Scott Nelson (see bio)
I. What’s your two-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?
When I’m not traveling to competitions, I spend most of my ski days in the park at Keystone or Breckenridge. These mountains experience a lot of variable weather, so on sunny days when the wind dies down, I try to get in as many jump line laps as I can. However, most days that I ride the park in Colorado, it is very windy, cloudy, and a bit snowy, so I usually just stick to the jib lines.
In order to get the most out of my days lapping the jumps and hitting the jib lines, I prefer to have two different kinds of park skis: (1) a stiffer, more stable ski that will be totally solid on big jumps, and (2) a softer, more playful ski for cloudy-day rail laps.
Ski #1: Playful Jib Ski
The Al Dente is one of the most playful skis I’ve ever ridden. Its soft flex profile makes butters and presses effortless, and its width and tip rocker gives it a very surfy feel for park riding that makes it an absolute blast.
The Al Dente can still hold its own on jumps, which makes it a serious contender for my one-ski quiver, too. The Al Dente feels most at home on jib lines that ride like skate parks, such as Keystone or The Three Kings area at Park City Mountain Resort.
Ski #2: Jumps / Competition Slopestyle Ski
To round out my quiver, I’d also include the Fischer Nightstick, which is sort of the polar opposite of the Al Dente. The Nighstick is extremely stiff, narrow, and has traditional camber. These qualities don’t add up to a playful or surfy ski, but the Nighstick is an impressively burly ski that is more stable and predictable on big jumps than any other ski I’ve ridden.
II. What ski was the most difficult to leave off of this list?
Because the AR7 does everything well within the confines of a terrain park. It’s playful and forgiving, yet gives up very little in terms of stability on landings.
III. What ski do you think has the greatest likelihood of making your 2-ski quiver list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?
#1: The Salomon NFX Lab: This new competition-ready park ski was on the top of a lot of podiums last season. I’m curious to test out Salomon’s race base and edge reinforcement on this slopestyle ski.
#2: ON3P Kartel 98: New for the 2014/2015 season, the Kartel is Karl Fostvedt’s first pro model. I admire his unique, aggressive approach to park riding, and suspect that the Kartel will reflect his style, making for a playful, maneuverable, and stable ski. Coupled with the durability that ON3P is known for, I think this could be a really great park ski.
IV. Bonus Question: If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 2-ski quiver, which company would you pick?
In my opinion, Armada has the most diverse lineup of park skis of any brand, and also has a good reputation for durability across various models.
Ski #1: Armada AR7, 181cm
For a competition park ski and/or a do-everything park charger, the AR7 stands out with its blend of stability, playfulness, and versatility. Out of all the skis I’ve ridden, only the Fischer Nighstick surpasses the AR7 in terms of stability.
Ski #2: Armada Al Dente, 178cm
As I mentioned above, the Al Dente is a great secondary park ski for rail-line laps and smaller jumps, and is extremely fun and playful. However, it would be great if Armada offered the Al Dente in the 181-184cm range, rather than just the 178 and 188.
The 182cm Armada BDog (formerly the Halo) would also be a good second park ski that is a little more playful.
Next: Jason Hutchins’ Selections