Expert Review: 2023 Faction Prodigy 2 [with Video]
Ski Experts Theo and Brandon tested the 2023 Faction Prodigy 2 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Theo and Brandon got their hands on the 2023 Faction Prodigy 2 this spring and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Prodigy 2 or need recommendations on which skis would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
One final point before we dive in: It's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Faction claim about this ski? [Theo] Faction markets the entire Prodigy line, which runs 1.0 through 4.0, as their do it all freestyle. On the lower end of that range, the 1.0 and the 2.0, are the park options. Once you get a bit higher to the 3.0 and the 4.0, you're going to get into more all-mountain and powder skis. That said, they all ski, according to Faction, with a big freestyle bend. They're playful yet stable. And you've probably seen a lot of these skis if you watch the Olympics and the freestyle and slope-style ski competitions.
[Brandon] Faction says that the Prodigy 2 is the most versatile ski in the Prodigy Series. You can smash around the mountain and ski with this thing, anything from all-mountain to park, and have a ton of fun.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Theo] I really enjoyed my time on the Faction Prodigy 2. I was skiing it in a 177, which is a shorter length than I prefer in a freestyle twin-tip ski. Although it was a short option for my height and my ability, it didn't feel unstable at any point. It's a really solid platform underfoot. It does have flexible tips and tails, which allow you to perform butter tricks, all ollies and nollies–those sorts of maneuvers really important for freestyle skiing in the park.
[Brandon] I thought the Faction Prodigy 2 was indeed a ton of fun out there. I took it on some groomers, hit some jumps, and did some switch skiing as well. So, I really got to ski this ski as intended, as it should be skied today. Overall, it is a fun ski that is a little bit more flexible than advertised. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've never skied a Faction ski before, but I was quite surprised on how damp the ski was and how much it didn't chatter. I have known plenty of friends on the East Coast that ride the Faction Prodigy in the park, and they do tend to break down a little easier and chatter just a bit. Faction killed it on this year's 2023 build of the Faction Prodigy 2. We have an eight out of 10 flex rating from Faction, which I really, really enjoyed on landings. It felt nice and stable, and I went pretty big on these things on some side hits, spinning them around.
I know they are eight out of 10 flex, but I didn't feel like I was working excessively hard to spin or pop. I felt like it was a good balance between a stiff and supportive ski. And also, it was a ski that's fun, that doesn't have a ton of swing weight, which is definitely important when selecting a park ski.
What about the ski shape and profile? [Brandon] Faction did a 102 millimeter underfoot waist width for the Prodigy 2 this year, which I think is the most versatile waist width if you're looking to park ski, as well as ski the rest of the mountain as well. 102 really has your back in the park, being stable and supportive on landings. And again, there is not too much swing weight on rails on these things. It is a great rail ski and jump ski for the park. And that 102 millimeter underfoot keeps it versatile enough to have fun outside of the park as well. As Faction says, "The entire mountain is your playground." That's one of their awesome slogans. I had no problem understanding that the mountain is your entire playground after hopping on the Faction Prodigy 2.
How is it for carving? [Theo] For a park ski, the Faction 2 is a great carver. As a carving ski, this is not the best option. It has a twin tip. It's got rocker. As you can see on the outside of the ski, the rocker begins about three quarters of the way, two-thirds of the way up from the top of the binding, which isn't substantially rockered. But that amount of rocker is not going to make this a carving option.
I will say it carves well for a park ski. It's not the most energetic, snappy, responsive ride. If you're looking for just a carver, you can find a ski that'll do that better than the Prodigy 2. But if you do ski in an area where you're on a lot of groomed slopes, you can feel confident that this will lay down nice turns on groomed and even icy terrain.
[Brandon] I think the Faction Prodigy 2 is definitely made as a park ski that has some all-mountain capabilities as well. It has a nice versatile, 98 underfoot width; it's going to be just what you're looking for in the park. There is not too much swing weight. And this is a pretty perfect combination of a flexible and fun ski, but a ski that's just stable and supportive enough, in my opinion. I would like to see a little less chatter and a little bit more stability from the Faction Prodigy 2 here. Overall, this will be a really great performer in the park. It's going to be a great ski for someone looking to get right into terrain park skills and improve their skill set in the park. It’s not too hard to spin, and it's going to support you on those smaller airs or landings. So, overall, this is a really solid park offering, and I would say the best park ski in this Prodigy Series of the 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. So, you should have a ton of fun in the park on this thing.
How does it turn? [Theo] As I said, it is a stable platform. It responds nicely when you put it on edge. It's not the most energetic ski; it doesn't have an aggressive side cut. It's not going to swing you into slalom turns, but when you do rip it down groomers–today, we were on corduroy that had a bit of soft, wet snow on top–it lays trenches down with ease. It's not going to get shaken around.
[Brandon] I did get to carve the Faction Prodigy 2 quite a bit today in the groomers. They were just starting to soften up around mid-afternoon at Powder Mountain. They did lay a carve quite well. There was a 20-meter turning radius on these skis.
I was thinking that it would be tough to get these edge to edge quickly because of that 20-meter turning radius. But I almost didn't feel like it was 20. I felt like I could smear these things, have fun, and play around with them. I did take them edge to edge at some higher speeds. But again, I almost wasn't convinced that these are a 20-meter turning radius. They felt like a lot less.
How about edge hold? [Matt] All Lib Techs feature Magne-Traction, Mervin’s serrated knife edge technology. This thing held extremely well. If you're not familiar, it's like a serrated knife that literally cuts into all the ice. Edge to edge, this thing held really well. Whether I was on my toe or on my heel side, I was able to get grip and cut into the snow when I needed to.
[Brandon] This year in the Faction Prodigy Series, in the 2.0, 1.0, and the 3.0 as well, Faction went with the XL edges. So that's brand new to the Prodigy series. That's going to help with edge hold on groomers, especially on those firmer days. And also, hopefully, will help with durability here as well. Hopefully that edge will stay intact a lot longer for those harder park riders.
Is it stable? [Brandon] Faction claims there's a seven out of 10 flex rating. That's actually something I don't agree with. I think this ski's much softer than that. I would rate it about a five out of 10 on flex. We did some wheelies, I felt a little loosey-goosey, and like the ski was a bit too flexible for my personal liking.
What about dampness? Any chatter in the ski? [Theo] There is some chatter in the tips and the tails, but that's common. It doesn't affect the performance of the ski at all, and it didn't bother me whatsoever.
[Brandon] It did chatter just a little bit on the groomers as well, which is why I'm giving it that five out of 10 instead of a seven out of 10, as Faction claims. Besides that, I had a ton of fun on this ski.
How is its playfulness and pop? [Brandon] When buttering it around, there was a lot of pop. It was super easy to spin, Not a ton of swing weight here. The Faction Prodigy 2 definitely is a playful and fun ski while keeping things stiff and supportive with that eight out of 10 flex rating, as Faction says. I really enjoyed that mix of playfulness and pop. You don't have to work too hard to pop these things at all. I got to tail press them, tail butter, spin some threes and hit some bigger airs. I felt nothing but confident upon landing.
It is a super fun ski, and Faction did a great job on the build of this ski with keeping it stable, supportive, and, of course, durable enough. If you're using this ski primarily in the park, it's definitely going to be durable and fun and hold up a lot better than those previous years of the Prodigy. I think this year's Prodigy for 2023 is built with durability in mind as well as playful and fun performance.
How would it be in powder? [Theo] At 98 underfoot, the Prodigy 2 falls squarely in the middle of the modern all-mountain range in terms of waist width, right around 100 millimeters. It matches other skis in the class, like the K2 Reckoner 102. 98 millimeter underfoot skis, which are excellent for Eastern powder skis and all-mountain skis. It's not going to be something you're going to ski purely on groomed train. You will want to get it into fresh snow and the trees.
On the west coast, you could definitely go for a wider option. I would consider this a daily driver in lower snow times of the year in Utah, Colorado, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. But 98 millimeters underfoot is definitely a great all-mountain option, and it's just not going to be an absolute boat that you can sail through deep drifts of snow on powdered days with.
What kind of terrain would it perform well on? [Brandon] The Faction Prodigy 2, is definitely built for the park and has plenty of all-mountain capabilities as well. I would definitely avoid those deeper powder days on this ski. You're not going to float quite as well. Maybe bump up to that Faction Prodigy 3.0, or look at the Mono Series, as well, for some better powder performance. Deeper powder and stiff, stiff hard pack, the ski will definitely chatter a bit. So I'd say those are the two types of terrain you want to stay away from on the Prodigy 2.
Any terrain to avoid? [Brandon] The Faction Prodigy 2 is definitely built for the park and has plenty of all-mountain capabilities as well. I would definitely avoid those deeper powder days on this ski. You're not going to float quite as well. In that case, you’d want to maybe bump up to that Faction Prodigy 3 or look at the Mana Series for some better powder performance. In deeper powder and stiff, stiff hard pack, the ski will definitely chatter a bit. So I'd say those are the two types of terrain you want to stay away from on the Prodigy 2.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Theo] In all, the Prodigy 2 is an excellent option for an all-mountain freestyle skier. It is not the most playful ski in the class, but it's extremely fun in the park and around the mountain, popping outside hits, rollers and even skiing groomed terrain. It's exceptionally stable. If you don't love a really loose ski, this leans more towards a traditional, competition ski, though, it is responsive and does have some really nice pop and good flex in the tips and the tails. So, if you live in the Northeast or anywhere in the west, this is a good daily driver for a freestyle skier. You would want a powder ski in addition to this on the west coast likely, but for a Northeastern skier, this is going to be an excellent option. It might be on the wider side, but I would love to ski this on the daily as a park ski because Faction does make great park skis and all-mountain options.
[Brandon] The ideal candidate for the Faction Prodigy 2 is anywhere from those beginner or intermediate-to -advanced park skiers. So it's a great ski for a wide array of skiers. Myself, with my personal skiing style, with my park skis, I like a little bit stiffer reflects. So, that's why I'm saying it might be a little bit too floppy for me. Everyone's different, and everyone likes different skis in the park. I would say this swing weight is pretty hard to beat in a park ski. So that's something that the Prodigy 2 really has going for it, and it really sets it apart from those heavier park skis.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. That's where Curated Experts come in handy. Talk to Theo, Brandon, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated. They’ll help you find the right ski for you.