Jonathan describes the El Capo as being “snappy and fun” on groomers. While I agree that they are fun and do perform fairly well on groomers, I would describe them a bit differently.
I didn’t find the El Capo to be especially “snappy” or “poppy,” but rather damp. I felt like the skis provided an incredibly smooth ride, and it was easy to link turns without forcing me to absorb much rebound from the skis at the end of each turn.
Also if we are talking pure carved turns, where you lay the skis on edge at the beginning of the turn and allow the ski’s sidecut to arc around without any skidding or smearing, these skis prefer to make larger GS turns. But when making turns that most skiers, experts included, make on groomers (smearing the top half of the turn before allowing the edges to hook up for the bottom half), the El Capos will be equally happy making quick slalom turns.
Lastly, I found the El Capos to struggle holding an edge once conditions start to reach the “boilerplate” end of the spectrum. They can definitely arc clean, fast turns on softer groomers, but I found that my edges would slide out when I hit patches of firmer snow.
Who’s The El Capo For?
I agree with each of Jonathan’s three suggestions as to who would enjoy riding the El Capos, and would like to add three more of my own:
1) Skiers who prefer a neutral stance, where they weight the balls and heels of their feet evenly, as opposed to skiers who prefer to ski with a forward stance and drive through the shovels of their skis.
2) Skiers who alter the shape of their turns to match the terrain and prefer to ski more precisely rather than blast fast GS turns through everything.
3) Skiers who are looking for a more soft snow-oriented all mountain ski, that can handle just about any condition, but is most at home in powder and soft chop.
The Nordica El Capo is a ski that will appeal to advanced and expert skiers who prefer a neutral stance, are looking for a fairly damp, smooth ride, but who are also looking for versatility in terms of turn shape.
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