2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review

The Justis is a brand new ski for 2021 from the French engineers over at Black Crows. It actually replaces two skis in their line, the Daemon and Navis. At 100 mm underfoot, it’s entering a crowded category of skis, but it sets itself apart from most with its unique shape and construction. Black Crows has another ski that’s 100 mm underfoot, the Camox, and a good way to think about the Justis is that it’s designed to act as a complementary ski to that in their lineup. Where the Camox is soft and playful, the Justis is stiffer and more powerful, without sacrificing the freeride mindset and versatility we expect from Black Crows.

Black Crows starts with a relatively simple poplar wood core. Things start to get interesting, however, when we look at the metal laminates in the Justis. There are two sheets of titanal, and most notably, they’re the shape of an H, more or less. You get full width metal underfoot, but then the metal is only along the edges in the tips and tails. It’s kind of like a combination of what we see in the M5 Mantra and the Rustler. The metal does end about where the rocker starts in the tips and tails, and there is a substantial amount of that rocker.

AT A GLANCE


2021 Black Crows Justis Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

171.3, 177.4, 183.1, 189.3 cm

21 m at 183.1 cm

138 / 100 / 123 mm

Versatility, Stability, Surfy

Poplar and H-Shaped Metal


In fact, its rocker/camber profile is part of what makes this ski unique. Among skis with this much metal, it’s somewhat rare to get this much rocker. Also, when you do get this much rocker, it’s even more rare to not see early taper, but that’s a pretty perfect description of the Justis. Lots of rocker in both the tip and tail, but also full extended sidecut, and all of these things are important elements to its design and start to make a lot of sense when you get on snow and ski it.

 2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review: Full Camber Image

Simply put, the Justis is a highly versatile ski, but that alone doesn’t do its performance Justis (hah, get it?). Let’s start with firm snow, or at least not deep powder. Imagine ripping turns on groomers, whether there’s some fresh snow on top of that or not. The Justis feels like a powerful, stable ski. Its edge grip is seemingly endless. Something Black Crows says in their description and video about the ski is an expert skier can keep pushing it and will never find a limit. I was a little skeptical of that claim initially, and I’ll admit I’m not the biggest skier in the world, but I agree with that description. An expert skier can ski it fast, hard, and aggressively and the Justis feels stable, powerful, and tracks really well through choppy snow.

Interestingly, somehow it also feels pretty darn good at slower speeds. The combination of short, but relatively high-rise camber and that long rocker profile allows for some really short, fun turns at slower speeds. This was another characteristic that surprised me. At first, I didn’t even attempt to make turns like that on it. It felt too heavy, and the edge grip and stability at speed left me in a mindset of “that’s what this ski likes to do,” but I was kind of wrong. It performs really well when making short, round, slightly skidded turns, which is rare for a ski with this much metal. It kind of reminds me of the Nordica Enforcer in that sense. It’s a ski that feels good at high speeds, but lets you slow things down when you want to.

 2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1  2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

When you take it off-piste, the rocker profile really comes into play in a number of different ways. The Justis doesn’t feel tremendously lightweight, but it still feels maneuverable. I skied it back to back with a Fischer Ranger 102 FR, and it’s not as light nor quite as quick as that ski, but the longer rocker profile allows for easier maneuverability than most skis with this much metal or that achieve this level of power and stability. What’s interesting, is you’d think you really need to ride a flat ski in that scenario, and it still helps to do so, but it still feels relatively maneuverable if you’re making turns with a higher edge angle, just requires a little more skier input.

Then there’s deep snow. This thing is mind-blowingly good in deep snow. I love the combination of a lot of splay in the rocker profile, but no early taper. That gives a ski so much float, and the way the Justis planes on top of deep snow far surpasses what you get in most skis in this width range. In deep snow, it transitions into a surfy, playful, ultra-smooth ski that’s a ton of fun. Really easy to release the tail edge even in super deep snow, and never feels like it’s going to dive. Even when it gets a little bogged down, somehow it seems like it just wants to jump back up on top of the snow surface, which I can really only explain as a benefit to the long, substantial tip rocker and the big, wide tips

All in all, it’s a highly versatile ski that feels like an absolute weapon on the feet of an advanced, or better yet expert, skier. Black Crows mentions it can be skied by an intermediate, but I have some hesitation to that recommendation. I think an athletic intermediate could ski them, but I think I would argue in most situations that skier would be better off on a Camox, which is also a great ski and another that I genuinely enjoy skiing. Quiver killer, daily driver, whatever you want to call it, the Justis is a really good ski to take to the hill not knowing exactly what to expect. Its combination of power, stability, and a surfy feel in soft snow is something that few skis manage to achieve, and it’s a very rewarding skiing experience because of that.

2021 Black Crows Justis Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 12/10/20

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