2012 Black Crows Nocta
Length Tested: 188.2 (yes, that is the size.)
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 146-125-140 18m tr
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Tip & Tail w/camber, taper tip and tail also
Binding: Marker CTi 14
Mount point: Suggested
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Stowe
Number of Runs: 8 or so
Snow Conditions: packed powder and tracked up 8"
Demo or Own: Demo
Age: older than last year.
Height/Weight: 6'3" 225lbs
Ski Days/Season: 75 to 100
Years Skiing: 37
Aggressiveness: finesse based skier with size and power... the total package.
Current Quiver: Blizzard Cochise, 4frnt EHP, Scott P4, Head RD GS and SL
Home Area: Stowe
Preferred Terrain: trees, groomers, bumps... skiing.
Review: Wow, the Chamonix boys are onto something here. The Nocta is Black Crows first foray into the wonderful world of rockered skis and they did not disappoint. For those not familiar with the Black Crows brand, they are a Chamonix based ski company founded by Bruno Compagnet and Camille Jaccoux. They are committed to "making the freeski".
I generally do not like skis that exceed 115mm or so, they tend to just be way too clunky in tight eastern trees but the Nocta just doesn't feel huge, perhaps the relatively short turn radius and substantial taper at the tip are working together. They are very, very quick and feel extremely solid on edge, they like you to settle into the middle of the ski and dial in the edge angle to determine turn size, but they responded fine to loading the front of the ski to snap off short fall line turns. Float is substantial, they float like a cork injected with helium. They just do not decelerate when they hit soft snow, they stay on the surface and surf. Super fun. I found myself looking for things to jump off, jump onto then off or just jump over. In the trees they were just pure fun, only possible problem was that they just do not lose any speed when you hit a pillow of fresh snow... but they are a smearing machine, so dumping speed is simple. A bit clunky in bumps, but hey, they're 125 underfoot.
Conclusion: Playful, surfy feeling ski that has maneuverability and float as it's raison-d'etre.
Pros: Float, nimble for it's size, they look bad-ass.
Cons: They are quick and maneuverable, that means they aren't built like a fat SG ski. If you want to ski extremely fast in open spaces these probably aren't the best choice. They are all about quickness and playful fun, not straight line stability.