Testers awarded the Patron high marks for stability and versatility for this expert-level ski. "It's absolutely as good as a 113 mm-waisted ski could be on firm snow," said Mahon. "It skis short and carves well." The Patron's quick response and easy maneuverability comes from weight-reducing technology that combines wood with strips of lightweight polymer, as well as Nordica's High Rise camRock, which adds rocker to the tip and tail and a low "hammer head" tip to reduce vibration and increase effective edge. "Extremely fun in the bumps and trees," said Sutton. "Even the graphics are cool," quipped Ertl. Adrenaline seekers or big guys take note: The new Helldorado shares the same footprint as the Patron, but because of two burly sheets of titanium, it's a "hell" of a lot stiffer.