2015-2016 Nordica Helldorado

The 111mm underfoot 191 Volkl Katana is sort of my reference ski for terrain and conditions like this, though the 11/12 191 ON3P Billy Goat would also offer a good class comparison here, too.

In short, the Katana and the Billy Goat would crush this terrain. Given the 193cm length, the added metal, and the sheer weight of the Helldorado, I was hoping for that similarly ridiculous amount of stability of a Katana or Billy Goat. The Helldorado certainly has the stiffness underfoot to make it happen, but the super soft tail and that tip profile compromise this.

The bumps on Great Scott and Silver Fox were wide, but the troughs weren’t that deep. Conditions were perfect to make very fast, very big GS turns. Though I had slammed into a couple moguls in the previous days and weeks, I was forcing myself to trust the tips. But twice down the Cirque—at very high speed—I speared a mogul and was lucky to recover without blowing up. But I wasn’t quite so willing to trust the tips anymore.

Joe and I stayed on those same lines, but now as I was flying out of Great Scott, I was consciously on my heels a bit to try to keep the tips up. But as I’ve mentioned, once you get back on those soft tails, the tendency is to keep going back. It’s a catch-22, and it’s really too bad. These skis are so fun on consistent groomers, so smooth in consistent windbuff, and so capable in deep pow, and I think that a relatively minor tweak to the tip profile and an adjustment to the flex pattern would bump up these skis’ variable performance by a significant degree.

We’ve seen skis with soft, super rockered-out tips (think ‘S7’) have the problem of plowing into rather than planing over snow, causing the skier to get bucked forward a good bit. But it seems to me that the Patron and the Helldorado have gone a bit too far in the other direction. Curving up the final 2-3 inches of the tip would be a relatively subtle design change that could significantly reduce the spear effect of the Patron / Helldorado without compromising the ski’s outstanding performance on hardpack and in consistent snow conditions.

There is so much to like about the Patron and the Helldorado, and in the right conditions, they are a ton of fun.

Jason Hutchins, Alta Ski Area, Blister Gear Review

Jason Hutchins, Eagle’s Nest, Alta Ski Area.

Personally, with just a minor tweak to the tip profile and a more gradual and stiffer flex pattern through the tail, I could easily imagine that both the Patron and the Helldorado would be among my favorite skis. Till that happens, I can still just as easily imagine that people who are using either of these skis in more consistent terrain and conditions will love them. In fact, BLISTER reviewer Julia Van Raalte (who rips, by the way) has called the La Niña her favorite ski. (Though she had them in both firm conditions and deep conditions, with little time in variable conditions….)

So, as always, it comes down to what you are—and what you aren’t—looking for a ski to do.

NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE SHOTS

28 Comments

  1. Andy May 7, 2012 Reply

    Fantastic review. I was hoping the Helldorado was going to be a DPS W112 with Katana-like construction/flex profile. Those are my two favorite skis, and I’d love for them to procreate.

  2. Nick May 7, 2012 Reply

    You mentioned the SFBs… WIll you be reviewing those anytime soon?

  3. C Haugan May 10, 2012 Reply

    hmm, interesting. I had no issues with these skis in variable, PNW snow. If I was staying in OR/WA next year I’d probably pick up a pair.

  4. Dave May 17, 2012 Reply

    Do you think the skiers weight might be an issue ?
    (BTW height And testers weight would be good general Info)

    • Author

      Possibly, Dave. Though Jason Hutchins and I had pretty identical experiences on the Patrons and Helldorados, and I’m 5’10, 185 lbs., and Jason is 6’0″, 160 lbs.

      BTW, If you click on the author’s name at the top of each review, you’ll be taken to the author’s bio page that provides each reviewer’s height, weight, background, and more.

  5. slashy May 24, 2012 Reply

    did you guys already have some time on the K2 Pettitor ? I’m not a big K2 lover but this could potentially be a good ski.

  6. Nick September 17, 2012 Reply

    How would you compare the patron vs the atomic automatic in a 186? Both look super awesome and from what I hear people seem to like both. I live in CO and ski all over the Rockies and have skied brands from Icelantic( shaman) to the atomic access so looking for a recomindation between the two skies listed above.

    • Author

      Long and short, Nick: the issues I had with the tips and tails of the Patron & Helldorado, I didn’t experience at all with the Automatic. I do think that the Patron is (even) better on groomers and consistent hardpack than the Automatics, that’s where I thought the Patron really shined.

  7. Erik September 25, 2012 Reply

    I’m a 5’8 Male 145lbs, like to ski steeps, tight trees, and rail groomers. I mostly ski out West (Tahoe, UT, CO). I’ve been looking at the Patrons, Helldorados, and Unleashed Hells. Would you have any recommendations of which ski would be better? Also, I was thinking of going 177 length, a little unsure about going longer. Any help would be appreciated.

  8. Blister Member
    AG February 27, 2013 Reply

    Have you guys tried the Nordica Radict? Demoed them yesterday –a charging powder ski for sure. Made the bibby pro I took out in the afternoon seem like a noodle! Holds an edge and surfs the powder. Only downside is they are heavy.

  9. Blister Member
    AG February 28, 2013 Reply

    Have you guys tried the Nordica Radict? I demoed them this week and they seem like a great charging powder ski.

  10. Josh Matta March 5, 2013 Reply

    the guy in the green need the inside of his boots raised up. His q angle is way off, and probably causing some of the issues in variable snow on a very turny ski.

    Julia is aligned and I think that why she like this ski better.

  11. AK April 2, 2014 Reply

    Has anyone tried to mount a pair of Patrons behind the “classic” line. I picked up a pair because I really like the Katana but wanted something more playful and fun. There is a lot to like about the Patron and my first impressions was that it looked like a very nicely built and finished ski, really impressive. I also had a similar experience to just about everyone else on groomers. Quick for a ski of its size and great edge hold. But what I absolutely could not adjust to was the mounting point. Even at the furthest back “classic” line I had way to much tail for my tastes. When I held the ski up to my Shiros and Katanas of the same length (skis I thought the Patron might replace, btw) it looked like I was maybe 2 inches further forward. Inches, not centimeters! Granted, I could stand to maybe mount my Katanas +1 but still . . .

    Having read every review I could get my hands on before purchasing these, I don’t recall seeing a single post about mounting these behind the classic line. I generally don’t like doing this in the first place because being behind the sidecut usually sucks. I’d be particularly concerned with this ski given the soft tail.

    • mike September 30, 2014 Reply

      I’m -1 to the classic line and still have a lot more tail than other skis I own. No complaints.

  12. mike September 30, 2014 Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with many of your ski reviews….but not this one. I find the Helldo to be very easy to ski in crud/chop. The soft tips absorb a lot of bumps and don’t transmit it back to the rest of the ski, letting me fly through uneven terrain.

    • lrn2swim December 11, 2014 Reply

      My thoughts exactly. That’s the one thing I enjoy most about this ski, can fly through chop and variable conditions like I never have before. So stable and damp yet playful at the same time, the tips act like shocks on a car or something, absorbing the bumps and crud yet staying pretty damn solid under foot. Always thought it was strange the Blister guys experienced these issues.

    • TO December 23, 2014 Reply

      Same. I’ve never experienced such a seamless combination of solidity and predicatibility in chop and quickness elsewhere as I have on the Helldorados…compared to something like the Dynastar Cham 117, whose tips seem to want to skitter in every direction and deflect on everything. I also have no problems with the tails being supportive in back-seat situations…maybe I’m not getting thrown far enough in the back seat to really test that.

      I wonder if Nordica did in fact make some changes to the ski’s tip/tail construction after the original review?

      • Author

        I’d love to learn that Nordica made some changes to the tip and tail, though they certainly haven’t said anything to us about it. If the tips and tails had a more progressive / less abrupt flex pattern to them, it would seem like these skis would be money. Or rather, if you guys are skiing pairs that DO have a more progressive / less abrupt flex pattern to the tips and tails, then I understand why / how you’re enjoying them so much.

    • mike December 23, 2014 Reply

      I’m on the 12/13 model which is what you reviewed….I can similarly push the tips all the way to the snow with ease, so probably the same ski.

      I was previously on the 12/13 Line Influence 115, agree with your review there – that ski tends to work you in chop, and was difficult to really charge on with much confidence. I felt the 115 was almost the opposite flex pattern to the helldorado – stiffer in the tip/tail, and a little (too) soft under foot. The stiff tips didn’t absorb much energy and tended to go where ever they wanted, taking the rest of the ski with them. In anything but total blower pow, I found the tips had a tendancy to dive abruptly, and the rest of the ski would go with them.

      On the Helldo by comparison, those soft tips don’t drive the ski, they seem to be there for float and bump absorbtion, while the real power and balance of the ski is in the cambered section. I’d agree that I’d want a touch more stiffness in total cement, but don’t get a ton of that out here in Montana. Maybe it all comes down to skier style.

  13. Johnny November 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the review. You write that the helldorado 193 was mounted at -1. Does that mean -1 from the back line and -7 from true center? Do you have any comment on that mount? Some other reviews i have seen suggest a more forward mount at -5 from true center.

    • Author

      Hey, Johnny – haven’t been on the Helldorado in 2.5 years, so I’m not going to be much help re: mount point. But “-1″ means -1cm of the recommended line — though I can’t say whether or not Nordica has moved that line at all in recent seasons. I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got.

  14. Gordo January 19, 2015 Reply

    I’ve skied both the Patron and the Helldorado 14/15 in everything but deep blower and gotta say best mid fats ever skied. The Helldorado is my choice 6’2″, 210lbs, 193. No problems eating up PNW cut crud at Mach, tight trees, steep icy groomers. Never had an Alta day on them, but I did manage the Alpenglow from 82-85.. Maybe it’s just a style thing. Skied a Rossi FP 207 in those days when all skis sucked!

  15. Jeff January 25, 2015 Reply

    I just bought a pair of helldorado’s per reading your reviews. They need to create a new category all mountain powder skies. I skied them for 2 days at killington day 1 groomers , mogels, ne powder (ice) high speed and low speed. Day 2 3″ of fresh powder (I know people are laughing but you take what you get). The ski was awesome in all aspects. Off to Switzerland in two days and these skis will be in my bag. My new favorite ski.

  16. Jeff February 22, 2015 Reply

    Update
    just got back from Switzerland and skied in 1.3 meters of snow. The helldorados,s preformed like Mohamed Ali. They floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. What a tremendous powder ski!

  17. Andrew August 18, 2015 Reply

    Hey, I bought a pair of these last year and had the bindings mounted on the center line because I assumed that this was the factory recommendation. I ski Groomers and side country about 50/50. I was wondering, is it worth remounting the bindings closer to the classic line?

    It’s weird that I can’t seem to find any information about this ski’s specific mounting points considering it is sold as a flat.

    Cheers.

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