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2015-2016 Armada AR7

Scott Nelson reviews the Armada AR7 for Blister Gear Review

15/16 Armada AR7

Ski: 2015-2016 Armada AR7, 181cm

Dimensions (mm): 120-87-110

Sidecut Radius: 21.5 meters

Mount Location: –1cm from true center

Boots / Bindings: Dalbello KR2 Core I.D. / Rossignol FKS 140

Test Locations: Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb

Days Tested: 20

MSRP: $499

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 AR7, which is unchanged for 15/16, except for the graphics.]

The AR7 has been a staple in Armada’s line for many years now, and its role has remained largely the same: a gimmick-free, versatile park ski. Armada has continued to tweak the design a bit each year, and after 20 days on the current version, I’m largely convinced that the AR7 might deserve the title of Most Versatile Park Ski on the market.

Design / Flex Pattern

The AR7 sports a traditional camber design with a hybrid cap construction on the tips and tails, and sidewalls underfoot. The flex pattern is fairly soft and forgiving in the tip, progressively stiffens underfoot, then softens again in the tail—though not quite as soft as in the tip of the ski.

Thankfully, Armada has also incorporated a thicker, 2.5mm edge to mitigate damage from rail impacts—a common culprit of destroyed park skis.

Jumps

The Armada AR7 is a bit bigger in each dimension than the ski I’ve most recently been riding, the Fischer Nightstick. The AR7s are a bit heavier, and it took a day or two to get used to this slight bit of sluggishness on takeoffs and in the air.

Once I was used to the additional weight, however, the AR7 felt every bit as stable and predictable as any ski I’ve tested in the past three seasons, except for the Fischer Nightstick (which is the most stable ski I’ve ever used on jumps).

Scott Nelson reviews the Armada AR7, Blister Gear Review

Scott Nelson on the Armada AR7, Cork 7 Japan.

Suffice it to say, the AR7 gets the job done on jumps. It won’t waver unnecessarily in the air, or scrub out on good-to-moderately-iffy landings. Of course, no ski will land your questionable tricks for you, but the Armada AR7 certainly doesn’t make landings problematic, either.

Jibs, Rails, and Other Features

I spent most of the first week on this ski just hitting jumps, so much of my first impression was shaped by how they handled in that area. That all changed after a few consecutive bad weather days when I was limited to hitting jibs at Keystone. Immediately, I was very impressed by the AR7’s ability to take on just about any terrain park feature I jumped on, taking versatility to a new level among park skis.

I was initially concerned with how the additional weight of the ski would affect traditional rail tricks such as spins on and off rails and switch-ups. Once I had made slight adjustments to my skiing to account for that difference, just as when hitting jumps, the extra weight wasn’t a burden when performing those tricks.

Scott Nelson reviews the Armada AR7, Blister Gear Review

Scott Nelson, 360 Switch Up on the Armada AR7.

Instead, the AR7 makes rail skiing ultimately more fun due to its very effective flex pattern. Soft in the tips and tails with a stiffer section underfoot, the ski maintains a buttery feel without sacrificing much in terms of stability on jumps, but also when maneuvering between rail features and different sorts of transitions. The AR7 feels vibrant and responsive, striking a nice balance in terms of its flex pattern—not overly stiff like the Fischer Nightstick, but never feeling like a noodle, as was sometimes the case with the Scott Jib TW.

These attributes make the AR7 an impressive tool for all kinds of quirky tricks in a park setting. Nollies, presses, and butters—especially butters—feel unusually easy on a ski that also performs so well on bigger jumps. And this is where the AR7 really separated itself from the Fischer Nightstick.

While the AR7 didn’t perform quite as well as the Fischer Nightstick or Atomic Punx in terms of stability on big jumps, it more than makes up for that slight loss of stability when it comes to any other type of park feature. By direct comparison, it performed nearly as well as the Atomic Punx in terms of stability, but outperformed the Punx in terms of playfulness on just about any other type of terrain, and blew the Fischer Nightstick out of the water on jibs and other (non-jump) features.

7 Comments

  1. Chris December 6, 2014 Reply

    I’m looking to buy these skis, I live in South Dakota and the only riding we have for park is some basic rails, boxes, and jumps. I am 6 foot 160 pounds, and have been skiing for 2 years now, I used to snowboard for probably 6 years. this is really my first year going out, but I can do most of the rails and hit jumps and plan on trying to start tricks sometime soon. would this ski be suitable for me? also for my size and weight would the 176cm or the 181cm version be better? I would consider myself an intermediate rider. Thank you.

  2. Author
    Scott December 10, 2014 Reply

    I think that the 181cm length would probably suit you well. I’m 5’9″ and I prefer a slightly longer ski but I think you’d do fine on the longer length given your height.
    This ski is an excellent option in terms of being able to conquer a variety of park features, and its flex is fairly neutral in terms of being solidly stiff enough to feel stable underfoot without losing much playfulness. I’m convinced you’ll enjoy the AR7 in the park.

  3. Ryan February 6, 2015 Reply

    I’m thinking about buying a pair, however I’m stuck between which length to get either the 171 or 176. I’m 5’10 150lbs, and I hit reasonably big jumps around 30-45ft. Just to give you an sense of my ability level I can spin off and on rails,switch up, throw 5’s with ease, and occasionally send a cork 7.

    • yuki March 15, 2015 Reply

      u should buy 176. 171 skis are very short to hit the big jumps.

  4. David April 21, 2015 Reply

    I’m 5’8″ 150lbs about to pick up some AR7s in 176 but I’m wondering about the mounting position. Armada recommends -2.5 but I see that you mounted yours at -1. I’ve heard many terrible things about mounting a ski in front of the center of it’s sidecut, but I will be skiing mostly rails and jumps and don’t know if -2.5 would make spinning weird. Do you have any information on where the best mount for AR7s is to ski park. What about center mounting them?

    Thanks.

  5. Blister Member
    amit April 18, 2016 Reply

    how do these compare to the atomic infamous?

  6. steve January 14, 2017 Reply

    AR7 or ARV 86? I just bought the ARV 106 for All Mountain, but want to have a few days dedicated in the park to dedicated practice. I am a heavy skier and am concerned with “grip” of the ski on beginner landings in the park.

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