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First Look: 2016-2017 Black Crows Camox Freebird

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Black Crows Camox Freebird for Blister Review.

Black Crows Camox Freebird

Ski: 2016-2017 Black Crows Camox Freebird, 178 cm

Available Lengths (cm): 162.8, 171.4, 178.1, 183.2, cm

Actual Length (straight tape pull): 175.9 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 1600 g — 171 cm model

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (178 cm): 1661 & 1664 grams

Stated Dimensions (mm): 128-97-114

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 126.5-96-113

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Core: paulownia-poplar

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 61 mm / 26 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5-6 mm

Recommended Mount Point: -8.55 cm from center; 79.4 cm from tail

Intro

In addition to getting time on the Black Crows Atris, we’re also reviewing two touring skis from Black Crows, the 109mm-wide Corvus Freebird, and the 97mm-wide Camox Freebird.

We’ll be posting our full review of the Corvus Freebird soon (we’ve been on the ski in Chamonix and around New Mexico), and we’re just beginning to get time on the Camox Freebird.

Black Crows’ description of the Camox Freebird is interesting. They call it a “profoundly modernized shape to strike a balance between weight minimization and mountain playfulness.” So let’s consider the Camox Freebird’s Shape, Weight, and Playfulness.

Shape

On the face of it, it might not be so obvious what is “profoundly modern” about the shape of the Camox Freebird — its rocker profile looks pretty similar to a lot of tip and tail rockered skis currently on the market. But it is worth talking about the tip and tail shapes of the Camox.

The tip shape is interesting; while it has some taper, it is not heavily tapered at the tip (i.e., it has a decent amount of material at the extremity), which should help the ski resist deflection in choppy snow.

And the tail of the Camox Freebird is also not heavily tapered, so we suspect that this ski will finish turns capably and maintain good edge grip in steep terrain.

Tip and tail taper do help to quicken up a ski, but this ski is already light, so there isn’t much need to remove a bunch of material from the tip and tail to try to quicken the ski up. Cool.

Weight

At ~1660 grams in a 178 cm length, the Camox Freebird isn’t going to break any records for low weight. By comparison, the 185 cm Blizzard Zero G 95 comes in at ~1365 g, and the 184 cm Salomon MTN Explore 95 is ~1550 g.

But as we repeatedly point out, additional weight often — not always, but often — translates into greater stability, so we are expecting the Camox Freebird to perform well in less-than-perfect conditions.

Playfulness

It’s hard to see what makes the Camox Freebird particularly “playful,” though it’s relatively short sidecut radius and weight should make this is a pretty easy ski to ski. Anyway, we’ll report back on the Camox Freebird’s playfulness after we get it on snow.

Flex Pattern

Handflexing the Camox Freebird, we didn’t find anything too surprising, and we’d summarize the flex pattern like this:

Tips: 6 out of 10

Underfoot: 9

Tails: 7

The Camox Freebird is a touch less stiff overall than the Zero G 95:

Camox Freebird: 6 – 9 – 7

Zero G 95: 7 – 10 – 8/9

The Upshot?

Since the Camox Freebird isn’t vying for any weight weenie awards, we are hoping to find that it delivers intuitive and confidence-inspiring downhill performance. We’re also hoping that its additional weight will translate to good durability. And if both of those things prove to be true, the Camox Freebird could be a very good option for those who are hoping to squeeze some inbounds use out of their “touring” ski.

Testing begins this week.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

1 Comment

  1. Scott December 29, 2016 Reply

    Id love to read a review of the Camox (not the freebird)! There aren’t many reviews about this intriguing ski. Most of the info out there is just a regurgitation of what the manufacturer says about the ski. I need a ski that is good for in days in between hard pack groomer days and pow days. A ski that can do a good job on groomers, and also do well in bumps and tracked up trees. I have the Bibby and Belafonte (which RAILS groomers, but is too stiff for me in bumps). Also have the Deathwish (Im kind of a moment fan boy), but am looking to sell the deathwish to replace with a ski like i described. Hoping that the Camox is it! Also looking at the Atris, but its a little wider than im looking for….

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