2016-2017 Armada Norwalk

Will Brown reviews the Armada Norwalk for Blister Gear Review
Armada Norwalk

Ski: 2016-2017 Armada Norwalk, 189 cm

Available Lengths: 169, 179, 189 cm

Actual Tip-To-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 186.9 cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 136-141-116-132

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 140-116-132 mm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,179 & 2,213 grams

Sidecut Radius: 21 meters

Core Construction: Poplar/Ash + Fiberglass Laminate

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 76 / 59 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Boots / Bindings: Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum / Marker Jester (DIN 10)

Factory Recommended Line: ~8.5 cm behind center; ~85.0 cm from tail

Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Monarch Mountain, Summit County, CO.

Days Skied: 9

[Editor’s Note: Our tests were conducted on the 12/13 Norwalk, which was not changed for the 13/14, 14/15, 15/16, or 16/17 season, except for the graphics.]


If you’ve been waiting for this review and you just want to read about how the thing skis, skip down to the “Groomers/Hardpack” section. (Kirill Povarintsev, this probably applies to you, and you probably deserve the ‘Most Patient Blister Reader’ award. Please don’t strangle me if we ever meet in person.)

A Word About the Armada JJ, TST, and Norwalk

I’ve always appreciated the JJ’s fresh snow performance, super easy feel, and lighter weight, but I didn’t love how it handled outside of predominantly smooth, consistent conditions. The JJ is excellent on groomers and in fresh pow, but I wanted more when it came to variable conditions and the older tracked powder you’ll always find in resort, and that you want to make the most of.

In that sort of stuff, unless I remained relatively light on my feet, upright, and wasn’t carrying too much speed, the JJ’s shovels tended to fold and flop. With a seriously tight sidecut radius and a short effective edge, it felt almost too easy to throw the ski sideways, let the tails wash, and get bucked around in crud.

All and all, the JJ is light and smeary when things are fresh, but I always wished that fun, friendlier feel could be translated into a slightly “chargier,” more aggressive package.

And that’s exactly what the Norwalk is.

Simply put, the Norwalk is a fatter TST, or a more stable, directional JJ.

Groomers & Hardpack

The Norwalk’s camber profile is basically identical to the Armada TST, a light, quick, all-mountain ski that really rails turns on groomed snow. Not surprisingly since it’s a wider TST, the Norwalk also does well in firm conditions.

A 21-meter radius makes the ski pretty carvable for its size and width. At 115mm underfoot, the Norwalk feels a little reluctant to get up on edge if you’re not going very fast, but big high-angle carves are definitely doable with some speed.

I was a little worried that the relatively tight sidecut radius would make the ski feel unstable through longer carved turns—the sidecut might try to pull the ski farther across the fall-line than I wanted—but this wasn’t the case.

The Norwalk has a traditional tail and a lot of camber underfoot. These create a stable platform that you can press some real edge pressure into (either from a forward, more traditional stance while trying to crank the ski into its tightest radius, or by making longer, ripping carves). On groomers, I had more fun on the Norwalk when railing huge, fast turns, but it also makes quicker, skidded turns quite well.

Again, just like the narrower TST, the Norwalk has a lot of tip rocker that significantly shortens its shovel’s effective edge on hard snow. This frees up the forebody of the ski quite a bit, making it fairly easy to smear the shovel into slower, tight skidded turns on hardpack. You’ll still have to make a deliberate, strong turn to scrub out the ski’s full edge though its tail, but it definitely feels like the rockered shovel’s shortened running length makes this a lot easier than it otherwise would be.

The Norwalk is stable and powerful on groomers at speed. This is compared to a more sluggish, lumbering feel that some similarly sized but heavier and stouter skis can have (which I’ll compare to the Norwalk at the end of this review). However, the lighter swing weight and relatively nimble feel at low speed become even more noticeable when I got it in some fresh snow.

Fresh Powder

It started actually snowing in Colorado a couple of weeks ago, and Monarch Mountain has been getting hit fairly consistently with some heavy storm cycles. The scene is small and mellow with old, slow lifts and not a lot of vert, so if you want to get the hell out of Summit County for a change of scenery (and you can’t make it to Taos), head to Monarch on a storm day.

With 38” in 48 hours, a group of friends and I did, and it did not suck. Most of the untracked snow we skied in Mirkwood Basin was ~12” deep due to a little wind effect, but softer, more sheltered areas in the trees would let you sink into pockets of 24-inch-plus blower.

Norwalk - Monarch sidecountry

Moving through a mix of predominantly tight trees, the Norwalk was surprisingly quick to pivot and swing across the fall line. If there is a distinctly JJ-esque part of this ski, it’s the option of getting a quick and easy smear from the shovel.

When I did happen to pick up some speed in more open pockets, I could make a very quick move to throw the ski sideways as long as I was fairly deliberate about it. It’s not at all hard to dump speed or slash the tail out on the Norwalk, as again the ski does feel light and very willing to turn in powder. But it’s only going to if you really tell it to.

Float was never a problem on the Norwalk. Even in those deeper pockets when the shovels were well submerged, the generous splay and tapered shape let them track and glide really well, while the tails kept things supportive and in line with the tips.

There the JJ, or any relatively light powder ski with some tail rocker, will feel immediately more playful and won’t require a more traditional stance to really stay on top. If you’re not using the “short” shovel to intentionally press the tail out, the Norwalk is happy cutting very smooth longer turns. The tail never felt all that stiff in slightly heavier snow or when I wasn’t carrying much speed, but it definitely demands that you be ready to make a strong turn. Otherwise, as I’ve said, the tail will push back and the ski will more readily make larger and faster turns down the fall-line in fresh snow.

That supportive, fairly poppy, but not harsh flex of the Norwalk—particularly in the tail—makes it great on landings if you’re a little lighter like me, or just don’t need the stiffest, dampest board out there.

Some Stats

A bit more about the ski’s flex:

Armada provides a Flex Pattern rating for each of their skis, which is something we’d still like to see every company provide. It’s a relative scale, of course, but it is helpful to see how a particular ski measures up against the rest of a brand’s line.

Armada rates the flex of the Norwalk’s Tip, Waist, and Tail as 6, 7, and 6.5, respectively, which is exactly how they rate the flex of the TST and the JJ.

Not surprisingly, I feel the same way about the flex of the Norwalk as I do about the TST. As I’ve already said, the tail is not soft by any means, nor is it terribly stiff—firm and supportive, but still somewhat snappy. I’m not surprised to see that Armada rates the Norwalk’s tail the same as the JJ’s, but the difference that a traditional vs. generously rockered tail makes is huge, and ultimately more important in my mind when it comes to chop/crud stability.

61 comments on “2016-2017 Armada Norwalk”

  1. Hi Will,

    Awesome review, I was waiting for it since a couple of month :] !

    I have a good offer for either a TST or a Norwalk and after reading your review I still have two questions:

    – You say that the Jaguar Shark and Katana are obviously better than the Norwalk in crud, chop and other kind of variable snow but would you say that the Norwalk handles better this kind of snow than the TST or the added width doesn’t change anything?
    – I once spoke with an Armada representative who told me that Armada’s flex pattern isn’t always accurate and that sometimes two Armada skis will have the same grade on the flex pattern but one will actually be stiffer than the other; so is the Norwalk exactly as stiff as the TST or is it maybe a bit stiffer?


    • Hi Jeff,

      Wider skis tend to not get kicked around as much in chopped snow as narrower ones. So yes, more than anything, the added width of the Norwalk definitely adds a bit of material weight and dampening ability that lets it handle variable, crud, and chopped snow better than the TST.
      As for flex, the Norwalk is wider, a slightly different length, with a different sidecut radius, so those other factors make it hard to say that it’s flex is “exactly the same” as the TST. All I can really say is that the Norwalk’s flex seems to mimic that of the TST as a bigger, wider version – it’s not obviously a much stiffer, or disproportionately stiffer ski. I wasn’t surprised that Armada rated the two the same. I hope this is clear, let me know if it’s not.

      Will B

  2. Great review. Thanks for the beta. You have steered me towards the rocker2 115 to replace my bibby pro’s and I love them. I was wondering how this ski compares to the rocker 2 115. From the gist of your reviews in order of playfulness/ease of skiing in the versatile pow sk it goes (from easy to charger). Automatic, rocker 2 115, bibby, squad, governor, billy goat. Where does the Norwalk fit in this spectrum?

    • Hey Tom,

      In the line-up you’ve set up (which seems correct to me), I’d slot the Norwalk in between the Automatic and 115. The Norwalk has a wider tail than the Automatic, giving it a more balanced, less tapered feel in chop. As for the 115, see the comparison I lay out toward the end of the review – I think that communicates the differences about as concisely as I can, but let me know if you have any other questions.



  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the review. BG has by far the best reviews out there. I am considering getting the Norwalk, although your review makes me think perhaps it isn’t the best choice for the heavier tracked powder I experience in the Pacific Northwest. I am looking for a more powder oriented ski to supplement my current quiver-of-one, a Head Johnny 94 at 187cm. I don’t experience fresh powder all that frequently and definitely want a ski that excels in tracked powder,chop and crud. I have been considering the Bibby Pro as well, in large part due to the reviews here. Any other skis you can recommend? I primarily ski in Washington State, with periodic trips to BC.

    • Hey Mark,

      If I was out to ski a lot of heavier, tracked powder, along with the I think I would reach for something like the 186cm Moment Governor, 191 ON3P Caylor, and then maybe the Bibby Pro before the Norwalk. The Caylor has a little heavier, damper feel than the Bibby, and the Gov is a more directional, damper Bibby. Take a look at those reviews and see what you think. Also if you wanted a big, damp, more big-mountain style chop/crud ski, take a look at the Volkl Katana or Blizzard Bodacious. Hope this helps!


  4. Hi Will,

    Thorough review, as always, thanks. I am really interested in the Norwalks, but they are hard to find, so taking them out for a demo just hasn’t been an option for me thus far. Nonetheless, I think I’m going to take the plunge and buy them untested. My biggest dilemma is what length to get. I am 5′ 10″, 155 lbs, and like to ski fast (but not insanely so), especially through the trees. And I’m about to move to Revelstoke, where the soft tree and pillow skiing is perhaps unparalleled. If I weren’t interested in the Norwalks as predominantly tree-dancers and pillow-hoppers, then I would likely go with the 189s. But now I am leaning towards the 179s. But not without hesitation. I feel like they could ski just a little bit shorter for me than I would like. As a reference, my 2 other skis are Salomon Rocker2 122s in 184cm, and DPS Lotus 138s in 192cm. The pattern here is that with most skis I usually slot into the middle length of the three offered. With the Norwalks, should I instead be thinking of sacrificing that little bit of extra manoeuvrability in the name of a bit more running length and stability? Care to wade in with your $.02 here? Regards.

    • Hey Jeff,

      I think you’ll be ok with the 189s. The Norwalks are surprisingly light and maneuverable in the air and have a super easy turn initiation. You could likely make the 179s work in docile trees and pow, but I also worry that they would feel too short and lacking in stability if you’re ever trucking out a runout or taking some hits on pillows. I feel better about recommending the 189.



    • Hey Luca,

      I haven’t skied the Automatic in a whole lot of fresh snow, but from what I know the two skis feel mainly similar in pow. The biggest difference I see between the two is that the Norwalk feels more symmetrical in terms of its tip and tail widths – in fresh snow this means you can feel the tail push back at you as you move through the turn, where the Automatic’s is more willing to smear out and pivot initially. For the same reason (though as I say in the review, there are better crud/chop busting skis out there), the Norwalk is a little more predictable in really tracked up conditions. It’s also more stable on edge, and will make a more powerful, clean carve given the maintained width through the tail.

      Hope this helps, let me know if there are other points you’re wondering about.



  5. Spot on review! I bought the Norwalks in the 189 back in December. I mounted them up with dynafit vertical st’s. They have truly been a game changer, both in bounds and out. I skied about 75 days on them over the course of the season, here in telluride. Early season we diddnt get any snow, so it was pretty much just icy hard packed bumps and groomers. These skis became my go to, even though I have a much stiffer and narrower ski, the BD Kilowatt. The norwalks were just plain too much fun to ski in any conditions. They would open up on the groomers, with literally no speed limit, even with such a light binding. Skiing variable conditions just became pure fun, instead of work. Once the powder started falling in February, the skis steeped it up again. The JJ tip, combined with a TST tail just ripped through the powder, totally without any effort. The rocker allowed them to plain over the snow when exiting steep chutes in Telluride and Taos, while allowing easy turn initiation in the narrow chutes themselves. I’ve toured with them three times, and they are light enough that I still take them out over my kilowatts, something I did not expect when I bought them. Overall they have been an awesome ski for anything that I have been able to throw their way. I would strongly recommend them for anybody in need of a ski that will do it all with no speed limit what so ever! Buy them up while they are cheap in the off season!

  6. Hi Will, superb review as I’ve come to expect from Blister!
    Do you have any thoughts about the Norwalk vs Mr Pollard’s Opus as a one ski quiver for back and sidecountry New Zealand skiing with the odd Niseko pilgrimage thrown in?

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Matt,

      They’re both great powder skis, and either could be great for what you’re looking to do, but they’re each geared toward slightly different styles of riding. As I say in the review, the Norwalk is a little friendlier (lighter, less stiff, and easier to swing around in the trees) compared to other directional big-mountain skis – but it’s still a directional big-mountain powder ski. The Opus much softer, and is set up for throwing tricks, landing and skiing switch in pow. It’s not going to hold an edge as well though the tail (as it does have tail rocker, where the Norwalk is flat). So if you’re interested in a playful powder jib ski, that’s the Opus. The Norwalk makes much more sense for the directional skier who want’s more stability in chop and doesn’t want to ski switch. Hope this helps!


  7. Awesome review! I love these skis! GS turns on groomers to hitting big open powder lines, to stomping big drops. These skis rock!

  8. Hi Will,

    Big thanks for another great review. Slight tangent, but have you guys got your feet on the Magic J yet?

    Would be great to get your view.


  9. I’m thinking about buying these skis but not sure what length to get. I’m not a big gut- 5’9, ~153 lbs, but I ski hard and tend to go fast, even drop small stuff, mostly in Tahoe where there are also some trees and things tend to get bumped up quite a bit as well. Currently on deep days I ski a 181 Lib Tech Pow NAS and think it’s the right length for me. It’s stable at speed but doesn’t get away from me or have a mind of it’s own when I get in the backseat. It just has crap edge hold, which is why I’m looking at the Norwalk.

    My question is do I go with a 179 or 189? I know the Norwalk is easy to turn and “skis short”, but 189 seems really long. I was on skis that were too long for me for a few years a while back, and don’t want to fall into that again.

    Appreciate any advice!

    • Hey Pallavicini,

      The Norwalk obviously has traditional camber through the tail, so it’s automatically going to feel more locked in on edge that your 181 Lib Tech’s (which have tail rocker). Unless you think your 181s are verging on too short, think you’re right about going with the 179 Norwalk. The 189s, are roughly 4cms taller than my height, and the 179s are roughly 4cms taller than you at 5’9″ – so it seems like you would get a similar feel from the ski.

      Hope this helps, and let us know what you decide and how it works out!


  10. I was looking at this ski and i’m debating on getting the Armada Norwalk 2014 or the Line Sick Day 110. I ski all the mountians in the Summit County, and most everything on the mountain (trees, mogels, groomers, couple laps in the park for fun). I wanted to know which would be the best ski for me.

    • Hey Will,

      For Summit Co, either ski could be made to work, but it sounds like the Sick Day might make a bit more sense for you. The Norwalk is light and quick in the trees and holds an edge very well considering that it is primarily a powder ski, but I wouldn’t think of taking the Norwalk in the park, and I would definitely want something a little narrower if I planned to be skiing bumps much at all. I haven’t skied the Sick Day 110 (I hope to do a 2nd Look to Dana Allen’s review soon), but I think that ski is more what you’re looking for. Dana says the ski is light and quick, so you should be able to work it through really quick turns well for it’s size.

      Hope this helps – you might consider asking Dana about the Sick Day for tight tree skiing in his review.

      Will B

  11. Hi Will,

    I’ve just bought the Rossignol Scimitar in 178 (it was a bargain) but although I’ve found them to be fantastic on smooth groomers whether soft or firm, I worry that I didn’t give myself enough credit when I decided the 178 would be enough for me. I’m 27, 6 feet and 155 pounds and I’m a fast and aggressive skier.
    I bought the 178 thinking it would give me an easy time in tight trees, where I’m a less confident skier, and I’ve had a great time on them in leaner conditions, but after a pretty big fall of quite heavy snow last night I found myself leaning back quite a lot to keep the tips planing in deep snow, and even skiing fast down chopped up groomers to the lift I felt as if I had to ski on my heels to stop myself from lurching forward all the time. I can’t help but think I might be better off on a slightly longer wider ski. I don’t really care for bumps, so I’m looking for a ski that will be good in a variety of off piste conditions without being a complete tanker in the trees, and can rage down chopped snow and hold an edge on hardpack. Given what I’m feeling about the 178 Scimitar, how would you feel recommending the 189 Norwalk?


    • Hey Tom,

      No problem at all. At 6′ I’m not surprised the Scimitar feels a little short in choppy snow and at speed. As for the Norwalk as an alternative, it is going to feel a whole lot more stable in general, and still fairly quick in the trees, for its size and width as a powder ski, but not in the same league of quick-and-light as the much narrower Scimitar. Thinking about skis that might be somewhere in between, you could check out the 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108, Line Sir Francis Bacon, or Blizzard Peacemaker. They’re all more playful skis, but have a little more width and length to give a bit more stability than the Scimitar. Another more directional option could be the Armada TST. Give those a look and see what you think. Hope this helps!


  12. Will,

    Thanks for your comments and advice. I managed to try a pair of TSTs and had an absolute blast on them, go anywhere and they like a good bit of speed, so they’re really my kind of ski. In the end I was able to find a better price on the Norwalk, so I went with them reasoning that if I like the TST and I already have the smaller more nimble Scimitar, I might as well go with a big chunky ski to complete my accidental quiver of two.
    I’ve been on them for about a week now and I’m pulling bigger and bigger grins the more hours I get to ski them. They’re happy hooning at loony speeds on groomers, and in fresh powder I’ve found they’re really easy to ski. I can easily slow down and make tight turns in chokes and trees, but with a bit of room to run they feel fantastic making huge arcs and generally going as fast as possible. I’ve got a bit out of shape off some drops and fast airs but finding myself sitting on the backs of the skis at goggle peeling speed has always been save-able. These things slow down time.
    I do have my work cut out if I’m trying to make short turns in nasty wind affected snow or heavily tracked out pow, where I agree with your comment about the tails wanting to grab and point down the fall line, but I’m happy to work on my technique to get the most out of the Norwalk in those conditions. I’m stoked on these skis – they’re helping me take my skiing to the next level.

  13. Hey Will,

    I live in the NW, but in a town that doesn’t have a ski shop with much variety. I am in the market for some powder skis (~115 mm), and demoed these about 3 times this year, yesterday being the most recent of those days. I LOVED them and am extremely tempted to buy them, but I am also very much interested in the Nordica La Nina’s, mainly based on the their reviews. They are the same ski as the Helldorado and the Patron (one has metal, the other doesn’t), and was wondering what your opinion is on what the more appropriate ski would be in this climate. I am 140, female, 5’6″, fairly aggressive skier who will mainly use these during the deeper days. My everything ski is the Kastle BMX98. Do you know how they compare to the La Ninas, other than having non-rocker tail and a traditional camber? What are both of their pros and cons? Thank you!

    • Hi Andrea,

      In general the Norwalk feels more directional, meaning its tail is more locked as it pushed back at you in soft snow, where the La Nina is going to have a looser tail and, slightly more playful feel. So for true, deeper powder days, either ski would do, but they’re each going to offer a bit of a different feel. The one advantage, I suppose, of the Norwalk is that due to its traditional, flat tail, it’s going to be more stable and offer a stronger edge hold on groomers. But given that you have your BMX98 as an everyday ski, I don’t think that should factor in as much. If you liked the feel of the Norwalk, then go for it. If you are pretty confident you’d rather a ski with a looser, surfier style, then the La Nina would probably suit better.

      Hope this helps!


  14. I recently bought the Armada Norlwalk’s in a 189 and took em out in a couple days of fresh up in Tahoe, Heavenly and Kirk. Let me start off by saying I had been skiing with 174 Atomic SXB5. This was my first venture into the new technology and man, I was missing out. I charged the norwalk’s really hard in every different type of snow that both Kirk and Heavenly could thrown at me, fresh powder, crud, heavy crud and groomers, they handled everything great, especially on the groomers, I was a little scared that they wouldn’t have the speed or edge control that the atomic’s had but they did and were very fast and almost effortless edge to edge. All in all, a great ski and I believe will be a one ski quiver.

  15. Hi- up front- a great review!

    I’m now tossing up between the Line Supernatural 115’s or the Armada Norwalks. You mentioned they are pretty similar.

    To save you having to read a long explanation of my ski style and preferences, can you highlight the main differences between the two? It’ll help me decide which would be best as I’m unable to demo the Norwalks.


    • Hey Sam,

      I mentioned the Line Influence 115. The Influence series was still around during the 12/13 season when I wrote this review, but it was replaced this past season (13/14) by the Supernatural series. I put a little time on the Influence 115 a few seasons ago, but haven’t skied the Supernatural 115. However the skis are almost identical; they have the same dimensions and turn radii in a 186cm length. While I can’t be certain, I believe the only difference between the Influence 115 and the Supernatural 115 is their sidewall material. Knowing that, I’ll make some guesses about the Supernatural 115 vs. Norwalk.

      They’re certainly both part of the same genre of lighter, less demanding, more directional powder skis and are more similar than they are different. I think the most significant difference between the two is that the Supernatural 115 has a little tail rocker. As a result, it’s probably going to favor a slightly lighter, center-balanced, more upright skiing style (though nothing like a truly center-mounted jib ski). With it’s flat tail, I would imagine the Norwalk will let you lean into it more on a turn and drive the shovels harder; it’s going to provide a little more stability in crud, I would think, and let you carve it harder on groomers. So I’d say if you really like the feeling of a flat, traditional tail, but still want something relatively light and maneuverable in this class, go with the Norwalk. If you want something that’s going to be a touch more playful, but still be able to be skied aggressively, opt for the Supernatural 115.

      Let us know what you go with and how you like it!

      Will B

  16. Hi Will,

    I really appreciate your reviews!

    I have a good offer for either a Katana or a Norwalk and after reading your reviews about both skis I still have some questions: I am searching for a 2nd ski to my racecarver that works well in powder, but still stays maneuverable and controllable on groomers. Over here in Germany, unfortunately it is not often that there is so much powder that you can ski in the deep snow the whole day. Therefore I need a powder ski that can rail on some groomers, too.
    Which of the two skis is better in powder and which is better on groomers?
    Which one suits better for me?
    By the way I am 18 years old, 5’8” and I weight 160 lbs, I have been skiing for 15 year now…
    I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Many thanks for your help in advance.

    • Hey, Daniel – I’ll jump in here:

      For powder, Best to Worst I would rank this way: Automatic, Norwalk, Katana.

      For groomers, it’s harder to say. The Katana doesn’t really do short turns on groomers. The Automatic can. The Katana is a serious, stiff ski that is amazing at highspeeds and bigger turns. It doesn’t want to be skied slowly or casually, while you can do that on the Automatic or Norwalk.

      At your height and weight, it seems to me that the Norwalk might give you the best blend of all of the characteristics you’re looking for: maybe not quite as much float as the Automatics, but it doesn’t sound like you’re skiing really deep snow anyway. And the Norwalk won’t be as burly as the Katana, but maybe that’s a good fit for what you’re looking for? I’d be leaning Norwalk for you.

  17. Hey, fantastic review (as I’ve come to expect on BG). Sizing question: trying to decide between Norwalk 179 and 189. I skied 185 JJs for 2 seasons and loved them esp the playfullness in pow and low swing weight — I mounted the JJs tele last year and they work great as a tele ski and now looking to fill the gap in my alpine quiver and looking at the Norwalk – the one complaint I had about the JJs was a little lack of stability at high speed – generally I like a similar ski for tele vs alpine but like the tele skis a little softer/more forgiving/quicker than alpine setups – so the Norwalk seem like they could be perfect if I want a feel similar to JJ but with more beef for charging alpine – so given that JJ 185 seemed the right size for me I was assuming the Norwalk 179 would be the right size given the longer running length – would you agree with that?

    Other skis I’ve owned for relative comparison on size (all seem about the right size): JJ 185 (sweet), Opus 185 (too heavy), Cochise 177 (tail a bit too stiff), BD Convert 180 (very nice, used for AT), Legend Pro 2007 176 (just right used on firm days), Huge Trouble 185 (nice but they’d work better with a bit of nose rocker); also SFB 178 but these were too short and should have gone 184 (in fact the SFBs measured short and the 178s were more like a 172). Me: 150, 5’7″ aggressive expert – ski mostly in PNW and BC. Norwalks would be mounted alpine for resort, cat ski etc on pow days but would take em out for crud busting / variable snow as well. I do ski the trees a lot. Thanks!

    • Hey Bill,

      If you’ve been mostly happy with your JJs in 185, but want a little more stability, then the Norwalk in a 189 would seem to be the ticket; the flat tail will do that for you, plus the touch of added length. I wouldn’t think they would seem worlds bigger and more demanding than your JJs, just noticeably more stable in chop while requiring a little more input to pivot in the trees. I worry that the shorter 179 Norwalk wouldn’t get you enough of the added stability you’re looking for over your 185 JJs, even though it has no tail rocker.

      Hope this helps you!


  18. Hey Will,

    awesome review! I have been skiing the Katana for the last 2 years and now I am looking for a new powder ski. The Norwalk sounds really interesting…
    I often spent time on groomers with my Katana, how does the Norwalk perform on groomers? I can not believe that you can ski groomers with the Norwalk because it that much tip rocker.
    My Katana floated well in powder, does the Norwalk float a lot better?
    What are both of their pros and cons?
    Thank you!


    • Hi Peter,

      I talk about the Norwalk’s feel on groomers on the first page of the review, so I think your questions should be answered there. As for pow performance, I would say the Norwalk does float a bit better than the Katana in so far as it will plane up more quickly (at a lower speed) in deep snow and provide a little more float in general. But this comes with a trade-off in terms of the Norwalk’s stability in rough, hard conditions (see my comparisons to skis like the Jag Shark and Katana on the second page of the review).

      Hope this helps!


  19. Hi Will,

    Again, here’s someone trying to decide on the right length of Norwalk, having read all of your -great- review and all the comments… I am an advanced (and improving) skier, like to do a mix of touring and resort skiing in the Alps, 163lbs 5’11”. Currently I ski Black Diamond Aspects @176 (130-90-117), and would like something to step up my game, especially on deeper days.

    My story in brief: While not as strong a skier that I would like one of those Völkl crud busters, I would like something more stable than the Aspects in tracked snow, and that will also go faster, float better and not have the tip-catchy feel in powder. On one 50cm dump day in Corvatsch I found myself getting stuck and leaning back in the medium-steep parts- so I want the rocker and the extra width. I also prefer directional over surfy. When trying to go quicker on top of deep snow, I find it difficult to balance forward/aft, and also find the Aspect’s a little too eager to turn in. Apart from the above mentioned issues I found I could handle the length of the Aspect’s well, and am not sure about the 189 Norwalks… Would they possibly feel similar in handling length to the 176 Aspects considering they have a distinct tip rocker?

    Any thoughts- or is my input not conclusive enough?
    Many thanks and regards from Austria,

    • Hey Andrew,

      Given what you’ve said about the Aspects, the Norwalk is a great choice; I think they’ll do everything you want. As for sizing, yes, the 189s are going to ski shorter than they measure, but at the same time, they’re going to feel like a much wider, heavier ski relative to your Aspects, even in a 179, I would imagine. This is a really tough call – Armada’s sizing scheme with the Norwalk and TST put so many people in between sizes! But given that you’re an improving skier, and that you’re used to a very light, much narrower ski, I think I feel a little better about recommending the 179 over the 189 for you. That is, unless you’ve been on a ski around 190cm in length that you thought was totally manageable. Hope this helps you.



  20. First off, thanks for the bounty of information on the Norwalks. I appreciate the in-depth reviews and am thinking about adding the Norwalk as the “charger” ski to my quiver.

    I have a quick sizing question for a lighter weight guy. I am 5’8” and weigh 135 lbs and was thinking about 169s, but worry that they might be too short. I am an advance/expert skier who is moving to CO (grew up skiing VT). I currently ride the 175 Armada ARV and have a pair of 170 Armada Magic J’s for the rare powder day.

    I know that the Norwalk skis short, but will the 169s do? Or should I go longer?


    • Hey Ryan,

      How do you like the feel of your Magic J’s in terms of length? Does that ski feel very easy to pivot around / kinda squirrely? Or do they feel pretty solid? If they feel very manageable, then I’d say go with the 179 Norwalks, but if you feel like you don’t want much “more ski” than those, just something with more stability through the tail, then I’d say opt for the 169s.

      Hope this helps you!


  21. Hi Will!

    Nice review! I am an Obsethed Rider with 180cm and 95kg, longing for more speed stability and
    also more possibilitys to deal with “not so perfect” conditions without loosing float and too much of the playfulness.

    I had the K2 Sideseth in mind when stumbling upon the norwalk.
    To me it seems they are pretty much the same kind of ski – can u help out giving your opinion on those 2.

    There are some good offers fpr the Magic J and the Atomic Automatic but I am not about if that’s really what I need.

    Thank you very much in advance for the reviw and the help

    • Hi Alex,

      I’m very sorry to not get back to you sooner, I missed your comment until now. You may have made a decision already, and if so, let us know how you’re liking the ski. Unfortunately I never skied the Sideseth, nor the new Annex 118 (effectively it’s replacement) so I can’t comment on how it compares to the Norwalk. But given what you’ve said you’re looking for, I would think the Nowalk could work well, or check out the Moment Blister Pro.



  22. Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the great and very informative reviews here! Wonderful to spend hours checking all these details (and comments) on different skis.
    Question on the Armada Norwalk vs TST. I was looking at the TST as my all mountain / powder ski (already have a dedicated ski for groomers). I’d like it to be manageable in trees and want to survive the bumps but primarily want enough float for knee-deep powder. But, as I am a big guy – 6ft4 and 190lbs – should I go for the slightly fatter Norwalk with length 189 (116 underfoot) or will the slightly longer 192 TST (103 underfoot) work better for me…
    Love to hear your thoughts on this.
    Some more background info on me if you like. Some 10 yrs of experience with 2-3 weekly ski trips every year in the alps. This year going for a 2 week trip to BC so looking for one good pair to take with me. Like to ski fast and powerful on groomers, but a bit more reserved offpiste. Don’t ski switch and no (intentional) air. Not blasting down everything like a pro but still decent skiing.

  23. Will:

    You have commented briefly on the Norwalks vs. Automatics in the past. Could you comment further. I am 5’9″, 155 lbs. I ski in Montana and Utah. I have a pair of JJs (175 cm) which are playful, easy to turn in the trees but nearly incapable in the hard groomed and heavy crud. I also have some 185 cm Opus: better in the crud, OK in the hard groomed, good in the trees but I have to work at it because of their length (too long). I spend as much time in the trees as possible (when there is snow). I try to avoid the hard groomed but sometimes it’s just not possible.

    That said, I need a ski which handles the groomed and crud(certainly better than the JJs), is very powder capable, and is relatively playful in the trees. Automatic vs. Norwalk? Which do you recommend?

    Much appreciated…

    • Hi Alan (and Greg, below),

      The Automatic and Norwalk are both good options, and will be better on groomers / firm snow than the Opus & JJ. It’s been quite a while since I’ve skied either ski, admittedly, but as I remember, the Automatic might be a little quicker and less demanding in trees, given its more tapered, rockered tail, but the Norwalk will bite harder on groomers. So between those two, if it’s quickness in trees you’re after, I’d give a slight nod to the Automatic. But to be clear, I think either ski would be enjoyable; they’re both pretty similar with respect to quickness / tree performance.



  24. I live in new york and am looking for a soft snow ski, I have pair of 12/13 armada el reys in 178 they are pretty stiff and poppy but are knocked all over the place in crud. I do a good bit of charging heavy crud and spend some time in the trees, but need something that can still rip some groomers. I am used to a stiff full cambered ski and like the support in the tails my skis have but want something a bit more damp and that can float and doesn’t mind smaller cliffs and some decent air time. I like the Norwalk any other recommendations? I’m 17, 165ish and 6’0″ advanced.

    • Hi Matt,

      A lot of skis might fit the bill, given what you’ve said, but it sounds like the Line Supernatural 108 could be a good fit. Maybe give our reviews of that ski a read? Hope this helps,


  25. Hey Will

    After your review on the TST I bought them and I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Thank you so much, your review was really spot on! I love how I can rail turns on groomers while still enjoy deeper stuff or playing in the trees. It is really my type of ski and it made my holiday in verbier last week.

    However, I was really inspired by my friend who brought his bodacious as his allmountain quiver of one. I felt that sometimes I would enjoy a wider ski and I think that the Norwalk could be a good option for me.

    I won’t be able to afford two pairs so I would use the Norwalk as my allmountain option. Do you think this is a good idea? I really love the TST so I feel it makes sense. Or do you think the step up is too big?

    How would I experience this ski compared to TST? Is there another ski you would recommend that has a similar feel that is a little bit more off piste oriented: fun, playful, floaty but still allows me to enjoy groomers (albeit not as good of course).

    Thanks so much!


    • If you like the TST, but want a slightly fatter one, then the Norwalk is it. I bought the Norwalk 189 after trying the TST and I absolutely love it. It rages through pow, feels substantial on landings, carves powerfully on groomers and as long as you get up on the shovels and ski deliberately it can be diced through mank in the trees without feeling like a barge. Wicked ski, and the only ski in my alpine quiver.

      Me: 183cm, 73kg, advanced skier

      • Thanks Tom! Yeah it really sounds like a fantastic ski. Just curious why I haven’t heard more about it.

        Will try and get my hands on a pair on sale if possible. I really like the graphics from 2013, not so much 2014 or 2015 (not that it matters or that TST looks any better)

        Thanks again!

  26. Hi again Will,

    Just to add to my post above. I’ve continued researching this and had a few recommendations for which ski to buy. Like I said, I love the TST but want a wider option as similar as possible in it’s characteristics as a one-quiver ski. The recommendations I’ve received are Norwalk, Q-115, Super7, Nordica Patron and Line Supernatural 115. Could you please tell me how these compare to the TST?

    Many thanks!

  27. Will,
    Thinking of adding another powder ski for PNW (Mammoth) in my quiver. Advanced skier about 5’11 185 lbs. I’ve got an older 190 Katana and a 196 Praxis Protest. Love skiing the Katana, but sometimes wish for a bit more float and playfulness, while keeping its charging ability. Thinking of adding a ski between the Katana and the Protest. Thinking a directional charger a bit more playful than the Katana and narrower than the Protest. Think blue bird day after storm when afternoon is sure to be heavy cut up snow.

    I’m kind of floating between something like the Norwalk, 2016 Bodacious, or possibly the carbon V werks Katana. I think the carbon Katana would be too similar to the metal Katana, and I like my metal Katana. I found the older Pure DPS 112 RP not quite enough of a crud buster at speed? Any thought would be appreciated.


  28. Thanks for the great review Will! Based on your thoughts, I’ve been skiing the Norwalk in 179cm for the past month and couldn’t be happier.

    A few stats:
    6’1″ 165lbs telemark skier in Northern California, using 22-design Axl and BD Push 4-buckle boots. Boot center mount position.

    Last pair of skis were the Blizzard Bonafide, but they de-laminated (mounting error I suspect, REI offered to replace the skis, and I replaced them with the Norwalks). I liked the Bones, but I don’t think I really knew what I was missing.

    Is there anything more fun that surfy carved tele turns? Armada have managed to dial the Norwalks such that they behave similarly in chopped wet powder, corn, slush, groomers and low angle moguls. That means I can keep my hard-earned tele turn across a much wider range of conditions than I ever could before. They don’t inspire huge confidence on windswept hardpack or ice, but that’s not what I ski if I can help it. At 179, they ski pretty short, but frankly that’s great in the trees and I can get the additional length I need in a turn with a lower stance. If I were skiing alpine I would size up for sure.

    Touring, well, I suffer a bit climbing in heavy 4 buckle boots and Axls, and the ski’s themselves are not featherweight, but it might be worth it on the down, when my friends are saying “variable conditions” and it all felt buttery to me?

    I’ll have ’em with me in Japan next week, so hopefully will see how they do in some dry powder. So far, they feel like my one-ski tele quiver for the next few seasons.


  29. Hey fellas, not sure if you still respond to reviews this old, but thought I’d ask anyway. I’m 6′, 215# w/o gear. I’ve been on the 12-13 squad 7s with dukes for several years and love their ability to charge down the fall line and smear in tight spaces. I got sick of my too light/soft touring ski (original 13/14 whitedot carbonlite director 188) w/ g3 ions and have since been doing resistance training by touring with the heavy setup. I found a smoking deal on some 189 norwalks and am considering mounting my ions to those as a touring ski. I realize they won’t be quite as loose as the squads due to the lack of tail rocker, but should be fine in tight spaces with the shorter radius and (probably) slightly softer flex. I’ve skied the squads mounted at 0 and -2, and vastly prefer -2. Would probably mount the Norwalks at -2 as well, what do you think?

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