Ski: 2017-2018 Black Crows Anima, 188.4 cm
Available Lengths: 176.8, 182.1, 188.4, 194.3 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 185.8 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (182.1 cm): 2150 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2183 & 2190 grams
Stated Dimensions: 143-115-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142-116.5-129
Stated Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 79 mm / 64 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~1 mm
Core Construction: Poplar, carbon, & kevlar strips
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6 cm from center; 87.0 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Strider Pro 130 / Tyrolia AAAttack² 13 AT
Days Skied: 5
Test Location: Mt Bachelor, Oregon
While we’ve reviewed several Black Crows skis this season (the Camox Freebird, the Corvus Freebird, the Atris, and a comparison of the Atris vs the Corvus), we’re going to be weighing in now on the Anima, Black Crow’s wider, big-mountain ski.
Black Crows calls the Anima, “a very stable ski and extremely stable at high speed. It will embrace a skier’s creativity (big lines, jumps, quick pivot) and keep him on his feet.”
On paper, the Anima looks remarkably similar to skis like the Armada ARV 116, ON3P Kartel 116, and Moment Blister Pro. And Black Crow’s description of the Anima makes it clear that it is not just meant to be a jib noodle, it’s also supposed to be capable and stable.
Reviewer Paul Forward also put some time in the Anima, and we’ve now added his impressions and comparisons to this review, too.
I’d sum up the Anima’s flex pattern like this:
Behind the Heels: 8
The Anima has a very smooth flex pattern that ramps up gradually, with no hinge points. It’s stiffer throughout than the Armada ARV 116 JJ, and feels very similar to the ON3P Kartel 116. Black Crows uses the word “stable” twice in their description of the Anima, and this flex pattern should contribute to this ski’s stability — it’s on the stiffer end of the spectrum for playful skis of this width.
Shape and Rocker Profile
The Anima falls right in line with the current crop of playful but versatile skis of this width. It’s not drastically tapered, and its 21-meter sidecut radius is pretty standard. Here again, it looks very similar to the ON3P Kartel 116, and Armada ARV 116, which seems like a good thing given that both of those skis do a good job being quick and playful without giving up too much variable-snow performance.
The same can be said about the rocker profile. The rocker lines don’t run too deep, and there’s a fairly long cambered portion underfoot. But the camber underfoot isn’t too pronounced, so that should help the ski grip in variable snow without making it too hooky to slash and butter.
Overall, nothing really stands out as particularly unusual about the Anima, other than its odd, angular tips. Personally, I don’t really notice or care how they look, and I really don’t think they’ll have any effect on how they feel on snow.
For this class of skis, the Anima has a fairly normal mount point of -6 cm from center. That’s a little further back than the ON3P Kartel 116 (which has a -4 mount point), but should contribute to the stability and versatility that Black Crows touts, and it’s right in line with the Moment Blister Pro, which has a similar shape and intended purpose. We’ll experiment a bit with the Anima’s mount point, starting at the recommended -6 cm, then moving closer to center.
A Few Questions
(1) Where on the Stable vs. Playful spectrum does the Anima fall? Is it more of a very playful all-mountain ride like the Line Mordecai and J Skis Friend, or is it a more capable ski with a bit of a playful side, like the Moment Blister Pro or ON3P Kartel 116?
(2) How does the Anima perform mounted closer to center? Does it feel remarkably more maneuverable? Less stable? About the same?
(3) Finally, a big related question that I’m very curious about: Black Crows makes the “Freebird” version of the Anima, with a lighter layup and the same shape. If the Anima lives up to its similarities with the regular Moment Bibby / Blister Pro, then how does the Anima Freebird compare to the Bibby Tour? There aren’t too many skis that directly compete with the Bibby Tour, so it will be very interesting to see if the Anima Freebird has the potential to do that.
Bottom Line (For Now)
On paper, the Anima looks like it has the potential to be a very versatile but playful all-mountain ski. I’ll be weighing in shortly on how it performed at Mt Bachelor, and how it compares to skis like the Armada ARV 116 JJ, ON3P Kartel 116, etc.
NEXT: The Review