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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    47

    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
    662
    great review - thanks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    255
    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
    2,633
    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
    47
    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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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    359
    Anyone here have more experience on Anima Freebird? I'm about to pull the trigger on one. Was going to mount with Shifts to use as 50/50 ski.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    555
    Quote Originally Posted by Robik View Post
    Anyone here have more experience on Anima Freebird? I'm about to pull the trigger on one. Was going to mount with Shifts to use as 50/50 ski.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Only that every Freebird ski I've flexed have been substantially softer than the non-Freebird versions. The Anima Freebird is pretty soft for a 50/50-ski if I remember correctly

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    249
    Quote Originally Posted by Robik View Post
    Anyone here have more experience on Anima Freebird? I'm about to pull the trigger on one. Was going to mount with Shifts to use as 50/50 ski.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    They are much softer than regular Anima. Definitely not for a heavy skier. Also they are extremely thin, which made me question their durability.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    359
    Good to know! I should probably look at Kore 117 or Katana VW. Thanks for the update

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,513
    Flexed regular anima today. Very soft


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16

    2018/2019 (24/32)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    281
    Bumping this for my own take. I got a pair of 18/19 Animas(non-Freebird) in 188 (black topsheet with high-viz yellow sidewalk) and mounted them with Warden 13 demos on the line. My boots are Lange Rx130 with Pro Wraps. The line was dead on -5cm on both skis with less than a millimeter difference between the skis. Easy mount, no metal so went 3.6 drill.

    Got them out at Bachelor last weekend. 3-7” of moderately light (for the PNW) pow that got sunnier as the day went on. Snow fell while grooming took place so some runs were no fresh on corduroy some were 6” pow on new groom.

    These skis rip. I’m over 200lbs kitted and skiing the 188’s that measure 186 tip to tip. I don’t usually ski boards this long, but I wouldn’t go shorter after trying these. Skied the Corvus the day before so I know what a stiff metal ski feels like.

    I had no trouble with the Anima pointing and sending through used up pow at near-Mach. Stability was great but I found them easy to shut down and pivot through some tight tree runs and stream gully runs. They float great.

    I’m no freestyle rat, but these skis had me wanting to jump off anything I could find. Hard snow performance was adequate but I probably wouldn’t one-ski quiver these. Durability seems great too. I was nervous about taking them out on a low base (lost of rocks poking out the day before the light new snow). I hit several rocks hard (the really sharp volcanic kind at Bachelor) and expected some nice gouges or a core shot at day end, but found barely one base skuff.

    Highly recommended ski, especially if you can get them on STP next fall for $299 like many did this year. Super fun but really capable ski.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    281
    Quote Originally Posted by whyturn View Post
    Flexed regular anima today. Very soft
    Tips are soft but I think the stiffness underfoot makes up for it. I didn’t find the ski to be a noodle at all at 200lbs on a 188.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Steamboat
    Posts
    129
    I have been skiing the 18/19 188 Anima this season as well. I was a little worried about the size, but the mounting point and combo tip/tail rocker (and 186 actual length) makes these manageable (I'm 5'10, 155 lbs). I ski them mainly at Steamboat where I spend a lot of time ripping through trees, and these things are very precise - really steer well through tight spots. I thought they might be unwieldy just given their size, but they've been really fun to slice through the trees. The tip is not as soft as my 16/17 Atris I was on last year, but they still plane really well and float in the light fluff that Steamboat is known for (probably a combo of 115 underfoot plus how light I am). I'm going to Revelstoke later this winter and hope that this is the ski I get to bring.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Keystone
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon3 View Post
    Bumping this for my own take. I got a pair of 18/19 Animas(non-Freebird) in 188 (black topsheet with high-viz yellow sidewalk) and mounted them with Warden 13 demos on the line. My boots are Lange Rx130 with Pro Wraps. The line was dead on -5cm on both skis with less than a millimeter difference between the skis. Easy mount, no metal so went 3.6 drill.

    Got them out at Bachelor last weekend. 3-7” of moderately light (for the PNW) pow that got sunnier as the day went on. Snow fell while grooming took place so some runs were no fresh on corduroy some were 6” pow on new groom.

    These skis rip. I’m over 200lbs kitted and skiing the 188’s that measure 186 tip to tip. I don’t usually ski boards this long, but I wouldn’t go shorter after trying these. Skied the Corvus the day before so I know what a stiff metal ski feels like.

    I had no trouble with the Anima pointing and sending through used up pow at near-Mach. Stability was great but I found them easy to shut down and pivot through some tight tree runs and stream gully runs. They float great.

    I’m no freestyle rat, but these skis had me wanting to jump off anything I could find. Hard snow performance was adequate but I probably wouldn’t one-ski quiver these. Durability seems great too. I was nervous about taking them out on a low base (lost of rocks poking out the day before the light new snow). I hit several rocks hard (the really sharp volcanic kind at Bachelor) and expected some nice gouges or a core shot at day end, but found barely one base skuff.

    Highly recommended ski, especially if you can get them on STP next fall for $299 like many did this year. Super fun but really capable ski.
    You said you wouldn’t go shorter ... Im 6’2” 210lbs, at my size, would you go with the 188 or 194? 194 seems a little lengthy, but what do you think?


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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    281
    Quote Originally Posted by SkiDaddy970 View Post
    You said you wouldn’t go shorter ... Im 6’2” 210lbs, at my size, would you go with the 188 or 194? 194 seems a little lengthy, but what do you think?]
    I’m no expert but I’d say size 194 for speed and stability, 188 for trees/tight spots. Both would probably do fine. Mount is pretty progressive at -5 in the 188 so you could always move back a cm or two if you felt it was too short up front.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Steamboat
    Posts
    129
    Quote Originally Posted by SkiDaddy970 View Post
    You said you wouldn’t go shorter ... Im 6’2” 210lbs, at my size, would you go with the 188 or 194? 194 seems a little lengthy, but what do you think?
    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    How do you ski? I'd say I'm pretty strong, but still light and small, and 188 (186) is completely fine for me. Given your size (and also depending on your strength/style) I'd say size up.

    Found in a Blister review comment section: "194 Animas measure 192.6 with a straight tape pull tip to tail"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Keystone
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jvhowube View Post
    How do you ski? I'd say I'm pretty strong, but still light and small, and 188 (186) is completely fine for me. Given your size (and also depending on your strength/style) I'd say size up.

    Found in a Blister review comment section: "194 Animas measure 192.6 with a straight tape pull tip to tail"
    Thanks!


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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    383
    So, is the consensus 2cm ahead of recommended point? Seems pretty far forward (only -4 from true center), especially with some comments of tip dive (surprising for a ski this size to say the least.).

    Mounting up my 194s (192s) today, and I think I’m gonna wimp out and go with the recommended mounting point.


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    Balls.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bethel, Maine
    Posts
    661
    I have a pair of the 182s that are, I assume, at the factory recommendation. I'm quite happy with how they skied, although I am working on rehoming them because I picked up a pair of Bent Chet 120s this year. Gotta get some good pics so I can list them, wife has suggested that quiver size should be reduced.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Steamboat
    Posts
    129
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Dooley View Post
    So, is the consensus 2cm ahead of recommended point? Seems pretty far forward (only -4 from true center), especially with some comments of tip dive (surprising for a ski this size to say the least.).

    Mounting up my 194s (192s) today, and I think I’m gonna wimp out and go with the recommended mounting point.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    No go with recommended unless you ski pow switch all the time...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    281
    Check your line with a tape, too. My 2018/2019 Anima 188 was marked at exactly -5, so they may have changed recommendation since the Blister piece. Skied heavy wet pow yesterday and had to move my demo binders back 2cm to combat getting sucked under. I think -6 is probably a good spot.

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