What's in store?
Look deep into the Black Crows Orb Ski and see a future filled with deep carves, fast turns, and aggressive all-mountain charging materialize from the misty realm within. Designed for skiers with a no-holds-barred approach to skiing, the Orb caters to freeskiers with a background in ski racing. With moderate camber underfoot and a flat tail, this ski excels on groomed runs and hardpack, but that's not say that it isn't afraid to pin the throttle down wind-buffed bowls and tight chutes, either.
The ski's powerful and energetic flex comes courtesy of a springy poplar core and stiff Titanal laminates, which give the ski a high-performance feel when you're blasting down frontside groomers or mobbing down chopped crud. Speaking of chopped crud, Black Crows threw in an early rise tip to increase float and add some extra lift with you're testing off-piste conditions. With a 91mm waist, the Orb is by no means a powder ski or dedicated carver, but more of an all-mountain ripper that will make the most of just about any condition you encounter when the last big storm was weeks ago.
- A bomber resort ski for frontside ripping
- 91mm waist can handle a variety of conditions
- Early rise tip eases turn initiation
- Camber underfoot lets you rally hardpack
- Poplar wood core is light and springy
- Titanal laminates add stiffness and power
- With R&D off the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix-based Black Crows knows a thing or two about big-mountain skiing
2 Words: Mind Blowing.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
For context: This review is about the 183 length, I live in Colorado, I'm 31, 6'1" 180lbs, I'm a type 3+ hard charging aggressive skier, and I wanted the fastest and most aggressive skis I could find that could cover the whole resort on the days without any new snow.
After 6 seasons mostly on my all-mountain skis with a 110mm waist, and my touring skis with a 108mm waist, I decided to cave and invest in a narrower, more groomer oriented, ski for those resort days without any new snow. I demoed a few pairs (Noridca Enforcer 93s, Navigator 90s, and Armada TSTs) that were all noticeably lighter and better carvers than my all mountains, but the Orbs felt like I was competing in an entirely different sport.
The energy transfer from flexing out the long camber is quick and responsive and immediately apparent from your first turn, and the flat(ter) tail really locks you in until you're ready to transition to the next edge on a medium-long turn radius. These skis demand to be driven as hard and fast as you can handle, and they completely redefine the age-old cliche of "riding the rails" - so much so it took a few attempts to re-master the abrupt hockey stop because they are that reluctant to give up the edge.
What is equally surprising is how well they handle the crud. They're about the same weight as my fatter touring skis, but when I take them into the early morning (i.e. still mostly frozen) ~2 day old chopped up powder, they're plenty stiff enough to virtually eliminate chatter and with the early rise wider tips they are more than capable of charging through without skipping a beat or bucking me the way I experienced on the Nordicas.
The Orbs aren't for the faint of heart / more casual skier, but if you're looking for an aggressively hard charging ski capable of covering the whole resort on a no-new-snow sort of day, you'll be hard pressed to do better than these. If there's anyone out there capable of surpassing their speed limit, I don't want to meet them.
Recommended Sizing Guide
Your ski size is largely determined by both your skiing ability and your preferred style of skiing. For example, an expert skier in Vermont will ski a far different ski than an expert in British Columbia. So take a look at our chart and explanations and find your perfect fit. Your weight also plays a large factor in finding the right ski. If you are either under or over average weight for your height consider downsizing or upsizing, respectively.
|Big-Mountain Freeride||Backcountry Jib||All-Mountain||Park & Pipe||All-Mountain Carve|
|Pro||180 - 200cm||180 - 190cm||180 - 190cm||175 - 185cm||175 - 185cm|
|Expert||170 - 180cm||175 - 185cm||170 - 180cm||160 - 180cm||170 - 185cm|
|Intermediate||160 - 180cm||160 - 180cm||160 - 180cm||160 - 180cm||160 - 175cm|
|Entry Level||N/A||N/A||150 - 170cm||150 - 170cm||150 - 170cm|
SKILL LEVEL EXPLANATIONS
Pro: Excels on any terrain, on any snow condition. Enjoys high speeds.
Expert: Comfortable on any terrain and most snow conditions.
Intermediate: Comfortable on Blue trails, exploring Black trails.
Entry Level: Learning to ski Green and Blue trails.
SKIING STYLE EXPLANATIONS
Big-Mountain Freeride: High speeds, deep powder, steep lines, straightlining, chutes, cliffs.
Backcountry Jib: Backcountry kickers, hucking, twintips, deep powder.
All-Mountain: From bumps to back bowls, groomers to glades; everything and anywhere on the mountain.
Park & Pipe: De-tuned edges and buttery twin tips, occasionally pole-impaired.
All-Mountain Carve: Stiff. High-speed corduroy cutter. For those blind to SLOW signs.