns crisply while being stable at speed. Their big shovel upfront is effective at crud busting and ensuring you float on top of the pow and not in it.
While this is a stiffer ski it’s still somewhat forgiving, damp, and playful and the longitudinal flex helps pop the ski up off the snow for easy turn initiation. Their 21m turn radius further helps to link shorter, tighter turns that you might need to get out of jams or just navigate the trees and bumps.
Simply put, the redesigned Corvus Freebird Skis from Black Crows is a great quiver of one ski if you don’t mind a tad more weight underfoot on the climbs as they ski anything with style and will make you smile with every turn. Do yourself a favour and consider these skis for your next touring/resort set-up.
Price: $1179.95CAN / $899.95US
Weight: 3750g / 8.27lb (per 183 pair)
Lengths: 176, 183.4, 188.2cm
Turn Radius: 21m
|Powder Performance 2/2
Groomer Performance 2/2
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