I, Sam Shaheen, and Jonathan Ellsworth have now all had the chance to spend some time on the Icelantic Nomad 115, so we’re each going to share our perspectives on this playful powder ski.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): Since the Nomad is 115 mm underfoot, we might as well start with the area that it should excel in — pow. I spent a day on the Nomad 115 after Alta got about a foot of pretty dense powder (i.e., not the light powder Utah is typically known for).
I was very happy with the Nomad 115’s flotation in powder, which isn’t all that surprising given its width, fat tips and tails, and generous tip and tail rocker. Its fairly soft and wide tips plane very well, and at ~155 lbs, I haven’t had any issues with tip dive. The Nomad 115 doesn’t feel super loose or surfy, but I could definitely still break it free into slashes. But those big tips and tails encourage carving through pow rather than slarving.
And given the Nomad 115’s strong performance in a bunch of conditions that aren’t perfect pow, I was very happy with its float in powder and could happily ski it as my only powder ski in Colorado.
Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 140 lbs): I concur with Luke here. The Nomad 115 floats well, the tips are quite wide so the ski planes excellently. Though it is on the lighter side of skis this big, it doesn’t feel super playful in deeper snow. It has almost no tip and tail taper, so the full 188 cm length is engaged in pow. This doesn’t make it feel as surfy and loose as other skis in this width class (like the Moment Blister Pro or Blizzard Rustler 11).
The Nomad 115 seems to like longer turns from a neutral stance (though it is also happy being driven through the shovels), using the tails to gradually burn speed throughout the turn. But if I needed to cut speed fast, the lower weight of the Nomad 115 still allowed me to throw them sideways.
Luke: After the pow had been cut up a bit, I came to appreciate the Nomad’s shape even more. Despite the Nomad 115’s moderately low weight (given its dimensions and length), I was pleasantly surprised by how stable it felt while skiing hard through soft chop. Whether it’s the ski’s lack of taper or its fairly forgiving flex, the Nomad 115 seems to do a good job of absorbing smaller irregularities in the snow while still having enough backbone to blow through the larger soft piles of chop.
There are certainly skis out there that are better for annihilating chop without much regard for your speed or how inconsistent the snow is, but those skis are pretty much all heavier and / or more demanding than the Nomad 115. For how intuitive and forgiving the Nomad 115 is, it also provides a nice level of stability that is noticeably better than lighter and / or more tapered skis.
Sam: Again, I think Luke and I had very similar experiences here. The Nomad 115 feels at home in soft chop. It is a great combination of being light enough to flick around if need be, but strong enough to bash through soft piles of snow. It isn’t a total crud anihilator, but with a small amount of input, the Nomad 115 can hold its own against many skis in the category, especially more tapered skis like the Black Diamond Boundary Pro 115.
Firm Chop / Crud
Luke: Once the chop set up a bit and the snow became a bit more difficult to blast through (e.g. end of the day after a really heavy, wet storm), it was easier to find the Nomad 115’s speed limit. Granted, I could still push the Nomad 115 pretty hard, but it didn’t feel quite as planted as heavier skis. When it comes to stability, the Nomad 115 feels like it falls somewhere between heavier, more demanding chargers (like the Blizzard Bodacious or ON3P Wrenegade 114) and lighter, easier skis (like the Liberty Origin 112). And for me, that’s a really nice combination, since I still like to play around on my powder skis, but appreciate the ability to ski a bit harder and faster through chop and crud than skis in the ~2000 g range allow.
Luke: While you might not care about your 115mm-underfoot ski’s performance on groomers, it’s definitely worth noting how well the Nomad 115 skis firm, consistent snow. Plenty of factors go into a ski’s carving capabilities, but a lot of the Nomad 115’s strong carving performance can be attributed to its lack of taper. It certainly doesn’t ski groomers like a 90mm-wide carving ski, but the Nomad 115 is probably the best ~115mm-underfoot ski I’ve used for groomers. I can get it up high on edge and make a variety of turn shapes, from fairly tight to big GS turns. It also provides nice pop and energy out of the turn. The Nomad 115 is definitely not the best ski for ice, but on anything edgeable, it’s a ton of fun on groomers.
Sam: Skiing the Nomad on groomers was a huge surprise. This ski rails. Hard. It has so much effective edge that it can hold an edge, even on firmer snow (not ice) and it is surprisingly energetic and quick edge to edge. The Nomad 115 is a blast on groomers; that’s something I never would have expected to say before skiing it.
Luke: Take a look at the Nomad 115’s specs. After doing so, if you’re hoping that you’ll be able to zipperline tight bumps at high speeds on this thing, think again. The 191 cm Nomad 115 is long, has basically no tip or tail taper, and is 115 mm wide. None of those things normally make for a great bump ski, and I’d say that’s pretty true on snow.
The Nomad 115 does not feel quick in bumps, and I have noticed its fat tails getting hung up a bit on steep and tight moguls. However, I’ve been surprised that the Nomad 115 didn’t feel like more of a burden in bumps. Its tails are supportive but pretty forgiving, and it didn’t feel as hard to whip around as I figured based on its dimensions. (Remember that the 191 cm Nomad 115 actually measures 188 cm long.)
The accessible flex and generous rocker profile of the Nomad 115 make for a ski that is fairly maneuverable and forgiving for its size. So, if you don’t normally seek out steep and / or tight bumps, or you prefer to take a more conservative approach to skiing moguls, then the Nomad 115 is passable.
Sam: Though I haven’t skied the Nomad 115 in many bumps, I am going to take Luke’s feedback here as a challenge. Bring it on, Nomad.
Jonathan Ellsworth: I’m jumping in here because most of my time so far on the Nomad 115 was spent skiing moguled-up terrain off Telluride’s Revelation Bowl and and the Plunge Lift (Spiral Stairs, etc.) And for a ski this long and wide, I was actually most struck by how light the ski felt — and in a good way. This ski looks big, but I would put it up there as being one of the least cumbersome skis in this length and width range that I’ve been on in bumps.
Luke: While the Nomad 115 has a pretty traditional recommended mount point of -9 cm from center, its shape, flex pattern, and rocker profile do make for a pretty playful ski. The tips and tails are easy to flex into and pop off of, and it’s also easy to break the tails free for slashes. As I noted earlier, the Nomad 115 is not the surfiest ski, but it by no means feels super locked in. However, it does have a pretty noticeable swing weight, which is not surprising given its lack of taper. I think directional skiers will find the Nomad 115 quite playful (Jonathan is nodding), and more freestyle-oriented skiers that might be worried by its mount point should check out the next section:
Sam: Although, as Luke noted, it doesn’t have a low swing weight, the Nomad 115 still likes to slash and hack around the mountain. Especially when the snow isn’t super deep. However, at its recommended mount point, the Nomad 115 doesn’t feel very freestyle-oriented. It is comfortable in the air, but doesn’t want to spin or jib around.
Luke: The Nomad 115’s recommended mount point of -9.0 cm puts it in pretty traditional territory. At the recommended line, the Nomad 115 likes to be driven, though the tails are forgiving if you get backseat.
However, I’ve also skied the Nomad 115 at +1, +2, and +3 cm of the recommended line, and none of those mount points felt particularly “off” to me (which I often notice when moving bindings a few cm’s forward of the recommended line on very traditional skis).
As someone who likes the option to ski with a more centered stance and have a ski that feels balanced in the air, I really liked the Nomad 115 at +3 cm of recommended. Here, I didn’t feel like I lost any edgehold or the ability to drive the ski, but the Nomad 115 felt easier to break free into slashes, more balanced during shifties, a bit more accepting of skiing with a centered stance, and just more playful overall.
So, the Nomad 115 didn’t feel particularly sensitive to mount point. I think both traditional and more playful skiers can get along well with the Nomad 115. And, they have the option of tailoring the mount point to their preference, at least within reason (e.g., I doubt the Nomad 115 will feel great when mounted dead-center. But if you are accustomed to mounting dead center, then you might still disagree with me; the mount position for this ski really does feel pretty versatile).
The Icelantic Nomad 115 provides a nice blend of traits that make it a ski we think a lot of skiers will get along well with. It’s fairly forgiving and intuitive, but still provides respectable stability in chop and variable snow. It floats well in pow and feels maneuverable for its size, but carves very well for its width. And it rewards a forward stance and can be driven hard, but is also pretty playful (especially with the bindings pushed forward of recommended). With the Nomad 115, Icelantic has done a good job of making a versatile 115mm-underfoot powder ski that we think a lot of skiers will enjoy.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics