Ski: 2016-2017 Black Crows Atris, 184 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 178.2, 184.0, 189.9 cm
Actual Length (straight tape pull): 182.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (184 cm): 2050 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2065 & 2074 grams
Stated Dimensions (184 cm): 138-108-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 137-107-128
Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 68 mm / 46 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.85 cm from center; ~83.2 cm from tail
Test Locations: Ski Santa Fe and Taos, NM; Arapahoe Basin, CO
Days Skied: 10
There are a growing number of options in the category of 106 – 108 mm wide all-mountain skis that combine a good amount of stability with a greater degree of playfulness than the more traditional directional chargers of this width. So where does the Atris fit into this group?
We started our testing and our side-by-side comparisons of the Atris last spring, where we pitted it against the Faction Chapter 106, the Liberty Origin 106, the J Skis Metal, and the Line Supernatural 108.
We then wrote about and located the Atris in our Winter Buyer’s Guide, then have spent the past several weeks putting the Atris up against other skis, including the Faction Candide 3.0, Rossignol Soul 7 HD, Moment Meridian, and more, and we are about to also publish a rather Deep Dive article to tease out the similarities and differences among a whole bunch of skis.
The Atris: What Is It?
Black Crows keeps their description of the Atris pretty brief, describing it as, “A light ski that is quick underfoot, has exceptional pivot and a lot of tail support.”
That is an incredibly brief description, but it also happens to touch on the right things. “Light” is relative, of course (and what “light” means is being redefined in the ski industry every year). But we will definitely be talking about the pivot-ability of the Atris, as well as its tail…
Weight-wise, it is heavier than both the 186 cm Faction Chapter 106 and the 187 cm Liberty Origin 106. And while the ski feels pretty short on snow (it feels like a shorter 184), it also feels relatively substantial, and we were able to push this ski pretty hard yesterday, and appreciated its backbone in addition to its quickness. A big part of that?
Here’s how we would break down the flex pattern of the Atris:
Tips: 5 or 6 out of 10
Tails: 7 or 8 out of 10
Underfoot: 10 — stiff. And that “10” section actually takes up a lot of the ski. Starting from the very ends of the tips and tails, the flex pattern of the ski ramps up to 10 well behind the heel piece and well in front of the toe piece. There are no hinge points per se (on a handflex), and this ski is not a noodle — it just continues to get progressively softer all the way to the end of the softer tips and its relatively soft tail. Interesting. Before getting it on snow, we thought, “This should make for a solid platform.” So, did it?
Spring Slush + Notes re: Mount Point
We began testing the Atris last spring in perfect hot pow. The biggest takeaways during our time at A-Basin were that we liked how hard we could push the Atris, and yet the Atris was not some burly charger.
But the other big takeaway we had was that, skiing at speed down A-Basin’s big, open bowls, Brian and I both felt like we didn’t have much ski out in front of us; the tails felt good, but the Atris’ soft shovels didn’t really like to be driven. It wasn’t a big deal, and if you tend to ski with a more centered / neutral stance, you might really like the ski on the line, and actually, I suspect you will.
I’ll say a bit more about mount points in our Deep Dive article, but my advice to directional skiers (those who aren’t spinning or skiing switch much) is to mount between -1 cm and -1.5 cm behind the recommended line. If I personally was drilling these skis today, I would probably just aim to split the difference and hit right around 1.25 cm behind the line.
All in all, during those first days of testing, we really liked how quick and energetic the Atris felt. The tails of this ski generate a lot of pop. It is energetic and lively. In slush bumps, jumping off cornices, and on soft groomers, the ski is simply a lot of fun — quick and energetic, with a nice, solid platform and tail.
On clean and even on less-than-pristine groomers, the Atris feels quite strong and responsive. Its soft shovels are easy to bend, and its strong back half allows you to finish turns powerfully.
The 184 cm Atris has a stated sidecut radius of 18 meters, and while you can certainly, easily pick your way down a groomer at slow to moderate speeds, this doesn’t feel like a slalom ski, where it wants to rip short, fast turns with lightning-fast transitions from edge to edge. (The tip shape and rocker profile of the Atris don’t do much to initiate and pull the ski into a carved turn; you’re carving from the center of the ski, and again, those fat, springy tails are happy to finish turns.) So if you really like to lean your skis over and carve, this ski responds best to medium and large turn shapes. But again, it is certainly happy to work slowly down a groomed slope, too, with more of a bases-flat approach.
NEXT: Deep Pow, Soft Chop, Etc.