Ski: 2019-2020 Argent Badger, 184 cm
Available Lengths: 174, 184, 194 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.0 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2250 & 2307 grams
Stated Dimensions: 136-107-129 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 134.8-107.1-128.8 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 36 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 68 mm / 47 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~1 mm
Core: Poplar + Full-Length, Full-Width Stainless Steel Layer + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: P-Tex 3200
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -1.4 cm from center; 89.6 cm from tail
Argent is a new ski company based out of Park City, Utah, that was co-founded by Ander Tallett and Jenny Greeve. Ander is a New-Hampshire based skier who’s been playing around with ski designs since 2006, and Jenny is based out of Washington.
Argent currently offers three models: the 102mm-wide “OSQ,” 92mm-wide “92,” and 95mm-wide “Ripcord.” They also have a couple of new models in the works, including the 107mm-wide Badger, which recently arrived at Blister HQ.
We’ll be getting time on the Badger soon, but there are a bunch of unique and interesting things about its design. We quickly touched on a few of them in our recent GEAR:30 podcast, but now, let’s dive into what makes the Badger really stand out from other skis on the market.
What Argent says about the Badger:
“The Badger is designed to be a hard charging big mountain ski, and is the right choice every day of the year. It is based around the concepts of modern big mountain skiing style, with the ability to pivot, hold an edge, land strong and get sendy. With a unique combination of stainless steel and poplar wood core, these skis charge and pop. They are the daily driver for the expert aggressive skier.”
While that description is probably deserving of one of our Swagger Award nominations, after looking at, measuring, and flexing the Badger, we actually think that this description isn’t unreasonable. Keep reading to see why, but for now, I think the key phrases here are “modern big mountain skiing style,” “hard charging,” and “expert aggressive skier.”
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Badger has a good deal of tip taper, and very little tail taper. In this regard, it looks a bit like the Prior Husume, but the Badger has a more rounded tail, while the Husume’s is more squared off. The Badger has more tip taper than a lot of the other all-mountain chargers we’ve reviewed (e.g., Blizzard Cochise, ON3P Wrenegade 108, Parlor Mountain Jay).
In terms of its rocker profile, the Badger has a fairly shallow tip rocker line by modern standards, and its tip rocker actually looks very similar to the Nordica Enforcer 100’s tip rocker shape. Rather than a low, slow rise from the start of the rocker line, the Badger’s tips rise pretty quickly to a fairly high tip splay of 68 mm.
In the tail, the Badger has a pretty shallow rocker line, but does have a considerable amount of tail splay at 47 mm. The Badger’s tail is basically a non-rockered twin, which seems in line with their talk about “modern big mountain skiing style.”
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Badger:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9.5-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9.5
This is a very, very strong flex pattern. It’s also a pretty round flex pattern, with little difference in flex between the tips and tails. Compared to the Moment Commander 108 (a pretty stiff ski), the Badger is noticeably stiffer throughout. The Badger’s flex pattern feels fairly similar to the old Head Monster 98, with the Monster 98’s tips being a touch stiffer.
So, while it has a twinned tail and a very progressive recommended mount point (keep reading), the Badger is by no means some flimsy jib ski.
For its size, the Badger is quite heavy. At around 2280 grams per ski for the 184 cm version, the Badger’s weight definitely puts it in line with other hard-charging skis. And since it flexes very stiff, we’re pretty excited about the weight of the badger — we’ve liked the combination of stiff flex + heavy weight on skis like the old Head Monsters and Prior CBC and Husume.
For reference, here are a bunch of our measured weights for a number of notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length differences to try to keep these comparisons apples-to-apples.
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18-18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18-18/19)
2013 & 2013 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (18/19)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18-18/19)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18-18/19)
2036 & 2064 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18-18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18-18/19)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17-18/19)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16-18/19)
The Badger has a pretty directional rocker profile and shape, but its recommended mount point of -1.4 cm from center is much, much more in line with symmetrical freestyle skis. This was one of the biggest surprises while measuring the ski.
So we reached out to Ander Tallet about this, and he said that they have staff and customers skiing the Badger at a wide range of mount points. Some of their more directional skiers are 6 cm behind the factory recommended line, and some of their more progressive skiers are riding 1 cm in front of the line — i.e., almost dead-center mounted. (Which is fairly wild; is anybody out there skiing a Blizzard Cochise or ON3P Wrenegade 108 at dead center??)
So we’ll be sure to ski the Badger at various mount points to see how the ski feels.
We don’t typically pay a whole lot of attention to stated sidecut numbers, since a ski’s on-snow performance is affected by so many other factors. Plus, with so many companies using multi-radius sidecut designs, sidecut numbers can often be very misleading (or just fake).
But Argent says that the 184 cm Badger has a 36 meter sidecut radius.
In case you aren’t up on current sidecut numbers these days, that’s really big. As in, that’s longer than every other ski in the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide, and by a good margin.
We know that that “36 m” number is going to have some people breathing pretty hot and heavy. But we also doubt that many (or any) of those same folks tend to mount their skis at -1.4 cm.
So … ?
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious about
(1) How playful and / or forgiving vs. directional and demanding is the Badger?
(2) Most skis use titanal (an aluminum alloy) if they use metal, but the Badger uses stainless steel. Will we be able to notice any significant differences between it and titanal skis?
(3) Like the Badger, the Prior Husume is a pretty heavy, very stiff ski with a lot of tip taper and little tail taper. The Husume is also a Best Of winner. So how similar or different will the two skis feel?
(4) How intuitive and / or natural does the Badger feel at different mount points? Does it really work well at – 6 cm and also -1?
(5) How difficult or easy is it to bend the Badger into tighter turns? And does it work (at all?) at slower speeds?
Bottom Line (For Now)
One of the cool things about small new brands is that they tend to bring new things to the table. And that definitely seems to be the case with the Argent Badger. It’s a very stiff, pretty heavy ski with a full layer of steel in its layup and a very long stated radius. But it also has a twinned tail and a very progressive recommended mount point.
We’ve never seen anything quite like it, so we’ll be getting it on snow very soon and report back on what we find. Stay tuned…