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Faction Prodigy 3X - Women's Review

A playful yet sturdy ski with significant powder prowess
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Faction Prodigy 3X - Women's Review
Credit: Faction
Price:  $699 List
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Manufacturer:   Faction
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 15, 2023
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 8.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 7.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 7.0
  • Bumps - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Faction Prodigy 3X is essentially a powder ski that also performs well in most other terrain. The 106-millimeter waist and rockered tip allow it to float in nearly bottomless fresh snow. However, the larger width underfoot may make it feel less accessible and harder to manage for intermediate-level skiers, and it is a hindrance in a mogul field. On hardpack conditions, the Prodigy 3X carves decently, is more stable, and grips better than one would normally expect from such a wide ski. It is also stiff enough to hold its own once the powder turns to chop post-storm. If you haven't come in search of a playful pair of powder skis, consider other alternatives in our review of the best all-mountain skis for women.
REASONS TO BUY
Floats well in powder
Better than average in all other terrain
REASONS TO AVOID
Feels shorter than it is
A bit too wide for bumps
Editor's Note: We added the Faction Prodigy 3X to our lineup on December 13, 2023.

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Star Rating
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Bottom Line The best in fresh snow, this ski is also playful and relatively solid on hard packPerfect for those looking for a single ski to rule them allLively and nimble, but also stable and grippyA blast to ski in fresh snow, mogul fields, and popping around on groomersFor intermediate and advanced skiers looking for something that’s easy on the snow and on the wallet
Rating Categories Faction Prodigy 3X... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Elan Ripstick 94 W Salomon QST Lumen 98
Stability at Speed (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Carving Ability (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Powder Performance (20%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
5.0
Crud Performance (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
7.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Bumps (5%)
5.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Faction Prodigy 3X... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Elan Ripstick 94 W Salomon QST Lumen 98
Waist Width 106 mm 98 mm 96 mm 94 mm 98 mm
Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width) 133-106-125 mm 132-98-120 mm 129-96-118.5 mm 136-94-110 mm 132-98-120 mm
Available Lengths 164, 172, 178 cm 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm 150, 156, 162, 168, 174 cm 154, 162, 170, 178 cm 152, 160, 168, 176 cm
Length Tested 172 cm 172 cm 174 cm 178 cm 176 cm
Turn Radius 17 m 16.3 m 16 m 18 m 16 m
Camber Profile Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair 8.1 lbs 8.1 lbs 7.9 lbs 7.4 lbs 8.2 lbs
Construction Type XL Full Strength sidewall, Anti-Chip Micro Cap Energy Ti W W.S.D. Fluxform Duramax sandwich full sidewall SST sidewall Double sidewall
Core Material Poplar Performance Wood & Metal W.S.D. Trueblend Free Woodcore; Beech, Poplar and Paulownia Tubelite wood Poplar
Ability Level Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Advanced

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Update Note – December 2023


The topsheet graphics for the Prodigy 3X was updated for the 2023-2024 season. The 2022-2023 version we tested is pictured on the left, followed by the updated version on the right. The topsheet is the only change for the updated ski, so all of the details of this review are still relevant. We are, however, linking to the new version, which is more readily available.

It's not shocking that with 106 millimeters of width, the Faction Prodigy 3X is particularly adept in powder. But it was surprising that it held its own as a versatile, all-mountain ski. The Prodigy 3X tends to ski shorter than its length suggests, so we might recommend buying a size up from your usual.

Performance Comparison


faction prodigy 3x for women - we were able to ski the prodigy 3x at fairly high speeds in nearly...
We were able to ski the Prodigy 3X at fairly high speeds in nearly all terrain and conditions. But this ski excels in powder.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Stability at Speed


Our testers have rarely skied something this wide that felt so stable at higher speeds. Usually it's a trade-off between width underfoot (and therefore flotation) and torsional stiffness underfoot, but the Prodigy 3X breaks the mold.

faction prodigy 3x for women - the prodigy 3x feels surprisingly stable at higher speeds...
The Prodigy 3X feels surprisingly stable at higher speeds considering its wide waist and rockered tip.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Despite the rockered tip, we could still take this 106-millimeter-waisted ski up to medium-high speeds before it even started to chatter. Eventually, it does falter, but we really had to put our foot on the gas to get to that point. We were also surprised by how stable the Prodigy 3X feels in steep terrain, where the name of the game is edge grip and speed control.

faction prodigy 3x for women - even in knee-deep heavier powder, the prodigy 3x stays on top and...
Even in knee-deep heavier powder, the Prodigy 3X stays on top and allows the skier access to easier turns.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Carving Ability


Faction advertises their “Elliptical Sidecut” in this ski, which is, essentially, a more pronounced sidecut through the tip and tails with more of a straight-cut underfoot. This design incorporates multiple sidecuts into a single shape: the ski is easier to pivot underfoot where the turn radius is longer, while the shorter radius at the tip and tail allows for quicker turn initiation.

faction prodigy 3x for women - the prodigy 3x surprised us with its superb edge hold, especially...
The Prodigy 3X surprised us with its superb edge hold, especially for such a fat ski.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Though it's tough to verify, we can say that the Prodigy 3X is better suited for skidded turns than carved ones. When we did carve it, it felt like it took longer to come around than the 17-meter radius suggests – which aligns with the claimed larger radius sidecut underfoot. Of course, it takes a moment for the 106-millimeter waist to slog from one edge to the next, but because the Prodigy offers some fun rebound, this transition feels faster than it would otherwise on other, directly comparable skis.

faction prodigy 3x for women - the progressive sidecut makes this ski easy to pivot and quick to...
The progressive sidecut makes this ski easy to pivot and quick to turn in steeper terrain.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Powder Performance


Fresh snow conditions are where the Prodigy 3X shines, and easily holds its own against the best powder skis we've tested in this category. The significant rocker in the tip helps keep the Prodigy afloat in all but the deepest snow – 30 inches of heavy Sierra cement is where we found their threshold. Even if the tips dip underneath heavier powder, the 106 mm waist still feels like a life raft designed to buoy you back to the surface.

faction prodigy 3x for women - this ski is quick to carve and nimble enough to slash, making it a...
This ski is quick to carve and nimble enough to slash, making it a blast for powder skiing.
Credit: Marc Rotse

We admit that the depth threshold we discovered may be because we chose a shorter ski than was ideal. Given the range of lengths available from Faction for this ski – they max out at 178 centimeters – we perhaps should have guessed that the Prodigy 3X might ski a little short. Still, we ordered our regular sizing (172 centimeters) to compare apples to apples. Since the Prodigy skis much more like a powder ski than a traditional all-mountain ski, it's well worth considering bumping up a size, particularly if you're aiming to ski powder. This is especially true if you choose to mount at their recommended “Progressive” mount point, which will allow the ski to pivot better but will, again, further decrease the length of the ski in front of you.

faction prodigy 3x for women - even our smaller testers sometimes felt like they were going to go...
Even our smaller testers sometimes felt like they were going to go over the handlebars since the Prodigy 3X skied shorter than its length suggests.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Crud Performance


The Prodigy 3X is moderately stiff, which helps it strike a good balance in choppy conditions. While it manages to blast through all but the heartiest chunks, the broad waist and ample shovel at the tip create a large surface area that easily deflects off stiffer snow. We found ourselves getting thrown around at times, especially in cut-up, re-frozen chop.

faction prodigy 3x for women - despite being in the sweet spot for stiffness, the crud still bumped...
Despite being in the sweet spot for stiffness, the crud still bumped around the wide bases and hefty tips.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Terrain Playfulness


Considering the specs, our testers never would have anticipated that the Prodigy 3X could be such a nimble, playful ski. We were happily surprised with the rebound of this ski, as well as its ability to cut a quick turn and easily maneuver in small spaces, especially considering its build. If skiing powder brings you joy, these skis are about as fun as it gets in those conditions.

faction prodigy 3x for women - tight trees in powder are a dream on this ski.
Tight trees in powder are a dream on this ski.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Bumps


The Prodigy 3X, however, is a bit too lumbering to perform very well in moguls. Our testers kept getting bucked into the backseat and found it difficult to maintain a good position over the front of the ski. The Prodigy pivots well and feels quicker than it should for its bulk, but it's still not quick enough in a mogul field.

faction prodigy 3x for women - the prodigy 3x is just a little too much ski for a tight bump line.
The Prodigy 3X is just a little too much ski for a tight bump line.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Should you buy the Faction Prodigy 3X?


If you're looking for a solid all-rounder with a penchant for powder, the Prodigy 3X is a high-quality option. It performs nearly as well overall as some of our award winners, it simply doesn't have any qualities that set it apart from the pack. As a bonus, Faction is making a concerted effort to go green – they're using locally sourced, recycled, or otherwise sustainable materials, and renewable energy in their factory. If you'd rather leave more ski tracks and less of a carbon footprint, this company is one to consider buying from.

What Other Women's All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?


The Prodigy 3X is an excellent choice for those who love powder. But if you absolutely live for skiing fresh snow, there is no comparison to the performance of the Elan Ripstick 94 W. The Prodigy 3X is, however, a better choice for anyone who also wants a more stable ski that offers a bit of extra security on hardpack. The Elan is more playful and better in the bumps, but the Prodigy 3X can take a beating in the crud.

Renee McCormack