The Black Crows Orb has been totally redesigned for the 2020 ski season. It’s designed more for all-mountain versatility than ever before, and is intended to be accessible to a wider ranger of skier styles and ability levels. The Orb uses an 88 mm waist width, long classic camber underfoot, and tip rocker. The 21 m turn radius is a versatile turn shape that should satisfy lots of different skiers. The Orb has always been more frontside-focused than a lot of Black Crows’ skis, and to retain that nature Black Crows has integrated an “H-shaped” double titanal layer. That means you get full-width metal underfoot, and then that metal extends along the edges of the ski. This construction is designed to maintain stability and vibration-damping when you have the ski on edge, but also allows the ski to be lighter weight than it would be with full sheets of metal.
Dave Carter tested the 174.3 cm length and was impressed by performance of the Orb. High scores for the Orb from Dave for stability, quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. Flotation and forgiveness were the only scores to drop below 4 out of 5. “Good high-speed cruiser. Stable and predictable at speed.” It’s nice to know that despite not using full sheets of metal, Dave still found plenty of stability at higher speeds. He also thought it felt “fairly versatile,” and that it felt “agile enough for trees.”
Brad Schauerman hopped on the 179.1 cm length during our Ski Test. He was more impressed by the ski’s maneuverability than its stability at speed, which is a performance characteristic Black Crows was focused on achieving with this new version of the Orb. “This seemed super versatile. Makes lots of turn shapes easily. Just doesn’t quite have the guts to ski too aggressively.” We know from Dave’s feedback that some skiers will find plenty of stability in the Orb. It basically comes down to how aggressively you want to ski it. If you’re a real speed demon and you’re looking for endless stability at speed, you may want a slightly heavier ski with full sheets of metal, but this is going to satisfy the majority of skiers in terms of stability and vibration damping.
Phil McGrory was another tester who found tons of maneuverability in the Orb and had a really good time testing it. Like Brad, Phil skied the 179.1 cm length, which he did mention felt a little bit short. Phil’s relatively tall, and we know he was on some longer lengths throughout our test, so perhaps he would have preferred skiing the 184.6 cm Orb. Phil thought it felt “lightweight” and that it had “easy turn initiation.” The tip rocker on the Orb and the fact that the “H” shaped metal allows for some flexibility in the tip and tail combine to give it a very smooth feel when initiating turns. Phil did add an interesting note that he preferred it in softer snow conditions. Black Crows’ skis in general feel like they prefer soft snow over boilerplate groomers, so that’s not too surprising, especially considering Phil had tested some much narrower frontside carving skis during our test.
Skiers looking for a fun, versatile all mountain ski should definitely check out the Orb. It has the power and stability to satisfy all but the most aggressive skiers, and good versatility too. A great resort ski for the type of skier who spends most of their time on groomers, but likes to explore the woods, moguls, and other off-piste terrain from time to time too. It’s also quite aesthetically pleasing with its sleek black and yellow graphics and distinctly Black Crows design.