Faction Dictator 2.0X - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, affordable
Cons: Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We loved the irony of a hot pink ski that kicks butt and takes names everywhere it goes. The color seems a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the name is completely apropos. While they wouldn't be our top pick for powder (and they're a bit cumbersome in the bumps), they are a powerful, reliable ski in nearly every other metric. Don't let the color fool you.
Stability at Speed
This ski will take you for a ride - a smooth, fast, exciting ride. They are stiff and steady; one of our testers thought they may have chattered just the tiniest bit, but only when she really pushed the envelope. In the spring, when we started skiing at 7:30 in the morning and it was slicker than cat dung on linoleum, we fought over who got to revel in the supreme edge-hold of the Dictators. They ski a little bit longer than their 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, 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 on the Factions in all snow conditions. Their larger turn radius gives them a preference for a faster turn, and the strength we felt on them at these higher speeds was notable.
These skis are adept at holding an edge and riding that rail, but in order to really engage them fully, we found we needed a ton of speed and pressure. Once we'd built up enough speed, they 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. As an intermediate skier without that power and pressure, you could still carve them, but they wouldn't make a great introductory ski 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 Faction will still provide consistent edge-hold throughout a carved turn. They do make you work for that 18m 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 every other ski in our test, these all-mountain skis are still far better in powder than anything that's built for "on-piste" or "front-side" skiing. However, as they compare to other models within this genre, the Factions are only OK. In up to 6" of fresh snow, they just pushed it all 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 96mm under foot, they sit in the middle of our group regarding waist width, and we'd say they perform somewhere in the middle in deeper snow as well. They don't have enormous spatulas at the tips that keep them on top, either. The 18m turn radius once again calls for an aggressive skier; in deeper snow it's more difficult to even make them feel that turny. Since making huge, fast, swooping turns is an unlikely premise for a novice skier, we wouldn't recommend these 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 Factions will be a good selection as long as its 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 a ski in this tricky terrain, we were impressed and grateful. Muscular and determined, these skis ripped through the toughest conditions we set them upon. They definitely prefer 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 them less than perfect in the powder contribute positively to their success in the crud. The lack of huge floppy tips (which would keep them closer to the surface in deeper snow) means that the skis have a more consistent stiffness all through their length. This gives them the power to plow the tips through chunky snow, the remainder of the skis 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 which 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 them, but the reward is striking.
These skis are burly, and "fun" is an unlikely adjective to describe them 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 Dictators would probably prefer to just raze all the bumps and declare them public enemies, but they're not quite omnipotent enough for that, and we found them a little heavy and slow in this terrain. These skis don't like making the short, quick turns which are necessary in 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.
These are 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 make them work for you. We decided to give them a Best Buy award since they are a high-quality ski for the cost, and they offer an aggressive skier a lot of stability and versatility for a great price.
The Faction Dictators 2.0x will reward a strong aggressive skier with a stable platform and powerful edge hold, but they may be less ideal for the intermediate skier, or in very deep snow.
— Renee McCormack