Review: Armada ARV 96 Skis · 2023

Published on 07/27/2023 · 3 min readCurated Ski Expert Leo C. shares their experience with using the 2023 Armada ARV 96 Skis. Note that experts are not sponsored by any brands; these are their honest opinions.
By Ski Expert Leo Cocchiara
5 photos

The Curated Take

4.4/5

The Armada ARV 96 Skis are ideal for intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers, and offer impressive versatility. Excelling in technical areas like trees, moguls, and parks, they deliver high performance on groomers and in powder. Unexpectedly, the ARVs easily handle high speeds, due to their responsive camber underfoot that maintains edge grip and provides a good spring off the ground. Exceptionally durable, they resist damage even when used hard on challenging terrain. The 96mm width allows for decent powder flotation. The ARVs’ ability to handle diverse conditions makes them a great option for skiers looking for a multi-purpose solution.  

Ideal for
  • Very versatile for a variety of disciplines
  • Perfect amount of playfulness to make the whole mountain fun
  • Impressively durable to hard use
Not ideal for
  • Not intended for carving
  • Can be a little bouncy in crud
  • Limited performance in deep powder
Flotation
A ski's ability to float well in powder is directly correlated to the ski's rocker profile and the ski's waist width. At 96 underfoot, it has enough surface area and...Read more
Carving
A clean carving technique is a lot more specific and technical than most people realize. It's something that's mainly practiced by racers or honed in on with repeated high-level ski...Read more
High Speed Stability
I am a FAST skier. I am heavy, powerful, and generally fearless when letting my skis run to the absolute brink of what they're capable of. The ARV's camber profile...Read more
Playfulness
The ARVs are designed for fun above all else. What's so special about them, though, is their ability to make any terrain, feature, and snow condition super fun. They have...Read more
Durability
I've skied just about every ski on the market. One thing I am always paying attention to, whether I'm demoing, maintaining a rental fleet, or tuning my skis, is how...Read more
Turn Ease
I like to spend a lot of time charging through the trees and moguls. This doesn't really require perfect technique as much as it does strong legs and skis that...Read more
Versatility
The versatility of this ski is exactly what makes it one of my favorites. Many skis out there can dabble in a bit of everything. Still, the ARV does everything...Read more

Expert Reviews of the Armada ARV 96 Skis

 This is one of my personal favorite skis of all time. I'm on my second pair because once I had moved on from my first pair, I wanted them back so badly that I bought them again. These are ideal for the intermediate, advanced, and expert skier who wants a ski that can effortlessly excel at technical skills like trees, moguls, and park, with excellent performance on the groomers and in the powder. Outside of its obvious intended high points, what impresses me most about the ARVs is how well they handle things that I wouldn't necessarily expect them to be good at. I'm a FAST and heavy skier, and these keep up with me when I'm bringing the heat. A very responsive camber underfoot holds a great edge at high speeds on the groomers while also giving good spring off the ground. The bases and edges are ridiculously durable, so I've skied over multiple rocks and roots and still haven't needed to tune them. The powder flotation at 96 is perfectly capable until about 6", so I find myself reaching for the 106 ARVs instead. I hope Armada never stops making this ski because my multiple pairs have treated me so well that I will always want a pair available.

Review Ratings

Flotation

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. A ski's ability to float well in powder is directly correlated to the ski's rocker profile and the ski's waist width. At 96 underfoot, it has enough surface area and rocker in the tip and tail to tackle powder well enough that I don't need a separate pair of powder skis if I don't want to. If skiers only have one pair of skis, they won't want to go much wider than this anyway.

Carving

3/5
 gave 3 of 5 stars. A clean carving technique is a lot more specific and technical than most people realize. It's something that's mainly practiced by racers or honed in on with repeated high-level ski lessons. Many people say they want a ski that they can carve, but they really mean that they want a ski they can confidently ski well on an icy groomer. When called upon, The ARV can engage its edges at a high angle and make a nicely pressured turn. Still, without a flat square tail, it doesn't complete the backend of the turn the way a true carving ski would.

High Speed Stability

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. I am a FAST skier. I am heavy, powerful, and generally fearless when letting my skis run to the absolute brink of what they're capable of. The ARV's camber profile holds a better edge than half of the directional all-mountain skis I take out on the hill. They're not the stiffest, so they do have their limits as far as absorbing hardpacked skied-out crud, but I can definitely push these comfortably to a high-speed limit.

Playfulness

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The ARVs are designed for fun above all else. What's so special about them, though, is their ability to make any terrain, feature, and snow condition super fun. They have enough flexibility to butter and smear, making them great for hitting rails and knuckle tricks. Plus, they have plenty of pop in the camber to excel at jumps and pipe, plus they are as confident in switch as they are pointing forward.

Durability

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I've skied just about every ski on the market. One thing I am always paying attention to, whether I'm demoing, maintaining a rental fleet, or tuning my skis, is how well the ski is holding up under hard use. The bases and edges of the ARV are some of the most durable I've ever come across. I've hit countless rocks and roots, and there's never a mark left on them, whereas my other skis very much reflect the damage. The team at Armada knows exactly what's needed to make a ski last.

Turn Ease

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I like to spend a lot of time charging through the trees and moguls. This doesn't really require perfect technique as much as it does strong legs and skis that don't fight me in changing directions. The ARVs are my favorite skis for technical terrain because they easily turn in those tight channels and allow me to make quick direction changes. Plus, being freestyle first skis, they are designed with a light swingweight which, in addition to helping the ease of turn, makes throwing spins feel very natural.

Versatility

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The versatility of this ski is exactly what makes it one of my favorites. Many skis out there can dabble in a bit of everything. Still, the ARV does everything really well and a few things exceptionally well. It shines in the trees, moguls, and terrain park, making it easy to develop and excel on the mountain's hardest features while still being strong on the groomers and capable in fresh snow. What more could one ask for?

FAQs

Why did you choose this product?

I like the ARV because of its supremely well-rounded versatility and because it makes difficult skills easy to master. I can go fast down a groomer on just about anything, but the wrong pair of skis in tight trees or icy moguls can be a real drag. The ARV 96 gives me my strongest advantage in the areas where I am the weakest.

What do you love about this product?

The ARV 96 gives me the tools I need to ski my best in just about any situation. I have enough camber to grip and rip a groomer, enough play in the tips and tails to make technical trees and moguls easy, enough surface area to float in around 6" of powder, and plenty of chops for the park. If I got rid of every other pair of skis I own, this is the one I'd keep.

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Leo Cocchiara, Ski Expert
4.99
Leo Cocchiara
Ski Expert
I’ve been master boot fitting and managing ski shops in Colorado for 10+ years! The only thing more impressive than my knowledge, is the level of care I put into my customer service for you! 😊🙌.Think of me as your personal ski pro in your pocket!
679 Reviews
4322 Customers helped
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Featured Product

Armada ARV 96 Skis · 2023
$549.95
Written by:
Leo Cocchiara, Ski Expert
4.99
Leo Cocchiara
Ski Expert
I’ve been master boot fitting and managing ski shops in Colorado for 10+ years! The only thing more impressive than my knowledge, is the level of care I put into my customer service for you! 😊🙌.Think of me as your personal ski pro in your pocket!
679 Reviews
4322 Customers helped

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