Black Crows, Ski Brand of the Year

brand-of-the-yearBlack Crows was the word – sorry, two words – on the lips of any tester focusing on freeride and backcountry, and clearly won the “manufacturer most cleaned out of kit on any given day” award.

Black Crows is at that sublime point where pretty much every ski they make is a banger, with the right balance of construction, shape and market appeal to pull us magnetically towards them like humans to weird alien noises in 1950s B-movies. 

At the most basic level, the company has a consistency of graphic design they’ve carried through the years that means everyone knows they’re looking at one of their skis. It helps if you’ve cracked a decent topsheet, and these work at every level.

The Chamonix-based manufacturer has a selection of tech at its disposal, from semi-cap construction for the lightweights to full sidewall for the chargers. There’s a mix of rocker, materials and sidecuts to get the best from each category. But it’s still tightly aimed, based on a keen knowledge of their customer – no real compromises to scoop up the mass market here because freeriders and backcountry skiers are the target – and you’ve got focus in what happen to be growing segments. 

They happen to be where Fall-Line sits, but it wasn’t just us saying Black Crows have got it right. UK retailers know their customers, and they know that most skiers are pretty conservative – so it takes something special to make them take on a new line. You’ll still have to look harder than usual to find the range in a shop, but it’s worth the effort.