Ski: 2018-2019 Faction Dictator 4.0, 186 cm
Available Lengths: 180, 186, 192 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.9 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (180 cm): 2100 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (186 cm): 2161 & 2163 grams
Stated Dimensions: 139-115-127 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 139.2-114.9-127.1
Stated Sidecut Radius: 24/27 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 24 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2-3 mm
Core: Poplar/Paulownia + Titanal (2-Layer) + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.75 cm from center; 82.7 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Dictator 4.0, which was not changed for 18/19, apart from graphics.]
In our review of the Faction Dictator 3.0, we noted that this was one of the most “game-on” skis that’s currently on the market. It is a light, powerful ski that will punish mistakes, but that will reward skiers who have strong legs and strong technique.
And we noted (with eyebrows raised, and with some excitement), that, in the design of the wider Dictator 4.0, Faction showed zero interest in deviating from that formula.
Here’s what Faction says about the Dictator 4.0:
“With a lightweight paulownia/poplar core built for the backcountry, two full layers of titanal for GS-ready stability, the all-new Dictator 4.0 has a need for speed. Weapon of choice when sending it down the Bec des Rosses, the Dictator 4.0’s long sidecut in the tail lets you open it up for steep, charging turns, while the shorter sidecut and rocker in the tip keep it nimble and under control. with a 115 mm waist, the Dictator 4.0 floats over fresh snow and makes old crud feel like it’s a powder day, every day.”
Typically, when we’re looking at two skis in the same series, the question is how similar or different the two skis are — or how much consistency there is across all the skis in the series.
And in the case of the 105mm-wide Dictator 3.0 and the 115mm-wide Dictator 4.0, the two skis are basically identical twins, with the primary difference being — by far — their width. Yep, the 4.0 very much appears to be — simply? merely? — a wider 3.0.
Of course, we’ll see once we get these on snow how accurate that assessment is, but compare the specs of the two skis, and you’ll see what we mean.
Faction rates the stiffness of the Dictator 3.0 as 8 out of 10, and actually gives the Dictator 4.0 a rating of “9/10.” (Their very good Candide 3.0 gets a “7/10”.)
But hand flexing the two skis, you could be forgiven for concluding that the two skis basically have the exact same flex pattern; the differences are very slight.
Dictator 4.0 – Flex Pattern
In front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Behind Heel piece: 9
Dictator 3.0 – Flex Pattern
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
In other words, I believe that the flex pattern is so close between the two skis that out of a batch of 3.0’s and 4.0’s you could find skis that are well within manufacturer tolerances that would be subtly stiffer or softer, making it even more reasonable to conclude that the flex patterns of these two skis are “the same.” Or very nearly the same. Which is to say, “stiff.”
While the biggest, most obvious difference between the two skis is that the Dictator 4.0 is wider than the 3.0, that additional width (of course) means that the 4.0 is heavier:
186 cm Dictator 3.0 = 2022 & 2047 g
186 cm Dictator 4.0 = 2161 & 2163 g
And so, our biggest questions here:
(1) Is the weight increase merely due to the fact that the 4.0 is wider? I.e., will the 4.0 feel equally light and stiff (and as unforgiving) as the 3.0, or will the extra weight actually lead to a difference in dampness and suspension on snow?
(2) Or maybe the weight / stiffness combination will simply feel different given that, presumably, most people would typically be using the Dictator 4.0 in deeper snow?
And for the record, Sam Anthamatten was reportedly very involved in the design process of the Dictator series, and he has been skinning up and skiing down some pretty gnarly lines on this ski, as you can see Here.
Again, the rocker lines and tip and tail splay of the Dictator 4.0 are so similar to the Dictator 3.0’s that you could pretty much call them the same. Which is pretty interesting, since you could argue that as you go wider (and hence, presumably looking to use this ski in deeper snow), you might want to increase at least the amount of tip rocker, if not the tail rocker also. But that is not what Faction did here, and we have complained / wondered out loud on more than one occasion why skis have to have so much rocker these days, when a little can go a long way?
Well, the Dictator 4.0 certainly stands out as an exception for those who think that wider skis are often (a) too rockered) and (b) have shovels that go too soft. Neither of those things is true of the Dictator 4.0, and I can’t immediately think of another ski we’ve reviewed that is this wide and that has so little tip rocker.
In terms of comparisons, here are the three skis that the Dictator 4.0 currently has us thinking about the most:
So Moment has been a little coy about the availability of the Governor, but the fact is that you can still get your hands on a pair, and this comparison would be super interesting.
The specs of the Governor and the Dictator 4.0 are extremely similar — dimensions, weight, mount point, sidecut radius — with the biggest differences being (a) their construction, (b) the Governor’s tips are more tapered, and (c) the Governor is not this stiff.
We repeatedly talked about how the Governor was not some beast of a ski, and we are very curious to see how the two skis compare in terms of stability, forgiveness, suspension, quickness, and smear-ability.
The 189 cm Kore 117 is lighter and has more tip rocker than the Dictator 4.0, but they are both stiff, directional skis that serve a similar purpose.
While the Scrapper is quite similar in terms of stiffness as the Dictator 4.0, the Scrapper 115 has more tip and tail splay, which should give it an advantage in deep snow, and should also make for a surfier ride. It’s also coming in quite a bit lighter than the Dictator 4.0 (Scrapper 115 = 1910 & 1941 grams), which could appeal to those who are looking for a touring ski. But the major question for us is whether the rocker profile and lower weight of the Scrapper 115 will mean that it simply can’t hang with the Dictator 4.0 in terms of stability in variable conditions. We don’t know, but it’s sure going to be fun finding out.
Lots of ski companies are talking a big game these days about “all-mountain charging,” but few companies are currently putting out designs that seem to be this serious about it. Now we just need to get the Dictator 4.0 on snow and find out exactly what this thing can do.
Flash Review: Faction Dictator 4.0
Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Dictator 4.0.
(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pictures