Expert Review: Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis · Women's · 2020

Published on 03/29/2023 · 6 min readhis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.
Emily Halporn, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Emily Halporn

Early birdie gets the worm! Shredding some early season pow at Stowe resort. All photos courtesy of Emily Halporn

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.

My take

The Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis are perfect for intermediate to advanced skiers who want a light, playful ski that is generous f

This was my first time skiing a slide in Smugglers Notch

About the gear

  • Model: 2020 Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis
  • Size: 168cm length, 97mm waist

About me

  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 130lbs
  • Experience: 21 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: January 2021
  • Days tested: 75+
  • Mount position: Tradition/factory
  • Boots: Scarpa GEARS 2020
  • Boot Size: 24/24.5
  • Bindings: 2021 Dynafit Rotation Pin Bindings
  • Where I’ve used it: Stowe, Sugarbush, Killington, Mad River Glen, Bolton, Mt. Mansfield, and Camel’s Hump backcountry
  • Terrain: Groomers, powder, moguls, woods, backcountry

How they perform

Flotation
4/5
High Speed Stability
4/5
Versatility
4/5
Durability
3/5
Turn Ease
3/5
Carving
2/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for skis that could be used both on the resort and in the backcountry. I wanted to try a playful ski that would allow me to try out new tricks and get air on side hits.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis for their fun coloring and the product's versatility. I also considered purchasing the Black Crows Capatis Birdie skis, which have a similar construction but are only 90mm underfoot. However, I ultimately decided on the Camox because they performed better in powder and tougher snow.

Where's the snow? Taking the skis for a little hike in search of some snow

What I love about them

  • Edge hold: I found them to have a solid edge grip, especially when pressing into more aggressive turns. They also seem to hold better with slightly longer turns.
  • Groomers: I have only skied these on groomers 1-2 times, but I felt confident in their performance and stability.
  • Powder: Vermont hasn’t seen much powder in recent years, but I found these to perform pretty well on the days I could rip. They are not designed to be full-on powder skis, but I found good flotation, especially in the woods.
  • Trees: What Vermont lacks in powder makes up for in an abundance of tree runs. I primarily ski these in backcountry woods and have varied experiences depending on the tightness of the trees. Given the longer turning arc, they are perfect for making longer, more direct turns through the trees but have difficulty maneuvering in tight trees.
  • Backcountry: These skis are perfect for backcountry because they float well in powder and breakthrough crud and chunkier snow. This is ideal for East Coast skiing because the conditions vary greatly, and these skis can accommodate that snow variation. They are also very lightweight, making them suitable for uphill travel.
  • Stability: The overall stability of these skis is solid, with no chatting underfoot. The only downside is the wobbling of the front tip, which often happens with slightly to fully rockered skis.
  • Flotation: These skis are mid-range in width (97mm), which puts them on the narrower side of powder skis but still wide for all-mountain skis. They have very good float in smaller powder storms, less than 24” but may sink a little in deeper snow.
  • Versatility: I have mainly used these skis in the backcountry of the Northeast, so I have tested them in varying conditions and cover of snow. I have found that they are able to float in powder, crush through crud, and have enough edge grip for icier days.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Turns: My previous skis were 158 cm in length, so it took me some time to feel comfortable turning the longer length of these skis. I also found that in combination with the softer Scarpa boot (which is uphill-oriented), I have to work harder to gain control over my turns. With some practice, I mastered longer turns but still have difficulty with tight and snappy movements.
  • Moguls: I found a difference in performance depending on the conditions and size of the moguls. If one prefers to make quick and snappy turns, these skis are a little long to initiate a solid turn in the trough. On the other hand, they work much better in wider sets and softer moguls.
  • Durability: I am typically pretty hard on my gear, and early/late season tours don’t help elongate the life of my skis. That being said, I am still fairly disappointed to find significant chipping and peeling of the topsheet. While the topsheet is mostly for aesthetics, I am still disheartened, given the higher price point of the skis.

Small girl, big mountain. Hiking up a slide in Smugglers Notch

Favorite moment with this gear

My first season with these skis was also the first time I ventured into Smugglers’ Notch. Spanning the gap between Stowe and Smuggs resorts, this mountain road is closed in the winter, allowing recreators to hike, ski, and rip the gnarly slides that line the two-notch walls. I easily glided up the snow-covered road to the bottom of the first line we scouted. Impossibly steep, we opted to boot pack to the top of the slide. I easily strapped the lightweight Camox to either side of my pack and began the nerve-wracking trip up. I had never skied something so exposed in the backcountry and felt queasy whenever I looked back down the steep line. That fear almost completely disappeared once I clicked into my skis. I felt solid and comfortable having a stable ski underfoot. I pushed into my first turn and let the slope pull me down. My turns were wide and arching, floating through a deep 4” of fresh snow. By the time I got to the bottom, I couldn't help but let out a whoop of excitement. These skis helped me conquer a new and difficult ski line.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis are definitely on the pricier end than similar all-mountain skis. My ski options were pretty limited at the beginning of 2021 due to the high demand for outdoor equipment following the Covid-19 pandemic. I also looked at the Atomic Maverick 95 (164cm). These skis were much cheaper, but I really wanted something more playful. I am ultimately confident in my investment in a higher-priced setup.

Final verdict

This is the second touring setup I have tried out, and the switch profoundly changed my experience. The lightness and versatility of the Black Crows Camox Birdie Skis allowed me to improve my uphill and downhill performance in the backcountry. They are difficult to use at first but so much fun once one is able to master this advanced ski.

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