I previously wrote this up for skidiva, but thought it might be interesting to some of you here as well.
Here's the post in full:
Demo day was a beautiful sun/cloud and WARM day at Lake Louise! Conditions were great for Louise - powder in the back, 5 cm fresh on groomers elsewhere. Soft skier packed snow by mid-day and slightly wet spring-like soft snow at the end of the day. I didn't get to try much because they didn't have lots of stock in my length, but I tried the K2 Remedy 92, the Nordica Santa Ana and the Nordica NRGY 100. Here are some thoughts.
Me: advanced lady skier, mostly blacks, 220 lbs, 5'8", more aggressive than finesse, but not by a lot. I like soft, steep and ungroomed. Current daily driver: Volkl Kenja
Nordica NRGY 100, 177 cm:
21.5m turning radius
The NRGYs were my first demo of the day, and I took them out largely because everything I wanted to try was already out But the Nordica rep convinced me to take these out for a spin while my SO took the NRGY 107s. I was a bit wary as I had never skied anything that wide (the Santa Anas would happen later in the day), or that long. But we took them up to the 'Top of the World' and decided to ski down a mellow blue to a blue-black gully and run a few laps off of Top o' blues and blacks. Going up the lift, I was shocked by how light these skis were. I felt like I had nothing hanging off my boots - these skis, despite their length and width, are super light! The skis did feel long in the first few turns, but they were actually very easy to get a hold of and turn. I would go so far to say that, of the three skis I demoed that day (the K2 Remedy and the Nordica Santa Ana were the other 2), these were the easiest to ski. I was making big swooping turns on the mellow blue and they were performing beautifully in the fresh-snow-on-groomed conditions. We went down the gully and, as expected, the NRGY 100s were not super great in the scraped off sections. I got a bit of edge hold, but not too much. I was skidding right through those patches. These skis though were really easy to turn, and you could easily make tight turns, despite the bigger turning radius. We got back to the lift and I was eager to do another lap - this time we went up and descended through some easy glades to Jerry's Jungle. This was the highlight of the run in these skis. The snow was much softer, ungroomed and dry. These skis were a joy in these conditions. I had a really fun time and, again, I was struck by how easy these skis are too handle. I almost felt I could forget about them - they were very forgiving of bad positioning, and they provided me a very easy sense of balance in soft chop. We zoomed down some soft corduroy in the lower part of the mountain to get back to the demo tent, and the skis did just fine in this. I really regret not taking these skis to the backside, but I got too preoccupied by the limited time I had with these skis, and thought initially that i wouldn't have time to go to the back and ski some lines there. Big regret.
K2 Remedy 92, 170cm:
15.5 m turning radius
This ski was really fun, but, for me it is a little bit too much of a 'specific condition' ski. It's great in a little bit of fresh, but not much else.
The first thing I noticed is that this ski is really easy to turn and very playful. It turns very easily and it is very very light. I think it is the lightest ski I have ever skied in my life. The rocker is pretty pronounced and this ski skis very short. 170 felt short. I wanted something more along the lines of a 180 cm length. I did my first few turns coming off the gondola on skier packed soft snow and I immediately got worried because our first run was a black run on the back side with a few icy/windblown/scraped off patches I had noticed earlier in the day. This ski was not fun on ice or scraped up snow. I had no edge control, had a hard time slowing down on hardpack and was not really enjoying myself. However, on this run, I found myself gravitating to the side of the run with soft snow, and the bumps (which I have definitely not mastered yet). This ski is really fun on soft big bumps and in the trees, and I found it confidence inspiring. As I went down the run, I found myself gravitating towards the soft bumps, and skiing in and out of them. I had a blast. Chop was a different story. The skis are ok but not great in chop. Most of the time, I felt out of control in the chop and unstable. The run I enjoyed the most on this ski was a steep blue with about 5 cm of fresh on groomed snow. For whatever reason, very few skiers had been on this run that day, so DD and I had it to ourselves and we had fresh tracks. I loved the K2 Remedys on this - it was so much fun, I had a huge grin on my face. I wouldn't call the skis floaty, but I would say they are surfy, like to turn and reward aggressive skiers on soft snow and some fresh. That run was really the perfect run for those skis. But I wouldn't really take them out on anything else.
The summary for the K2s: if all runs were groomed with 5 cms of fresh on them, these skis would be great. However, that is a fantasy world.
Having said that, it was really fun to demo a ski that was really different from what I ski normally. I do find it interesting though that I have yet to try a K2 that I have really enjoyed.
Nordica Santa Ana, 169 cm:
16.5 m turning radius
I wasn't sure I was going to be able to demo these in a good length. I asked the Nordica rep whether 169 would be an ok length. He just said "you're going to love them." He wasn't kidding. These skis blew my mind. They were everything I liked about my Kenjas, but less work, more responsive and (hard to believe!) more stable. That's right, I said more stable. The first run we did was a very long black from the top of the mountain to the bottom with lots of pushed around piles of soft snow, some chop. These skis did marvellously in this kind of snow. I would even go so far as to say that these were my favourite conditions of the day. The Santa Anas just pushed through the chop, and the turning radius felt very small, so it was easy to make short tight turns between the bumps. I had never skied so quickly in such tight turns in those conditions. The turning radius is comparable to the K2 Remedys, but the Santa Anas were much easier to manoeuvre into different shapes and sizes. Short turns were great, and long turns were also easy. This ski wants to go fast though. That run was the fastest I have ever powered through those pushed about choppy conditions. I even got a bit of air over the bumps....and it was fun! Fast skiing and flying on soft chop would normally terrify me, but honestly, these skis made me feel like a rockstar. They are more than confidence inspiring in chop. They made me feel like I could handle anything. Many of my ski days at Lake Louise and Sunshine Village are exactly these conditions - chopped up pow - and so the stability, speed and responsiveness of these skis in those conditions really impressed me. I had so much fun. Soft groomers were fun, so was soft skier packed snow. Backside bumps were also easy and great! At the end of the day, the bottom of the mountain was wet soft spring snow - again, the Santa Anas just drove through the snow with a bit of surfiness and I followed eagerly.
With the Santa Anas, my legs were less tired than the Kenjas (much less tired!), and I had the most fun in soft chop. I don't know how much float these would give me, but pure deep powder days are far and few between. For powder, I don't think I would take these out (though I could be wrong - who knows?) These are truly all-mountain skis. On icy/scraped up patches, the Santa Anas were much better than the K2s. I had no problem maintaining control and getting on edge. But, I will say that on an icy groomed run, I would absolutely still reach for my Kenjas, and not the Santa Anas. But I think for every other type of condition, I would pick the Santa Anas. I never thought I would say this about a ski that is 100 underfoot, but I think the Nordica Santa Anas are an ideal daily driver for the Alberta Rockies. This would be the 1 ski quiver for Alberta.
Some comparative thoughts:
For me, the NRGY 100s were a very close 2nd to the Santa Anas on demo day. If I were to do a comparison, I would say that the NRGY 100s feel lighter and easier to maneuver than the Santa Anas (even though the Santa Anas I tried were 169 cm long). But they definitely have a soft snow bias, even though they did fine on the groomed. I guess maybe I should have tried the NRGY 100s in a 169 for a more direct comparison - but, wasn't possible. The Santa Anas ultimately got the upper hand because they did much better in varied conditions and felt quite a bit more stable than the NRGY 100s. They brought a grin to my face too because I could charge! ;) I would still pick the Santa Anas as a daily driver, but I'd be interested to try the NRGY 107s as a more dedicated soft snow/powder ski. I think the NRGY series as a whole would be a good one for advanced women skiers to try. I will also add that my SO demoed the NRGY 100 in a 185 and it was his favourite ski of the day. He's quite a bit taller than me, so I think he was able to get a little more edge out of the NRGY 100s, and he was really impressed with their performance in all conditions. He's considering them right now as his next all-mountain ski.