An Expert Guide to Faction Skis

Published on 09/13/2023 · 13 min readCheck out the expertise behind Faction Skis! Ski Expert Luke Hinz gives us the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect skis for an unforgettable winter.
Luke H., Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Luke H.

Candide Thovex. Photo courtesy of Faction

TL;DR: When considering buying a pair of Faction skis, there are many factors to consider, such as your skiing style, your ideal ski length, and your budget. Faction manufactures skis for various disciplines, including all-mountain, freestyle, freeride, and touring-types skis. Pay attention to ski profile, waist width, turn radius, and flex. Look for Faction-specific features like Balsa Core Technology, Dual Radius Sidecut, Titanal Layering, and Surf Zones for enhanced performance and the right ski for your style.

Though relatively new to the ski scene, Faction has quickly established itself as one of the major players in the ski industry — and in a most unorthodox way. At a time when snowboarding was gobbling up more and more attention, Faction aimed not only to embrace the same culture that fueled snowboarding but to inject it into the ski industry. Thus, the Faction Collective — an independent group of skiers, artists, filmmakers, engineers, partners, and dreamers — was born.

So how do I know so much about Faction skis? Well, because I know a lot about skis in general. I grew up alpine racing in the Midwest, then moved west and cut my teeth competing in Big Mountain Freeride competitions and exploring the best resorts that the Rockies, Tetons, Sierras, and Wasatch Range have to offer. Most recently, I’ve taken my ski skills into the backcountry and ski mountaineering, and I’ve now skied from the summit of the Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, and Mount Denali, which is the highest peak in North America. So yeah, I have a bit of history with skis.

Why Faction?

Photo by Nick Gosset

Faction began as a rebellion against the established norms of skiing. For decades, skiing culture had been dictated by the old-school brands, bent on mass production and ruled by an utter lack of innovation. Then came the freeskiing revolution, which infused the wildness and freedom of surf and skate culture into skiing itself. Suddenly, skiing wasn’t just for the rich and boring anymore.

Around the turn of the century, freeskiing took the ski industry by storm. Faction was founded not long after, in 2006 in Verbier, Switzerland, by a group of passionate skiers and designers who wanted to build the skis sought after by the world’s best freestylers and freeriders. Now Faction combines cutting-edge ski tech and shapes with striking aesthetics to create versatile, durable skis for all types of skiers. If you want a ski that defies the norm, reach for Faction.

What to Consider When Buying Faction Skis

Photo courtesy of Faction

These days, Faction puts out a dizzying array of different ski types, and it can be daunting to decide which one best suits you and your skiing style. The best place to start is to consider your own skiing needs.

1. What Type of Skiing Do You Primarily Enjoy?

The best place to start is to ask yourself a very general question: Where on the mountain do you like to ski? From twin-tip skis that dominate in the park and on rails, to all-mountain skis that shred the groomers, to hybrid skis that can handle both the resort and the backcountry, Faction skis cover the entire spectrum. Knowing your style will help you identify the ideal ski model designed for your specific needs, ensuring an enjoyable and fulfilling experience on the slopes.

2. What Is the Right Ski Length for You?

Ski length is a critical factor when choosing a new ski. Generally, beginners and intermediates will look for shorter skis, which are more maneuverable and easier to turn, whereas advanced to expert skiers will ideally want longer skis, which provide more stability at high speeds. Fortunately, Faction offers a range of sizes suitable for different heights and skill levels. Check out our Faction ski size chart here.

3. How Much Should Faction Skis Cost?

Faction skis come in various price points to cater to different budgets and preferences. Entry-level skis typically range from $400-$600, offering well-built options for novice skiers who don’t break the bank. Mid-range options cost between $600-$900, offering enhanced materials and technology for more demanding skiers. High-end Faction skis can exceed $900, featuring advanced technologies and catering to professional athletes or enthusiasts who crave top-end performance.

4. Do You Need a Specific Ski Profile?

Ski profile refers to the shape and design of the ski, which impacts how a ski performs in different snow conditions. Faction offers skis with camber, rocker, and hybrid profiles, each catering to specific terrains and skiing styles. Camber provides better edge grip on hardpack, whereas rocker enhances flotation in powder; many skis these days combine both rocker and camber to benefit from both. Assess the typical snow conditions you'll encounter to determine the most suitable profile for your Faction skis.

What Are the Different Types of Faction Skis?

As an avid skier and Faction enthusiast, let me break down the five types of Faction skis for you:

1. All-Mountain Skis

The Faction Dancer 3

All-mountain skis are the versatile workhorses of the Faction lineup. They're designed to perform well in a variety of conditions and terrains, from groomed trails to off-piste adventures. These skis combine a mix of both camber and rocker so they can both carve and be nimble off piste. And Faction adds a very thin layer of Titanal metal to produce a very stable ride with a confident edge grip. Faction’s Dancer series of skis are ideal for skiers wanting a balanced, all-mountain ski.

Benefits

  • Faction’s all-mountain skis provide a very versatile ride: enough camber underfoot to carve, enough rocker in the tip and tail for some float on a powder, and a stiff enough flex for stability at speed.

Keep in Mind

  • While they're versatile, all mountain skis are designed to be a Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of None, so to speak. If you are looking for a dedicated ski for, say, park skiing or powder, there are better options.

Examples

2. Freestyle Skis

The Faction Prodigy 2X

Faction's freestyle skis, such as the Prodigy and the Studio series, are built to be light and maneuverable enough for the park, but still suited for all-mountain skiing. Faction built the Prodigy to be a user-friendly, all-mountain ski with a twin tip design, making it suitable for the park as well. The brand-new Studio series is a fully symmetrical twin-tip ski, best suited for skiers who are clearing tabletops in the park and doing spins off rails and technical features. Both skis are built with simple wooden cores to keep them lightweight for catching air and doing tricks.

Benefits

  • These skis are built with creative skiers in mind. The Prodigy and Studio are built to shine in the park, but they are still more than capable enough to tackle the entire mountain.
  • An emphasis on a lightweight and softer-flexing core makes these skis ideal for boosting off jumps, doing nose butters and presses, and keeping the ski nimble and the swing weight low.

Keep in Mind

  • The same lightweight designs mentioned above, as well as a lack of Titanal, means the Prodigy and Studio skis do sacrifice the stability at high speeds that you see in the all-mountain Dancer series.

Examples

3. Freeride Skis

The Faction Mana 2

Faction’s Freeride skis, such as the Mana series, are built for advanced to expert skiers looking to rip big lines in deep snow at high speeds. These skis have much wider waists for ultimate flotation, a bit stiffer flex pattern to provide stability at high speeds, and they sport a twin tip design to cater to the progressive skiers. These skis are built for the advanced riders who look beyond the groomed runs and truly see the whole mountain as a playground.

Benefits

  • Faction’s Freeride skis provide a stable and confident platform for advanced skiers who want a confident ski in powder and steeper, more technical terrain.
  • Their design makes them ideal for surfing through deep snow, descending steep faces at high speeds, and boosting off huge jumps.

Keep in Mind

  • The wider waist of Faction’s Freeride skis can limit their carving abilities on groomers and firmer snow.
  • The advanced flex and waist width of these skis can be too advanced for more novice skiers.

Examples

4. Touring Skis

The Faction La Machine 3 Mega

Faction's Touring skis are designed for backcountry skiers who want a ski that can adequately go uphill when touring without sacrificing downhill performance. The Agent series has the exact same shape and profile of the Dancer series of all-mountain skis with a lighter construction: Instead of the Titanal metal seen in the Dancer, the Agent uses carbon instead. Faction also makes the La Machine, a more surfy and playful style of backcountry ski.

Benefits

  • Lightweight and efficient, Touring skis are the go-to choice for backcountry enthusiasts who want to explore beyond resort boundaries.
  • They provide excellent uphill mobility without sacrificing too much on the downhill experience.

Keep in Mind

  • Because of their lighter construction, Touring skis might not be as damp or stable at high speeds compared to their Freeride or All-Mountain counterparts.
  • They may also be less playful in park environments.

Examples

Features to Look for in Faction Skis

When shopping for skis, there are several key features and technologies to consider. Here's a breakdown of some important aspects to look for, along with specific features unique to Faction skis:

  1. Ski Profile: This refers to the shape of the ski, which affects its performance in various snow conditions. There are three main profiles: camber, rocker, and hybrid.
    1. Camber: Arches upward in the middle, providing better edge grip on hardpack and groomed snow.
    2. Rocker: Curves upward at the tip and tail, enhancing flotation in powder and maneuverability.
    3. Hybrid: Truly versatile skis combine the best of both worlds, with rocker in the tip, tail for float, and camber underfoot for better edge grip and pop on take-offs.
  2. Waist Width: In simple terms, this refers to the width of the ski at the waist, often measured in millimeters. For the most part, a more narrow waist is better suited for on-piste and groomer skiing, while wider skis provide a sturdier platform for exploring off-piste and surfing powder.
  3. Turn Radius: The turn radius indicates the distance between the apex of the turn of the ski from the apex of the next turn. In general, skis with a shorter turn radius are more adept at making tighter turns, whereas skis with a larger turn radius need more distance to complete the same turn. Skiers wanting a ski for shorter turns should look for a shorter turning radius.
  4. Flex: The flex of a ski factors heavily into how the ski performs. A softer-flexing ski, such as the Faction Prodigy, tends to be easier to turn and more forgiving, making them more suitable for more novice skiers. A ski with a stiffer flex tends to be much more stable at higher speeds but hard to turn; they tend to be preferred by more advanced and expert skiers.

Below are some Faction-specific features and technologies:

  1. Poplar/Ash/Karuba Wood Core: Faction uses different woods in the core of each ski to provide a different feel. A poplar core provides pop and rebound, poplar/ash core stiffens the ski for superior edge on firmer snow, and karuba is a very lightweight wood core, best for touring skis.
  2. Dual-Radius Sidecut: This Faction innovation combines two different sidecut radii in a single ski, providing precise turn initiation and improved edge hold throughout the turn.
  3. Titanal Layering: Faction incorporates Titanal, a lightweight and strong aluminum alloy, in some of their ski models, such as the Dancer series. Titanal makes a ski more torsionally stiff, increasing the edge grip on firmer snow and also giving the ski more stability, not only at high speeds but also when busting through crud and chunder.
  4. Carbon/Rubber Stomp Pad: A reinforced carbon/rubber stomp pad built into the middle of the ski and underneath the binding provides not only strength and durability to the ski but also absorbs vibrations, making for cleaner landings.

The details and technologies used in each ski factor greatly into how each ski performs, so be sure of how your unique ski is constructed.

How to Choose the Right Faction Skis

Photo courtesy of Faction

Budding Park Slayer

Needs

  • Playful Ski
  • Twin Tip
  • Consistent Flex

Features to Look for

  • Camber
  • Poplar Core Technology
  • Tight Turn Radius

Products to Consider

  • Prodigy 2: A mid-fat, twin-tip ski that is just as at home throwing 360s in the park as it is ripping the mogul lines or through the trees.
  • Prodigy 1X: A women’s twin tip with a narrower waist for a tight turn radius, quickness from edge to edge, and a low swing weight for tricks.

Veteran All-Mountain Skier

Needs

  • Hybrid Camber/Rocker
  • Stability
  • Stiff Flex

Features to Look for

  • Titanal Layering
  • Dual Radius Sidecut
  • Poplar/Ash Core Technology

Products to Consider

  • Dancer 2: A midfat, all-mountain ski with thin Titanal layers for stability at speed, camber underfoot for premium-edge hold, and rockered tip and tail for versatility.
  • Dancer 1X: A narrow-waisted, stable ski designed to grip and rip on the groomers on the frontside of your favorite resort.
  • Dancer 2 YTH: These are for the next generation of rippers, the up-and-coming freeriders who are ready and willing to tackle the whole mountain but aren’t quite large enough for adult skis yet!

Big Mountain Maniac!

Needs

  • Rocker
  • Wide Waist
  • Twin Tip

Features to Look for

  • Carbon/Rubber Stomp Pad
  • Poplar or Karuba Core Technology
  • Dual Radius Sidecut

Products to Consider

  • Mana 3: A wide-waisted, twin-tipped, powder-devouring weapon for the skier who dreams of big, powder-filled lines.
  • Agent 3: A fat ski that is built light for the imaginative skier to go deep into the backcountry seeking their own lines but is still stiff and sturdy enough for the downhill.
  • La Machine 3 Mega: A powder-focused touring ski, the La Machine has a more traditional profile, no twin tip, and a more directional design.

Find the Best Ski for You

Though a fairly new player to the ski scene, Faction has established their skis as the go-to options for creative freestylers and aggressive big-mountain skiers looking for an alternative to the old-style ski brands. But even if you are a novice or brand-new skier, Faction has plenty of options that will help you not only progress your skills but also have you looking good while doing it. Faction is for the skiers who dare to think outside the box. If you would like help picking out the right Faction ski for you, don’t hesitate to contact me or any of my fellow Curated Skiing Experts today.

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