Expert Review: Armada Declivity 88 C Black/red SkisPublished on 08/25/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for three days in May of 2022.
Photos courtesy of Carl Beach
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for three days in May of 2022.
The Armada Declivity 88C is a fun, smooth, and poppy ski for advanced skiers that feel most at-home on groomers and more predictable terrain. Its narrow waist and carving ability make it a great on-piste choice.
About the skis I tested
- Model: 2022 Armada Declivity
- Size: 184cm
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 175 lbs
- Experience: 43 years of skiing
- Tested: May 2022
- Days tested: Three
- Mount position: Armada-recommended boot center mount point
- Boots: Scarpa TX Pro
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: 22 Designs Outlaw X
- Where I’ve tested it: Schilthorn, Switzerland
- Terrain: Groomers, steeps, moguls
How they perform
What I was looking for
Being able to demo these skis in Schilthorn, Switzerland for three days, I wanted a dedicated carving ski for the early morning ice and hardpack. Though I also wanted a ski that would not get bogged down too much as the snow warmed up.
Why I chose this gear
Having owned Armadas in the past, I was always impressed with how they skied and their build quality. I have since moved on to other brands like Icelantic, Moment, Volkl, and DPS (no particular reason other than just trying new skis out), but I wanted to come back to Armada to see how their new lineup performed.
What I love about them
- Speed: Without metal, I was very surprised and happy at how well these skis performed getting them up to speed. Although I did find some noticeable tip chatter when the snow became more variable, these made long, fast, arcing turns on hard, flat, or groomed snow a blast.
- Edge hold: Armada has something going here. The ski reminded me a bit like the Head Kore in that it really had great torsional rigidity without the sometimes-overbearing unforgeability of a fully metal ski. I can get these skis on edge and they will cut in and hold.
- Turns: The medium turn radius (18m) allowed the ski to make both short and long turns. I tend to be more of a quick turning, slasher-style skier and enjoyed blasting edge-to-edge on these. I felt the ski allowed a lot of variety in how I could turn them.
- Groomers: The Declivity really shines here. On a freshly groomed track, the skis really dug into the corduroy and made different turn shapes—from long arcs to short, quick bursts—feel secure without being overbearing.
- Durability: Armada makes bomber skis, and despite these being end-of-season demos, they looked almost new. My former Armadas held up for years, and I could see from the bases, edges, sidewalls, and topsheets that this continues to be a bonus of their skis.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Powder: The off-piste spring powder encountered was crusty, days-old stuff. The Declivity just dove in and was not really powerful enough to bust through it. However, this is not really the purpose of this ski. That said, I did feel that if I had about six-plus inches of fresh stuff on top of a run, these would be a hoot.
- Weight: Funny enough, the stated weight of these is really low (around 1600 grams), but for me, they just felt heavier. This is not necessarily bad, as they do perform in many ways like a heavier ski, but I was just a bit confused about the stated weight and “how they felt.”
- Stability: Despite having a lot of energy, the tip chatter was noticeable, particularly on variable snow conditions. These are definitely not bulldozers and will not be crud busters by any means.
Favorite moment with this gear
I can’t forget my first run down the top of Schilthorn after the fog cleared and the skies opened up! Great views on a very steep, hard-packed descent. The Declivity handled just as I wanted it to, allowing me to enjoy the views while making some beautiful turns on a smooth, freshly groomed piste.
Value for the money vs. other options
As stated, Armada makes high-quality skis that are not priced in a way that makes them unreachable for most skiers. They provided very good value for the type of ski and the technology put into them. Comparable skis are the K2 Mindbender 90C, Head Kore 87, Volkl Kendo 88, or the Blizzard Brahma 88.
The Armada Declivity 88C is a fantastic option for intermediate-to-advanced skiers looking for something frontside-oriented that allows a variety of turn shapes in a forgivable but energetic ski.