Reader Review: 2015-2016 Nordica Patron

Airs / Landings

In the past, I’ve had trouble with skis that have landed hard both in the park and off cliffs. The Patron is just the opposite. It is very forgiving when it comes to hard or unexpectedly flat landings. This is where the softer tip and tail really show their advantage. Your shins and knees will not hate you if you land a little back seat. I particularly appreciated this last season when the snow pack was low and the landings were typically solid. The Patrons were designed as an all-mountain freeride ski, so between forgiving landings and easy maneuverability in the air and on the ground, this ski performs.

Crud Performance (At Speed)

I had an all too disappointing lesson about the Patrons’ lack of “speed-friendliness” at the Freeskiing World Tour Championships at Kirkwood last April. Conditions were sub-par, and the qualifier was incredibly icy but short. I was able to hold down a solid run, which qualified me for the first day of competition on the Cirque.

Hannah Follender, Nordica Patron, Blister Gear Review
Hannah Follender on the Nordia Patron, FWT Championships, Kirkwood.

Again, the maneuverability of these skis and the low swing weight made for an excellent top section. When I decided to let my skis run in the lower section, the speed was too much. I literally watched my ski hit a solid chunk of snow and fold right under me. The tails were so soft that the speed and chatter made it difficult to recover.

In all fairness, these skis are not marketed for high speeds, and they do a solid job of performing as a playful all-mountain ski for skiers of intermediate to expert ability. The ski is for the person who prefers moderate-speed skiing, and it is perfect for the skier looking to jump off and jib features as they find them.

Since the tip and tail are pretty soft, I’ve learned to adjust my stance from a very forward racing stance to a more balanced centered stance. This is what you want anyway when you’re skiing powder or more variable terrain. I’ve also taken the spoilers out of my boots (Dalbello Krypton Kryzma ID 2s) to allow me to stand more upright.

Bottom Line

Overall, this ski is very user friendly because of its low swing weight and short turning radius relative to its size. Women with a more aggressive style might consider the Patron over the lighter La Niña. Jibbers and freeriders will appreciate this ski for its maneuverability and versatility when it comes to transitioning between powder and groomers. But über-aggressive, all-mountain speed addicts beware: this is not your ski. The Patron’s crud-busting capabilities just aren’t there, and you will be disappointed when you experience its noodle-like tendencies under high speeds.

The take-away message here is that the Patron is designed well and performs excellently when doing what it was primarily designed for—groomers, powder, soft snow between tight trees, and jibbing.


6 comments on “Reader Review: 2015-2016 Nordica Patron”

  1. What are you skiing this season? I ask because I think you should definitely try the 176 Billy Goat (any year from 12.13 to present). I got my girlfriend a pair for Christmas because I hand flexed her 177 Patrons and the tail just folded completely. Terrible, inconsistent flex profile.

    The Billy Goat rocks her world. She was coming off a pretty severe ankle injury so she’s taking it easy, but she took a few smaller airs and said the Billy Goats “redefine the meaning of the word ‘stomp!'” They’re easy enough for her to ski coming off an injury, but also have no speed limit that I’ve found (I ski the 191). Longer turn radius, even med-stiff flex, and decent tip/tail rocker. It’s a winner. Construction is top-notch, too.

    She admitted that she was actually annoyed that I was able to pick out “the perfect ski” for her on my first try when she’s been searching for it and demoing tons of skis every year. (She worked in the industry so had access to lots of demos.)

    Anyway, just give the 176 Billy Goat a shot if you can.

  2. Im getting the patron 193 this week and I am trying to figure out which skins to buy. Don’t know how to size up skins to skis

    • To size up skins go by the length of the ski and it’s widest point under foot. (i.e. if the ski specs are 143-113-132, go with a skin that has a width of 143mm or wider) You will be cutting them down to fit, but you want to make sure that most of your bases are covered.

    • Jason

      Ive had 2 paris of 193 Patrons (one pair with Marker Dukes, that I sold, and one pair with Dynafit Beasts and Marker demo bindings). The winter in Jackson was sub-par so I spent a few days playing around with the mount point to see what I liked. 6-4 200lb Lange RS140

      Mounting the Patrons behind traditional/recommended makes the skiing very hard because the tails are way too soft and the Patron loses its maneuverability. Skiing these mounted at center line, I had issues with the tips folding up if I drove into them too hard.

      I found a sweet spot about 2-3 cm forward of traditional/recommended. With the bindings in that position the tails had enough to them where I could rely on them to pop me off and over stuff, and the tips were not folding up in the clumps. The ski also maintained its awesome maneuverability, which made dodging rocks, slush piles and bumps easy.

      I hope that helps!

  3. I bought a pair of Patrons intending to mount a pair of Marker Jester on them. However, past season I trashed my Mantras which are mounted with Marker Dukes. So I am considering mounting the Dukes on the Patrons instead of the Jester and would be interested in Matt’s – or anyone else’s experience with similar setup.

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