Ski: 2013-2014 Icelantic Da’Nollie, 180cm
Dimensions (mm): 118-88-118
Turn Radius: 20 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 177.2 cm
Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Griffon, DIN (9)
Mount Location: Core Center
Test Location: Arapahoe Basin
Days Skied: 2
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Da’Nollie, which is unchanged for 12/13 and 13/14, except for the graphics.]
It’s the beginning of May, and most other resorts in Summit County are closed for the season. But Arapahoe Basin, as usual, is still in full spring skiing mode. This past weekend, new BLISTER reviewer Andrew Gregovich and I had the chance to get on the Da’Nollie, Icelantic’s park ski. The BLISTER crew was given a few different models to test from the 2011/2012 lineup, but given spring conditions that catered towards groomers, park laps, and rail/box sessions, I found the Da’Nollie to be the ideal ride for the day.
Testing the skis’ swing weight out on the chair, the first thought I had was, “Damn these things are light.” Of course, lightweight is no real surprise with a typical park ski, so the real question was just how wishy-washy would they become on less than smooth terrain or a sketchy landing?
A couple runs down Knolls began to give me an answer. Heading left under the Norway lift, we encountered some hard, shallow crud. The snow was nothing unusual, but enough to test a narrower ski’s high speed stability on choppier terrain. The Da’Nollie didn’t motor through the stuff, and did get knocked around quite a bit, but felt surprisingly solid. I was making speedy GS turns through what looked like a groomed-over mogul course, on a fully cambered, CENTER MOUNTED park ski, and surviving!
Did the Da’Nollie feel burly? Absolutely not. “Charging” is not something these skis are designed to do. I found myself needing to scrub off quite a bit of speed during some chopped up run outs, as the skis felt like they were ready to rattle off my feet. But it’s important to understand that, comparatively, the Da’Nollie sits on the more stable end of the park ski spectrum. For example, I know for a fact, that hitting the same terrain and conditions on a pair of my old Line Chronics, (complete noodles in terms of flex) would have been a far sketchier endeavor.
After cutting back under the lift on to groomed snow, and with following runs down Ramrod and High-Noon, the Da’Nollies really won me over in the carving department. Their narrower width underfoot makes laying the ski over extremely easy, and with a conventional camber profile and symmetrical sidecut, edge hold is even and stable. I’m 6’2”, and the 180cm, 20m turn radius felt perfectly balanced to me, in that the ski is snappy and fun on groomers, but not so much that they are overly responsive or unpredictable in carving off a lip.
Heading over to the Treeline Terrain Park, I showed the De’Nollies some tables. While their lightness wasn’t terribly apparent in their performance through chop, it certainly was in the air. It’s no surprise that these things ski switch like a dream, with fully symmetrical dimensions and a center mount. Combine that with a light swing weight, and shifty-ed switch 1’s were as easy as they can be.
You won’t feel encumbered in the air on the Da’Nollie. But, if you do get a little bucked and back seat, as I did a few times, the skis’ very well balanced flex profile is there to help. To me, this is probably the most notable thing about the Da’Nollie. In my experience, a flex profile that is too stiff, or conversely, too buttery, can really hurt a park ski’s all around performance. I found the flex on the Da’Nollie to be soft enough to absorb a hard landing on the tails (without destroying my calves) and to forgive a less than perfect hand drag, but firm enough to keep the ski from washing out on a backseat landing or chattering at very high speeds.
An equally important component to any park ski is pop. The Da’Nolllie is built with what Icelantic is calling their “Nollie-Flex” core, which made high-speed tail presses and shifties a total blast while ripping down North-Fork. With a ski this poppy, any little bump in the run becomes fair game to jib.
If you’ve never skied a center mounted park ski in moguls, you should. Granted, the Da’Nollies offer a little different feel than a standard bump ski – the ski’s tail was a little more noticeable in the deeper troughs due to the forward mount. But, nonetheless, a few zipperline runs down Standard, Exhibition, and The Gulch were really fun. The skis’ center mount makes them super pivoty and extremely maneuverable in cresting each mogul.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough time hitting rails on the Da’Nollie. Andrew did, however, so he will be able to chime in and make some additional comments on the skis’ swing weight (as we ended our day with a quick backcountry kicker session up on Loveland Pass).
With a moderate, very well balanced flex profile, considerable pop, fully symmetrical dimensions, and some unique (kind of weird, mostly cool) graphics, I would expect this ski to become more and more popular. To anyone looking for a dedicated park ski to shred in early or late season, or on any day when charging through crud or chop is not the priority, do your self a favor and check out the Da’Nollie. During our testing on Sunday, the last thing I wanted to do was hand the skis over to Andrew; but in order to give you a second opinion, I had to.
Ok, Andrew, you’re up….