2nd Look: Nordica El Capo


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.

Brett Caroll reviews the Nordica El Capo, Blister Gear Review
Brett Carroll on the Nordica El Capo, Revelstoke. (photo by Carl Heath)

Bottom Line

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.



9 comments on “2nd Look: Nordica El Capo”

    • For sure. By neutral stance I mean that my weight is evenly distributed between the balls and heels of my feet, and that my center of gravity is directly over the middle of my foot.

  1. Hi!
    I’m a 210 ponds, 6 feet advanced skier and I’m wondering if I should go with the 185 or the 177 as they run long… I want them for skiing mostly in the north east ( lets say Jay Peak) the day after the storm on groomed, mogul field and tight trees…Any advice?

  2. Thank you (Brett and Jonathan) so much for your thoughtful, detailed and lucid comments on the El Capo. This was very influential in my decision to purchase these skis and i’ve enjoyed evey run down the slopes of Vail and Beaver Creek.
    There are many reviews of the El Capo, with an almost universal conclusion of ‘big and burly’. They all got it wrong. You guys got it right. Thank you!

  3. How do these compare with the Helldorado (which I own and love) ? I can get these for a steal and would love to have another mid-fat to switch out with the Helldo’s

  4. Hey, I was wondering if you or Jonathan have any experience on the Vagabond? I’m wondering how the El Capo compares to the Vagabond and which ski excels in different areas Specifically on groomers, in crud and in powder. Thanks!

  5. I have to say you guys are wrong about this ski at least from the way I have found them – they are great. I think too that Brett may have liked them more than he was saying. I really like them – maybe I was just lucky about the way I ski.

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