Faction Dictator 2.0X - Women's Review
Cons: Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them
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Faction Dictator 2.0X - Women's
|Price||$679 List||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$699.95 at REI|
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|$649.95 at REI|
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|Pros||Great stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than others||Crud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability level||Awesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable price||Superbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold||Quick edge to edge, strong carving ski|
|Cons||Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them||No wow-factor, not a lot of rebound||Gets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectly||Too burly for lighter gals, not nimble||Need to be engaged to ski it well, not much excitement, sinks in deeper snow|
|Bottom Line||This model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skier||A great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiver||A fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tag||A good choice for hard-charging speed demons that still performs decently off-piste||Though not especially playful in deep powder, this ski is our top choice for carving with its skinny waist and quickness edge to edge|
|Rating Categories||Faction Dictator 2.0X||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Volkl Secret 96||Blizzard Black Pear...|
|Stability At Speed (20%)|
|Carving Ability (20%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Crud Performance (20%)|
|Terrain Playfulness (15%)|
|Specs||Faction Dictator 2.0X||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Volkl Secret 96||Blizzard Black Pear...|
|Waist Width (mm)||96||98||96||96||88|
|Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm)||127-96-117||132-98-120||136-96-111||135-96-119||128-88-110|
|Available Lengths (cm)||155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187||151, 158, 165, 172, 179||154, 162, 170, 178||149, 156, 163, 170||147, 153, 159, 165, 171, 177|
|Length Tested (cm)||171||172||178||170||171|
|Rocker Style||Tip and tail, camber underfoot||Tip and tail, camber underfoot||Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Amphibio tech||Tip and tail, camber underfoot||Tip and tail rocker, camber underfoot|
|Weight Per Pair (lbs)||7.9||8.1||7.4||8.5||8.0|
|Construction Type||Sandwich||Energy Ti W||SST sidewall||Full sidewall||Sandwich compound sidewall|
|Core Material||Paulownia & Poplar||Performance Wood & Metal||Tubelite wood||Beech and poplar||True Blend Woodcore|
|Intended Purpose||All-Mountain, Big Mountain||All-Mountain||All-Mountain||All-Mountain||All-Mountain|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We love the irony of a hot pink ski that charges hard powers through any terrain on the mountain. The color seems a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the name is completely appropriate. While this ski wouldn't be our top pick for powder (and is a bit cumbersome in the bumps), it is a powerful, reliable ski in nearly every other metric. Don't let the color fool you.
Stability at Speed
The Faction Dictator 2.0X will take you for a ride — a smooth, fast, exciting ride. This model is stiff and steady; one of our testers felt just the tiniest bit of chatter, but only when she really pushed the envelope. In the spring, when we started skiing at 7:30 in the morning and it was frozen and slick, and our crew fought over who got to revel in the supreme edge-hold of the Dictator. These planks ski a little bit longer than the specs suggest, but even our smallest tester still loved the power she felt on them.
We didn't feel much of the dreaded tip-flap with the Dictator unless we were hauling down a groomer at very high speeds, and even then it wasn't too noticeable. It certainly didn't affect the feeling of security we felt in all snow conditions. This ski's larger turn radius gives a preference for a faster turn, and the strength we felt at these higher speeds was notable.
This ski is adept at holding an edge and riding that rail, but in order to fully engage the edges, we found we needed a ton of speed and pressure. Once we'd built up enough speed, the edges were happy to oblige; with the power of momentum, we were able to bend the ski to submission. Once we finally did bend it, it actually had a fun rebound at the end of the turn, but it required some force to access. An intermediate skier without that power and pressure could still carve this ski, but it wouldn't make a great introductory model for this endeavor. You may not be able to feel the rebound until you're really flying, or perhaps if you're a heavier skier.
However, even without the ability to fully arc the ski, the Dictator will still provide consistent edge-hold throughout a carved turn. It does make you work for that 18-meter turn radius, rarely feeling tighter and sometimes feeling even more elongated. This is again not necessarily ideal for those just learning to carve, as the ski is better suited to larger, faster turns which might feel intimidating to an intermediate skier. For those who like to bomb down the mountain leaving two clean tracks in their wake, the Faction is a great tool.
Just as is the case with most other models in our test, this all-mountain ski is still far better in powder than anything that's built specifically for "on-piste" or "front-side" skiing. However, as compared to other models within this genre, the Faction is only okay. In up to 6 inches of fresh snow, it just pushed everything out of the way and cruised ahead. In anything much deeper though, we wished we had the flotation of a fatter ski with big rockered tips.
At 96-millimeters underfoot, this ski sits in the middle of our group regarding waist width, and we'd say it likewise performs somewhere in the middle in deeper snow as well. It doesn't have an enormous spatula at the tips to help with flotation, either. The 18-meter turn radius once again calls for an aggressive skier; in deeper snow, it's even more difficult to make quick turns. Since making huge, fast, swooping turns is an unlikely premise for a novice skier, we wouldn't recommend this model for someone who is new to powder skiing. But for those ladies who already understand how to flow in the deep stuff, which often requires keeping momentum, the Faction will be a good selection as long as it's not multiple feet deep.
Within the unpredictable and messy world of chopped-up snow, the Dictator takes no prisoners. It attends no summits to discuss possible treaties, it just takes over and mows down anything in its path. We're not thrilled about these qualities in leadership, but for skiing through tricky terrain, we were impressed and grateful. Muscular and determined, this ski ripped through the toughest conditions we set them upon. It definitely prefers to go straight, though - so especially in the crud, it's necessary to feel confident with a higher-speed, larger radius turn shape.
Some of the qualities which make the Dictator less than perfect in the powder contribute positively to its success in the crud. The lack of huge floppy tips (which would aid with flotation in deeper snow) means that the ski has a more consistent stiffness all through its length. This gives it the power to plow the tips through chunky snow, with the remainder of the ski following their strong leadership.
Can you call a Dictator playful? It's nearly as unlikely in a political setting as it is for this ski. However, when we were really blasting down the mountain and putting our full force into our turns, there was a shocking rebound that threw us for a loop. We had to be able to build enough pressure, through high speeds, to feel it though. It takes an aggressive skier in an aggressive mode to bend this ski, but the reward is striking.
This is a burly ski, and "fun" is an unlikely adjective to describe it straight out. However, just like other skis that provide a very solid and stable ride, there is still great enjoyment to be found in reliability and power.
The Dictator would probably prefer to just raze all the bumps and declare them public enemies, but it's not quite omnipotent enough for that, and we found it to be a little heavy and slow in this terrain. This ski doesn't like making the short, quick turns which are necessary for the moguls.
In soft, smaller bumps, where the Faction can mostly just reshape them as it slides along, this ski is manageable. We wouldn't recommend this ski for those just getting their bump legs underneath them, either early-season or early skiing career.
This model is in the middle of the heap in terms of expense, and we think it is a solid return on investment if you're a strong skier who can comfortably control it. It earned one of our Best Buy Awards since it is more affordable than many other high-performance skis, and it offers an aggressive skier a lot of stability and versatility for a great price.
The Faction Dictator 2.0X will reward a strong aggressive skier with a stable platform and powerful edge hold, but it may be less ideal for the intermediate skier, or in very deep snow.
— Renee McCormack