Model: Nela 80
Overall Ranking: #1
Overall Score: 4.18 / 5
Tip / Waist / Tail (mm)
149, 157, 165
15.8 (165cm length)
Waist Width (mm)
Intermediate to Expert
Stability at Speed
4.41 / 5
Quickness / Maneuverability
4.32 / 5
4.23 / 5
4.27 / 5
Hard Snow Performance
4.59 / 5
4.18 / 5
2.82 / 5
For the second year in a row, the women’s-specific Stöckli Nela 80 was crowned Queen of the Frontside, proof that testers continue to be obsessed with this ski. It’s just so unexpectedly fun—unexpected because, before the Nela came around, Stöckli only ever made aggro unisex skis. But the Nela 80 proves that Stöckli can engineer a fun, ripping lady charger that doesn’t make you work so hard to understand it.
Thanks to Stöckli’s women’s-specific flex profile, light core, and Titanal Technology, the Nela 80 is an accommodating shapeshifter. It will become whatever you want it or need it to be. If you’re an intermediate skier, you’ll enjoy a smooth, confidence-boosting ride on this ski. But if you’re an expert, there’s plenty of high-energy and high-performance to be found in our frontside winner.
“This ski works with you,” says tester Courtney Harkins. “It has a way it likes to turn, but it will also happily let you take the lead. It’s great at high speed, but is just as happy to skid short or slow turns.”
Because of this willingness to adapt to the skier’s agenda, testers gave the Nela 80 the highest category scores in Versatility and Playfulness. This ski also ranked highest in Hard-Snow Integrity and came in second in Forgiveness, disproving the idea that you can’t have a playful and forgiving ski that also rails on hardpack. What’s even more impressive: The Stöckli Nela 80’s lowest scores came in the Crud Performance category, but its score in that department was still the highest of all frontside skis.
“Super impressed by the versatility of this ski,” comments tester Marina Knight. “I always wish that this ski were a little more lively but I think its ability to cut like butter through the snow makes it a favorite in this category. I can see intermediates through advanced skiers loving it.”
The Nela 80 is on the slimmer side, so if you’re a storm chaser looking for one ski to do it all, this one may not be for you. That said, it’s rare to find a frontside ski this balanced that’s also accessible to such a wide range of ability levels.
Get more: The 10 Best Skis from the 2022 SKI Test
The biggest downside to the Stöckli Nela 80 is its price tag—it means that a lot of ladies won’t get the chance to experience this life-changing ski. That, and the fact that the longest available length is 165cm, which isn’t long enough for some of the hard-charging ladies out there.
But if you can afford it and it comes in your length, don’t think twice before you pull the trigger. Take it from tester Tracy Gibbons: “Another round of yahtzee! The Nela 80 is an all-wheel sports car. It will make anyone smile and feel like everyone is watching you rip up the frontside of the resort.”
- Strengths: Versatility (1st in category), Hard-Snow Integrity (1st)
- Weaknesses: Flotation (3rd), Crud Performance (1st)
Stöckli Nela 80 – 2021 Women’s Frontside Ski Review
Hallelujah, a women’s-specific Stöckli charger! For years this Swiss brand has produced some of the most exquisitely crafted unisex skis on the market, but they were better suited to skiers with racing backgrounds than recreationalists, never mind the majority of the female population. Enter the Nela line, featuring a lighter weight and a women’s-specific flex that makes the skis easier to engage, more forgiving, and more accessible to intermediates than Stöckli’s unisex models.
The Nela 80 is the most piste-oriented of the line and our testers loved it for its thrilling carving performance and ability to bust through crud despite its smaller waist width, calling it “the luxury SUV” of the Frontside category. Testers’ one gripe: the longest length available is 165cm, which will surely disappoint some of the hard-charging chicks chomping at the bit to get on a more playful Stöckli ski. Northrop: “Skis like a finely tuned instrument. The precision and sound it makes carving through the snow is a thing of beauty.”
- Strengths: Stability at Speed, Crud Performance
- Weaknesses: Versatility, Playfulness
|Stöckli Nela 80 - 2021 Women's Frontside Ski Scores||Score out of 5|