Ski: 2019-2020 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm
Available Lengths: 175, 181, 186, 193 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2030 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2220 & 2252 grams
Stated Dimensions: 136-112-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.3-111.3-127.4 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 24 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 73 mm / 54 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Poplar/Ash + Flax Fibers + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: P-Tex 3000
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.85 cm from center; 84.2 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Dalbello Lupo SP I.D. & Nordica Strider 120 / Marker Jester
Test Location: Crested Butte, CO
Days Skied: 12
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 18/19 Prodigy 4.0, which was not changed for 19/20, apart from graphics.]
For the 18/19 season, Faction overhauled their all-mountain-freestyle Prodigy series. Now, updates happen all the time, but when Faction announced this overhaul at SIA last year, there was something interesting about it.
They said that they were basing the redesign of the prodigy 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 off of the Prodigy 4.0, with the 4.0 remaining the same for 18/19.
So, we were very curious to see what made the Prodigy 4.0 so special that Faction would design the rest of the series around it. And after getting on the 18/19 Prodigy 3.0 and liking it a lot, that intrigue increased.
Well, we now have the Prodigy 4.0 and I’ve spent a few days on it at Crested Butte. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review, but while we get more days on the ski let’s take a look at how the Prodigy 4.0 compares to other skis in the wider all-mountain / pow ski category.
What Faction says about the Prodigy 4.0:
“Whether it’s dumping outside or springtime slush, the Prodigy 4.0 is the perfect answer for riders who want to let it loose every damn day. A 112mm waist nails the perfect width, being wide enough for the deep days, burly enough in choppy snow and manoeuvrable enough on hard-pack. A poplar/ash core bodyguarded by two full layers of eco-friendly flax fibres keep the ski strong yet responsive, in the air and on the white stuff. A progressive, directional twin tip shape, surf zone technology and generous rocker provide float and a surfy feel in the pow, always ensuring that you can slash that wind lip or butter that stamped-out take off with ease. Built to be playful when jibbing yet solid when charging lines and stomping huge airs, it’s no wonder the prodigy 4.0 is Johnny Collinson’s favourite everyday weapon of choice.”
We’ve got a lot of the typical ski-marketing phrases here — the Prodigy 4.0 is supposed to float in deep snow yet charge chop, be playful yet also stable at speed, etc.
One thing that I think is worth touching on is Faction’s label of the Prodigy 4.0 as a “directional twin.” I think that’s important, especially since I found that the Prodigy 3.0 worked well at its (pretty traditional) recommended mount point of -8 cm from center, but also with the bindings moved forward a few centimeters.
As a result, I feel comfortable recommending the Prodigy 3.0 to both directional and more freestyle-oriented skiers. So just because Faction is hyping up the surfy-ness and jib-ability of the Prodigy 4.0, I wouldn’t rule it out just because you don’t like to spin or flip.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Prodigy 4.0 is basically a wider version of the Prodigy 3.0. Or, I guess the Prodigy 3.0 is a narrower version of the Prodigy 4.0.
Either way, the skis look almost identical — they both have a lot of tip and tail taper, and their tips and tails are pretty narrow compared to several other skis in their respective classes.
The Prodigy 3.0 and 4.0 also have extremely similar rocker profiles. While the ~104mm-wide Prodigy 3.0 had very deep rocker lines for how wide it was, the wider Prodigy 4.0’s rocker profile doesn’t look as extreme compared to similarly wide skis like the Line Mordecai, Nordica Enforcer 110, J Skis Friend, etc.
The Prodigy 4.0 has tip and tail rocker lines that are nearly symmetrical, an almost fully twinned tail, and a pretty long section of camber in the middle of the ski. All in all, for a playful, 112mm-wide ski, the Prodigy 4.0’s rocker profile is pretty standard.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Prodigy 4.0:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
While its tapered shape and nearly symmetrical rocker profile might make you think the Prodigy 4.0 is some noodle, it’s actually a pretty strong ski. The tips and tails are accessible, but they quickly and smoothly stiffen up to a pretty large section around the bindings that’s quite strong.
There are no noticeable hinge points in the Prodigy 4.0’s flex pattern, and the ski feels like it has a lot of rebound when hand-flexing it. The Prodigy 4.0 is noticeably softer than the Prodigy 3.0 at the tips and tails, which seems sensible since the 4.0 is a bit wider and designed to perform a bit better in deeper snow.
I just wanted to quickly touch on the fact that the Prodigy 4.0 is the widest ski in the Prodigy series, but it’s only 112 mm wide. Now, Faction does have wider skis in their other series, but it’s interesting to me that they didn’t go wider for their pow ski in the Prodigy series.
As a result, I’ll be focusing on whether the Prodigy 4.0 feels like more of a wider all-mountain ski, or more like a ski you’d only break out when the snow is deep.
The Prodigy 4.0 is not a particularly light ski, but it falls right in line with a few other playful 110+ mm skis like the Armada ARV 116 JJ, Icelantic Nomad 115, Black Crows Anima, etc.
For reference, below are a few of our measured weights (per ski, in grams) for a few notable skis. As always, note the length differences to keep things apples to apples.
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1980 & 2019 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (15/16–18/19)
2006 & 2011 Rossignol Super 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2013 & 2099 Moment Blister Pro, 184 cm (18/19)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2042 & 2105 Line Mordecai, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2097 & 2103 Liberty Origin 112, 184 cm (18/19)
2102 & 2137 Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (17/18–18/19)
2133 & 2133 Salomon QST 118, 192 cm (17/18–18/19)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
2183 & 2190 Black Crows Anima, 188.4 cm (17/18–18/19)
2196 & 2199 Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm (17/18–18/19)
2220 & 2252 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
2222 & 2278 Prior CBC, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2228 & 2231 Blizzard Spur, 192 cm (17/18–18/19)
2246 & 2265 Fischer Ranger 115 FR, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2267 & 2270 Whitedot Ragnarok 118, 190 cm (16/17–18/19)
2297 & 2317 K2 Catamaran, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (18/19)
2408 & 2421 ON3P Kartel 116, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Faction Prodigy 4.0 is a fairly strong ski with a pretty playful shape and rocker profile. That’s a combination we’ve liked on other skis (including the Prodigy 3.0), so we’re eager to get more time on the Prodigy 4.0. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below, and then keep your eyes peeled for the full review dropping later this season.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Prodigy 4.0 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
Sam Shaheen and I have both been spending time on the widest ski in Faction’s all-mountain freestyle line, the Prodigy 4.0. We’ve been pretty lucky recently in Crested Butte, with recent storms dropping over two feet of snow on the mountain. So we’ve taken the Prodigy 4.0 out in some deep pow, but have also been using it on shallower days to get a better idea of just how versatile this ski is.
Sam Shaheen (5’10” 140lbs): The Prodigy 4.0 feels easy and intuitive in powder. It has a pretty straight shape and a lot of taper which lends the ski more toward quick pivots and slashes than wide-open turns or extended slarves. Bouncing around in the trees or pow-bumps feels natural on the Prodigy 4.0, and it feels very comfortable popping off terrain features. This wouldn’t be my first pick for massive drops or wide-open steeps, but for skiing pow at moderate to fairly high speeds, the Prodigy 4.0 is a blast.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): Yep, the main thing about the Prodigy 4.0 that stood out to me was just how quick it felt. Its extended tip and tail taper and deep rocker lines made last-minute turns and transitions in deep snow feel very easy. It’s not quite as surfy as a wider, similarly tapered ski like the 184 cm K2 Catamaran, but I never felt like I was having a hard time flicking around the Prodigy 4.0 in pow.
In terms of float, I’d say the Prodigy 4.0 sits a bit below other skis in its class with less taper (e.g., Blizzard Rustler 11). The Prodigy 4.0 feels best when skied from a fairly neutral stance in powder, and I was wishing for a bit more float in really steep and deep conditions where the Prodigy 4.0’s narrow tips didn’t provide quite as much support / float as wider, less tapered skis. That said, the Prodigy 4.0 is only 112 mm wide, which is on the narrower end of the spectrum compared to most other powder skis on the market. And that narrower width does help in less deep conditions (keep reading).
While it didn’t excel when making big turns in powder, the Prodigy 4.0 really stood out in trees. I could pivot it very easily, and its narrower tips became a benefit here as the ski feels very light in terms of swing weight. The ski also feels like it has a big sweet spot, which was appreciated in really tight, steep trees where I was making a ton of quick transitions and moving my weight around often.
Chop / Crud
Sam: The Prodigy 4.0 is not a chop destroyer — it doesn’t plow through deeper chop or heavier variable like bigger, heavier skis (e.g., Rossignol Black Ops 118). While it can get bogged down a bit if the chop gets deep, in shallower chop, the Prodigy 4.0 is still predictable at higher speeds.
Luke: I agree with Sam here, though I do want to add some caveats. If you’re coming from lighter, playful, and more forward-mounted skis, then I think you’ll be quite happy with the stability of the Prodigy 4.0 in chop. While it doesn’t inspire me to annihilate chop like the Black Ops 118 does, the Prodigy 4.0 is still a fairly hefty ski and it has a pretty damp feel. I think the main thing holding it back in chop is its shape — the Prodigy 4.0’s tapered tips get knocked off track easier than skis with wider tips like the Black Ops 118 or Icelantic Nomad 115.
But as I mentioned above, the Prodigy 4.0 feels very quick for its weight. Combine that with its damp feel and pretty solid flex pattern, and you’ve got a great recipe for skiing through chop with a very dynamic style.
While skis like the Black Ops 118 encourage a very fast, blow-through-everything-in-my-path style, they can feel a bit sluggish if you like to change direction often and pop off of smaller patches of snow. The Prodigy 4.0 feels a bit nervous / unstable if skied with the former technique, but it’s a lot of fun to ski with the latter: ski fast through the good snow, make quick slashes where you can to gain control of your speed, and most importantly, air off every side hit and chunk of snow you can find.
Luke: Like the narrower Prodigy 3.0, the Prodigy 4.0’s tips feel very vague on groomers — they don’t pull you into a turn, and instead, you basically just tip the ski over on edge and steer it from the middle of the ski. So if you’re someone that loves the feeling of a ski that almost automatically pulls you across the fall line, you’d be better off on a ski with less tip taper and / or tip rocker.
But the Prodigy 4.0 still holds an edge well for its width, I could lay it over hard on fairly soft groomers, and I never found myself thinking the ski was unpredictable or scary on groomers. Predictability was one of the main themes I noticed during my time on this ski.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Luke: I love the Prodigy 4.0 in bumps and tight terrain. As I noted above, it feels very quick for its weight and size, and its strong but forgiving flex pattern kept me from getting bucked too far forward or back on the ski. Obviously, if performance in trees and bumps on firm snow is your top priority, you’d be better off on a narrower ski. But I still had a blast on the Prodigy 4.0 on firm days when I was venturing deep into the trees to find any leftover pow.
And here it’s worth noting that, in general, I tend to prefer skis like the Prodigy 4.0 in bumps. I ski bumps and trees with a fairly centered, slightly forward stance. As a result, I like skis that are nimble and forgiving, rather than super strong and demanding. Those who like to really drive the front of their skis down into the troughs of bumps and who want a very strong tail to finish turns will probably not love the Prodigy 4.0. It has a lot of tip and tail rocker, and the ends of the ski are fairly soft.
But if you know you like a more forgiving ski in bumps and tight terrain, then I think the Prodigy 4.0 will be more appealing.
Luke: The Prodigy 4.0’s recommended mount point is around -7.85 cm from center for the 186 cm length we’ve been testing. On that recommended line, the ski felt best when skied with a forward, driving stance. Though, as I noted above, the tips still don’t feel very engaging on firm snow, even when driven, which is probably due to their taper and rocker.
Because of this, and because I like to ski with a slightly more centered stance, I ended up moving the bindings forward of the recommended line. I settled on +3 (-4.85 cm from center) as my favorite mount point. With the bindings here, I could still drive the ski hard when I wanted to, but I could ski from a more neutral stance and the ski also felt even quicker, lighter in the air, and more supportive on landings.
So if you’re a directional skier looking for a playful ski, the Prodigy 4.0’s recommended line will probably be best. But more playful, freestyle-oriented skiers will probably be better off with the bindings moved forward of the ski’s recommended line.
Luke: The Prodigy 4.0 is a very playful ski, especially when you mount it a bit forward of the recommended line. The Prodigy 4.0’s tapered shape means that its swing weight feels much lighter than the ski’s actual weight would suggest. With the bindings at -4.85 cm from center, the Prodigy 4.0 felt very balanced in the air, and the tapered shape also seemed to make it more forgiving in terms of not catching when it came to under- or over-rotating spins (something I end up doing a lot).
While the Prodigy 4.0 has a pretty damp feel and a fairly strong flex pattern (compared to most freestyle skis), you can get a lot of pop out of it on takeoffs and nollies / ollies. Similar to the Prodigy 3.0 and ON3P Kartel 108, the Prodigy 4.0’s rocker profile gives you a great leverage point on which to bend the ski. It’s not as easy to bend and pop off of as softer skis like the Liberty Origin 112, but if you put some force into its flex, you can get a lot of rebound out of the Prodigy 4.0.
The last thing I noticed on the Prodigy 4.0 was that, when mounted on the recommended line, I had the tails wash out on a few backseat landings. With the bindings at -4.85 cm from center, the ski’s tail felt much more supportive and I didn’t have any further problems landing on it.
Who’s It For?
People who want a soft-snow-oriented ski that’s playful and nimble without feeling flimsy or chattery when conditions aren’t super deep.
The Prodigy 4.0 should be particularly appealing to skiers who spend a lot of their time in trees, bumps, and other tight terrain as that’s where it seems to excel, rather than making big, arcing turns in open terrain.
And because of how well it works at different mount points, we think the Prodigy 4.0 could work both for more directional skiers looking for a more playful option, or for freestyle-oriented skiers who want something that feels balanced and quick while still being pretty stable and damp.
Those who mostly want a ski that they can use to nuke through chop should look to heavier, less tapered skis. But if you prefer to slash, jump, and play around in variable snow, the Prodigy 4.0 is a great option.
Like the Faction Prodigy 3.0, the Prodigy 4.0 is a pretty versatile ski that should work for a wide range of skiers. It’s pretty strong and damp, yet it’s also easy to turn very quickly when the terrain gets tight. It floats pretty well in powder, yet it can still hold an edge on firm snow. And while it doesn’t have the highest top end, it can still be skied very hard, especially compared to other freestyle skis.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Prodigy 4.0 to see how it stacks up against the Moment Wildcat / Blister Pro, Icelantic Nomad 115, Blizzard Rustler 11, Rossignol Black Ops 118, Prior CBC, Rossignol Super 7 HD, Liberty Origin 112, and Faction Prodigy 3.0