Expert Review: Armada Declivity 102 TI Skis · 2021Published on 11/04/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.
Photos courtesy of Austen Law
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.
The new Declivity 102 TI is a great ski to shred all skiing conditions. The ski is for more of an intermediate to advanced skier looking for a larger ski underfoot with the ability to carve. This ski is wide enough underfoot to go ski powder conditions and has a great shape for carving some good turns. Armada has absolutely blown it out of the water with the new Declivity series, allowing a skier to do it all with a ski that can be their “one and done” ski.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Armada Declivity 102 TI
- Size: 180cm
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 175lbs
- Experience: 26 years skiing and 16 years ski racing
- When I bought these: March 2022
- Days tested: About 25 days
- Mount position: Factory recommended
- Boots: 2022 Salomon S Pro Alpha 130
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: 2021 Look SPX 12
- Where I’ve used it: Mt. Bachelor in Bend, OR
- Terrain: Groomer, mixed snow, and good powder.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a ski that can carve really well and have the ability to ski all-mountain. This ski can do it all. It can rip like a race ski and take on powder like a big mountain ski.
Why I chose this gear
Having skied the Armada Decilivty 92 TI, I wanted a ski that could carve just as well but could ski some more soft snow. I wanted that ski that could do it all. I thought about a few other skis, including the Head Kore 99 and the K2 Mindbender 99TI, but the Armada Declivity 102 TI was stiff enough and carved so well that it was the best match.
What I love about them
- Speed: The speed of the ski is swift and very quick, as it comes with a good fast base right out of the plastic. After a few days of skiing on the factory base, I added a race grind to my base, and they were as quick as lighting. Even though it's 102 underfoot, this ski is very quick. This ski has no speed limit attached.
- Edge hold: Edge hold is phenomenal; it felt like I was on a pair of race skis again. These skis can hold an edge for some big long turns and be quick and agile edge to edge. I made mine a little sharper than the factory tune, but the edge hold is great. It has a good shape and edge profile.
- Turns: Turns are great. The edge hold is nice, and I feel very comfortable making big long turns with a lot of energy put into the ski. The ski allows me to make big turns easily, thanks to the metal sheet in the core, edge hold from tuning, and great turn radius. The 102 TIs are also quick and nimble and can move with ease.
- Groomers: The 102 TIs rip on groomers. I can lay them down doing big long giant slalom turns at high speed. They are very quick skis, with or without having to put a lot of energy into them.
- Powder: These floated great for the NW conditions with 5-7 inches day after day of soft on top of some good snow accumulation. The 102mm underfoot allows the ski to float nicely.
- Trees: The Declivity 102s handle very well in the trees. As mentioned earlier, the skis are very nimble when I want them to be. They’re quick and light and can maneuver in the trees great. Good turn shape and agility make this ski ideal for tree skiing.
- Durability: Overall, the durability of these skis is great. Even when the skis smacked against each other for a few weeks of skiing, the topsheet, the plastic, and the sidewall did not seem very beat up. Sure, scratches happen, but overall, it’s very well put together from Armada.
- Weight: The weight of the skis is good. They are not too heavy, considering they have a metal core, but heavy enough to feel good while carving the skis on groomed runs. Not ultra light on weight, but it would be considered a great profile for a ski that can crush the backcountry.
- Stability: Cruises like an old Cadillac. These are smooth, fun, and reactive if one wants them to be.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Switch riding: Without a large rocker profile off the tails, these skis are more directional, if anything. I had tried skiing switch, but these skis were not very comfortable to ski backward.
- Any workarounds? In a perfect world, I wish these skis were 184cm because one can ski go ski powder and be nimble with that size, but it could benefit the big long turns on the groomers.
Favorite moment with this gear
I think my favorite moment with the Armada Declivity 102 TI might be the first time I was able to try them out. During the first few runs, I couldn’t stop smiling, hooting, and hollering with joy as I ripped down the groomers. These skis were so fun to rip. They could lay it down like a GS race ski but were so nimble and fun that they felt so playful rather than stiff. Then, later on in the season, when we were able to get some soft snow, they floated so well and crushed it in the mixed snow.
Value for the money vs. other options
These skis are 10/10 worth it if someone is looking for a ski that can do it all. They can rip, charge right through the mixed snow, and float great in powder. I usually don’t say that there is a ski that can carve great and handle “all-mountain” skiing all that often, but the Armada Declivity 102 TI is a great ski to do it all. Some other options that are similar to the Declivity 102 are Volkls 102 Mantra, which too has metal but the Declivity series has a much more dynamic and fun turning ability. Another ski similar would be Salomons Stance 102, which are also stiff and made for big turns, but ski more like a plank than a fun ski that improves one’s skiing. The Armada Declivity 102 skis are definitely worth the money.
The Armada Declivity 102 TI is a great ski, especially when it comes to PNW skiing. They will make one love skiing all over again, and hopefully, then some. They can carve like a carver and ski all-mountain like a bigger ski underfoot. I can’t say anything bad about these, as they are nimble and playful but can be stiff and aggressive if one wants them to be.