2023 Stöckli Nela 96 Review
This ski didn’t steal the show again this year, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better crud ski
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 8.08/10
- Rank: #5
- Versatility: 8
- Crud Performance: 8.5
- Playfulness: 6.75
- Responsiveness: 8.75
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 9.25
- Quickness: 7.75
- Stability at Speed: 9.5
- Carving: 9
- Flotation: 5.75
- Forgiveness: 5.75
- Price: $1,149
- Lengths: 156, 164, 172
- Dimensions: 134-96-121
- Radius: 15.8m (164)
- Level: Advanced to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Crud Performance (#1), Stability at Speed (#1)
- Cons: Playfulness (#16), Forgiveness (#18)
The Stöckli Nela 96 didn’t win the women’s all-mountain category again this year, but let’s be clear: Testers still love this ski. It’s billed as an all-mountain powder ski in Europe because it’s the widest option in the women’s Nela line and features a lighter core construction (for a Stöckli ski) and tip and tail rocker. But like all Stöckli thoroughbreds, the Nela 96 also rails on hardpack and on edge, earning it the highest scores in Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity among this year’s crop of women’s all-mountain skis. “I expected this ski to perform well on hardpack and whip around like a sports car, and it didn’t disappoint,” said tester Avery Pesce, an expert skier and head buyer for Boston Ski and Tennis in Massachusetts.
That said, it’s much more versatile than the traditional Stöckli ski with a one-track mind to slice up groomers. The ski’s tip and tail rocker amount to less effective edge on the ski and encourage smearing and pivoting, which makes skiing bumps and tackling crud not only doable, but enjoyable. In fact, this ski really shines in tracked-out terrain like skied-out trees and in heavy, cut-up snow. Testers were so impressed with this ski’s knack for smoothing out the ride when you crank up the speed or the going gets tough that they also gave it the highest scores in Crud Performance.
Related: See How the Stöckli Nela 96 Compares to Its Competition
Where this ski falls a little short is in the approachability and agility departments. While it’s definitely more user-friendly than the Stöckli skis of yore, it’s still not the most playful, intuitive, or forgiving tool around. Testers predominantly describe the Nela 96 as dependable and balanced rather than nimble and energetic, with some commenting that this ski excels in open terrain where you can let her run as opposed to tight, technical terrain where she’s a little more work. Strong skiers who know how to bend a ski will be able to tap into the Nela 96’s playful side, but intermediates may find this ski a little stiff and burly on anything but groomed terrain.
For this reason testers recommend it for advanced and expert skiers who like to charge and need one ski to handle the whole mountain. If you’re ready to drive a sports car, give ‘er; otherwise, you’ll just be holding her back. “For the hard-charging advanced and expert New England skier who wants one ski to handle everything,” said Pesce.
Jenny Wiegand is SKI’s managing editor. Born and raised in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jenny grew up exploring the Alps on skis, bikes, and her own two feet. She has since traded in the Alps for the Rockies to seek new trails, new adventures, and write about her favorite sport—skiing—in her new home of Boulder, Colo. Since joining the SKI Magazine editorial team in 2018, Jenny has written and edited stories for SKI’s print and digital outlets. A lifelong skier and former club racer, Jenny is also a self-proclaimed gearhead and puts that knowledge to good use as one of SKI Magazine’s official gear testers.