Head 2 Head: Armada Declivity 92 TI vs. Faction Dancer 2Published on 03/13/2023 · 7 min readSki Experts Hayden Wright and Brandon Westburg test these skis against each other for carving, freeride, and freestyle.
On this episode of Head 2 Head, we’re in Powder Mountain, Utah testing the Armada Declivity 92 TI versus the Faction Dancer 2 in carving, freestyle, and freeride. Which one will end up on top?
Check out the video below or read on to see what happens.
And before we jump in, a quick note that we aren’t sponsored by any brands to create this review. These are our own personal opinions on these boards. Now let’s get to it!
- Flat Tail
- 92mm Waist Width
- Light Caruba Wood Core
Armada claims that the Declivity 92 TI is a forgiving all-mountain ski that also is great on the groomers.
Faction Dancer 2.0
- Flat Tail
- 96mm Waist Width
- Poplar Wood Core
Faction claims that the Dancer 2.0 is the updated version of the Dictator lineup. It’s an all-mountain, crud-busting ski that can handle just about anything.
[Hayden] The Faction Dancer 2.0 were awesome carving skis once Brandon and I figured we had to really charge them.
[Brandon] Hayden is totally right. You really do have to load this ski up and you put as much energy in as you get back from it. It was a little bit tough to roll edge to edge when attempting shorter turns or at slower speeds. The ski really excels at higher speeds when you're driving it.
[Hayden] And what about these bad boys, the Declivitys?
[Brandon] The Armada Declivity 92 TI was definitely a bit more forgiving than the Faction Dancer. With the Declivity, we have a stated stiffness of seven underfoot. And a 10 overall stiffness underfoot with the Faction. So it didn't take as much work to drive the Declivity edge to edge. Looking at the ski weight differential as well, there’s a fairly significant difference here, mostly because the Dancer has two layers of Titanal. Whereas Armada uses Titanal banding in their ski. It gives a bit more energy than a typical Titanal layer—or a TI layer—in the core of a ski. So I really felt that out there in the groomers. I didn't have to work it quite as hard and really enjoyed moving the Armada edge to edge.
[Hayden] The Declivity 92 TI is loaded with camber. It’s really fun once on edge, but definitely a little bit slower. Compared to the Faction, you don't have to engage the ski as much to get it around and get it to turn. But both were awesome for carving.
[Brandon] I think one major takeaway that really helps us determine which one of these is a better carving ski is the size of our shovel, and also our size under foot as well. We're comparing a 92 underfoot (Declivity) to a 96 (Dancer 2). But looking at the shovel here, the Armada does have a significantly wider shovel; although it's a little dialed down from the Faction in waist width. The shovel was a little bit too big for me to move edge to edge quickly. If you're someone that likes to bang out those shorter radius turns, the Armada’s big shovel might not help you accomplish those. But if you like those medium to longer-radius turns, I think that you'll really enjoy the extra support of the shovel up here in the tip that Armada incorporates.
[Hayden] For the carving category, who are you taking?
[Brandon] I enjoyed the performance of the Faction just a bit more here. When I drove that ski and put a lot of energy into it, the rebound back and all this energy I got from this stiffer backbone was really awesome to me.
[Hayden] I tend to not go as fast and hard-charging down the groomers. So for carving, I'm going with the Armadas.
[Hayden] The only thing that I didn't like about the Dancers is that, when we were setting those spins, they were a bit heavy. Once you start spinning them, they're going to start going. So that's just something to keep in mind.
[Brandon] There is some room for playfulness when catching air on the Dancer 2.0. And I definitely agree with you on the swing weight of this ski. It was a little much to whip around doing threes. I wouldn't recommend skiing switch on anything but groomers on either of these skis. Analyzing the tail shape, neither have a full twin tip, so they're not the most user-friendly skis to ride switch.
[Hayden] How did the Declivity 92s pop? What was that like?
[Brandon] I thought there was a lot of pop in this ski. Going back to its forgiving nature, and the bit bigger shovel, I did think the Declivity 92s were a super fun ski that did not quite have as much swing weight as the Dancer 2.0. You really have to load up the Faction Dancer 2.0, and if you do load it up, or maybe you are a little bit heavier of a skier, you will experience pretty significant pop from the ski. But you have to work extremely hard for it in my opinion.
[Brandon] Popping on the Declivity 92 is just as fun. You don't have to load it up quite as much. There’s a little more playful, surfy feel on this ski.
[Hayden] So who's taking the cake, Faction or Armada?
[Brandon] I think I'm gonna go with the Faction Dancer 2.0 here.
[Hayden] I'm picking the Armada Declivity 92 TI.
[Hayden] The Faction Dancer has two full sheets of metal, so when we were finding these little cat tracks to launch off of, and when we were getting those harder landings on hard pack chop, we got that slap. But did you feel any of that with the Declivity 92s?
[Brandon] I did not.
[Brandon] I didn't feel any chatter at all. Definitely as a result of that stiffness.
[Hayden] The Faction Dancer definitely excelled. It may be a little bit heavier, but you do have that 10 stiffness underfoot. And let me tell you, out of all these skis we were riding, this one is burly. You feel that.
[Brandon] I definitely agree with you about the Faction there. I did enjoy the Armada Declivity 92 as well. It has a tapered side cut and a forgiving nature. Going back to that seven flex versus the 10: on the Faction, I did feel confident in catching air. Putting the landing gear down felt just fine as well. Again, going back to this shovel in the Armadas, I think that's something that was very beneficial in the trees and plowing through any chop as well.
[Hayden] I had a blast on the Armadas. And like Brandon said, once it kind of started to soften up, that's where that shovel on the Armada definitely outperformed the Faction. Getting us up on top of that crud, it doesn't have as wide of a waist as the Faction Dancer 2.0. But I don't think it needed that because of that shovel.
[Brandon] I think the Faction Dancer 2.0 narrowly beat out the Armada Declivity 92 for me. Just because of the pop in how stable this was on most all landings.
[Hayden] But for me, the Faction Dancer 2.0 is gonna win the freeride category.
[Hayden] After battling these two together on a rigorous day at the beautiful PowMow, for me and my riding style, I'm going with the Armada Declivity 92 TI.
[Brandon] Basing it off of the chatter of the Armada, that I experienced just a bit on a couple of my runs, gives me reason enough to want to choose the Faction Dancer 2.0. I really appreciated those solid landings and how confident I felt when driving it.
[Brandon] Skis work differently for everyone. If you need help finding the perfect pair of skis for you, connect with a Ski Expert like myself or Hayden here on Curated. And drop a comment for us on the video on Youtube. We would love to read it and get going on what's next in the Head 2 Head line up.