An Expert Guide to Icelantic Skis

Ski Expert Adam St. Ours explains why you should look into Icelantic Skis, and gives you his top picks for the skis that you should give a look when shopping around.

Man skiing down a mountain

Photo by Hendrik Morkel

Do you enjoy riding fun, versatile skis that are ideal for a variety of conditions? Do you appreciate high-quality craftsmanship, made in the USA by a progressive-thinking, environmentally conscious company? Do you want to ski in beautiful pieces of art that everybody will be jealous of? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then Icelantic deserves your consideration.

Like most small startups, Icelantic Skis was founded in a garage. In 2003, Ben Anderson started building prototype skis in his garage, and the first Icelantic skis were sold in 2005. Since then, the company has grown to be synonymous with high-quality freeride skis; and to this day, 100% of their skis are still handmade in the state of Colorado. They stand by the durability and construction of their skis—offering an industry leading three-year warranty and “Bombproof Construction”.

Their mission is twofold; to create a product and experience that inspires people to “return to nature,” and create a culture that leaves the world a better place than they found it. Icelantic is a Certified B Corporation, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance by helping the community and environment. They are also an accredited Climate Neutral company committed to taking steps forward in creating a sustainable company that balances people, planet, and profit.

Freeride

Icelantic’s most popular skis, and their longest-running models, are their freeride collections: Nomad for the men, and Maiden for the women. Described as playful, surfy, and fun, the freeride collection features a Hybrid Flight Core of poplar and paulownia wood that is light and poppy and turns the mountain into your personal playground. Available in three widths, they offer a dependable and versatile ride that’s just as high performing as they are accessible for a wide range of skiers. The men’s and women’s models are extremely similar, with the same construction and profile, while the only differences are found in their available widths and lengths.

Nomad 95 / Maiden 91

Product image of Nomad 95 and Maiden 91 skis

“Versatility from park to peak” is how Icelantic describes the narrowest of their Freeride skis. With only 2mm of camber underfoot, and deep rocker in the tips and tails, this ski is very maneuverable and easy to pivot and slash turns all over the mountain. If you like to get into the air, they’re energetic and poppy off jumps. Even just flexing out of turns while cruising on a groomed run, these skis will have you smiling all the way down the mountain.

Nomad 105 / Maiden 101

Product image of Nomad 105 and Maiden 101 skis

The Nomad 105 is Icelantic’s best-selling ski. Interestingly, Icelantic keeps the same rocker profile as the ski widths get larger. What this does is give their middle widths a little more stability in varied conditions. Don’t misunderstand, there is still a good deal of looseness in this ski and it’s easy to pivot and break off your turns quickly in tight spots. But with a wider ski that’s meant for more time in the soft snow found in the trees and back bowls of mountains, it makes sense to increase stability when you’re more likely to encounter varied snow.

Another quirk is that the ski’s width varies in correlation with the offered lengths (shorter skis are narrower than 105/101, and longer skis are wider). This feature is becoming more common among various brands because it allows them to give a consistent feeling and profile to different-sized skiers. A smaller person on the shortest models doesn’t feel overwhelmed by an unwieldy ski, or likewise a larger person on the longest models isn’t overpowering the skis. What’s different is that Icelantic adjusts seems to adjust the widths more on this model than any of their other skis. For instance, the longest Nomad 105 is actually 111 mm underfoot—closer to their powder specific Nomad 115 than the stated 105 mm! This makes sense, if you consider that the 105/101 is meant to be a generalist all-mountain ski. So, Icelantic wants to offer the most versatility in the most conditions, and the narrower and wider models are meant to be used for more specific conditions.

Nomad 115 / Maiden 111

Product image of Nomad 115 and Maiden 111 skis

Steep and deep; that’s what the widest Icelantic freeride skis are meant for. Tons of rocker and surface area to stay afloat in soft snow, but a thoughtfully designed sidecut and taper shape that makes them intuitive and eager to carve in a wide range of snow conditions—especially considering how large these skis are. All of that comes together to make a fun playful 115mm-wide powder ski that’s exceptionally versatile when compared to other similarly sized skis.

All Mountain

Icelantic’s all-mountain skis are called the Pioneer and Riveter. Featuring more camber underfoot and less rocker in the tip and tail than their Freeride series, the Pioneer/Riveter offers more grip and control on firm snow and in varied conditions, with the ability to blast through crud while offering a stronger and more responsive ski. New for 2022-2023 model year, Icelantic has reduced the amount of rocker in the tail—giving the skis a longer effective edge for a more secure grip on the snow in turns.

Pioneer 86 / Riveter 85

Product image of Pioneer 86 and Riveter 85 skis

These are the narrowest adult skis Icelantic makes. They are directional skis ideal for skiers who want a lightweight and lively ski. They’re built for skiers who stay mostly on groomers, with occasional forays into a mogul field or even the trees, but rarely in deep snow.

Pioneer 96 / Riveter 95

Product image of Pioneer 96 and Riveter 95 skis

Designed as a one-ski quiver for a skier who prefers a strong ski that will feel snappy, responsive, and solid everywhere on the mountain. They’re perfect for the skier who is just as likely to rip groomers, smash some bumps, dip into the trees, and even hit a back bowl, and prefers to make big, long turns at high speeds while doing so. East or West, high or low pressure, there really isn’t a condition or ski run that these skis can’t handle.

Pioneer 109 / Riveter 104

Product image of Pioneer 109 and riveter 104 skis

Much like the Freeride series of skis, Icelantic keeps the same rocker/camber profile on all widths of their all-mountain skis. What the wider models offer is a stiff ski that’s wide enough to stay afloat on the deepest days, but with the backbone to charge through any amount of chop or crud that you can get on the busiest powder days; and they are an exceptional carving tool for their width. If you like to point ‘em downhill in the snowy mountains of the West, or want a no-holds-barred powder ski in the East, the Pioneer 109/Riveter 104 are big-mountain skis worth a long look.

Backcountry

Nomad Lite / Maiden Lite

Product image of Nomad Lite and Maiden Lite skis

A lightened version of Icelantic's best-selling freeride skis with a more uphill-friendly weight, these skis are dubbed “Free-Tour” by the company because they combine the fun, freeride feeling of the best-selling Nomad and Maiden skis. By using a Feather-Weight Core of balsa and flax wood to shed some grams, Icelantic is able to keep the same playfulness and energetic feeling that makes the Nomad and Maiden skis best sellers while making them much more friendly to lug uphill.

Natural 101 / Mystic 97Natural 111 / Mystic 107

Product image of Natural 101 and Mystic 107 skis

The Natural and Mystic skis use the same Feather-Weight Core as the Nomad/Maiden Lite, but pair it with a similar profile as their all-mountain Pioneer and Riveter models. What you get is a lightweight and snappy ski with a little more camber and a flatter tail than their Free-Tour models for increased confidence in variable terrain.

Pro Collabs

Product image of Saba Pro 117 and Nia Pro 105 skis

Definitely the most eye-catching Icelantic skis are in their Pro Collab collection. The Saba Pro and Nina Pro skis were designed as a collaborative effort between all the Icelantic professional athletes—from the shape, flex, artwork and construction. They feature Icelantic’s Reflexive Rocker profile, which is a full rocker with zero camber underfoot. But the sidecut radius is designed to match the rocker profile, so when the ski is tipped on edge in a carve, the entire edge of the ski is in contact with the snow. This gives you extra grip in turns while maintaining the fun surfy feeling of a fully rockered ski in deep snow.

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There is a lot to love about Icelantic Skis. They are high-performing and fun to use, and you can tell they put a lot of effort into every ski they make. All the skis are handmade with extra-durable materials and come with an unmatched three-year warranty. They update the artwork with stunning graphics every year, and to top it off, the company is climate neutral and is committed to conducting business in a responsible and ethical manner. If any of this sounds like what you’re looking for, or if you’re just interested to see what other skis might be a good fit for your individual style and preferences, reach out to a Ski Expert like myself to chat. We love to provide our readers with free, personalized gear recommendations.

Ski Expert Adam St. Ours
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Adam St. Ours
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I know that your ski gear should be as unique as you are. With the exceptional quality and variety available these days, there's no need to settle on cookie cutter recommendations or the first results that you can find. When I'm on the mountain, I'm always bouncing around the trail map, trying not t...

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