Ski: 2021-2022 Black Crows Serpo, 180.1 cm
Available Lengths: 168.2, 174.1, 180.1, 186.3 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 179.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1825 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1824 & 1835 grams
Stated Dimensions: 131-93-115 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 131.1-92.3-114.9 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (all lengths): 20 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 53 mm / 20 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: poplar + titanal (2 H-shaped plates) + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.75 cm from center; 81.8 cm from tail
Black Crows are adding three brand-new skis to their lineup for the 2021-2022 season. There’s the wild-looking Mirus COR we recently discussed, the skimo-oriented 80mm-wide Mentis Freebird, and the ski we’re talking about today, the 93mm-wide Serpo.
Sitting in the brand’s “all-terrain” collection, the Serpo is designed to be a bit like a narrower, more accessible version of the 100mm-wide Black Crows Justis.
Now, the design of the Justis was already quite different than most 100mm-wide skis, but the narrower Serpo’s stands out even more compared to other ~93mm-wide skis. So let’s get into what this ski is all about and how its design compares to the current crop of narrower all-mountain skis.
What Black Crows say about the Serpo
“A newcomer in all-terrain skiing, the Serpo is designed for the piste and partially for off-piste. With 93mm at the waist, it’s a good carver, it’s there to really play with the terrain with its good flex and responsiveness together thanks to its layer of metal for grip and stability. But this does not erase the ease and pleasure of the game.”
Nothing super odd here. The Serpo is supposed to handle a bit of everything, from carving groomers to “playing” in off-piste terrain.
The Serpo features a very similar core construction to the Justis. Both skis get a poplar wood core, a fiberglass laminate, and two H-shaped titanal plates. Those metal plates extend edge-to-edge around the bindings, but then they split as you move to the tips and tails, with thinner pieces sitting over the edges of the ski and no metal in between. Those thinner portions extend to cover roughly 2/3rds the length of the ski. The idea here is that you get good torsional rigidity and damping underfoot, but with a more compliant and lighter feel near the extremities.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Serpo looks a whole lot like a narrower Justis. Both skis feature very minimal early taper at the tips or tails, but pair that with surprisingly deep rocker lines (though the Serpo’s rocker lines are not as deep as those on the Justis).
Looking at other skis around the same width, the Serpo’s shape is in line with pretty directional, traditional skis such as the Volkl M6 Mantra and Blizzard Bonafide / Brahma. On the other hand, the Serpo’s deep rocker lines are more in line with playful skis like the Blizzard Rustler 9 and Fischer Ranger 94 (though the Serpo doesn’t really have a twinned tail like those skis).
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Serpo:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7-9
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Looking at the Serpo, you might think it’s just a skinnier Justis. But flex the two, and you’ll notice a significant difference.
The Justis has a very stout tail, and generally a flex pattern that I’d call pretty strong overall. The Serpo, on the other hand, has a significantly softer tail and its flex pattern doesn’t ramp up in stiffness as quickly when moving from the tips or tails to the stiffer midsection.
Overall, the Serpo’s flex pattern is pretty similar to the Blizzard Rustler 9, with the Rustler 9 being a bit stiffer at the very ends. The Serpo’s flex pattern also feels pretty similar to the 20/21 Liberty Origin 96, though the Origin 96 feels a touch stiffer just outside the binding area.
All that said, I was a bit surprised when I hand-flexed the Serpo. I was able to spend a day on it this spring, and while it certainly felt more forgiving of sloppy skiing than the Justis, it also didn’t really strike me as some super easy-going ski. So at least for now, I don’t think folks should instantly strike it off their list if they see those flex pattern numbers and think the ski will be too soft for them.
Nothing weird here. The Serpo’s stated sidecut radius is 20 meters for all lengths. That’s a bit longer than average for a ski of this width (particularly if you’re looking at shorter lengths), but not so long that I think it will be a major talking point when discussing the ski’s on-snow performance.
Similar to the Justis, the Serpo has a mount point that’s around -7.7 cm from the true center of the ski. That’s a bit closer to center than most directional skis in this category, but also not as close to center as most freestyle-oriented skis. Consequently, it’s a mount point that we’d expect to work pretty well with a wide range of skiers.
At about 1830 grams per ski for our 180 cm length, the Serpo sits on the lighter end of the spectrum of all-mountain skis, though there are plenty of other skis that are coming in at a pretty similar weight. The Serpo is notably lighter than more traditional metal-laminate skis like the Volkl M6 Mantra and Blizzard Bonafide 97, but the Serpo is right in line with some of the newer metal-laminate skis like the Atomic Maverick series, Salomon Stance 90, and Armada Declivity 92 Ti.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1758 & 1758 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1781 & 1795 Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1801 & 1839 Salomon Stance 90, 176 cm (20/21–21/22)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–21/22)
1810 & 1828 Armada Declivity 92 Ti, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
1824 & 1835 Black Crows Serpo, 180.1 cm (21/22)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–21/22)
1883 & 1906 Season Aero, 180 cm (20/21)
1900 & 1908 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1934 Black Crows Camox, 186.5 cm (19/20–21/22)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–21/22)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–21/22)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–21/22)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21–21/22)
2043 & 2089 Volkl M6 Mantra, 177 cm (21/22)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2054 & 2063 Salomon QST 98, 189 cm (21/22)
2055 & 2080 Salomon QST 99, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2078 & 2138 Black Crows Justis, 183 cm (20/21–21/22)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2089 & 2105 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–21/22)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2178 & 2195 Volkl M6 Mantra, 184 cm (21/22)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21–21/22)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Serpo and Justis share a lot in common, with the main difference being their flex patterns. So just how similar or different do they actually feel on snow?
(2) The Serpo combines a traditional, minimally tapered shape with pretty deep tip and tail rocker lines. So do you get the best of both worlds — solid edge hold and easy off-piste maneuverability? Or does this ski feel more biased toward one end of the terrain spectrum?
(3) In a similar vein, how well will the Serpo handle the ends of the spectrum in terms of conditions? Can it compete with minimally rockered skis on icy groomers? Will it float and pivot as well as similarly rockered skis when there’s fresh snow?
(4) The 97mm-wide Black Crows Camox is another ski in their all-terrain range that we found to work well for a wide range of skiers, so who should be opting for that over the Serpo (and vice versa)?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Black Crows Serpo is an interesting addition to the category of narrower all-mountain skis. It blends the traditional, minimally tapered shape we’ve come to expect from this category with the deep rocker lines and moderate flex pattern we’re used to seeing from more playful skis. We got a bit of time on the Serpo before the season ended this year and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below for our initial impressions. We still need more time before putting together our full review, but stay tuned for that next season.
Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Serpo for our initial on-snow impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.