The Daemon from Black Crows is a unique ski. What sets it apart from other skis more than anything is its reverse camber (also known as full rocker) profile. It has a 99 mm waist width and a 20 m turn radius in every length. A poplar wood core is supported by a 120 cm length titanal plate, which is about 2/3 of the entire ski. The sidecut extends through the tips and tails, giving the Daemon full length edge contact when you have the ski on edge. When you’re riding a flat ski, however, the reverse camber shape will let it pivot on a dime. Black Crows is blending maneuverability, versatility, and power with the Daemon.
Kagen Dewey tested the 183.6 cm length in the Daemon and was psyched with its performance for our local mountain, Stowe. Kagen also gave it high scores, including 5 out of 5 for stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip and 4 out of 5 for flotation, versatility, and overall impression. “The Daemon has a lot to offer at a mountain like Stowe. For the skier whose ideal day involves powder and trees, the Daemon’s width and rocker will delight.” We have a lot of tree skiing and hike-to sidecountry terrain at Stowe, and if you’re the type of skier that always wants to seek out that kind of terrain over just cruising groomers or other in-bounds runs, the Daemon is a great ski. In addition to that performance, however, “this metal-enforced ski with its rocker profile to match the sidecut is a rail on the groomers. When the powder has been skied and the thaw freeze cycle leaves us on a very firm surface, the Daemon will do just fine.” You don’t get energetic, snappy, responsiveness out of it on groomers because of the lack of camber, but you do get exceptional edge grip and plenty of stability. It will still link carving turns too, it just won’t do it quite as quickly or energetically as a narrower ski with camber. “Powerful, versatile, and playful when it counts. The Daemon is a solid one-ski-quiver for the advanced skier or more aggressive intermediates.”
Jeff Neagle also skied the 183.6 cm Daemon during our 2020 Ski Test. “Oooohhhh! Reverse camber! I personally really like full rocker or reverse camber skis, but not for everything. I only try to carve on skis like this in wide open terrain. Most of the time I utilize a combination of straight-lining, quick slashes, and longer, drawn-out slarves. Love that style of skiing, and the Daemon crushes it.” That’s good feedback from Jeff. With a ski like this, you’re going to have a relatively hard time getting it to carve short radius turns, so it makes sense Jeff only likes to lay railroad tracks when the terrain is wide open. The stability provided by the metal and the quickness you get out of the reverse camber shape, however, makes it a blast to throw side to side at high speeds when making slashing, cutting turns. We saw really high scores from Jeff. 4.5 or 5 out of 5 for flotation, stability, playfulness, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. “Easy to smear, but also super stable at speed. I may have broken my time record down Liftline without even thinking about it.”
If you’re an aggressive, adventurous skier that likes speed, but also has more of a playful skiing style, the Daemon is great. There aren’t many skis with this combination of performance or a similar feel. You can pivot and smear it very easily, but you can also let it run into high speeds without feeling unstable. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone, as a skier with more traditional technique would likely find it a bit cumbersome, but if you’re willing to give it some playful skier input and are comfortable at speed, you’ll love it.