If you’re someone lucky enough to get in 40 or more days on the slopes each season, you probably have a quiver of skis for different conditions. You pull out your powder skis for days with double-digit inches of fresh white. You opt for your hard-chargers (like the Salomon Stance 88 W) for groomer days. Maybe you even have a pair of beaters that make appearances when the snow coverage thins.
But if you’re a typical Front Ranger who’s stoked to get 15 punches on their ski pass each year, you probably just have one pair of skis that works well in a variety of conditions. In reality, that’s probably all you need. And that means the women’s-specific Camox Birdie from Chamonix-based ski brand blackcrows, a veritable quiver of one, is a great option for your next ski setup.
The Brand: blackcrows
Founded nearly two decades ago by professional freeskiers, Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet, the blackcrows ethos revolves around a “desire to collide beauty and efficiency into skis.” That goal comes through in the graphics on their skis and the sleek lines of their apparel, as well as the technology found behind the aesthetics of both.
Take their skis, for example. Across their fleet of big mountain, all terrain, resort, and mountain touring skis for men, women, and juniors, topsheets feature brightly colored, geometric designs that are slightly edgy yet still classy. Behind that pretty face, you’ll find quality construction that’s led to multiple outdoor industry awards.
Jaccoux explains the well-thought-out melange of fashion and function in their brand story video. “You make good products, but it can’t be too serious,” he says. “It’s serious, sometimes it’s serious because some of the skiers do some serious stuff. But at the end of the day, it should be about pleasure. That’s what skiing is, you know?”
The Skis Overall: Camox Birdie
Intended Use: All-terrain
Skill range: Intermediate/Expert
Width: 97 mm
Core Material: Poplar + fiberglass laminate
Available lengths (cm): 156.1, 162.3, 168.1, 174.2
Each product in the blackcrows line-up–from their skis and poles to their snowpants and midlayers–features a motto. Why? “For fun,” says Liz Rovira, blackcrows rep, adding it’s “to foster curiosity and to incite laughter.”
The adage listed on the product page of the Camox Birdie states, “Just trust me, I’ll make you famous.” Despite skiing the Camox Birdie for a few months, I don’t think I’ve yet reached any level of fame. However, watching these planks perform in a range of conditions–and perform well–they certainly are easy to trust.
Like its brother ski the men’s-specific Camox, the women’s-specific Camox Birdie has a poplar/fiberglass core. The tech specs highlight the ski’s double-rocker design, slightly straight sidecut, classic medium camber, and progressive flex. According to the brand, these features combine to create a ski that’s easy to handle overall, firm at high speeds while still nimble and maneuverable.
“The Camox Birdie stands out because of its broad accessibility,” Rovira adds. “A ski racer or burgeoning (beginning) skier can both get on this ski and find what they need from it. Its progressive flex and edge hold where you need it–which comes from an extended side cut and reduced taper– to create a very unique and fun platform for skiing.”
Out on the slopes, the versatility of the Camox Birdie was easy to see. The double-rocker silhouette proved especially beneficial in powdery conditions–no surprise, given rocker offers increased float–and led the skis to feel more buttery underfoot than other skis I’ve tested. That said, at just 97 mm underfoot, the Camox Birdie isn’t designed specifically for powder. Still, on a Saturday at Winter Park with about 12 inches of fresh snow, the ski performed well.
Likewise, the Camox Birdie also held its own on groomers. Weighing in at 3400 grams (7.5 pounds), these skis remained solid enough to carve without any undesirable chatter.
I also appreciated the Camox Birdie’s overall responsiveness. Whether carving on corduroy, winding through widely spaced trees, or navigating pow, I never felt like I was manhandling the ski into doing what I needed it to; rather, it was easy to maneuver across variable conditions. Thus, it truly felt like the playful, all-mountain ski blackcrows bills it to be.
The one area where the Camox Birdie fell short: tight turns. Its 19-meter turning radius falls in the medium range, meaning turns aren’t overly short and snappy but neither are they overly drawn out. So while the ski performs fine in spaced-out groves of aspens or firs, if you plan on regularly tackling tight trees, this probably isn’t the ski for you.
Pros: The blackcrows Camox Birdie is a great one-quiver ski. It lives up to its all-mountain promise, working well enough in varied terrain and conditions.
Cons: If you’re someone who consistently skis in the same conditions, the Camox Birdie probably isn’t your best option from blackcrows. If you want a ski that navigates tight turns with ease, the resort-focused Mirus Cor, with its 13-meter turning radius, is a better bet. Powder slayers, check out the big mountain-specific Anima Birdie.
Where I took them: About 10 days at Eldora, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, and Steamboat Ski Resort in conditions varying from a foot of fresh powder to groomer days and fresh corduroy.