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Faction Dictator 2.0 Review

Playful and adventurous, this ski is also manageable and forgiving. It encouraged us to explore the changing terrain over the whole mountain
Faction Dictator 2.0
Photo: Faction
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $679 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Playful, responsive, versatile
Cons:  Vibrates at high speeds, overly soft tip
Manufacturer:   Faction
By Bobby Garrett ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 26, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 6
  • Carving Ability - 20% 7
  • Powder Performance - 20% 7
  • Crud Performance - 20% 5
  • Terrain Playfulness - 20% 9

Our Verdict

Faction offers the Dictator 2.0 at a killer price and is, therefore, receiving our Best Buy award. Our testers raved about its playful feel and also gave it respectable scores across the board. Touted by Faction as "easy to turn in all conditions," our testers liked its nimble and reliable qualities. While not the most stable at high speed or in thicker snow, this ski was also very forgiving and gave our testers time to adjust through the chop. Constructed with two titanal plates, the Dictator 2.0 is no slouch and provides good edge hold. It encouraged us to explore new paths and get airborne.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Faction Dictator 2.0
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$609.00 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$699.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$699.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Playful, responsive, versatileStable, confidence inspiring, magnetic ride qualityStiff, explosive, carving machinePowerful float, stable at speed, can arc or smear turnsLightweight, quick edge to edge
Cons Vibrates at high speeds, overly soft tipDampHeavySome vibration, sometimes feels softBends easily
Bottom Line Playful and adventurous, this ski is also manageable and forgiving. It encouraged us to explore the changing terrain over the whole mountainWith these on your feet, you'll be ready for anything the mountain has coming at youA combination of raw explosive power and stability puts this ski well ahead of the competition for carving and is ideal for even the firmest snow daysThe unique rocker/camber profile and wider 102-millimeter waist width promote versatile performance wherever your powder stash may beA great all-around ski that is versatile enough to excel in any conditions
Rating Categories Faction Dictator 2.0 Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Blizzard Rustler 10 K2 Mindbender 90Ti
Stability At Speed (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Carving Ability (20%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
5.0
8.0
Powder Performance (20%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
10.0
6.0
Crud Performance (20%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Terrain Playfulness (20%)
9.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Faction Dictator 2.0 Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Blizzard Rustler 10 K2 Mindbender 90Ti
Waist Width (mm) 96 96 94 102 90
Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm) 127-96-117 135-96-119 127-94-115.5 133-104-122.5 127-90-114
Available Lengths (cm) 163, 171, 179, 187 163, 170, 177, 184, 191 165, 172, 179, 186,191 164, 172, 180, 188 163, 170, 177, 184
Length Tested (cm) 179 177 179 180 177
Radius (m) 19 30-18-24 17.1 17.5 17.9
Rocker Style Tip Rocker/Freeride Flat Tail Tip-Tail Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker Tip-Tail Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker
Mfr. Claimed Weight (Per Pair Unmounted) (pounds) 8.2 lbs Unavailable 8.9 lbs Unavailable Unavailable
Core Material Poplar Woodcore/Double Titanal Poplar/Beech/Double Titanal Woodcore/Double Titanal Multi-layer Woodcore/Carbon Fiberglass/Titanal Maple/Aspen Woodcore/Titanal

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Faction Dictator 2.0 earns our Best Buy for its great value and all-around performance. Faction really hit the nail on the head with this ski, and as an added bonus, priced it to sell. This ski lends itself to being one of the more accessible in our lineup. With solid scores through nearly all categories, we think the Dictator 2.0 is geared towards intermediate-advanced skiers. Its softer tip doesn't have to be a negative quality in every situation, especially when factoring in skier intent. In soft snow, the overall ride quality pleasantly surprised our testers considering its relatively narrow waist. We enjoyed making quick turns, rolling with the terrain, and sliding both softer and firmer snow alike on this versatile ski.

Performance Comparison


Dip, dodge, and hop around with the Faction Dictator 2.0.
Dip, dodge, and hop around with the Faction Dictator 2.0.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


Despite the two titanal layers, the Dictator 2.0 still behaves like skis with much less metal. There is a considerable rattle at high speeds, especially on firm snow. When dialing the speed back a notch, we found more of the Dictator 2.0's sweet spot. Flowing over the terrain is this ski's preference, rather than blasting through it.


If you are looking to straight-line through big rock drops, the Dictator 2.0 may not be the best ski for you. Other skis in this review are better suited for strictly going fast. While the Dictator 2.0 is no slouch and can handle the whole mountain, we found ourselves dialing back the speed back just a hair to find this ski's comfort zone.

The Dictator 2.0 can grip on the groomers well.
The Dictator 2.0 can grip on the groomers well.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving Ability


The Dictator 2.0 is a blast to carve on. Especially in softer corn or pristine groomers, this ski likes to dig in and turn. With firm edge grip and smooth edge release thanks to its blended rocker/camber/rocker profile, we found the Dictator 2.0 was able to retain its playfulness even while carving.


The turn radius for the Dictator 2.0 is listed at 19 meters at the 179-centimeter length that we tested. We found this ski to be at its best when we bent it into shorter and medium-radius turns. The softer tip requires a good pilot to move quickly and stay balanced, but we enjoyed the process. The Dictator 2.0 doesn't offer a true GS ski carving feel, but that's ok with us, thanks to its versatility and playfulness.

The Dictator 2.0 is no stranger to carving especially in the...
The Dictator 2.0 is no stranger to carving especially in the springtime.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder Performance


At 96 millimeters underfoot, the Faction Dictator 2.0 still earned a very respectable score for powder. While not our first choice for a heavy snow day, this ski showed us its liveliness once more in deeper snow than it should be able to handle. The tip rocker provides decent float, and the Dictator 2.0's overall nimbleness allowed our testers to explore tighter terrain with plenty of confidence.


Generally, we would say for big powder days, one of the wider skis in our review would be a better pick. However, our testers found they were able to float through wind drifts and such with ease. We think this is due to the Dictator 2.0's combination of tip rocker and its softer tip in general. This did require more fore-aft precision from our skiers. Staying centered while skiing through the pow was harder compared to the wider skis in our review, but definitely still more than possible.

Narrower than some, the Faction Dictator 2.0 still showed up on...
Narrower than some, the Faction Dictator 2.0 still showed up on powder days.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud Performance


We experienced considerable nervousness from the Dictator 2.0 in crud and chop. Due to its softer tip, our testers found they needed to stay very centered to not fly over the handlebars. We found more success when sailing it back and going with the flow through more difficult snow conditions.


In firmer crud conditions, we experienced considerable vibrations as to be expected for such a soft ski. The good thing about this ski is that although it can rattle in the tip and front of the ski, the firm edge hold translates well and can get you through the rough stuff when needed. The tip rocker and overall ski profile help the Dictator 2.0 not to hook up when the snow gets ugly.

While a little nervous in firm crud conditions, Dictator 2.0 helped...
While a little nervous in firm crud conditions, Dictator 2.0 helped us stay composed through softer chopped-up snow and bumps.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Terrain Playfulness


"Playful" was the phrase most associated with the Dictator 2.0. While not the fastest ski, our testers appreciated Faction's efforts to create a more forgiving ski that can explore the whole mountain. We found it to be light enough for swinging through the air while also stable enough for deep mogul troughs. Not designed as a true park ski, we wouldn't hesitate to spend an afternoon session exploring rock drops or jumps on these.


Playing all over the mountain is in this ski's DNA. The softer tip really comes through as an asset in some cases and helps to absorb impacts in deep bump troughs. The Tip Rocker/Freeride Flat Tail blend also promotes moving from arcing turns to skidded ones very smoothly. These are nice qualities to have in rolling terrain where you might not be able to see what is coming at you next.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


Faction prices the Dictator 2.0 very competitively. While not at the absolute lowest end of the pricing spectrum, this ski overall outperformed some of the more expensive skis. If price is a big factor, this ski is hard to look away from. Especially when compared to other good performers in our review, we think this is one of the best bang-for-your-buck options. We slap it with our Best Buy award for its solid scores across all categories and killer price.

Conclusion


Faction has a solid creation in circulation with the Dictator 2.0. It takes our Best Buy award, and we think it's a great ski for exploring the whole mountain. Even at 96 millimeters underfoot, we found ourselves reaching for it on powder days thanks to its nimble, peppy feel. There are some shortcomings, especially if you are a fast skier. Even if you are from that ex-racer crowd, going fast can be overrated. The Dictator 2.0 is a great option for mellow warm-ups, bump laps before lunch, and afternoon park laps. Best of all, with the money you save on this ski, you might be able to buy your squad a round of drinks.

Bobby Garrett

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