2019-2020 Nordica Enforcer 88

Ski: 2019-2020 Nordica Enforcer 88, 179 cm

Available Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 177.9 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2098 & 2105 grams

Stated Dimensions: 122-88-110 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 122-87.6-109.2 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (179 cm): 17 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 16 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Poplar/Beech/Balsa + Titanal (2 layers) + Carbon & Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.1 cm from center; 80.9 cm from tail

 

Ski: 2019-2020 Nordica Enforcer 88, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 185.1 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2131 & 2194 grams

Stated Dimensions: 122-88-110 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 123.6-87.2-109.7 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 17.5 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 17 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm

Core: Poplar/Beech/Balsa + Titanal (2 layers) + Carbon & Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.15 cm from center; 84.4 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Head Raptor 140 RS & Nordica Strider 120 / Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 AT

Reviewers:

  • Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, ~175 lbs
  • Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs

Test Locations: Crested Butte, CO

Days Skied (between both lengths): ~20

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Nordica Enforcer 88
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

In case you hadn’t heard on our GEAR:30 podcast or seen in our Outdoor Retailer Awards and Instagram stories, Nordica is adding some skis to their Enforcer and Santa Ana lineups for 19/20.

We’ve already posted our full review of the new Enforcer 104 Free, but Nordica is also adding some narrower skis to their line. The new Enforcer 88 and Santa Ana 88 are designed with firm-snow performance in mind, and they reportedly bring essentially the same construction from the other excellent Enforcer and Santa Ana skis into a narrower package.

This move by Nordica makes good sense, and since we really like the current Enforcer and Santa Ana skis, we were very curious to see how similar or different the new Enforcer 88 is compared to the other skis in the line. And now that we have the Enforcer 88 in hand, let’s take a look at how its design compares to the other Enforcers, and other skis in the ~90mm-wide all-mountain category.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Enforcer 88’s shape looks very similar to that of the Enforcer 93. In fact, apart from the difference in width, the two skis’ shapes look nearly identical. Both the Enforcer 88 and Enforcer 93 have a bit of taper in the tips and tails, but the taper is very subtle.

The Enforcer 88’s shape is less tapered than a lot of wider all-mountain skis (e.g., Nordica Enforcer 100), but the Enforcer 88 does have notably more tip taper than carving-oriented skis in its class like the Renoun Z-Line 90 and Liberty V92. For an all-mountain ski — one that’s supposed to perform well not only on groomers but also off-piste, in bumps, etc. — we really like the shape of this Enforcer 88. While skis like the Z-Line 90 are great on groomers, their wide “hammerhead” tips can be a liability in bumps and in variable, off-piste conditions.

The Enforcer 88’s rocker profile is also quite similar to the Enforcer 93’s, with the Enforcer 88 having slightly shallower tip and tail rocker lines. Compared to other skis in its class, the Enforcer 88’s tip rocker line is pretty deep and its tip splay fairly high. The Enforcer 88’s tail rocker line falls more in line with other skis in its class — its pretty shallow, and its tail splay is pretty low.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Enforcer 88:

Tips: 7.5
Shovels: 8-9
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 9

The Enforcer 88 is a very strong ski. Of the other Enforcer skis, the Enforcer 88’s flex pattern is the stiffest overall, and it is most similar to the Enforcer 93’s. The Enforcer 88 is a bit stronger throughout than the 93, and its flex pattern ramps up quicker than the Enforcer 93’s.

Compared to the Enforcer 100, the Enforcer 88 is notably stiffer throughout, especially in the tails and shovels.

Compared to the Blizzard Brahma, the Enforcer 88 is again a bit stronger through the entire ski, with the most notable difference being in the tails.

Weight

Like the other Enforcers, the Enforcer 88 falls on the heavier end of the spectrum. (Insert that smiley face emoji where the face has two big red hearts for eyes.)

At around 2100 grams per ski in the 179 cm length, the Enforcer 88 is one of the heavier ~90mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed. You’ve probably never heard us say this before (cough), but given that the 88 is designed to perform in firm, not-very-forgiving conditions,  we love the fairly hefty weight of the Enforcer 88 since a heavier ski will often do a better job of smoothing out rough snow.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. As always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.

1790 & 1831 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
1839 & 1842 Black Crows Orb, 178.3 cm (17/18–18/19)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1920 & 1940 Volkl Kendo, 177 cm (15/16–18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1943 & 1968 Liberty V92, 186 cm (18/19)
1959 & 1985 Renoun Z-Line 90, 180 cm (17/18–18/19)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Skis Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2077 & 2092 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm – weight includes binding plates (17/18–19/20)
2098 & 2105 Nordica Enforcer 88, 179 cm (19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2131 & 2194 Nordica Enforcer 88, 186 cm (19/20)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88, 184 cm (18/19)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) One of the defining characteristics of the Enforcer series is that the skis are all pretty stable while also being pretty forgiving. So with the Enforcer 88’s stiffer flex pattern, will that still hold true with this new ski?

(2) Skis in the ~90mm-width range can vary greatly, from dedicated, wider carvers that feel like they basically belong only on groomers, to true all-mountain skis that can do a bit of everything. So where in this spectrum will the Enforcer 88 fall? And will this be one of the few ~88mm-wide skis that feels equally at home on groomers and in moguls?

(3) The Blizzard Brahma is one of our reference skis in this category, and one of the best skis being made today. So this is an inevitable comparison, and we are very eager to A/B the Brahma against the new Enforcer 88.

Bottom Line (For Now)

Overall, we’ve been quite impressed by Nordica’s other Enforcer skis, and we have high hopes for the new Enforcer 88. It looks like it has the potential to be a versatile all-mountain ski that brings more firm-snow performance to the Enforcer lineup. Stay tuned for our full review…

FULL REVIEW

Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~175 lbs): Some ski reviews are quite straightforward, others feel a bit more complicated. And I’d say that this review of the Enforcer 88 falls a bit closer to the ‘more complicated’ end of the spectrum. It’s going to be a good ski for a lot of people, I believe, but you’ll want to follow along closely to make sure that you are one of those people.

And if you’ve just read that and are thinking to yourself, “Well couldn’t you say that about pretty much any ski out there, Jonathan?” I’d say, Yeah, pretty much. But the difference here is that one of the hallmarks of the reintroduced Enforcer series is that we have repeatedly said (especially about the Enforcer 100, Enforcer Free 110, and Enforcer Free 115) that these are skis that a broad range of skiers could get on, and the vast majority could go have a good time. But with the Enforcer 88, we need to add a few more caveats and qualifiers, and you’ll need to think hard about where you personally want / need / expect the Enforcer 88 to shine.

Softer Groomers

Jonathan: On softer, edgeable groomers, this is a strong ski that offers very good stability at high speeds. Unsurprisingly, the 186 cm model feels very comfortable making medium and large turns, while the 179 cm Enforcer 88 is still a strong ski that feels more comfortable making quick, tighter turns.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Luke Koppa review the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Enforcer 88, Crested Butte, CO.

And while these skis offer very good stability (not best-in-class, but very good), they are not simply led sleds; these skis combine good stability with very good energy and pop out of a turn. So people who really like high edge angles and who know how to work a ski will find these skis to be a lot of fun.

So if advanced and expert skiers will have fun on the Enforcer 88, I’d also say that low intermediate skiers will also get along well with this ski on groomers. Its tip and tail rocker and weight make the ski comfortable slipping and skidding turns without catching an edge or hooking up too hard / unexpectedly across the fall line. There are easier on-piste skis out there for beginners and low intermediates, but if you’re staying on groomers, these will feel intuitive and will allow you to progress and get more comfortable getting a ski on edge.

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): Yep, totally agree. The Enforcer 88 was super easy to carve from my very first turns, and its edge hold felt solid on softer groomers.

One thing I really like about the Enforcer 88 — and what might make it appealing to intermediate skiers — is that you can pretty easily carve it from a fairly neutral stance. While some skis in this width really require you to get over their shovels in order to get them on edge, that’s not the case with the Enforcer 88. I found that I could very easily roll it over on edge from my ankles and it carved nicely from this neutral stance. You can also drive its shovels and really push it, but on mellower groomers, it was really nice to be able to just casually carve the Enforcer 88 from the middle of the ski. And it was easy to do this and make both pretty short and fairly long turns.

Very Firm Groomers / Ice

Jonathan: All ski designs involve performance compromises, and performance on ice / rockhard groomers is the most noticeable compromise of the Enforcer 88. Now keep in mind: the entire Enforcer series — and every ski in the Enforcer series — is designed to work as an all-mountain ski; just select how wide or narrow of an Enforcer you want. And the Enforcer 88 is no exception.

But given that this ski is supposed to be comfortable on groomers and moguls and trees and steep chutes and some deeper snow … well, that’s asking a lot.

The tip of the Enforcer 88 is quite tapered, which is one of the reasons why it works so much better off piste than ~88mm-wide skis that have more of a traditional “hammer-head” shape (think HEAD Monster 88 Ti or Renoun Z-Line 90); the Enforcer 88’s tips won’t pull you across the fall line in punchy, off-piste snow the way the Monster 88 will. The Enforcer 88 won’t keep you locked in a turn or feeling “stuck” in a turn, i.e., the Enforcer 88 is much easier to break out of a turn off piste.

But that off-piste versatility comes at the cost of (1) edge hold and (2) turn initiation on very firm snow. Tilt the ski on edge, and the shovels don’t immediately engage. The middle and back of the ski feel strong, but on steep ice in particular, I often am not brave enough to really try to drive the tips of the Enforcer 88, commit to high edge angles, and trust that those tips will hold, rather than skid. To be clear, on steep, firm groomers, the Enforcer 88 never felt erratic, it just does not have the tip shape that I’d choose for hard carving on firm snow. (And again, the skis that have the tip shape that does excel at hard carving on firm snow are often really uncomfortable to ski off piste.)

So this is a good time to issue the reminder that it’s important to be honest with ourselves. If you don’t tend to care about high speed, high edge angles when you’re skiing ice, and you tend to feather and slide your turns on ice anyway, then nothing I just wrote is a relevant criticism of the Enforcer 88. But if you do care about this, then understand that this is not the strong suit of this ski. Now getting back to the strong suites of this ski…

Trees

Jonathan: We’re now back to where the tip shape of the Enforcer 88 is a real asset. In tight trees where I am snapping off quick turns, I don’t want my tips to feel locked or stuck in a turn. That doesn’t happen on the Enforcer 88. Now if you are usually skiing in the trees on ice, then you might prefer more of a hammerhead tip shape (same as on firm groomers) that will allow you to carve each turn through the trees. For the rest of us though, who might carve a hard turn, then pivot our way through the next 2 or 3 or 4 turns in more of a bases-flat approach as opposed to a carving hard on edge approach, the Enforcer 88 works quite well. And given the shape of both the tips and the tail, this ski is easy to loosen up / make even easier to pivot by detuning the tail. It’s versatile, and you can adjust to your personal preference.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Luke Koppa review the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Enforcer 88, Crested Butte, CO.

Luke: a little background: I normally prefer skis with more rocker and more forward mount points for skiing trees and bumps, since I tend to slither my way through them with a fairly neutral stance, rather than stay over my shovels the whole time. But given that, I still really liked the Enforcer 88 in trees. As long as I keep a bit of pressure on the shovels, its tail is easy to pivot and I really like the suspension of the ski when snaking through trees when the snow is really firm.

Moguls

Jonathan: All in all, I like the Enforcer 88 in moguls. Again, it’s a tip shape that works really well in tight bumps, and it’s a relatively easy ski to pivot in moguls. There are lighter skis out there that will feel quicker than the Enforcer 88, and there are skis out there with less-stiff tails that are a bit more forgiving of backseat skiing. So I think that advanced and expert bump skiers will get along best with the Enforcer 88, but I still think that something like ~90% of skiers that I see in lift lines would be better off on the Enforcer 88 in moguls than they are on the slalom-ski-looking shapes — with their flat tails, wide tips, and tons of sidecut — that are still so prevalent on the mountain.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Luke Koppa review the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Enforcer 88, Crested Butte, CO.

(As a Christmas gift this year, the ski industry should tell these people that those ski shapes are a big part of the reason why moguls are terrifying and the least fun thing ever.)

Luke: Yep, same story as my experience with the Enforcer 88 in trees: I really like it. Jonathan’s right in that it’s not the most forgiving ski and it’s definitely not the lightest, but I never found it to feel super demanding.

I’ve been spending time on some lighter skis in this class, and while those skis are much easier to flick around from my ankles, they also require much, much more focused technique to keep them tracking when skiing fast through bumps, since their light tips get knocked around quite easily. Not so with the Enforcer 88. It doesn’t encourage me to ski bumps with a super active / dynamic style, but with a bit of input on my end, I could easily maneuver it through bumps without worrying about it getting knocked around a ton (even in firm bumps).

So this definitely isn’t the easiest bump ski out there, but of the ~88mm-wide skis I’ve been on, the Enforcer 88 is one of my favorites for moguls thanks to its combination of (1) a non-hooky shape, (2) great suspension, and (3) a supportive, but somewhat forgiving flex pattern.

Off-Piste Chop

Jonathan: For all of the reasons we’ve talked about above, there are few 88mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed that are more comfortable than the Enforcer 88 in off-piste, cut-up powder. While I’d maintain that a wider ski will provide an even more comfortable and stable platform in such conditions, if you’re looking for a sub-90mm-wide ski to handle such conditions, the Enforcer 88 should be on your shortlist.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Luke Koppa review the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Enforcer 88, Crested Butte, CO.

And again, in off-piste chop and in powder, the relative narrowness of this ski will cause it to sink into the snow (or fresh powder) more than a wider ski will, so if you do find yourself feeling a bit more stuck than you like in thicker / deeper snow, you might try detuning the tails.

Powder

Jonathan: Without repeating what I just wrote in the previous section, the tip shape and tip rocker profile of the Enforcer 88 are what makes it one of the best skis of this width in thicker, deeper snow. In short, the tips will plane up rather than get bogged down, which is the problem with so many skis of this width (or narrower).

Nordica Enforcer 88 as a 1-Ski Quiver?

Jonathan: In short, yes. I think that for a whole lot of skiers, this ski could work well, though there is the hugely important caveat about how much you do or do not care about carving clean turns on rockhard groomers. That’s not the forte of this ski, but in every other terrain type and snow condition, the Enforcer 88 works nearly as well, as well, or better than most of the 88mm-wide skis out there.

Who’s It For?

Jonathan: See the above section. But with that said, where I think the Enforcer 88 makes a whole lot of sense is for people who already own a dedicated carver that they will take out when conditions are rock hard, and the day will be spent slicing up groomers. A ~65-85mm wide carver will be the right tool for the job. And then, when conditions soften up a bit, the groomers become more easily edgeable, or there’s 4-6” of fresh snow, grab the Enforcer 88, and you’ll have a 2-ski quiver that will have you covered for that range of conditions. Or, you could have a wider ski (~106-116mm) for even deeper days, and the Enforcer 88 will function well as the middle ski in your quiver that you may find yourself breaking out for the majority of your days.

Jonathan Ellsworth and Luke Koppa review the Nordica Enforcer 88 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Enforcer 88, Crested Butte, CO.

Luke: Agreed. And in terms of the types of skiers the Enforcer 88 is good for, I’d say intermediates through experts who value good suspension over a super low weight. This is not the most forgiving or most nimble ski, but if you’ll be breaking it out on firm, rough conditions, I think many people will be better off on the heavier, more damp Enforcer 88 rather than a super light ski that’ll get knocked around a bunch.

The Enforcer 88 really stands out in this class due to its very good off-piste performance and not its performance on crazy firm snow, so I wouldn’t pick it if you’re looking for a ski to lay trenches on ice (see Jonathan’s notes above). But to me, it’s one of the more well-rounded, true all-mountain skis in this class.

Notes on Length (179 vs. 186 cm)

The more you will be using this as an on-piste carver, the more I personally would opt for the 179. The 179 cm ski still offered good stability while also (unsurprisingly) being the quicker carver. So if you want this ski to really shine on corduroy, I think there is enough stability here to go with the shorter length if you find yourself between sizes.

The other thing to say is that, if the groomers you ski tend to be fairly short or fairly narrow, then I would definitely go shorter. The 186 needs a bit more room to run.

Here in Crested Butte, for off-piste skiing, I’ve preferred the longer 186, for the added surface area and stability on (and in) less-than-smooth snow. (Again, on smooth groomers, I’m quite happy with the 179s. But in off-piste weirdness, I’ll take the 186s, and the additional length never felt like a detriment, just added a bit of stability.)

Bottom Line

The Enforcer 88 is very, very much in line with the rest of the Enforcer series. It feels a bit stronger through the tail than the rest of the Enforcers, which makes good sense, since a ski of this width (and with the Enforcer name) ought to enable powerful carving. That said, the Enforcer 88 does not excel at carving hard on ice, so we do not regard it as a more specific, dedicated carver. Instead, it is one of the most versatile all-mountain 88mm-wide skis on the market that is relatively comfortable (given its width) in moguls, trees, chutes, chop and a bit of powder.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Enforcer 88 to see how it stacks up against the Nordica Enforcer 93, Blizzard Brahma, Folsom Spar 88, Head Monster 88 Ti, Black Crows Orb, Parlor Cardinal 90, Armada Invictus 89 Ti, Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, Salomon XDR 88 Ti, Liberty Evolv 90, K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, & Renoun Z-Line 90.

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17 comments on “2019-2020 Nordica Enforcer 88”

  1. This or the Brahma or the Pro Mtn 86, one of them will find its way into my garage by next season, or earlier!

    Question to Ed: Is it too late to return your 179 testers for some 186s?!

  2. Since I broke my Salomon X-Drive 8.8’s a couple of weeks ago – I’ve been searching for a competent replacement – will this be the one?

  3. The shape looks pretty similar to my original scott punisher, which I loved! I’m very much looking forward to read more about this ski.

  4. Hey team,
    When can we expect the full review? Still time in the Southern Hemisphere to consider this ski. Thanks!

  5. I’m still eagerly waiting for the full review that you hinted at in the newsletter a couple of weeks ago. Is it to be expected anytime soon?

  6. Great review. Everything you guys said made me happy I chose this as a modest-width “not just an unforgiving carver” addition to my quiver.

    Jonathan, any notes on mount point? I found moving to -1.5 on my E100s transformed them from a ski I liked a lot to a ski I absolutely love. That position just lets me stand in the middle of the ski and rail. On the factory line, I felt like I had to lean back for the ski to work correctly. Spoiler: I went -1.0 on the new 88s (which are impatiently waiting for one more good storm on Mt. Hood).

    • Thanks, Tom, and glad to hear that the ski sounds like a good fit for you.

      All my time on the 179s and 186s has been spent on the line. And FWIW, I never felt tempted to move back on the Enforcer 100s. But if you preferred the 100s mounted back 1.5, then I think it was probably a good call to go -1 on the Enforcer 88s. We’re definitely into very subjective territory here, but the Enforcer 88s, mounted on the line, still felt more ‘traditional’ / directional than progressive, so if I had to move off the line … I’m honestly not sure whether I’d be more inclined to move forward or move back. But given some other skis we’ll be testing in the near future, there will definitely be reason to be hopping back on the Enforcer 88s, and I’ll do some playing with the mount point. Till then, I look forward to hearing what you think of your -1 mount.

  7. After being out of skiing for 25 yrs and 70 yrs old, I jumped on the 88’s (179) and was blown away! Easy to carve small turns, very forgiving and a pleasant experience that will allow me to improve my performance without seeking a new ski.

  8. Great review! I have a pair of 179 cm. As a Mid Atlantic skier, I have narrower for around here and this will be my western vacation ski replacing my Bonafides. We have some good early snow so I think I will try them out at Holiday Valley in Western NY tomorrow!!

  9. I bought the Santa Ana 88 last February and have skied it in a huge variety of conditions in Utah and at Targhee. Everything you say about these skis is true. I have gained so much confidence off-piste with these skis, and as a lighter skier at 125 pounds, they are actually a lot of fun in powder because as you said, the tips don’t get hung up or sink. They also have me seeking out bumps, which as a self-described “intervanced” skier, have always been my nemesis. They are stable, easy to turn or smear, and will go as fast or slow as you want. Absolutely a one-ski quiver for a western skier.

    • Thanks for sharing your take, Amy!

      And I might need to steal that “intervanced” term of yours at some point… :)

  10. Thanks for the breakdown. I fell in love with the rodeo bulls in 2010 with the Bodacious wore that out wore out 2 pair of Bonafide, lucked into a new pair of LatiGo. When it was time for an 88 I went for the Brahma. Disappointed is what I felt. They’re fast damp nimble precise and SMOOTH. They don’t sideslip as readily as my older Blizzards and my off piste billygoating isn’t nearly as blissful. Enter the Enforcer 88, now we’re talking, that tail splay looks closer to my beloved Bonafides. Do these sideslip in the sketchy? I’m sure they’re better than the Brahma?
    This is key to my success, slipping into turns is all I’m capable of in the tight steep stuff we find so entertaining.

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