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Nordica Hellcat.....the Survey Says.......

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Nordica Hellcat 132-90-118

As a follow up to my thread about “giant carvers” here are more impressions of the Hellcat from myself, another Bear, and two of my consumer advisors. My own testing was done over two weeks starting on a Wednesday following a quick storm that left 12-16” at Sugar Bowl. Unfortunately the wind was very stern and most of the snow was slabby and in some cases scoured down to a pretty rough, hard surface. There were however good pockets of softer snow but they were inconsistent with some coral heads hiding below the surface. Groomer testing was all over the mountain with most off trail runs done in the 58’s and the short exposures below and the sister chutes.

On each day, my warm ups were done on groomed runs ranging from mellow to the steepest groomers that Sugar Bowl offers. The snow was very hard and refrozen in the mornings. My first impression of the Cat is that it is a tighter carver than other skis in this width category and it hooks up easily with a simple ankle roll. I attribute this to a fairly soft flex that allows the ski to bend and hook up with little effort. As speeds picked up, the Cat was very damp and solid. Regardless of pitch and turn shape, the Cat was very grippy but also very smooth. When carving, the Cat was effortless, in any turn where significant steering was necessary, the mass was certainly noticeable. When I aimed the ski at ugly patches of rough, refrozen snow the soft flex was noticeable but the ski just flowed comfortably over the rough spots instead of bouncing over them.

In the variable off trail conditions, the Cat was buttery smooth in the soft patches and it sliced the wind slab with authority. The coral heads hiding in the troughs made the ski want to deflect like any ski would but again, it was more of a flow than a bounce. In a tight single track through the trees on the way to the lower chutes the Cat was a little grippy and cumbersome and I was never quite sure whether I was going to make the next turn or bite bark. On a follow up yesterday where the snow was fully spring conditions, I felt the Cat was again, smooth and tractable but the 178 was a little much for me in the deepening slush bumps. Just about the time I was getting ready to ski back to the car for a switch, I was overtaken and joined by fellow Bears (Holiday and Dawgcatching). Holiday had been wanting to try the ‘Cat so I switched onto his Jet Fuels in a 170. I immediately felt that the JF was much more nimble and easier going and that confirmed my thought that a 170 would be more to my liking on the Hellcat. In fact that switch has caused me to start to question my preference for longer skis (at least in some cases)

My two “civilian” advisors both ski on Volkl AC-4’s as their primary personal skis (Mike is 5-9, 160 (177) John is 5-10, 195 (184) both are level 8/8+ skiers. Their testing was done at Squaw in bad transition snow on a Saturday and pretty good spring snow on Sunday. Mike thought the 178 Cat was just plain BIG and that it was a bit of a chore. He liked the grip and the smooth feel but for him the 178 was almost a super G ski. John likes bigger skis and really liked the Cat in any turn shape and conditions. John skied some spring goop on Sunday and thought the Cat was very good as a slicer. When skied at lower angles, he thought the softish flex was noticeable but not a problem. John also thought that the Cat was OK in slush bumps.

In summation, the Hellcat in 178 was too much ski for three of the four skiers that tested it. However, “too much” does not mean too stiff or too aggressive, the Cat is pretty easy to ski but it is just plain BIG. Everyone appreciated its qualities and thought that it gripped well at any reasonable speed and was very smooth, quiet and predictable. I will not be suggesting this ski as a soft snow specific tool but rather as a wide(ish) “one ski” for someone with a significant liking for carving groomers.

I will also be changing my demo order to add a 170………………….

post #2 of 2

great ski

so, as jim said, i got to make a few runs on this one.

i really liked it. it had a familiar feel to my jetfuel, just bigger.
it had a friendly for such a wide shapely ski, but it wanted me to let it GO, but in a good way. I would ski it in a 170 and will probably own one next year. then i guess my quiver would be 170 hellcat, and 170 modified...?

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