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Watea 84 176 or Nordica Helldiver 178

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Northeastern skier with a bad back, never skied out West. 6' 180 lbs.. I like steeps with transitions, never learned to ski bumps and in early 40's with a bad back I have no intention to. Currently Riding Fischer RX-8s (Skied Atomic R-11s previously), but am looking for another ski to add for crud, spring conditions and for my first trip out West ever in 25 years of skiing (Aspen). I would rate myself a 7 or 8, can get down anything, but will avoid mogul fields (yeah, they qualify as part of anything but I'll avoid if I can so I may continue to ski).

I'm looking at these skis. I've ridden the Helldiver 178 in horrible icy conditions and was expecting a handful and was surprised, but am concerned about their weight. I am very concerned about the sidecuts tendancey to dig in when I first ski real powder. I want to be able to relax and cruise when I am not bombing down the groomers. I want to get off piste on this trip to Aspen, but know I'll primarily be using the ski at home to complement my RX-8s. I know there will be compromise and guess I am looking for reassurance these skis as heavy as they are will be good through crud at home and in heavy spring conditions. At 90 under foot I have no doubt they'll float.

Skied the Watea 78's, but know I really need to be on the 84s in the 176 and they are not available for testing. Given the speeds I ski at and the ice I sometimes encounter (Ok, encounter often) I am worried this ski may not have what it takes, but from what I have read it will be better with the crud, spring conditions and more forgiving off piste in the powder.

Any feedback on these two skis would be very much appreciated, wish I had found this forum a while ago. Thanks, Seamuis.
post #2 of 12
I'm in Central NY, same height and maybe 10 lbs lighter. Picked up the Watea 84s in 176 to compliment Elan speedwave 12s.

If you are skiing yesterdays powder that has been groomed today they are good. If it has been a few days without snow and everything is getting crusty and scraped off, I leave the Wateas home. If we received some lake effect up to 6+ inches they are awesome! When we start getting over 10 inches I wish I had opted for the 94s. Still great! Just wish I had gone a little wider. From what I keep reading the 94 doesn't suffer much on soft groomers.

Overall the 84 is an awesome ski. Really inspires confidence and demands little. Makes a great second ski in the NorthEast. I use them more often than I ever thought I would in NY. Has been a good winter too.
post #3 of 12
OOH! OOH! Go Helldiver! There's a kajillion people who've skied the Watea with no reviews whatsoever about the Helldiver!(except for the ski mag reviews, which came back as stellar, btw) If you're on the fence at all, get the Helldiver and then report back to us... Inquiring minds want to know!

From what I can tell, they (The Helldiver, that is) are a bit stiffer- like a mojo on 'roids and rip the iciest conditions. Sounds like a brawler for the east coast to me!
post #4 of 12
I ski the Watea 84 as my everyday ski in the midwest. We really only get two types of conditions, boiler plate and spring slush. They work pretty well for all the above. I have only noticed one problem with the ski. I have found that on hard snow the edges tend to chatter (for lack of a better term). They still grip but its not silky smooth, especially if you get a little relaxed on them. Given the construction of the ski I was really surprised how well they do hand hard snow and high speeds. It was the first ski I tried that was wider than mid 60's underfoot and didn't have a race ski pedigree. The 84 won't offer tons of float but it is a very verstile design.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
ManDown.. thanks for the feedback, I'm closer to Rochester. I was worried the 84s did not have the float, but also know that ski is lighter than the Helldver.

DoWork.. I saw the review and liked the skis, sounded like they might be picky if your not technically accurate and not the best for crud busting. I agree, everyone has skied the Wateas and there is very little feedback on the Helldivers.. places I called out West did not even stock them... cannot get them locally either, but same goes for the 84s. I am leaning toward the Helldivers do to an awesome price online. Price should not be the deciding factor, just concerns me how they handle piles. They felt heavy on the chair, but did not notice that on the hill, reviews in Ski also stated the sidecut might cause them to dive in the pow. Will definitely give feedback if I buy them.

cstreu.. chatter is the way to describe it. I would say that the 84 does have race ski heritage, so it does not surprise me they handle well.

The 94's seem like too much for the East given torsionally they are not too stiff (heck anything greater than 85 has got to be stiff torsionally for around the East). I think that is why I am leaning toward the HD.

Need to decide soon do to shipping times and the planned trip!
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow.. do = due I did that twice in my last post.

Just ordered the Helldivers in 178 Under $600 with shipping! I think in compliance of forum rules I cannot say where I ordered them from, but I'll have them for this coming weekend and for Aspen, woohoo! Still would not mind hearing from anyone on the Helldivers, Good or Bad. They have to be better than my RX-8s (May take those as well to Aspen) and I hope they're better than the 5 year old Atomic RX Es a friend offered to let me borrow. By biggest fear is they will not work out for spring conditions. Seamuis
post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by Seamuis View Post
Just ordered the Helldivers in 178 Under $600 with shipping! I think in compliance of forum rules I cannot say where I ordered them from, but I'll have them for this coming weekend and for
KICK ASS! Be sure to let us know how they work out! I'm thinking it's gonna be just right for ripping in Aspen- Keep up the good work man!
post #8 of 12
I demoed the Helldivers in early December at Gore Mt & really liked them. I did not ski them in soft snow or crud at all since it was early December but I was very impressed with how they carved & how easy they were to turn for a 90 mm wide ski. I like short, slalom-type turns & the Helldivers did these with ease. There is no way they skied like they were that wide. They were also very good in the few bumps we had that day, which also surprised me for a ski that wide.

I'm very interested in how you like them, Seamius, in the soft snow & crud out west. If I were to buy a pair, I would not use them at all on a pow day since I own a pair of Gotamas for that purpose but I would use them a few days after a storm so your input on this issue will be valuable to me. Enjoy them - they are a great pair of skis!
post #9 of 12

I demoed the Nordica 178 HD yesterday in Alpental, WA. The snow has not been great lately but these skis held their own in the ice, crud and cascade cement. The skis felt a bit sluggish in the groomers, but then I normally ski the Atomic R:11s which love to race down those trails.


I had to traverse a bit to get to some small, north-facing powder stashes and these skis did great. However, average snow quality in WA does not play in the same league as Utah / Colorado powder. Have a great trip and do let us know how you like 'em in Aspen.


Edited by skiibum - Sun, 01 Feb 09 18:37:07 GMT
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

madskier6 et'al.. 


Ordered the skis last week as indicated and they arrived 1/29/09 at about 1 PM.  Mounted the bindings and skied Thursday 4 - 8PM, Saturday 8 AM -12 and Sunday (12 hours total on the slope).  Wednesday 1/28 there was 4-6 inches of fresh snow by Thursday night it was piled up and pushed around quite a bit.  Other than demos these are the first skis that I have owned with over a mid-60 waist, so consider the source (Typical Northeastern Hard Pack skier).  Piles usually catch a tip on my RX-8s unless I am skiing aggressively whereas the HDs with the 130 mm shovel and 90 mm waist brought a smile to my face especially when I could find a sizable pile (Cannot imagine what it's going to be like out West with a huge expanse of the soft stuff  ).  I was laughing while these skis floated on the soft piles, but it did take me some time adjusting to the larger radius and I did catch a tail a couple of times trying  to turn these skis a little tighter.  The tails and tips may need to be de-tuned a bit.  The smaller piles I sailed through and bare spots were not an issue.


Saturday was much colder and very firm, not a problem.  Very little chatter unless I was pushing the turns again, never really a problem holding an edge.   Sunday was great, almost Spring conditions.  Sun came out and it was over 40 F.  Like "butter!"  Piled up quickly, definitely the lumpier heavier piles you get in the spring and definitely conditions that tend to cause me issues late in the day.  The HDs floated right over most of it and easily cut through the chop if I was pushing them, soft enough to feel the lumps as you floated over them.  A new experience for me.


Overall if I had to ski the HDs at home I could do it most of the time in all conditions, but having the RX-8s that is not likely.  I would have preferred those on Saturday as an example over the HDs.  The HDs seem stiffer with the integrated binding and beefier than some Watea 84's I saw on the slope.   They have less flex as a result of a little testing which may reduce their performanve in deep powder.  The forecast is looking great for Apsen with a dump early next week and fresh snow starting today.  Hopefully they are soft enough, I know they have the flotation, but the percieved stiffness that allows me to hold edges in the worst variable conditions at home may not allow the skis to give when powder builds under the tips in the turns, only one way to find out.  So far I love thses skis, they hold an edge, they handle extreme speed well, they may need some de-tuning in tips and tails as they currently do not like to be pushed into a tighter turn than what they were designed for on hardpack, but a step turn easily rectifies that and they are soft and livley enough that they respond well to either style.  I try to roll my edges for turn execution, but sometimes it's fun to go old school with a little step and these skis do not complain.


Another update will come after Aspen, hopefully I won't go over the handlebars, but I'm willing.  Seamuis

post #11 of 12

Hope your Aspen trip has become something to remember. Meanwhile, I tried a few more skis here in the cascade boilerplates with a dusting of fresh snow on top.


Dynastar Mythic Rider - Did well in powder, blew through crud, edges well although a tad grabby, but generally likes the groomers and handles speed with stability. However nothing about this ski really appealed to me. Kinda heavy skis.


K2 Outlaw - Good ski but not much of a crud-buster. My reaction to these skis -"Meh"


Volkl Grizzly - Loved these!!! Awesome ski. Heavy but I can look past that. Stiffness makes for excellent crud-buster like the HDs, solid grip on ice,  They were incredible. And to my surprise, they did OK on icy moguls. I'm waiting to take them out on an good powder day, if we get one here. If these skis talk to meon powder like they did today, that would seal the deal between HD vs. Grizzly.


Rossi Phantom SC80  - Maybe I got a bad ski (dull edge I think), this one was all over the place when you hit bare ice. The feeling I got was the edge was made out of ball-bearings. 

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Neither Aspen (Highlands, AJAX or Snowmass) nor the Nordica Helldivers disappointed.  Great trip although they had a week of blue skies and warm temperatures prior to our first day out.  Conditions were similar to home starting out with a little bit softer base on piste and everything off piste pretty crusty.  Skied open to close two days straight, day off and then three days straight open to close and hiked the Highland Bowl on the last day.  The best conditions I have ever skied were on the last day, nice soft base with 5-6" or more in places of fresh powder, not face shot depth except in the Highland Bowl, but never having skied that much powder for thousands of vertical it was a real treat.  I am guessing we averaged over 30,000 vertical a day except perhaps at Snowmass.  The lift system at Snowmass makes it difficult to get around and makes it seem like your ridding the lift all the time or doing a ton of traversing.  The new AJAX Gondola rocks, 3700+ verticle in 14 minutes with great views.  Highlands lft system is just right and it was a real toss up for me between AJAX and the Highlands, but with the bowl Highlands would be my pick.


The HDs had plenty of float yet held an edge when pushed hard down Ruthie's Run with hips pushed forward and into the hill.  I skied more vertical in mogules in one week in Aspen then a lifetime out East so I am no expert, but the HDs seemed responsive enough to get me down the hill.  Great flotation in the Highland bowl when I let the skis run.  Never having skied anything that deep it was a real thrill, but it would not make me a real good judge on how the HDs behaved in powder.  All I can say is I had a big smile on my face.  I am sure there are other skis that would perform better in those conditions, but for the conditions I skied all that week from crusty groomers, to groomers with a few inches of fresh to off piste fairly deep powder and knee deep or better in the Highland bowl these skis do it all well in my humble opinion.  The only time they bark is in frim conditions if your not driving the bus and all you have to do is get your weight forward again.


Great purchase, great ski and trip of a lifetime.  Skiing out West will be an annual trip from now on.  I would be interested to hear what others say about the HDs, great skis imho.  Seamuis

Edited by Seamuis - 2/25/2009 at 02:09 pm
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