If I had to choose a motto for the snow this ski season, it would be “plowing through crud.” Cream cheese consistencies, Cascadia concrete, canceled trips, and ice storms have welcomed me with open arms during my first season in the PNW.
Despite some horrendous conditions and abysmal snow levels almost everywhere at the start of the season, the stoke is high thanks to my new best friend. Enter, La Nieve.
I was a bit nervous to welcome the La Nieve into my life. As an expert in-bounds skier and intermediate backcountry tourer, I am always eager to try to find a ski that can do it all … but in reality, most skis can’t.
In short: The Nieve can tour in resort and break new trails, carve on groomers when avalanche risk is high, and keep up with lightweight, ski mountaineer friends. Finding a true quiver killer is a fairytale, but the La Nieve makes a run for its money.
- Length 168 cm (available in 157, 162, 168, 173, 180 cm)
- Waist width 113 mm (109 or 113mm depending on length)
- Weight 1,843 g per ski
- Turning radius 16 mm
- Tip and tail rocker
- Birch hybrid wood core
- ABS sidewalls
- IS 7500 sintered bases
- Affordable: Coalition snow offers new skis, or “Second Tracks,” a section for factory-second gear with cosmetic issues.
- Women-owned, small brand
- Hybrid core and fiberglass build is stiff enough to stay stable, but flexible enough for some fun.
- Gender-inclusive sizing principles
- Thick and wide — great for most conditions, but not hardpack
- 100+ waist width not the best for beginners
Coalition Snow La Nieve Ski Review
I opted for the 168-length ski with a beefy pair of Marker Duke PT bindings, with the goal of creating a ski suited for both resort and backcountry travel. The bindings, at around 2.6 pounds per ski, is not a light and fast option at all. But, on the La Nieve, I felt locked in and extremely stable for the downhill.
I wasn’t the fastest on the uphill, but the ski itself was still nimble and fast given my binding choice and fairly standard-choice Black Diamond Ascension Skins.
Testing the La Nieve Backcountry Skis
When I set out to test the La Nieve, I opted to set them up to be a potential single-quiver ski for international and out-of-state ski trips. I have had a chance to test my tank of a setup on variable terrain outside of Eugene, Ore.
My first day of the season was spent taking laps at Willamette Pass in some of the heaviest snow I have ever experienced. The early rise tip and wide waist kept me above the worst of it, and I felt quick on my skis and stable.
While I’ve had trouble with skis of similar weight and build chattering in variable snow and chop, the La Nieve is steady. The tip-to-toe rocker is perfect for punching through snow and gliding on pow. In such heavy snow, I was happy to have La Nieve’s shovel tip. All in all, the ski is fat and floats like a queen.
For such a wide ski, the La Nieve grabs an edge easily. With a medium turning radius, these skis are nimble in thick trees and can pick their way through early-season rocks and debris. The 2mm camber also provides stable control at speed. Plus, the tail rocker is enough to keep you above the snow but still allows for a strong and reliable kick turn.
And on-piste, these skis hold their ground. I spent a day teaching my friend to learn to ski and I taught off the La Nieve. These skis are built for deep powder and steep terrain, but getting slow and silly is still a blast, if not a little awkward to rip on a bunny slope.
Coalition La Nieve Ski Comparisons
In seasons past, I have skied the Coalition SOS (and it is still a favorite of mine). But, the SOS — while it proves reliable in steep lines and while charging hard — is a heavy ski for uphill use.
The hybrid core of the La Nieve is similarly playful to the SOS, but the La Nieve is lighter and feels a bit less stiff. Overall, the La Nieve charges hard and is lighter for the uphill, but the physical makeup of the ski will, at the outset, make you question if it can actually plow through crud. (It can, I promise!) The La Nieve is a lighter backcountry ski, and the SOS is a bit beefier and better as an all-mountain downhill quiver.
You really can’t go wrong with either option, just know that one will definitely be heavier than the other. I’ve now tested multiple models of Coalition Snow’s skis over the past 3 years, and the La Nieves top my list.
Coalition Snow La Nieve Backcountry Ski: The Verdict
The La Nieve is impressive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for everyone. An ultralight ski mountaineer wouldn’t opt for these, nor would a park rat. But as a quiver that transitions between the skin track, big terrain, and in-bounds laps, the ski is all-around a solid option for most backcountry and advanced in-bounds skiers.
For me, the La Nieve will stay in frequent rotation. For in-bounds days, I’ll opt for my SOS when I can, but for single-quiver trips, powder days, and uphilling, the La Nieve will be at my feet every step of the way.