2020 Nordica Navigator 80

As one of the narrower flat skis out there, the Nordica Navigator 80 blurs the line between a front-side and an all-mountain ski. It’s narrower than a lot of system carving skis, but as a flat ski, it has a lot more versatility and maneuverability. Also, it’s designed and shaped like an all-mountain ski, but in a slimmed-down version. Alongside its wood core of beech and poplar, the skis have a titanium hex bridge metal laminate that keeps the ski damp and stable. It has geometrically cut out shapes that reduce the overall weight of the metal laminate while not jeopardizing the structural integrity of the layer. With an Enforcer-like tip and a Dobermann-inspired tail shape, these skis have a playful and forgiving tip with a business-like tail end. They hold a tremendous edge due to the stiffer tail, and front side carvers will love the edge grip and torsional stiffness. At 179 cm length, the skis have a 16.5-meter turn radius, so expect to be on edge. Our testers were pretty stoked about the easy-turning nature and the quickness of these skis, as they make their way, unchanged except for graphic, into their third winter.

Michael Rooney skied the 179 and liked the size. His scores were pretty consistent with each other, showing a predictable ski that is pretty versatile. “The Navigator 80 is good for intermediate skiers. It wants to make easy turns.” While intermediate skiers will be pleased with this ski, it’s also adaptable to perform higher for experts, while the easy-turning nature can also be accessible for beginners.

Also on the 179, Troy Dehm was bullish on the quickness and maneuverability, and his overall impression was a 4 out of 5. Flotation receiving a score of 2 out of 5 is pretty much a given. “Very playful. Soft but strong. Surprising edge hold with really fun pop from the turns. Would be quick in the woods, great on groomers, and fun with a bit of fresh snow. Intermediates and advanced skiers would love this ski. It’s a super-fun ski that can do a lot.” Sounds good to us, Troy, and it’s always fun to note how many times testers use the word “surprising” when describing a Navigator or Astral series ski.

Benny Wax skied the 172 and found it to be a bit short. You wouldn’t know he felt that way based on his overall impression score of 5 out of 5, though. All of his other scores were either 3’s or 4’s indicating that Benny found this to be a well-rounded and high-performance ski. “Fun and quick. Easy to turn and can handle transitional terrain. Skis a little short with the rockered tip, but you can take ski anywhere.” The Navigator 80 is certainly a fun little ski that punches above its level.

Mike Aidala was cool with his 179 cm tester, and scored 4’s out of 5 for quickness, playfulness, and versatility. “Easy skiing and guaranteed fun on the entire mountain. The Navigator 80 skis are a great easy-skiing all-mountain ski. But be gentle because the skis do have a bit of a speed limit. Easy skiing is the key.” Fair enough, as at some point, the lack of overall material will make the ski less receptive to high speeds and hard-charging.

As a narrow, flat ski with a fun shape and a cool build, the Nordica Navigator 80 sits right in the sweet spot for thinner, all-mountain skis. For a front side carver who likes to venture off-piste, but not too often, the Nav 80 is a fantastic choice. Moguls and trees are super-easy and fun when you can swivel around, and that helps the overall versatility of the skis go through the roof.

Testers

David Wolfgang

Age: 67Height: 6'3"Weight: 230 lbs.

Ski Style: Strong, deliberate, and smooth

Mike Aidala

Age: 42Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: As fast as the terrain allows

Benny Wax

Age: 68Height: 5'6"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth and creamy, lots of turns

Troy Dehm

Age: 29Height: 5'10"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Powerful and precise

Michael Rooney

Age: 72Height: 6'0"Weight: 155 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and precise with a racing background

6 Comments on the “2020 Nordica Navigator 80”

  1. As a solid intermediate skier who has remained on the groomers, i’m looking for a ski to begin learning moguls. 6’2 215lbs. What options would you recommend? Currently skiing a QST 99, which i love.

    1. Hi Barry!
      If you like your QST 99, you should also check out the QST 85–I’m about the same size as you and was very impressed with the overall behavior of the skis, and at the narrower waist, you’re going to get a lot of quickness for moguls. I think the Navigator is a light and interesting choice, but tops out at the 179 cm length, so if that’s an issue, the Navigator 85 comes in a 186 as well. Have fun!
      SE

  2. I am beginner intermediate , can ski blues but not at high speeds. My skis skid when I turn, haven’t mastered carving as yet. I am keen on progressing and possibly getting to blacks next season. I am looking for my first pair of skis, do you think Nordica 80 is a good choice ? I am 5’6″” and 180lbs

    1. Great choice, Gautam!
      They’re incredibly fun and easy to carve on–some of the best turning skis out there. I’d look at the 165 for length. Have fun!
      SE

  3. I’m 145lb and 5’5″ 59 year old advanced skier. I spent last 2 seasons skiing and enjoying Nordica NRGY 85R 165cm skis that i purchased from you guys. I’m skiing about about 25 days per season ( mostly on east coast NYS and Vermont ) on weekdays so i get plenty of mileage on slopes that are not crowded. I mostly ski fairly fast on groomed terrain and enjoy mogul skiing when possible and as long as my legs can take it , then go back to groomed. From time to time i venture into trees as well, but since i ski mostly alone i tend to do stick to trees with more or less clearly visible lines. Being a realist I’m not really concerned with powder performance simply because I rarely get a chance to ski on a powder day. Is this ski a good match for me ? Stay with 165 or may be go for 172 ? The geometry and construction of Navigator seems quite similar to my NRGY. I am also open to your suggestions to consider different skis as well.

    1. Hi Alex!
      If you move to the 80 mm underfoot, you’re going to get a quicker ski for sure. That’ll make your adventures in the moguls easier and more fun, as well as your edge grip on firmer snow. You’ll lose a bit of the flotation, but not much, and if you’re mostly skiing non-powdery woods, I don’t think that’s going to be a big deal. I think you should stick with the 165, and that Navigator 80 will be a great ski. If you want to stay in the 85 range, the Navigator 85 is an obvious choice, and also check out the Volkl Kanjo 84. Have fun!
      SE

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