2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado

But not so much.

Somewhat surprisingly, the metaled up and murdered out Helldorado doesn’t feel much stiffer than the Patrón—we’d estimate about 10-15% stiffer. The Helldorado certainly is heavier (the 193cm Helldorado weighs a pound per ski more than the 193cm Patrón), but it doesn’t feel or ski much stifferand the balance issues of the Patrón in variable conditions persisted with the Helldorado.

(There is an interesting parallel here between the Patron / Helldorado and the Rossignol S7 / Super 7. The Super 7 felt heavier, but not much stiffer than the S7….)

Skiing long bump lines down High Rustler, for example, I couldn’t open up the Helldorado and simply let them run. When I did, I was all over the place. I had to dial back my speed and ski more deliberately, and things became far more manageable. This is an important point: if you aren’t going to be skiing at pedal-to-the-floor speeds in variable conditions anyway, then this is less of a concern, but it never exactly became a non-issue for Jason or me. But if you are only gunning it in consistent terrain and conditions, you will probably like this ski quite a bit.

After a number of runs getting bucked around pretty good, I swapped out to the 190 Bibby Pro to get a sense of whether it was me, or whether it was the ski. But the Bibby Pro was much more stable and capable in the heavy, wet chop of Eagle’s Nest and the more firm chop of lower Regal.

SOME FLEX COMPARISONS: Helldorado & Patrón + Bibby Pro + … Sir Francis Bacon?

The last six inches of the tail of the Helldorado are quite soft. They are on the Bibby Pro, too.

But on the Helldorado, the next 6-10 inches forward feel almost as soft , whereas the Bibby begins to ramp up in stiffness, and is much stiffer than either the Patron or Helldorado.

Once you get about a 12″ behind the boot, there is a hinge point where the Helldorado then goes from very soft to very stiff (stiffer than the Bibby Pro), and that stiffness of the ski continues for about a foot in front of the boot.

For another point of reference, the 184cm, 108mm-waisted LINE Sir Francis Bacon hand flexes stiffer through the tail than the Helldorado. (If you had to wager $100 on which ski has the stiffer tail, would anybody have bet on the Bacon?)

This is one of the main reasons why the Helldorado is much more difficult in bumped-up terrain or variable conditions, and part of where the balance issue comes from: If and when you get pushed to the back seat, the soft tails don’t offer enough support to nudge you forward; if you fall back, you will keep falling back.

(Jason noted the difficulty of trying to tail ollie on the Patron and Helldorado—the skis don’t give a whole lot back, whereas the camber and stiffness underfoot unmistakably provide a ton of energy and rebound.)

While it might seem counterintuitive, I think that stiffening up the tail of the Patron and the Helldorado a bit would actually make them more forgiving. The Bibby Pro is my evidence for this: a more gradual, graduated flex profile—from a soft tail to a gradual, increasingly stiff move toward the center of the ski—creates a pretty large balance spot.

Just to be clear, I’m not trying to turn the Helldorado or Patron into some super stiff, incredibly demanding, absolutely unplayful rocketship, I’d just like to reduce that balance issue and increase their stability.

28 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.

    • 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.

    Cheers.

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