Faction offers the Dictator 2.0 at a killer price and is an easy choice for our Best Buy award. Our testers raved about its playful feel and 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. For playful skiers looking to have a good time on the mountain, it encouraged us to explore new paths and get airborne.Editor’s Note: We updated this Faction Dictator 2.0 review on February 23, 2022, to include more details on our in-depth testing, a candid take on value, and other options to help you size-up comparable products.
Faction Dictator 2.0 Review
Cons: Vibrates at high speeds, overly soft tip
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Faction Dictator 2.0
|Price||$679 List||$559.96 at Backcountry|
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$559.99 at Amazon
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|Pros||Playful, responsive, versatile||Stable, confidence inspiring, magnetic ride quality||Stiff, explosive, carving machine||Powerful float, stable at speed, can arc or smear turns||Lightweight, quick edge to edge|
|Cons||Vibrates at high speeds, overly soft tip||Damp, heavy||Heavy||Some vibration, sometimes feels soft||Bends easily|
|Bottom Line||Playful and adventurous, this ski is also manageable and forgiving. It encouraged us to explore the changing terrain over the whole mountain||With these on your feet, you'll be ready for anything the mountain has coming at you||A 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 days||The unique rocker/camber profile and wider 102-millimeter waist width promote versatile performance wherever your powder stash may be||A 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%)|
|Carving Ability (20%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Crud Performance (20%)|
|Terrain Playfulness (20%)|
|Specs||Faction Dictator 2.0||Volkl M6 Mantra||Nordica Enforcer 94||Blizzard Rustler 10||K2 Mindbender 90Ti|
|Waist Width||96 mm||96 mm||94 mm||104 mm||90 mm|
|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||179 cm||177 cm||179 cm||180 cm||177 cm|
|Turn Radius||19 m||18 m||17.1 m||17.5 m||17.9 m|
|Camber Profile||Tip Rocker/Freeride Flat Tail||Tip-Tail Rocker||Rocker/Camber/Rocker||Tip-Tail Rocker||Rocker/Camber/Rocker|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight||8.2 lbs||9.4 lbs||8.9 lbs||8.9 lbs||8.5 lbs|
|Core Material||Poplar Woodcore/Double Titanal||Poplar/Beech/Double Titanal||Wood/Double Titanium/ GR400 Carbon Glass||Multi-layer Woodcore/Carbon /Fiberglass/Titanal||Maple/Aspen Woodcore/Titanal|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This ski lends itself to being one of the more accessible in our lineup. The Dictator 2.0 has solid scores across the board and is perfect for intermediate-advanced skiers. Its softer tip doesn't have to be a negative quality in every situation, especially when factoring in skier intent.
Stability at Speed
Despite the two titanal layers, the Dictator 2.0 behaves like skis with much less metal. There is a considerable rattle at high speeds, especially on firm snow. We found more of the Dictator 2.0's sweet spot when dialing the speed back a notch. This ski's preference is to flow over the terrain 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.
Tipping the scales at only 8.2 pounds per pair, we too are surprised that the Dictator 2.0 is laid up with two sheets of titanal. Despite the addition of this dampening material, the chatter we experienced at speed lines up with the weight of this ski. We tested several other skis at 96 millimeters underfoot that are both heavier and much more stable at speed.
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 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 turn radius for the Dictator 2.0 is listed at 19 meters at the 179-centimeter length that we tested. Even though this turning radius comes in at about 1 meter longer than other skis we tested at 96 millimeters underfoot, the Dictator 2.0 is snappy and agile. We found this ski to be at its best when we bent it into shorter and medium-radius turns, making it a perfect companion for dedicated bumps skiers.
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, for big powder days, one of the wider skis in our review would be a better pick. However, our testers found they could float through wind drifts and such with ease. The Dictator 2.0's combines a softer tip with enough rocker to get it up on top of the snow. This design requires more fore-aft precision – staying centered while skiing through the pow was harder than our review's wider skis.
At 96 millimeters underfoot, the Faction Dictator 2.0 still earned a very respectable score for powder. The overall ride quality pleasantly surprised our testers in soft snow, 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.
The Dictator 2.0 makes us nervous 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 dialing it back and going with the flow in 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, 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 hook up when the snow gets ugly.
"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 to explore the whole mountain. We found it 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 comes through as an asset in some cases and helps 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 see what is coming at you next.
Should You Buy the Dictator 2.0?
The Dictator 2.0 is a skier's ski – it is nimble and energetic, with just enough power to make it responsive and fun to ski in various conditions. This ski is perfect for the advanced to expert skier who looks at the whole mountain as a playground. The Dictator 2.0 is also competitively priced, making it the best bang-for-your-buck option out of all the skis we tested.
What Other All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?
The Faction Dictator 2.0 is an ideal all-mountain ski for those coming from a freeride or freestyle background. For the ex-racer crowd, a more powerful ski like the Nordica Enforcer 94 is more likely to feed your need for speed. The Dictator 2.0 may also be a little too lightweight and soft to hold it down in variable conditions. For intermediate skiers, something damper like the Volkl M6 Mantra is a better option. Or for bigger and burlier skiers, something more powerful like the Black Crows Justis may be the ticket.
— Bobby Garrett
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