2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado

Review of the Nordica Helldorado and Patron, Blister Gear Review
14/15 Nordica Helldorado


• 2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado, sizes 185cm and 193cm

• 2015-2016 Nordica Patrón, sizes 185cm and 193cm

Dimensions (mm): 143-113-132, for all of the skis listed

Sidecut Radius:

• 185cm Patrón & Helldorado—18.5m

• 193cm Patrón & Helldorado—21.0m

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 183.5cm and 192.3cm, respectively

Weight Per Ski:

• 193 Helldorado—2,707 grams / 5.97 lbs.

• 193 Patron—2,476 grams / 5.46 lbs.

Boots / Binding: Tecnica Bodacious / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: 185 = on the line; 193 = -1

Test Location: Alta Ski Area

Days Skied: 8 on the 193cm Patrón and Helldorado; 1 on the 185cm Patrón; 4 on the 185cm Helldorado

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 version of the Helldorado, which was not changed for the 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16 seasons, except for the graphics.]

On a bluebird day at Alta about a year ago, Will Brown and I each spent some time on the 185cm Nordica Patrón. Alta had picked up 20″ in the previous 24 hours, and the conditions were ridiculously good.

But because neither of us was able to get more than a handful of runs on the ski, we didn’t post a review. (We’ll say it again: A couple of runs on a ski or a bike or a snowboard isn’t enough time to assess what the product really can or can’t do.) But we were both left with the impression that the Patrón was a very interesting ski that performed well on that 20-inch day, and was outstanding on the groomers back to the lift.

At the time, both Will and I had been skiing the 184cm Moment Bibby Pro quite a bit, and we felt that the Patrón compared very favorably: The Patrón seemed like a more damp Bibby that was at least as good (if not better) on hardpack. So coming into the 11/12 season, the Patrón was high on our list of skis we wanted to get more time on.

Then, for 12/13, Nordica created the “Helldorado” using the same mold as the Patrón and adding two sheets of titanal. (Nordica also used that Patrón mold to create a women’s version of the Patrón that is 25% lighter—and Blister reviewer Julia Van Raalte was totally impressed with the La Niña.)

Jason Hutchins and I have been putting time in on the Patrón and the Helldorado, and because so many people have asked about these two skis, we’re glad to be able to finally weigh in.

My first day on the 185cm Helldorado happened to coincide with Alta receiving a fresh 35″. Nothing about this day sucked.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Alta Ski Area, Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Nordica Helldorado, Keyhole, Alta Ski Area.

Normally, I would opt for a bigger ski on such a deep day (the following day, I skied the 120mm underfoot Rossignol Squad 7, and the day after that, I skied the DPS Lotus 138, at 138mm underfoot), but at no point in the day did I feel like I was missing out on the fun of an even fatter ski. The Helldorado obviously wasn’t as surfy as a 132mm Praxis Protest or the DPS Lotus 138, but it wasn’t struggling.

The snow wasn’t super light blower that day, but it was light, and I wasn’t experiencing any significant tip dive. It was one of the best kind of days on skis, where the skis just sort of disappear, do everything you want them to, and allow you to enjoy one of the best days of the season.

In hindsight, the fact that a 113mm, 185cm ski with a good amount of metal worked this well on such a deep day should have clued me in to a potential issue, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

31 comments on “2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado”

  1. Fantastic review. I was hoping the Helldorado was going to be a DPS W112 with Katana-like construction/flex profile. Those are my two favorite skis, and I’d love for them to procreate.

  2. hmm, interesting. I had no issues with these skis in variable, PNW snow. If I was staying in OR/WA next year I’d probably pick up a pair.

    • Possibly, Dave. Though Jason Hutchins and I had pretty identical experiences on the Patrons and Helldorados, and I’m 5’10, 185 lbs., and Jason is 6’0″, 160 lbs.

      BTW, If you click on the author’s name at the top of each review, you’ll be taken to the author’s bio page that provides each reviewer’s height, weight, background, and more.

  3. did you guys already have some time on the K2 Pettitor ? I’m not a big K2 lover but this could potentially be a good ski.

  4. How would you compare the patron vs the atomic automatic in a 186? Both look super awesome and from what I hear people seem to like both. I live in CO and ski all over the Rockies and have skied brands from Icelantic( shaman) to the atomic access so looking for a recomindation between the two skies listed above.

  5. I’m a 5’8 Male 145lbs, like to ski steeps, tight trees, and rail groomers. I mostly ski out West (Tahoe, UT, CO). I’ve been looking at the Patrons, Helldorados, and Unleashed Hells. Would you have any recommendations of which ski would be better? Also, I was thinking of going 177 length, a little unsure about going longer. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Have you guys tried the Nordica Radict? Demoed them yesterday –a charging powder ski for sure. Made the bibby pro I took out in the afternoon seem like a noodle! Holds an edge and surfs the powder. Only downside is they are heavy.

  7. the guy in the green need the inside of his boots raised up. His q angle is way off, and probably causing some of the issues in variable snow on a very turny ski.

    Julia is aligned and I think that why she like this ski better.

  8. Has anyone tried to mount a pair of Patrons behind the “classic” line. I picked up a pair because I really like the Katana but wanted something more playful and fun. There is a lot to like about the Patron and my first impressions was that it looked like a very nicely built and finished ski, really impressive. I also had a similar experience to just about everyone else on groomers. Quick for a ski of its size and great edge hold. But what I absolutely could not adjust to was the mounting point. Even at the furthest back “classic” line I had way to much tail for my tastes. When I held the ski up to my Shiros and Katanas of the same length (skis I thought the Patron might replace, btw) it looked like I was maybe 2 inches further forward. Inches, not centimeters! Granted, I could stand to maybe mount my Katanas +1 but still . . .

    Having read every review I could get my hands on before purchasing these, I don’t recall seeing a single post about mounting these behind the classic line. I generally don’t like doing this in the first place because being behind the sidecut usually sucks. I’d be particularly concerned with this ski given the soft tail.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with many of your ski reviews….but not this one. I find the Helldo to be very easy to ski in crud/chop. The soft tips absorb a lot of bumps and don’t transmit it back to the rest of the ski, letting me fly through uneven terrain.

    • My thoughts exactly. That’s the one thing I enjoy most about this ski, can fly through chop and variable conditions like I never have before. So stable and damp yet playful at the same time, the tips act like shocks on a car or something, absorbing the bumps and crud yet staying pretty damn solid under foot. Always thought it was strange the Blister guys experienced these issues.

    • Same. I’ve never experienced such a seamless combination of solidity and predicatibility in chop and quickness elsewhere as I have on the Helldorados…compared to something like the Dynastar Cham 117, whose tips seem to want to skitter in every direction and deflect on everything. I also have no problems with the tails being supportive in back-seat situations…maybe I’m not getting thrown far enough in the back seat to really test that.

      I wonder if Nordica did in fact make some changes to the ski’s tip/tail construction after the original review?

      • I’d love to learn that Nordica made some changes to the tip and tail, though they certainly haven’t said anything to us about it. If the tips and tails had a more progressive / less abrupt flex pattern to them, it would seem like these skis would be money. Or rather, if you guys are skiing pairs that DO have a more progressive / less abrupt flex pattern to the tips and tails, then I understand why / how you’re enjoying them so much.

        • Dead on review. Very similar experience with my 2013 Patrons. Simply too soft in tip and tail and too flat in front to handle variable snow conditions, particularly at speed. Seemingly no progression in flex. A miss for Nordica, in my opinion. Much prefer my 193 Automatics. More rise in the tip and just enough metal in the tip and tail (and no where else) to allow you to ski it in all conditions.

    • I’m on the 12/13 model which is what you reviewed….I can similarly push the tips all the way to the snow with ease, so probably the same ski.

      I was previously on the 12/13 Line Influence 115, agree with your review there – that ski tends to work you in chop, and was difficult to really charge on with much confidence. I felt the 115 was almost the opposite flex pattern to the helldorado – stiffer in the tip/tail, and a little (too) soft under foot. The stiff tips didn’t absorb much energy and tended to go where ever they wanted, taking the rest of the ski with them. In anything but total blower pow, I found the tips had a tendancy to dive abruptly, and the rest of the ski would go with them.

      On the Helldo by comparison, those soft tips don’t drive the ski, they seem to be there for float and bump absorbtion, while the real power and balance of the ski is in the cambered section. I’d agree that I’d want a touch more stiffness in total cement, but don’t get a ton of that out here in Montana. Maybe it all comes down to skier style.

  10. Thanks for the review. You write that the helldorado 193 was mounted at -1. Does that mean -1 from the back line and -7 from true center? Do you have any comment on that mount? Some other reviews i have seen suggest a more forward mount at -5 from true center.

  11. I’ve skied both the Patron and the Helldorado 14/15 in everything but deep blower and gotta say best mid fats ever skied. The Helldorado is my choice 6’2″, 210lbs, 193. No problems eating up PNW cut crud at Mach, tight trees, steep icy groomers. Never had an Alta day on them, but I did manage the Alpenglow from 82-85.. Maybe it’s just a style thing. Skied a Rossi FP 207 in those days when all skis sucked!

  12. I just bought a pair of helldorado’s per reading your reviews. They need to create a new category all mountain powder skies. I skied them for 2 days at killington day 1 groomers , mogels, ne powder (ice) high speed and low speed. Day 2 3″ of fresh powder (I know people are laughing but you take what you get). The ski was awesome in all aspects. Off to Switzerland in two days and these skis will be in my bag. My new favorite ski.

  13. Update
    just got back from Switzerland and skied in 1.3 meters of snow. The helldorados,s preformed like Mohamed Ali. They floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. What a tremendous powder ski!

  14. Hey, I bought a pair of these last year and had the bindings mounted on the center line because I assumed that this was the factory recommendation. I ski Groomers and side country about 50/50. I was wondering, is it worth remounting the bindings closer to the classic line?

    It’s weird that I can’t seem to find any information about this ski’s specific mounting points considering it is sold as a flat.


    • Hey, Andrew, I’m curious what you decided about moving the mount back. I’ve just got a pair mounted at center and expect to remount on the classic line. If you moved back, did you experience any fore-aft instability issues due to soft tail?

  15. Jonathan;
    Great review, I have two pair of the Helldrado 185, and consider them a one ski quiver!! I found that setting the binding 3/4 inch forward of the powder line is the sweet spot for me. I am 200lbs and 6 ft. I do drive them hard and get harassed by my daughter for skiing the so close together, No problem with any depth of powder or hard pack. I ski bump runs under control but on the edge and the ski handles it perfect , if I get tired then I get thrown back on them , all technique related,lol.
    Pro’s find your sweet spot I use adjustable Marker Griffin and the ski will do it all
    Con’s Heavy when traveling and if you ski them to close you can shred the top skin. lol
    Glad I have two pair one now rock ski’s the other getting old but in great shape

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