i had the 177's this season and will again next season. my stats 5'4'' 160ish lbs? love trees, going fast, and dont want to be limited to one turn shape. now as far as technical aspects for this ski. a lot of people for whatever reason say it is very similar to the jj, s7/super7 and skis similar to those with a 5 dimension shape/tapered tip and tail. this is entirely not true. the patron is not a 5d ski like the others. the idea behind the patron is to have a ski that can literally do it all and do it all comfortably.
nordica has, along with every other ski company, there own rocker/camber profile and its called camrock. the patron is given a high rise profile in the tip and tail (tip slightly higher than tail) and 3mm of camber underfoot.
if you look at the rocker profile compared to other skis you will notice the rocker is very consistent without a sudden upturn like other skis. the low profile tip/tail gives the ski a very quick and predictable feel in soft snow. the tip is wanting to rise over everything and is very smooth when in the snow. this tip/tail profile also allows the ski to be very stable on hard pack. because it doesnt have a large rise, the tip/tail wont be flopping around when cruising on the groomers.
the the tip/tail shape is what sets the ski apart from other 5d skis. the side cut of the ski extends past the rocker point. therefore as you roll the ski on edge, you extend the contact points. this keeps the ski extremely stable through the turn and also, as before, keeps the tip from flopping around.
CAMBER CAMBER CAMBER!!!!!!!!! now i love rockered skis but im still a firm believer in camber. not only does it make this ski extremely stable on hard pack, but it makes skiing hardpack incredibly fun. you are able to get the snap and power that you would otherwise lack from a full rockered ski. in the soft snow the camber gives added stability, but its not to the point where it locks into every turn. its very easy to release the ski if want to slash, butter, or just slow down. its a well balanced feel in the snow. surfy enough to have a lot of fun, but stable enough to not wash out on every turn.
for flex i find the ski to be pretty well balanced. i wouldnt call the ski stiff, and its not soft. on a scale of 1-10 id call 6.5. the tip is a little bit stiffer than the tail giving it, again a predictable feel, but not by much.
the side cut is a bit more aggressive compared to other pow specific skis. it is a pretty quick turning ski with the 185 having an 18m radius. however for me, i prefer a tight turning radius. the way i look at it, its a lot easier to make an 18m radius ski do a 27m radius turn, than a 27m radius ski do an 18m radius turn.
Variations: as of the 2012/2013 season there are 3 skis that come out of the patron mold. you have the patron, unleashed hell, and the helldorado. all 3 serve a purpose. patron in short is your resort pow ski. the unleashed hell will be directed more towards the AT skier. it has whats called I-CORE. I-core is a synthetic strip of material that runs down the center of the ski. you then have 2 narrow strips of very hardwood that stabilizes the I-CORE. lastly on the outside of the ski you have a nice soft wood making it about 15-20% lighter. the newest ski to come out of the patron mold is the helldorado. its the patron on steroids with 2 sheets of metal. more of a charging ski but still easily thrown around if you get in tighter spots.
i absolutely love the patron, it is hands down the most versatile ski ive ever been on, it is the best ski over 100mm underfoot for hard pack skiing that ive ever skied, and it is the most fun playful ski ive ever been on for softer conditions. credentials? heres a list of every ski over 100mm that i can remember trying:
NORDICA Volkl rossignol k2 line salomon
patron shiro super 7 hellbent opus rocker 2
helldorado goatama s7 obsethed EP pro czar
unleashed hell katana s6/sickle kung fujas sfb
radict influence 105/115
also just about every year for the past 2yrs for most, 3yrs for some. so skied most variations from year to year.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPARK NOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the patron is a kick ass ski