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Black Crows Captis Birdie Review

A fun and lively ski for a lightweight or intermediate skier, this birdie likes to fly but is not reliable for higher-end skiers in difficult terrain
Black Crows Captis Birdie
Photo: Black Crows
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Price:  $570 List | $569.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Impressive rebound and playfulness, nimble and quick
Cons:  Nose dives under fresh snow, skis short and soft, unreliable in trickier conditions
Manufacturer:   Black Crows
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2021
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31
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 2
  • Carving Ability - 20% 3
  • Powder Performance - 20% 1
  • Crud Performance - 20% 2
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 8
  • Bumps - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The Black Crows Captis Birdie offers a joyful ride on forgiving snow, but when we took it into powder, crud, or hard pack, it couldn't keep up. When conditions are easy, as on fresh soft groomers, this ski has fantastic pop out of the turn. In the bumps and in trees, it is very agile, moving quickly from edge to edge across the 90-millimeter base width, but if you filled those trees and bumps in with either fresh powder or crud, the Captis Birdie doesn't perform. If you're an upper intermediate skier or you don't have a lot of weight behind you, this ski provides exciting kickback and fast maneuvering skills. Those on the heavier end of the spectrum, or anyone who considers themselves already an advanced all-terrain skier, should look elsewhere.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
31
77
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71
Star Rating
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Pros Impressive rebound and playfulness, nimble and quickCrud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability levelAwesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable priceGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than othersSuperbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold
Cons Nose dives under fresh snow, skis short and soft, unreliable in trickier conditionsNo wow-factor, not a lot of reboundGets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectlyOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide themToo burly for lighter gals, not nimble
Bottom Line A fun and lively ski for a lightweight or intermediate skier, this birdie likes to fly but is not reliable for higher-end skiers in difficult terrainA great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiverA fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tagThis model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skierA good choice for hard-charging speed demons that still performs decently off-piste
Rating Categories Black Crows Captis... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Stability At Speed (20%)
2.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
Carving Ability (20%)
3.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Powder Performance (20%)
1
7.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Crud Performance (20%)
2.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
7.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
8.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Bumps (5%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
Specs Black Crows Captis... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Waist Width (mm) 90 98 96 96 96
Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm) 118-90-109 132-98-120 136-96-111 127-96-117 135-96-119
Available Lengths (cm) 149, 157, 164, 171 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 154, 162, 170, 178 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 149, 156, 163, 170
Length Tested (cm) 171 172 178 171 170
Radius (m) 18 16.3 16.2 18 27-16-22
Rocker Style Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Amphibio tech Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair (lbs) 6.8 8.1 7.4 7.9 8.5
Construction Type Semi-cap construction Energy Ti W SST sidewall Sandwich Full sidewall
Core Material Poplar and fiber Performance Wood & Metal Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar Beech and poplar
Intended Purpose All-Mountain All-Mountain All-Mountain All-Mountain, Big Mountain All-Mountain
Ability Level Intermediate-Advanced Expert Intermediate-Advanced Advanced-Expert Advanced-Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Crows Captis Birdie has a lot going for it in terms of playfulness, and it provides a responsive ride in tight spaces. However, this ski was a liability when we made it go fast or placed it in challenging conditions such as powder or crud.

Performance Comparison


A shark in a mogul field is not a fish out of water on these Black...
A shark in a mogul field is not a fish out of water on these Black Crows; they butter, pivot easily, and flex nicely in the troughs.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


At first, on soft steep groomers, we were surprised at how this relatively soft ski held an edge and didn't chatter. After bringing it up to speed, however, our fears about the ski's flexibility were realized. There is a continuous flap at the tips, as well as a general sense that it was not designed for high speeds. We also noted a feeling of discomfort around its construction; it skis much shorter than its advertised length, and we regularly felt like we were about to go over the handlebars at higher speeds.

As depicted by the extreme bend along the length of the ski in this...
As depicted by the extreme bend along the length of the ski in this shot, the Captis is too soft to provide a stable ride at high speeds.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving Ability


The rebound we love about this ski made it feel fun in a carved turn, but only if the snow was consistent and forgiving enough to allow us to build the speed to make it pop. Given the relatively narrow 90-millimeter waist, the Captis Birdie feels fluid and fast when moving from one edge to the other. We agree that the 18-meter turn radius seems accurate, though because the ski is so pliable, we could bend it into a tighter turn if we felt comfortable building the forces to do so (which wasn't often).

The Captis can hold an edge and carve even tighter than the 18-meter...
The Captis can hold an edge and carve even tighter than the 18-meter turning radius in easy snow conditions.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder Performance


While the Captis Birdie is one of the narrower skis in the range of "all-mountain" with a 90-millimeter waist, we don't believe that fact alone excuses its lack of prowess in this metric. It was understandable that it flounders in heavier snow, but even when we took it out in six inches of blower pow, it couldn't stay on track.

We didn't like how the Captis performed in even a little bit of...
We didn't like how the Captis performed in even a little bit of fresh snow.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud Performance


This ski is simply not adept at handling variable snow conditions. We found ourselves getting bucked around all over the place, even in what should have been manageable chop. It is too soft to plow through and unpredictable in the way it reacts to any undulations.

This Black Crow does not have the power for confident crud skiing.
This Black Crow does not have the power for confident crud skiing.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Terrain Playfulness


In this one metric, in particular, the Captis Birdie captured our hearts. We loved the spring-back it gave us when we pressured and released them; it was more pronounced on this ski than on many in our review. The tricky part was that we needed to be on consistent, forgiving snow in order to feel confident building the speed and forces necessary to make this pop happen. The Captis Birdie is super lightweight and is very easy to get airborne, but again we wanted to make sure our landing was going to be very soft and gentle before committing to it on this ski.

The one thing we really loved about the Captis was its playful pop.
The one thing we really loved about the Captis was its playful pop.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Bumps


A ski that likes to butter the snow and pivot quickly, the Captis Birdie is an enjoyable and easy ride through the moguls. In this terrain, its ability to change edges quickly, bend easily, and move nimbly allow it to thrive. Once again, however, it could only handle a mogul field with bumps cushioned by soft and predictable snow; anything too deep, hard, or chunky would send us flying in unknown directions.

The soft, bendy, and light characteristics of the Captis serve it...
The soft, bendy, and light characteristics of the Captis serve it well in the moguls.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Value


While this ski is fairly affordable, it doesn't provide the value in versatility that we would prefer for a one ski quiver.

Conclusion


The Captis Birdie could be a fun, playful option for lower-level skiers who want to stay almost entirely on groomed runs, but it should not be considered an all-mountain charger.

Renee McCormack

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