Ski: 2020-2021 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Summit County, Colorado
Days Skied: ~17
Available Lengths: 178, 184, 190 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 189.2 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2300 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2188 & 2190 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-110-131 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 138.5-110.0-131.2 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (190 cm): 23 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64 mm / 59 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4-5 mm
Core: Maple + Carbon Stringers + Quadraxial Fiberglass Laminate (custom options available)
Base: Sintered 4001 Durasurf
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -3.1 cm from center; 91.5 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Northwest 110, which was not changed for 20/21, apart from graphics.]
The brand-new Prior Northwest 100 & Northwest 110 earned our “Dying to Try It” award at Outdoor Retailer this past year. Why? Because they’re reportedly based on the Prior CBC, a ski that we think is an exceptional option for people looking for a freestyle ski with plenty of backbone for big drops and higher speeds.
But the CBC is also pretty wide at around 117 mm underfoot, which doesn’t make it a viable daily driver for most skiers.
So for 19/20, Prior is introducing the Northwest 100 & 110, which were inspired by the CBC but with more of a versatile, all-mountain focus. You can listen to our GEAR:30 podcast with Prior’s head ski and snowboard shaper for more info on the origin of the Northwest skis and Prior’s history, but here we’re going to take a closer look at the new Northwest 110.
What Prior says about the Northwest 100 & Northwest 110
“Designed as a one ski quiver, the Northwest came from Prior athlete and staff demands for a do-it-all ski. A versatile waist width allows the Northwest to rip a turn, float in powder and remain playful in all conditions. From charging cliffs to throwing down in the Black Park, the Northwest is our staff pick for a single ski in BC conditions. Build in carbon construction to save weight or Quad-Glass to instill confidence and a buttery smooth ride inbounds. Available in 100 & 110 underfoot.”
Prior is pretty clearly positioning the Northwest skis as all-mountain freestyle skis, and specifically talk about them as being ideal for the typical conditions in British Columbia. The skis are supposed to be playful enough to take to the terrain park, while being versatile enough to take out everywhere else.
We’re testing the 190 cm Northwest 110 and 184 cm Northwest 100 (First Look coming soon) in Prior’s Quad-Glass construction, which is their heavier, inbounds-oriented layup. Like all of Prior’s skis and boards, you can get the Northwest skis in their lighter carbon layup to decrease weight. For reference, Prior says the 190 cm Northwest 110 in their carbon “XTC” layup comes in at around 2060 grams per ski, while the Quad-Glass version comes in closer to 2200 grams per ski.
Shape / Rocker Profile
While it definitely shares some similarities with the CBC, the Northwest 110 has some notable differences when it comes to its shape.
First, the Northwest 110 is less symmetrical than the CBC, with a more significant difference between the width of the Northwest 110’s tips and tails (whereas the CBC is almost perfectly symmetrical).
The Northwest 110 also has a much less tapered shape. The CBC has deep tip and tail taper lines and its tips and tails taper significantly as you move to the ends of the ski. The Northwest 110 has a more moderate shape with shallower taper lines and more blunted, less “pointy” tip and tail shapes.
This all makes sense given that the CBC is designed specifically for slashing and spinning through powder (where lots of taper makes a ski feel loose and playful), while the Northwest 110 is designed to work in both soft and firm snow (where less taper equates to more effective edge for firm conditions).
Compared to other all-mountain freestyle skis, the Northwest 110’s shape falls on the less tapered end of the spectrum. It’s significantly less tapered than the K2 Marksman and J Skis Vacation, but more tapered than the Line Sir Francis Bacon and Faction Candide 3.0. Overall, the Northwest 110’s shape looks pretty similar to the ON3P Kartel 108 and Moment Deathwish (two skis we really like). Like most all-mountain-freestyle skis, the Northwest 110 has more tip and tail taper than many more traditional, more directional skis.
The Northwest 110’s rocker profile is basically identical to the CBC’s. Compared to other all-mountain-freestyle skis in its class, the Northwest 110 has a bit more rocker than most, but still not as much as the ON3P Kartel 108. The Northwest 110 falls in line with skis like the Armada ARV 106 and K2 Marksman when it comes to its rocker profile, and the Northwest 110 has significantly more tip and tail rocker than many similarly wide directional skis.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Northwest 110:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
This is one area where the Northwest 110 differs significantly compared to the Prior CBC and Husume. The CBC and Husume have very stiff flex patterns, and even the ends of their tips and tails don’t feel that much softer than the middle of the skis (which is fairly uncommon across the industry).
The Northwest 110 is still a strong ski, but its tips and tails are notably softer than the middle of the ski. Compared to most other all-mountain-freestyle skis, the Northwest 110 is still on the stiffer end of the spectrum — it’s really only the last ~15 cm of the ski that are fairly soft. And like other freestyle skis, the Northwest 110’s flex pattern is pretty round / symmetrical.
The Northwest 110’s softer tips and tails should make butters and presses easier than on the CBC, and the rest of the ski still feels like it’ll be strong enough to hold up to higher speeds and big airs. We’re eager to see if our predictions are accurate.
Like the CBC and other all-mountain freestyle skis like the ARV 106, Sir Francis Bacon, and Kartel 108, the Northwest 110 has a very progressive mount point of right around -3 cm from center. During our testing, we’ll be playing around with the mount point on the Northwest to see how it responds to different mount points and different skiing styles.
The other Prior skis we’ve tested with their Quad-Glass layup (CBC & Husume) came in pretty heavy. And the Northwest 110 is similar in this regard. Though, for its size, the Northwest is significantly lighter than the 188 cm, 109mm-wide Husume. This makes sense, given that the Husume is Prior’s big-mountain charger (where more weight is beneficial) and the Northwest 110 is more freestyle oriented (where a low swing weight is more important).
Compared to other all-mountain freestyle skis, the 190 cm Northwest 110 falls on the heavier end and comes in at a weight that’s similar to the 186 cm ON3P Kartel 108 and 188 cm Armada ARV 106Ti.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. And as always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1875 & 1881 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20)
1910 & 1919 Prior Northwest 100, 184 cm (19/20)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1941 & 1994 Faction Candide 3.0, 186 cm (18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1980 & 2019 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (15/16–19/20)
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)
2042 & 2105 Line Mordecai, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (16/17–18/19)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2113 & 2121 Moment Meridian 107, 187 cm (16/17–19/20)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
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)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (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) One of our big questions is just how similar the Northwest 110 will feel compared to the CBC?
(2) 110mm-wide skis can vary a lot — some feel like dedicated pow skis, while others are great on firm snow. So we’re curious to see how well the Northwest 110 will handle deep, soft snow as well as firmer, less forgiving conditions.
(3) The Northwest 110 has a playful-looking shape & rocker profile and combines that with a pretty strong flex pattern and heavier weight. Many of us at Blister tend to get along well with skis that are both playful and stable, so just how playful and how stable will the Northwest 110 feel compared to the rest of the market?
(4) The Northwest 110 has a very progressive mount point and a pretty symmetrical rocker profile & shape. So will directional skiers still get along with it, or should it really only be considered by skiers looking to spin, ski switch, etc.?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Just based on its specs, the new Prior Northwest 110 looks like a very interesting addition to the all-mountain-freestyle category. It’s got much of what you’d expect from a freestyle-oriented ski: a nearly symmetrical shape & rocker profile, progressive mount point, and round flex pattern. But it also adds some elements that are less common, like its relatively stout flex and heavier weight. We’re getting the Northwest 110 and Northwest 100 on snow as soon as possible, so stay tuned for updates.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Northwest 110 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.
Last year we were very excited about some new skis from Prior — the Northwest series. Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 145 lbs) and I (5’8″, 155 lbs) loved the powder- and freestyle-oriented Prior CBC, but it was a pretty wide ski that we wouldn’t want to break out on a super regular basis. The Northwest 100 & 110 looked like they could offer much of what we loved about the CBC in a more all-mountain-oriented package, and after spending a lot of time on the Northwest 110, we have not been disappointed.
Quick Note: 19/20 Northwest 110 vs. 20/21 Northwest 110
Prior is making one subtle change to the Northwest 110 for 20/21 — they’re making the ends of it a bit stiffer. Hand-flexing the new ski at Outdoor Retailer, the flex difference felt subtle, but noticeable. I’d want to hand-flex the new and old Northwest 110 before making a final claim, but from memory, I’d say its tips and tails are now in the “7” range on our flex scale, with the shovels moving closer to the 7.5 or 8 range. As we’ll get into below, I think this could be a minor, but potentially very positive change.
One other note: Prior is making a Northwest 116 for the 20/21 season, and we’re very excited about it. We’ll post a First Look if / when we are able to get on it.
At 110 mm underfoot and in the 190 cm length we reviewed, Sam and I have had very few complaints about the Northwest 110 in fresh snow. The ski has planed predictably in up to around a foot of snow that we got it in, with no unusual tip dive.
One thing to point out right away is the Northwest 110’s recommended mount point. At around -3 cm from true center, it’s very far forward, and unsurprisingly, encourages a more neutral, centered stance. Really trying to drive its shovels through deep snow from that recommended line was doable, but it seemed as if the ski wanted to gently shift my stance back to the center of the ski.
Moving the mount point back 2 cm (around -5 cm from true center) changed this a bit — I could ski it with more pressure on the front. But overall, regardless of mount point, this is a ski that feels best when bouncing through pow with a more centered stance. And when you do that, it’s a ton of fun.
The Northwest 110 has a fairly deep tip rocker line and a nearly identical tail rocker line, both of which make it easy and surfy in soft snow. It’s not a super tapered ski like the Prior CBC and it isn’t class-leading in terms of just how easily you can throw it sideways, but we never found ourselves really struggling to get the ski to drift and spray some snow up in our faces. For a 110mm-wide, freestyle-oriented ski, we have few complaints about how well the Northwest 110 handles deeper snow.
This was what I was most excited to ski on the Northwest 110, because skis like it, with fairly heavy weights but a lot of rocker and progressive mount points, tend to be extremely fun in soft, choppy conditions. And the Northwest 110 is.
Compared to other freestyle-oriented skis in this width, the 190 cm Northwest 110 definitely falls on the more stable end of the spectrum. It does a good job of blasting through soft patches of snow and its heavier weight helps give it a nice, composed feeling at speed. I don’t think those who love directional chargers that are very heavy, stiff, and have very rearward mount points will find the Northwest 110 to feel ultra stable. But for those coming from other freestyle-oriented skis, I think the Northwest 110 could give you the confidence to hit that one drop that always has a cut-up in-run or runout. This ski feels great when skiing fast in soft snow.
What’s also nice is that the Northwest 110 does not need to be skied fast. It’s happy to slide and surf around, whether that’s your main goal for the day or you just need to be able to do that when you end up going too fast and need to shut things down — fast.
We mentioned above that Prior is stiffening up the Northwest 110 for 20/21, and soft chop is the area where I think that’d help the most. There have been a few times while mobbing through choppy snow where I felt as though the Northwest 110’s shovels were folding a bit, particularly when I was trying to ski it with a more forward stance or landed an air a bit more forward of center. I think those who ski with a more centered stance or who tend to ski chop more conservatively will not find this to be an issue, but I think the 20/21 Northwest 110 might be worth waiting on for more directional skiers seeking a more playful ski to add to their quiver (or just ask Prior to make a custom version with a slightly stiffer flex pattern than the 19/20’s). I was still happily skiing the Northwest 110 quite fast in soft chop, but I think I’d be able to ski the stiffer version even harder.
Firm Chop / Crud
While the Northwest 110 wouldn’t be our top pick for using when it hasn’t snowed in a while or there’s a freeze / thaw cycle, it performs quite well in crappy snow.
The Northwest 110 offers very nice suspension, doing a good job of not transmitting every inconsistency in the snow directly to your feet and legs. Especially in the class of ~110mm-wide freestyle skis, the Northwest 110 is very predictable and feels pretty stable on rough, firm snow.
As with most skis this wide, the Northwest 110 will put a bit more stress on your knees and joints in these conditions vs. a narrower ski, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for its width. And what I love about the Northwest 110 is how easy and predictable it is when skidding turns. If the snow is really that bad, there’s a good chance I’m not gonna be making huge turns, and instead sliding and shedding speed where I need to keep things in control. The Northwest 110 is great for that — it’s super easy to release from a turn and its heavier weight means that skidding turns on rough snow doesn’t result in a bone-rattling chatter fest.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
The 190 cm Northwest 110 is a pretty big ski and its -3 cm recommended mount point means that there’s a lot of tail behind you. But it also has a lot of rocker, a moderate flex pattern, and fairly tapered shape. All of those factors come into play in tight spots.
Overall, the Northwest 110 is very easy to pivot and slash through bumps, trees, etc. This ski feels far from “locked in.” It also has a pretty round flex pattern with a tail that’s fairly accepting of backseat skiing (the 20/21 version might be a touch more punishing, but I doubt it’ll buck you right away if you lean on its tails).
On the other hand, this is still a pretty long ski with a lot of tail, and I found myself having to get my weight a bit more over the front of the ski to keep its tails from getting hung up. If the bumps or trees were more spaced out than the length of the ski, this wasn’t a big problem and I could ski it pretty neutral. But in very tight bumps and trees, a bit more focus is required to get over the front of the ski and unweight the tails.
The good news is that, more than in deep snow, you can drive the Northwest 110 through the front. You definitely do not need to be over its shovels all the time, but I also never found myself feeling like I was going over the handlebars on the Northwest 110 in tight and / or steep terrain. Also, moving the bindings a couple cm behind the recommended line made the Northwest 110 feel a bit more maneuverable and less demanding in bumps and trees.
In terms of swing weight, the Northwest 110 feels about average for its actual weight. I wouldn’t call the 190 cm version particularly quick or nimble, but it’s also not punishing and if you’re used to skis around that length, I highly doubt you’d find it to feel particularly cumbersome or difficult in tight spots.
The Northwest 110 is a pretty good carver, at least for how wide and rockered it is. It’s pretty easy to get on edge and holds an edge well compared to other similarly wide and rockered skis. Its 23-meter stated sidecut radius feels pretty accurate on snow — this is not a slalom ski, but can make just about any turn shape GS-size and larger.
As you might’ve guessed, the Northwest 110 carves best from a moderately forward / slightly centered stance, rather than bending the crap out of its shovels. Overall, the Northwest 110 isn’t mind-blowing on groomers, but it’s certainly not scary. For a 110mm-wide freestyle ski, the Northwest 110 is perfectly fine on groomers, unless they’re pure ice (where you’d likely need to resort to a controlled skid, rather than a hard carve).
We’ve already touched on this, but just a quick note on mount point. If you’re coming from freestyle skis with pretty centered mount points, I think the Northwest 110’s recommended -3 cm line is perfect. If you’re used to skis with more rearward mount points, I wouldn’t hesitate to move the bindings back a few cm. The ski still felt great at -1 and -2 cm from the recommended line, and I don’t think going back to -6 cm from true center would be an issue if you prefer to ski with a more forward, driving stance. If you think you need to go even farther back, I think you’re likely looking at the wrong ski, as there are many options that are better suited to directional skiers.
It’s a playful ski!
The Northwest 110 is loose and surfy, it feels super balanced (whether in the air or on the snow), it skis switch really well, it’s pretty energetic, and it encourages a centered, balanced stance. Oh, and it’s great on landings, too.
The one downside to the Northwest 110’s playfulness is what I also think makes it so fun in choppy and cruddy conditions — its weight. This is not a super light ski (especially in the 190 cm length), so it requires a bit more effort to get around for spins or when quickly bashing down a mogul line. But if you prioritize stability over a low swing weight, I doubt this will be an issue. The Northwest 110 isn’t the ski for those trying to see how many spins they can get around in one air, it’s for those who want to see how big they can send that air without worrying about what’s in front of or after it.
Who’s It For?
Intermediate through expert skiers who ski with a playful style — seeking out natural airs, slashing windlips, and going through the park on the way back to the lift — but who want a stable ski that can do all of that at pretty high speeds.
If the word “playfulness” isn’t near the top or even on your list of priorities for a ski, you can remove the Northwest 110 from the conversation. For those who just want to ski fast or who really value precision and stability at speed in all conditions, you’d be better off on a ski with a more rearward mount point and less rocker. On the flip side, if the word “playfulness” is at the very top of your priority list, bolded and in all caps, it might be worth looking at lighter and softer options (see the “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide). The Northwest 110 is not the best ski for mobbing down the fall line with a forward stance, nor is it the easiest to whip around in the air or bend into butters.
But for those many people who fall between, the Northwest 110 warrants consideration. It offers nice suspension on rough snow and very good stability in chop, yet it still feels great in the air and is easy to slash around at slower speeds. And while it encourages a balanced, centered stance, moving the bindings back a bit lets you drive the shovels when needed. On top of that, it handles a wide range of conditions with predictability, including everything from early morning corduroy to deep snow. We think it’d be a great pow ski for people who don’t often get 12”+ storms, or a daily driver for people who rarely ski very icy snow.
Just as we’d hoped, the Prior Northwest 110 brings much of what we came to love about their CBC and packages it into a more versatile package that we think could make a lot of playful skiers very happy. It’s pretty stable at high speeds, yet playful at slow ones, and doesn’t feel out of place in most snow conditions. For playful skiers who want to go fast, it should be on your list.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Northwest 110 to see how it compares to the Prior CBC, ON3P Jeffrey 108, K2 Reckoner 112, ON3P Woodsman 108, Moment Wildcat 108, Icelantic Nomad 105, Moment Deathwish, Blizzard Rustler 11, Kye Shapes Metamorph, Nordica Enforcer 110, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, Black Crows Atris, & Faction Prodigy 4.0.