Expert Review: 2023 Nordica Unleashed 98 [with Video]
Ski Experts Daryl and Rob tested the 2023 Nordica Unleashed 98 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
The Nordica Unleashed 98 is a brand new ski from Nordica for the 22/23 season, and Ski Experts Rob and Daryl tested it at Powder Mountain in Utah this spring. Check out their overall impressions of the ski and how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories. Then chat with Rob or Daryl to learn more about the Unleashed 98 or connect with any Ski Expert here on Curated to find the right ski for you.
A quick note before we dive in, Curated experts are not sponsored and have no ties to any particular brand, so these are honest and unbiased opinions of the gear.
What does the brand claim about this ski? [Rob] Nordica claims that the Unleashed 98 is a potential one-ski quiver for any skier from the East Coast to the Sierra Nevada. They claim that the 98 millimeter waist is super versatile and that this is a playful charger that just about any advanced to expert skier could love.
[Daryl] Nordica claims that this is going to be a really fun all mountain ski. It's going to pop off things, and it's going to be pretty stable in the turn. It's just going to do everything reasonably well, except for deep powder and ice.
What was your overall impression of the ski? [Rob] My first impression was “wow.” When I looked at the specs on this ski, which are 98 millimeters underfoot, a turning radius that's just under 19 meters, I knew that this was going to be in that versatile, all mountain, mid fat ski category that’s really popular these days. What I didn't expect when I got on the ski was how comfortable it was being driven hard and how playful it could be at the same time.
[Daryl] My overall impression of these skis is that they are the definition of fun, and I had a great time on them. I didn't really have any expectations going into things, but I absolutely loved these skis. I was popping off things. I turned them in a variety of different turn shapes, and went very fast on them. They were ready and raring to go for whatever.
How does the shape of the ski affect the way it rides? [Daryl] This ski in terms of profile is more cambered than rockered. It's not meant to be a powder ski and doesn't have generous rocker in the tip and tail, but it does have a full twin tip and tail.
They're the kind of ski that I really look for in an all mountain ski that's balanced and very centered. I would like to ski these forward mounted a little bit more, so not at the factory recommended mount. I think that they'd ski very, very well that way. That being said, I had a great time on them.
How well does the ski carve? [Rob] It carved like a dream for a ski that's 98 millimeters underfoot. It had great edge hold and was super stable in varied firm terrain with an inch of soft snow over it. I could smear turns when I wanted to, and I could carve a turn when I wanted to. I really feel like this is a ski that's good for just about any kind of terrain, short of really super deep powder or boilerplate ice.
[Daryl] These skis carve tremendously well. I was expecting them to be a little bit more floppy and not hold an edge very well, but they're very snappy and poppy and are more than happy to be on edge. They did a great job.
Does the ski feel stable? [Rob] The Unleashed 98 felt very stable at speed. I never felt like the ski was getting away from me. It’s a ski that wants you to be on top of it and rewards aggressive input, but it can also be skied with a more centered stance.
Can you speak to the ski’s playfulness and pop? [Rob] It’s very stable and not a super poppy ski. It is really designed for harder charging, but for a ski that charges this hard, it's also pretty playful and easy to maneuver.
[Daryl] This ski is not marketed by Nordica as being a park specific ski, but I think that this would be a rippin’ ski in the park. It's pretty light for what it is, and it pops really nicely. It lands really well. I would love to test this out in the park.
Is the ski seemingly durable? [Daryl] I can't speak to durability on this ski since it's brand new, but I would assume that it's a fairly durable ski. Nordica skis, in general, have a reputation for being durable. I've never had any issues with them myself, and I've never heard of other people having issues with them. I would assume that this ski also falls in that category of not being easily broken.
How does the ski feel skiing switch? [Rob] I skied it switch for a little bit. It's got a bit of an upturn tail, which is also good for spraying your friends in the face who are following you. I wouldn't call this a park ski by any stretch.
[Daryl] It skis backwards very, very well and is totally capable of skiing switch.
What conditions were you skiing in today? [Rob] I was skiing the ski in Western trees. It's maneuverable, that sub 20 meter turn radius means that you can make a tight turn through tight trees. Just point them and send them through the hole, and it'll be fun.
[Daryl] I skied it a little bit in dust on crust conditions here with some variable terrain, and it did great. They did really well in the woods. They're very nimble. I think that that speaks to how well they would do on a day after things have been tracked out as far as powder is concerned. So they'd be a fun ski to take out to be hopping around in chundry, broken up snow.
Why did you seem to enjoy skiing these so much? [Rob] I'm a fairly directional, aggressive skier who likes to be playful some of the time. This ski is right in my wheelhouse. I might be 51, but I felt 27 again skiing on these guys.
Most of the time I like to dive down the fall line, and sometimes I like to play around on side hits, really depends on what the terrain is giving me. I could ski this ski comfortably in all those situations and feel really confident that it's going to respond to the input that I give it and be a stable ride through uneven terrain.
[Daryl] I really like it when a ski surprises me, and I truly came into skiing the Unleashed 98 with no opinions about it. I had never skied this ski because it's brand new and had not skied a Nordica in quite some time. I'm really impressed with this ski. I had a great time on it, and it definitely surprised me with how versatile it is.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Rob] I'd recommend these skis to any stronger advanced expert skier. I think if you were really light, you might want a ski that's a little less stiff underfoot, but for any bigger guy who likes to charge, this is a great ski.
[Daryl] This ski is for the person who wants to be able to have one ski that can do everything reasonably well. This is a ski that carves well and can go into the park for a few laps. It can jump off side hits and can ski both ice and soft snow. It’s a great ski for sure.
If you want a dedicated ski for any condition, particularly powder, this is not going to be the best bet. But this is a really great all mountain ski.
Who would you not recommend this ski to? [Rob] I would not recommend the ski to beginners or lower intermediate skiers. This is not the easiest ski to twist, and it's a little bit heavy. For an intermediate skier you'll be better off with a ski that's a little softer tip to tail and a little more maneuverable.
Keep in mind that every skier is unique; chat with Daryl or Rob or connect with another Ski Expert here on Curated to determine if the Nordica Unleashed 98 is the right ski for you. They can put together personalized ski recommendations tailored to your needs.