Looking for a versatile new ski? Ski Club took Faction's Dictator and Prodigy models out for a spin

Faction are blazing a trail in ski design, there’s a reason so many of their sponsored female riders are reaching international podiums around the world. Mathilde Gremaud, Sarah Hoefflin and Kelly Sildaru … I see you! Over at Ski Club we wanted to see for ourselves what the 19/20 season Dictator and Prodigy models could offer so we put the skis to the test on one of our off piste Freshtracks holidays to Tignes and Val d’Isère . Here’s what Content Editor Sophie Mead and Operations Manager Holly Boucher thought of the industry-leading equipment.    

The first thing that you should know is that the X range is that it's exactly the same as the main range, just with different topsheets. From my point of view, it was always going to be hard to beat the 18/19 Dictator 2.0X because it is an outstanding ski which changed my perception of what ski works for me. As the first directional ski I had tried, it showed just how much of a difference the shape of a ski can make to your technique and control.

Faction have clearly listened to feedback about it and thought, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! They took a winner and put bells on it for the new season, with the only change being an elliptical radius to make the ski easier to turn. They even kept the hot pink topsheet. Spicy!

Handling & terrain

The biggest difference with my testing of this year’s model is the terrain I was able to test it on. Whereas earlier in the season I put the Dictator through its paces mainly on piste, the next time around it was my weapon of choice for an off piste-specific trip with Ski Club.

It was used for spring skiing on hard-packed snow which had been baking in the sun for two weeks. There were several different types of snow to navigate: hard crust, ice and pockets of softer snow plus heavy slush… basically one of everything and enough to keep me on my toes. The Dictator has a good bit of weight to it, and that weight helps it to charge through rough terrain, keeping the rider steady on uneven ground. Despite the weight however, it is responsive enough. When moving from one type of snow to the next, the ski listened to direction and did as it was told.

After a dump of snow mid-week, I took the Dictators out into the powder to see what those rockers had to say. The wider ski underfoot helped me float on the fresh stuff and cruise along easily on traverses. On piste, these skis are absolutely perfect for charging hard and thrive on big arcing turns while also being responsive enough for shorter turns where necessary. In whiteout conditions, the Dictators feel sturdy and stable underfoot, even if you are skiing into the mist like we were. You can count on its bulletproof construction to sail through crud and crust, keeping you upright.

If you would like to know more about what different type of ski exist, take a look at our handy guide and discover more about mountain safety with our comprehensive info pages. 

Sophie & Holly head off to test the Dictator and Prodigy skis (R-L)

Technical & design

The reason the Dictator can annihilate anything in its path is due to its dual titanal layers which means it has two sheets of metal running through it. The radius is elliptical in the new model and this makes the ski easier to turn. Although this is a freeride ski, it has a flat tail built for speed and enhanced edge grip. For me, this really helps to feel in control both on piste and out in the backcountry - whether I’m having a gentle cruise or giving it some welly. The tail also has a slight rocker which means you have no excuse not to slash your turns. One thing I noticed was that skis were a little long for me personally, I am 5”5 and the length was 171. While this length is fine off piste as the rocker allows you to float, on piste I found the tips flapped a bit and my control was affected. In my case, a shorter ski would be beneficial.  

The Dictator design is bright and bold, just like its predecessors. It’s a ski that says: ‘I’m here to make an impact!’ Just like its namesake. The X range also features the green 1.0X ski and the main range is available in blue, black, orange, yellow, pink and green! For the second year running, I was really blown away by the performance of this ski and would recommend it to any intermediate to advanced skier looking to build their confidence and experience on varied snow conditions. 

The Dictator 2.0X is available from £549, find it here.

Holly Boucher goes powder-hunting with the Prodigy 1.0X

The Prodigy 1.0X: so much more than a park ski

Having skied the Dictators for a full week, I noticed several changes when I swapped over to the Prodigy 1.0X. I had been skiing a 171cm directional ski so it was necessary to manoeuvre a large amount of the length aside from the rocker. Changing to the Prodigy, the fact that it had twin tips meant less of the ski was touching the ground, so it instantly felt lighter. The lightweight feel with twin tips gave the ski a very agile, playful feel compared to the weight of the Dictator and personally this is a ski I would choose for powder over the Dictator, simply due its agility.

It made me realise that a longer ski can make quite a difference to your control, but of course it completely depends on the ability of the user. It doesn’t surprise me that the Prodigy has helped women reach podiums across several different disciplines, as it is a ski which brings a fun side out of you and encourages you to push your boundaries. In powder and on steeps, it excels at speedy turns and its lightweight construction helps it to float. One area which doesn’t rate highly however is its traversing ability. With less weight, it often got stuck and required a lot of pushing to follow traverses or travel along flats. We didn’t test it in the park, but the flex and playfulness tell me it would be a great ski for freestyle.Testing it outside of the park shows that it is so much more than a park ski, it can be your go-to ski for enjoying the whole mountain.

Operations Manager Holly Boucher says:

I really loved these skis. They are playful and light which made them nippy through the trees in Val D’Isère. I found them great both on and off piste and easy to handle. They helped me feel confident on all the terrain we tackled (which was really varied!) During our off piste trip to Tignes, we faced soft powder, heavy powder, moguls, groomers, icy conditions and patchy slopes. The Prodigy 1.0X skis allowed me to glide through the powder and swap into switch with no effort. The shape cut through icy patches really well and despite skiing over stones, mud and grass, the underside didn’t chip and the skis just look so good! The only downside is that due to the lighter weight, they were slower on flats and traverses. When travelling fast, the fronts tended to flap a bit and felt slightly unstable at times, so I would definitely say that this ski is suited more to powder than groomers. However, it is an awesome all mountain ski and I would highly recommend it. 
 
The Prodigy 1.0X is available from £419 find it here.

 

Ski Tests are coming! Keep your eyes peeled for reviews and videos of new season skis coming soon to our website.