Faction Dictator 2.0X - Women's Review
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Faction Dictator 2.0X - Women's
|Price||$679 List||$750 List|
$749.95 at REI
|$898.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
$649.95 at REI
|$749.99 at Evo|
Compare at 2 sellers
|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||Carving machine, powerful yet accessible||Awesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable price||Superbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold|
|Cons||Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them||No wow-factor, not a lot of rebound||Sinks a little in powder, too beefy for bumps||Gets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectly||Too burly for lighter gals, not nimble|
|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||Accurate and easy to carve, this ski is a dream on the groomers||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|
|Rating Categories||Faction Dictator 2.0X||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Kastle FX96 W - Wom...||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Volkl Secret 96|
|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||Kastle FX96 W - Wom...||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Volkl Secret 96|
|Waist Width||96 mm||98 mm||96 mm||94 mm||96 mm|
|Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width)||127-96-117 mm||132-98-120 mm||133-96-119 mm||136-94-110 mm||135-96-119 mm|
|Available Lengths||155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 cm||151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm||156, 164, 172 cm||154, 162, 170, 178 cm||149, 156, 163, 170 cm|
|Length Tested||171 cm||172 cm||172 cm||178 cm||170 cm|
|Turn Radius||18 m||16.3 m||16 m||18 m||16 m|
|Camber Profile||Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot||Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot||Progressive rise, dual rise, low camber||Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech||Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot|
|Weight Per Pair||7.9 lbs||8.1 lbs||8.0 lbs||7.4 lbs||8.5 lbs|
|Construction Type||Sandwich||Energy Ti W||Powerzone, sandwich-sidewall construction||SST sidewall||Full sidewall|
|Core Material||Paulownia & Poplar||Performance Wood & Metal||Paulownia, beech, poplar||Tubelite wood||Beech and poplar|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We love the irony of a hot pink ski that charges hard and 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 pushed the envelope.
When we started skiing at 7:30 in the morning, our crew fought over who got to revel in the supreme edge hold of the Dictator 2.0X when it was frozen and slick. These planks ski slightly longer than the specs suggest, but even our smallest tester still loved the power she felt on them.
With all of this acclaim that the Dictator 2.0X is one of the most stable skis we tested and sporting two sheets of titanal, you may be surprised to discover that this is far from a heavy metal ski. This ski is squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of weight, tipping the scales at 7.9 pounds per pair (unmounted). The Dictator 2.0X cuts a nice balance between weight and power.
We didn't feel much of the dreaded tip-flap with the Dictator 2.0X 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 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 we found we needed a ton of speed and pressure to engage the edges fully. 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 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 2.0X 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.
Again, this is not necessarily ideal for those just learning to carve, as the ski is better suited to larger, faster turns that 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 Dictator 2.0X 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, compared to other models within this genre, the Dictator 2.0X 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.
The 18-meter turn radius 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 new to powder skiing.
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.
But for those ladies who already understand how to flow in the deep stuff, which often requires keeping momentum, this ski will be a good selection if it's not multiple feet deep. But some of the qualities which make the Dictator 2.0X less than perfect in the powder contribute positively to its success in the crud.
Within the unpredictable and messy world of chopped-up snow, the Dictator 2.0X 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.
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 design gives it the power to plow the tips through chunky snow, with the remainder of the ski following their strong leadership. It prefers to go straight - so especially in the crud, it's necessary to feel confident with a higher-speed, larger radius turn shape.
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 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.
The Dictator 2.0X 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 2.0X would probably prefer just to 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.
This ski is manageable in soft, smaller bumps, where the Dictator 2.0X can mostly just reshape them as it slides along. We wouldn't recommend this ski for those just getting their bump legs underneath them, either early-season or early skiing career.
Should You Buy the Dictator 2.0X?
If you are a strong skier, then the Dictator 2.0X is sure to earn a solid return on your investment. This ski will reward an aggressive skier with the power and stability to charge all over the mountain on all but the deepest of snow days. Not only is the Dictator 2.0X a high-performance ski, but it is much more affordable than other directly comparable models.
What Other Women's All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?
The Faction Dictator 2.0X is an aggressive option for advanced to expert skiers. If you place yourself more in the intermediate zone, the Icelantic Riveter 95 will be a fun, more forgiving option – it also happens to be our top pick for bumps skiers. For deep powder days, either the award-winning Elan Ripstick 94 W or specialty Salomon QST Lumen 99 are a better bet to put a smile on your face.
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