2014-2015 Faction Silas, 182cm
Dimensions (mm): 116-86-116
Sidecut Radius: 19 meters
Actual Tip-To-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 183.0 cm
Days Tested: 6
Test Location: Camp of Champions, Whistler-Blackcomb, B.C.
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 2013-2014 Silas which was not changed for the 2014-2015 season, except for the graphics.]
I spent two weeks at Horstman Glacier on top of Blackcomb Mountain this summer where I got the opportunity to test two very different skis. I spent six consecutive days on the 178cm Moment Frankenski, before moving on to the Faction Silas at the end of the trip.
To test the Silas, I skied Camp of Champions’ well-manicured park, which boasts one of the best jump lines in North America. Not only were the jumps large and well shaped, the weather was sunny and warm every day, and I spent a lot of time hot-lapping the jump line and putting both pairs of skis through their paces in the summer slush.
While the Frankenski has unique camber design and edge construction, the Silas is a straightforward park ski with traditional camber and sandwich-sidewall construction. I wasn’t expecting any surprises from the Silas, and I thought it would be similar to the Nordica Ace of Spades and the Atomic Punx (both marketed as durable, stable skis), in terms of flex and responsiveness.
Faction markets the Silas as “the perfect Slopestyle ski” and it’s ranked three out of five on the company’s flex scale. Hand flexing the Silas reveals that it’s stiff throughout, particularly underfoot, and the flex softens just slightly at the tips and tails (similar to the flex pattern of the Atomic Punx). The ski didn’t feel overly heavy, but I did expect its full, traditional effective edge to feel very different than the rockered Frankenski.
The single most important feature I look for in a park ski is stability. No one is going to land every trick on the balls of their feet every time, and I believe a good park ski should minimize the number of times you wash out after an off-kilter landing. I raved about how well the Atomic Punx performed in this category, and the Faction Silas quickly proved its merit here as well.
Right off the bat, I was pleased with the Silas’ stability and recoil. The stiff flex—especially the consistently stiff flex of the tips and tails—gave the ski plenty of rebound when I landed tip-heavy switch or tail-heavy forward. I appreciate how well the Silas maintained stability without wavering even after sketchy, off-balance landings. At these times, the ski recoiled on impact and let me track straighter and smoother than if I’d been skiing, say, the Scott Jib TW.
The Silas also reminded me of the 2009 Salomon Suspect, which doesn’t sacrifice stability for pop and responsiveness.
- Variable Conditions
This year, Whistler-Blackcomb had a warm, dry spring followed by a very warm summer. The result—unusually large portions of rock-solid glacial ice started to appear around the mountain. The steep ski-out from the bottom of the Camp of Champions park to the lift line was a brutally bumpy 100-yard combination of blue glacial ice and randomly interspersed moguls. I took the Silas through this section at high speed every run, and fortunately for me, the ski proved itself very stable and damp.
Each day, the snow between the jumps would turn to bumpy slush as temperatures rose in the afternoon. And thanks to the Silas’ stability, I was able to truck right through the crud while maintaing enough speed to hit the jumps. In this regard, it reminded me of the rockered Moment Vice, a ski that dealt very well with similar conditions last spring. I’d found that the Vice’s tip rocker let me plow through the slush, even though in general it’s a less stable ski than the Silas.
When sliding rails and jumping, I enjoyed the amount of pop I got from the poplar and ash core. And as I mentioned above, the ski is responsive without sacrificing much in the way of dampness and stability.
On jumps, the Silas felt eager to initiate spins and flips in the well-crafted jump line. It seldom felt cumbersome as I worked the skis to pop up onto higher jib features or did faster spins on / off rail features.
The Silas’ swing weight feels comparable to that of the Atomic Punx, both of which have an edge over the slightly more cumbersome Nordica Ace of Spades. Neither the Silas nor the Punx are quite as light to toss around as the Scott Jib TW.
First off, a caveat. The Silas I skied was a demo ski, so it had likely been used three or four times prior to my test period. But judging from how the ski looked when I got it, it hadn’t seen much abuse.
Also worth noting is the fact that I’m very hard on my equipment. Six days may not be a very long testing period, but those six days were packed with up to 200 jump attempts. And a large number of those jumps took place in the early morning when landings were still quite firm and I was still figuring out the right speed. Couple that with lots of rail sliding on the way down to the lift after hitting the jumps, and this should paint a picture of the abuse I put the Silas through over the course of a week.
Back to the point—the Silas’ durability disappointed me. While I only experienced one edge crack, I’ve noticed 3 to 4 inches of impending delamination underfoot on the inside edges of both skis, and by the end of the test period, layers had begun to delaminate in the tip of my left ski, albeit less than a millimeter so far.
On my third day testing these skis, the left inside edge and base underfoot began to pull away from the sidewall and core of the ski. This delamination left a small slit—about 3-4mm high—through which I could see the bottom layer of the ski’s core. I think this issue would certainly become a serious problem if I continued to use this ski.
By the end of the testing period, a similar thing happened on the inside edge of the right ski. At this point, I also noticed more delamination on the left ski when the top sheet meets the sidewall by the heel piece.
I think this could be due to a combination of numerous rail impacts, hard jump landing impacts, and the rotational torque on the bindings’ heel pieces from awkward takeoffs and landings. Again, although the damage did not significantly affect the performance of the ski after six days, I think it would become a serious issue soon if I continued to use the Silas.
I have only experienced this type of damage with the 11/12 Nordica Ace of Spades. With the Ace of Spades, the small amount of delamination between the base and sidewall eventually widened to the point where the sidewall separated from the ski. This process ended with a complete sidewall blowout and a 1-foot long separation between the base/edge and core/sidewall of the ski, rendering the ski unridable.
The Faction Silas reminds me very much of my old Nordica Ace of Spades. Both skis are stable, predictable, poppy park skis, but I experienced durability issues with both, particularly with delamination.
Like the Ace of Spades, I quickly fell in love with the Silas, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed when the ski began to delaminate.
Overall, the Silas is a great ski that might just have some kinks to work out in the production process. And if you aren’t as hard on your equipment as I am [Editor’s Note: you aren’t], the Silas very well may be a good fit for you.