Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006 Ski Review

One of the ski mags called the Nordica Top Fuel a "midfat" that thinks it’s a carving ski, and went on to say they work best in long turns. Our testers were not as kind, so first up, here are a few quotes.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel 2006

Ski Review Brands

Model: Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control
Size(cm) / Radius(m): 162/14.2 170/15.8 178/17.6 186/19.4
Sidecut: 123-78-108

Manufacturer’s Description:

A ski for expert and pro-level all-mountain skiers, ideal for 50% groomed and 50% powder. Performance Features: XBS Piston, vertical racing sidewalls, and a double dose of Titanal make the Top Fuel the top choice for top skiers. The wide footprint provides flotation for big snow days and the aggressive sidecut allows skiers to lay down deep trenches.

Ski-Review’s Verdict:

"A great choice for older skiers who miss the thrill of drifting out of turns and having no metal edges. This ski offers a complete lack of precision with no consequences for errors in balance or judgement."

"VERY EASY, and VERY FORGIVING. The middle of the ski feels stiff and solid, but more camber would facilitate better finesse and precise tip and tail input. An easy cruiser best suited to longer turns at speed. Technical skiers should look elsewhere."

"This TOP FUEL model needs some engine work"

There was one postive comment; "Plows through everything—skis like the big “HUMMER”

A bad skier, who stands on his heels (and throws his hips around with more gusto than a lap dancer at Bill Gate’s stag party) might call it a favorite.  Come to think of it; it all becomes crystal clear. There truly is a rider for every horse.

Conversely, I have 2 friends (both around 200lbs) who ski pretty well and they both pick it as a big mountain cruiser for anyone looking to replace there now tired Salomon X-Screams.

That’s the great thing about our sport. So many styles and techniques, all in the interest of FUN.

Bottom line on the Top Fuel…after sharing all the above comments (& rants) it would probably be a good ski to demo, even if its just to see how they suit your style and ability level.

Personally, I’ll be on my Dynastar Course 67s and enjoying EVERY minute of it.

Real time prices for the Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006, or similar ski products:

Reader Ski Reviews of the Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/21

Whow. I am stunned that this ski got such a bed reviews when it got ski magazine award as best ski in all moutain category. I am trying to decide between Top Fuel and Z9. Please anyone help. Also here is my dillema on lenght. Please advise. What lenght of Z9 to choose for me and my style ? I am 28yrs old intermediate/advanced skier 5 11”, 171lbs and skied since i was 5yrs old on streight skis. I have not skied yet on shaped skies and in carving style. I feel comfortable at sking on 170cm STREIGHT skies but I am clueless how to apply that to shaped skies with my style of skiing. I like to ski agressivly with high speeds sometimes but I would like to also learn carving. What lenght of those Z9s would you guys recommend for ME knowing my style of sking and what i want to do with them. I think shorter skies at higher speed would not be as stable as longer once. I was thinking of 170 or 176 but I also want to carve the turns short and long once. Please advise. Thank you.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/21

Ignore the above review - i can’t imagine how the reviewer got it so wrong.  FYI I am 32yr old athletic skier similar size and weight as you.  Been skiing in dolomites since i was a child and consider myself a competent skier.  I’ve tried both the Z9 and the TF and they are very different ski’s.  The TF is superior in every way to the Z9, but the Rossi is a more relaxing ski.  Having said that the TF has a large sweet spot for such a high performance ski.  Ski’s well on groomers, ice, chopped up and light pow.  Have not skied deep pow or bumps.  I have never skiied such a versatile ski before and highly recomend them for athletic advanced skiers.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/23

What lenght did you ski on and what lenght would you recommend for me. I have preety much decided on TF except $1000 price tag bothers me and 6 months the same ski will cost 1/2 price or better. Anyone know what last year’s All Mountain Expert ski were in skiing and ski magazines ?

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/23

I demoed, and subsequently bought, the 170cm.  I’m 5’11” and weigh 165lbs, athletic but not a “power” skier.  The prices in the US is high because there is a shortage of supply.  In europe the dealers can get hold of them in 2working days from the factory.  Some shops are discounting them already, as next years TF is apparently wider 80+mm.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/24

I would have liked some more detailed comments and review info than just a few short quips.

That being said the limited comments do mirror my experience to an extent. The TopFuel has to be a candidate for the most overrated ski of the year IMHO.

Skidders will love it . It lacks the edgehold to be a true all mountain carver. It will hold an edge on moderately steep terrain but as things get steeper it loses grip where other skis in this class hold on.

It will cary speed and is fairly stable but simply refuses to hold an edge once it reaches a certain speed or pitch of terrain. It has the characteristics and handling of a detuned GS ski but without the corresponding edghold-a recipe for disaster if carving at speed is in your bag.

This ski does nothing really well accept accelerate in a straight line. A posers dream ski.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/24

If you just want to ski fast in the fall line then this ski is for you.

If you are a technical skier and want a clean carver that responds well to crossover technique and can handle inbound and outbound conditions then look elsewhere. WAY too heavy for powder and it will submarine no matter how much tail pressure you apply. This ski is best kept on the soft hardpack. Forget about ice. The edgehold is not the best.

It is a hotrod and it will go fast but once you need to turn you better be on soft hardpack because the edge on this ski feels like brittle plastic.

The HR Modified handles much better on varied terrain and will actually hold a turn on ice and does relatively well in fresh powder. 

On the other hand Gapers and technically challenged posers will no doubt love the Top Fuel as it is expensive, has a cool sounding name, slick graphics, is forgiving,skids well, and can rip the straightaways in full view of the crowds riding the chairlifts. I suspect this is the reason for its popularity because it’s performance sure isnt.

The TopFuel would be great for someone with older skid based rotary technique transitioning from straight skis who have yet to pick up on the current technology. Trust me - anyone above a level 6 that is serious about skiing try the Modified or look at the Speedmachine first. I am pretty surprised Nordica would put out a ski this mediocre as it seriously cuts into their reputation. They are pushing out too many models within a line just to keep up with the Jone’s and in so doing are putting out some real bloopers.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/24…..regarding the Ski Magazine Ratings…those are absolutely worthless…the only good they are is for the pictures. They pump up whatever manufacturer pays them the biggest ad dollars and buys the full page ads. The last place you will find any worthwhile review information is Ski Magazine.

In the end though the only thing that counts is how you feel on a ski. Whatever a reviewer says in the end does not matter if you find the ski suits your ability, skill level, and preferences. That is why you should try before you buy. Don’t let a review anywhere be the reason for buying or not trying a ski. Use reviews and user ratings to help you decide which ski you think you may want to demo.

I am a level 9 skier that has been skiing for 30 + years, however and can say based on experience and knowledge that those who really can ski arc to arc will more than likely come to similar conclusions regarding the TopFuel. Without a doubt it is one of the worse rides I have experienced in the last 5 years.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/26

Hmmm… Overrated and Look Elsewhere, are you by chance the same poster?  I sense the same lack of objectivity in both rants.

In case its escaped you, the TF is an ALL MOUNTAIN mid-fat.  This is necessarily a compromise, and not optimized for a particular condition.  Clearly it can’t have the all out edge grip of a GS plank, or the reactivity and quickness of an SL or the float of a powder board.  This ski is a ?jack of all trades and master of none?, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. 

To be objective you have to compare apples to apples.  If you’re in the market for a mid fat such as Head M77, Metron B5, Volk AC4 then the TF will be card to beat.  Comparing it with the Course 67 (which Dynastar categorize as a race bred ski) which has an 11mm narrower waist, as the first reviewer did, is missing the point. 

Personally, I have the choice of skiing a Rossi 9S, an Atomic GS11, Salomon PR’s and the TF.  On any given day i am much more likely to be skiing the TF than any of the others, as it is by far the most versatile and allows me to have fun in all conditions, all over the mountain.  Clearly if were to spend the day doing gates or back-country skiing it would not be my first choice.



PS ? Whilst I am not an instructor I have many friends that are, and rate me a pretty competent skier.  For the record I am familiar with crossover and crossunder technique as well as ?old school? skidding, and can assure you that the TF has no problems handling modern carving techniques!

PPS ? Implying that ski magazine reviewers are not competent is a bit presumptuous don?t ya think?  They certainly have access to more material (for comparison) than the average punter, and technically I?m sure most of them are above average.  Having said that, ski reviews are no substitute for a real demo.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/26

Like any ski I think the good and the bad are generally overly exagherated. The truth is usually somewhere in between.

Based on my own personal afternoon on these skis at Alta I came away with the impression that these skis excel at high speed ripping on soft groomers but would not be a great choice as an all mountain ride.  It’s a bit too heavy and demanding for general cruising when you tire and want to relax. One thing that stands out is you really need to stay on top of these skis. You need to use the entire length of the skis and backseat driving is not tolerated. I think this may be the reason for some of the negative comments regarding edgehold. You need to be in your best form to really carve from arc to arc on the TopFuel. It will not tolerate balance errors that well but will reward the experienced pilot. 

One thing this ski is not is a finesse ski and is a little dysfuncational at low speeds. It is not a short turner and in this regard falls short of some of the other brand models with similar demensions

You can crank out short turns(turns, not carved arcs)..the keyword here though is can. It would get very tiring after a few runs and I don’t imagine many people with the athletic ability to constantly be cranking out slalom style turns on this ski for long.

In that regards I do not see it as the best option in the stable for all mountain cruising. It is a high speed ripper that needs to be ridden at speed.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/27

Whoa…some really tough reviews here.

I have had no problem with edge grip and this ski really shined on soft groomers at speed.

One thing I can aggree with though is the comment that it handles pretty poorly at lower speed. By lower I mean sub 20mph. I think this is problaly the reason some folks have found its performance to be subpar. This is NOT a ski for mindless, relaxed cruising. You need to be on top of your game.

You really need to crank it up for it to come allive. On gentle grades at slow speeds this ski feels like a lead weight pushing around the snow. Get it moving though and it transforms and feels light, nimble, and ready to rip. High speed skiers only.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/27

Part of the problem i believe is the hype that surrounds this ski.  As others have said it is patently not an easy or relaxing ski.  My first runs on this ski were on fairly gentle slopes and i have to say i was disapointed.  Once i tried it on ‘real’ slopes, and was able to use the energy of the ski as intended all doubts were washed away.


Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/30

I second the comments. This ski is NOT suited for anyone short of advanced(level 7,8,9).

Most of the folks I know who commented on how poorly the ski handled really are still in the skidding-old school phase. This ski demands to be ridden on edge when on the hard pack….period. In soft snow you can get away with poorer technique but on piste you need to bring your best game or you will be sliding and slipping and just trying to hang on.  The tips and tails are very stiff like the Dobie. Edgehold at speed is superb if you really know how to properly initiate a carved turn. At slow speeds the Top Fuel’s stiff profile fights edge engagement. Best performance at speed in long arcs. This ski is not for intermediate cruisers in any way.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/31

This has provided some amusing reading. I demoed the Top Fuel and the Nitrous this past weekend in Whistler on every level of run from Greens to Steep Double Blacks. Simply put, those who say they don’t like it perhaps aren’t capable of skiing it or they liked it so much that they’re trying to down play it so that they will be able to get a pair. This is a fantastic ski! Sometimes I have trouble with boot-out on narrower wasted skis…this ski is a little more effort to get onto the edge because of the waist width to riser height but hot damn, when you get it on edge it’s got amazing grip and it’s got plenty of float in powder. Opinions are like ass-holes, everyone has one but that doesn’t mean they should be publicised.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/31

Like the Head Monster line this ski appears to have polarized many skiers. It appears it’s one of those models you either love or hate and there is no middle ground.

I know some very good technical skiers who absolutely hated the ride and couldnt find anything good to say about the Top Fuel and yet there were also some who said they thought it was the best all mountain ripper they have ever had under their feet. These arent run of the mill intermediate skiers either. I am talking PSIA level II and III instructors at Alta.

I think it boils down to personal preference and style. I also think it might have something to do with the XBalance binding interface on the Nordica line.

The binding placement seems to be more towards BOF center. Those who ski from a neutral open stance would probably enjoy the handling but those who work the boot cuff a lot from a closed stance and are used to a more aft binding placement I suspect would find it a little brash and hard to inititate.

Personally I did not find the TopFuel anything excceptional in any particular category. It didn’t perform badly but didn’t really blow me away either. The one thing it really shines at is crud busting and blasting through chop. This ski is truly a Hummer. It foes where you point it and doesn’t flinch. In terms of edgehold I found it adequate on soft groomers at the base. In powder it is quite nimble but has a tendency to suybmarine- again I suspect this is the binding placement.

I think perhaps with all the stellar reviews some were giving this ski early on I might have been expecting to much and let this influence my overall assesment. My overall grade would be slighly above average as an all mountain carver. Does nothing exceptionally well but will handle most tasks and would be a great spring crud ski.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 01/31

Whats the point in debating reviews? 

The fact is 90% of skiers on the hill are skidding or scarving turns and simply press the tails that snap the ski into the turn. You could put them on just about any non-racing recreational ski and they would say it was great.

If I had a dollar for every skier I have met who claims to be level 7 or 8 yet could not carve a turn to save their life I would own Vail resort by now.

Last week at Vail I was following a guy down the hill who was on a Pair of Elan SLX. He was whipping the tails around and cutting his edges into the snow in long drawn out skids. When we got to the bottom I was talking to the guy in the liftline and he was commenting on how great the ski carved and how awesome the edgehold was. I simply nodded but fealt like saying ‘Of course it has great edgehold -  Any ski will hold like a razor when all you do is jam the edges into the snow”.

So take reviews with a grain of salt. Many comments regarding a property of a ski are simply erroneous(like saying a ski has awesome edgehold when all you do is skid the tails).

So go out and demo a ski for yourself and if it works for you then buy it. Reviews are interesting to read but anyone who uses it as their criteria for a purchase

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 02/01

Why worry about what the person in front is doing? And if he is skiing like that why are you behind him? He is learning, and sites like these give them an insight to what the skis should be doing, and that can’t be bad.

Respect the beginners!! And they will respect you

Perhaps your one of these 90% you speak of, have you seen your self ski lately?

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 02/07

With the large volume of good all mountain skis available toay it’s hard to say any one really excels above the other in overall scores. They all have one or two things they do better(or worse) in but in general there are very few bad all mountain rides out there today.

With the current technology available to make skis wider underfoot with large sidecuts its really just a matter of dimensions or how much metal is put into a particular ski. Back 5 or 10 years ago when the technology was not available the differences between brands was apparent but today it is more a matter of semantics.

The Top Fuel is fairly stiff and has a lot of metal in it’s construction and handles more like a detuned GS race ski. Due to its relative stiffness it is better suited to groomers IMO. Definately biased towards hardpack and would be a good all mountain choice for Eastern skiers. The HR Nitrous handles much better in soft snow but lacks the edgehold on hardpack. It’s all a matter of personal preference. IMO the TopFuel is nothing better or worse than anything else out there in the all mountain/groomer midfat category.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 02/15

I’m looking to replace my aging XScreams and test-drove the K2 Apache Recons and TF’s today in Mammoth. Hard & fast conditions. These skis put a huge smile on my face and blew away the Recons. On the cruisers they’re a joy and feel like you’re on railroad tracks. They held like glue on the iced-over crud in the morning and sailed through softening snow in the afternoon.  They’re not the best in the narrow trees since they’re heavy and need some speed to turn but they were exzuberant skis to ride. Oh, the Recons were great but just didn’t have the excitement and stability of the TF’s.


Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 02/28

5’5” 140#. No category for Nitrous but similar to the TF? Demo’d a bunch of skis then purchased the Nitrous (162). Pluses: stable, tightish carve, large sweetspot, good crud/tree running, better matched to my size/weight. Minuses: Edgehold not as solid on ice/v.hardpack. Good luck! Wow, the extreme reviews… go Demo! -Rod C

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel XBS ALU Piston Control 2006
Written by Ski Review Guest on 03/18

As British Gd II ski teacher I was going to purchase the Nitreous after two seasons on brilliant brilliant solid allround Atomic SX11, (except tight short turns on ice!). ..I’m going to test the Nitreous and TF first after comments made above to see if there is really a replacement.

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