Ski: 2016-2017 Armada Invictus 108Ti, 188cm
Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm
Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 188.1cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 138-108-128
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,287 and 2,290 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 26.5 meters
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech + Titanal (2-Layer) + Carbon/Kevlar Stringers
Tip & Tail Splay: 58 / 16 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm
Boots / Bindings: Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: Factory Recommended (85.9cm from tail; -8.15cm from center)
Days Skied: 4
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Invictus. The ski was not changed for the 15/16 or 16/17 seasons (apart from the graphics) but it was renamed the “Invictus 108Ti.”]
You can read my preview of the Invictus for a full breakdown of the ski’s construction, flex, rocker/camber profile, and a discussion of why it initially piqued our interest.
In short, the Invictus looks quite a bit different from the sort of light, playful skis Armada is known for (like the JJ, Norwalk, TST), and seemed to fit in the same class as some of our favorite directional all-mountain skis like the the Moment Belafonte, Blizzard Cochise, and Line Supernatural 108.
I still need to get the Invictus on groomers, as well as in more soft, mid-winter conditions to get a better sense of exactly how it stacks up to the skis mentioned above. But after four days of skiing in a mix of refrozen hardpack, sun-softened snow, and spring slush, initial impressions are quite good.
Armada says the Invictus is made to be skied aggressively in variable, firm conditions, while also providing some flotation in softer snow. And so far, nothing we’ve found seems inconsistent with those claims, or our initial speculations about the ski.
Firm, Chalky Snow
My first run on the Invictus was at Temple Basin, a club field with some of the most dramatic terrain in the Canterbury region. We arrived at Temple in time for an afternoon hike to the top of Upper Bill’s Basin and began our descent on a short, steep, wind-affected face with mostly smooth, firm and chalky snow.
I hadn’t made any real turns on the Invictus yet, but with its firm flex, straighter shape, and conservative tip and tail rocker, I expected the ski to be nice and stable through some big, sweeping turns—and it was. The Invictus had a predictable, consistent feel from tip to tail, providing a solid platform to stand on / lean into in a couple of long, fast arcs. This stable feel remained when skiing some slightly softer, relatively smooth snow.
Softened Spring Snow
After waiting for the the snow to soften during the morning, we hiked up into a pocket next to a set of cliffs beneath Mt. Temple, just outside the ski area boundary. Below us was a large apron of about 2” of softened spring snow and I felt confident in opening things up with some huge, fast turns on the Invictus.
Though soft, the sun-affected snow was wet and heavy so there was quite a bit of force pushing back on the ski through those turns. The Invictus’ tail felt strong and supportive (not washy or loose at all) as did the forebody of the ski. I was comfortable taking an aggressive, forward stance, which is just what you would expect from a stout, directional, all-mountain ski.
Though relatively soft, these conditions were still pretty demanding, and the Invictus felt about as composed as I could have hoped for. I’m really looking forward to making some similar, big fast turns on the ski this season in more ordinary mid-winter condition—shallow, fresh powder and soft chop—as I expect it will do really well.
Refrozen, Partially Thawed Snow: Armada Invictus vs Blizzard Cochise
Next, I spent some time lapping an open, lightly bumped-up face in Temple Basin’s Downhill Basin that was just beginning to thaw. Unlike the previous day, conditions were predominantly firm, and only the top ~ ½” of the snow surface was warmed up enough to be scrubbed off / pushed around. The snow held an edge pretty well, but larger undulations and ridges were bound to make for a bumpy ride at speed, helping me gain an initial feel for how damp the Invictus is.
For the most part, I felt comfortable skiing hard and fast, making large turns on the bumped-up snow with a lot of edge pressure. The Invictus never felt chattery, like it was too soft or too light to remain stable in these conditions at speed, but it did feel a little harsh at times. To be fair, I don’t think any ski would have felt totally smooth and damp in these conditions, but it was a little easier to ski the Blizzard Cochise at the same speed, and it didn’t feel quite as jarring as the Invictus. At first I thought I might be a little light for the Invictus (at ~ 160 lb), but Paul Forward, who has about 30 lbs on me, agreed that the Cochise felt a little smoother in those nasty conditions, though the Cochise wasn’t completely composed here, either.
The Invictus also felt a little heavier and more demanding in these same conditions when I made short, slower turns. Where the Cochise’s rocker profile seemed to let me feather out the edge in looser, more smeary turns pretty easily, the Invictus seemed to want to hook up and carve more. A bit more effort was required to break the Invictus’ tails free and swing the shovels across the slope, requiring a stronger, more aggressive stance than the Cochise.
To be honest, in terms of tradeoffs in performance, at the moment I’m not quite sure what to make of the slightly harsh feel at speed and heavier feel through slower turns that I’ve felt on the Invictus. The ski may prove to have a higher speed limit than the Cochise in chop, and have a more powerful, energetic feel on groomers, but this remains to be seen.