• 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
• 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.
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.