The new Orb, a ski for all-terrain tastes

A conversation with Julien Regnier, pro-skier and long-time shaper of Black Crows skis. You can find out more about the main man in this little article here: (black doc). Julien answered a few questions about the design of the new Orb, a model that comes equipped with a front rocker, classic long camber and Titanal along the length of the ski.

BC: Morning Julien, you designed and made the new Orb, what’s the thinking behind a 91mm ski with this construction and shape?

Julien: The idea was to modernize the ORB and refine its piste capabilities by enhancing its swift, sporty characteristics at the same time as drawing on the shapes of our big mountain skis for versatility. This gives us a model that is race-category in its construction, thanks to the addition of Titanal plating, with a single beak shape that’s freeride orientated.

BC: You put the ski in the ‘resort’ category next to some other models. Can you explain a bit about this particular category and your approach towards it?

Julien: For us, a resort ski is above all a ski that performs well on hard or groomed snow. Within this range we have three models on offer, from the more versatile to the more specialized ones including a highly specific ski like the Arto, our giant slalom ski. For that you have to wake up early to make the most of the smooth pistes. Then there’s the Orb with 91underfoot. It’s not super narrow so you can go off piste with it but we acknowledge the fact that a powder specialist would probably prefer a wider ski. It’s a more versatile model that is still effective throughout the day, even when the conditions deteriorate or soften up in spring time. With a bit of width the skis remain stable no matter what the conditions and a little bit of rocker helps to navigate trickier terrain.

BC: Is making piste skis a new thing for Black Crows?

Julien: We’ve always tried to provide skis for all-round enjoyment. We all love drawing nice arcs into hard snow. We just follow the path that pleasure sets and, for us, that means skiing in all its forms.

BC: So you go family skiing with regular people?

Julien: Almost… well anyway, skiing is a great way of exploring the mountains whatever speed you go. It’s just amazing to be able to get around so easily, isn’t it?

BC: So when it’s good can you really ski in powder with this ski?

Julien: Of course, and as I said before, although it’s not the best ski we have for powder, it does work well and will suit people who are exploring the whole ski area, on and off piste.

BC: What are the nerdy technical specifics of the new Orb?

Julien: The Orb is a recreational ski with two Titanal plates covering the length of the ski. This means it carves really well and is really responsive and powerful. The ski stays locked on the ground and is super stable, you are on the rails no matter what the conditions. Its poplar core works really well at absorbing vibrations too.

BC: Orb, what does it mean actually?

Julien: Er, pass:)

BC: It seems as though you are doing a lot of piste skiing at the moment, it’s almost as if you finally want to make your mother proud (Ingrid Laforgue, World Special Slalom Champion and Giant silver medalist in Val Gardena, Italy 1971-ed.), has that had an influence on this type of ski and on Black Crows.

Julien: The aim is to offer an appropriate range of products. I love skiing because I love to lay down nice turns. At the start of the season, me and my friends always hit the piste to get our legs back. We ski at full speed and try to put down the most fluid turns we can. Our heroes are the French national giant team. We want to be like them! That said, I also test powder skis on hard snow as I want all my skis to hold an edge and to have a good feel. The same principles apply. You do have to know how to ski to be a good tester so I work on my technique. But I still love to jump, go touring and ride powder…

BC: What do you do on the piste then?

Julien: I get as much angle as possible and do carve to nose butters 🙂

Merci.

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