Are you overwhelmed by all the different options for new skis out there? Perhaps settling on one pair to suit your needs is challenging. Some people like lighter skis to help save weight skiing uphill, others like burlier skis that will plow through any condition and float on top of deep snow. The options out there may feel endless, and everyone has an opinion. For me, I think I’ve found my balance in my Icelantic Nomad lite 105 skis.
Icelantic Nomad 105 Lite
Before moving to Colorado I was unfamiliar with Icelantic Skis. But from the time I first learned about them 7 years ago, I truly appreciated that they are locally owned, designed, and handmade in Colorado. #supportlocal
This differs from some other local brands where the skis are designed here but manufactured elsewhere.
Shortly after learning about Icelantic, I purchased a pair of one of their now semi-retired models, the Shaman. For years it was the ski I primarily used. In many ways, even though I now mostly ski on my Nomads, it is still one of my favorite skis.
The graphics are unique, beautiful, and even if you aren’t skiing on them, the artwork will be a conversation starter. In my previous apartment, my Icey skis were hanging on my wall all year round because the artwork was just enjoyable to look at.
I’ve had a few demo days on other Icelantic models (pioneer and standard nomads) and I have really enjoyed them, but for now I’d like to focus on the Nomad Lite 105 and why it has been my ski of choice this season.
Icelantic Nomad 105 Lite
The Nomad Freeride series comes in a variety of 4 waist widths, ranging from 95mm to 125mm for those deep days. A few seasons ago, Icelantic debuted a lighter version of the Nomad 105, the Nomad lite, which offers the same characteristics of the standard Nomad 105 with a lighter core.
My prior experience with some light backcountry skis has been that they are great on the uphill, but sacrifice some performance on the downhill. They often feel too light and aren’t as easy to manage when the conditions aren’t ideal. That has not been my experience with the Nomad lite. This season, I’ve had more days on them in the resort than I have in the backcountry and I am still more than impressed. I was not expecting to take out my backcountry skis as often as I have. However, the Nomad is so much fun that I keep reaching for them even when I’m heading to Arapahoe Basin or Copper Mountain. And for those even deeper days, I still have my Icelantic Shamans.
The Nomad lite ski is still light enough that on some tours where I’d previously only done a couple of laps uphill, I’m now doing a couple more. And already on a few days in the backcountry this season, I’ve come across others skiing the same ski and we’ve both only had great things to say about them. The “nice skis” comment from both of us coupled with a smile and nod of agreement.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I ski toured for 5 laps in some incredible fresh snow on Berthoud pass, then on my way home I stopped at Arapahoe Basin for a couple of steep, and somewhat tracked out bump runs on Pallavicini. Completely the opposite kind of conditions I’d spent the early part of the day on. But, the Nomad Lites were just as much fun on steep bumps as they were in the powder. And they were the only ski I needed for both conditions.
I think that other people must agree with me on how awesome this ski is, as this years model was sold out on Icelantic’s website for the season before Christmas. Icelantic even said that it is one of their top sellers in a recent email.
That said, you will likely still be able to find them in limited quantities in your local ski shops.
So, is the Nomad lite a one ski quiver? For many, perhaps yes. The downsides, it has a speed limit on groomers unlike some heavier, resort specific skis. It also isn’t the lightest backcountry ski so if you’re on a much longer tour, it might not be the ideal choice. But, if you’re looking for a ski that keeps you smiling, is easy and light enough on the uphill, and even more fun on the downhill in or out of the resort, the Nomad Lite will consistently be the one that I click in to. To sum it up, if I had to choose one ski to spend my season on, this would be it.
Lastly, after all of the great things I have to say about Icelantic, as I was writing this review earlier this month, I received an email with their New Years resolution from their CEO, Annelise. She wrote about the need for everyone to have an equal voice. And sums up her message with the note:
“We’re entering a new era, and our active participation is needed to create the world we want to leave for our grandchildren.”
Michael loves to ski. No, seriously,Michael loves to ski. Let’s qualify this.
Growing up on the East Coast he found NYC and DJ culture. While working for a massive tech company during the day he played and mixed electronic music at night. Somewhere amid this excess, he found skiing. It was enough to inspire a transfer to Denver. And, after driving over Loveland Pass on his way to ski at Arapahoe Basin for the first time, he realized how good his decision was. He also took up yoga.
60lbs lighter and tons of fun later he recognized how skiing had started him on a journey. He gave up the corporate job, bought a truck and a multi-resort ski pass and took off. #trucklife is like #vanlife only smaller and more frugal. A winter touring the US, Canada, and AK was inspiring. But, he wanted to be home in Colorado, so he moved to Summit County and started working in Outdoor Retail.
Did you guess you can find him skiing in the winter? Backcountry or resort its all good. In the summer he is thinking of skiing, riding a mountain bike, or hiking in the mountains.
You can find out more about his trip skiing 22 resorts or some of his other adventures at www.othersidemtn.com or Instagram @michaelclemente