So I recently picked up a pair of ARTificial Nurtures. If you've never heard of ARTificial, check out this thread: http://www.newschoolers.com/ns/forums/readthread/thread_id/706401/
Or take a look at the company website: http://artificial-ski-co.myshopify.com/
I picked up a pair of Nurtures in a 178 a couple weeks ago and mounted a pair of Look PX12's at true center. Thanks to school and finals, I didn't get to ride them until today. It was my first day of the season, and these skis are absolutely amazing. I skied at White Pass in Washington. Temps hung around 18-25 degrees all day with a couple inches of fresh snow falling throughout the day. There was about 12 inches of light powder (light for central Washington) in the trees and the groomers started out soft, but turned to cascade concrete/ice around noon. It was a great day to test these skis because I was able to ride a lot of varying conditions throughout the day.
Now, onto these skis. Here is a brief summary from the company website (link above): "A new era of skiing and talent demands a ski that can keep the pace. Four years ago, the idea of a park ski that was much more than a park ski fueled the development of ARTificial. The result exists today as the Nurture, a freestyle ski that combines camber and rocker unlike any other. A mellow camber profile scaled against a full bamboo core ends in a short, aggressive rocker in the tip and tail, yielding a ski that can carve, spin, charge, and swap at 88 mm underfoot. Nurture your style and stay on top of your game with the most progressive offering from ARTificial. to date."
The dimensions of these skis are 118-88-118.
I'll try to break the characteristics of the ski down into a few different categories and describe each characteristic as best I can. I should mention that I waxed these skis but didn't detune the edges. I wanted to see how they rode out of the box. Also, the opinions in this review are based on what I experienced, so take this review with a grain of salt. I am not affiliated with ARTificial ski company in any way. I'm just an extremely stoked customer trying to spread the world about an up and coming ski company that has produced a really, really, really, awesome product.
I am 20 years old and have been skiing for 10 years. Advanced skier. 5'2" and 115 pounds.
Carving: These skis rip! On the groomers, I was able to make big sweeping GS turns and short slalom turns easily. They transition from edge to edge very well and never washed out or slipped. These skis are agile and responsive. I didn't find myself fighting with the skis to make really tight turns or get them to go where I wanted them to go. As the snow hardened up, I was surprised by how well these skis continued to hold an edge. I never had to slow down or make a wider turn because I couldn't find an edge. I've had problems with certain skis that seemed awkward or lazy. You could try and try and try to initiate a hard turn, but no matter what I tried, they just wouldn't respond with any enthusiasm. These Nurtures are the polar opposite. They encouraged me to push them faster and turn harder. It made for an incredibly fun morning on the groomers.
Stability: If you're like me, you like to ski the whole mountain. I don't venture into the park as much as I used to and would rather ski steeps when fresh snow is falling. So a ski that can ski the whole mountain well is a must, and these Nurtures do exactly that. After lunch, I hit the steeps. These skis remained stable at speed, even through choppy snow and moguls. I was able to charge through everything on the hill without hesitation. I was never limited to what or how I skied by these skis. I was completely and instantly comfortable with skiing as fast as I possibly could on these skis. That's not something I can say about a few other skis that I've demoed. These skis handled challenging lines and hopping/swerving between moguls very well. The skis were predictable, responsive, and precise. I sent it off a few cornices and a 20 foot cliff and these skis never missed a beat.
Off piste performance: I didn't expect these skis to ski powder well. They are a symmetrical, 88mm waist, center mounted ski after all. But, they were actually really fun in the trees and floated well. Thanks to the little bit of rocker in the tip and tail, the tips never dove. I was able to ski trees and even dropped a few small cliffs into knee deep snow with no problems. I think these could work well in 6-12 inches of fresh for light skiers, but some of you heavier skiers may have some trouble in the deep stuff. It's important to remember that these are not intended to be powder skis. I'm only including this info because I was surprised by how easily I could ski powder with these skis.
In the park: These skis really shine in the park. White Pass doesn't have much of a park up yet, but the few jumps and rails they have up were enough to get a feel for how these skis behave in the park. On rails, the skis were great. I never caught an edge. I've never ridden a park ski this long, so I wasn't used to the swing weight. But, these skis are still pretty light. I was still able to get these 178's around for 270's both onto and off rails. On the jumps, the skis offer a lot of pop and control. They are easy to carve into a spin and never hooked on a landing. The jumps were small, so 3's and switch 3's were all I was able to do, but these skis are definitely at home in the park. Of the park skis I've ridden, these are by far my favorite.
Describing the flex of skis is something that is really hard to do. I have no accurate way of measuring or describing the flex of a ski. I would like to say these are a medium flex ski, but that doesn't mean much coming from someone my size. To avoid a lot of confusion, I won't comment on the flex much since the majority of you that may consider buying this ski are probably at least 30 pounds and 6 inches taller than I am. Since I'm so small and light, I can't give an accurate evaluation of the flex of this ski. But, I will say this. I loved the flex pattern of this ski. The tips were soft enough for me to butter (barely.. remember, I'm small.), but the ski remained stable and responsive at any speed. The skis are poppy, but not too stiff or unforgiving.
All in all, these Nurtures are my new favorite ski. They shredded the whole mountain extremely well and are one of the most versatile skis I've ever ridden. I was able to ski as hard and fast as I wanted anywhere on the mountain. They definitely shine in the park, but also kill it everywhere else. They were an absolute blast. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun on a pair of skis. Now that I think about it, I've never liked a ski as much as I like these Nurtures. They're an incredible ski. I wouldn't, and haven't hesitated in recommending them to anyone that asks about them. I hope anyone in the market for new park or 75% on piste, 25% off-piste all mountains skis finds this review helpful and considers getting a pair. If you have any questions about these skis, contact ARTificial via facebook or the contact information on the ARTificial website.
If you have any questions about this review, I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!