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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    48

    REVIEW: Black Crows Anima

    I don't post much here and I've never written a review, but I wanted to give these skis a review for yall. I bought these suckers blind on craigslist and couldn't find much info about them other than blisters review, which didn't tell me as much as I had hoped, so here we go.

    Model: Black Crows Anima 2016 (From what I can tell, I don't believe that the ski has changed much since 2016, but someone correct me if I am wrong.

    Advertised Length: 188.4

    Straight Tape Pull: 186

    Dimensions at 188.4:
    Tip-143
    Waist-115
    Tail-128

    For background, I bought this ski on a whim on craigslist for $500 with a pair of non shitty gen Kingpins. They had been skied less than 10 days by the previous owner so I figured why not. I call Kirkwood, CA my home mountain and got these sticks with the intention of using them for Kirkwood sidecountry and pre-work dawn patrols on deep days (note that I did not say Anima Freebird in the title, this review is for the regular Anima). My current quiver is made up of Revision Subtractions and first gen ON3P Jeffreys. The Jeffreys are my daily driver and are almost identical to this years Kartel 108. I have spent more time on these skis than any other ski I've ever owned, so a lot of the comparisons I make will be to these. These skis came mounted at -7 cm from center, -1 cm back from recommended. My touring boot is a pair of Mango Maestrales and my resort boots are Dalbello Krypton Pro's. I ski very aggressively, dropping 20-30 cliffs, spin/flip jumps, and straight line chutes. I am 5'8'', 150 lbs.

    Blister lists the flex pattern using their scale as follows:

    Tips: 7
    Shovels: 8
    Underfoot: 9.5
    Behind the Heels: 8
    Tails: 6-7

    I agree with this assessment. Despite its thin profile in the tips and tails, its stiff enough all throughout to really hold its own.

    On to the meat and potatoes...

    This ski has a bit of a hybrid construction, with a full sidewall underfoot that thins out to cap construction in the tips and tails. This will come into play later.

    With the Kingpins mounted 1 cm back, I really tried to love this ski, but something wasn't really clicking. In chop and bumped out conditions I found myself having a lot of trouble driving the ski. I often found the ski pushing me into the back seat. The tips felt a little chattery and often got tossed around in sierra chop. When throwing the ski sideways, I found the tips to be catchy and didn't feel connected to the front of the ski. I believe a large part of the issue with this skis performance may have been related to tech feel and the softer mango Maestrales, but more on that later.

    On groomers, this ski rips. Its a lot of fun with great edge-hold and much better edge to edge than I would have expected for a 115 ski.

    In light powder, even with the issues mentioned above, I really enjoy this ski. Its nimble, easy to throw sideways with more than enough float for some of the blower February days we had this year in the sierras. Slightly less playful and nimble than the Revision Subtractions, which I consider playful almost to the point of noodley. Much better float than my Jeffreys, due in part to the width of the ski, but I also think the softer tips help keep this ski floating. However, in thicker sierra cement, I really had trouble feeling in control in this ski. Again I felt disconnected from the front of the ski and got tossed around.

    After February subsided in the sierras, I decided to take the kingpins off and pop on some STH Drivers. I was shopping around for a lighter side-country touring set up and wanted to try to make these skis likeable. I went with a mount -4 from center, as recommended by Blister. MAN did these skis change. With the new mount point, full alpine bindings, and a beefier boot, I really felt like I was finally getting to experience these skis. With a bit more beef in the setup, these skis felt damp and chargey. They still feel less aggressive than my Jeffreys, but the ability for this ski to charge through crud and remain stable at speed really shocked me despite its thinned out profile. Taking the anima's through Once is Enough, I noticed these skis wanted to go over chop a little more than the Jeffrey's did, which have a tendency to want to crush through anything in its way.

    One thing Black Crow advertises about this ski is the fact that the weight is pulled into the center of the ski for low swing weight, per the hybrid sidewall construction. I will say the tips and tails feel very light. When maching through crud, they definitely deflected a bit more than the Jeffrey's, but not to the point where I felt uncomfortable hitting the gas pedal wherever I wanted. Overall I was very impressed with the crud busting performance once mounted with a more beefed up setup; a very damp ski for its weight. For spinning off jumps, these skis feel super light; Black Crow's attempt at swing weight reduction was definitely successful.

    Powder and groomer performance wasn't really effected by the change in bindings and mount point.

    Overall impressions:

    Mounted with a traditional alpine binding and ridden with a stiffer boot, I really enjoy ripping this ski around Kirkwood. What started out as a bit of a problem child for me turned into one of the skis I'm grabbing off the wall the most. Ultimately, I don't know that I needed to go as far forward as -4 cm. Part of me wishes I mounted at -5 or -6, as there have been times where I just felt like I could have used a little more tip and a little less tail. However, that's not to say I'm disappointed with the -4 mount, at this point I'm just nitpicking. If you are looking for a damp, stable, freeride oriented ride, these skis fit the bill very well. They are easy to throw around, stable enough to mach through crud, and relatively playful for its flex pattern. Feel free to ask me any questions about the ski and I hope this review was helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Posts
    609
    great review - thanks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    204
    I have a pair of these too. They were a replacement for my Salomon Rocker2 122.

    I love them and agree with everything above, until it gets deeper. Then, I get a surprising amount of tip dive. Not sure if your experience is the same...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    The Chicken Coop, Seattle
    Posts
    2,538
    Sounds/looks like a bibby tip with a GPO waist and tail. The tip dive comment surprises me with the softer tip, pin tail design and 143mm shovel.

    BW, where did you mount yours?
    wait!!!! waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait...Wait!
    Zoolander wasn't a documentary?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    48
    Ive heard the comparison to the bibby before, though ive never ridden them so I cant confirm. I do have some dip dive in heavier sierra chop but havent experienced it in lighter snow


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