Yes, the Ace of Spades Ti is a relatively stiff, fully symmetrical park ski built with sidewall construction, and the even flex and swing weight allow for an especially balanced feel on jumps. And while it isn’t the lightest park ski that money can buy, it does weigh less than something like the Line Stepup. Where it falls short of the Stepup is in its playfulness and pop.
In my opinion, the Line Stepup excels over the Ace of Spades Ti when popping onto high rails and loading up the tips for tail presses, nollies, and butters. (Nordica does, however, offer a Competition model of the Ace of Spades Ti for 2012-2013, which will have two carbon inlays to add pop and stability.) But the Ace of Spades Ti is unmatched on big jumps and high-speed park features.
I was immediately pleased with the ski’s CamRock camber profile. With traditional camber underfoot and just a bit of rocker in the tip and tail, I was able to blast through crud and slush while remaining extraordinarily stable. I discovered this while skiing in the unseasonably warm weather at Mount Snow. While others were struggling to maintain speed to hit jumps in the spring/summer conditions, the Ace of Spades Ti let me power through the slushy bumps and still clear the jumps, often with speed to spare.
What I liked about the subtle early rise was the strictly minimal amount of rocker. For a ski like the Ace of Spades Ti—whose objective is to be a park ski built for the serious competitor—incorporating a lot of rocker would compromise that objective. On park jumps, serious tail rocker won’t give the skier much leeway in being able to ride off landings with big impacts, or in landing at all in the back seat.
Nordica’s decision to use a minimal amount of rocker, therefore, pays off. The Ace of Spades Ti finds a nice balance of being able to blast through crud yet is also maneuverable and agile, while remaining a stable, user-friendly ski on jump landings. On days when the snow is faster and more consistent, the ski remains incredibly stable and fast. In fact, big jump lines are where the Ace of Spades Ti transforms from a decent park ski into a true M.V.P. within the park ski market.
When hauling into the 80-foot jumps in Mammoth’s Unbound terrain park, the ski tracked evenly and remained composed (even if I wasn’t), unfazed by high speeds or big impacts. Especially on landings, I knew that the ski wouldn’t flex out or get skittish if my landings weren’t perfect.
On groomers, the ski was lively and snappy in initiating turns, and held an edge quite well. For a symmetrical park ski, I found the Ace of Spades Ti exceptional in its ability to let me get on the downhill ski quickly to begin the next turn. At 19.5 meters, the slightly tighter turn radius aided the ski’s ability to rip fast, short-radius turns on groomers, and this fun aspect transitioned nicely into Mammoth’s trees and chutes.
While waiting for a storm to pass before resuming the slopestyle event I was in town for, I got some nice tree laps on Chair 22. The Ace of Spades Ti felt agile and responsive when weaving in and out of trees at high speeds while plowing through the foot and a half of new but windblown snow.
Needless to say, I was excited about the Ace of Spades Ti; it seemed almost too good to be true. To my dismay, however, the single greatest drawback I found in the ski was edge durability. I was disappointed to notice that after just four days of park riding, I already had numerous edge cracks underfoot. Of course, you should take this statement with a grain of salt because I tend to ski rails very aggressively and go through a few pairs of skis every season. Still, I was frustrated by the edge cracks that seemed to be forming all too quickly on my still very new park skis. Apart from this, however, all other aspects of the ski’s construction continued to hold together strongly after taking some serious shots.
All in all, I’m very enthusiastic about the Nordica Ace of Spades Ti. It absolutely rips big park features while remaining quick and agile on smaller jumps and rails. It’s also surprisingly quick and snappy in initiating turns all over the mountains, from tight tree lines to wide open groomers. I’d recommend this ski to anyone looking for a serious, competition-ready park ski that will hold it down on the biggest park features and really allow you to boost in the half pipe. If that’s not your cup of tea, it’ll still perform beyond your expectations on smaller features and around the mountain as a skinnier all-mountain ski.