Now, with this terrain and these conditions, it would be hard not to have fun on a wide range of skis; however, I would not have felt comfortable going that fast on most skis. It’s also important to keep in mind, if you’re considering the Wildfire as a big mountain charger, that I was skiing very smooth snow, which I don’t often come across. If I had to be skiing fast over harder, variable snow, the Wildfire would be ok, but probably not my first choice. I’d most likely pick the Stella, Dakota, or Bella.
For the last run of the day, we were dropped off at the top of a long, steep couloir that opened up into a big apron to the bottom. The top section was smooth and open, until it narrowed into a long shaded stretch.
There was some new snow in the shady area, but the snow was still firm and a little bumpy. I tried making short hop turns through the choke, which was no issue. Unsurprisingly, in areas where there was heavier snow, it did take a bit more work in the “hop” part of the turn, especially compared to the lighter, shorter Rossignol Savory 7.
Nordica La Niña vs. Nordica Wildfire
While I need more time on the Wildfire, at this point, if I had to choose between it and the La Niña, I would still opt for the La Niña as a one-ski quiver. As an all-mountain ski, I thought the Wildfire did handle everything well, however, I never felt like it did one thing in particular great. To be fair, an all-mountain ski is supposed to be a jack of all trades, and Nordica did nail that. I always had fun on the Wildfire, but I never felt completely blown away by its performance.
The La Niña, on the other hand, despite its wider length, still skis pretty much everything well, skis variable snow and groomers great, and is more playful and energetic. And despite its longer length, the La Niña was about the same amount of work as the 177cm Wildfire, if not slightly easier to ski, given it’s greater amount of tip and tail rocker. I think both are good all-mountain options, they just offer a little something different in how they ski.
Bottom Line (For Now)
Having said that, I am looking forward to getting more time on the Wildfire this winter to put together a more complete picture. I have yet to really lap the Wildfire on groomers, and need to see how well it can float in powder. And I want to see how the Wildfire really handles trees, moguls, and deep, heavy chop.
As for touring, I’m confident that the ski’s light weight and flat tail will make for a great backcountry option.
I would recommend the Wildfire to strong intermediate to expert skiers who are looking for a solid all-mountain option. The ski is still manageable for intermediates, but the more you put into it, the more you can expect to get out of it. The Wildfire provides enough stiffness to be supportive in rougher snow, but is also forgiving enough to be skied with less effort at the end of a long day. And because the shorter Wildfire is about the same amount of work as the 185 La Niña, you don’t necessarily need to size up.
The Wildfire has a different feel than many other skis within its class, and it fulfills its all-mountain purpose. It’s a lighter, directional ski that has solid hard-pack and variable snow performance, placing it somewhere in-between heavy charger skis and lightweight, playful skis. The Wildfire will please those looking for an inbounds and out of bounds ski who don’t want to compromise on any one aspect.
You can now read Morgan Sweeney’s 2nd Look of the Wildfire.
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