Here goes my first stab at a product review!
I don't believe that a formal review has been done on next year's Black Crows Nocta ski. Think of this as a review from a guy who loves sking and spends a lot of time doing it.
The Nocta is an aesthetic ski with the trademark Black Crows graphic - simple and pleasing to the eye. The first things that popped up for me about these skis is relative light weight for their width. They weigh in at about 2000 grams per ski and for a ski with this kind of surface area (Dimensions: 132 / 122 / 140 MM) the weight is surprisingly light duty. The next thing I noticed is that the Nocta has a very subtle reverse camber - looking down the running edge of the ski, it almost looks flat - kinda like one of my old favourite skis - the 4FRNT EHP.
The sidecut, subtle reverse camber and effective edge of this ski combine to make for an extremely versatile powder ski. I rode these in really deep powder Monashee powder (i.e. 60cm of ski pentration) and they definitely are playful and invoke trust in big, high throttle turns for the advanced powder skier. The Nocta also really excels at tree skiing. The reverse camber and rockered tip and tail (9% rockered tip and 11% rockered tail) makes for a ski that delivers primal confidence to fly down the fall line and feel good about being able to turn very quickly or dump speed in an unexpected tight spot amongst timber. The tip is narrow and has a really low swing weight making this ski incredibly nimble in tight places.
The last thing about the Nocta was the overall appearence of the construction process. Clean lines, attention to detail and excellent craftmanship. The Nocta is built with a paulownia poplar core and an ABS semi cap construction. The Nocta is very torsionally stiff with a middle of the road overall flex, but an even flex through the mid and fore body of the ski.
In order to keep this ski as light as possible I mounted the Noctas with the Dynafit Superlight 2.0 which is a SkiMo class binding. The binding was recommended by some friends who had put three solid seasons of heavy duty ski tour guiding on them and they check out.
I will say I was a bit skeptical about the Black Crows skins but so far they have held up well but again I have only put a weeks worth of time on them so its premature to start trumpeting their virtues.
I had only about 6-7 days on this ski and I wasn't able to travel and ski down every surface condition imaginable but the conditions I was able to try it out on gave me a very solid impression of the ski. Looking forward to more miles on it next year.
I'm going give the Nocta a solid 8.8 out of 10.
HOW I GOT THE SKIS
I am not a pro skier or a ski instructor or 'ski industry leader'. I am a 46 year old IFMGA Mountain Guide who has been skiing for + or - 30 some odd years. I ski about 100 - 120 days a year, largely on ungroomed surfaces i.e. typically deep powder in the backcountry of the Interior British Columbia, Canada. That will have to be my reviewer street cred for the time being.
As you can see, I have no product logos on my website. I am fortunate enough that I end up being the recipient of a few mountain sports equipment items from time to time due to my partner being a mountain sports journalist; but my recieving the Black Crows Nocta was not the case in this instance.
I was guiding up at Sentry lodge this past February for a guide colleague of mine who was injured. I had not been to Sentry Lodge before and I was excited about guiding my friend's group and exploring some new terrain. Sentry Lodge got walloped with 65-70cm of storm snow prior to our arrival. Day 1 and 2 the skiing was challenging due to upside down layup of the upper storm snow.
That storm snow settled quick and by Day 3 it was skiing better. Then it snowed more, by Day 4 or 5 and things really turned around for us and we had a truly exceptional week. I brought my one pair of ski touring skis which were G3 102mm Finders for the trip. I was quite happy skiing down on a 102mm ski underfoot, but admittedly the trailbreaking was heavy that week and I was sweating my bag off with trail breaking up to 40-50cm on some of the steeper uptracks.
At the end of the week, in lieu of a cash tip, the gang of fellas from Scarpa North America, Black Crows and Arva Equipment decided on giving me a pair of Black Crows Noctas at an ideal length - 186cm, which for me is an ideal length I was shocked and touched at the same time and couldn't thank the guys enough for their thoughtful gift. On top of that, they gave me a fitted pair of Black Crows skins.