Atris Birdie vs. Jessie 108

I’ve had the Black Crows Atris Birdies in my quiver for a year, and for a year I’ve wondered about the ON3P Jessie 108. After trying to chase them down at several ON3P demo days, I finally gave it up and acknowledged that I couldn’t buy a ski based on the rad snake topsheets alone*. But in the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered, “would I wish I was a Jessies girl?” *Rad snakes apparently didn’t get unanimous lady love, so this go around they’ve been replaced with fucking doilies. Ugh.

I had the change to test them out against my Birdies last week. On paper, these two skis couldn’t look more alike:

Atris Birdies: 136-108-126, 3440g, 20.0m radius, length 169
Jessie 108: 133-108-125, 3700g, 19.4m radius, length 166 (Measured after pressing, side to side, these are almost identical in length)

Both are twin tips, rocker-camber-rocker construction, and a flex that’s not markedly firm or soft – a nice mix of business and pleasure. It’s no surprise that I found the Jessies incredibly familiar from the minute I clicked into the bindings. And they share a lot of the characteristics that I love about the Atris Birdies – they’re surfy and fun in soft snow, but when temps got warmer and you’re skiing through wet mashed potatoes or refrozen chunder, the skis have enough guts to help me keep my shit together.

The main differences between these two skis comes from their mount points. The Jessies are recommended at -4cm from center vs. -8cm on the Atris Birdies. Combined with the fact that the Jessies have a more symmetrical flex vs. directional on the Atris Birdies, the skis handle differently. The forward mount point on the Jessies gives them a few advantages. They’re easy to pivot and super maneuverable – proof that a ski’s turn radius doesn’t alone dictate how easily a ski turns. They excel over the Atris Birdies in tight, technical terrain and sliding through moguls, but the main reason they’re mounted so far forward is to make them easier to trick, spin, and ride switch (not that I personally tried). Like most freestyle skis, they really require a centered stance – speed is fine, but they don’t respond well to being driven.

The Atris Birdies are more traditional once you look past the twin tip. Further back, they’re a little more difficult to pivot and they’re eager to be flexed. They reward a more forward stance and are less forgiving if you’re bucked in the backseat – the sweet spot on the ski is forward of the toe piece on the recommended line. With their long turn radius, supportive flex, and traditional mount point, they’re sometimes difficult to maneuver through moguls and tight spots – in narrow chutes where I’m feeling skittish, I have to push myself to ski them hard and keep my tips in the fall line to stay over the sweet spot and get enough speed for them to bend easily. But that same combination makes them a dream on groomers, even though they’re the fattest skis I’ve owned. They love long arcing turns on piste and have a nice pop at the end of the turn.

Signs you’re a Jessies girl: You need a 1-quiver PNW ski that slays powder & chunder all winter and in spring, you head to the park. You appreciate a lot of maneuverability in your skis.
Join the flock of Birdies: You need a 1-quiver PNW ski that slays powder & chunder all winter and in spring, you hit the groomers. You have a lot of confidence in your turns (or, like me, you want a ski that pushes you to ski that way)

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