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Demo Day at Waterville Valley


Angel Diva
I went to a demo day at Waterville Valley in December and got a chance to get on a bunch of skis. I am an intermediate, 5'6'' 165lbs and have been skiing for 25 years in the northeast. I feel most comfortable on skis in the 165mm range on the heavy side.

Here are my reviews.

Fischer RC One GT 78 159mm: My previous skis were Fischer KOA's that I loved so looked forward to trying these out. This was the only length they had and they felt too short for me and very 'turn-ey', which was a lot of work. I was hoping for some playful energy from this ski, but all I felt was "meh". I would like to try these at a longer length to give them another shot.

Blizzard Black Pearl 88 165mm: This was my first time on the Black Pearls and I now understand why this is such a popular ski. I am in the market for a mid 80's ski for the spring crud and these would work just fine. They were smooth and stable, very easy to get on edge. Did not feel like they were 88mm wide, which I really liked. I know they are being re-tooled in the coming year but if I see these on sale in the summer, I may pounce.

Nordica Wild Belle 84 160mm: These would be a good beginner ski and felt stable a lower speeds. I didn't find these to be very quick on edge and experienced chatter at higher speeds.

Nordica Santa Anna 93 165: I have never been one such a wide ski before, so they felt big, wide and burly to me. I would assume the stiffness would be good for crud and maybe some float in high snow areas but don't see this as a ski for me in the northeast.

Stockli Nela 80 160mm: I have been dying to see what all the fuss was about with Stocklis, especially the Nela. I wanted to try the 168s but they were out so I got the 160s. They are a smooth damp ski and easy to get on edge. I have nothing bad to say about this ski but it did not wow me either. I did feel they were a little light underfoot with some chatter at high speeds but overall, this is a very nice ski. I would love to demo these again in the 168 length as well as the Nela 88's.

Stockli AR Montero 166mm: Mmmm, wow...was my first thought with these skis. The skis felt nicely balanced between stiffness underfoot and softness in the tips. They have a premium smooth feel to them and are almost effortless to turn. I felt like a hero on these skis, plain and simple.

Atomic Cloud 14 160mm: Felt too light and floppy to me and didn't hold an edge very well, but the tune wasn't the best so maybe I am being too harsh. Did not see any redeeming qualities to this ski.

Atomic Q9 Redster 168mm: If you like the Stockli feel but can't justify the price, look at these skis. Had a nice heavy quality feel about them and are easy to get on edge. This is a fun, precise ski to fly down the hill on.

Solomon Stance 88 160mm: I loved the Stance 84s at 167 length and was hoping for the same feel just with a wider ski. I was amazed at how different this felt compared to the 84's and honestly, it felt like work to turn them, which made me sad. Did not care for this ski.

groomer groover

Certified Ski Diva
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these.

I am looking for a ski that gets on edge easier then my current Pandora 94s and had been recommended the Wild Belle. Appreciate hearing your take on them.


Angel Diva
I am surprised that you found the Stance 88 hard to turn. I found them super turny - to the point that I turned more than expected and ended up having to duck under a rope. I wonder if the demos, you tried, had a bad tune? Or possibly the length difference,. I skied the 167 and they felt fine to me though I usually ski high 150 - low 160 range.


Angel Diva
I'm glad you say that because I couldn't believe how different the different widths were. Yes, a bad tune is always possible at demo day so I will give this ski another chance if I can find another demo day in the northeast this season. Thanks!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
When you say chattery, are you talking about tip flap? Chattering is a technique issue, tip flap is a ski issue. Chattery occurs when you are on a groomer, usually a steeper one, and the edge kind of "skips". My left ski is prone to do this (yep, technique issue!) Tip flap happens on a lot of rockered skis with lighter tips or a lot of rocker. One of the delightful thing about Stockli skis is they don't do this much. They are quiet and composed. You definitely were on too short of a Nela 80.


Angel Diva
Yes, I experienced some tip flap on late frozen granular snow. I was surprised it was happening on a Stockli but it didn't happen for me when I demo'd the Montero, so I don't know why I felt that. Yes, I agree, the 160s felt very short.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, I experienced some tip flap on late frozen granular snow. I was surprised it was happening on a Stockli but it didn't happen for me when I demo'd the Montero, so I don't know why I felt that. Yes, I agree, the 160s felt very short.
Tip flap and rattled teeth, right?!

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