This past fall, Black Crows added three new skis, one of which was the Serpo 93. Designed to have one foot in the on-piste and one foot in the off-piste world, the Serpo aims to satisfy any skier. Here’s what Black Crows has to say about the ski:
“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 it’s layer of metal for grip and stability. But this does not erase the ease and pleasure of the game.”
This past winter, I had the opportunity to test the new Serpo 93. I was sent the skis with absolutely no obligation to necessarily give a positive review; here at SnowBrains, honesty is what we’re all about.
- Name: Clay Malott
- Days skied on the 2022 Serpo 93s: 8
- Testing location: Aspen, CO
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 165lbs
- Skiing Level: Expert
- Boots used: Salomon S/PRO 120
In this review, I’ll explain my impressions of the ski’s performance in 4 different categories: powder, crud, groomers, tight terrain (chutes, trees, moguls, etc.). At the end of the review, I’ll close with my final “overall impressions” of the ski – what I like, what I don’t, and who I would recommend this ski for. Without further ado, here is my full, unbiased review of the 2022 Black Crows Serpo 93.
During the 8 days that I got skiing on the Serpo, I got to ski them in a huge variety of snow conditions. Fortunately, in the last 3 days of my testing period, we received 23″ in three days (with much more snow that followed!). This allowed me to definitely get a good feel for these skis in powder. Overall, these skis somewhat struggled in the deep, light Colorado snow; any ski that is 93mm underfoot simply won’t have the same float as a 100mm+ width ski. With that being said, the Serpo features a very large tip rocker with a tip width of 131mm, which improved its ability to float in deep snow significantly.
I could imagine that in areas where the snow is heavier, like the Pacific Northwest or the Sierra Nevada, the Serpo would have an easier time with floatation. While the Serpo wouldn’t be my first pick on a deep powder day, I would probably choose it above any other ski in the 90-95mm range that I’ve tested. Category score: 7.
Crud was one of the Serpo’s most impressive categories. In my opinion, crud is the most important performance criterion when I test a ski. You can have the best ski of all time in perfect snow conditions, but you’re not always going to have perfect snow conditions, so having a good performance in cruddy snow is absolutely paramount to a good ski.
Weighing in at 1,800g per ski, the Serpo isn’t insanely heavy, but that weight packs a punch in choppy, cruddy snow. I found the Serpo to be quite rigid and robust, which allowed it to slice right through less-than-ideal snow. On crusty, unforgiving snow, the confluence of the Serpo’s exceptional dampness and it’s superb rigidity gave it a very smooth feel.
I think the Serpo’s performance in crud really defined the ski, which I’ll elaborate a bit more on later. When compared to other skis in this width and weight category, the Serpo skied excellently on cruddy snow and blew the competition out of the water. Category score: 10.
Groomers were another category where the performance of the Serpo really shone. I felt like the Serpo was just the right stiffness underfoot that allowed it to turn easily but also gave it an incredibly high upper limit. The Serpo was quite easy to carve even going at slow speeds with long, lazy turns. However, pushing this ski at higher speeds with shorter turn radii was the most fun I’ve had on skis in a while. Each turn, I could fully load the outer ski with complete confidence. The ski loaded up beautifully and released all that energy in a consistent manner coming out of every turn apex. Simply put, the Serpo was fun on groomers.
At 20m, the Serpo falls right in the middle of turn radii. The ski certainly ripped well at high speeds on long, arcing turns, but could also be pushed to make medium and short-range turns with not much more effort.
The beautiful thing about this ski is that you get out of it what you put in. There isn’t a huge lower skill cap, so even beginner/intermediate skiers will be able to carve fairly well. However, I think more advanced skiers will find it difficult to reach the upper limit of how hard you can push this ski on groomers. It’s always a good sign when I reach the conclusion that a ski has such a huge potential for every skier! Category score: 10.
This is another super important category since it encompasses so much terrain: trees, moguls, chutes, and more. The Serpo was certainly fun in this terrain, but I noticed the stiffness definitely prevented some agility. However, this stiffness is not always a bad thing. I found that the ski takes some extra “wind up” energy – in other words, it took a bit of force to get it to “pop.” However, I found that with a bit extra effort, turn after turn, it continually loaded itself; the energy exiting the apex of each turn contributed towards loading up the ski for the next turn. Since the ski is so explosive, it skis with an impressive cadence and energy in tight terrain if you’re able to provide the extra support it needs to push the ski in tight terrain.
I, personally, would give this ski a 9 or maybe even 10 in the tight terrain category. However, since it does take a bit extra effort to maneuver in tight terrain, for the average skier, this ski would be a bit more difficult to ski in this terrain. Category score: 8.
Overall, the Serpo was a thoroughly impressive ski. There are absolutely no days where the Serpo would be a bad pick for a ski, but I think where it shines most is where other skis don’t: when the snow is mediocre and difficult to tame with other skis. Hard snow during prolonged high-pressure spells is when I see the ski excelling for most skiers; a combination of its dampness and rigidity.
This ski is easy to ski at an intermediate and even beginner level but can be pushed extremely hard by advanced skiers. In my opinion, this is what makes it such an impressive ski. The fact that it’s simultaneously an intermediate and expert ski is incredible! Overall score: 9.5.