2020 Nordica Astral 78

The 2020 Nordica Astral 78 is an awesome ski for intermediate level skiers who are looking to advance their carving skills with a light, fun, and stable ski. At 78 mm underfoot, these skis are lightning-quick and love to be on edge. As a flat ski without system bindings, this is one of the narrowest all-mountain skis you can get. They’re lighter, quicker, and more playful than any system ski out there, so the Astral 78 blurs the line between a front side and all-mountain ski. As with most of the Astral and Navigator series skis, our testers love the performance and design of the skis, with many of them voicing their surprise as to their overall and immediate impressions of the skis. Built with a balsa wood core and a titanium hex bridge for damping and stiffness, the Astral 78 is constructed like a much higher-end ski and has a ton of strong performance. The shape is a good combination of playfulness and power, thanks to the Santa Ana-inspired tip shape and the Dobermann-like tail.

Allison Ruschp skied the 165 and scored the Astral high for quickness, maneuverability, forgiveness, and playfulness. Certainly, these top marks can be attributed to the intended design of the ski, and Alli is astutely picking up on that. As a comparison, Alli evokes the Blizzard Black Pearl 78. The Nordica Astral 78 is “more stable and has better edge hold than the Blizzard Black Pearl 78. This is another light and fun ski for intermediate front-side skiers. Great carving, with early release. The tip shape crushes crud.” That titanium hex bridge certainly does add a nice layer of stability, and our testers definitely pick up on that.

Also on the 165, Susan Dorn loved the quickness and maneuverability of the Astral 78. Her score of 4 out of 5 for playfulness is perfect for all-mountain fun. Susan felt that metal layer as well: “Held well on ice. I found it felt stiff—good thing for the rocker profile. Easy to turn. Did short, quick turns easily. Playful with quick turns, but not so much with the big ones.” Fair criticism, as the 15-meter turn radius can be a bit prohibitive for long, big turns at speed.

Ariel Aidala also liked her 165 cm tester. Her scores were all 4’s out of 5 for all categories. This type of scoring indicates that the Astral 78 is a well-rounded and high-performance ski with a huge upside. Ariel comments that the Astral 78 is a “great every day rider for the intermediate skier who wants to be able to do more, but not all. Good control and edge hold, but at high speeds, there’s some tip chattering.” Again, with the balsa wood and the shorter radius, that’s not surprising. If that’s the only limitation as far as an all-mountain carver, we’re okay with that.

The 165 was the right length for Katrine Wolfgang as well. Like Ariel, Katrine gave the Astral 78 consistent scores all the way down the card, but her scores were 3’s out of 5 versus Ariel’s 4’s. It’s not so much the numbers that are important, but rather the fact that they’re all the same. This versatile ski is very consistent from tip to tail and from run to run. When the scores are similar, it’s implied that the ski is predictable and confidence-inspiring. From Katrine: The Astral 78 is a “good intermediate ski—held well edge to edge. It did well in soft snow and is a strong front-side ski.”

Front-side enthusiasts will love the stability and performance of the Astral 78. The quickness and playfulness really stand out with this ski, and it certainly appeals to and is appropriate for a huge swath of skiers all over the world.

Testers

Katrine Wolfgang

Age: 49+Height: 5'5"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth carving

Ariel Aidala

Age: 27Height: 5'3"Weight: 124 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous and fun with a fall-line mentality

Susan Dorn

Age: 61Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Deliberate, smooth, Masters ski racer

Allison Ruschp

Age: 32Height: 5'5"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Ex-racer who's calmed herself down

3 Comments on the “2020 Nordica Astral 78”

  1. Hi, and thank you for this extensive review. I am an advance-intermediate to expert skier (others consider me expert, and I’ve been skiing all my life, but I always consider true “expert” status something to which to aspire, as there will always be someone better than I), and I ski both East Coast and western states, so I need that versatility. I ski fast and aggressive (reportedly, LOL) for a woman my size, but not off-trail and I tend to avoid the more challenging mogul patches when possible these days. I rent my skis with every trip. With all that said, I’ve been looking to purchase a set of skis to suit my abilities, need for versatility, and my very tight budget, and these 2020 Nordica Astral 78s were highly recommended (2019’s were recommended last year as well) by my local ski shop personnel. I’m 5′ 2″, about 107 lbs., age 54, and am considering these in size 151. I have no real technical knowledge about skis and hope you can help with some additional insight and/or reassurance: My concern is that you’re calling this a great “intermediate” ski, and I’m much more advanced, so I’m afraid that might mean that they’ll slow me down or somehow compromise my safety. Since I ski fast and somewhat aggressive, do you see any hindrance to my safety or overall control skiing hard and fast?
    Thank you for your feedback,
    Nora

    1. Hi Nora!
      What impresses us about a lot of skis these days are their higher-performance ceilings. That is, the ski is accessible for intermediates (true for the Astral 78), but also has a higher gear for more advanced skiers. Given your stats, that only makes the argument more valid, versus a larger skier who may ultimately overpower the 78. I think that ski in that size is a great choice. The wider Astral, the 84, is the same build, but since there’s more material overall, the ski is a bit more stable, just not as quick from edge to edge due to the narrower waist width. No difference between the years in that ski other than graphics, so if you find a 2019, it’s the same ski as the 2020. Have fun!
      SE

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