Expert Review: Black Crows Nocta

This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in September 2018.

Photo by Cam Baker

Photo by Cam Baker

Published on

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in September 2018. I was not paid by the manufacturer to write this review.

My take

The Nocta is a super versatile powder ski for intermediate to advanced skiers. I love it because it’s light enough to tour, wide enough for any amount of powder. Nimble enough for trees, and stable enough to be skied hard and in variable snow.

Photos by Cam Baker

About me

  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 160lbs
  • Model: 2018 Black Crows Nocta
  • Size: 185cm
  • Boots: Tecnica Cochise 120
  • Bindings: Fritschi Tecton
  • Experience: 20 years

How it performs

Carving
1/5
Durability
3/5
Flotation
5/5
High Speed Stability
4/5
Lightweight
4/5
Turn Ease
5/5
Versatility
4/5

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: Sept 2018
  • Days tested: 75
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Canada
  • Terrain: Backcountry (powder, slush, corn, ice, crust, chunder)

What I was looking for

I was seeking a powder ski for touring. It’s a light ski but heavy enough for performance. I wanted something that I could push hard and a lot of dedicated touring skis are too soft for aggressive skiing. I wanted the float and nimble nature of a fully rockered ski and a long turn radius so I could open it up when need be.

Why I chose this gear

The Nocta really fit the bill as a do it all touring powder ski. It floats like a dream, it’s pretty light when touring, it is super nimble, and it’s been surprisingly durable. The one thing I’ll say is there are few days in CO and some but not a ton in MT where I truly need something as wide as the Nocta. I’m thinking of looking for something more in the 110 range that’s going to do better in spring and summer snow conditions but the Nocta has been amazingly versatile so I can’t seem to find something I’d rather be on.

What I love

  • Turns: This is a versatile ski because of its long turn radius and rockered profile.
  • Powder: This thing is an absolute boat in powder. It floats like none other.
  • Trees: The Nocta is a hoot in the trees. It’s super nimble. The full rocker helps you pivot really quickly.
  • Durability: This ski has held up longer than I expected. It can take a hit but it’s not meant to function as a rock ski (a ski for low snow conditions when there’s a higher chance of hitting rocks).
  • Switch riding: The Nocta is pretty symmetrical and I’ve had a great time learning to ski powder switch on it.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Edge hold: It’s a pow ski - it’s fat and has a full rocker profile. Don’t try to rip alpine ski racing turns.
  • Groomers: Not great but as a pow ski that’s not what they’re meant for.
  • Moguls: They do great for their size but these things are huge. Shorter skis would be better for moguls.
  • Park: They do well for their size. It’s got enough flex to butter a little but it’s not meant for park. If your goal is to get on skis you can spin quickly, look at something narrower!
  • Speed: This ski has a long turn radius that does really well at speed. That being said it’s a lightweight pow ski so ripping it like a downhill ski is a bad idea.
  • Weight: For a dedicated downhill oriented powder ski this is awesome but if weight is your primary concern you can go lighter.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Nocta retails at $939.90 so it’s not a cheap ski. I have however had so much fun even in areas that aren’t ridiculously snowy like MT and CO and I am happy with the purchase because it provides great value for a powder ski thanks to its versatility. There are many powder skis to choose from, and most of them are more affordable but Black Crows is a top quality ski manufacturer and I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth

Favorite moment with this gear

One of my favorite memories of the Nocta was when we got 4' in 48 hours a few years back. I went out to ski trees and lower angle slopes with a group of friends. Everyone else was wallowing through chest deep snow fighting to walk downhill while I was enjoying the best turns of my life. There's a time and place for a serious powder ski - the Nocta is among the best while still being versatile enough for less exciting conditions.

Final verdict

This is a crazy versatile powder ski. If you want a go-to ski for soft snow and whatever terrain you end up in this is a good bet.

Selling Black Crows on Curated.com
Black Crows Nocta Skis · 2022
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Written By
Cam Baker
Cam Baker
Ski Expert
Hi, I'm Cam! I've been skiing my entire life and have always been fascinated with learning about what makes different skis preform in different ways. ​ I took this job to spread my love and knowledge of the industry, and I have spent weeks to months working with individual customers to meet their ne...
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