Nordica Astral 84 ReviewDecember 21, 2017
- Solid underfoot
- Shines in medium-radius turns
- Confidence inspiring
- Slow rise tip doesn’t engage quickly in turns
- Low rebound energy
- Feels lethargic in short turns
The Nordica Astral 84 blends all-mountain and carving properties for a predictable ski that suits a wide range of skiers. Testers appreciated the user-friendliness of the Astral 84 on groomers. “I didn’t have to think on this ski,” said one tester. “It’s fun on the groomers, but don’t feel limited to the boundary of the frontside.”
The hybrid Frontside/All-mountain characteristics come from the shape, which combines a free-ride inspired, rockered, blunt tip (from the wider Santa Ana series) with a carving-oriented, squared-off tail (from the high-performance Sentra series). Testers scored the Astral 84 highest for Stability and Edge Hold. Moderate scores came in for Turn Shape Variability and Carving Pleasure; interesting results for a ski designed to do it all. The hybrid design may mean a sacrifice on specific performance features. Indeed, some testers noted several elements that were lacking such as a challenge to engage the slow rise tip in the turn or a lack of versatility when transitioning between different turn shapes.
The Astral 84’s freeride-inspired tip did gain higher marks for Flotation, but the fact that testers felt the the tip didn’t engage quickly affected Carving Pleasure. To some testers, the ski felt lethargic in short turns and lost engagement in high speed GS turns. The Sentra-inspired tail is designed to increase hard snow stability, but some testers felt it lacked rebound energy, or “zip” out of the turn. “This ski is a great cruiser, but lacks versatility when mixing up turn shapes,” said one tester. As a result, scores were lower for Turn Shape Variability.
Construction of the Astral 84 includes a balsa wood core and a full sheet of titanium – minus hexagonal-shaped cutouts in the metal over the forebody and tail of the ski. The Titanium Hex Bridge construction combines high strength-to-weight ratio balsa core with the matrix of metal for vibration absorption, stability and control. Those attributes were noticed by testers, reflected in the high scores for Stability and Edge Hold.
All in all, testers praised the Astral 84’s predictability and suitability for a wide range of skiers. “This ski is torsionally strong, yet easy to flex,” said one tester. “It’s a moderate-skiing tool for frontside cruisers and a dab of variable snow.”
An 84 mm waist does not a powder ski make, but testers gave the Astral 84 fairly high marks for Flotation. The freeride-inspired tip helped in soft snow, even though some testers felt “tip flap” on hardpack at speed. Overall, the Astral’s balsa core helped the ski to feel light in variable snow conditions. The Hexagonal Bridge reduces a significant amount of weight from multiple cutouts in the dampening titanium sheet.
Stability was the area where the Astral 84 shined and testers commented on how solid underfoot the ski felt in a variety of conditions. “You don’t have to think on these skis or be limited to the boundary of the frontside,” said one tester. This predictability increases the audience range of the ski and according to testers, it suits a wide range of skiers. The Astral 84’s core contributed to the light but damp feel. Balsa wood and the full sheet of titanium – minus hexagonal-shaped cutouts in front of and behind the bindings – garnered descriptions from testers such as “bomber torsion,” “lethargic underfoot,” and “light and predictable,” which are predictable responses.
The Astral 84 held its own for Edge Hold, though testers noticed a governor on the ski’s speed limit as well as a preference for wider turns. “It loves moderate speeds and medium radius turns,” said one tester. “It’s not ideal for tight turns.” Edge Hold shined on cruisers and groomers without ice. The combination of a free-ride inspired, rockered, blunt tip (from the wider Santa Ana series) with a carving-oriented, squared-off tail (from the high-performance Sentra series) boxed the ski into the middle range of turns and speed, though testers felt that this also made the ski accessible to a wide range of ability levels.
Testers say the Astral 84 shined in medium-radius turns with soft snow on groomers. When the runs got harder and the speeds increased, testers felt the Astral’s all-mountain shaped tips were slow to engage and that the frontside-oriented flat tails washed out in big, GS turns. Don’t expect race-ski precision, but do expect predictability for a wide range of ability levels.
Turn Shape Variability
The Astral 84 performs best being skied moderately: medium radius turns, moderate speeds. When quickening the pace, the ski felt lethargic in short turns some testers, while the rebound energy and edge hold waned in high speed GS turns.Continue Reading
Krista Crabtree- Skiing
Passionate about women’s ski camps and women-specific gear, Krista organizes women’s ski programs at Eldora and Vail, including her own camp called She Skis. A former editor at SKI Magazine, she currently runs the ski test for OnTheSnow.com.