2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado


The tip profile of the Patron and Helldorado is also worth discussing.


Nordica Helldorado, 185cm
Nordica Helldorado, 193cm

As you can see on the left side of the picture, the tip of the Helldorado / Patron / La Niña doesn’t curve up much. The rocker line—the point at which the traditional camber underfoot ends and the rockered tip begins—is pretty normal for today’s tip- and tail-rockered skis, but the very end of the tip itself remains quite straight; it doesn’t curl up.

Plus, as I’ve mentioned, the tip is very soft. So soft, in fact, that when you are clicked into these skis, you can take a ski pole and push the tip of the Patron or Helldorado all the way to the ground, so that the entire tip is flush to the snow, flat as a pancake. We’ve got a lot of skis around BLISTER HQ, and I haven’t found another ski with a tip that will pancake like that.

Like most skis with soft, rockered tips, the Patron and Helldorado exhibit a good bit of chatter at speed—quite a lot, actually. But that isn’t a big deal, and many great skis do the same. But unlike other skis, when that tip gets vibrating and undulating up and down, there are moments where this ski will pancake and dive rather than plane in variable snow, and stab bumps rather than rise up over them.

On the High Traverse at Alta, Jason speared a bump more than once and went over the handlebars, and he and I both ended up with a number of instances of tip dive in variable snow and tip spearing in bumped-up terrain.

Jason Hutchins on the Nordica Patrón, Alta Ski Area.
A good shot of the Patrón’s tips. Jason Hutchins, Alta Ski Area.

Again, skiing the 185 Helldorado a few weeks ago during a 35-inch storm at Alta, I really hadn’t felt any of this. But now, coming down Lone Pine and Stone Crusher in 10” of chopped snow, those low-profile tips made it difficult to turn. The tips didn’t get up over the snow and plane, they needed to slice across and through the dense chop, which made the action a bit jerky, and I had to fight to stay out of the backseat.

The day after Alta closed, Joe Augusten and I headed over to Snowbird to see how the 193 Helldorado handled high-speed Cirque laps. On that day, conditions were best on Great Scott and Silver Fox (some beautiful spring light slush), so we basically lapped those lines for the better part of a day.

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.


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