I contemplated for a moment whether it was going to be worth heading back up the Marte chair, then thankfully decided to head back up. Upon reaching the top, once again I was greeted by a friendly Las Leñas Ski Patroller who through a mixture of Spanish and hand gestures signaled they had just opened the upper front face of the mountain from Eduardo to Mercurio. I was stoked since this portion of the mountain had been closed for the past few days because of the “slide-for-life” snow conditions.
As I made my way over to Variante Eduardo, however, it started to sink in that I was on a 97mm underfoot, fairly short and playful ski. I started to question the skis’ ability to handle what I may be getting myself into. I proceeded slowly into the steep, narrow upper section of Eduardo and was greeted with perfect spring snow. I quickly gained confidence in the Soul Rider and starting ripping short and quick turns down this lightly moguled section.
Veering left into Variante Eduardo, the slope eased and opened up while the corn gradually became deeper. Still gaining confidence in the skis, I slowly opened up the turns until I was full-on flying down the mountain, leaving Super G tracks behind. Much like at slower speeds on the groomers, I could control the turn radius by softly feathering the edge angle and smearing the shape of turn I wished. In these conditions, the Soul Rider’s tip rocker and moderate flex gave me confidence I wouldn’t stuff a dip when encountering the random soft spot. When I reached the bottom, I realized I had just completed one of the best runs of the trip. I went top to bottom without stopping, had super fun tight turns on the upper steep section, and raced “mach loony” the remainder of the run over perfect corn. I was all smiles. (Thank you, Mr. Ski Patroller!)
I quickly started making my way back to Marte for another lap, running into Jonathan and Ryan along the way and making them tag along. Lap 2 was equally as fun, and the Soul Riders proved their prowess on run 1 wasn’t a fluke. With the sun getting low, we called it a day and made our way to the Innsbrook for a pre-dinner snack, which, as usual, involved Torta.
After this single day on the Soul Rider, I am most inclined to reference one of my favorite skis of the past, the 09/10 K2 Kung Fujas. I loved that ski because it was a blast everywhere on the hill, including groomers, trees, park, and steep technical lines. Of course with its size, length, and flex, it had limitations, but all skis do in one way or another; it’s about knowing them. The Soul Rider reminds me of that ski, only better. The skis share a very similar rocker profile, with the Soul Rider being a little bit wider, especially in the tip, and having a slightly firmer and more progressive flex. Overall, the Soul Rider offered a ride that instilled more confidence skiing all over the mountain.
One aspect I can’t comment on, or compare at this time, is the Soul Rider’s jumping abilities. As usual, I can’t wait to give them a twirl in the air to see how they feel. I did have trouble nose pressing the skis at the given mount location. With more time, I will play around with the mount (moving forward and back) to see how that affects various aspects of the skis’ performance.
Jason’s Bottom Line:
My time on the Soul Rider is obviously very limited, but they have made a very strong first impression. If you are looking for a ~100mm underfoot, poppy, twin-tipped, all-mountain ski that feels very comfortable on both very firm and soft snow, I already feel the Soul Rider should be near the top of your list.
See Jason Hutchins’ Update on the Nordica Soul Rider
NEXT: WILL BROWN’S IMPRESSIONS
The Soul Rider looks like a promising ski for those hunting for a do-it-all twin-tip. It's been around for a season, but we think it's got a shot to end up among our one-ski quiver selections.
The Nordica Ace of Spades is stable, quick, agile, and rips big park features, but isn't quite as poppy or playful as some other park skis.
At 185cm, the women's-specific Nordica La Niña is extremely versatile considering its size, and enough fun to make Julia Van Raalte finally use the F-word: "Favorite."