2017-2018 Nordica Soul Rider 87, 185 cm
Available Lengths: 169, 177, 185 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.4
Stated Dimensions: 124-87-114
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 124-86-114
Blister’s Measured Weight: 2039 & 2017 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 18.6 meters
Core Construction: Ash/Poplar + Carbon Fiber (2-Layer) + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 61 mm / 65 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Recommended Mount Points:
• “Center Mount”: -0.2 cm from center; 91.0 cm from tail
• “Classic Mount”: -6.7 cm from center; 84.5 cm from tail
Mount Location: -1 cm from true center
Boots / Bindings: Dalbello Il Moro T ID / Rossignol FKS 140
Days Tested: 6
Test Locations: Arapahoe Basin and Woodward at Copper’s summer hike rail park, CO[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Soul Rider 87, which was not changed for 17/18, except for the graphics.]
The Soul Rider 87 is a ski that I’ve been really excited to get on since it first came onto my radar at SIA this past January.
Admittedly, I was initially somewhat sad to see the Soul Rider 87 replace the OMW (which temporarily replaced the Ace of Spades line) since it seemed to be yet another indicator of the larger trend of companies ditching skinny, stiff park skis in favor of softer, rockered mid-fats, I was immediately intrigued by the Soul Rider 87 as a skinny, soft, rockered park ski.
I never got the impression that the OMW was a wildly popular park ski, so it makes sense that Nordica would want to leverage the original, wider Soul Rider’s success. For a lot of park skiers, 97 mm underfoot does feel like a bit too much ski, despite how playful of a ski the wider Soul Rider is. As a result, I can definitely imagine the Soul Rider 87 becoming a popular ski among east coast park skiers that are looking for something a little more maneuverable and snappy, but still as fun as the original Soul Rider.
Conceptually, the Soul Rider 87 is a fairly simple ski. Take the original Soul Rider’s playful and forgiving core profile and simply put it in a skinnier ski that, by virtue of having narrower dimensions all around, is going to have a lighter swing weight and be a more nimble, responsive ski than its wider counterpart.
So far, I’ve only had the opportunity to test the Soul Rider 87 in two areas: I’ve skied it really, really fast down slushy, late-season groomers at A-Basin, and I’ve hiked rails at Copper in June and July. I haven’t yet had an opportunity to hit jumps on the Soul Rider 87, so I can only speculate for now about jumps based on how the ski has performed in these other areas.
But at this point, I can say with confidence that the Soul Rider 87 is palpably more responsive and agile—while still just as playful and fun—as the original Soul Rider. It’s an absolute pleasure to rip groomers on the 87; the ski initiates turns incredibly quickly, but is still seriously buttery and surfy. Of course, it is not a very stiff ski and it has a tinge of rocker, so it gives up a bit of stability, just like the wider Soul Rider did. But I’m very curious to see how this all translates to park jumps.
Over the four days that I’ve hiked rails at Copper with the Soul Rider 87, I’ve found it to be one of the most fun rail skis I’ve ridden in recent memory. Its lighter swing weight (than the wider original Soul Rider) makes switch ups and spins onto rails significantly easier, and it retains the playful, buttery core profile that has made the wider Soul Rider such a popular ski.
And as expected (given my time on the wider Soul Rider in the past), this skinnier version has allowed me to do a press on a rail and find a really nice almost hinge-like point in the front-most 30 cm of the ski. I.e., when doing a nose press on the Soul Rider 87, the ski flexes about the ideal amount to enable me to get way out over the tips without the ski just flexing out. It’s been an absolute blast.
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Soul Rider 87 is a seriously playful ski in a width category that often lacks skis with a focus on playfulness. By shaving 10 mm of waist width off of the original Soul Rider, the Soul Rider 87 sheds some of the slightly cumbersome swing weight of its wider counterpart and gains responsiveness and a much more nimble, maneuverable feel.
I can definitely see it being a very popular ski among east coast rail rats, or really any park skier who wants the surfy, buttery feel of many of the skis in the 95-100mm width range without feeling like they’re grappling with more ski than they can handle.
And, of course, I’ll be reporting back once I have more time on bigger jumps.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics