Expert Review: Armada ARV 86 Skis · 2022

Published on 07/13/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2021.
Nicholas Carnazzo, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Nicholas Carnazzo

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Carnazzo

About this review This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2021.

My take

This Armada ARV 86 is a park ski that I could shred the whole mountain on. But, it belongs in the park. It’s a ski for the playful park skier that likes butters and rails.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Carnazzo

About the gear

  • Model: 2021 Armada ARV 86
  • Size: 170

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 145 lbs
  • Experience: 12 years

Test conditions

  • When I tested these: March 2021
  • Days tested: 2
  • Mount position: Factory Recommended
  • Boots: 2020 Full Tilt First Chair 10
  • Boot Size: 26.5
  • Bindings: 2020 Marker Griffon
  • Where I’ve used it: Brighton Resort, UT
  • Terrain: Park, all-mountain

How it performs

High Speed Stability
5/5
Carving
4/5
Durability
4/5
Flotation
4/5
Versatility
3/5
Turn Ease
2/5

What I was looking for

I have been on the market for new park skis for a couple of years now, particularly looking for something I could butter on, while feeling comfortable at higher speeds and on jumps. As I was nailing down different options, the Armada ARV 86 came across my radar and I decided to give them a test.

Why I chose this gear

I did not buy these, but loved testing them! A couple of my buddies have the ARVs and love them, so they suggested I try them out. I have been skiing with them for a while so that was enough for me to start investigating.

The AR Freestyle Rocker construction of the ski was something I was interested in testing out. The rockered tip and tail is combined with positive camber underfoot to help the ski charge a bit harder. This turned out to be a really fun shape. I ended up purchasing the Line Honey Badgers over these because I preferred the Honey badger’s softer flex.

What I love about it

  • Edge hold: The ARV 86 held an edge really well while carving into jumps.
  • Turns: The rocker allowed me to make some pretty quick turns and easy butters. It turned quickly, but sometimes it felt like you could break it free with almost no effort.This let me execute quick stops when skiing at moderate speeds, but that’s not always a good thing.
  • Trees: Trees were fun on the ARV 86. It initiated turns quickly, but it felt a little loose at times. However, sometimes it felt like I couldn’t edge hard enough.
  • Moguls: I don’t ski moguls much. I imagine this would perform decently but not great.
  • Park: The Armada ARV 86 shines in the park. It is poppy, responsive, and carves really well into jumps and rails.
  • Backcountry: I only tested the ski in bounds.
  • Durability: I tested the ski for two days and I saw no issues with topsheet cracking or edge bending.
  • Weight: The skis felt lightweight and poppy. Being a bit lighter allows the rider to execute quicker spins, and the poppyness helps when lipping onto rails.
  • Switch riding: The ARV 86 is pretty close to a twin and rode as such. Switch skiing was a breeze.
  • Stability: This is a very poppy ski that was great for quick jumps onto rails. The rocker profile also allowed for some really smooth butters.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Speed: The ARV 86 did not perform the best at super high speeds. There was chatter in the tips and tails. It’s more of a playful ski that performs better at lower speeds and is more suited for rail skiing.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Carnazzo

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment on these skis was spending a bluebird day in the park. It ate up rails and held its edge incredibly carving into jumps. Big 720s on the big jumps at Brighton were a breeze!

Value for the money vs. other options

At $475 retail the ARV 86 is a great value. It’s a stable park ski that will last. There are some cheaper options out there with the Volkl Revolt 87 and K2 Stash Midnight, but I have heard these models have some durability issues, specifically with the top sheet.

Final verdict

Armada’s ARV 86 is a great ski for anyone who wants to grow as a park skier.. It’s solid on rails and handles buttering with ease. Having the right tool for the job is important. Granted, it’s important to always be safe and practice, but this ski really inspires confidence.

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