2019-2020 Black Crows Daemon

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Black Crow Daemon for Blister Gear Review.
Black Crows Daemon

Ski: 2019-2020 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm

Available Lengths: 170.2, 177.4, 183.6, 188.7 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.2 cm

Stated Weight per Ski (183.6 cm): 1850 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1894 & 1980 grams

Stated Dimensions: 132-99-120 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132-99-119.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 20 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~49 mm / 16 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm (reverse camber)

Core Construction: Semi-cap, poplar core, 120 cm titanal plate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.9 cm from center; 83.2 (or 83.15) cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: On the line

Boots:Head Raptor 140 RS; Salomon QST Pro 130; Nordica Strider 120; Dalbello Lupo S.P. ID

Bindings: Head Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 Demo

Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort & Arapahoe Basin, CO


  • Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 180 lbs
  • Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs

Days Skied: 9

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Daemon, which was not changed for 18/19 or 19/20, apart from graphics.]


For the 17/18 season, Black Crows is introducing a new all-mountain ski, the Daemon, and here’s how Black Crows describes it: “A perfect blend of titanal and full reverse camber. A very stable ski which goes into action easily and efficiently due to the full reverse camber.”

A “very stable ski” with titanal and reverse camber, huh? Quick — does that sound like any other ski you’ve heard of?

We’ll talk more about comparisons in a second, but let’s get back to the Daemon…

Flex Pattern

If you’re going to promise big stability, then you’re probably going to want to build a fairly stiff ski. And the Daemon is, for the most part, with one notable exception.

Hand flexing the ski, I’d sum it up like this:

Tips: 5.5
Shovels: 7-8
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 10
Tails: 8

Black Crows describes the Daemon as having a “very solid flex under the foot, and a “progressive” flex at the tips and tails. And that’s certainly what I found. But what really jumps out is just how soft the tips of the Daemon are especially compared to — spoiler alert here — the Volkl Mantra, the other ski that immediately comes to mind when you’re talking about ~100mm-wide, reverse-camber, all-mountain, “very stable” skis.

Compared to the Mantra, the first 1/3 (tips, shovels, and forebody) of the Daemon is much softer. If the Daemon progresses in stiffness from 5 (at the tips) to 10 underfoot, the 184 cm Mantra starts at an 8 at the tips, then maintains that 8 or 9 stiffness before ramping up to 10. I.e., unlike the Daemon, there’s no soft zone on the Mantra, and the Black Crows’ intention here is that the softer front of the Daemon will help it to plane up in soft snow.

(And FYI, the flex pattern of the back halves of these two skis is pretty similar — not identical, but much more similar than the front halves.)

Rocker Profile

We already have said that this is a reverse-camber ski, but how subtle or significant is that reverse camber? Answer: pretty significant. Especially if you’ll still allow the Mantra comparison, you’ll see that the Daemon’s tip and tail splay begins ramping up much sooner than the Mantra’s:

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Black Crows Daemon for Blister Review
Black Crows Daemon (left) & Volkl Mantra

So softer tips + more tip and tail splay? It would sure seem like the Daemon might be the better option in deep snow than the Mantra. But given that these two skis are 100 mm underfoot, the greater questions might be how well the Daemon handles mixed and firm conditions in general, and also, compared to the Mantra.

Bottom Line (For Now)

I’ve already got a day on the Daemon, but I’ll be back on it again this weekend, and also A/B-ing it against the 184 cm Mantra.

I can already say that this ski could certainly be a viable one-ski quiver, but we’re looking forward to teasing out its strengths and weaknesses. Stay tuned…

Flash Review: Black Crows Daemon

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Daemon, with sizing recommendations and comparisons to the Volkl Mantra.

(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)

NEXT: The Full Review

9 comments on “2019-2020 Black Crows Daemon”

  1. Hi Blister folks,

    Cant wait to hear how it felt on snow ??. If I recall most recommendations on the Mantra have been to size down to 177 vs the 184 in the newer RC version so this ski piques my interest as I like the Zero Camber flat underfoot quickness and high angle edge grip when ya need it and something longer than a 177.

    It will be interesting to hear editors comment on stability with that 5 tip flex ? I was surprised you reviewed the 183 and not the 188 ? any reason for that ?

    Thanks for great info.

  2. the most fun versatile ski I’ve ever been on. So stable, smooth and easy to ride. They carve trenches and make garbage conditions feel like a buttery groomer. A one ski daily driver for garbage conditions, 3-6″ days, groomers etc. Not my choice for pow days…other options for those conditions :)

    • Hi Dana,
      I’m about to purchase a pair…interested to hear your thoughts on how they go in hard packed ice trails?
      I’m from north island NZ and we often have variable conditions – a fair bit of the time I’ll be with my kids one this type of snow. When I’m not (on my own), I’m charging pretty hard off trail and looking for different terrain…would these suit for this type of stuff?

  3. Curious the proper length Dana and Blister. Sizing similar to mantra where the 177 is a solid ski for normal sized folks or to size up to the low 180’s since the daemon is a touch lighter and the tips softer with more splay. Thanks guys

  4. I’m 6’2”. I ride the 188 cm daemons. I wouldn’t go shorter and would prefer a 193. Had them on ice and 15” days. They excel in both! I want a pair with dynafits now because of their versatility.

  5. When I saw these in the ski shop last fall, I put them side by side with the mantra’s and they are very, very, very similar. I really wanted to try them out on demo day but they were out being skied all day. I skied the mantra’s again then tried the new head kore 105’s and ended up buying the Heads. I just can’t get over the slow speed feel of the reverse camber skies and the Heads did big turns just as good as the mantra’s.

  6. What do you think of these skis as a one-quiver ski for West Coast resorts, mounted with Salomon SLAB Shift binding? Intended for 50% resort, 30% sidecountry, 20% touring?

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