Expert Review: Faction Ski Candide 3.0Published on 07/18/2023 · 8 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the skis which I bought with my own money in January 2017.
Photo courtesy of Dave G.
About this review: This review is my own honest opinion of the skis which I bought with my own money in January 2017.
The Faction Ski Candide 3.0s are for anyone who wants an all-mountain ski that can charge but play as well. Advanced to expert skiers will be able to use this ski to its fullest potential.
About this gear
- Model: Faction Candide 3.0
- Size: 183cm
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 178 lbs
- Experience: 10 years
- When I bought these: January 2017
- Days tested: 100+
- Mount position: Center
- Boots: K2 Pinnacle 130
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: Salomon Guardian 13
- Where I’ve used it: Monarch Mountain (CO), Bridger Bowl (MT), Mad River Glen (VT)
- Terrain: Moguls, trees, groomers, park, backcountry
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was missing having an everyday ski for softer conditions. I really wanted a versatile directional twin tip ski that would handle all terrain types well while allowing me to stay playful on my skis. This is a perfect all-mountain ski with a freestyle attitude for anyone who wants to turn the whole mountain into their playground.
Why I chose this gear
Honestly, I chose to get these skis because the living legend, Candide Thovex, sold this. The Candide lineup of skis was designed by Faction Skis with Candide's vision of what a ski should be. I watched some videos of him skiing and was like, “Dang, that is how I want to ski.” Candide is one of the best athletes in the freestyle ski world, and to sum up his style, it is fast with big airs mixed with a lot of freestyle. Just think if your routine day was pinning through moguls to a natural hit, tossing a big floaty 360, and proceeding to air over a cat track. This ski handles whatever he tosses at it. Also, the sizing fit me perfectly for the length and the waist width.
I didn’t consider buying any other options; it was the right time, price, and all that. The stars aligned perfectly for me to get these skis. I'm currently considering buying the slightly wider updated version, the Mana 3 in the 112 mm waist, for next season.
What I love about it
- Speed: The ski has a very progressive flex pattern, meaning that it's generally stiff, but when I press into the ski, it's smooth and consistent throughout. This makes for a smooth ride. If I really get going, this ski does have its limits as it isn’t the stiffest ski out there and may get a little bit unstable at high speeds.
- Turn Initiation: The Faction CT 3.0 has an Elliptical Radius Sidecut meaning it has a longer radius underfoot and shorter radii in the tip and tail. This allows the ski to easily pivot underfoot while still having a smooth and stable ride with a strong edge hold. It's capable of making a wide variety of turn lengths.
- Powder: These are my daily driver for out west. They still provide float in 12 inches of fresh pow. 136mm in the tip and 132mm in the tail still give me plenty of ski to stay towards the top. But when it gets extra deep (more than 15”), I might find that I want a wider ski.
- Trees: Nimble and snappy is how I would quickly sum up the skis. This is thanks to a combination of generous rocker, 70mm tip height and 64mm in the tail of the ski, and modest camber results in pop and grip. This means the ski can get out of its own way in a tight spot. A little bit of input is needed as it is not an autopilot kind of ski. But if I put in a little work, the skis reward me with a surprising amount of pinpoint accuracy. If the trees get really tight, I could find myself having to work the ski to get through them.
- Moguls: The nimble and snappy nature lends itself to performing well in moguls. They pick up speed quickly, and I can quickly find my personal speed limit. I just have to stay on top of them because, in tight moguls, I sometimes feel like they are a little too much ski.
- Sidecountry: I like a short sidecountry mission—something short after work. The Salomon Guardians are a touring binding and are not particularly light, but I have them on the skis and love the combo for that short after-work lap.
- Weight: The balsa/flax wood core makes a reasonably light ski. For a 183cm ski, it comes in at 2100g, which is considered medium weight for an all-mountain ski. Again, I put touring bindings on them, and they are light enough to be a solid sidecountry setup.
- Durability and Construction: The Faction Candie 3.0 is a carefully crafted ski with a high-resistance top sheet, a full-strength sidewall, and an anti-chip micro-cap. I am pretty impressed with the durability. I have had the skis for some time now. I'm not exactly easy on my gear, and I've only noticed slight chipping in the top sheet—just the normal chips, nothing major. No core shots or other outside damage yet; knock on wood.
- Switch riding: Riding switch is a must for me. So it's a full twin tip or bust. They do not disappoint here at all. It is not a true asymmetrical ski, so I sometimes notice it skis a little different switch.
- Stability: The flex pattern is the whole reason I got the ski for the most part. They are stable at high speeds and blast through most chunder. When I get going quickly, I will feel it start to chatter, but it's not the worst. When I slow down, I can press these skis and butter to my heart's content.
- Aesthetics: I am a sucker for a clean graphic. The 3.0 has a designated left and right foot, but I'm pretty sure it's for the aesthetics of the ski. A matte finish to the ski's top sheet makes for a clean look.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Carving: This ski was certainly not designed to be a carving ski, but they hold their own surprisingly well on-piste. I believe that this is thanks to the Elliptical Sidecut I mentioned above, along with a durable cap construction, torsional stability, and small amount of camber underfoot, generating a relatively tight 20m turning radius and best possible edge hold, considering the wide playful nature of the ski. If snow is soft, it’s awesome. However, if it's firming up, these skis will skidder a bit with less precision and some tip chatter. They're not the more stable metal laminate Dancer model, so there is some vibration at the front of your skis at high speed, but nothing that is not manageable.
- Variable Snow: Sometimes, when I get into choppy snow conditions, this ski can feel just a bit unstable. There are other skis out there with stiffer tips that would be more stable in variable conditions. However, this is a sacrifice I'm willing to make in exchange for a playful and forgiving feel.
- Park: The lightweight core makes the skis have a lower swing weight. For a 108mm underfoot ski, they handle boxes and rails just fine. Not what it's meant for, but if I want to spin a lap through the park, I go for it. Not the lowest swing weight out there for spins. Otherwise, this is a great ski if you are looking to get playful and hit some natural features around the mountain. The playful shape allows for easy jibbing, buttering, and switch riding.
- Backcountry: For longer tours, at 2100g in weight, these skis can be a bit heavy. If I want to go for extended tours with less exertion, there are lighter skis out there below 1600g in weight.
- Weight: If I go hard for a few days in a row, I will notice the weight.
Favorite moment with this gear
My overall experience with the skis has sold me on them—not a single moment or place, just a lot of great memories. Anywhere I go with these skis, I know I have a strong reliable ski at my back. Confidence is a huge part of skiing, and these skis inspire me to new adventures. Thanks to a great flex, a versatile waist width, and a smooth but poppy core, I am taking run-ins through mogul fields to hit natural features that I wouldn't have considered in the past.
Value for money vs. other options
It's a chunk of change, but for the price, I am getting a durable ski that hits the sweet spot of playful and hard-charging. The CT lineup has won countless ski awards in the decade of collaboration between Faction and Candide Thovex, and while award-winning skis aren't the end-all-be-all, that kind of consistency is a pretty good sign that you're making a high-quality range. For a more freeride ski and less freestyle, I’d check out the Faction Prodigy line. For similar skis to the Candide 3.0 from other brands, I’d look at the Line Sir Frances Bacon or the K2 Reckoner series.
For skiers who want to push themselves on the slopes or just feel extra confident in what they ski, this light, nimble, hard-charging ski that loves to play is the ticket. Designed and modeled after arguably the best skier in the world, it sets a new benchmark in the increasingly popular category of high-performance all-mountain skis that have a distinct freestyle flair and a wonderfully playful character.
If you want to see the 2021 version of these skis in action, check out the video below by Curated Expert Daryl Morrison.