Expert Review: Nordica Unleashed 98 W Skis · Women's · 2023
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.
The Nordica Unleashed 98 W is a great option for a woman looking for a light ski that is highly maneuverable. This ski truly shines in trees and moguls and complements Nordica’s Santa Ana line.
About the gear
- Model: 2023 Nordica Unleashed 98 W
- Size: 168
- Height: 5’3.5”
- Weight: 130lbs
- Experience: 20+ years of snowboarding/skiing
- When I bought these: November 2022
- Days tested: 10
- Mount position: Factory recommended
- Boots: 2020 Dalbello Krypton AX 110
- Boot Size: 23.5
- Bindings: 2023 Look Pivot 12
- Where I’ve used it: Colorado
- Terrain: Groomers, moguls, trees, and powder
How they perform
What I was looking for
I own the 2022 Nordica Santa Ana 98 and absolutely love them. While they have been a great one-ski quiver for me, I considered getting a second pair of skis because I go so frequently throughout the season. In addition, the Santa Ana 98s are notoriously heavy and aggressive, so I considered buying a lighter and more playful ski to use in moguls and trees.
Why I chose this gear
I tried the Unleashed 98 W for the first time at an industry demo day at Loveland in November 2023. When I tried these skis for the first time, I was absolutely shocked at how they handled. They were incredibly lightweight and easy to maneuver, and I knew immediately that I had to add a pair to my collection.
What I love about them
- Turns: These skis are incredibly easy to turn, thanks to their lightweight and responsive nature. They allow for various turn shapes while remaining very quick to change edges.
- Powder: These skis float very well in soft, fresh powder and chewed-up snow. They easily stay on top of the powder with minimal effort. More importantly, they are incredibly easy to turn in powder again with little input required.
- Trees: The Unleashed are quick and nimble, allowing easy maneuverability in trees and tight spaces.
- Moguls: Like tree skiing, these skis turn immediately when asked and are very light and fun for moguls.
- Park: Disclaimer: I’m not a park skier. I enjoy taking small jumps and drops; these skis are poppy while offering a stable landing.
- Durability: These skis have held up well and show minimal wear and tear after use.
- Weight: The Unleashed 98 W is considerably lighter than the Santa Ana 98, making them much easier to turn and more versatile.
- Switch riding: The tail rise on these skis is very noticeable, and they are easy to ski switch without being a true twin.
- Versatility: I find these skis competent in just about any condition. I can easily go into trees and bowls, and I'm not miserable on the groomers in between.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Speed: The Unleashed allows for good speed in off-piste conditions, but they definitely have a speed limit. This speed doesn’t translate to groomers or ice, whereas their other women’s line is designed to do so.
- Edge hold: While the edge hold is satisfactory for this type of ski, it leaves something to be desired for groomers. These skis aren’t designed for tearing up groomers, as they are meant to be playful and fun in off-piste conditions. Skiers on the East Coast will want a different ski for icy conditions.
- Carving: Although I can force these skis to carve, it isn’t where this ski shines. A narrow ski will perform significantly better for carving.
Favorite moment with this gear
I took the Unleashed 98 W out for the first time to A-Basin after taking some time off from skiing to visit family over Christmas. After a week of consistent fresh snowfall, they had just opened some tree runs in the Beavers. Taking these skis into a black tree run for the first time was magical. I was faster in the trees than I ever had been before. I was initially worried that I shouldn’t have spent the money on a second pair of skis, but the difference in the ease of skiing the trees made me so confident in my purchase. They are the perfect complement to my Santa Ana 98s.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Unleashed 98 W are priced very similarly to their competitors from other major brands (i.e., K2, Blizzard). While they are not the cheapest option, they are far from the most expensive ski. They hold their value well, as they are durable and will last for many seasons.
The Nordica Unleashed 98 W is an excellent complement to the Nordica Santa Ana 98. They are also a great one-ski quiver choice for someone who values maneuverability and responsiveness in trees and moguls.