2020 Nordica Soul Rider 97

If you’re the type of skier that doesn’t want to think about which skis to use on a given day, you’ll love the Soul Rider 97. This is as much of a point-and-shoot ski as you’ll find. Just put the keys in the ignition, put it in drive, and go. These skis just work. With a 97 mm waist, they’re on the wide side for on-trail performance and the narrow side for powder skiing, but they seem to hit all the right notes regardless. While many skiers will assume they’re just for park and pipe, nothing could really be further from the truth. Yes, they’re great in the park and pipe, with the twin-tip shape and the poppy rocker profile, but in reality, these are amazing all-mountain skis that happen to be good park skis, too. Built with a wood core and carbon stringers, there’s nothing crazy about the way these are made, but they just feel fun. The 16.5-meter turn radius at 177 cm length is short, but the forgiveness of the ski makes it easy to crack that radius and make any shape turn you want. Our testers were impressed with the fun-factor that these skis create, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

On the 185, Harrison Gorham liked the size and had a lot of really nice things to say about the Soul Rider 97. Scores of 5 were given for stability, quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, and edge hold. Edge hold? Most likely, Harrison was feeling that high-camber underfoot that makes for the snappy and poppy feeling of the ski. “Great solid ski. Turns wherever and whenever with confidence. Just, I am really proud of Nordica.” Great sentiments there, Harrison, as we’re all pretty proud of the quality stuff that Nordica has been putting out lately.

Little brother Connor Gorham also skied the 185 and found it to be the right length. His top score was a 5 out of 5 for playfulness, and we don’t think anyone will ever argue with that. His overall impression was 4 out of 5, as were stability, maneuverability, forgiveness, and edge hold. Edge hold? Two out of two testers so far are commending this wood core ski at 97 mm underfoot to have great edge hold—that’s something of note for sure. “I fell into a trance thinking about these bad Sally’s in the woods with some sugar or more snow in general. No spot on the mountain is off-limits to a little Soul Ridin’!”

For a twin-tip in the 185 length, Evan Caha found the Soul Rider 97 to be “a bit heavy in the tip and tail.” Which, for a playful twin-tip, is a pretty sweet thing to have, rather than them bouncing around and being unstable. That said, Evan felt they had a “good width, were playful, and fast. Every good quality from the Soul Rider 87 carries over. Just set your edge and the tips and ski will follow.” Evan is certainly pointing out the automatic personality of these skis insofar as they are easy to use and fun to control.

Matt McGinnis loved the 185, and gave top marks for playfulness, forgiveness, and overall impression. “My favorite part of the ski is its ability to bend to your will without sacrificing performance. You can slash, butter, or revert on a whim, but when you open it up, it’s still capable of higher speeds.” Sounds like a winning combination for sure!

These twin-tips often get overlooked for skiers shopping for all-mountain skis because of their shape. There’s a huge number of skiers in a wide variety of ability level ranges that would love the playfulness and versatility of the 2020 Nordica Soul Rider 97. Not just a twin-tip.


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

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