Nordica Wild Belle Review
Cons: Chatter at speed, not super stable
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nordica Wild Belle is decent at a lot of things, but not outstanding at many. That being said, we think this could be an excellent all-mountain, one-ski-quiver ski for an intermediate or lightweight skier.
Stability at Speed
The Wild Belle is relatively stable at speed, but all of our testers agree that when you get it going fast, the lightweight core begins to chatter and it can be unnerving. Because of this, we hesitate to really open it up speed-wise on this ski. We also noticed some chattering on steep, chalky snow when we asked this ski to really dig in.
This ski is more viable as a carving ski than most we tested with its 88mm waist, however the large turn radius of 17.5 makes you wait for the turn to come around if you're railing them. The Wild Belle does not have great edge control, and is more inclined to skid out from under us or slide rather than carve. The Rossignol Temptation 88 is the other ski with a 88mm waist we tested and because of it's sidecut shape and stiffness it is a superior carving ski to the Wild Belle. Because of its 88mm waist, the Wild Belle is quick edge-to-edge and feels snappy and fun. This can also potentially be due to its lightweight core.
The Nordica Wild Belle has a similar tip shape to the K2 Fulluvit 98ti, with a tapered tip end and the fattest part moved back on the shovel for better float. The Nordica's isn't as wide as the Fulluvit's tip, but we still found it fun and floaty in the powder, though not as floaty when compared to the powder-hound K2. It can hold its own in soft and powdery snow but when it get's really deep we would reach for the K2's or the Volkl Aura.
The Wild Belle is easy to turn in the crud and easy to make jump turns because it is so light, so you can rely on it to get you out of a pinch. Unfortunately, the Belle does not plow through crud very well, and we tended to get thrown around more than on something like the crud-busting Blizzard Samba. We had fun making hop turns in crud and on the steeps because this ski is so light. Unfortunately, the Wild Belle is not super reliable in variable conditions. It is not a stiff or burly enough ski to take on what it's given, and sometimes will falter, wash out, or chatter off. It is decent in icy conditions, but not at speed, and we don't think it could be depended upon in breakable crust or heavy snow like the Auras can.
The Wild Belle is playful because it is so lightweight. Its lightness gives this ski some spunk, and you can hop turn yourself out of most situations. The Belle's edge-to-edge quickness adds to its playfulness as well.
Bumps Skiing Performance
Again, because this ski is so light and nimble it is an ok ski to tackle the occasional mogul field you come across. It does not have as tight a turn radius as the Temptation's but it would be easier to hop turn your way through the bumps.
The Nordica Wild Belle could be a great one-ski-quiver for an intermediate level skier, or for a smaller woman who is looking for a lightweight ski to drive around, that can handle all the conditions she can throw at it relatively well. The Belle really is ideal for 50% on-piste and 50% off. . They are the lightest weight ski in this review by almost half a pound and could potentially make a decent backcountry touring ski. We also think that the Atomic Vantage Elysian is a great all mountain ski that is easy to turn and handles all conditions very well.
The Wild Belle's pricetag went up this year from $600 to $700 which feels like less of a deal. It is a higher quality ski than the 4FRNT Madonna, but if you are looking for a lightweight ski you should consider looking at the Ranger 98, it has better float and performs similarly to the Belle.
The Wild Belle has full sidewall construction that adds to its durability. Despite its lightweight nature, the ski seems relatively durable, and we did not notice any significant damage to its bases over the rocky season in California.
A jack-of-all-trades, master of none ski, the Nordica Wild Belle can hold its own in most conditions. We were a bit unnerved on this light, soft ski when charging at speed, but enjoy its peppy lightweight turns in powder and on steeps. This would be a great quiver-of-one for an intermediate skier who wants to split their time evenly between the groomed runs and off-piste terrain. The tips have some rocker, but not a ton, and so they ski relatively true to length.
— Jessica Haist and Renee McCormack
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