The right ski can make or break a powder day. If you're skiing deep, fresh conditions and your skis are diving and getting bogged down all day, you're probably going to get pretty frustrated. That's where skis like the Black Crows Nocta come in. At 122 mm underfoot and with a reverse camber profile, the Nocta has almost endless float in soft snow conditions. Black Crows uses a long radius, extended sidecut profile on the Nocta, which provides both stability at speed and a catch free feel when you want to release the tail edge and get the ski to pivot and smear. The blend of poplar and paulownia in the core of the ski gives it a stable, yet lightweight and playful feel. At 2000 g per ski at the 185.5 cm length, it isn't the lightest in the world, but it's not tremendously heavy either, which helps retain a fun, playful feel. We didn't have quite the conditions we wanted when the Nocta was available to us for testing this season, so instead of trying to analyze its performance in less than ideal conditions, we reached out to some Black Crows athletes and ambassadors to get their thoughts.
Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Powder, Big Mountain
The idea behind the Nocta is that it should be both playful and stable, performing well both at slow speeds and high speeds. That was a big focus of ours when analyzing the responses from Black Crows athletes, and it certainly seems to hold true. Mike Henitiuk describes the Nocta as "The most playful ski I've ever rode. A complete powder weapon. Surfy at slow speeds and charges at high speeds!" Matthias Giraud had a similar description of the Nocta. "The Nocta is a playful beast plain and simple. This is my go-to ski for charging on deep days and hucking cliffs. On firmer sections, it leaves trenches behind once you put it on the edge." We started to get the impression that the Nocta might be the favorite ski among some of these athletes, as they all sang its praise and all seemed really impressed by how Black Crows was able to combine that stability at speed with the ability to still feel as playful as possible. Doug Workman was another who specifically commented on that achievement, "A surfy ride. The big planks allow you to ride at unusually high speed with a lot of control-the ability to spin the ski on a dime and shut it down quickly gives the high-speed rider the confidence to charge. Surprisingly good even after the storm snow has begun to get chopped up. A must have in the quiver for big pow days."
Callum Pettit is known for his skills in the backcountry and freestyle-inspired style, and he loves the playful aspect of the Nocta. "If it's a pow day, these are the skis I'm grabbing 100% of the time. Playful, quick, and floaty make this a really fun ski in the trees. Great for butters and will surprise you how well they carve on groomers for such a fat ski." Head on over to Callum's Instragram feed and you'll see exactly what he's talking about. The way he gets these skis to slash, smear, and butter is a pleasure to witness. Matt Lancaster focused his feedback on the fact that the Nocta hits an impressively light weight, especially considering its performance. "This ski is lighter, livelier, and more playful than other skis with a similar shape and width. Very fun and energetic ski." Finally, we asked Michelle Parker if she would give her 2 cents on the Nocta. "For deep days, this surprisingly light pair of fat skis will keep you afloat no matter how deep the snow is. Love the playful feeling of this ski."
First, a big thanks goes out to the Black Crows athletes and ambassadors who provides us some feedback on the Nocta. While our staff has skied it, we wanted to get some first-hand thoughts from skiers who have had it in its true habitat: deep, untracked snow. In that application, it's hard to do any better than the Nocta. It's surfy, it's maneuverable, it has crazy amounts of float. On the other hand, it's also stable at speed so you can charge down your favorite backcountry line, but then quickly slash a turn, dump some speed, and throw a big cork 7 tail off that wind lip over there.
Contributors: Matt Lancaster, Callum Petit, Michelle Parker, Christina Lustenberger, Doug Workman, and Matthias Giraud.