Expert Review: Black Crows Atris 108 Skis · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for three days in April of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for three days in April of 2022.
The Black Crows Atris 108 is a great ski for intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a versatile do-everything ski in softer snow areas. It is also an excellent choice for a 50/50 resort/backcountry ski for advanced skiers who want a downhill-focused ski that can still be taken uphill.
About the gear
- Model: 2019 Black Crows Atris (2017-2022 Atris is the same aside from art)
- Size: 184 cm
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 185lbs
- Experience: 17+ years skiing
- When I bought these: April 2022
- Days tested: 3
- Mount position: On the line - -7.7 cm from center
- Boots: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: 2020 Atomic Shift 13
- Where I’ve used it: Inbounds at Crystal Mountain, WA and Touring on Mt. Rainier, WA
- Terrain: Groomers, corn, steeps, moguls, firm and uphill on icy snow.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a 50/50 ski for shorter tours where I could prioritize the downhill experience over uphill weight saving and have another good daily driver resort option that I could use for touring in mid-winter and spring.
Why I chose this gear
I have friends who swear by the Atris as their primary resort and backcountry ski. Black Crows are a high-quality brand with a popular following for a reason. I wanted a versatile ski that could handle the variable conditions I see on tours. I considered heavier options like the Fischer Ranger 102 FR and touring specific skis that were lighter, like the Freebird line from Black Crows. Ultimately the Atris was the best of both worlds at around 2,000g for the 184cm length.
What I love about them
- Turns: This ski turns very easily at any speed. It feels intuitive to get it to go anywhere I want. Its low weight makes pivoting it around pretty easy.
- Powder: I did not test it on powder, but I know others who use this as a dedicated powder ski in lower snow areas. At 108 width with its softer flex, it should perform well in boot top powder.
- Trees: This is a fantastic tree ski. It is very easy to slash and pivot around, so it never feels locked into turns.
- Moguls: The Atris handles moguls well due to its easy-to-turn ability. It has a lot of pop, so launching off the moguls is also fun.
- Backcountry: At 2,000g, this ski prioritizes the downhill experience in the backcountry, and it excels at that. It holds its edge well in firm snow, but I have had no issue with it in slushy spring snow.
- Weight: For a 50/50 ski, I find its weight perfect. For resort skiing, I never want a ski that goes below 2,000g because I like stability. When skiing this in the resort, it felt stable enough to use as a daily driver, and when touring, it was worth the added uphill weight for a more traditional ride down.
- Stability: I’m going to put this in the “Pro” category because I am treating this as a 50/50 resort/backcountry ski. This ski isn’t a hard-charging stable ski at speed, but for about 2,000g, I think it performs about as well as it could. I got to rip this down a sun-cupped snow field on Mt. Rainier and never felt out of control. I can feel the chatter on resort groomers, but it is easy to stay composed and slash speed if needed.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Speed: Definitely a chattery ski when it picks up speed. This is a ski better suited for dynamic skiing and turning, not charging down slopes at speed.
- Groomers: The Atris feels chattery on groomers. It can definitely hold its own, but I have found it hard to “properly” carve. It has no issue getting down, but I wanted to get into more off-piste snow to utilize its better dynamic skiing nature.
- Durability: I bought this used, but it is showing a lot of wear on its topsheets. The bases are pristine, so the only damage is cosmetic only.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment was taking these on their first tour up Mt. Rainier to Camp Muir. There are definitely lighter skis to prioritize an easier time uphill, but I had no issue taking these up. They justified their weight on the downhill. This was late June, so the Muir snowfield has not gotten a refill in weeks and had gotten plenty of ski and foot traffic leading to very cut-up snow. The Atris absorbed these irregularities way better than others with much lighter skis. I got to easily zoom past climbers for a proper spring volcano skiing experience.
Value for the money vs. other options
The biggest value for its money is its versatility. With the Atris, I didn’t have to choose between a resort ski and a backcountry ski. It is a ski I see commonly in the lift lines at the resort with alpine bindings and a ski I’ve seen with shifts. Black Crows are generally an average to above average price brand new, so having it do two jobs well can help justify that price. Other options would include using a dedicated touring ski which tends to be a lot lighter. This lack of weight will make touring-specific skis, like the Freebird models from Black Crows, the worst value since they will feel too chattery and prone to deflection when skiing tracked out snow in the resort.
This ski will feel at home for skiers who enjoy a lighter-feeling ski that can handle softer snow well, but it truly shines as a 50/50 option that is a jack of all trades.