Product: 2011-2012 Nordica Patron
Length/size Tested: 185cm
Lengths available: 185/195cm, sidecut: 143-113-132
"CamRock" design which is early rise in the tip and tail (50% rocker) w/ 3mm of camber
Environment of Conditions:
*Location of review:
Okemo - Vermont
*Runs Taken: 4
*Snow Conditions: Perfectly dry powder (boot-top deep), packed powder & groomers
*Demo or Purchase: Demo
In my opinion, this is Nordica's first powder ski outside their past realm of stiff, charging designs (think Girish) with a more mainstream waist size (less than 140cm Jah Love), shooting for the masses looking for a powder ski, rather than the ultra-athletic crowd looking for a heavy-duty tool. The ski is a rocker-camber-rocker design, with wood-fiberglass core (no metal), and has a moderate sidecut...not too straight, not too curvy, so it has no radical handling traits leaning one way or the other. The carnival-blue skeleton graphics didn't do much for me...but I don't really care about graphics too much anyway...just a note to those who are picky about the look of their topsheets...
The Patron is very easy-turning, and the degree of rocker front and rear does the job of preventing any hookiness or catching tips or tails, even when noodling along the tight edges of trails next to the trees. The Patron can make short little choppy turns or bigger, swoopier turns without any reall effort, which is perfect for the majority of the resort-oriented skier population to whom this model seems designed. Grip and behavior on groomed surfaces is easy, predictable and contains a surprisingly lively pop if you load the tail section, so you can do a good "ping-ping-ping" bouncy turn series anytime you want..."Playful fat ski" is the phrase I would choose. The Patron has perfectly good grip on groomers (i did not get a chance to try boilerplate behavior), giving the rider a secure, reliable hold without any special technique or athleticism. Performance in the powder is easy and fun, with simple changes in turn radius and direction on-demand. This particular design has a somewhat "surfy" feel to it rather than "crud-cutting" feel (if that makes sense to people), and makes transitions between powder and cut-up snow without any problem.
The Patron is not a hard-charging ski, and definitely falls into the softer-ski category, so it has some flap at higher speeds, and has some flap at speed across small bumps or uneven surface conditions. It does not have the solid landing platform feel of some hard-charger big-mountain skis, but I got the distinct impression this is a fat ski for the majority of the market, not the extreme-performance segment. Overall, I thought it was a very easy, very fun and lively fat rockered ski with the ability to please a wide selection of skiers because it has no real bias toward a particular style or technique of skiing, but works very easily on a wide variety of surfaces. It's not a barn-burner design, but a good pitch right down the middle of the market segment looking for a powder ski.
Small video showing rocker-camber-rocker profile:
Average days on snow: 11-25
Years Skiing: 48
Edited by ExoticSkis - 2/5/11 at 4:00pm