Updated: Jan 25
By Greg Gardner
Best Price: evo $939.95
Length Tested: 186
Width Tested: 122
Test Bindings: Look Pivot 14
Test Locations: Vail CO, Revelstoke BC
Freestyle (Powder Ski Scale): 8
Resort Compatibility: 3
Touring Compatibility: 4
Black Crows is a French ski brand that has burst onto the scene over the past several years. The company provides classic shaping coupled with eye catching designs across all of their skis. The Nocta is one of the brands most well known models due to its unique shape. Coming in at 122mm underfoot it is the widest ski this brand manufactures. The width is coupled with a reverse camber and early rocker in the tips and tails. The company suggests a center mount stance for the most surfy feel.
While the Noctas are by no means light, they are certainly nimble. These skis despite their wide width are incredibly responsive in deep conditions. With a simple turn of the head the skis follow. Additionally, the Nocta provides a stable yet surfy feel in the powder. In all of my tests, as soon as you gain speed, the Nocta sets you right on top of the snow creating an incredibly surfy sensation. Due to the center mount, in order to stay afloat it does require some careful weight manipulation toward the rear end, but when done just right, these skis provide unparalleled float and responsiveness in the powder.
The float of these skis as mentioned above is really strong. The shape is rather straight in the sense that the tips and tails are only slightly wider than the waist. While this would normally create less flotation, the reverse camber creates a spoon like shape in the snow allowing for excellent floatation without the hooking sensation that some skis with large tips and tails create. Regardless of depth, you will be skiing on top of the snow on the Noctas, not underneath it turning even the smallest of powder days into fun ones. To put it in words it feels like you're walking on water as you float down the mountain.
Due to the shaping of these skis, the Noctas are incredibly capable for bringing tricks into the backcountry. The straight wide profile with plenty of rocker provides a stable yet shock absorbing platform to land on. Not to mention the twin tip shape and center mount makes switch a non issue. Lastly, the ski provides just enough flex to butter and pop off any feature.
The Noctas are not a capable resort ski by any means. Quite frankly they can be a bit scary to ride on hard pack as getting on edge requires a lot of speed, and makes it difficult to stop on a dime. However, when skiing technical terrain they are very easy to pivot and twist in order to make required turns. That being said, the Nocta is not a powder ski you would want for the resort, this is a ski to take on snowmobile, cat, heli adventure and to have for that once in a decade storm at your local hill.
While touring is possible on this ski, it is really heavy, so only short missions would make it worth it. As mentioned before, this ski really fits into the niche of motor power or motor assist back country skiing.
Overall, the Black Crows Nocta is an excellent powder ski, but it is by no means for everyone. This ski is for an advanced skier looking to fill that niche spot in their quiver to for the deepest of days. Personally, I have owned and skied Noctas for three years. Its hard to say for sure but they might be my favorite skis I own, and I always look forward to the days I get to bring them out.