2020 Black Crows Navis

The Black Crows Navis is designed for all-mountain versatility. It uses a 102 mm waist width with a 19 m turn radius in every length. Poplar is used for the wood core, which is a popular material for ski construction due to its stability and lightweight properties. It uses a semi-cap construction and the flex profile is intended to be of medium stiffness. There’s long camber underfoot paired with tip and tail rocker that is more substantial in the tip. Black Crows says it’s quick edge to edge, stable for various terrain and snow conditions, and a friendly, comfortable ski that can still perform at a high level.

Bob St.Pierre thought it was a “great all around ski!” Bob skied the 179.4 cm length and gave it high scores, 4 out of 5, for flotation, quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, and versatility. He did mention that he felt the 179.4 cm length was a little short for him, which likely hurt his stability score, which came in at 3 out of 5. Bob “took it in some gullies and it was great for short turns.” That’s good feedback as the Navis uses less rocker than some of Black Crows’ skis, but Bob didn’t have any trouble maneuvering it in off-piste terrain. Bob mentioned he “would love to try in fresh snow as it’s light, soft, and playful.”

Bob was clearly most impressed by its maneuverability and playful nature, but some of our testers found the Navis to be quite stable. Brad Moskowitz was one of those testers. He’s much smaller than Bob, but also skied the 179.4 cm length. Unlike Bob, Brad scored the Navis 5 out of 5 for both stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip. “A very strong and powerful ski to charge groomers and lay trenches in the steep granular hardpack I found on Hayride.” Brad also tested the Navis Freebird, and noted that it’s “not as quick and nimble as the Navis Freebird, but more confidence-inspiring for high speed charging. Excellent skis!”

Annie MacDonald was also impressed by its stability after testing the 179.4 cm length. Similar scores as Brad, with stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip getting the highest marks. “Ski was very stable, even at the tip. Really wanted to point downhill, instead of coming across the hill. Very stable at speeds, so good for someone who wants to rip. A little stiff to smear, though.” There’s not as much tail rocker in the Navis as some other Black Crows models, and it’s intended to have less tail washout, so that’s not surprising feedback from Annie.

For Evan Caha, it was the “best Black Crows so far!” He too tested the 179.4 cm length and thought it was “fun and poppy” and that he could make “any radius turn.” High scores for stability, quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, and versatility from Evan. “Every Black Crows is different, there’s not one personality of their skis.” That’s a very accurate statement from Evan. Unlike some other brands, Black Crows has a huge variety of shapes and performance levels for different skiers.

If you’re looking for a mid-fat all-mountain/freeride ski, but you prefer more of a traditional profile without a tremendous amount of rocker, you’ll likely love the Navis. As you can see from our testers, different skiers will find slightly different performance in it, which to us means it can satisfy a lot of different skiers and does a good job adapting to different styles. Some skiers will likely want more vibration damping and stability, which would come along with more metal, but the Navis is plenty of ski for most skiers.

Testers

Brad Moskowitz

Age: 50Height: 5'4"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and fun inspired by mohawks

Evan Caha

Age: 30Height: 5'10"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and adventurous with a love for high edge angles

Bob St.Pierre

Age: 41Height: 6'2"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Adaptable, versatile, ex-competitive mogul skier and coach

Annie MacDonald

Age: 56Height: 5'7"Weight: 118 lbs.

Ski Style: Lots of style, grace, and power

18 Comments on the “2020 Black Crows Navis”

    1. Hi James!
      Definitely a more playful feel than the Mantra and Enforcer. If you’re not looking to ski aggressively all the time, it’s a better choice. Still a high-performing ski for sure, and the additional width makes it a superior floater in soft snow. Have fun!
      SE

    1. Hi Tony!
      There’s not much out there that’s more stable than a Mantra 102, especially in a resort setting. I was pretty blown away with the hard-snow performance of the 102, and while I appreciated the versatility and friendly nature of the Navis, it sure doesn’t complete a turn like the Mantra. I don’t think it’s supposed to, either–certainly more of a soft snow option while the Mantra lives up to the race ski on steroids stereotype. In soft snow, the Navis is wonderful. It’s floaty and smeary, while the Mantra is not. It prefers to plow through rather than float atop fresh snow, and for the skier who’s looking for that performance, they will not be disappointed. Overall it’s a different feel, but that’s by design. Have fun!
      SE

      1. These are the exact 2 skis I am torn between: the Mantra 102’s and the Navis. I’m an aggressive skier out most days of the winter. I’m looking for my daily driver at Stowe, which means lots of groomers, lots of on piste woods, lots of spicy sidecountry. The most typical conditions are fast with a few inches of fresh. I already have a pair of Katana V Werks 112’s that work for any pow day and a pair of old Kendo’s for full groomer days. So I’m really torn between the Navis and the Mantra 102. Can’t go wrong I’m sure…

      2. Hi Jonny!
        Correct–both skis are fantastic. The biggest difference is the metal in the Mantra, and that makes it a far superior carver on piste. The Navis is fine on the corduroy, but the softer the better, whereas the Mantra doesn’t care how hard the snow is. That said, it’s more of a handful in the bumps and trees for sure. If you’ve got the Kendo, I think the Navis will be a better complementary ski for Stowe. See you out there!
        SE

      3. So, my current ski is the Black Crows Camox. What would your recommendation be to compliment them, Mantra 102, Navis…? Thanks again!

      4. Hi Tony!
        Rustler 10? Lots of good options for you. The Mantra 102 is a pretty burly ski, but super-solid and stable–unlike anything else I’ve been on, really. But certainly not as playful as the Navis or the Rustler. If you like the Camox, I recommend sticking within the brand and getting the Navis. They’re great skis. Have fun!
        SE

  1. Hi Great reviews and love the YouTube Channel. I have skid the Atris for a few weeks. How does the Navis compare?
    I like the Atris for charging of piste, but on piste it am perturbed by the lack of edge grip in the back of the ski.
    I’m hoping the Navis will be a good mix of trad and of piste charger.

    1. Hi Geoff!
      I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. The flatter tail shape likes to hold on a bit more for sure, so if that’s your only issue, then problem solved!
      SE

  2. Hi, very good reviews ! How could you compare between BC 100 and Navis and Rustler 10 ? Intermediate skier with desire to go sometime out of the hardpack.

    Regards,
    Stefan

    1. HI Stefan!
      I’d go Bent Chetler 100. It’s a simple build with a high end. Great groomer ski, but has that off-trail flair that it sounds like you’re looking for. Navis and Rustler are a bit burly/wide I’d say. Have fun!
      SE

  3. Hi ,
    Great reviews , thank you.
    I’m thinking about mounting the Navi’s freebird with telemark bindings. Does this ski compare to my Voile V6 , 178 with 99 underfoot?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Chris!
      I’m not familiar with the Voile, but I did think the Navis would make a great tele ski when I alpined on it earlier this year. A bit wider than what you’ve got, but I like that ~100 mm underfoot wood core ski for a lot of applications, including telemark. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Hi, first of all I want to thanks you guys for amazing reviews and comparisons, you’re doing an excellent job.

    I am looking for an all rounder ski that would cover the full resort area in central Europe. I have a pair of light ski for touring on pin binding and also a quite heavy pair for resort skiing (Atomic Nomad Crimson Ti). My plan is to get something that can handle groomers (70%) but also the deeper stuff (20%) and occasionally some short touring (10%) around the resort to move within the freeride zones. We usually do not have a tons of fresh snow here, so there is no need to go for anything extra wide. I was able to ski deeper snow on my 173cm touring ski which is 88mm under foot but I could use a bit more flotation. As for the binding, I am going for Salomon/Atomic/Armada Shift MNC, as for the skis (looking into the 90-100mm range) I was considering either BC Navis or something from the Fischer Ranger models but I am open for ideas. I am 184cm/90kg, quite an experienced skier.

    1. Hi Frenky!
      I’d say the Navis or the Ranger 102 FR would suit your needs pretty well. Not too wide, but wide enough for fresh snow float and off-piste adventures. The Ranger is a bit more playful with its turned up tail, and perhaps a bit more energy and groomer performance out of the Ranger as well. The Navis is a bit more damp and not quite as lively, so it’ll suffer a bit on the groomers, but is more compliant in crud and broken snow. I’d look to the upper-170’s for length in either model. Take care!
      SE

      1. Thanks for the reply. How would you compare the Ranger 94 FR to these two? I’ve seen in some of the reviews you guys recommended them a lot.

      2. Frenky,
        In reality, we recommend a lot of skis a lot! It all depends on your use and application. 94 FR is that one ski for both front side and backside that has limitless versatility and falls on the playful end of the spectrum. Full concentration not required at all times, which is a nice feature for a lot of skiers. Quick, agile, and fun, the 94 is one of those skis that you can click in and not think about it ever again–totally natural feeling to it. The wider Navis is more pigeon-holed into being a powder of soft snow ski, in which case it excels when it comes to floating and plowing through powder and crud. Very supple feel to the Black Crows skis while the Rangers are a bit more peppy and energetic. We like to tell skiers to buy the skis for the conditions and terrain that you actually ski rather than those that you want to ski. Hope that helps!
        SE

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