Ski: 2018-2019 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm
Available Lengths: 170.2, 177.4, 183.6, 188.7 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.2 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (183.6 cm): 1850 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1894 & 1980 grams
Stated Dimensions: 132-99-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132-99-119.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 20 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~49 mm / 16 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm (reverse camber)
Core Construction: Semi-cap, poplar core, 120 cm titanal plate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.9 cm from center; 83.2 (or 83.15) cm from tail
Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: On the line
Boots:Head Raptor 140 RS; Salomon QST Pro 130; Nordica Strider 120; Dalbello Lupo S.P. ID
Bindings: Head Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 Demo
Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort & Arapahoe Basin, CO
- Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 180 lbs
- Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs
Days Skied: 9[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Daemon, which is unchanged for 18/19.]
For the 17/18 season, Black Crows is introducing a new all-mountain ski, the Daemon, and here’s how Black Crows describes it: “A perfect blend of titanal and full reverse camber. A very stable ski which goes into action easily and efficiently due to the full reverse camber.”
A “very stable ski” with titanal and reverse camber, huh? Quick — does that sound like any other ski you’ve heard of?
We’ll talk more about comparisons in a second, but let’s get back to the Daemon…
If you’re going to promise big stability, then you’re probably going to want to build a fairly stiff ski. And the Daemon is, for the most part, with one notable exception.
Hand flexing the ski, I’d sum it up like this:
Behind the Heel piece: 10
Black Crows describes the Daemon as having a “very solid flex under the foot, and a “progressive” flex at the tips and tails. And that’s certainly what I found. But what really jumps out is just how soft the tips of the Daemon are especially compared to — spoiler alert here — the Volkl Mantra, the other ski that immediately comes to mind when you’re talking about ~100mm-wide, reverse-camber, all-mountain, “very stable” skis.
Compared to the Mantra, the first 1/3 (tips, shovels, and forebody) of the Daemon is much softer. If the Daemon progresses in stiffness from 5 (at the tips) to 10 underfoot, the 184 cm Mantra starts at an 8 at the tips, then maintains that 8 or 9 stiffness before ramping up to 10. I.e., unlike the Daemon, there’s no soft zone on the Mantra, and the Black Crows’ intention here is that the softer front of the Daemon will help it to plane up in soft snow.
(And FYI, the flex pattern of the back halves of these two skis is pretty similar — not identical, but much more similar than the front halves.)
We already have said that this is a reverse-camber ski, but how subtle or significant is that reverse camber? Answer: pretty significant. Especially if you’ll still allow the Mantra comparison, you’ll see that the Daemon’s tip and tail splay begins ramping up much sooner than the Mantra’s:
So softer tips + more tip and tail splay? It would sure seem like the Daemon might be the better option in deep snow than the Mantra. But given that these two skis are 100 mm underfoot, the greater questions might be how well the Daemon handles mixed and firm conditions in general, and also, compared to the Mantra.
Bottom Line (For Now)
I’ve already got a day on the Daemon, but I’ll be back on it again this weekend, and also A/B-ing it against the 184 cm Mantra.
I can already say that this ski could certainly be a viable one-ski quiver, but we’re looking forward to teasing out its strengths and weaknesses. Stay tuned…
Flash Review: Black Crows Daemon
Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Daemon, with sizing recommendations and comparisons to the Volkl Mantra.
(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)
NEXT: The Full Review