Product: 2013 Nordica Soul Rider
Length Tested: 169
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 134/97/124 14M
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Early Rise Tip and Taill w/ camber
Binding: Look PX
Mount point: +2 on Soul Riders
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Fernie, Sunshine, Nakiska
Number of Runs: A lot
Snow Conditions: Hardpack groomers, soft groomers, powder, crud, windblown, crust, moguls, heavy sticky spring snow
Demo or Own: Own
Height/Weight: 5’5” 115lbs
Ski Days a Season: 20-30
Years Skiing: 5
Aggressiveness: (select one, delete the rest): Moderate-Aggressive
Current Quiver: Kastle BMX 98, Nordica Soul Rider
Home Area: Fernie
Preferred Terrain: trees, soft bumps and powder
169cm Soul Rider - Medium flex throughout, slightly softer in both the tip and tail. Early rise tip and tail w/ camber
I bought the Soul Riders later this season, and I don't have nearly as many days on them compared to my Kastle's, but I've gotten to ski them in a lot of condition over that time. Now the Nordica's on paper, look very similar to the Kastle's. Both are almost the same waist width, and the the length is also almost identical. However (maybe as expected), they ski very different to the Kastle's. Softer flex overall, and rocker in both the tip and tail, and a more forward mount.
I wasn't really too sure what to expect of these skis, and I had a feeling it would either be love or hate. Well I still own them, so that says something. First run was on some harder pack groomed runs, and first thing you notice is that, these have quite a bit more tail then the Kastle's, and they turn, A LOT quicker. That 14M radius is really fun on groomed runs. High angulation slalom and quicker GS turns are super easy. Stability is pretty good for a dual rockered twin, not as good as the Kastle's, but overall very acceptable. Really good edge grip, and these skis aren't very damp, but instead incredibly lively. You can literally get airborne between turns these skis snap so much. definitely a cool feeling. As a result though some stability in rough conditions is sacrificed for such lively feel.
If you also read the review of the Kastle's I state how I don't like tighter radius' for moguls, and I don't, but the Soul Riders are still awesome. It's probably a combination of the rocker in the tail and the more forward mount, but you can zipper line bumps super easy on these, easy turn initiation and super quick transitions, not bad for a ski that's relatively big. Super surprised and impressed.
I got a chance to ski some week old wind affected powder, maybe 6-8", deeper in some sections. Easy turn initiation as expected, and also easy to release the turn, thanks to the tail rocker. Float is quite good, probably as good as the Kastle's actually, but in a different way. On the Kastle's, the rearward mount allow the tails to sink keeping the tip on top of the snow quite easily. On the Soul Riders, the tail is as wide as the tip on the Kastle's so you get the mid section of the ski sinking while the tip and tail are more on top of the snow. Different styles for different people, overall I prefer the Kastle's feel in powder, but on lower angle powder slopes the Soul Riders feel can be a lot of fun.
Last 2 days on these skis were my last 2 days this season on snow, both at Sunshine, both super warm days. Sunshine in late May offers some excellent spring skiing, unlike Fernie the snow doesn't get nearly as heavy (most the time), instead you're left with perfect corn snow, for almost the whole day. In this type of snow, I really really enjoyed these skis. Rocker allows effortless turn initiation and exit, smooth transitions, and fairly stable ride in these smooth conditions. Oh, and slush bumps, they are the greatest thing next to bottomless powder, these skis eat up slush bumps and I couldn't help but smile while turning these as quick as I could through big, oddly shaped soft clumps of snow.
Getting into some steeper terrain off Goateyes and some of the cliff areas just off Standish, slow but quick turns in exposed terrain are easy and confidence inspiring. You can allow the tails to slide out just enough to let the skis come around, sometimes they do over rotate and wash out a bit, but that's to be expected on a soft twin tip.
For those guys or gals, that like to send some cliffs, I did a few on these, and actually the same ones on the Kastle's earlier that year. 10 foot drops to soft spring snow or powder is stable in both, the Kastle's probably have a bigger sweet spot but the Soul Riders are pretty easy to square up the landing as well. Only downside is if you land too far back on the Nordica's the tails will wash out, so you can to be as centred as possible on landings (Kastle's much more forgiving due to stiffer tail).
I was really surprised, honestly, with how much I liked these skis. I'm not much of a jibber, I prefer a more technical approach, but these skis really do make you have fun, they inspire a more playful element to your skiing. Hardpack performance is like a slalom ski, high energy with excellent grip, stability does lack as a result of so much liveliness though. In powder it does behave how you think a twin tip rockered ski would, however it's easy to use, and pretty smooth as well. In spring conditions it's a blast, fun to ski, EASY to ski. For me this is a perfect early season ski, when all you got is groomers and want to carve up quick, lively turns, or for spring skiing, it's so much fun. For mid season or powder, I'll probably almost always be on my Kastle's, but if I do head out with some friends that like to play around the mountain more, the Nordica's will be perfect to take out.
Easy to ski
FUN to ski
Quick and nimble
Durability (topsheet chips easy, however the bases are very good)
Stability not great, but good for a soft twin
Could be easily overpowered
Edited by tsk94 - 6/27/14 at 12:04pm