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Nordica Vagabond vs Hell and Back

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am 45, 6' and 190lbs, intermediate skier, typically at Sugarbowl or other North Tahoe.  My main skis are Head Rev 80 Pro which are absolutely awesome on firm, clean snow. Despite the tail rocker, they are very catchy on tracked up snow.  I need a ski for tracked out snow, crud, and other variable conditions, as well as light to moderate powder. I am not going into the trees, chutes, back country, etc. I prefer to cruise and/or slash rather than fight my way down the mountain.  What I really, really want more than anything else is to be able to ski crappy, variable snow, with the highest degree of stability possible.  But I also prefer short, snappy turns to GS turns. Or maybe it is the Rev80 that is dictating that and I would feel otherwise on one of these? I ski with my 9yr old and 5 yr old sometimes, so I would like to be able to smear turns a little, or kick a sideways skid-stop when necessary so I can look uphill at what they are doing or slow down to stay above them. 

 

I've done a lot of research, and I am leaning toward the Vagabond or Hell and Back, which basically seem to be about the same ski in 107mm or 98mm.  Its clear these are great crud skis, and decent in powder. I am a little worried about the long turning radii and my ability to push them around and force them to do things other than long GS turns. The Rev80 (once they taught me that they want me to boss them around) I can literally make to do anything and take any line I want. Perhaps I am spoiled and need to give that up? Or maybe these nordicas will also insist I push them around?

 

I am interested in all your feedback about these skis and what I am looking for, as well as possible alternatives, as not spending a ton of money is also a priority. Thanks for your thoughts!

post #2 of 16
Just to let you know, the H&B is discontinued. You might be able to still get them, but they'll be last year's models or earlier. I have them, like them, but don't consider them a particularly stable ski compared to others I own.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

THanks sibhusky.  I am looking at last year's.  But what would you consider more stable in varying conditions?

post #4 of 16
Not an expert on what's available. My other skis are K2s, famous for being sort of impervious to things, but they are much older skis. I bought some more K2s primarily because I wanted that stable feeling in my next skis, but haven't used them yet. I had to learn to love the Nordicas and I'm sure it was good for me, but between the early rise and the more lively feel, it took a while. If you don't demo, you have to be ready to learn how to use the tool you bought. ... Although I have a friend who buys and sells constantly. I told her she needs to learn about demos... Especially if she doesn't want to learn how to use the ski.
post #5 of 16
Maybe Finndog's Rev 105s.
post #6 of 16
based on your description the El Capo would probably work better than Vagabond on nordica's lineup
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Not an expert on what's available. My other skis are K2s, famous for being sort of impervious to things, but they are much older skis. I bought some more K2s primarily because I wanted that stable feeling in my next skis, but haven't used them yet. I had to learn to love the Nordicas and I'm sure it was good for me, but between the early rise and the more lively feel, it took a while. If you don't demo, you have to be ready to learn how to use the tool you bought. ... Although I have a friend who buys and sells constantly. I told her she needs to learn about demos... Especially if she doesn't want to learn how to use the ski.

I couldn't agree more.  The Rev80 really taught me to ride them, and I don't know how else to express it. I don't have a lot of experience with this, but it seems to me that you ride em and let them show you the way. 

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

El Capo is stiffer than Vagabond?


What is it about the Rev105 I may like?

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by afterburn View Post
 

El Capo is stiffer than Vagabond?

Yes, El Capo same everything expect the core, it includes two sheets or metal and the wood might be different as well, the vagabond I guess uses what nordica calls i-core, lightweight wood core, the El Capo might use a different wood core in addition to the two sheets of metal.

 

El Capo = charger vagabond. More like a Cochise, Devastator, Belefonte type of ski.

post #10 of 16

at 6'0 190, and an intermediate skier, I would say the Vagabond over the El Capo, it is lighter and a bit more forgiving. These skis do run a bit long, the 177 is closer to a 181 and the 185 is more like a 188. Either of these though would be a better complement than the Hell-n-Back Hell-n-Back the redundant named ski in Nordica's line up. 

post #11 of 16
You can still get a good buy on a new blemished Vagabond in your size here: http://starthaus.com/2014-nordica-vagabond-ski-blem-27090.html
Caveat: I took advantage of this sale earlier this summer, but have not skied the Vagabond yet.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by afterburn View Post
 

What is it about the Rev105 I may like?

 

Full disclosure: I have not been on the 105 or the 80. But my thought was that since you liked the 80 so much there might be an argument for keeping it in the family, so to speak. There are some common traits across the Rev line (and even across the Head brand). These include a tendency toward exaggerated sidecut - helping with the "short snappy" turns you like. They also have a bit of a reputation for rewarding good movements, and for not feeling slack despite being easy to ski. The fact that there is a pair for sale here seemed like possible serendipity.

post #13 of 16

I own the Nordica Wildfire - which is the women's vagabond and its a super fun ski. I absolutely hate the graphics (need more stickers!), but the ski itself is so damn good that I end up on it 90% of my time out.

I own the 177 (I'm 5.11 and 175pounds) and although they are listed with a 23 m turning radius, they are super quick and nimble edge to edge....I am for sure not the world best carver and prefer smearing my turns, but I found it super easy to maneuver these. This was my first wide turning radius ski, all my other skis have radius ~14-16m and I expected it to resist small turns but it really didnt

 

They work will in crud and chop since they are sufficiently stiff, yet still love the small fresh dumps....once we get more then 3-5" fresh I usually take out my powder skis....but for any other soft days (read the day after a good dump, when its all rowdy and chopped up), I love my wildfires...

 

And as you are from Tahoe, the place for amazing spring skiing, these puppies are awesome in spring corn/slush :).

 

Personally I don't find these to ski like a 107 underfoot, based on the effort required to edge or turn, they are easier then my old 102 underfoot K2's?

 

 

Cheers

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. It is pretty clear that the Vagabond is a perfect option for what I want.  I'll find one and look forward to skiing it soon. Well, not soon enough.

post #15 of 16

Check out start haus to see if they have any blems leftover.  Phils post is spot on.  Although I am the one selling the 105's, the vagabond is the ski for you.  Buy and enjoy it.  FWIW, that ski is also discontinued so buy now....

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by afterburn View Post
 

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. It is pretty clear that the Vagabond is a perfect option for what I want.  I'll find one and look forward to skiing it soon. Well, not soon enough.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Check out start haus to see if they have any blems leftover.  Phils post is spot on.  Although I am the one selling the 105's, the vagabond is the ski for you.  Buy and enjoy it.  FWIW, that ski is also discontinued so buy now....

 Swing by The Start Haus and I will get you hooked up with some. 

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