We tested the 14-15 model, but except for a top sheet change, the 15-16 version remains the same.
Armada ARVW Review
Cons: Unstable at speed, not great at carving, do not inspire confidence
Our Analysis and Test Results
Stability at Speed
If you are a very aggressive skier who likes to go fast, you may be able to straight line things on the ARVW without much trouble. However, when we ask this ski to turn at speed or in tight situations, we get a lot of flopping and chatter. The floppy tips do not inspire confidence, and many of our testers did not feel comfortable at speed on this ski. Because of its softness, the ski does seem to be able to absorb various bumps in variable conditions.
This is not a carving ski. Although Armada calls this an on-piste ski, we would not reach for the ARVW when going out for a day of groomer carving. The ARVW has some sidecut, but a relatively fat (97mm) waist and a large, 18.5M turn radius. It does not love to carve and will chatter if you make tight radius turns on hard pack. The Rossignol Temptation 88 however, loves to carve and is quite at home on the groomers. The ARVW prefers to butter and smear rather than rail turns. It can hold an edge when you really pressure it, but that's not its M.O. We were, however, pleasantly surprised with the ARVW's edge-to-edge quickness, and found it a redeeming quality of the ski. It is relatively responsive when making turns on the corduroy and we could ask them to make small or large radius ones.
The ARVW is fun to ski in powder and this rockered ski loves cruising on top of powder and through soft chop. The rockered tip helps it rise out of the fluffy stuff with ease. It is also great fun on any smooth, soft snow like wind buff and spring slush. The ARVW's have a similar feel in powder to the Dynastar Cham 2.0.
Depending on the consistency of the crud the ARVW is decent. We like the ARVW in any soft snow conditions, but once the snow gets heavy or solid, we have difficulty staying on top of this ski, and find it difficult to bring around without catching the tails. We prefer the much stiffer Volkl Aura in chop and variable conditions. We are uncomfortable skiing in steep hard pack because of its lack of stability and are not confident we could bring them around in a tight space. Our more aggressive skier ladies found these skis better all-around, and so also found them more enjoyable to ski in tight spaces and through crud.
The Armada ARVW has an element of playfulness because it has such soft, rockered tips, and it likes to butter around in soft snow. With park roots and twin tips, you can have a lot of fun on these skis in the right conditions.
Bumps Skiing Performance
We try to avoid skiing bumps when we go out on the ARVW. They are not meant for that type of terrain. Because they ski true to length, have a large turn radius and are floppy, whenever we found ourselves accidentally in the bumps we got thoroughly bucked around and did our best to get out of them as soon as possible.
This ski would be great for an expert lady ripper who has roots or aspirations in the park, or is used to skiing park skis. It skis quite true to length, and some of our more intermediate testers find them hard to control and too long for them. Even more advanced testers found them difficult to stay on top of in bumps and are thrown in the backseat. If you like to ski mostly off-piste and don't really care about on-piste performance, check out the ARVW.
The ARVW is in the middle of the pack value wise, at $600. We think the Atomic Vantage 95 C is a great ski that is much more versatile than the ARVW and a better value.
The ARVW has a sidewall-cap combination like most of the skis in this review. Its top sheets showed significant scratches and chips, and its bases took a few hits from rocks and have some gouges showing as a result, although nothing too major. The Blizzard Samba is a much more durable ski than the ARVW.
The Armada ARVW is a great ski for all soft snow conditions. We think it is playful, but difficult to ski in variable conditions and at high speeds. A confident, aggressive skier may have a better time on this ski, but we do not recommend it for intermediate skiers. It skis true to length.
— Jessica Haist, Nicole Deaver, and Renee McCormack