2023 Stöckli Nela 88 Review
Not just for carving, this all-mountain ski can do it all
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.77/10
- Rank: #4
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 8
- Stability at Speed: 7.67
- Carving: 7
- Quickness: 8
- Responsiveness: 8.33
- Playfulness: 8.33
- Forgiveness: 8
- Crud Performance: 8.33
- Versatility: 8.67
- Price: $1,099
- Lengths: 152, 160, 168
- Dimensions: 127-88-113
- Radius: 15 (160cm)
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Versatility, Responsiveness
- Cons: Stability at Speed, Carving
Year after year, Stöckli impresses with its Nela line of women’s skis and this season is no different. The Nela 88 is a versatile and narrow all-mountain ski that can tackle groomers, crud, and everything in between.
This same ski was entered in last season’s test in the All-Mountain Category, and it dominated—snagging the runner-up award. However, this year, Stöckli entered the Nela 88 into SKI’s Frontside category after it scored its highest marks in the groomer-specific Hard-Snow Integrity and Stability at Speed skill departments. And it didn’t seem to matter which classification it entered. It still finished near the top, grabbing top scores in Playfulness, Forgiveness, Crud Performance, and Versatility, and an overall fourth place rank.
It’s obvious as soon as you hop on the Nela 88 that it’s more of an all-mountain ride. It bombs down corduroy, crushes soft snow turns, and holds an edge at all speeds while still being playful in the bumps and soft snow on the side of the trail thanks to its light freeride-designed tip. It got testers from that early morning hardpack to slashing afternoon chunder without batting an eye. “Anyone can ski this ski and think they’re a badass skier,” claimed SKI Test Director and tester Jenny Wiegand. “Recommended for anyone who wants a more versatile frontside tool that can tackle groomers, bumps, and crud.”
The Nela 88 has the power to ski less experienced skiers up a level, gently pushing them into a carve and holding the turn, while more advanced skiers could put the hammer down and find the ski’s energy. However, you do have to think about turning more than with some of the other skis in the category. “It isn’t as easy to put on edge as some of the other skis, but you don’t necessarily have to work to get it to carve either—you just have to do a little something,” said tester Abby Ghent. Tester Tracy Gibbons agreed. “They don’t turn as quickly as some others in this category,” she said.
Stöckli is known for its meticulous manufacturing and high-end materials, and this ski is no different. It houses two full sheets of metal—more than most women’s skis. (One of those metal sheets is the topsheet, which explains its shiny glow.) That metal makes it nice and stable, while its lightweight wood core renders it fun and whippy to turn.
It is one of the pricier skis in the category, ringing in as the most expensive ski amongst its frontside-skiing sisters. But if you can fit it into your budget, this ski is excellent for shredding short radius turns and jumping into the soft bumps, making it a great one-ski quiver option for many.
Courtney Harkins grew up ski racing, starting on the icy slopes of New England and finishing at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She now lives in Park City, Utah and works as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. She also freelance writes and consults in the skiing and Olympic industry. When she’s not traveling with the team, her home mountain is Deer Valley Resort, where she loves to arc turns on groomers, but also knows all of the secret spots for days-old powder. Harkins has been testing skis since 2016 and has been a SKI gear tester for three seasons.