Looking to next year’s skis, we’re seeing a lot of growth in the 100-110 waisted all mountain ski category. One of the shop favorites so far is the Nordica Vagabond, a 107 mm underfoot ski that got Jim and Phil re-thinking ski widths for next year.
Editor’s Note: The Nordica Vagabond Blem is now only $299! Click Here.
Over the last few years, skis around 98 mm underfoot have been our favorite “quiver of one” skis for Tahoe and other western ski areas where you might split your time between groomers and off-piste.
But the Nordica Vagabond is a solid daily driver ski contender for western skiers, thanks to its surprising on-piste performance that doesn’t give anything up in the powder or crud.
With no metal and an I-Core stringer to reduce weight, this ski definitely registers on the light and lively side of the scale vs. heavy and damp powerful skis out there, but it’s no wimp. One of our testers, normally leery of skis with no metal, said the Vagabond had surprising pop out of each turn, saying “for a metal-less ski, it has a surprisingly confident ride.”
Railing big GS style turns on firm snow, the large cambered section hooked up and dug trenches surprisingly well for a ski this wide. An on-paper 25 meter turning radius would suggest it wouldn’t do so well with quick turns, but here’s where light and lively come back in to play, along with the tip rocker and a slight rise and taper in the tail. Quick to initiate into a turn and quick to release out – it did well with just about anything at the WWSRA demo day at Alpine Meadows on Firm Snow.
In a foot-plus of fresh powder, one tester spent the day at Sugar Bowl seeking out untracked stashes and bashing through crud back to the lift, even doing a little out-of-bounds hiking with the Nordica Vagabond. The tip rocker kept the ski planing so well the tester didn’t miss fatter powder skis, and the relatively straight sidecut didn’t feel hooky in chopped up snow. Overall the ski seemed to attain the difficult-to-find balance between stability and fun.
Overall, our testers were amazed at both how versatile and how nimble the Nordica Vagabond is. It successfully walks the fine line between stiffness, width, weight and shape that makes it a great choice for skiers who like the feel of a wider ski off-piste but don’t want to give up much on firm snow groomer days.
It’s also a strong contender for a backcountry ski, thanks to those characteristics – through on some Dynafits and go deep into the mountains, or throw on some Marker Dukes/Barons/Tours and ski it in-bounds and out.
Nordica Vagabond Stats:
Turning Radius: 25 M
Here’s a discussion on the Vagabond over at EpicSki: http://www.epicski.com/t/119311/review-2014-nordica-vagabond