2017-2018 Faction Candide 3.0

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Faction Candide 3.0 for Blister Gear Review
Faction Candide 3.0

Ski: 2016-2017 Faction Candide 3.0 (aka, “CT 3.0”), 186 cm

Available Lengths: 162, 169, 176, 182, 186, 192, 204 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.8 cm

Stated Weight per Ski (182 cm): 1850 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (186 cm): 1912 & 1924 grams

Stated Dimensions: 136-108-132 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.0-107.5-130.0 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 22 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~69 mm / ~59 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0-1 mm

Core: Balsa / Flax, with titanal mounting plates

Base: Diecut P-Tex 4000

Factory Recommended Mount Point:

  • Candide Line: -2.9 cm from center; 89.0 cm from tail
  • All Mountain Line: -6.9 cm from center; 85.0 cm from tail (4 cm behind Candide line)

Days Tested: 12

Test Locations: Ski Santa Fe & Taos Ski Valley, NM

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Candide 3.0, which was not changed for 17/18, apart from graphics.]


Any time you stamp on a ski the name of one of the greatest skiers of all time (too soon? are we all already in agreement?), there is going to be interest. But the Candide Thovex 3.0 also happens to be an interesting-looking ski, so we’ve been doubly intrigued for a while now — as have many of you, as evinced by the volume of requests we’ve received to review the CT 3.0.

Faction sums the CT 3.0 like this:

“All-mountain, all the time. The VIP of the Candide Thovex series, the multi-award winning Candide 3.0 has been updated to include micro-cap construction and Titanal mounting plates. With a versatile 108mm waist, lightweight balsa/flax hybrid core, slight camber underfoot and rockered tip and tail, the Candide 3.0 takes you from buttering lips to dropping cliffs. The mountain is your playground.”

Welp, that sure sounds like we’re in one-ski quiver territory here — “all-mountain, all the time.” But let’s take a closer look…

Flex Pattern

It’s nice and strong. I’d sum it up like this:

Tips: 6/7

Shovels: 7/8

Underfoot: 10

Behind the Heel piece: 9/8

Tails: 7

There are no super-soft butter zones on this ski, and the flex pattern feels solid. In fact, if this ski were heavier, the ski would start creeping into the ‘pretty stout’ category — especially if you’re viewing the CT 3.0 as an all-mountain jib ski.


In the hand, these things feel quite light. And at 1912 & 1924 g, they are. We’ll say a bit more about this when we get to the Comparisons section, but it’s hard to find too many direct comparisons that have this shape + this flex pattern + this low weight.

But one thing worth noting here — check out Faction’s own classification of the 3.0:

Review of the Faction CT 3.0 by Blister Review
Note how touring-oriented Faction classifies the CT 3.0

The Candide 3.0 gets the highest marks in Freeride and Touring. And I think the latter category has been an underestimated or downplayed component of this ski. Honestly, the 3.0 is so light that I would be a bit nervous about breaking it out for everyday, inbounds use regardless of the conditions. I don’t think you want to go slam around or land on a bunch of rocks on this ski.

But for use as very playful backcountry ski, or as a “50/50” ski, to be broken out in the resort when coverage is good and the conditions aren’t horrible? The 3.0 starts to look more and more interesting.

Camber Underfoot

Faction says the CT 3.0 has 2 mm of traditional camber underfoot, but man, having looked at a whole bunch of production CT 3.0s, I would describe this ski as flat underfoot. See for yourself in our Rocker Pics; you can see a sliver of light under the center of the ski — so we’ll go ahead and say these have about 1 mm of camber — but we’ve reviewed a number of skis that have been described as “flat” … and they’ve basically looked like this.

Some Comparisons

As we noted above, while there are a ton of skis in the playful all-mountain / all-mountain jib ski category, there are few skis out there that seem to be occupying the exact space of the CT 3.0. But we’ll list some more-or-less direct comparisons, and that will actually help tell the story of what makes the Candide 3.0 unique.

Moment Meridian

Like the CT 3.0, the Meridian has a solid flex pattern, but it comes in heavier than the CT 3.0, and the CT 3.0 has a much more subtle rocker profile. Still, we’re curious to A/B these two skis, see how similar or different they feel on snow.

Faction Chapter 106

We’ve been getting more time on the Chapter 106 (and have already written about it and all the other skis mentioned below in our Winter Buyer’s Guide). The CT 3.0 and Chapter 106 are comparable in weight, so we’re curious to see how much they differ in terms of playfulness; how hard they can be pushed; and if one ski is clearly the better choice for directional skiers.

Rossignol Soul 7 HD

Both skis are particularly strong underfoot, but the Soul 7 HD is more than 100 g heavier per ski and has a less jibby shape…

ON3P Kartel 108

The Kartel 108 is already one of our favorites in the ‘playful all-mountain skis’ category. Could the CT 3.0 be viewed as a lighter, more touring-oriented version?

Liberty Skis Origin 106

Liberty is also billing the Origin 106 as a one-ski quiver, and it’s another ski that comes in pretty light and could make sense as a 50/50 tool. We’re particularly interested to see how the skis compare in terms of their respective hard-snow and soft-snow performance.


Become a Blister Member to read our initial on-snow thoughts on the Candide 3.0.

NEXT: Full Review

28 comments on “2017-2018 Faction Candide 3.0”

  1. So simply not burly enough for you to consider a true everyday ski, kinda like a the vwerks katana?… which i wonder.. did you ever manage to blow up? Continuing my hunt for a 1 ski out west quiver, and i can’t be terribly picky about conditions in march, when i usually go.

    • Hmmm, I think the V-Werks Katana is a pretty different story — I always caution against subjecting the V-Werks’ construction to rock hits, so taking it out at least when coverage is good. (And no, we haven’t blown up any of the V-Werks skis — the Katana, BMT 109, and BMT 122. But I did put a pretty significant dent on the base / under the binding area of the Katana. The ski still works fine, but it just underscores the point — it’s dumb to subject that construction to really rocky areas.)

      The Candide 3.0 has a more traditional construction than V-Werks, it’s just a light ski. So I still think it would be dumb to expect a ski like this to have the *same* durability as a similar ski that is ~200-300 g heavier per ski. But for me, it’s a bit less of a durability argument (when it comes to using the 3.0 as an everyday ski — but again, don’t expect this to hold up to hard, repeated rock hits), and a bit more of using a ski this light in all conditions — especially really bad snow — where weight is your friend, and makes it more fun to ski really variable and really messed up conditions. Then again, lots of people ski the Rossi Soul 7 every day — though the 3.0 is even lighter…

  2. One remarkable feature that you didn’t mention is the available 204 cm length, which is extremely rare these days. That used to be the length of my daily drivers “back in the day”. What profile of skier is Faction envisioning for this length? (I’m a big guy (6’5″ 275#) and I understand the economics working against building a mold for such a narrow market niche, but understanding that doesn’t help me suitable rides today.)

  3. I’d like to second David’s comment, but with a twist.

    Super excited that you guys are going to review this ski. As a long time Rossi Sickle fan (still have a pair as a daily diver with 200 days on them), the 186 cm CT 3.0 looks a lot like a Sickle but 200 gms lighter.

    At 5’9″ I’ve often wondered what how a longer Sickle would ski. The 192 cm CT 3.0 (straight pull probably 189.8 cm) would probably weight around 2200 gm, just like a 186 cm Sickle (straight pull 183.6 cm).

    Any chance you’ll get to ski a 192 CT 3.0 in addition to the 186 cm? Excited for your take regardless of length tested though. Will you be mounting -6.9 cm back?

    • Hi, Dan – we don’t have any immediate plans to ski the 192, I’m afraid, but I personally wouldn’t be that tempted to. The 186 3.0 didn’t ski particularly “short” to me — though having said that, I don’t at all suppose that bumping up to the 192 would be a problem.

      Did you get a chance to try the 186?

  4. I’ve been hoping for more info on this ski for a while. I’m on an old, beat to shit Faction 3.Zero right now because I can’t find anything at around 105-115mm underfoot that skis as well in any conditions, with a similar rocker profile and very minor amounts of tip/tail taper. It’s between this and the Black Crows Atris, so looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on the CT 3.0.

  5. One look at the sizes and you can conclude that this ski is designed to ski in a longer than usual length. Makes sense because of the light weight.

  6. I bought this ski in 192.

    I bought it for my “playful, ski with my wife, slack country” kind of ski.

    I absolutely love it!! Great all around ski.

    My only two (fairly minor) complaints, it has a speed limit, (when I get above 50 mph on variable snow things get floppy) and it doesn’t quite float as good as I would have liked in the real deep.

    Definitely my favorite ski I own, and no desire really to break out my Cochise or XXL’s anymore.

  7. I personally disagree with the comment about these being a daily driver that can be slammed around or driven in less than stellar conditions. I own and haves skied the 192 this season and have 50 plus days on them starting thanksgiving weekend all the way up to yesterday. I have skied the Canadian Rockies the Washington cascades and the Utah Wasatch. These skis are my friend. They do everything will. Wanna stomp cliffs… check. Rail groomers. No problem. Technical tight lines… you bet. Park laps.. sure. Knee deep… yep. You get the point. I have other skis but they have become long lost relatives that I sometimes remember to acknowledge. Durability has not been an issue. For reference, I am 6’3″ 215#s. these are mounted with some sth 16s and still feel light as a feather. These are a dream.

  8. Any idea how the 204s would compare to the 192 DPS wailer RPCs?

    I am 6’6, 230 lbs, aggressive backcountry skier and my daily drivers are the 196 moment governor, but I tour on 192 DPS wailer RPCs with kingpins. Love the RPC, but sometimes I find myself wanting just a little bit more ski when I want to drive the shovels. But I still really want to retain the quickness edge to edge and float of the RPCs in pow, as well as their ability to rail groomers (although he RPC doesn’t always like to properly finish the turn).

    I’d love to see how the 204 would compare to the 192 RPC

  9. Maybe if faction actually put some real rocker in these skis, they would floater better and loosen up that hooky tail, either add some real rocker and loosen it up and make it real playful, or just follow all the other builders trends and put 5mm of camber in it and make it as boring as all the others, get off the fence.

    • I’d like to add a second opinion to your review and maybe give some insight to the bigger guys out there. I ski at Squaw Valley and have had the 192 3.0s(purplish top sheet no titinal mounting plates) for the last two seasons and absolutely love them.

      I’d like to start with this. I am 6’2″-6’3″ about 185, 21 years old, been skiing since I could walk and am an ex racer/sponsored bug mountain skier. I am a very dynamic skier constantly jumping, doing butters, spins, and flips etc. I also like to haul ass and lay trenches from my racing background, so for me every year the battle really is choosing between something I can spin and flip better on vs something that can stomp airs and lay trenches at mach ten while still being relatively air comfortable. The faction 3.0 is a ski made for progressive skiers looking to move their skiing in creative directions. I would not recommend this to an intermediate skier. Not because it is difficult to ski, but because the ski offers more benefit for a more skilled athlete. This is the most fun ski I have ever been on period. Snappy, light, poppy, chargey, and buttery, an overall blast. It is the most well balanced ski Ive ever been on in the air(I actually prefer these to spin over my scott t-wallisch pros). This ski maintains enough stability to make fast long carves out of landing cliffs, but can pivot in a second to shut it down. The places it sucks is moguls, very firm conditions, and short radius turns(it does have a 28m turn radius so not surprising, and a mount point +1.5 form all mountain reccomendation). I would say that they float well up until knee deep pow, but realistically any ski that has more rocker than this will lose its versatility. I love how they have performed in tahoe conditions. SIZING: If I were still competing I would ski these in the 204(my powder skis are the chapter 116 16/17 in the 198) but for a ski meant for jibbing, a size that long would take away from maneuverability and spins. If youre 6 4+ and 200lbs+ the 204 might be a good option.

      • “SIZING: If I were still competing I would ski these in the 204(my powder skis are the chapter 116 16/17 in the 198) but for a ski meant for jibbing, a size that long would take away from maneuverability and spins. If youre 6 4+ and 200lbs+ the 204 might be a good option.”

        Hey Stein, thanks for the great info. I’m actually having a mild crisis choosing between these two skis right now….
        How do you think these skis compare to the chapter 116s in 198? Curious about both deep backcountry pow, and the occasional inbounds days? Any comments you have comparing the two would be much appreciated.


        • Also, I’m 6″6′ and 230lbs aggressive skier. Not much for tricking, more about charging, however I still enjoy a playful “trickable” ski in the pow.

          • Brett,

            Wow haven’t checked this review in a while sorry to be late on the response.

            The chapter 116 in the 198 and the Candide 3.0 in the 192 are two different animals, but you can still feel the same Faction build.

            – Super snappy build, on my chapters my favorite thing is jumping from airplane turn to airplane turn.
            – relatively light builds(though a 198 is just a big ski period. its not heavy, but you dont see my trying to spin more than a 3 on it, and it would be on the heavier end of touring.)
            – playful skis

            – Candide 3.0 is more playful and poppy, but doesn’t charge quite as well as the chapter. As expected, it feels a little more balanced in the air as well. The Chapter 116 does in fact feel very air balanced, it actually lands switch much better than I expected, but again, a 198 is a lot of length to throw around more than a 3/5.
            – the Chapter 116 carves much better than I expected, I would say it carves better than the Candide 3.0 in my review above(but similar to my new 17/18 pair)

            Mount point:
            I have both of these skis (16/17 chapter and 15/16 Candide 3.0) mounted +1 from recommended and wouldnt want to go any further because Im tall and I feel I would not have enough tip. On my 17/18 3.0, I put them on recommended and really love them. Also I think the newest version of the candide 3.0 is much better than the old. They just fine tuned the things I would have changed about the old one.(stomps a little better, better turn shape and carving due to less splayed rocker line)

            Bottom Line:
            You’re a big guy, it sounds like the 192 3.0 is out of the question for your size. Go with the 204 CT 3.0 IF
            1. You spin a 3 ever day you ski or want to rotate more than that
            2. you want to do butters(can still on the chapter but it must be light/deep snow to comfortable get around the tip)
            3. You want an exceptional blend of playfullness and stability with more favor towards playfulness(actually convinced my friend to buy a pair of these last season to replace his moment bibbys and he is in love for this reason<— this should say a lot to you guys at blister)
            4. You want a very light balanced set up to tour on
            5. You want to land switch in lots of places

            Go with the Chapter 116 198 if:
            1. Seems like they would benefit your more aggressive stance
            2. You want a versatile powder ski. This is where I should mention the rocker line. My chapter 116s have the same rocker line as the current CT 3.0, but less splay than the old CT 3.0(but they all go about the same distance down the ski from the tip). It doesn't have exceptional float, but if you favor stability and a consistent flex pattern/confidence landings this is a good thing.
            3. What I really like about this ski is that it charges and I feel confident enough to land just about anything on it, but it doesn't punish you like maybe the Dictator would. Its shape allows you to turn the 198 pretty easily for its size.
            4. You want a surfey feel rather than more of a slashy feel in deep snow.

            To me it sounds like the 198 chapter 116 would be a better ski for you if its primarily soft snow use. The CT 3.0's excel at jibbing with speed and confidence. The Chapter excels at confidence with jibbing ability for small rotations. The only thing that would maybe make the Chapter 116 not ideal is the weight for you. Theyre not heavy, but for backcountry use could be lighter. Writing this in class rn so reply if you have more specific questions and sorry for the late reply.

            Either way, they're both great skis. Its hard to go wrong with either.

  10. This sounds like the jibbier version of the Blizzard Rustler 10, which is also pretty light but handles most conditions well.

  11. Any plans to review the CT 4.0? I’m curious to know how that one performs relative to the 3.0 and other 50/50 skis…since it appears to be just a wider version of the 3.0 with more girth and better float, but still really light.

  12. Surprised nobody has commented on how this ski breaks. Mounted a pair of 3.0 186 last April got about 20 days until the core completely snapped under heel skiing moguls. Great warranty btw had a new pair at my door step in about a week. New pair skied on for about a week and my front right shovel has given itself a bit more rocker than it had not sure if I already broke the core in this one. Ski is super fun but seems to not hold up in the moguls. Haven’t been able to really test on big cliffs in the extremes due to Colorado snow pack this year. But if it can’t hold up to the abuse of mogul runs I’m not sure if I trust it charging out of chunder lines in the extremes at high speeds. Not saying the ski isn’t fun actually one of my favorite playful skis I’ve ever been on, can go from mogul ripping, powder hounding to playing in the park…just not durable.

  13. Yeah kinda true I have heard of people breaking them. Great ski if you’re not a really big guy or abusive to your skis. What type of bindings do you have? Almost every person I’ve heard of breaking them has the look pivots. They have a bigger drill bit and their holes are closer than markers so a lot of people have snapped them under the heel piece due to that I think. I hear next year they’re focusing on making it more durable and torsionally rigid though.

  14. Hi, I’m an intermediate to low expert level 5’11 198lb and get about 5 weeks skiing a year, like to do a bit of back country and in resort off piste and cruise on groomers. Only thing that has put me off is people saying they break easy? Is that the hardcore skiers amongst you though that live in resorts and ski all year round? Plus since I’m not looking at new prices these be a good second hand ski?

    Thanks in advance.
    (Sorry if it’s a bit long winded!)

    • Sorry for the confusion — I’ve just added a note in the specs to clarify. We skied the 16/17 CT 3.0, which was not changed for 17/18, apart from graphics. So all of what we’ve said about the 16/17 CT 3.0 would apply to the 17/18 version of the ski as they share the exact same design and construction.

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