2020-2021 Black Crows Anima

Ski: 2020-2021 Black Crows Anima, 189.2 cm

Available Lengths: 176.6, 182.1, 189.2, 194.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 187.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2259 & 2279 grams

Stated Dimensions: 147-115-136 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 146.2-114.8-135.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (189.2 cm): 19 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64 mm / 55 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm

Core: poplar + carbon & kevlar stringers + fiberglass laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6.3 cm from center; 87.4 cm from tail

Luke Koppa reviews the Black Crows Anima for Blister
Black Crows Anima — 20/21 top sheets
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

The Anima has now been in the Black Crows line since the 15/16 season, serving as a playful big-mountain powder ski that slots between the reverse-camber, 122mm-wide Nocta and the narrower Atris and Corvus.

The Anima had always seemed appealing to me since it appeared to work well for both hard-charging Freeride World Tour athletes like Kristofer Turderll and more playful riders like Callum Pettit. Of course, those guys are so talented that I’m sure they could make just about any ski look cool, but that blend of stability and playfulness is something Black Crows emphasizes when describing the Anima, and that sort of combo is something I tend to love.

Apart from graphics, the Anima had gone unchanged since it was introduced, but Black Crows decided to update it for the 20/21 season. We’ll be spending time on the new version this season, but for now, let’s dive into the design of this ski and what, exactly, has changed this year.

What Black Crows says about the new Anima

“A rejuvenating treatment for the animal to improve its performance on hard ground and at low speed.

The side lines have been lengthened to the extremities to reinforce its hold, its flex has been homogenized, its heel lightly drawn-out and its tip enlarged. With better weight balance, this freeride beast has an improved performance on hard snow and has gained precision.”

To expand on that brief explanation, Black Crows lengthened the effective edge of the Anima for 20/21 by moving the widest points of its tips and tails slightly closer to the ends of the ski (i.e., decreased the amount of tip and tail taper).

While the Anima is still 115 mm underfoot, the 20/21 version also has notably wider tips and tails: comparing the new 189 cm Anima to the old 188 cm version, the tips grew from 143 mm to 147 mm and the tails grew from 129 mm to 136 mm.

This results in a few things. First, the 20/21 Anima has a tighter stated sidecut radius (19 meters vs. 21 meters on the old version). That should make it easier to get on edge at slower speeds. Second, there’s now slightly less of a difference between the width of the tips and the width of the tails, which I’d assume is what Black Crows is referring to when they say the new version offers “better weight balance.” Lastly, the Anima’s wider tips and tails should equate to just a bit more surface area, which could help improve flotation.

As for the flex pattern being “homogenized,” we thought that the previous Anima had a pretty smooth flex pattern with no hinge points, but as we’ll get into below, the new Anima’s flex pattern does feel pretty consistent when comparing the front- and back-halves, so maybe that’s what Black Crrows is describing. Black Crows designer, Julien Regnier, also said that he made the new Anima slightly stiffer overall in an effort to balance the new ski’s tighter sidecut radius; because the new ski should be easier to get on edge and bend into a turn, the stiffer flex pattern is designed to keep it from feeling too eager to bend into tight turns. 

Shape / Rocker Profile

While the Anima’s shape features some noteworthy changes, the overall look is pretty similar to the previous version. The original Anima wasn’t a dramatically tapered ski, compared to other playful pow skis, and the new version is now slightly less tapered.

Overall, the Anima looks fairly similar to skis like the Moment Wildcat and Whitedot Altum 114. Those are two shapes that we really like, since we find that their moderately tapered tips and tails do a good job of keeping them fairly loose when needed, but without feeling twitchy / unstable at speed.

The new Anima’s rocker lines look fairly similar to the previous version, though its tail rocker line looks like it’s a tiny bit shallower and its tip rocker line is maybe a bit deeper. But more notably, the new Anima’s tip rocker line is now more low-slung — it doesn’t rise as abruptly, and combined with its slightly longer effective edge, I think that could help improve the new ski’s carving performance on firmer conditions. The new Anima also has slightly less tip and tail splay than the previous version, though I’d still call its tail a nearly true “twin.”

The 20/21 Anima maintains camber underfoot, and it actually has a lot of it. We measured 6 mm of camber underfoot on our pair of the new Anima, and decambering the ski to get the tip and tail splay numbers required a notable amount of effort on my part. I’m curious if this will also help the new ski’s edge hold (and pop?), and I’m also eager to see if that camber has any sort of effect on how loose and surfy the ski feels in fresh snow.

Overall, the Anima’s rocker profile isn’t anything out of the ordinary for a playful pow ski. Compared to skis like the Moment Wildcat, Whitedot Altum 114, and Armada ARV 116 JJ, the Anima’s rocker lines (particularly its tail rocker line) are slightly on the shallower end. But this still looks like a rocker profile that’d encourage a playful approach to skiing.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Anima:

Tips: 7-7.5
Shovels: 7.5-8.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Tails: 8.5-7

The Anima has a pretty round, symmetrical-feeling flex pattern with smooth transitions from its softer extremities to its stout midsection. Overall, it is a strong ski — especially compared to other options designed with playful / freestyle skiing in mind. Its tips and tails are notably stiffer than those on skis like the K2 Reckoner 112, Armada ARV 116 JJ, and Liberty Origin 112.

The Anima’s flex pattern is pretty similar to the Whitedot Altum 114 and Moment Wildcat, though the Anima’s tips and tails are stiffer than the Wildcat’s.

Mount Point

Like the previous Anima, the 20/21 version features a mount point that’s right around -6 cm from true center.

Frequent readers of Blister will know that this is a mount point that a lot of our reviewers really like, since, on most skis designed around a -6 cm mount point, we find that we can ski them pretty centered and also with a more forward, driving stance. It’s nice to have that option, particularly on a ski that’s supposed to be good for throwing tricks and skiing hard through more variable conditions.

Weight

Our pair of the old 188 cm Anima came in at ~2186 grams per ski, which wasn’t particularly light or extremely heavy. The new 189 cm Anima gained some weight, with our pair coming in at an average measured weight of 2269 grams per ski.

Combined with its strong flex pattern, the 20/21 Anima’s weight makes me very optimistic about its stability and suspension in rough conditions. I’m sure it won’t feel as nimble in the air as some of the really light skis in this class (e.g., Atomic Bent Chetler 120 and Line Vision 118), but I’d be willing to bet that the Anima is going to feel pretty composed in chop and crud compared to many other playful pow skis.

For reference, here are our measured weights for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples to apples.

1710 & 1744 Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1873 & 1878 Line Vision 118, 183 cm (20/21)
1895 & 1906 Folsom Trophy Carbon, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1897 & 1913 Majesty Vanguard, 188 cm (20/21)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–20/21)
2006 & 2011 Rossignol Super 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2006 & 2063 Elan Ripstick 116, 193 cm (20/21)
2013 & 2099 Moment Wildcat, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2051 K2 Mindbender 116C, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2024 & 2031 Line Outline, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2027 & 2052 K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2043 & 2046 4FRNT Inthayne, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2097 & 2103 Liberty Origin 112, 184 cm (17/18–20/21)
2102 & 2137 Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (17/18–19/20)
2105 & 2185 Head Kore 117, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2122 & 2151 Whitedot Altum 114, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2125 & 2134 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm (19/20–20/21)
2136 & 2174 K2 Reckoner 122, 184 cm (20/21)
2173 & 2204 4FRNT Renegade, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2174 & 2187 Moment Wildcat, 190 cm (18/19–19/20)
2181 & 2190 Parlor McFellon Pro, 185 cm (19/20–20/21)
2183 & 2190 Black Crows Anima, 188.4 cm (15/16–19/20)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2220 & 2252 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2222 & 2278 Prior CBC, 184 cm (17/18–20/21)
2237 & 2315 Salomon QST 118, 192 cm (19/20–20/21)
2240 & 2250 Volkl Revolt 121, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2250 & 2280 Movement Fly Two 115, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2259 & 2279 Black Crows Anima, 189.2 cm (20/21)
2280 & 2286 Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2290 & 2293 Moment Commander 118, 188 cm (19/20)
2341 & 2357 Dynastar M-Free 118, 189 cm (18/19–20/21)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2346 & 2351 Nordica Enforcer 115 Free, 191 cm (17/18–20/21)
2408 & 2421 ON3P Jeffrey 116, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
2438 & 2480 DPS Foundation Koala 119, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2438 & 2492 Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, 186 cm (16/17–20/21)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) The new Anima is supposed to be playful and stable, so our main question is where exactly it will fall on that spectrum. Do you need to be throwing tricks, skiing switch, etc. to really enjoy this ski? Or could more directional skiers also get along well with it?

(2) Given its fairly heavy weight, how damp and smooth will the new Anima feel on days when soft snow is nowhere to be found?

(3) On that note, how well will the new Anima carve on firm snow? And with its 19-meter sidecut radius, what types of turn shapes will it want to make?

(4) Conversely, how well will the Anima float in really deep snow, particularly compared to skis with softer flex patterns and / or deeper rocker lines?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Black Crows Anima looks like it has the potential to be a versatile soft-snow-oriented ski. Its tip and tail rocker lines and fairly centered mount point make us think it will feel quite playful. But at the same time, its strong flex pattern, camber underfoot, fairly heavy weight, and moderately tapered shape have us excited about its potential performance on less-ideal, firmer conditions. Stay tuned for updates this season.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
20/21 Top Sheet
20/21 Base
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