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Black Crows Ova Freebird Review

black crows ova freebird
Overall
3.9
  • Weight
    (5)
  • Uphill performance
    (4)
  • Behaviour on powder
    (4)
  • Behaviour on hard snow
    (3)
  • Behaviour on non-bearing crust
    (3.5)
  • Stability and governability
    (4)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Black Crows Ova Freebird is a light, easy and predictable ski: a playful, never nervous outing companion that delivers enjoyment both uphill and downhill. The right ski for beginning ski mountaineers; for those not looking for extreme skiing but beautiful skiing. Can we just go? this is its motto.

Pros

  • Intuitive behavior
  • Excellent tip
  • Lightness
  • Value for money

Cons

  • A little slipper on ice and hard snows

The Black Crows Ova Freebird is part of the Chamonix-based brand’s Mountain Touring line. It is available for both women and men. It is not the narrowest ski in the Mountain Touring line, but it is the one with the lowest flex, making it an easy and fun ski.

It is called a “family ski”: a ski for those who want to have fun without taking risks.

black crows ova freebird

Technical features of the Black Crows Ova Freebird

black crows ova freebird

If we take Black Crows’ Mountain Touring catalog and look at it from the narrowest ski, we will understand well how the Ova Freebird fits into the French brand’s ski touring proposition:

 WidhtFlexRadiusWeight (pair)
Mentis Freebird8075181800
Ova Freebird8568171950
Orb Freebird9073162300
Camox Freebird9576172550
Navis Freebird10279183100
Corvus Freebird10775213650

The Ova Freebird is not the narrowest ski, it is not the lightest, but it is the one with the lowest flex, which combined with a 17m radius of curvature makes it a cornering machine.

Let’s take a look at the other dimensions: front tip 123 mm, tail 107 mm. The tip is wide compared to skis in the same width range (of course, otherwise we wouldn’t have a 17m radius).

But if we compare it to comparable skis, we see this: The Blizzard Zero G 85 has a tip of 115 and a tail of 99. The Atomic Backland 85 has a tip of 117 and a tail of 105. Based on this comparison, Black Crows wanted to give their ski a specific characteristic with the 123 tip: easy grip in the turn and buoyancy of the tip.

ski with binding

However, the 17m radius does have a downside: on icy slopes and steep descents you have less edge to work with. But a “good family man”, a category the brand is targeting, will not get anywhere with this ski on such terrain.

The construction is mixed: semi-cap. We have a light and manoeuvrable tip with a cap construction, while the ski’s middle is a sandwich with an ABS sidewall.

the tip of the ova freebird
the weist of ova freebird

The wood used is a combination of paulownia and poplar. Carbon and fibreglass reinforcements are added for stiffness and vibration dampening.

Given the lightness of the ski, Black Crows say that no one will ever mount a plate on these planks, only the classic “sticker”. That is why the titanal reinforcements do not cover the entire binding attachment area, but only the two areas around the tip and heel. This still allows for a small weight saving.

black crows ova freebird

Test mode

I used these skis in the first part of the 2022-2023 season. The skis were mounted with Plum Pika bindings and as boots I use Tecnica Zero G Pro.

I have used them in my training in forest and slope ascents and in many trips on powder, even a bit heavy. For spring snows it will have to wait.

training test

Black Crows Ova Freebird on-site test

Uphill

Thanks in part to the Plum Pika binding, this ski is really light on the ascent, but without being nervous. It’s easy to manoeuvre uphill, and the wide tip doesn’t get in the way. The tail is perfect, with a special notch for blocking skins. With this ski, you can gobble up the altitude difference with ease.

uphill test

The Pilus Ova Freebird skins are a nice surprise: made in Pomoca. In fact, they are Climb 2.0 well cut on the ski. The pairing is perfect. The Black Crows skier is first and foremost cool, and these skins are the perfect accessory.

plivus ova skins

Downhill

Can we just go? This is the style of the Black Crows Ova Freebird. As soon as you turn down to the slope, the wide, slightly rockered toe is ready to turn easy.

powder test of the ova freebird

This tip is the real surprise of this ski, light and manoeuvrable. It comes out of the powder and makes the whole ski float. Easy to steer.

Even on the piste, the width of the tip makes for immediate engagement, the ski is ready to turn but without overdoing it.

The overall handling is excellent: always predictable with good tail support. Changing edges is easy and intuitive.

This is the ski for carving turns without having to worry about accelerating every time. Truly a ski for everyone: easy, predictable, light.

This lightness has a small drawback: it lacks a little stiffness for pushing on icy or uneven snow. Here the ski lacks “badness”, it tends to bounce a little, even when you push it. But this is normal and those who choose the Ova Freebird are not going for this kind of snow.

black crows ova freebird with boots

Size

I am 173 cm tall and weigh 63 kg and tested a 170 cm ski. Black Crows recommends this length for relaxed skiing, and the 175 for more aggressive skiing. It’s a matter of taste: for the way I ski – wide, fast turns – I’d say 175 would have been better. But generally speaking, if you choose an 85mm ski, you are also thinking about gullies and steeps, and a shorter ski will help.

black crows ova freebird on tes

Recommended for

The thing that really surprises about Black Crows Ova Freebird skis is their lightness. Narrow skis have always been offered in stiff, sinewy flexes with long radii of bend: one has accepted this character in order to have a light ski.

Now Black Crows Ova Freebird completely changes this paradigm by offering a light, easy and intuitive ski. This is a ski for those who want a good weekend ski: no struggle uphill, but fun downhill. Always in style.

Highly recommended for beginners. It is also the most affordable ski in the Black Crows Mountain Touring collection.

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