or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Nordica Hell and Back: Buy soon, wait til next year, or ??? [Denver father]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Nordica Hell and Back: Buy soon, wait til next year, or ??? [Denver father]

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

New member here, this is my first post.  Thanks in advance for any help!

 

So, here is my background info:

6'3", 200 lbs, 41 y.o. male

Location: Denver

Ski level: 7 (Probably was an 8 in my 20s.  Grew up in LA and skied Mammoth a ton.  But, 12 years on the east coast for school etc. and then little kids severely cut back on my ski days.  Now kids are starting to learn, so back at it!)

Terrain skied: Mix of frontside groomers, advance runs and bowls.  Don't mind some bumps, but I avoid really chewed up or big moguls.  I don't do that much tree skiing.  I ski moderately fast on groomers but more tentatively on more difficult terrain.

Prior skis: Rossignol 4S and Volkl Supersport Allstars.

Looking for: All mountain ski I can pretty much use in any condition here in CO.  Main criteria are that the ski feels stable and solid on groomers but light enough and maneuverable enough so I can feel confident in deeper snow and tougher terrain.  I recognize that ideally a 2 ski quiver, at least, would be better to cover all conditions, but can't justify purchasing 2 skis right now.  Maybe in a few years if my ski days stay consistently high.

Own: Nordica HotRod boots.

 

After reading many reviews and articles, it seems like the preferred ski for western conditions is something around 98mm under foot, so that is what I have been looking at.

 

Demoed so far (at Copper and Loveland):

Nordica H&B (177cm)

Armada ARV Ti (188)

Atomic Vantage Alibi (180)

Rossignol Sin 7 (172)

 

All performed well in deeper snow, so that was good, but I only liked the H&B on the groomers.  The other all felt unstable, to varying degrees, with the Sin 7 almost unskiable on groomers.

 

I have skied the H&B for about a day and a half in some fresh snow and pretty hardpacked conditions.  I noticed a bit of chatter on the really hard stuff, but I feel stable and like the way they turn in all snow types.

 

Plan: Have another demo day coming up, probably at Copper. They carry Blizzard, Volkl, K2, Rossi and maybe 1 or 2 other brands.

 

Questions:

1) I am planning to try the Bonafide, Mantra, and Rossi E98.  I am a bit worried that they may feel to stiff for me on moguls and off piste in bowls etc.  Any suggestions as to a specific ski I should demo that is similar to H&B?

 

2) I would like to buy at the end of this season so I no longer have to rent next year.  With kids in lessons, some of my ski days are only 3-4 hours, and at $30-50 a pop for rentals, that adds up quick, especially if I can't even ski a full day.  Do you guys recommend going with whichever ski I like best out of the ones I have tried, or maybe waiting until next year to try new models like the Nordica NRGY series and Rossi E100?  I would risk maybe not being able to find a H&B if I wait, since they are being phased out.

 

3) Do you agree that the 98mm size is probably my best bet for a one ski quiver, or should I maybe try some slightly narrower skis in the 85-90 range?  I might like them better on groomers, but I am pretty worried that I would regret the narrower size when it dumps here and the snow is deep.

 

Again, really appreciate any advice.  Just reading some of the threads and reviews here has already been very informative.

post #2 of 23

You have hit the 'sweet spot' of skis and brands/models that I have looked at.  I am one of the weird people that preferred the Hell and Back to the Bonafide (I thought that the Helens were more stable on the groomed and just as nimble in bumps as the Bones), although I plan to try the Bonafides again some time... I have owned the Helens for the past 2 seasons, and I am not sure that I could ever find a better ski for the type of skiing that I do (although, I suspect that Philpug will do his best to seduce me with demos at Alpine next month...).  I live in New England, but do most of my skiing out west (I have a pair of Fire Arrow 80s for the eastern hardpack days) -- I consider myself a level 8 skier, and spend a lot of time in bumps, crud, trees, etc.  I feel that 95-100 underfoot is a great size for 1 ski quiver for a western skier and you probably cannot go wrong with any of your choices.

 

If you find a ski you like, in the size you want, then buy now IMO

post #3 of 23
If you want the H&B, keep an eye on the Start Haus sale going on. I have them. The more I ski them, the more I ski them. And I had a hard time liking them my first season.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

If you want the H&B, keep an eye on the Start Haus sale going on. I have them. The more I ski them, the more I ski them. And I had a hard time liking them my first season.

Appreciate the link. And the endorsement. Not sure what a blemish on a ski means...is that lightly used or new with a small cosmetic defect? I guess I can contact them to ask directly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbinder View Post

You have hit the 'sweet spot' of skis and brands/models that I have looked at.  I am one of the weird people that preferred the Hell and Back to the Bonafide (I thought that the Helens were more stable on the groomed and just as nimble in bumps as the Bones), although I plan to try the Bonafides again some time... I have owned the Helens for the past 2 seasons, and I am not sure that I could ever find a better ski for the type of skiing that I do (although, I suspect that Philpug will do his best to seduce me with demos at Alpine next month...).  I live in New England, but do most of my skiing out west (I have a pair of Fire Arrow 80s for the eastern hardpack days) -- I consider myself a level 8 skier, and spend a lot of time in bumps, crud, trees, etc.  I feel that 95-100 underfoot is a great size for 1 ski quiver for a western skier and you probably cannot go wrong with any of your choices.

If you find a ski you like, in the size you want, then buy now IMO

I am looking forward to trying the Bonafide. What are the main differences in how they ski? I see the Bonafide has metal in it and a rocker tail.

Thanks
post #5 of 23
I have and ski the Nordica Enforcer (same shape and H&B but w/ metal in it). Just a tad shorter (1") and 15lbs lighter and like that ski in 185 - depending on how fast you ski and your length tolerance - you might try the longer H&B and that "chatter" might go away. Never think of it a "too long" Just my $0.02 - im most likely going to get a pair of those H&B blems myself - since the Enforcer was gone as of this year.
post #6 of 23
OP are you far enough foward to keep the tip in contact with the snow surface ? If you get chatter in a high end ski like these. try geting more forward. Stay a head of the ski.

Having said that, I have noticed some of the rockered skis tend ot have a flappy tip at times.

From the little reading I've done on here, seems like some of next years skis have a norrowing tip like some of this years skis, see the Soul 7.

May be that may help a bit.

You should be able to find this years skis on line over summer.

I'm still skiing my 3 y/o Volkl Kendo's, full camber. I haven't been thrilled with rocker yet. Early rise tips are a different story. May look at the Volkl Mantra.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post


Appreciate the link. And the endorsement. Not sure what a blemish on a ski means...is that lightly used or new with a small cosmetic defect? I guess I can contact them to ask directly.
I am looking forward to trying the Bonafide. What are the main differences in how they ski? I see the Bonafide has metal in it and a rocker tail.

Thanks


Blems are cosmetic rejections during the manufacturing process and are brand new.  Mine are blems from Start Haus -- mine are missing a layer in the very tip -- noticeable when you hand flex the ski, not at all when skiing.  My younger daughter picked up a pair of blems from Start Haus that had a chip on the top sheet.

 

To me the Bone and Helen were very close in performance -- I just liked the Helen more...

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Again, appreciate all the advice. I debated the 185 length but was worried with the more traditional tail on the H&B that it would ski long for its size and make it less maneuverable in tight situations. I might be able to get back to Loveland and see if I can demo the 185 the same day as the 177.

As far as getting forward on the ski, I definitely noticed they felt better with more aggressive and stronger technique. The day I felt a bit of chatter my legs were feeling kinda shot and I was skiing more passively. The first day I didn't notice any bad characteristics and I was skiing much better, although the snow was softer too. Also, I am hoping that as my number of ski days increases in the years to come my strength and technique will improve/return to previous higher levels and the skis will be even more rewarding. I don't want to get too soft a ski, especially given my size and weight.

Any thoughts on whether I should bother with skis with narrower waists in the 88-90 range or not bother given my location in Colorado and desire for a one ski quiver?
post #9 of 23

I feel the H&B's really demanded more attention than my other skis, historically K2's.  The H&B's definitely like you to drive forward with the turn.  I mentally envision the inner side of the tip powering through the turn.  I had that chattering issue on hard pack as well at first, but I seem to have conquered it now.  I think my skiing improved just learning what they liked.  They were my first "early rise" skis, so they took a bit of getting used to and I felt they skied "short" relative to the K2's, but then the K2's are actually physically longer than the H&B's, although the size on the skis would have you think they were shorter.  Still, I wanted the H&B's for trees and the shortness has value there.  

post #10 of 23

I'm heading off on a big ski trip in a few days, and was itching to pull the trigger on a pair of H&Bs, so could not wait for the StartHauls sale (which I would have preferred, since they really support this forum).

 

I found them with Marker bindings mounted and shipped for $550 at Ski Essentials.  Just waxed them up an hour ago!

 

At 6'3" and 200 pounds, I recommend going directly to the 185, do not even pause at the 177.  But that's just me, maybe (6' 2", 195).

post #11 of 23

A couple other ideas:

 

Nordica Steadfast: a narrower (90mm) version of the Hell and Back.  I've got Steadfast blems from StartHaus and I'm very happy with them as my daily driver for Copper.  I prefer the quickness of a 90 over a 100, especially in the bumps.  Volkl Kendo, Rossi E88, Blizzard Brahama and Bushwacker are other good skis to consider from the 90 isle.

 

Nordica Soul Rider:   Friendlier and better soft snow ski (97mm) than the H&B or Steadfast, but not as stable or serious on groomers.  Worth a demo.  They have them at the Copper Rocker shop to demo. blem cheap:  http://starthaus.com/2014-nordica-soul-rider-ski-177-blem.html

post #12 of 23

My son and I just finished up a week long ski trip.  I had my Nordica Steadfasts(90m) and Atomic Rituals(103mm).  The Steadfasts have been my daily driver for three seasons and will likely be again next season.  We skied Alta yesterday during a fairly intense snowstorm.  The snow was great and there was plenty of powder in the trees and lots of piles of soft snow on every run we skied.  I was on my Steadfasts yesterday and not once did I every get bounced around in the cut up snow or powder.  We just rode it all and they were great, although they required some work in the deepest stuff in the trees.  Alta got 12" officially from the storm and when we returned today I used my Rituals.  The snow seemed much denser today but whether it actually was I don't know.  Skiing in general today was a lot more work than it was yesterday and the Rituals seemed to get knocked around more than the Steadfast did yesterday.  I wish I had swapped skis when we took an early break for lunch but didn't even think of it.  I think I might have had less trouble with getting knocked around if I had been on the Steadfasts.  The Steadfast is a great ski, but it requires attention, especially to balance.  It will let me know if I get a bit back on it.  The pluses are several:  incredible edge grip, quickness, stability and lightweight.  It will carve groomers like a GS ski.  I ski it in the trees, in the bumps and in powder.  At least for me I don't get bounced around much in crud or cut-up snow.  I've skied the Blizzard Bushwacker and Line Prophet 90 and there was just no comparison.  YMMV

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Maybe when I am at Copper I will try the Bonafide and Brahma on the same day. Hopefully there will be some fresh snow so I can get a feel for the narrower ski in deeper snow. I am not sure if Loveland has the Steadfast for a demo.

It seems like you guys think the 185 H&B would be a better size for me. Have to think about that for a bit. Maybe try to demo the longer size too.
post #14 of 23

People get caught up in #'s (including me from time to time).  For perspective - 8cm = 3 inches / 2 is 1.5 front and back (or 3% of your height) - i bet you dont notice it.  At your size, you owe it to yourself to give it a whirl. But if you dont like going fast in open terrain  - then perhaps moot.  For me, the only reason I would want shorter is for skiing here in NC ie. trails are short and narrow - no real opportunity to let skis run like out West. Just my $0.02.  But if you liked the 177, then who are we to tell you what is best for you.

post #15 of 23

The H & B is my favorite 98 mm +/- ski by far. At your size and desire to spend time off piste the 185 cm would be a better choice to smooth the terrain out for you and provide a better grip. And now for the sales pitch I have a brand new, unused pair with Market Jesters mounted and tuned on ebay right now. The auction ends in a day or so. My seller name on ebay is greenstreetagain.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by givethepigeye View Post

People get caught up in #'s (including me from time to time).  For perspective - 8cm = 3 inches / 2 is 1.5 front and back (or 3% of your height) - i bet you dont notice it.  At your size, you owe it to yourself to give it a whirl. But if you dont like going fast in open terrain  - then perhaps moot.  For me, the only reason I would want shorter is for skiing here in NC ie. trails are short and narrow - no real opportunity to let skis run like out West. Just my $0.02.  But if you liked the 177, then who are we to tell you what is best for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawBrat View Post

The H & B is my favorite 98 mm +/- ski by far. At your size and desire to spend time off piste the 185 cm would be a better choice to smooth the terrain out for you and provide a better grip. And now for the sales pitch I have a brand new, unused pair with Market Jesters mounted and tuned on ebay right now. The auction ends in a day or so. My seller name on ebay is greenstreetagain.

Yeah, I am thinking 185. Since I am big and as my ski days increase I will probably take lessons, get stronger, and be glad I have the longer ski.

I also thought about the 98 vs. 88 size. I am thinking 98 for two reasons.

1) it fits my terrain preference better, open groomers and bowls with deeper snow. Not so many trees and bumps for me.

2) future quiver. It would be a great middle ski for a western quiver with a 110 or so powder ski and an 80 or so frontside ski for those days with harder snow.

I will check out ebay...thanks!
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post
 

... Questions:

1) I am planning to try the Bonafide, Mantra, and Rossi E98.  I am a bit worried that they may feel to stiff for me on moguls and off piste in bowls etc.  

One of my ski buddies is your size, but a bit older (62), and a very strong skiier (100+days/year) here in Park City.  He thought the E98s were a tad soft off-piste (this surprised me).  After demoing E98s and Mantras (among others), he bought the Mantras at the end of last year's ski season (2013).  He's been on them 50+ days so far this season (2013-4) and loves them.  They are his daily driver for everything except a big dump day, when he pulls out his S7s. 

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post
 

My son and I just finished up a week long ski trip.  I had my Nordica Steadfasts(90m) and Atomic Rituals(103mm).  The Steadfasts have been my daily driver for three seasons and will likely be again next season.  We skied Alta yesterday during a fairly intense snowstorm.  The snow was great and there was plenty of powder in the trees and lots of piles of soft snow on every run we skied.  I was on my Steadfasts yesterday and not once did I every get bounced around in the cut up snow or powder.  We just rode it all and they were great, although they required some work in the deepest stuff in the trees.  Alta got 12" officially from the storm and when we returned today I used my Rituals.  The snow seemed much denser today but whether it actually was I don't know.  Skiing in general today was a lot more work than it was yesterday and the Rituals seemed to get knocked around more than the Steadfast did yesterday.  I wish I had swapped skis when we took an early break for lunch but didn't even think of it.  I think I might have had less trouble with getting knocked around if I had been on the Steadfasts.  The Steadfast is a great ski, but it requires attention, especially to balance.  It will let me know if I get a bit back on it.  The pluses are several:  incredible edge grip, quickness, stability and lightweight.  It will carve groomers like a GS ski.  I ski it in the trees, in the bumps and in powder.  At least for me I don't get bounced around much in crud or cut-up snow.  I've skied the Blizzard Bushwacker and Line Prophet 90 and there was just no comparison.  YMMV

Compare the Prophet 90 to the Steadfast for me please.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post

Compare the Prophet 90 to the Steadfast for me please.

Well to start one is made in somewhere China and the other is made in Mittersill, Austria ... .... If that is important to you.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post
 

Compare the Prophet 90 to the Steadfast for me please.

 

The P90 just felt dead.  I skied all three skis on a double black run that is shaped sort of like a funnel with the narrow part being a pretty steep chute and the upper part being a mix of open areas and trees.  The P90 really fell apart for me in the chute and was not particularly responsive.  I had to work a lot harder to make the short quick turns needed in there.  It was marginally better in the trees but still not very responsive.  I couldn't find any rebound in it at all on the groomers.  At the time I said it felt like I had 2x4's strapped to my feet.  In short the Steadfast was everything the P90 was not.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post
 

 

The P90 just felt dead.  I skied all three skis on a double black run that is shaped sort of like a funnel with the narrow part being a pretty steep chute and the upper part being a mix of open areas and trees.  The P90 really fell apart for me in the chute and was not particularly responsive.  I had to work a lot harder to make the short quick turns needed in there.  It was marginally better in the trees but still not very responsive.  I couldn't find any rebound in it at all on the groomers.  At the time I said it felt like I had 2x4's strapped to my feet.  In short the Steadfast was everything the P90 was not.

 

Which was stiffer?

 

What worked better in tight trees and bumps?

 

What do you mean really fell apart? How so? 

 

Do you think the radius affected your ability to make short, quick turns on the P90?

 

And by responsive what do you mean, exactly?

 

Just would like more specifics if you could please as I'm debating about the P90, thanks.

post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Going to head to Copper tomorrow and demo the Mantra and Bonafide at least, plus whatever else looks good. Probably make a decision by the end of the day.

@SquawBrat..thanks for the heads up on the EBay auction. I decided to pass since I want to try a few other skis to make sure the H&B are my favorite. Looks like you got a pretty good price.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

Results of my demo day:

Had a great day at Copper; tried three skis today.  I took them all on the same runs.  If you know Copper, I took 2 runs of the Excelerator lift (Ptarmigan then Hallelujah) then a run down Spaulding Bowl and finally Andy's Encore).

 

Conditions were pretty good.  No new snow in 24 hours, but 9" or so the 2 days before that.  Groomers were pretty packed and the bowls were chewed up but not too many moguls yet.

 

When I got there I wanted to try the Bonafide first, but they were all rented out.  So I tried the Manta first in a 184 cm length.

 

Mantra: Felt when I picked them up and skied heavy.  I liked the feel on edge on the groomers, very stable and they liked speed.  I noticed the 98mm underfoot alot though.  They felt hard to initiate a turn.  Obviously, that improved with more speed and the more energy that I put into the ski, but not a super nimble ski.  On the steep stuff they were sluggish when not powering down the mountain, and since I tend to not rip down the advanced/expert runs, they were quite a bit of work.  I'll admit it, probably too much ski for me at this point.

 

Next, I switched to a Hell&Back, which I was surprised that they had since Nordica is not listed on their website.  They only had the 177, not the 185.

 

It felt much more responsive and nimble, never felt like a 98mm ski.  Carved well but didn't hold a line like the Mantra.  On steeps they initiated much easier and were still powerful enough to blast through or wide enough to float over most stuff. 

 

Next I wanted to try a slightly narrower ski.  I wanted the Rossi E88, but it had just been rented.  So, I tried a Line Prophet 85 in 179cm (the 90 in my length was also out..bummer).

 

I knew next to nothing about the ski, but I found it very easy to turn and it actually made bumps fun.  It felt buttery as I slithered down the moguls.  Pretty fun, to be honest.  On hard pack it seemed to like to make quick, short turns but I found it unstable at speed and it had a moderate-poor grip on edge.  On the steep stuff when the snow was not deep it skied easier than the H&B.  Very little effort required.  But it did struggle when the snow got chunky and thicker, for sure.  I could definitely see myself owning/enjoying a ski like this, but not as a 1 ski quiver at this point.

 

Then I finished up for an hour or 2 on the H&B again.  I was debating the Steadfast since I had just enjoyed the narrower Prophet, but a couple runs down Union peak convinced me to stick with the 98mm ski.  The snow there was the best of the day and I really felt comfortable with the wide ski.  Plus, I know I like it on groomers.

 

So, I have placed an order for H&Bs in 185 length from SkiEssentials.  (They were cheaper than the Steadfasts also!)

 

I feel for me they can be skied really all mountain, except maybe trees, and that they will reward me as I get better but they are forgiving enough that I can ski slow (like with the wife and kids) or lazy and still enjoy them.

 

Thanks to all for the advice!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Nordica Hell and Back: Buy soon, wait til next year, or ??? [Denver father]