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New Ski Acquisition Advice - Volkl, Kastle, Black Crows...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Looking to pick up a new pair of skis as the season is winding down. I ski mostly tree off-piste terrain in the Lake Tahoe area. You will rarely find me on maintained runs, and mostly in crud if not in the trees.


Currently I ski '06 Mantras (I think they are about 170cm @94mm waist) I am 5'5 ~160lbs.


I generally like the old Mantra versatility in the trees, and unfortunately cant manage another day on the slopes to demo because wife just delivered our twins a couple of weeks ago.


Looking for some advise and feedback on these options. Price is not really a consideration.


Volkl 100 Eight

Volkl V-Werks Katana

Volkl V-Werks BMT 94

Kastle FX95

Black Crows Navis

Black Crows Camox

Black Crows Camox freebird


Any advise on these?


Best regards,


post #2 of 11

Tons of info on the FX95 at Epic with stellar reviews from Scott/Dawgcatching, and others


If you want wider, I don't think you can go wrong with the V-Werks Katana.

Here is a link to the review at Blister Gear.


There is also a fresh comment on it over at Pugski forums with a comment of the VWK against the 100Eight:



I recently bought the VWK 184 for a next-season ski, owned it in 177 previously, and a friend has it in 191.

I also grabbed Black Crows Atris 184 while over in Germany recently, so I'm set for my 2017 wide ski "experiments" :D

The Navis might have been my preferred choice as it is 102 vs 108 width, but the shop had no stock. 

The Corvus (109, pink topsheet)  seems to be the most popular of the Black Crows.  It has a flatter tip & tail than the Atris.

Backcountry & EVO have the Black Crows on sale now, but only a minor discount.


Like Black Crows, Zag Skis are also from Chamonix if you happen to run across them.



Happy Ski Hunting !  ~ Andy

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks Andy,


I suppose you encountered the same decision-making I am in now.


I am worried the Katana is too light-weight and worried about the flex. Have you been on the Katana yet to compare to the Atris?


I have never been on a Black Crows ski, but they are getting great reviews.


Best regards,


post #4 of 11
Black Crows Corvus.
post #5 of 11

I have owned the VWK 177, really liked it, sold it for no good reason other than to try something else.

I stumbled upon a Could-Not-Say-No deal on a new VWK 184 so that's why I have it, and happy to try it again.

Though the VWK has a lot of carbon fiber, it is nothing like DPS Pure carbon fiber.

The VWK still has a stringer of wood down the middle.  It is much damper and very even flex IMO.

Research at any forum, you will not find one bad/mediocre comment on the VWK other than its initial high-price.


We do a guys-trip to Europe every year, and I have seen the emergence & growth of Black Crows over the last 5 years.

We usually spot the "pink ones", aka the Corvus,  but I saw more different models this year on the slopes, and more women skiing them too.  I went with the Atris as it is a bit more soft snow oriented and re-designed this season ( and I like the new green topsheet, shallow that I am ).  I've never skied a Black Crows, so no useful feedback from me. Both my VWK & Atris are unmounted, sleeping in the closet until next season.


Whitetoom gives his recommendation for the Corvus.

From what I have read & seen, it is the ski that got them attention / momentum.

For Corvus chat, probably head over to TGR forums and search there.

post #6 of 11
The Corvus is wider than the Mantra, but it is the 'most similar' ski they make. It is one heck of a ski for crud, bumps, trees, off-piste all-mountain... but I just noticed your size. They might be bigger than you want to deal with.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys,


The height thing is not a new problem for me unfortunately... Looks like the Corvus with a 109 waist and 175cm minimum length, its a lot of surface area for a guy that is 5'5. Worried about trouble in non-powder conditions without the weight to dig into the snow/edge.


That's why I came across the Camox and Camox freebird that have a little less surface area options for my weight. The Camox is 97mm at the waist, and I can get them in 174 or 171cm...


I have a similar issue with the Katana that only 177cm is available with a 112 waist...



Right now my 170cm Mantras @94mm waist leave something to be desired for surface area. Probably because I put on about 10lbs since I bought them 5yrs ago... Probably could have swung those in 177 if I did it again.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

@ARL67  What is your height and weight where you ski the 177 VWK?


I see a deal for them at $911 thats only a couple of bucks more than the mantra.




post #9 of 11

I'm 5'9" 175lbs.

I once tape-measured the 3 VWK sizes at the store -> the 177 = 177,  the 184 = 182, the 191 = 191

I just measured my 184 now and they are also 182.

I believe there will be a negligible difference from the 177 to 184.

The 184 might have more resale desirability if/when you ever move them on.

Edited by ARL67 - 3/18/16 at 8:05pm
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

At 5'5 and 160lbs I would definitely have to go with the 177. I have only pushed up to a 183cm length on some Elans way back and it was like steering a bobsled.


The 177 VWK may be great. Just wish I can find a 2015 model, but looks pretty hard to come by,


Thanks for the help sir.


Best regards,


post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,


Ended up going with a 177 14/15 V-Werks Katana paired with 110mm Marker Jester bindings. Hope I can get it rigged up before spring skiing ends, if not I will report back next year.


Happy Skiing,


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