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One hell of a ride.

To make the El Capo Ski, Nordica put its Helldorado and Soul Rider skis in a room, lit a few candles, turned the lights down and the R&B up, and waited. Before long, the El Capo was born. It shares the same Powder CamRock profile—traditional camber underfoot with a rockered tip and tail—as the Helldorado, meaning it can float, surf, and pivot in powder while still holding a bomber edge on hardpack, but with a width that splits the difference between its parents. The upshot is that it's a more capable powder ski than the Soul Rider and better on the frontside than the Helldorado, making it a true one-ski quiver for everyday west coast riders or a powder-hungry board for east coast rippers. 

The El Capo is built on a light, lively ash and poplar core, but it's laid up with prepreg and Titanal laminates to make it plenty stiff enough for big lines and choppy runouts. ABS sidewalls provide plenty of durability and power to the steel edges, while the sintered base keeps you mobbing along at eye-watering speeds. Nordica also tapered the El Capo's tail, which means you can break out of turns in a snap, wiggle your way through tight trees, or dump speed when you realize that cliff you're heading for is actually way bigger than you thought.

  • Powder CamRock (traditional camber underfoot with a rockered tip and tail)
  • Sandwich construction with ABS sidewalls
  • Ash and poplar core
  • Prepreg and Titanal laminates
  • Tapered tail
  • Sintered UHMW base
  • Steel edges

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5 5

El Capo was outstanding

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had the opportunity to ski the 185cm El Capo on back to back days over the holiday in Sun Valley, Idaho.

I was excited to try out the El Capo as I have had a couple pairs of Enforcers in the past, have skied the Girish and Helldorado, and have loved what Nordica has been doing with their freeride line for years. The El Capo easily met and blew away my very heightened expectations.

The two days I was on the El Capo were an 8-10" of fresh overnight and a day after storm crud and groomer day. The first thing about the El Capo is that it absolutely loves to be in the fall line. As soon as you lay the skis over into a turn, you can feel the acceleration. For a ski with a 25m radius and 107cm under foot, I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to go from edge to edge. Opening it up on a groomer, the skis held brilliantly at high speeds and had no problem arcing GS turns. Make no mistake, you want to ski aggressively on the El Capo, but it gives back the love in spades.

It was off-piste where the El Capo really blew it up. The stiff shovel and softer tail blew through crud at high speeds and allowed for deft maneuvering through variable conditions. It is obviously not a powder ski, but the ski more than held its own in 8-10" of untracked powder. That edge to edge quickness on groomers showed up very well in the trees also. At 185cm, they were quick to make tight turns and control your speed when you needed it.

Overall, I thought the El Capo was outstanding. You can rip GS turns at high-speeds in any conditions with no fear while taking them anywhere on the mountain. No question one of the raddest, burly, but versatile skis I have been on in awhile. A no-brainer for an everyday ski you will be stoked on anywhere you go.

Responded on

I second everything Peter says about this ski. I have the 193's and they are the most versatile ski I own. I love it for the steeper Utah Resorts. Please buy this ski so Nordica will keep building it. If you are bigger person and/or a strong skier this could be your ski. As a disclaimer I also own the Bushy Waynes and Helldorado's but the El Capo is the ski I cannot live without.

Responded on

I recently purchased in 185cm and skied for 2 full days on piste only. They handled wonderfully on hardpack, machine groomed, and bumps for being 107cm underfoot. I didn't get them out on the good stuff or off piste yet but I cant wait!. Suprised on how stable they were when I was approaching speeds at approx 60mph on less than optimal conditions. The ski allowed me to hard charge the fall line with confidence. This naturally put a smile on my face. They carve with fair speed and with good technique just like skis in a 98mm width would. They can scrub speed easily and can be skied at moderate speeds absolutely fine. Didnt have any issues whatsoever with them being too much ski or too burly as many reviews may lead one to believe. Swing weight was as expected and not an issue. I am just one guy who really loves skiing and having great equipment that tailors to your personal style and specs. I don't have an agenda and I am giving my personal opinion that may help someone who is researching, buying, or looking to demo. Others opinions have helped shape some of my purchases and I hope mine can do the same.

With that being said, I can't express how much I enjoyed the El Capo. So much fun and what a suprise. I know they are biased towards softer snow obviously, but I would be totally comfortable jumping on these any day of the week. If they can handle the conditions I used them on then I am sure I will have a blast through cut up snow, crud, and powder days.

If you're skiing mostly all bumps or the terrain park, you will probably be looking at a different pair of skis naturally. I use different skis on those days as I believe many would. These aren't particularly suited for that.

However, I would recommend them highly for anyone looking for a ski in this category as a big mountain ski or even resort ski (on & off piste) . It has a good enough profile and build to be good on just about anything but the crazy deep days.

I own my fair share of skis, but this pair has made me feel confident to have as a one ski quiver for western conditions or for those riding decent snow. And YES they can tear up groomed or hardpack if that's the day you end up with. I am impressed. I have told many friends how they should take a good look into the El Capo. I am definitely one happy guy on these sticks.