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Preview: 2015-2016 Armada Invictus 108Ti

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Armada Invictus 108Ti for Blister Gear Review

15/16 Armada Invictus 108Ti

Ski: 2015-2016 Armada Invictus 108Ti, 188cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 138-108-128

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 188.1cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,287 and 2,290 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 26.5 meters

Mount Location: Factory Recommended (85.9cm from tail; -8.15cm from center)

[Editor’s Note: Here we originally previewed the 14/15 Invictus. The ski was not changed for the 15/16 season, apart from the graphics, and it was renamed the “Invictus 108Ti.” This preview (and the reviews that follow it) also applies to the 15/16 Invictus 108Ti.]

From the minute we first heard about it, the new Armada Invictus immediately had our attention.

To understand why, it’ll help to first talk about two other skis from Armada that we’ve already reviewed: the all-mountain, 103mm-underfoot, 192cm TST, and what is essentially a wider, more powder-oriented version of the TST, the 116mm-underfoot 189cm, Norwalk. Both the Norwalk and the TST have a significant amount of tip rocker, traditional camber underfoot, and a traditional tail (twinned, but not rockered).

The TST is great for those who want a, directional all-mountain ski that is light and initiates turns easily at almost any speed, but also carves very well on groomers and planes pretty well in soft, fresh conditions.

However, for those looking for a stout, very stable ski to crush variable, cruddy conditions, I don’t often recommend the TST—it has a relatively forgiving flex and lighter feel that let it get kicked around a fair amount in crud and variable.

At 116mm underfoot, the Norwalk is a directional powder ski that floats well. And like the TST, it also does very well on groomers for its width; has a fun, light swing weight; and provides very easy turn initiation.

It’s also decidedly more stable in tracked powder than the tail rockered AK JJ, and can be skied aggressively when conditions firm up.

But there are a number of heavier, burlier powder/big-mountain skis that outperform the Norwalk in crud. And the Norwalk’s wider waist makes it harder to recommend as an all-mountain ski like the TST.

In short, there’s a lot to like about both the TST and the Norwalk, and we recommend them to a lot of skiers. But not to those looking for a stiffer, very stable all-mountain ski that excels in variable, rough conditions. For that type of ski, we often talk about the Moment Belafonte and the Blizzard Cochise. But the new 188cm Invictus is Armada’s first attempt to occupy exactly this space.

Here’s what Armada has to say about the ski:

“New for 14/15, the Invictus demands full throttle skiing in variable terrain. The highly adaptable width allows for flotation in softer conditions, while the AR Nose Rocker and longer turning radius perform well when venturing on harder snow. Carbon fiber strips from tip to tail increase liveliness and top and bottom layers of Titanal provide stability.”

This description, and a glance at the Invictus’ spec sheet, is intriguing for a few reasons.

Construction

The Invictus is built with Armada’s heaviest full wood core, layered with fiberglass and striped with carbon fiber stringers (just like the Moment Belafonte), and has two layers of metal (like the Cochise).

We won’t know till we get the Invictus on snow, but both the Cochise and Belafonte are decidedly damp skis, and we’re curious to see how the Invictus compares—“damp” isn’t the first word one would historically associate with the feel of Armada’s skis.

Sidecut Radius

The Invictus’ 26.5 meter sidecut radius sits between the Belafonte’s and the Cochise’s (at 25.5 and 28.5 meters, respectively), and neither the Belafonte nor Cochise are hooky or unpredictable in cruddy snow.

Rocker Profile

The dramatic tip rocker on the TST and Norwalk is part of what limits both of those skis in variable conditions. The Invictus has traditional camber underfoot with just a touch of rocker in the tail, but its tip rocker is more subtle than the TST’s or Norwalk’s. We’re interested to see how much more stability this rocker profile provides, and again, see how it stacks up to the Belafonte and Cochise. Of course, the ski’s flex pattern will be a factor, too…

Flex Pattern

Armada provides a flex pattern rating for each of their skis. It’s a relative scale, of course, but it is helpful to see how a particular ski measures up against the rest of a brand’s line.

Armada rates the flex of the Invictus’ Tip, Waist, and Tail as 7.5, 8, and 8.5, respectively. Some of Armada’s comp-ready park skis have the same “8” flex rating underfoot, but the Invictus is stiffer underfoot than most skis in Armada’s line, and it has the stiffest flex rating in both the tip and tail of any ski in their line.

Stated Flex Ratings: Tip, Waist, Tail:

* Armada JJ & AK JJ:  6 – 7 – 6.5

* Armada TST:             6 – 7 – 6.5

* Armada Norwalk:      6.5 – 7.5 – 7

* Armada Invictus        7.5 – 8 – 8.5

An initial hand flex of the Invictus seems consistent with these ratings; it’s tail is stiff, and no other part of the ski seems unsubstantial.

So that’s why we’re seriously intrigued, and we’ll learn a whole lot more once we get the Invictus on snow. It’s now just ten days till we head to Canterbury, New Zealand.

Update

You can now read our on-snow reviews of the Armada Invictus.

5 Comments

  1. waxonskinsoff August 14, 2014 Reply

    The new Declivity also looks like a great new offering from Armada. Rocker nose, flatter tail, 128/98/118mm sidecut, seemingly moderate stiffness rounder flex pattern, 7-8-7.5 flex profile, two layers of metal and rubber dampening in the tip. Very curious to see how this ski performs in real world bad snow conditions where just a hair skinnier, moderate stout but dampened flex and less sidecut is preferable; thinking temperature crust over moist ankle to shin deep slop (no hooking please), refrozen chickenheads in the forest (don’t throw me in the backseat please), steep hard runnelled, frozen avy debris couloirs/runouts (absorb the contours and junk and don’t buck me for and aft please), upside down coastal moist snow 80 cementons overnight (tips don’t submarine on me please, don’t hook, tails flex enough to feather the underfoot/heel throttle turn), windblown variable breakable crust/bombproof arctic outflow beaten alpine bowls (gimme some dampening please)…etc…etc… please review this ski too!

  2. Blister Member
    METH-CANCER August 15, 2014 Reply

    This is looking like a suitable replacement to my 189cm K2 Maiden’AKs. I’m excited to see the review!

  3. thomas August 19, 2014 Reply

    I loved my Norwalk in Utah but I always wished that it was a bit stiffer and had less rocker for crud days or when the snow was getting sun baked, hopefully the Invictus will be exactly that.

  4. Dave September 8, 2014 Reply

    I’ve been loyal to Armada because I had a great run on my mid-200’s ARV’s, and I really like my TST’s.. the TST is super fun and excels in just about condition, but the massive tip rocker chatters at speed on east coast ice, can lose edge hold in bony rocky chutes, and it can get worked in heavy crud.. perfect ski for boot deep, tight trees, and soft buttery moderate pitch groomers… But I want something more stable this year for the quiver.. a charger.. was leaning towards the Sueprnatural 108 or Cochise.. But I think I might have to keep the Armada train rolling and give these beasts a shot.. I’m intrigued

  5. Mike April 19, 2016 Reply

    I got a pair of these this season (188) and was kind of underwhelmed. From the magazine and Blister reviews, it sounded like exactly what I wanted, but I was still a little worried this would be too much ski. Turned out to be the opposite problem. I’m and ex-racer, ski fast, aggressive, whole mountain, previously on a Line Influence 105 daily driver. The Line Influence is one of my favorite skis ever. It surrenders to no snow conditions, but it will kick your ass if you get sloppy. The Invictus on the other hand, is much more forgiving. The shovels are way softer, and it feels/is significantly lighter weight. The weight and softer shovel flex is awesome for moguls, but it gets knocked around like crazy in variable conditions. It just doesn’t feel substantial enough to be a true “charger”. Snow that I can rip on the Influence (and I also have a 196 Bodacious), is hard to ski on the Invictus. They’re also just very vanilla, nothing about them that made skiing especially exciting.

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