Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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BDog.png
Armada B-Dog
Dimensions: 125-90-119
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179
Size tested: 179
Design: Carryover/NGT

dean_spirito: The brainchild of Armada team rider Phil Casabon, the B-Dog was designed specifically with his unique approach to park and urban skiing in mind. A rockered tip and tail are combined with camber underfoot to create a ski that can charge through variable snow yet hold an edge on hard pack. Innovative technologies like Armada’s Pop-Lite Core contribute to a very light ski that is incredibly poppy and lively. The B-Dog is just as much fun in the park as it is elsewhere on the mountain; its shape and unique flex pattern make it particularly fun in the bumps. Reinforced bases and edges also make for a ski that can take a beating. Like most Armadas I’ve skied, the B-Dogs boast solid construction.
  • Who is it for? A rather large audience: intermediates and experts alike will fall in love with the B-Dog for different reasons.
  • Who is it not for? Beginners and those who demand a stiff ski, as the B-Dog was designed with jibbers in mind.
  • Insider tip: Armada has developed into one of the most successful boutique companies in the industry because of its commitment to innovation, and the B-Dog is a reflection of that success.
Edollo.png
Armada Edollo
Dimensions: 133-98-123
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 158, 168, 178, 188
Size tested: 178
Design: Carryover/NGT

dean_spirito: Largely unchanged from last season, the Edollo is still one of the most progressive 90-99mm skis on the market. Designed by X Games gold medalist Henrik Harlaut, the Edollo is a reflection of his unique style on the mountain and in the streets. It combines a wood core with a carbon tip and tail to create a unique flex pattern that maximizes pop. This also contributes to a ski that is light enough to destroy jumps and rails, despite its 98mm waist. Henrik also designed a ski tip with pronounced rocker and just enough stiffness to allow for effortless nose butters, one of his signature tricks. It comes as no surprise that one of the most innovative skis available was created by one of the sport's most innovative athletes.
  • Who is it for? Advanced skiers who want a versatile ski that they can take anywhere on the mountain; park skiers with a very buttery style.
  • Who is it not for? Those who prefer a stiffer ski: the Edollo is definitely on the softer side.
  • Insider tip: Definitely one of the coolest topsheets around. If the look of your skis plays into your decision-making, be sure to check these out!
18 INVICTUS 85 S&D.png
Armada Invictus 85
Dimensions: 125-85-115
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 176, 185
Size tested: 176
Design: Carryover/NGT

Ron: (from last year)This skied very much like the 99 but it was even less stiff or demanding. It’s a fun, easy ski but lacked a little energy and pop for me. I did like it and feel maybe a lighter-weight skier may enjoy it more. It was easily overpowered but at $399, this is a steal.
  • Who is it for? Intermediates and advanced Intermediates who are on the lighter side or don't ski very hard. Those on a budget.
  • Who is it not for? Hard chargers or bigger folks.
  • Insider tip: Armada ain't just for parks, folks!
18 INVICTUS 89TI TC.png
Armada Invictus 89Ti
Dimensions: 130-88-120.5
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 166, 171, 179, 187
Size tested: 178
Design: New Construction

SBrown: The Invictus 89Ti is a superb all-around ski that is biased a bit toward off piste but handles groomers with aplomb (although I never got it into anything terribly firm). It would be a great travel ski; its low price leaves you a little cash to rent something wider if you luck into a big dump.
  • Who is it for? Anyone who wants a Kastle FX85 but doesn’t want to spend the money.
  • Who is it not for? Big-mountain riders.
  • Insider tip: Armada continues to punch above its weight.
Philpug: This is a return ski from last year and my reference ski for testing the snow at Copper. Armada is just making a fun ski; the 89Ti was one of the more playful skis I tested in this category and should be on anyone's radar. I do think Armada’s graphics for this season are some of their best.
  • Who are they for? The young at heart.
  • Who are they not for? Stodgy skiers who still think Armada just makes park skis.
  • Insider tip: Still one of the best values in the 87-90mm category.
Invictus_99Ti.png
Armada Invictus 99Ti
Dimensions: 133-98-123
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 171, 179, 187
Size tested: 187
Design: Carryover/NGT

Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) The Invictus likes to run but does have a top end. The ski felt stable on and off piste and especially liked carving and bumps. Armada did a fantastic job prepping their offerings.
  • Who is it for? Skiers looking to fill the ~100mm spot in their quiver with an easy-to-ski arrow.
  • Who is it not for? Bigger skiers looking to ski fast.
  • Insider tip: Skied true to size.

Ron: (from last year) The Invictus 99Ti was a fun ski when not driven too hard; the tip is a little soft and got pushed around somewhat in leftover ankle-high, cut-up snow. On the groomed it was very good when skied centered and the tips weren't pressured. A solid ski, it's damp but not powerful, with decent edge-to-edge speed, and it drifted well: it could hold a carved turn but was just as fine breaking the tails as needed. It lacked good snow feel but that's a minor gripe.
  • Who is it for? Intermediates and advanced Intermediates who are on the lighter side or don't ski very hard. Many 60/40 skiers will really enjoy this one.
  • Who is it not for? Hard chargers or bigger folks.
  • Insider tip: Armada ain't just for parks, folks!
Invictus_108Ti.png
Armada Invictus 108Ti
Dimensions: 136-108-126
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 168, 178, 188
Size tested: 178
Design: Carryover/NGT

Philpug: Armada does so much with its skis that goes unnoticed; it is a shame, and people are missing out on some of the best skis because of it. The Invictus 108Ti is no exception. Just pick one of these skis up and and even the layman will be able to see the differences. Turn it over and look at the structure: see the chevrons in the base? Now look at any other ski in the class, a pretty straight structure. Look at the size of the ski and check out the dimensions, the only Invictus 108Ti that is actually 108mm underfoot is the largest size; the rest are scaled down so every skier, no matter their size, gets the same on-snow experience. Why do I point this out? Because it is significantly more expensive to build a ski this way. What do you get? A ski that skis damn well and is the ski that many skis in this category thrive to be.
  • Who is it for? If you thought the Enforcer needed more tail, this is your ski.
  • Who is it not for? Lighter skiers who go slow.
  • Insider tip: These have some of the best out-of-the-box tunes around.
18 TRACER 98 TC.png
Armada Tracer 98
Dimensions: 132-98-123
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 164, 172, 180, 188
Size tested: 180
Design: All New

Philpug: This was a shocker, yes, the shocker of the test. As much as we like the Invictus collection, this Tracer is not an Invictus, but more an Invictus built by Colin Chapman, as Armada added lightness. Like the Head Kores, the new Tracers are lighter but not at the cost of performance. It is a whole new world thanks to Crystal Mesh, the weight-saving material Armada is using in the these new skis.
  • Who is it for? Finesse skiers; these are a lighter option of the more powerful skis out there.
  • Who is it not for? Bigger chargers, don’t fret: Armada still offers the Invictus 99Ti.
  • Insider tip: Armada still puts out some of the best factory tunes in the business.
Women's
18 TRACE 98 TC.png
Armada Trace 98
Dimensions: 130-98-121
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 164, 172
Size tested: 164, 172
Design: All New

Tricia: This new lineup from Armada, which features its Crystal Mesh, is one of my surprises of the show. With the length that I skied and the 98mm waist, this ski was amazingly nimble, easy to turn, and extremely quick edge to edge. I can’t wait to get back on this one.
  • Who is it for? Me! But seriously, someone looking for a lightweight ski that covers the whole mountain.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who seeks out groomers.
  • Insider tip: If you try it, you’ll want to buy it.

Elemmac: I’m not going to say much about this one, as I really needed more length to get a good feel of it. For my size, I didn’t feel as though I could push the 164 in the conditions I was dealt. Regardless, even in the 164 it handled short-radius turns and slower speeds like a champ. However, the length prohibited me from really seeing what this pair of sticks can do. All said and done, I see the potential in this ski. I’m really looking forward to getting out on it again, but in a larger size.

Sidenote: I was with two guys who have very different skiing styles/abilities and body shapes/sizes, and both thoroughly enjoyed the Armada Tracer in a 180.

18 VICTA 87TI TC.png
Armada Victa 87Ti
Dimensions: 127-86-118.5
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 155, 163, 171
Size tested: 163
Design: Carryover

AmyPJ: The Victa 87 was a really nice ski that has also been on my radar. It has Titanal in it (two sheets, I believe), which made it very damp and smooth yet still extremely easy to turn. I found that I could ski it in a very centered stance, where it would pivot and swivel beneath me and never miss a beat in any condition. I wish I had taken another run on this ski as I don’t think I got entirely dialed in on it.
  • Who is it for? Someone who skis centered and wants to play in the bumps and trees.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who does not like metal in their skis.

Tricia: (from last year) Its roots have been deep in the park and big-mountain skiing world since Armada's beginning, but it was time to develop an all-mountain ski that still has the soul of Armada. Which brings us the Victa: I was blown away by this ski. It turns quickly, holds an edge on hard pack, and rips through the moguls without a second thought. This Armada for grown-ups made me feel like a kid again.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a serious yet playful option.
  • Who is it not for? Boring Betty.
  • Insider tip: Just ski!
Elemmac: More damp than playful, soft but not floppy, easy to ski but not for the faint of heart. This ski likes to be driven rather than pushed. Truly a fantastic all-mountain ski. I could see it handling everything from East Coast ice to some light powder days with ease.

These are the skis I started the day on. Conditions varied from firm, frozen groomers at the top of the mountain to soft corn at the bottom. After about an hour, the top of the mountain softened up and there were soft top-to-bottom runs. And I can confidently say I had a good time on every single run. The skis seemed to hit their prime performance when the snow was soft, but still smooth.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a good carver with a freeride soul.
  • Who is it not for? Tail pushers.
  • Insider tip: This is the type of ski that you can ski all day, every day and never get bored.
Victa_93.png
Armada Victa 93
Dimensions: 131-93-121
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 151, 159, 167
Size tested: 167
Design: New Construction

Tricia: Being a big fan of the Victa 87Ti, I was eager to get on its big sister in the Victa 93. While the Victa 93 has the strength and power of the Victa 87Ti, I felt like I had to put a little extra effort into making tighter turns -- but then with a bigger waist, that’s how it should be.
  • Who is it for? A skier looking for a powerful freeride ski.
  • Who is it not for? Timid skiers.
  • Insider tip: Point 'em and trust 'em.
Victa_97Ti.png
Armada Victa 97Ti
Dimensions: 131-93-121
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 151, 159, 167
Size tested: 167
Design: New Construction

Elemmac: This is what the Völkl Aura wishes it could be (sorry Völkl). It has the stability of an ox and could cause the damage of a wrecking ball. It cuts through crud like a hot knife through butter. But still has a fun factor that can be hard to find in a damp, stiff ski. After learning that I could trust this ski not to buck, I opened it up and really got to see what it was made of. And boy did she fly beautifully.

This ski took the thinking out of skiing. I no longer had to choose my line carefully, the ski would just cut through whatever was in front of me. I got to turn whenever and wherever I wanted regardless of the terrain.

The 171 was a bit of a push for me size-wise, but still very manageable. Lots of fun on open terrain, but if I were to take it into the trees and moguls, there’s a good chance I’d want to size it down a notch.
  • Who is it for? Hard-charging women who have been waiting for a women’s ski that is “all that.”
  • Who is it not for? Someone looking for a soft, nimble ski.
  • Insider tip: Large GS-style turns are this lady’s specialty.
ARV_96.png
Armada ARV 96
Dimensions: 125-96-117
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 163, 170, 177, 184
Size tested: 177
Design: New Construction

Elemmac: This is a fantastic all-mountain twin tip. Even at 177cm, this ski made bumps easy. Loves a flat, neutral stance, fairly slow edge-to-edge, but still has a carvable side to it.
  • Who is it for? The park rat looking to move to an all-mountain but still jib-able setup. Or the all-mountain rider looking for a setup to explore the park and/or bumps with.
  • Who is it not for? Hard-charging carvers.
  • Insider tip: Don’t be afraid to ski this longer than your average size.
 

Tom K.

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Re the Tracer line, I've seen some good early reports on the 118, also.
 

Magoo

Praying for snow
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Boise
Down at the shop yesterday they had the Tracer 98 next to the Kore 105 I've been eyeing to compliment my Navigator 85. Very nice ski and has went on my demo list. How would the Tracer be as a compliment to the Nav 85 for a sub 145 lb guy?
 

NESkiBum

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@Philpug Phil, How would you compare the Invictus 89ti to Enforcer 93 and Atomic Vantage 90 CTI. I am looking for something narrower, more playful and better softer/chopped up snow ski than my Bonafides but can still charge when I want to. Any other options to consider? Also need some help on size what the better size would be as my reference ski is the Bonafide in a 180 which is the perfect length so torn between the two sizes.
 

Philpug

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@Philpug Phil, How would you compare the Invictus 89ti to Enforcer 93 and Atomic Vantage 90 CTI. I am looking for something narrower, more playful and better softer/chopped up snow ski than my Bonafides but can still charge when I want to. Any other options to consider? Also need some help on size what the better size would be as my reference ski is the Bonafide in a 180 which is the perfect length so torn between the two sizes.
Since you put this in the Armada thread, I can only assume that it was your first choice and IMHO the right one. Even though the Invictus has a similar shape to the Enforcer at first glance you can see the differences when you put them side by side. The Armada's tip keeps widening past the running surface and the Nordica goes straighter, the tails if the Armada are also flatter with more flair. These attributes make the Armada a better complement to the Bonafide with out losing the ability to crud bust. The Atomic is more traditional in shape and design and I just don't think it has the stoutness of the other two. As far as size, if you are skiing the Bonafide in a 180, go the 179 here.
 

EC Nate

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How does the tracer 98 compare to the volkl 98's? Particularly in hard snow performance and in the bumps.
 

Philpug

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How does the tracer 98 compare to the volkl 98's? Particularly in hard snow performance and in the bumps.
These are two similar skis for sure, similar shape and similar weight. I will say, I like them both, I do think the Armada is a but more playful and springy and the Volkl has a bit mroe top end but really, they are really close and neither are a bad choice. On hard snow both were about the same and the Armada might have a slight edge in the bumps.
 

kimmyt

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No demo on the Tracer 108? I personally thought it was a huge winner.
 

surfsnowgirl

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Getting ready to pick up an invictus 89 ti and based on everything I've read I'm making the right choice. I gave this ski a hand flex test in the shop and was impressed as it was more stout than I'd imagined. Was looking for something more than my atomic vantage cti I just sold and this is it.
 

Tricia

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No demo on the Tracer 108? I personally thought it was a huge winner.
I'm not sure if there wasn't a demo of it or if there weren't conditions to test it.
For me, it was lack of conditions to test it.
 

Philpug

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Getting ready to pick up an invictus 89 ti and based on everything I've read I'm making the right choice. I gave this ski a hand flex test in the shop and was impressed as it was more stout than I'd imagined. Was looking for something more than my atomic vantage cti I just sold and this is it.
Remember the Victa 87Ti is the same ski, just scaled sizing.
 

EC Nate

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These are two similar skis for sure, similar shape and similar weight. I will say, I like them both, I do think the Armada is a but more playful and springy and the Volkl has a bit mroe top end but really, they are really close and neither are a bad choice. On hard snow both were about the same and the Armada might have a slight edge in the bumps.
I am a resort skier looking to get in to some back country skiing. Is it worth it to get AT bindings if I am only going to ski off resort about two times a year? I have been using snowshoes and carrying skis. How durable are AT bindings and how much do they affect downhill performance.
 

Philpug

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I am a resort skier looking to get in to some back country skiing. Is it worth it to get AT bindings if I am only going to ski off resort about two times a year? I have been using snowshoes and carrying skis. How durable are AT bindings and how much do they affect downhill performance.
If you are concerned about downhill performance. I would wait for the all new Atomic/Salomon Shift.
 
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