Black Crows Corvus vs. Black Crows Atris

Alex Mueller reviews the Black Crows Corvus and Atris for Blister Gear Review.

Black Crows Corvus

2016-2017 & 2017-2018 Black Crows Corvus, 183.3 cm

Available Lengths: 175.1, 183.3, 193.1 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.3 cm

Stated Weight per Ski (183.3 cm): 2200 grams

Stated Dimensions: 139-109-122 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 138.5-108.5-121.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 21 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 22 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Core: Poplar

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.4 cm from center; ~80.8 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: 80.8 cm from tail

Days Skied: 50

Test Locations: Taos & Santa Fe, NM; Silverton, CO

 

2016-2017 Black Crows Atris, 184.0 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

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Black Crows Atris for Blister Review.

2016-17 Black Crows Atris

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 137-107-128

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Core: Poplar

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

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: 1.5 cm behind recommended; 81.7 cm from tail

Days Skied: 12

Test Locations: Taos, NM; Silverton, CO

Intro

“Corvus vs. Atris — what’s the difference, and which one would be the better fit for me?”

Given the number of emails we’ve received like this, it’s clear that a number of people out there are asking the same question about these two all-mountain skis from Black Crows.

I’ve now spent quite a few days on both skis, across a broad range of conditions. And the primary purpose of this review is to flesh out answers to those two questions.

(You can also check out Jonathan Ellsworth’s review of the Atris, and you can read my comparison of the Corvus vs. the Corvus Freebird, which is the touring version of the Corvus.)

Flex Pattern

Glancing at the numbers, the Black Crows’ Atris looks like a twin-tipped version of the Corvus, with only 1 mm difference in width, and near identical length. But flex them next to one another and you’ll begin to understand why they behave very differently on snow. The tips and tails of the Corvus are stiffer than the Atris’, and that difference feels even more pronounced on snow.

Hand flexing both skis, we would categorize them like this:

Corvus Flex Pattern:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 8-9
Underfoot: 9
Behind the heel piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 8.5

Atris Flex Pattern:

Tips: 5-6
Shovels: 7-8
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Tails: 8-7

If those numbers don’t look radically different, we’ll clarify by pointing out that the tips of the Atris are much softer than the Corvus’. And then, we get to the difference in rocker profiles…

Shape

Combine the Corvus’ flex pattern with its slightly longer amount of traditional camber underfoot and its directional tail, and the 183.3 cm Corvus actually feels much longer than the 184.0 cm Atris.

Alex Mueller reviews the Black Crows Corvus and Atris for Blister Gear Review.

Alex Mueller on the Black Crows Atris.

Tip rocker lines of the two skis are nearly identical. But the Atris has more tip splay and has a softer tip and shovel.

The Atris then has a deeper tail rocker line than the Corvus, but the more pronounced difference is that the Atris has far more tail splay — 46 mm vs. the Corvus’ 22 mm.

Mount Point

It’s also important to note that I agree with Jonathan and Brian’s assessment that the shovel of the Atris felt short on the line, so I followed their lead and spent my time on the Atris mounted 1.5 cm behind the recommended mount point. (Mounted at -1.5 cm, Jonathan, Brian, and I all felt like we were in a good place to stand on the ski.)

On-Snow Feel

On snow, the Atris is both forgiving and energetic on everything from hardpack to tracked-up pow, and, in deeper pow it’s softer shovel provided enough lift for the ski

I consider the 105-110 mm waist range the optimal width for an everyday ski, fat enough to handle deeper snow, while still being nimble enough for the bumps that develop after a few weeks of getting skunked by the weather.

Even though I felt like the front of the Atris was pretty short, I never experienced tip dive in deeper snow, and I could keep myself centered on them in all but the worst conditions (more on that later).

NEXT: Tails: Corvus vs. Atris, How Forgiving / How Demanding?, Etc.

19 Comments

  1. Christian May 1, 2017 Reply

    Very interesting comparison! How do the skis work as a playful jib-ski? The softer tips on the Atris make me guess its better for nose-butters, but did you get a chance to test that?

  2. Eric May 1, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for this! Still not the wiser about the 189 atris vs 183 Corvus (stability/playfulness).

    Might just need to test next year. On the 193 Corvus now which is too much for me. The new atris just might hit the spot! I am same weight/hight as you. Speculations?

    Again, thanks for posting this much awaited comparison :)

    • Author
      Alex Mueller June 8, 2017 Reply

      I would venture to guess that the Atris will be more “playful” than the Corvus at any length.

  3. TV May 1, 2017 Reply

    Just a heads up, next years order forms have a 188 Corvus. I reached out to black crows and they confirmed they will be adding a 188 to the mix. Perfect size!

  4. Smooth_operator May 2, 2017 Reply

    What about the Navis, is it a narrower corvus, or also more forgiving?

    • Author
      Alex Mueller June 8, 2017 Reply

      I haven’t had the pleasure of skiing the Navis, but as I understand it, the other models are wider / narrower versions of the Atris, while the Corvus stands on it’s own.

  5. A Different Eric May 5, 2017 Reply

    Almost had to buy the Corvus after I saw the 2018 topsheets, but this confirms the Atris is my bag, baby. Thanks for the shootout.

  6. thomas1973 June 8, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for this comparison. I’m loving my old, non-rockered Mantra (no rocker, not even in front). I love the Mantra’s stability and ability to cut through the crud, while it’s also quite quick edge to edge. Works well on groomers and off-piste, icy or soft. Likes to go fast and never lets me down on the steeps.

    But I’d love more float, so I’m looking for something slightly wider and with a front rocker to get more float in the pow.

    Is the Corvus this ski? A wider, front-rockered version of the old Mantra? Or is the Corvus much burlier, high speed, hard charging GS style only – leading me to the Atris? or would the Atris disappoint compared to the confidence inspiring stability of the old Mantra? Would love to hear your take.

    (A pure Corvus review would also be good)

  7. Author
    Alex Mueller June 8, 2017 Reply

    Thomas,
    The Corvus review was previously published. I have had the opportunity to ski the new Mantra, and would say that the Atris is more similar to it than the Corvus. I definitely prefer the Atris in all conditions to the Mantra that I skied, I think you would be pleased with it’s stability. And yes, the Corvus is much more ski than the Mantra.

    Cheers,
    Alex

    • Thomas D October 7, 2017 Reply

      Thanks for your feedback, Alex! Only saw it now. As chance has it, Black Crows have updated the Atris slightly, making it sound even more stable, so this new Atris might be just the ski i’m looking for! Thanks!

  8. Andrew October 6, 2017 Reply

    What are your thoughts between “the Metal” by J-skis and the 2018 Atris? They both seem like great options for all mountain powder skiis. I’m 6’5 205lbs and the J-ski only comes in 186 and is slightly narrower.

    • Both good skis with some performance similarities. But given your size – and especially if you tend to like to push your skis pretty hard – I think you’d really want to go with the 189 Atris.

  9. Mike K November 7, 2017 Reply

    I’m a 5’8’’ 165 aggressive tele skier (I know, paradox right?). Whistler based so ski lots of variable but little ice. Ski the steeper terrain under the lifts mainly. What length would you recommend on the Atris? Seems like my kind of ski!

    • Author
      Alex Mueller November 9, 2017 Reply

      Mike,
      I’m not a tele skier, but I know a few…
      I remember one of my friends who was a ripping tele-er would always insist on having skis with stiff tails. If you have this opinion then look at the Corvus. If this isn’t your M.O., the only data point I can give you is that I am 5’11”, 175 (Dry weight) and felt the 183 made a great all around ski, so with your svelte nature, plus the one time I tried tele-ing I thought turning was hard, I would steer you to the 178.
      Hope this helped,
      Alex

  10. thomas1973 February 3, 2018 Reply

    Alex, after having tried the Corvus, I have to agree with your assessment – it definitely is a “game on” ski. My assessment:

    I’m 187cm (6’2″) and weight 85kg (185lb), and I got a great deal on the Corvus 16/17 183cm. As mentioned, my old daily driver has been the cambered Mantra 177cm, no front rocker. I had read on Ross Hewitt’s site that he saw the Corvus as a new version of the old Mantra, just with tip rocker and 10mm extra under foot. But as you say, it is more ski than that. While the old Mantra can be pushed hard, it is also forgiving and lets you ride from the backseat or however you end up.

    The Corvus is like having a good, but tough ski instructor/drill sergeant that pushes you to use the right technique and stand over the skis and slightly forward and use your legs. Ending up in the backseat, not concentrating or not using power, and the Corvus punishes you. I quickly learned to stay in the right position!

    On the positive side, the Corvus gives more back the more I push it, and it also lets me stay forward in pretty much any conditions. With the old Mantra with no front rocker, I was always worried the tip would dive, and I wouldn’t really stay over the skis in powder until I got some speed, and even then I would sometimes worry. With the Corvus, I can stay over the skis and forward in any conditions. I just had to learn to trust it.

    In variable, slightly refrozen and tracked out, boot deep powder, I could just ride the line I wanted as long as I stayed forward and aggressive. It pushed through anything. I always though the Mantra was good in that respect, but the Corvus is much burlier and more secure in those conditions. The steeper and faster, the better.

    On piste, it is noticeable slower edge to edge from the 98mm Mantra. The Corvus can do short(ish) turns, but you have to force it. When I start putting on speed, medium and long carve turns are easy, and it grips any surface and holds it. Actually, I thought the grip was better on hard and icy parts of the piste, and that made the Corvus feel even more dependable.

    In bumped up piste, the only way to go was fast and swallow the bumps, but again, the Corvus was dependable. Slowing down to play down the bumps, the Corvus just felt sluggish.

    I’m not sure the Corvus could be my daily driver. It’s probably too much game on – but it is a great teacher! I truly believe it will make my technique better and take away any sloppy traits I’ve taken to, as it quickly punishes you when you do any mistakes. But it also rewards you when you stay forward and on – and if you do, it will be great in challenging conditions.

    Will have to also check out the Atris when I get a chance.

  11. Author
    Alex February 6, 2018 Reply

    Well said.

  12. Bob May 18, 2018 Reply

    Is there an updated version of this comparison in the works?

    I’m curious how the new full rocker corvus compares with the more stable atris.

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