2019 Nordica

Discussion in '2019 Reviews by Brand' started by Pugski Test Team, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Pugski Test Team

    Pugski Test Team Testing skis so you don't have to. Pugski Ski Tester

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    19 DOBERMANN_SLR_R_FDT.png
    Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB FTD
    Dimensions:122-72-102
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 162, 168, 174, 180
    Size tested: 174
    Design: All New

    Drahtguy Kevin: The timid need not apply. I’m certain "RB" doesn’t stand for Rippin’ Bastard, but it should. The RB is a true slalom ski with a super tip that initiates at the thought of a turn. The skis cross quickly, securely, and effortlessly across the fall line and fly into the next turn. The flex is stiff and even, giving the RB great hold and energy to spare. On the “buy now” list.
    • Who is it for? Slalom gurus wanting a ski to test their mettle.
    • Who is it not for? Someone just entering the slalom ski world.
    • Insider tip: These are the real deal: proceed with caution.

    UGASkiDawg: The Spitfire RB is a beast of a frontside ski that slings you from turn to turn til your thighs are quivering. I enjoyed my time on this ski, but I don’t enjoy making these types of turns enough to add it my quiver. Don’t get me wrong: these skis are rewarding on piste, but I try to spend as little time on piste as possible.
    • Who is it for? Skiers who love to make lots of precise fast turns -- in other words, not me.
    • Who is not for? Those looking for an approachable, friendly ski.
    • Insider tip: Click in and start turning. You’ll think to yourself either, "I’ve got to make room in my rooftop box for this sports car!" or "Wow. That was fun, but not what I’m looking for."

    FairToMiddlin: If you have ridden something like the WRC or the Spitfire Pro, or one of the current Head Supershapes, and thought “Yeah, that’s nice and all, but I’ve got quads the size of tree trunks, and those mere-mortal skis just don’t hold up to the forces I dish out.” You know if you’re that kind of skier, and the RB (no idea what it stands for) is the ski you want to be on.

    The RB and the Pro share the same shape, but the RB is reinforced with the rare metal from Captain America’s shield (“Wheeeeeen, Captain America throws his mighty shieeeeeeld …”). Blizzard should have called it the Spitfire Vindaloo, as it would have more accurately communicated the experience waiting for us. It has the same active tipping speed of the Pro, but when the turn gets past that first whiff of initiation and physics start to happen, the Pro has you thinking, “Ah, I can take a moment to ponder where I want to end up,” whereas the RB is more “OhLordJeezus, I’ve got to get my weight on this NOW; wish I hadn’t skipped breakfast!”

    It’s a lot of ski for most folks, but a minor-yet-mighty group of skiers will be glad Blizzard is making it.
    • Who is it for? The strong.
    • Who is it not for? The weak.

    Philpug: OMFG. This is a segment of skis where we will see a lot of options for the coming season, both new and returning. None are bad, and the differences are in their nuances. For some reason, the RB really stood out. I laid these over farther than any of the others and just could not find the limits. Rarely does a ski leave me speechless, but this one is special.
    • Who is it for? You will know it.
    • Who is it not for? You will know it.
    • Insider tip: When our testers universally praise a ski, it is special. Put your orders in early. If you are a dealer, order a few extra.
    19 DOBERMANN_SPITFIRE_PRO_FDT.png
    Nordica Dobermann Spitfire Pro FTD
    Dimensions: 122-72-102
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 162, 168, 174, 180
    Size tested: 174
    Design: All New

    Drahtguy Kevin: A slightly dialed back version of the Spitfire RB, the Pro is more accessible. It is a quick-turning, energetic ski that rewards a capable driver but doesn’t kick you in the junk for a mistake or two. The ski initiates well with a solid feel underfoot and a nice, firm tail. The Pro is a great choice for advancing skiers.
    • Who is it for? Carvers and aspiring carvers. This ski will improve your game.
    • Who is it not for? Skidders and sliders won’t find the fun.
    • Insider tip: Technical skiers will get a hoot from this ride.

    FairToMiddlin: The Spitfire Pro is older-Kästle good (pretty much my highest praise) for less-than-new-Kästle money. This 16m ski is quick with speed-of-thought turn initiation, but smooth and refined: it doesn’t fight you or bite at you when you change your mind mid-turn. Like Blizzard’s WRC, it has a strength that doesn’t get unsettled when the end-of-the-day snow gets choppy. It is a bit more relaxed than the WRC, which is not surprising, given the easier radius. Easy zoomzoomzoomy, then.
    • Who is it for? The skilled but chilled carving aficionado wanting some zoom in their life while waiting for the next soft-snow day.
    • Who is it not for? Snowbikers, perhaps.

    19 GT_84.png
    Nordica GT 84 Ti EVO
    Dimensions: 134-84-114
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 162, 168, 174, 180
    Size tested: 174
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug (from last year): While this ski came out last season, it didn’t get much play, which is a shame: it is a very good ski that was overshadowed by the new Enforcer 93. This year, we won't let that happen again (even with the introduction of the Navigator 85). When a manufacturer does not shortcut on a binding selection for its hard-snow skis, it gets my attention -- and my respect, because I see that it is looking to maximize the ski's performance. Nordica put on the X-Cell 12 rather than one of Marker’s fine but lower-level offerings, allowing the GT perform to its capacity.

    The power of doing this is evident as soon as the ski is put onto edge and loaded up. What separates the GT from the other offerings is how that energy is released: smoothly. The GT is that guy at the black tie affair that drinks perfect martinis and tells funny off-color jokes that everyone laughs at.
    • Who is it for? The technician.
    • Who is it not for? Lazy skiers who expect the ski to do all the work.
    • Insider tip: If you want a bit more quickness, look to the GT 80 Ti EVO.

    19 NAVIGATOR_80.png
    Nordica Navigator 80
    Dimensions: 119-80-104
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 158, 165, 172, 179
    Size tested: 179
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Ron: This ski is a solid option for intermediates or those who are into cruising around the blues. That's not a bad thing at all, it's just that this ski doesn't ask or want to be driven or skied at 40 mph. Under the right conditions, it's a responsive ski that a skier can learn on or relax on. It has a nice relaxed feel but still solid edge hold; it's not a noodle and responds well to input. The Navigator can be purchased for $399, so for the money, it's hard to beat.
    • Who is it for? Low intermediates and up looking for a versatile ski that they can learn on or cruise on.
    • Who is it not for? Big guys and hard chargers.
    • Insider tip: Good performance at a bargain-basement price.

    19 NAVIGATOR_85.png
    Nordica Navigator 85
    Dimensions: 124-85-109
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
    Size tested: 179
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug (from last year): For the past three years, Nordica has released a ski early under its “Proto Project,” which gets out a key model to influencers in order to create some buzz. It continued the program this year with the all-new Navigator 85. We have added the Navigator to our test fleet; it started out in Tahoe and now will spend some time with our Colorado testers, who will be adding their comments to the Long-Term Review thread.

    Now, what is a Navigator? Well, Nordica took previous design elements that have worked well -- the NRGy series' bridge construction, the Enforcer's forebody, and the Dobermann's tail -- to create a really nice all-mountain-biased frontside collection.
    • Who is it for? Those who like to take it easy and not be told how to ski by the ski.
    • Who is it not for? These are deceptively easy, so you need to get on them (but you don’t have to).
    • Insider tip: Nordica went aggressive with the price points here, at $50 to $100 less than the competition.

    UGASkiDawg (from last year): The Navigator 85 is an improvement on the old NRGy, but still not as good as the Enforcer anywhere except on piste; even there, I didn’t find it to be a lot better than the Enforcer 93. It is very user friendly, content to let you just ride it without thinking too much, but I find the same to be true of the Enforcer 93, so once again, why?
    • Who is it for? Someone who wants a slightly less demanding and more piste-oriented version of the Enforcer 93.
    • Who is it not for? If you are looking for a hard-charging machine, this ain't it.
    • Insider tip: Ski it back to back with the Enforcer 93 and then make your choice.

    19 Nav 90 TC.png
    Nordica Navigator 90
    Dimensions: 130-90-115
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
    Size tested: 186
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Drahtguy Kevin (from last year): The Navigator 90 replaces the NRGy 90, and it is a huge improvement. The ski seems to appreciate an aggressive approach, as it provides ample rewards for doing so. I found it to engage the turn quickly and hold it until I wanted to let the ski release. Many skiers will find this an all-mountain friend willing to go anywhere and ski anything.
    • Who is it for? Versatility seekers.
    • Who is it not for? Pure carvers.
    • Insider tip: Dares riders to test their limits.

    19 ENFORCER_93.png
    Nordica Enforcer 93
    Dimensions: 126-93-114
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 169, 177, 185, 191
    Size tested: 177
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    UGASkiDawg (from last year): The Enforcer 93 is another great all-mountain ski that can serve as the elusive one-ski quiver. I love the way this thing just eats up anything you throw at. Get it up on edge on groomers and it skis just fine. It doesn't have the best hold on true hard pack, but it's way more fun once you get in the bumps or crud. The tail is strong enough to give you something to push on when skiing groomers but doesn’t punish you in the chopped. It is easy to get in and out of turns off piste with enough backbone throughout the ski to make high speed in the crud feel comfortable.
    • Who is it for? The skier looking for a modern-shaped off-piste-oriented mid-fat that rewards great technique and powerful skiers but doesn’t punish the occasional lapse in attention or lack of technique.
    • Who is it not for? Probably not a great everyday ski for the lower intermediate.
    • Insider tip: This is a better ski than the 100 for most inbounds conditions in Colorado.
    Andy Mink: With an industry pedigree like Nordica's, one shouldn't be at all surprised that the Enforcer 93 is a very capable entry into the 90-95mm category. The 93 is everything an advancing intermediate wants: it is stable, it carves, it slips -- and it forgives our little bobbles. It would make an excellent daily driver for the intermediate skier who is proficient on harder blues or groomed blacks and wants to start exploring where the groomers can't go.
    • Who is it for? Another great choice for a one-ski quiver, the Enforcer 93 does everything an advancing intermediate needs a ski to do.
    • Who is it not for? Stronger, more aggressive skiers may find this ski a bit "washy" under pressure that lighter or less aggressive skiers can't produce.
    • Intermediate tip: Looking for a narrower all-mountain, easy-to-enjoy ski? Add this to your short list.
    19 Enf 100 TC.png
    Nordica Enforcer 100
    Dimensions: 133-100-121
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 169, 177, 185, 193
    Sizes tested: 177, 185
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug (from last year): There's not much I can say about the Enforcer that hasn't been said here, LTT: Enforcer 100. These are the reference for anyone looking for versatility in this segment.
    • Who it is for? East Coasters, the 93; Westerners, the 100.
    • Who is it not for? People looking for a deal; these will be selling at near MAP for a while.
    • Insider tip: Get next year's ski now, the Enforcer is the king of early releases. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "No one is buying Enforcers, they are always sold out".
    19 ENFORCER_110.png
    Nordica Enforcer 110
    Dimensions: 140-110-129
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 169, 177, 185, 191
    Size tested: 185
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug (from last year): The Patron set the standard for playful skis in this range at 113 underfoot, but it had some limitations due to the rise at its extremities. Nordica tried to fix that by producing the black-like-my-soul Helldorado, but that was a big heavy powder ski that sounded like a good idea at the time but never really worked. Then along came the new Enforcer. Nordica took what was not working with the Patron and fixed it, by simply lowering the tail and extending the contact points or wheelbase. They started with the 100mm Enforcer, released a 93mm version to create even more momentum, and have now added a 110 and the big-boy 115 Pro, which is made only in a 191. While the new 110 gave up a bit of the Patron's playfulness, it added versatility in the conditions where the Patron could get pushed around.
    • Who is it for? Skiers who wanted a more powerful Patron.
    • Who is it not for? For the biggest of chargers, no worries: Nordica is offering the Enforcer 115 Pro.
    • Insider tip: This is the Patron 2.0 you have been waiting for.

    Women

    19 Sentra SL7 TC.png
    Nordica Sentra SL 7 Ti EVO
    Dimensions: 121-70-106
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 160, 165, 170
    Size tested: 160
    Design: Carryover

    Tricia (from last year): Nordica is taking women seriously: at 70 mm underfoot, and with Energy 2 titanium, the Sentra SL 7 is a serious ski for the serious female skier. It held an edge and brought a smile to my face even though it was late in the day and there was some crud to deal with. The strength of this ski blew through the cut-up crud so easily, I can only imagine how amazing it will be on fresh corduroy.
    • Who is it for? Strong female skiers.
    • Who is it not for? The faint of heart or light of weight.
    • Insider tip: If you’re looking for a GS feel, go a little longer.

    19 ASTRAL_78.jpg
    Nordica Astral 78
    Dimensions: 115-79-100
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 144, 151, 158, 165
    Size tested: 165
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia (from last year): The Astral is Nordica’s all-mountain lineup for women in the coming season, with the Astral 78 perfectly placed for the intermediate woman who is looking for a confidence builder. I was able to ski this in a variety of conditions from manky snow to firm groomers and through some small moguls; what surprised me is how it did all of this with ease and didn’t make me feel like I was on an intermediate ski.
    • Who is it for? Intermediate to advanced skier looking for versatility.
    • Who is it not for? Boring Betty.
    • Insider tip: This ski runs true to size.

    19 Astral 84 TC.png
    Nordica Astral 84
    Dimensions: 120-84-105
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 144, 151, 158, 165, 172
    Size tested: 165
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    AmyPJ (from last year): The Astral 84 was a very, very fun ski: stable, turny, light, and playful, and also easy to get into and hold a turn. The tip shape favors softer snow, yet it did very well on the firmer spots and death cookies. A close second to the Black Pearl 88, the Dynastar would be a wonderful Utah daily driver.
    • Who is it for? A lighter-weight gal who likes a forgiving, playful ski for primarily softer snow conditions.
    • Who is it not for? Someone who likes a little more heft to their skis.
    19 Astral 88 TC.png
    Nordica Astral 88
    Dimensions: 124-88-109
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 151, 158, 165, 171
    Size tested: 165
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    AmyPJ: I’ve typically liked the feel of Nordica, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this ski. To be fair, since I’ve gone to a shorter ski for myself this season, it’s possible the 165 length was too much or more than I’m used to, which made it FEEL slow edge to edge. and cumbersome. I will say, it was easy to initiate turns on, but it just took the ski longer than I like to get it there.
    • Who is it for? An advanced intermediate/advanced skier who wants a true all-mountain machine and isn’t enamored by the Black Pearl.
    • Who is it not for? A Black Pearl lover.

    19 SANTA_ANA_100.png
    Nordica Santa Ana 93
    Dimensions: 124-93-112
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 153, 161, 169, 177
    Size tested: 169
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    AmyPJ (from last year): I demoed the 2017 version of this ski a couple weeks ago. That version was zippy and fun, but very light and lacked some stability; still, I liked it quite a lot. This new version is a whole different animal. They beefed up the ski, perhaps too much for my tastes. It felt a bit noncompliant in the powder and didn’t want to smear like I prefer a ski to do when I am hesitant/cautious/can’t see. I skied this ski on both days, and on Day 2, it felt a bit like a tank to this lightweight non-charger. It was a lot of work to maneuver and I think would wear me out in a hurry if I skied several runs on it.
    • Who is it for? A charging gal who wants an all-mountain ski a bit wider than 88mm.
    • Who is it not for? A lightweight cruiser.
    SkiNurse (from last year): Super light, the Santa Ana still feels very solid underfoot. It performed well in the variable and occasionally junky test conditions, turning quickly on the groomer and slicing through the crud. The issue I had was the length. The Nordica reps stated that this skis short, but even a short 169 is still too long for me. Once I took it to my normal terrain (steep with irregular bumps, some trees), it was difficult to initiate turns effectively. The 93 is new for next season, but the 100 was not. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed that Nordica did not bring a shorter ski.
    • Who is it for? The female skier who wants an all-mountain ski that is light and solid underfoot and can slice and dice its way through anything on the mountain.
    • Who is it not for? The skier who sticks to groomers -- although these still are not a bad choice.
    • Insider tip: Demoing to find the right size is a good idea.

    19 SANTA_ANA_100.png
    Nordica Santa Ana 100
    Dimensions: 131-100-119
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 153, 161, 169, 177
    Size tested: 169
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia (from last year): After hearing that Nordica added metal and changed the wood, I was eager to get on the Santa Ana and see what it's all about. Well, it's clearly about stability and confidence. Where I really enjoyed the old construction, this rendition makes a great ski even better. The metal, to me, didn’t feel like it made the ski stiffer. The flex pattern is nice and smooth throughout the ski, but the new construction has given it a little more torsional rigidity in order to cut through chop a little better.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking for a narrower powder or crud ski.
    • Who is it not for? Skiers focused on groomers and tight turns.
    • Insider tip: Don’t overthink it.
     
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