Ski: 2020-2021 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Summit County, CO
Days Skied: 8
Available Lengths: 161, 171, 181, 191 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 188.3 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2177 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2165 & 2219 grams
Stated Dimensions: 140-105-130 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 145.4-111.2-135.4 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (191 cm): 22 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 59 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm
Core: Poplar/Paulownia + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: Sintered DuraSurf 4001
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.95 cm from center; 85.2 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Nomad 105, which was not changed for 20/21, apart from graphics.]
Last year we reviewed the Icelantic Nomad 115 and Nomad 105 Lite, and came away with very positive impressions. But we hadn’t reviewed the standard version of the Nomad 105, which Icelantic says is not only the foundation of their Nomad Freeride collection, but also their best-selling ski.
We now have the updated 19/20 Nomad 105 (and the women’s Maiden 101), so let’s take a closer look at the Nomad 105 to see how it compares to the rest of the market.
What Icelantic says about the new 19/20 Nomad Freeride collection
“Freeriding is about having FUN and that’s why we developed the Nomad Freeride Collection, to have fun! Featuring the NEW Hybrid Flight Core, the Nomads are lighter and more poppy than ever, turning every mountain into your personal playground. Whether you like popping around the park, playing on natural features, or bounding through the deepest POW, we have a Nomad just for you!”
Alright, so the key takeaway here is that the Nomads are supposed to be fun. I like Icelantic’s copy here — they’re not talking about crazy new tech or saying that these skis are supposed to be radically different than anything else out there. Instead, these skis are just supposed to be fun, which is really what skiing is all about.
Icelantic is highlighting the Nomads’ playfulness, which makes sense, given what we’ll talk about in the next section. And the big update for 19/20 is that all of the Nomad’s (95, 105, 115, and 125) will feature a new, lighter, and supposedly poppier poplar / paulownia core, rather than the full poplar core in the current collection. This core update will also transfer over to the women’s Maiden Freeride collection, which previously had Albus cores.
Shape / Rocker Profile
All of the Nomad skis have pretty traditional shapes in that they have wide tips and tails, and very minimal taper. Compared to a lot of other all-mountain and all-mountain-freestyle skis, the Nomad 105 has a lot less taper.
But the Nomad 105’s rocker profile is less traditional — it has fairly deep rocker lines, low camber, and a high, twinned tail. While its mount point and shape put it more in line with more traditional, directional all-mountain skis, the Nomad 105’s rocker profile is more similar to all-mountain-freestyle skis. That’s an interesting aspect of the Nomad 105 — combining elements of more directional and more playful skis — and we think it’ll be a key characteristic to keep in mind during our testing.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Nomad 105:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
This is another area where the Nomad 105 seems to tread the line between directional and playful skis.
The Nomad 105’s tips and tails are quite soft, and they feel pretty much identical in terms of stiffness. But the Nomad 105’s overall flex pattern feels pretty directional — its front half stiffens up slower than its back half. The ramp-up in flex is very smooth and gradual, but the back of the ski is noticeably stiffer than the front.
Overall, the Nomad 105’s flex pattern is pretty average compared to the whole market — it’s not crazy soft, and it’s not crazy stiff.
It’s worth quickly noting that the 191 cm Nomad 105 is not really a “105.” Our pair measures just over 111 mm underfoot, which is in line with what we noticed with the old 191 cm Nomad 105 Lite. The shorter lengths of the Nomad 105 reportedly come in closer to 105 mm underfoot, but if you’re interested in the 191, know that it’s going to come in around 111 mm underfoot.
Despite its twinned tail, the Nomad 105 has a traditional mount point of around -9 cm from center. That said, we ended up really liking the Nomad 105 Lite and Nomad 115 (which had similar recommended mount points) with the bindings pushed forward. So we’ll definitely be playing around with the mount point of the Nomad 105 during our testing.
The old, full-poplar-core Nomad 105 has a stated weight of 2312 grams for the 191 cm version. While it now has a lighter core, the 19/20 Nomad 105 isn’t some crazy light ski. At around 2200 grams per ski for the 191 cm version, the Nomad 105 is on the slightly heavier end of the spectrum compared to the rest of the market. Since Icelantic makes the lighter, backcountry-oriented Nomad 105 Lite, I’m perfectly happy with them keeping some weight in the inbounds-oriented Nomad 105.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try and keep things apples-to-apples.
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1898 & 1893 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (18/19)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2013 & 2013 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (18/19)
2018 & 2045 RMU North Shore 108, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2036 & 2064 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19)
2144 & 2153 K2 Marksman, 184 cm (16/17–19/20)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm (18/19)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Nomad 105 combines elements of more directional skis with other elements from more playful skis. So how will directional skiers get along with it, and will more freestyle-oriented skiers still like it, too?
(2) On a similar note, how will the Nomad 105 respond to different mount points, and the different skiing style correlated to them?
(3) The Nomad 105 sits in an often versatile width category, so how well would it work as a 1-ski quiver, and does it stand out in any particular condition, or is it more of a jack-of-all-trades?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Icelantic Nomad 105 takes a fairly traditional shape, weight, and mount point with a more modern, freestyle-oriented rocker profile. We’ll be getting the Nomad 105 on snow soon, so stay tuned for updates.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Nomad 105 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
In short, the Nomad 105 is a blast in soft, cut-up snow.
As will be a theme in this review, the 191 cm Nomad 105 we tested — which, very confusingly, is not actually 105 mm wide, but 111 mm wide in the 191 cm length — offers a fun & versatile combination of being pretty substantial and stable while also being forgiving and pretty playful. In soft snow that hadn’t yet set-up into consolidated crud, I could ski basically as fast as I wanted on the 191 cm Nomad 105 (I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs). And while I could blast through soft chop on this ski, I could just as easily take things easy, find consolidated patches to pop off, and generally mess around at slower speeds.
I think larger and very aggressive skiers would be able to find the speed limit of the Nomad 105 in soft chop, but for the majority of skiers, I think the 191 cm Nomad 105 will be plenty stable in soft conditions.
We haven’t yet been able to ski the Nomad 105 in a lot of deep, fresh snow, but given that it shares so much in common with the Icelantic Nomad 115 that I love (and that’s actually only 6 mm wider than the 191 cm Nomad 105), I think the 191 cm Nomad 105 will float very well for its width in deeper snow. I’ll update this review if we’re able to get the Nomad 105 in some deeper pow, but Jonathan Ellsworth and I both think we’d be happy taking it out on most powder days.
Firm Chop / Crud
As the snow consolidates through the day or during the days after a storm, the Nomad 105’s softer tips and tails began to be more noticeable. While the ski did a good job of blasting through soft snow, I felt like I couldn’t rely quite as much on the ski to “do the work” when the snow got firmer and rougher. I had to stay more focused on my technique and slow things down a bit on the Nomad 105 when the snow got truly nasty.
The nice thing with the Nomad 105 is that it’s still a pretty damp ski with good suspension, so it never once felt harsh to me during my time on it. It does a pretty good job of muting out inconsistencies in the snow, particularly when I was not trying to absolutely nuke down fields of crud, making fast GS turns.
If I did try to make fast GS turns through rough, set-up snow, I found myself occasionally getting bucked forward as the Nomad 105’s shovels bent and absorbed the consolidated patches of snow. I also noticed those shovels flapping around a bit after skiing very fast in good snow and trying to quickly shut things down in spots with rougher snow.
So the Nomad 105 is not some ultra-composed, ultra-stable charger, and most of the skis in the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our 19/20 Winter Buyer’s Guide are better for mobbing through crud. But the Nomad 105 is still more stable than the many lighter skis in this category, and the Nomad 105 is much more forgiving and playful than many of those true chargers.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Apart from the tightest bumps with the deepest troughs, I really liked the Nomad 105 in bumps, trees, and steeps.
One of my first experiences on this ski in true moguls was the day that they opened Crystal at Crested Butte (a black, fairly steep bump run). I hit Crystal at the very end of that day, and was amazed by how quickly people managed to turn it into a very challenging mogul field with very tightly packed, tall moguls with big troughs. That day, I was wishing for a lighter and / or shorter ski. The 191 cm Nomad 105 felt like a big ski (because … it is), and I found myself getting pretty tired trying to quickly maneuver it through those big, irregular bumps. The ski was still forgiving if I got backseat, but its above-average swing weight (look at the big shovels) meant that I had to put in a good deal of physical effort to move it around.
But then I got the Nomad 105 into what I’d call “regular” bumps at Crested Butte, and I liked it much, much more. This ski does have a lot of rocker, and combined with its softer tips and tails, that meant that the Nomad 105 was very easy to pivot and slide through more widely spaced bumps. In more moderate bumps where I didn’t have to constantly make rapid adjustments, the 191 cm Nomad 105 felt much less fatiguing and easier overall.
This is far from the quickest ski out there, but if you rarely ski super gnarly, giant, tightly spaced bumps, the Nomad 105 is a pretty forgiving, maneuverable ski in tight spots. (So just consider what sort of bump runs you actually tend to ski.)
Though the Nomad 105’s big, fat shovels and tails don’t make the ski particularly quick in tight spots, they are a huge asset on piste.
It’s worth repeating here that the 191 cm Nomad 105 is actually 111 mm underfoot, but even with that caveat, this ski carves really well on groomers that are remotely soft. As soon as I tipped the ski over on edge, it did a great job of pulling me into a turn (without feeling hooky) and held an edge quite well for a ski this wide. Of the ~110mm+ skis I’ve used, the Nomad 105 is one of the best carvers.
On super firm, super smooth, scraped-off groomers, I felt best when casually sliding my turns on the Nomad 105. This ski still has very deep rocker lines, so it’s not a ski that encouraged me to really lay it over when the snow is borderline icy. But I can’t think of any similarly rockered skis that are better on ice; if, for some reason, I really wanted to carve ice on a 110mm+ ski, I’d opt for something much more directional and with much less rocker.
But get it on anything edgeable, and the Nomad 105 is a lot of fun to carve. Great turn initiation, decent edge hold, and a bit of energy coming out of the turn.
The Nomad 105’s recommended mount point is about 9 cm behind true center. And on that line, it feels like a playful but quite directional ski. I could drive its shovels very hard when it was mounted on the line, but it also felt quite sluggish and unbalanced in the air. So if you’re a directional skier who likes to keep their skis on the ground for the most part, the recommended line should be good.
But I’m not really that kind of skier, so I moved the bindings forward +3 cm from the recommended line (around -6 cm from true center). I much preferred the Nomad 105 at this mount point. I could still drive its shovels quite hard, I could also ski it pretty centered / neutral, I didn’t notice a big loss in stability, and the ski felt much more balanced and playful. I didn’t feel like I lost much by moving the bindings forward, apart from having more tail to deal with in tight spots. But since the Nomad 105’s tail isn’t very stiff, this wasn’t a big issue for me, and I appreciated the more supportive landing platform provided by the more centered mount point.
(And for what it’s worth, Jonathan Ellsworth also really liked the Nomad 105 at -6, and even as a more directional skier, would opt for -6 cm over the recommended line of -9 cm.)
Overall, the Nomad 105 is a pretty playful ski. Its tips and tails are pretty easy to bend, it’s fairly poppy, and it’s very easy to pivot and slarve around. The main things taking away from the Nomad 105’s playfulness are its swing weight and mount point.
On the recommended line, the Nomad 105 feels cumbersome in the air, and it definitely prefers a forward stance. Those things are less noticeable when mounted around -6 cm from true center, but this is still far from the lightest ski in the air. At 5’8”, 155 lbs, I had to put in more effort than usual when I wanted to throw around the 191 cm Nomad 105. I adjusted to the weight pretty quickly after a few runs, but those who prioritize a very low swing weight should look elsewhere (see the “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our 19/20 Winter Buyer’s Guide).
But if you’re coming from directional skis with minimal tip and tail rocker and / or stiff flex patterns, I think the Nomad 105 will feel very playful. And coming from lighter, more freestyle-oriented skis, the Nomad 105’s weight was a big asset in choppy runouts and variable conditions.
Length (or, the Goldilocks Problem)
I’m including this section mostly because I really wish Icelantic made a ~185-186 cm version of the Nomad 105 (they only make this ski in 10 cm increments — 161, 171, 181, & 191 cm).
I really like the 191 cm version, but I feel like a slightly shorter length would provide much of the stability of the 191, while also increasing its maneuverability and playfulness. Furthermore, I did ski a 181 cm Nomad 105 a few years ago, and found it to be too unstable for my liking. I feel like a good number of people are going to be caught between sizes, and for most people, I think I’d recommend sizing up. But you will have to deal with a more sluggish and cumbersome ski. So Icelantic, how about a 186?
Who’s It For?
Beginners through experts who are looking for a versatile, playful, and pretty stable ~110mm-wide ski. I think the Nomad 105 could easily serve as a 1-ski quiver for areas that rarely see super firm / icy conditions, or as a soft-snow ski for lower-snow areas. And I think beginners would get along with the shorter lengths, while playful experts would prefer a longer version of this ski.
Don’t get the Nomad 105 if you know you like very stiff, directional skis that stay very composed at ludicrous speeds. If you fall into that category, I think you’ll be wishing that the Nomad 105 was stiffer at the tips and tails.
And if you primarily want to be able to easily throw tricks and / or value a very low swing weight, you have better, lighter, more tapered options.
But for the large number of people that fall between those two ends of the spectrum, the Nomad 105 should be on your list. It offers very good suspension, is forgiving yet quite stable, and is more playful than the many more directional, flatter-tailed skis in this class.
Having skied it, it’s easy to understand why the Nomad 105 is Icelantic’s best-selling ski. It should work for a very wide range of skiers, and it does a great job of blurring the lines between directional and more freestyle-oriented skis.
Those looking for the most stable or quickest ski should look elsewhere, but people who want a versatile, playful, and pretty stable wider ski should consider the Nomad 105 — especially if you feel confident that one of the currently available lengths will work well for you.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Nomad 105 to see how it stacks up against the Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, Moment Deathwish, Moment Wildcat 108, Salomon Qst 106, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 4FRNT MSP 107, Liberty Origin 106, Blizzard Rustler 10, ON3P Woodsman 108, Nordica Enforcer Free 104, Armada ARV 106Ti, Rossignol Soul 7 HD, Line Sick Day 104, & J Skis Metal.