The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2017-2018 4FRNT Devastator

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister Gear Review.

4FRNT Devastator

Ski: 2017-2018 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 164, 174, 184, 194 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 181.8 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2298 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2241 & 2295 grams

Stated Dimensions: 136-108-131 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135-107-130.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters (same in all lengths)

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 49 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm (reverse camber)

Core: Ash & Beach

Base: Sintered Carbon

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -5.3 cm from center; 85.6 cm from tail

Test Locations: Taos, NM; Aspen Highlands & Arapahoe Basin, CO

Boots / Bindings: HEAD Raptor 140 RS / Marker Jester

Days Tested: 10

Intro

A few years ago, we reviewed the 194 cm 4FRNT Devastator, and it still stands as one of the heaviest skis that we’ve ever reviewed, narrowly beating out the 16/17 192 cm Dynastar Pro Rider and the 16/17 184 cm Head Monter 108.

And then Paul Forward (who typically has a thing for pretty big skis), talked about and underscored how substantial the 194s were.

Given that, it didn’t seem like the 194 Devastator was a ski that we would — or should — be recommending to a bunch of readers. And that made us really want to check out the 184 cm Devastator in a bad way, and had us wondering whether it was a more manageable ski that would be more suitable for lighter skiers or those who spend time skiing in tighter spaces.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister Gear Review.

Jonathan Ellsworth on the 4FRNT Devastator, Kachina Peak, Taos.

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally now getting time on the 184s. But to back up for a second, here’s what 4FRNT has to say about the Devastator:

“A ski so stable and maneuverable, you’ll swear it must be cheating as you can “just point ’em” on even the choppiest of days. The ReflectTech™ gives you the “pivotable” benefit of a full-rockered ski, while providing a classic, full length effective edge for superior edge-hold. The Devastator is a true One-Ski-Quiver. For women check out the Aretha, same shape just with our ContourCore™.”

And that all certainly sounds very awesome. But as always, the devil is in the details, and the major question is exactly how stable the 184 model is, how maneuverable it is, how well it really functions as a one-ski quiver, how similar or different is it to the 194, and — given that these are relatively heavy but fully rockered skis — should you be looking to size down or size up on these things? Oh, and how does it compare to some other fully-rockered all-mountain skis?

Let’s get to a few more details:

Flex Pattern

I’d sum up the flex pattern of the 184 Devastator like this:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 8-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 9-8
Tails: 7

The biggest thing to note here is that the solid / stiff section of the ski takes up quite a bit of the ski. By comparison, the fully-rockered, also-108mm-wide 186 cm Faction Candide 3.0 has softer shovels than the Devastator, and the 3.0’s shovels stay softer than the Devastator’s as you move toward the center of the ski. The tails of the Devastator are also slightly stiffer than the Candide 3.0’s.

On the other side of things, the 187 cm Moment Meridian has the most stout tips and shovels of these three skis. While the very end of its tails might ramp down to a “7” (similar to the Devastator), the Meridian is significantly stiffer across the extended middle of the ski. So if you care about nollies and nose butters, it’s likely that you’ll get along better with the Candide 3.0 or Devastator.

Weight

While the 194 cm Devastator weighs a ton (2600+ grams per ski) the 184 cm Devastator comes in at a reasonable (though not light) 2241 & 2295 grams per ski.

And that is in very sharp contrast to the 186 cm Candide 3.0, which comes in at a much-lighter weight of 1912 & 1924 grams per ski. That’s a pretty huge difference, and a difference that we would expect to be quite noticeable on snow.

Finally, the 187 cm Moment Meridian comes in between these two skis at 2113 & 2121 grams. So just given the weight, we’d expect the 184 Devastator to have noticeably better suspension than the other two skis, and this is something we’re going to pay close attention to.

Shape / Rocker Profile

Very little tip and tail taper here, and our suspicion is that that is a very good thing, given that you already have a very pivot-y fully rockered design — this ski is going to be easy to pivot and turn, so heavily tapering the tip or tail would only reduce its overall stability.

Of course, the Candide 3.0 isn’t heavily tapered either, so we’re curious to see how quick these two skis (of very different weights) feel on snow.

Mount Point

This is a pretty important point: the 184 cm Devastator has a pretty progressive mount point of – 5.3 cm from center. The Candide 3.0 (mounted on the “all-mountain” line) is at -6.9 cm, and the Moment Meridian comes in at – 5 cm (though we preferred the Meridian at -6 cm).

The biggest thing I want to say here is that these three skis all have much more progressive mount points than some other fully-rockered skis that we’ve been reviewing lately, like the Volkl 100Eight, the Volkl Katana, and the Parlor Skis Mountain Jay (take a look at our instagram pic for a side-by-side shot of all of these skis). All of these skis have mount points in the -10 to -14 cm category, which puts them into wholly directional territory, and will likely mean that skiers will probably prefer one of the skis from Camp A (Devastator / Candide 3.0 / Meridian) or one of the skis in Camp B (Volkl 100Eight, Katana, and Parlor Skis Mountain Jay). And nobody is going to be tricking the skis in Camp B. Straight airs? Sure. But nose presses or 3’s or switch landings? That’s Camp A.

But it also raises the big question of how trickable the Devastator is relative to the Candide 3.0 and the Meridian, and how good of a tool is it for use as a directional, all-mountain ski vis a vis the skis in Camp B?

Length

This is a very big “goldilocks” question for us. While a number of you won’t feel the least bit conflicted as to whether to go with the 164, 174, or 184, we suspect that a 184 cm Devastator will seem a bit short for a fully-rockered ski, while the 194 Devastator will seem too big and heavy for a whole lot of people.

Our reviewer Paul Forward (who weighs ~190 lbs) loves the 194 Devastator for skiing more open lines in Alaska.

But for those of us who regularly ski in tighter trees, chutes, or moguls, will the 184 fit the bill for all-mountain use? How long or short does the 184 Devastator feel on snow? And compared to Candide 3.0 or Meridian?

(Note: you can now listen to Paul and me discuss the 194 vs. 184 Devastator – and hear my initial on-snow impressions of the 184s, skied on the recommended line – at 58:55 of this Blister podcast.)

Bottom Line (For Now)

The 194 cm Devastator lived up to its name. Honestly, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect from the 184. But we have already started getting time on the ski, and we are excited to continue to flesh out answers to all of the questions listed above.

NEXT: The Review

17 Comments

  1. Smooth_operator March 14, 2017 Reply

    Interesting! curious about a cochise/katana comparison.
    And what about the faction dictator 4.0, getting on that one anytime soon?

  2. Evan March 14, 2017 Reply

    I’ve been on the 194s all season and loved every second of them! I’ve got a friend who has borrowed my old 186 sickles a few times this season, though I’ll never part with them, these might be a stiffer alternative for him as he’s looking to buy! (Bigger guy, 5’9″ 260, but not super high speed most of the time)

    • Blister Member
      Guy Anderson August 24, 2017 Reply

      Hi Evan I have read JE.REVIEWS and Paul’s at least 30x, listened to podcasts etc….I want the Dev. never skied the Sickle that so many treasure ….why doesn’t Rossi bring those back like Moment did with the old Bibby??? SOB….4Front has next year’s on sale for 499 so I think I am going to get them.
      My ? Is your size if you don’t mind….wt,ht….I fall right in the f….middle of the 184 and 194….and where do you ski the 194….I can rationalize it as a powerful ski in big open terrain….but for me 2600g….in the trees ….ut oh.

      Thanks for sharing if you get my msg….I’m thinking the 194 =191 tape pull would eliminate the lack of flat spot but limit it for me at 205lbs…5’9 like your buddy to wide open terrain which is cool….I think….or the 184 ????
      This ski drives me bonkers..good news I hear is coming in 2018/19…but not at 499. :)

  3. Blister Member
    Dan March 14, 2017 Reply

    I’m excited you guys are finally getting some time on the 184 cm Dev. I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being rude: these are the new Sickle 186 replacement, especially when the Devs are mounted -1 to -2 cm from rec.

    Interested to see what you think about lengths. I’m 5’9″ and 150 lbs on a good day, so the 194 Dev never appealed to me. And I love the 184 for bumps, park, groomers, and skiing switch. It does, however, feel a touch short in front of the binding when skiing fast on steep pitches in variable snow/deep chop.

    So after two seasons on the 184 Dev, I am experiencing the first world skier problem of the goldilocks phenomenon for the OSQ. Ultimately, my dream one ski quiver ski for splitting time at AltaBird and PC/Canyons is still a 189 cm (straight pull 187 cm) Devastator mounted -6cm from true center.

    Please 4Frnt, please?!?

    • Patricio March 17, 2017 Reply

      Dan, then you should check the new Blizzard Rustler 11. I’m in no ski company’s payslip just to make it clear. Both are very similar, Devastator is a little bit more agile but Rustler 11 is much more stable, light and in 188, so somewhere in between 184/194. Definitely the best skis I’ve ever owned, which previously was the Devastator.

  4. Blister Member
    Tom March 15, 2017 Reply

    Very interested in this review. I now own and am very impressed with the 187 meridian as I felt it was/is the the 189 devestor that I longed for. Wish it had a bit more weight to carry through chop and therefore deflect less but other than that have loved the meridian.

  5. Blister Member
    gabesalk March 16, 2017 Reply

    Hey just wanted to gently point out you guys omitted the mountpoint for the Candide 3.0’s

    ” The Candide 3.0 (mounted on the “all-mountain” line) ___ , ”

    doesnt really change anything but its a lil detail that fell through the cracks

  6. Blister Member
    Michael March 16, 2017 Reply

    I too am excited to see how you guys make out on the 184 Devastator. I’ve been skiing on it for a couple years now (at the recommended mount point) and had to get used to the ski, but now I love it. I’ve found the ski likes a more upright and centered body position, but while being active in the lower body and using high edge angles. I guess I’d describe it as using more ankle/knee than hip to engage the ski. You can run the ski flat and it pivots on a dime, but then engage the relatively long edge and it’s super stable. It’s been really fun to be able to use the edge angle to change the character of the ski so much. Once I learned how to use this ski I’ve been able to trust it and open it up/shut it down in any terrain.

  7. Valerie May 26, 2017 Reply

    It is a new Sickle, but more exciting – I have both. You keep bringing up the small platform under foot, that is not what this ski is about. What I am going to write next will sound counter intuitive and works for me only on Devastator. Despite full rockered design, this is about edge, or certain sections of the edge. I preffer Devastator over HEAD FIS GS skis on iced groomers – you need to get your weight completely over the front part of the ski and drive them edge to edge, so small platform under foot becomes irellivant and they keep the edge on frozen corral without catching. Same thing about steep, tight places – do not think that ” you should use full ski” like ski instructors teach, or put it on flat to pivot, instead alternate between skiing front and back of the ski as feels appropriate. Look up videos of Eric Hjorleifson skiing this or Hoji, you will know what I am talking about. Straight line is not a strong side of this ski, or at least i did not figure out how to do it well.

    • Author

      Hi, Valerie — what you say makes sense. And others in these comments have also called it a Sickle, and I’ll defer to you all since you have skied the Sickle more recently than me. But the Sickle’s rocker is a lot more subtle than the Devastator’s, and to me, it avoids the small platform / rocking horse problem in steep, bumped-up terrain.

      As for getting on *either* the front of the ski or the back of the ski (because there’s a small mid-point / center of the ski), that’s where I find the 184 Devastator to feel so different than the Sickle — but again, I’ll defer to those of you who have skied the Sickle more recently. Having said that, that “get on either the front OR the back” makes sense to me … it’s just — and I’ll repeat myself here while also promising to stop doing so — that is a harder technique to pull off when skiing hard and fast in bumped-up terrain. On smooth ice or soft pillow lines? Easy to imagine. But sections of icy chutes that giveaway to steep, narrow — scraped-off / windscoured bumps and / or troughs — or in other words, what I tend to think of as truly “all-mountain skiing” that’s where I think the small platform issue arises. And as I also tried to point out … if someone doesn’t spend a lot of time in such conditions, then I think they really can ignore this “situational / contextual” shortcoming of the ski, while also experimenting with the technique you’re proposing. Framed that way, that certainly all makes sense to me.

  8. Blister Member
    Dan May 28, 2017 Reply

    I have 200+ days on the 186 Sickles (mounted on the line) and 50 days on the 184 Devs (mounted -1cm from rec). And Jonathan, I’d agree with your last post for the most part. Having dialed in a balance point for the Sickles, I don’t notice the small balance platform for the Devs as much as you mention. But undoubtably, the rocker on the Sickles is more flat camber with full twin tip, and the Devs have more continuous reverse camber and a smaller flat spot under foot.

    Again, I’m still looking for the slightly lighter Katana-Sickle hybrid. I’m hoping your Folsom custom is that ski! 186cm straight pull, very subtle reverse camber with a reasonable underfoot flat spot, mount point around -6 to -7 cm from true center, moderate stiff flex profile, around 108mm underfoot, about a 25 m turn radius, 2150-2200gm total weight, and excellent damping for charging crappy snow.

    Can’t wait for your review.

  9. Valerie May 28, 2017 Reply

    By the way, I mounted my 174cm Devastator at +1 and feel very comfortable in Aspen Highlands, no issues with weight unless I have to carry them. I also forgot to mentioned that the float in poweder is unproportionaly good for the size of the ski.

  10. Isaac July 22, 2017 Reply

    I’m 6’1″ and weigh 210 lbbs. Never ski’d before until the 2016-17 season when I quit my job to bum in Truckee and ski Squaw/Alpine. Put in 70 days at the resort and a dozen in the BC. Actually leaving for Mt Shasta’s North face for some BC this weekend.

    Just bought the 194 Dev. I was looking for a good resort powder ski to charge all day without changing skis when the runs ger tracked out. I really hope they deliver.

  11. Blister Member
    Guy Anderson August 29, 2017 Reply

    I just bought the 194 Devastator….it is twinned as we all know and one of Matt’s associates stated it skis like a 190…..so when you combine that fact with Blister actual tape pull of approx …191 ….ya have a big 187 or 188 …..super duper chargy stable planted to the ground CBMF…..IMO.

    I am so stoked…..the math makes sense after staring at this stuff for many months.

    Thank you Mr.Sterbenz…..and JE. and to my skiing buddies this 52 yr old will see you at the bottom with a cold frosty on your tab. :) all the other young studs will pass me but for 52 I will be smiling ….not in bumps though.

    Ya all better jump and buy these…I am happy about 2600 grams….I can shed a lb and they will be light.

    Guy

    Wood hoo.

  12. trent September 27, 2017 Reply

    It sounds like some of the downsides of the 184 are similar to the 184 Mantra. Both are fully rockered etc. So does the 184 seem like a wider Mantra? It sounds like it would obviously float better and from the review it sounds quicker turning? I like my 184 Mantra in powder but would love some more float.

  13. Blister Member
    Konsta October 4, 2017 Reply

    Anybody able to compare the Devastator to the (discontinued) Völkl Gotama?

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