Backcountry, frontcountry.... wherever.
Faction's Prime 3.0 Ski has that uncommon combination of a light weight and a stiff performance that both backcountry and resort freeriders can agree on. This meticulously crafted plan has a versatile design that rides most conditions with equal prowess. A 108mm waist places this ski smack dab in the middle of Faction's Prime lineup, meaning it's neither too fat nor too skinny for most conditions—although it certainly has a penchant for powder, but who doesn't? The heavily rocker tip and tail navigate the backcountry's powder stashes with ease, and there's enough camber underfoot to give you an edge on the occasional icy section. Even the multi-dimensional sidecut assists this ski's versatility, with the ability to carve tight turns in narrow couloirs and open wider turns down large aprons.
It's pretty surprising that Faction could make such a versatile ski that only weighs under four pounds per stick. The Prime achieves such a phenomenal weight with its hybrid wood core comprised of balsa with flax fibers that deliver a moderate flex (8/10 on Faction's flex scale). Just like any superlight ski, the Prime 3.0 has two carbon laminates to assure the proper stiffness required for charging without chattering. Faction was even able to add a titanal plate where you mount your bindings so they don't pop off after a few seasons. The ski's Microcap construction is similar to a durable sandwich construction with vertical sidewalls, except the edges dip down ever so slightly to increase durability.
- Freeride ski rides resort or backcountry with equal prowess
- Medium 108mm waist has a penchant for powder
- Rocker tip & tail navigate soft, deep snow with ease
- Camber underfoot holds an edge on the occasional icy section
- Multi-dimension sidecut allows a tight or wide turn radius
- Hybrid wood core keeps the ski around three pounds each
- Textreme carbon laminates ensure a moderate flex
- Q & A
Great in theory, not for me.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I usually really like Faction Skis. I thought that these would ski similar to the Dictator or 13. They did not and I did not like them.
1) I did not like the flex pattern, I felt the tips where to soft.
2) There is little info on where to mount them, I mounted them 1cm forward of what may or may not have been the mounting point and there was way to much tail. If you get them I would mount them 1 or 2 back from recommended.
3) They are overpriced. They are not that great and especially not light enough to warrant the price.
Take this all with a grain of salt, I had a bad experience and they may be a good ski for people. But there are a few drawbacks.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The Faction Prime is a high performer in the all mountain touring style ski category. It prefers higher speeds and a more aggressive style to activate the stiffer core. Steeper and more spacious terrain is favored by these skis but you can still drive them to flex into tighter terrain. They feel a bit more performance touring oriented in the sense that the skis are lighter but still feel aggressive in bounds and on piste, great for on edge technical skiers that want lots of soft slow glide while being built to preform everywhere else.
The core on this ski is really interesting, the balsa/flax core feels flexible but the sheets of carbon fiber give the skis a snappy and light responsiveness from tip to tail while the titanal reinforcement keeps the ski stiff underfoot. Due to how inflexible this ski is underfoot a touring capable frame binding for both in and out of bounds pursuits would be a good choice for this ski.
A more traditional mount works with this ski and favors leaning far over the tips but I would recommend mounting bindings on these skis further forward. I skied these skis about 4-5 back from true center and i wanted to move the bindings up a little more. The longer wider nose is easier to control with the bindings mounted in front of a traditional mount and with more tail sticking out the back with this setup I could activate the tail and use it to help me push through my turns.
If you really want a pair of fast edgy skis that you can count on regardless of what the weather report says you will really like the Faction Prime 3.0.
Light, Nimble, and Stable
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I skied my new Faction Prime 3.0's for the first time last weekend and I was thoroughly impressed. I mounted them up with Marker Kingpin 13's and although this is my new touring setup, I decided to ski them inbounds at Snowbird on their inaugural outing (mostly because avalanche conditions have been heinous here in Utah this season). I was blown away with how light they are, the 182 is listed at 3 lbs 13 oz and I've got the 177 cm length so they are probably a few ounces lighter than that. For a ski that is relatively fat at 108 mm underfoot they are incredibly light and I was thinking to myself "there is no way that a ski this light can perform well", but the wizards over at Faction somehow figured it out. I skied them all day on everything from groomers to cut up pow, to chunder and they handled it all incredibly well. I even tested out their top speed on Regulator Johnson, the steepest, fastest run at Snowbird, and they held their own surprisingly well; I never felt like I didn't have enough ski under me. For being so light this ski still packs a punch; I would say that they are a medium-stiff flex, so they aren't exactly 2x4's, but they are beefy enough to handle just about anything that you can throw at them, while still being forgiving and fun to ski.
Where I felt they really excelled was in tight areas like chutes. The tail is flat and has a notch so that you can attach skins easily, but it also has a bit of rocker that angles it up a little, so for being a more traditional shape they still pivot and jump turn really well in tight spaces. These are going to be an awesome couloir ski.
Although I haven't had a chance to tour on them yet, with the weight I can already tell they are going to be a night and day difference from my previous setup (Salomon Guardians on some Moment Jaguar Sharks), which is roughly twice the weight. I'll update my review once I take them on their maiden voyage in the backcountry.
In summary, although this is a ski built for the backcountry, I was thoroughly impressed with their performance inbounds at high speeds, and I can't wait to see what they can do in the backcountry.