2020 Nordica Soul Rider 87

The Soul Rider 87 returns with a fresh graphic update, but remains the same fan-favorite ski as ever before. Built with a wood core and carbon stringers, there’s nothing terribly fancy or interesting about how this ski is built. It’s got a full sidewall, tip and tail rocker, and a twin-tip shape. At 87 mm underfoot, it’s in the in-between width of narrow versus wide, and with an 18.5-meter turn radius at 185 cm length, it’s neither here nor there in terms of its arc. So if there’s nothing special about the Soul Rider 87, how come it’s so much fun to ski? The turned-up tail has a lot to do with it, as it’s super easy to get out of the turn. That said, you can really lock yourself into the carve if you’re balanced and don’t mind a bit less stability. But overall, it carves really well for a wood core ski with a twin tip. Off-trail is where these things really shine. They’re super-quick in the bumps and woods. Being a twin-tip, one would think it’s best suited for park and pipe skiing, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong about that. However, this ski is more than that, and should be treated as such. The Soul Rider 87 surprised our testers again this year, with compliments and interesting takes coming at us from all angles.

Harrison Gorham skied the appropriately sized 185 and loved the stability, quickness, and maneuverability of the ski. His overall impression and versatility scores were 4’s out of 5, indicating a good time was had by Harrsion. He calls them “fast, stable, super maneuverable, snappy, great pop, not too soft. Not noodle-like.” So, can we infer from those comments that the skis are more than just their construction?

His brother Connor Gorham ripped a few on the 87 in the 185 and had 5’s out of 5 for stability, quickness, and edge hold. Edge hold? On a twin tip wood core ski? Guess so. “For an 87 waist, it shifted side to side with precise control. Quick jukes and triangle buttons were made easy. Overall a great ski.” Good comparison, that these skis are like playing a video game, and that they’re easy to control and tons of fun.

Evan Caha skied the 177 and found the size to be “okay-ish.” Probably a longer size for Evan. He had mostly 4’s out of 5 on his scorecard, including stability, maneuverability, and playfulness. These are all awesome qualities in an all-mountain twin tip, and it’s great seeing these skiers get surprised by skis like this. “Stable! Surprisingly no chatter. Likes all kinds of turns. Just as happy with tight twisties and big carvers.” Evan did note that even some skis have limits: “Topped out at speed. A little longer would be nice. Full ski edge contact. Pleasantly surprised overall.” Sounds like a Soul Rider 87 convert!

Matt McGinnis felt like he was a bit too powerful for the 177, and would most likely prefer the 185. His top scores of 4 out of 5 were for torsional stiffness and versatility. When a ski is under 90 mm underfoot, they tend to feel pretty stiff under you boot, so that’s probably what Matt was feeling here. He also touches on the freestyle aspect of the ski: “I think this could be a great option for beginner to intermediate park skiers—ideally 13-17 years old. It holds an edge well, I just felt like I was overpowering it.” Fair enough, especially coming from a freestyle-oriented skier like Matt who should probably be on the longer size.

Do not overlook this ski! Most all-mountain skiers would assume this is too soft or too park-oriented, and they’ll be missing out on one of the most versatile and fun skis out there on the market today.


Matt McGinnis

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Surfy freeride with a freestyle background

Evan Caha

Age: 30Height: 5'10"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and adventurous with a love for high edge angles

Connor Gorham

Age: 29Height: 6'0"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Creative and inviting and always with a smile

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Harrison Gorham

Age: 34Height: 6'0"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Heavily mustachioed and always watching out for the kids

8 Comments on the “2020 Nordica Soul Rider 87”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the great website / it’s a wealth of information. I’ve recently got back into skiing after snowboarding for the last 25 years. I live in Colorado and have been skiing blues and groomed blacks. I’m 5′ 7″ and 150lbs.

    I’m looking for skis that will be fun mainly on piste that I can take little hits, small amount of tree skiing, little off piste etc. On really deep power days I’ll most likely be back on my snowboard, so not looking for anything too wide. Looking for something that will grow with my skills as well.

    The soul rider 87 sounded like a good fit, but I wasn’t sure about the length. 169 seems longish for me, although I’ve read the twin tips might mean going longer?

    Other thoughts I had were soul rider 84, Volkl Kanjo (although not twin tip). Any other suggestions?



    1. Hi Martin!
      You’ve got a somewhat biased responder here, as the Soul Rider 87 is my daily ski here in Stowe. I love it’s combination of ease of turning and all-mountain playfulness. I am not a park skier, and I think it’s a fantastic ski for just about everything. I think the 169 is the right size. The 84 is a softer version which doesn’t quite have the performance, but for lighter skiers or teenagers, it’s a great choice. The Kanjo, like you said, is a directional ski, and it has a strip of metal running through the center that gives it more stability at speed. A great ski for sure, but for your application, especially coming off a snowboard background, I think the Soul Rider 87 is the way to go. Have fun!

  2. Great review gentleman. I am a 6 ft 210 lbs type 3 skier who wants to venture into jumps and switch with little other park features as a priority. I want great bump performance but want maximum versatility and good switch skiing so what would the recommended mount point be? I am guessing 2-3 back from dead center? Any advice is appreciated.


    1. HI Bill!
      I’d say split the difference between traditional and center on the ski–gives you playfulness without compromising all-mountain performance. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi SE, love your content. Can’t say enough about the quality work you do.

    I’m 5’7″ 145lb 30 years old looking at the Soul Rider 87 for primarily my primary resort ski for primarily skiing in PA/NY/VT. I’ve been demoing but my local mountain doesn’t carry Nordica / Ranger. I’ve ridden Stance 90 and Kendo 88 and found the tails on both skis too difficult to release. When I road head 93 cores last year, I felt they were way to twitching / chattery for me. I did enjoy QST 92s and Ross Exp 88’s but still would like something a bit more playful. My style is definitely more relaxed/playful/energetic/jibby and less charger/bomby. I like to spend a lot of time in the trees / bumps and will take a park lap here and there. I’ll also ride groomers when the group I’m riding with dictates it but will be looking for side hits the entire way down.

    With that said, two questions:
    1. What length do you think would work best in the Soul Rider 87? I’m leaning towards the 177 versus the 169 to retain a bit more stability and mounting it at -2.
    2. How do you feel the Fischer Ranger 94 FR’s compare to the Soul Riders or would the more comparable ski be the enforcer 94 or even the QST 92?

    1. HI Justin!
      I’d think the 177 would be good. It’s more flexible than the Ranger 94 for sure, so that makes the Soul rider a bit more playful, but not quite as stable at speed. Also, you’re giving up some width, so the directional flotation properties of the Ranger will be a bit better. They are not as energetic or quick as the Soul Rider, though, which is why a lot of skiers like them. QST 92 is heavier and more stable than both, and Enforcer 94 is heavier and more stable still. Have fun!

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