Ski:Faction Prodigy 2.0 (dragon collaboration)
Measured weight (each ski):1.75kg / ski
To assemble:true center
Binding:look pivot 18
Appraiser height/weight:5'10, 165 pounds
Assessment location(s):Sugarbush Monte Ellen, Jackson Hole, Mad River Glen
Ski conditions:Hard paste, po, prepared, granular slime and mola slime
The last ski I tried for the 19-20 release was the Faction Prodigy 2.0 x Dragon Collab. This ski was very different from the first two skis I tried earlier in the season, the Armada BDog Edgeless and the BDog. In the past, I generally preferred skiing on very stiff skis. After riding softer, rockier skis this season, I've changed my mind a bit. Then, later in the season, at Jackson Hole, I hopped on the Faction Prodigy 2.0 to enjoy some mountain peaks and some steep ones, as well as hitting the park. here and there for comparison, as well as many others this season. The ski is stiff and strong, designed to carry everything while providing a nice, wide platform for skiing in the park. I will say this ski is an absolute beast, as are the graphics on the top sheet. I've tested the Prodigy 2.0 for just about everything, from waist-high gunpowder in Jackson Hole to thawed 60-degree turns in Sugarbush.
This isn't something we like to talk about on Roofbox very often, but I can honestly say that from an aesthetic standpoint, this was my favorite ski I've ever ridden. The Faction x Dragon Collab graphic stems from a collaboration with artist PJ de Villiers, for custom artwork on the top sheet. Now, let's take a deeper look at this elegant beast.
The Faction Prodigy 2.0 is a hybrid asymmetrical ski with a rocker-camber-rocker construction. In other words, it's a ski with a nose wider than a tail, with a rocker tip and tail, and a good underfoot camber. The Faction Prodigy 2.0 sits in the middle of the pack in terms of all-mountain/freestyle skiing, with a solid 98mm base that flares out to 127mm at the toe. Faction rated his flex approximately 6/10, which I would say is pretty inaccurate. I'd say the ski's hand flex is about a 9 and the snow flex is about an 8. Fortunately, I love a good stiff ski because it's so much stiffer than average.
The Prodigy 2.0 features a poplar wood core and hybrid top/side construction. Oddly, given its wider dimensions, it has less rocker than theprodigy 1.0but it still has a pretty generous amount of magnification. It also has thick edges and a thicker base.
There's a lot to talk about when it comes to snow performance. This ski was designed to be the all-mountain shredding tool, so let's start with all-mountain downhill performance. The ski provides a super stable feel when navigating hilly terrain. When the ski is placed on the edge it responds quickly and allows for wide turns and easy cruising while bombing steep slopes at high speed. The ski radius is 20m, which is right in the middle of the mountain range, allowing a little bit of everything. Much to my surprise, when I ripped this ski up a very steep, open marked trail in Jackson Hole with a speed of ~60-65 mph, I had my fair share of conversations underfoot. My surprise comes from the fact that the ski is harder and at 183cm it is quite long for me. But I think because of the pure poplar core the ski lacks moisture which would help reduce that. The flex and sidecut didn't help in tight spots either. I've had issues in the woods on the east coast and I feel these skis would not be easy for intermediate riders of all mountains to ski.
However, I have found that when loading steep, open powder fields on the west coast, the ski can open up and really load. In areas like Jackson Hole, where you have unlimited terrain and few obstacles, this ski can ride well in waist-deep snow for a ski that is 'only' 98 underfoot. The rocker's profile, like the wider Prodigies, floats smoothly. This ski is also amazing for hitting mountain boots and cliff drops. I had no trouble making deep cuts with the length of the ski and the abundant top rocker. Even on the days when the snow was heaviest, it was a lot of fun traversing the dirt with the widest rigid platform (for park/mountain skiing). This is an ideal ski for the ice and hard ice conditions of East Coast resorts, and you can go shorter for ease in the trees. When conditions change quickly throughout the day from cold to ice and slush, this ski can handle it all, something I really admired as I skied both in the park and on the mountain all day.
Stiffness is what sets this ski apart from many other park skis in the mid-fat and rockered range because the vast majority are quite soft (BDOg, Edollo, Blend, Soul Rider, etc.). This means you get true all-mountain stability that these skis don't offer. In general, I rode the faction mainly in the park, but for everyday conditions on the east coast in the mountains, it was great. On days when slush turns to dirt, this ski can cut it. I would recommend it as a pretty ideal ski to go out on days when the snow isn't the best because you still have maximum control on the edge and in the park even when the jumps takeoffs or the trails are a layer of ice.
Alright, enough mountain, let's dive into this Prodigy 2.0's park performance. I wouldn't necessarily say that Faction Prodigy 2.0 was created exclusively for the park, but it works really well. The ski feels softer and more supple towards the tip and tail, but the overall stiffness gives it plenty of pop underfoot. I want to start with the ability of the skis to hit the trails. Most of the time, I rode the Prodigy 2.0 at Sugarbush Parks, which is more of a feature packed skate park all the way to the top of the hill. Many times you lost speed between features and these skis prefer to go fast. You also have to think twice before lazily getting on the rails, because if you don't make some effort, they are difficult to bend. The swing weight and the weight of the ski made turning on the rails more difficult and required more work than most skis, but they were also long for me. Feature-wise, the ski is super stable, with the 98mm underfoot platform providing a good foundation for changes and such. I wouldn't say this is the ideal ski for nose presses or blunts and it's certainly hard to do nollies on rails because of the flex. Speed power has allowed me to pick up a lot of speed over short distances, so if you want that unexpected disaster on a flat run, this ski can provide the juice.
Where I think this ski stood out in the park was in the jumps. The Prodigy 2.0 is a go big or go home kind of ski, and it has the strength to keep you going no matter how big you go. The first day I took them jumping was a pretty quick day out in Snow King, WY for an incline style event. The jumps were very poorly constructed and flat which meant you had to compensate with pop and these skis were going to be over the moon. Same goes for Sugarbush, even with properly built jumps it was difficult to measure speed on these skis because they are so fast and explosive off the edge. I definitely took a few corks to the bottom of the landing until I found out that you don't need the speed you think you do. This is good and bad. Great in a situation where jump tracks are close, or if you go deep on a jump and need to sit down to get enough speed... you don't have to. Potentially bad in the sense that if you don't slow it down enough it will get huge. Fortunately, the skis withstand high-impact landings very well with a stable base underfoot. You can land in a pretty deep shift and the ski will help you boost that landing, compared to BDog where you would flex your noses massively on big shift landings. Even if you don't step on it, this ski has a super secure and stable feel, and when you hit that sweet spot, it feels so good.
I found this ski to perform better when taking big jumps. I will say one thing, the Prodigy 2.0 had a pretty heavy swingweight. It took me a while to get used to it in the air, but the momentum in the turns helped when you're turning in the last 180 of a pitch. At 183 cm, it allows for easy grips and adjustments. One of the highlights of this ski is the edge retention when peeling off the lips. You can make arched notches from heels due to the good adhesion of the edges. I wouldn't recommend the Prodigy 2.0 to someone just learning new jumping tricks, skiing is not very forgiving so if you take a slight 90 turn they won't be forgiving and you could explode. After 5-6 days on the hill to break the ski they smoothed out a bit underfoot but maintained good pop and quick response throughout the test.
In the past, Faction hasn't always had the best reputation for durability, and unfortunately, I've had no luck with that. I was upset that within 7-8 days I had already separated the edge from the sidewall of the ski quite significantly. It doesn't affect the way they ski too much, and you can just repair the edge with putty or epoxy. But at the same time, a ski of this caliber should not break so quickly.
The top layer of the skis held up well and there was no delamination at the tips or tails; so at the end of the day it's not the most durable ski, but I've definitely had worse. The skis were skiable at the end of the test, which is not always the case with mine [Editor's Note: The Ski Killer Strikes Again - Twig]. The bases were durable even after removing them from some rocks in the forest. Depending on whether you choose to use the Prodigy 2.0 as an all-mountain ski or a park ski, this will affect durability. If you're someone who likes to crush earrings and occasionally take a walk in the park, these should be great. If you're someone who skis in the park all day or wants to take advantage of street features, your chances of durability are slim.
Overall, I'd like to say that I was very excited about the snow performance of the Faction Prodigy 2.0 in terms of all-mountain riding. That's everything I like about a ski to places like Jackson Hole or A-Basin. The wider base of 98 underfoot is ideal for a variety of mountain conditions, from ice and sleet to powder. If you're a mid-size guy like me, they'll take you for a ride if you don't stay with them, but they break it as compensation. The cone and rocker on the tips and tails allow for a good buoyancy feel, but with a solid ski you can dig down steep slopes. This is something I would use for my daily driver despite the ski's durability issue. This ski can do it all, turn every mountain, crush pow, and speed through the park, all in the same day. Where skiing excels is in bigger, faster features. Big rails, big jumps, big side swipes. It has the stability to reach Mach-10 in any feature and make flat landings. The core also offers tons of power on the take offs of these features.
The only downside of this ski was the durability, but as said above, it depends on the use you are going to make of it. Overall I think this ski is great and if the durability was a little better than what I've experienced it would rank up there with some of the best skis in this category for me like the Liberty Helix 98. really fun to use look forward to trying out more Faction in the future.
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