The Top 6 Faction SkisPublished on 07/25/2023 · 7 min readIn the market for some new skis? Read on for everything you need to know about Faction skis and a list of the top 6 ski options from Faction!
Photo courtesy of Faction
Faction Skis are a collective of freestyle-forward skiers founded in 2006 in Verbier, Switzerland, with the singular goal of making superb skis. Over the years, they have expanded globally, including a team of world award-winning athletes and feature-length ski films every two years. Welcome to The Collective.
My name is Katie Davis, and I have been a Skiing Expert with Curated for the last two seasons. I’ve been skiing for 22 years and hope to be skiing for many, many more. I am a freestyle skier and have a quiver of way too many Faction Skis, although my favorite daily driver is the Agent 3.0.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Best Ski From Faction’s Quiver
Choosing the best ski for you depends on several factors, chiefly ability level, the type of terrain you’re skiing, and what area of the United States you ski in most often. Additionally, Faction uses different materials in their skis that aid performance in many different kinds of terrain.
As a new rider, a more flexible but stable ski is key. You will want the ski to be very responsive and flexible enough to be forgiving through any errors in the technique you may still be learning. Additionally, a thinner ski is more important while you’re still learning, as a wider ski is more difficult to maneuver. As your skills progress, a wider ski will cut through more variable terrain with ease.
And as you advance into intermediacy through expert terrain, having a stiffer ski becomes better, as you can get a lot of power out of a stiff ski. I recommend a longer ski for expert skiers as it will distribute power and speed better to slash through difficult terrain. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility; remember to ski safely out there!
Terrain Type and Skills
As a beginner skier, greens and blues are your bread and butter. Most often, these runs are typically groomed, easier runs for you to nail down technique and link together turns. A flexible, shorter ski is crucial since you focus more on staying upright than falling down the trail.
As you progress your skills and start skiing more ungroomed or variable (groomed and ungroomed) terrain, you'll want a ski that can respond to the changes in terrain that you’re throwing its way. A bit of a wider ski that is flexible but damp (we’ll dive into that in the next section) is important so that you feel the same on groomed and ungroomed terrain.
When you finally consider yourself advanced or expert, you’ll send it off a bit more advanced terrain (black or double black diamonds, or even unmarked terrain). With hazards like cliffs, trees, moguls, and variable snow conditions, it’s important to have a ski that can keep up with you through it all. A wide, stiffer, longer ski will help you look like the next X-Games contender and stay stable through whatever terrain you decide to tackle next.
Ski Construction and Why It Matters
Faction’s skis are predominantly made out of poplar wood, a soft wood with both flexible and dampening properties. "Dampening" means that the ski can take the force of you going down the mountain, cutting through ungroomed snow and dampening the forces you feel compared to what the ski feels.
Faction uses poplar wood predominantly in their skis because it is an extremely versatile wood that they can use throughout all of their skis without changing the wood they are made of for each ski, which eases production costs.
Across their product lineup, Faction has added titanal metal to stiffen their Dancer line for icy conditions to ensure the skier can carve effectively and transfer power to give the ski its ideal performance. Seen through their Mana and Agent line, a full carbon weave around the ski provides more stability under higher speeds and variable terrain while remaining lightweight enough not to weigh you down.
Ski Design and What That Means to You
Faction is predominantly a freestyle and freeride-oriented company, so many of its designs reflect that. The hallmark of any freeride skier is a commitment to ungroomed terrain, exploring the mountain and any secret stashes, and generally playfully breaking the more rigid “rules” of typical all-mountain or on-piste skiing.
As a result, most freeride skis contain more rocker than all-mountain skis, which help in variable conditions and make the ski more playful across any trail. Additionally, twin tips are another tried and true sign of a freeride ski, which means both the tip and tail are curved upward, enabling the skier to ski switch (backward). This is especially important to many park skiers, who must ride switch to execute their many skills.
However, Faction has branched out of its freestyle roots to include two styles of flat-back skis in their Agent and Dancer lines, which help stability in skiers who don’t want to ski backward and focus on sliding down the slopes face-first.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s break into the skis themselves and what ski is best for each rider's style.
The Best Faction Skis for Every Type of Terrain
The All-Mountain Rider
Mana 2 / 2X (Women’s)
Perfect for playing all over the mountain, the Mana 2 and 2X is the slimmest in the family at a 102mm waist, perfect for all types of terrain out West or sticking to ungroomed terrain out East. Borne from their prior Candide collection, the Mana family is constructed to be an all-mountain weapon with a flexible poplar core and reinforced carbon rubber stomp pad under your bindings to keep you stable if you decide to get a little wild on the side hits or bigger runs. The only difference between their men and women-oriented designs is the topsheet in their chic black or white design. The Mana is the perfect ski for any all-mountain skiing coast to coast.
Ideal for sloppy conditions or a picture-perfect bluebird day, the award-winning Agent 3 or Agent 2X does it all. Adorned with graphics of Faction’s home in Verbier, the 106mm waist Agent 3 or 96mm waisted Agent 2X has a Swiss design through and through. It is constructed with lightweight karuba wood at its core for a light and lively ride down, with carbon weave reinforcement that holds up even at high speeds. Faction also works in collaboration with brands like Madhappy to keep designs fresh. Even though Faction engineered this ski for touring, its jack-of-all-trades nature makes it my top choice for a one-ski quiver.
The Park Rat
The Prodigy line is at the core of Faction’s DNA, and nearly all their best athletes ride in competitions. These true freestyle skis are playful and poppy for any novice to expert rider. The poplar core is ready and willing to pop, butter, smear, and slash over any rail, box, or kicker you throw its way. With its neon graphics popping against a sleek black topsheet, you’ll be soaring above the competition in these slim 88mm or 98mm sticks.
While the Mana reigns as a top ski for all-mountain riding, it has roots that hearken back to its ancestors of the Candide line. Through this, it keeps a poplar core and carbon rubber stomp pad to ensure it remains stable and responsive on bigger side hits or rails. Its full-strength sidewall and elliptical sidecut design keep things stable at high speeds. Whether you’re hitting the halfpipe or riding groomers, the Mana stays tried and true, stable through whatever you throw its way.
Even though Faction is a predominately freestyle company, the Dancer line ushered in a new era for Faction. Made out of poplar but reinforced with two sheets of titanal, this beast does best in the East or for early season crust out West. This is top-notch, edge-holding carving ski for incredibly firm snow, with all of the style given from Faction’s freeride DNA. The Dancer line comes in four widths, but the 96mm Dancer 2 excels in the most variable terrain.
The Powder Hound
For cruising through pow on a trip to Japan or deep stashes on the backside in Utah, the La Machine is a beast of a powder ski that is fully carbon loaded for strength on the downhill but light enough to take touring. At 99mm wide in the La Machine Mini Skis, this ski is the absolute best for floating through powder and having a blast from sunup to sundown.
Find the Right Faction Ski for You
Faction has a ski for every type of shredder, from all-mountain rippers or one-ski quivers. If you need any assistance or want to discuss further details on a perfectly selected Faction ski for your needs precisely, please chat with me or one of my fellow Curated Skiing Experts!