2018-2019 Armada ARV 106

Cy Whitling reviews the Armada ARV 106 for Blister

Armada ARV 106

Ski: 2018-2019 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm

Available Lengths: 172, 180, 188 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.3 cm

Stated Weight per Ski (188 cm): 2000 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2113 & 2140 grams

Stated Dimensions (measured dimensions coming soon): 136-106-123 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 21.5 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 60 mm / 51 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5 mm

Core: Poplar +2 full-length Ash stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Armada’s “S7”

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -2.55 cm from center; 90.6 cm from tail

Intro

For 18/19, Armada is tweaking their ARV freestyle lineup, with small construction changes across the line, as well as more significant tweaks to a few models. The ARV 106 comes back with several changes to its construction and shape, which we’ll discuss further down.

The original ARV was a staple in the Armada lineup for years, and then two seasons ago, Armada introduced a whole line of ARV skis. Since then, the ARV 106 has been Armada’s wider, freestyle-oriented, daily driver. It’s more all-mountain / less park-oriented than the ARV 96, and it’s less powder-oriented than the ARV 116 JJ. The ARV 106 fits into a neat middle ground of playful skis designed to be wide enough for the average powder day, but still not feel out of place on the occasional park lap.

We spent a considerable amount of time on the original ARV 106, and really liked it. We found it to be a capable and versatile ski that felt a little more like a wide park ski than some of the other skis in this category, like the ON3P Kartel 108. So how does the new ARV 106 compare to the old one, and how does it stack up in the current class of playful all-mountain skis?

Here’s what Armada says about the new ARV 106:

“Our most versatile all-mountain freestyle ski gets a completely new construction for 18/19, bringing an ultra-playful and responsive yet stable ride to high performance skiers tired of tossing sticks in the trash every half season. Reinforced with new sidewall construction to absorb high speed chatter and any rail, wall, or concrete you can press them on, the Armada ARV 106 also features ash stringers for increased pop and play. Introducing a new shape akin to the JJ 2.0 of winters past, the new ARV 106 is as at home surfin the white wave as it is thrashing the pro park.”

Construction

Some of the most significant changes to the ARV 106 come in its construction. First, the 18/19 ARV 106 now uses a primarily poplar core with two full-length ash stringers. This is in contrast to the previous ARV 106, which only had ash reinforcements underfoot. The orientation of the fiberglass on the 18/19 version has also been tweaked, which Armada says makes the new ski a bit stiffer torsionally.

The 18/19 ARV 106 also now uses Armada’s “AR75” sidewall construction, as opposed to the previous version of the ARV 106, which used their “AR50” sidewall. Basically, the “AR75” sidewall means that roughly 75% of the ski uses a semi-cap sidewall construction, and the remaining 25% of the length (in the case of the ARV 106, the tips and tails) uses a full cap construction. Armada claims the increased length of sidewall construction should help absorb high speed chatter and impacts from jibs.

And on the topic of impacts, Armada has also changed up the edges on the new ARV 106, bumping up from last year’s 1.7 mm edges to 2.2 mm edges for the 18/19 version. This should help the new ARV 106 hold up a bit better to rails, and this change has been made across the range so that all 18/19 ARV skis will use the beefier 2.2 mm edges.

All in all, Armada says the changes to 18/19 ARV 106 will make it more stable than the previous version, and a bit less playful.

Shape / Rocker Profile

Another important change between the current ARV 106 and the 18/19 version is in its shape. Armada says the new ARV 106 has a shape that is akin to the old JJ 2.0. The 18/19 ARV 106’s shape is definitely not as tapered as the old JJ 2.0 or the ARV 116 JJ, but it is slightly more tapered than the previous version of the ARV 106. And while its tips and tails have slightly earlier taper lines, the new ARV 106’s tips and tails are also slightly more “blocky” — they don’t come to quite as much of a point as the last version. Armada says this should help the new ski float a bit better than the previous iteration.

In our review of the first ARV 106, we said that it felt like a big park ski, and a lot of this was probably due to its lack of taper compared to skis like the ON3P Kartel 108 and K2 Marksman. So we’re interested to see how the new shape of the 18/19 ARV 106 affects its on-snow feel.

Our pair of the 18/19 ARV 106 also appears to have slightly more tip and tail rocker and a bit more tip and tail splay than the 17/18 ARV 106 (60 & 51 mm for 18/19 vs. 52 & 46 mm for 17/18). We felt that the first iteration of the ARV 106 provided a good deal of effective edge on firm conditions thanks to its more conservative rocker profile, but also thought it didn’t float quite as well in pow compared to skis with more rocker. So, we’re also curious to see how the changes for 18/19 affect the new ARV 106’s performance on both firm and soft snow.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 18/19 ARV 106:

Tips: 6.5
Shovels: 6.5-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5
Tails: 8-7

The new ARV 106 feels a bit stiffer overall compared to the last version. Armada says this is due to the addition of the full-length ash stringers and the increased thickness of the extended section of semi-cap sidewall.

We noticed the new ARV 106 flexes considerably stiffer in the portions with semi-cap sidewall, and is softer in the capped portion of the tips and tails. These transition zones don’t feel very hinge-y, but the flex ramps up smoothly and quickly as the ski changes between semi-cap sidewall and cap construction. And since that semi-cap sidewall comprises about 75% of the ski, that means the new ARV 106 is actually fairly stiff through much of the ski. This makes us excited about the new ski’s potential stability, and also makes us curious about how playful it will feel vs. the old version.

Mount Point

Our pair of the 18/19 ARV 106 has a recommended mount point of 2.55 cm from center. That’s a significant change from the last version, as our pair of the 17/18 ARV 106 had a recommended mount point of 6.45 cm from center. However, Armada informed us that the production version of the 18/19 ARV 106 will have two mount points: a more freestyle mount point of 2.5 cm from center and a “freeride” mount of 5 cm from center. So, we’ll definitely be playing with the mount point of the 18/19 ARV 106 to see how it performs at both recommended lines, and how it feels when skiing with a more centered vs. more forward stance.

Weight

Despite the addition of full-length ash stringers and the thicker edges, the new ARV 106 is coming in at a pretty similar weight to the last version, and it again sits near the middle of the pack for skis in this category when it comes to weight.

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis:

1941 & 1994 Faction Candide 3.0, 186 cm (18/19)
2032 & 2062 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm
2109 & 2145 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (17/18)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2144 & 2153 K2 Marksman, 184 cm
2221 & 2245 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm (18/19)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm

Bottom Line (For Now)

By the numbers, the 18/19 Armada ARV 106 looks like it will again be a strong contender in the wider all-mountain freestyle category. We’re very interested to see how the changes to the ski’s flex, construction, mount point, and shape play out on snow. We’ve been getting time on the new ARV 106, so stay tuned for updates, and let us know about any questions you’d like to see addressed in our full review.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

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