Ski: 2019-2020 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD2, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2200 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2190 & 2268 grams
Stated Dimensions: 136-106-126 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.3-105.3-125.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 21.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 51 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5-6 mm
Core: Poplar +2 full-length Ash stringers + Titanal (2 layers) + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: Armada’s “S7”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -2.05 cm from center; 91.0 cm from tail
Ski: 2019-2020 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD2, 180 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 177.9 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2125 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2066 & 2066 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.3-105.3-123.0 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 20.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 54 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5-6 mm
Core: Poplar +2 full-length Ash stringers + Titanal (2 layers) + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: Armada’s “S7″
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -1.85 cm from center; 87.1 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Strider 120; Salomon S/Pro 130; Head Raptor 140 RS / Tyrolia AAAttack 13 AT
Test Location: Crested Butte, CO
Days Skied: ~20
[Note: Our review is being conducted on the 19/20 188 cm ARV 106Ti LTD2 and the 18/19 180 cm ARV 106Ti LTD. The ski is not being changed for 19/20, apart from graphics and a subtle name change from “ARV 106Ti LTD” to “ARV 106Ti LTD2.”]
This year Armada partnered with evo to release a limited-edition version of their wider all-mountain-freestyle ski, the ARV 106. The result is the ARV 106Ti LTD2 — an ARV 106 with two layers of titanal.
If you’re a frequent reader of Blister, you’ll probably know that we like skis that are both stable and playful (e.g., J Skis Metal, ON3P Kartel 108, Rossignol Black Ops 118). So the idea of a metal-laminate ARV 106 has us pretty excited. Plus, we’re testing both the 180 cm and 188 cm versions of the ski, in order to offer some input for a wider variety of skiers.
So let’s take a look at the design and specs of the ARV 106Ti to see how it compares to the standard ARV 106, and some other skis in its class.
What Armada and evo say about the ARV 106Ti LTD2
“The special edition Armada ARV 106Ti LTD² Skis return this winter with an awe-inspiring graphic and the same Titanal infused power as last season. This ski is only available through evo and its partner La Familia stores, and when they’re gone they’re gone. If you loved the freewheeling versatility of the original ARV 106 but want to tweak the volume just that much higher, this is the version you’re seeking.”
This description seems pretty fair. The regular ARV 106 is one of the more well-rounded all-mountain-freestyle skis we’ve used, and adding some metal to it should give it a bump up in stability. Our main question is just how much more stable will the ARV 106Ti feel, and how much playfulness will it lose?
Shape / Rocker Profile
The ARV 106Ti shares the same exact shape and rocker profile as the standard ARV 106. It has a bit of taper in the tips and tails — more than skis like the 4FRNT Devastator, but not as much as skis like the K2 Marksman, Faction Prodigy 3.0, and ON3P Kartel 108. [Note: evo’s page for the 19/20 ARV 106Ti LTD² currently shows a shape with more taper, but we’ve confirmed that the 19/20 version of the ski retains the same exact shape as the 18/19 ARV 106 and 18/19 ARV 106Ti LTD.]
The ARV 106Ti’s rocker profile is pretty standard for an all-mountain-freestyle ski. It has a pretty deep tip rocker line and a shallower tail rocker line that has a pretty high, twinned tail. The ARV 106Ti doesn’t have as deep of rocker lines as some skis in its class like the K2 Marksman and ON3P Kartel 108, but the ARV 106Ti’s rocker lines are still significantly deeper than more traditional, directional all-mountain skis.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 188 cm ARV 106Ti:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
And here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 180 cm ARV 106Ti:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Based on our hand flex, the flex patterns of the ARV 106Ti and standard ARV 106 feel very similar. There’s also not much difference between the 188 cm ARV 106Ti and the 180 cm. The 188 cm is a touch stiffer at the very ends, but other than that, the two skis’ flex patterns are nearly identical.
Both the ARV 106Ti and the standard ARV 106 have pretty soft tips and tails, but once you reach the full-sidewall sections of the skis, they’re quite stiff — especially compared to other freestyle skis. Compared to the 19/20 Line Sir Francis Bacon, the ARV 106Ti is significantly stiffer through most of the ski. The ARV 106Ti is a bit softer at the tips and tails compared to the Faction Prodigy 3.0 and ON3P Kartel 108, but the midsections of those skis feel pretty similar.
The ARV 106Ti’s recommended mount point is right around -2 cm from center. That’s very far forward. However, the production version of the standard ARV 106 has two mount points — one around -2 cm from center, and the other around -5 cm from center. Since the ARV 106Ti has the same shape and rocker profile as the standard ARV 106, we’ll be playing around with the mount point on the ARV 106Ti to see how it responds.
While it has two layers of titanal, the ARV 106Ti isn’t absurdly heavy by any means. In this regard, it’s similar to Armada’s directional, metal-laminate Invictus series, which are also pretty light for having two layers of metal.
Compared to the standard 188 cm ARV 106, the 188 cm ARV 106Ti is only coming in around 100 grams heavier per ski. That said, the ARV 106Ti still sits on the heavier end of the spectrum, especially compared to skis like the Line Sir Francis Bacon, Faction Candide 3.0, and J Skis Vacation.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. And as always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1875 & 1881 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20)
1941 & 1994 Faction Candide 3.0, 186 cm (18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1980 & 2016 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (17/18–18/19)
1980 & 2019 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (15/16–19/20)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2032 & 2062 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (15/16–18/19)
2042 & 2105 Line Mordecai, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2066 & 2066 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (16/17–18/19)
2113 & 2121 Moment Meridian 107, 187 cm (16/17–19/20)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2144 & 2153 K2 Marksman, 184 cm (16/17–19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm (18/19)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) We mentioned this earlier, but just how much more stable will the ARV 106Ti feel compared to the standard ARV 106?
(2) Conversely, how much playfulness will the ARV 106Ti lose (if any)?
(3) The J Skis Metal is another metal-laminate ski with a playful shape, and we really like it. So how will it compare to the ARV 106Ti? And what about the ON3P Kartel 108?
(4) The standard ARV 106 is a playful ski that we think could work for freestyle-oriented skiers with park backgrounds, and also for skiers who may not be spinning and flipping a lot, but who want a playful feel. So will the ARV 106Ti still suit those people who want to flip and spin, and will it be even more appealing to more directional skiers?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Based on its specs, the Armada ARV 106Ti LTD2 is pretty much exactly what you’d expect — a heavier, metal-laminate version of their versatile ARV 106. Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review linked below, and then keep your eyes peeled for a full review dropping later this season.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the ARV 106Ti LTD2 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.
Jonathan Ellsworth and I have both spent a good chunk of time on the 188 cm Armada ARV 106Ti, and I’ve also spent several days on the 180 cm version. Despite having pretty different skiing styles, we’ve both come away really liking this ski, and talked about it and the ARV 96 Ti on our recent GEAR:30 podcast. Here, we’ll dive into the elements that make this playful, metal-laminate ski stand out.
But first, let’s get into the weeds a little bit with respect to mount point and lengths, since that will provide important context for our experience on this ski.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): Before getting into how the ARV 106Ti handled specific conditions, we want to quickly touch on its mount point. I ended up skiing the 188 cm ARV 106Ti with the bindings on the recommending line (-2 cm from center) and with them moved back to around -5 cm from center. I liked the ski with the bindings on both of those lines, but it felt a bit different.
On the recommended line, the ARV 106Ti felt most comfortable being skied with a pretty centered stance (not putting a ton of pressure on the front of the ski). For skiers coming from similarly forward-mounted skis, I think the recommended line should feel natural.
With the bindings moved back to -5 cm from center, I could drive the front of the ARV 106Ti notably more, and was able to ski a bit faster and harder through rough snow since I could pressure the shovels to keep the ski tracking. I still wouldn’t recommend the ARV 106Ti to very directional skiers who love skis with super traditional mount points (around -9 cm or farther back from center). There are plenty of skis that will better serve those skiers.
But if you like the sound of a ski that you can ski centered and drive a bit, I think mounting the ARV 106Ti a few cm behind the recommended line is a safe bet.
I spent all of my time on the 180 cm ARV 106Ti with the bindings mounted on the recommended line and actually ended up preferring it there, which I’ll explain more in the next section on Length.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~175 lbs): Long and short, I really liked the ARV 106 Ti mounted at – 5 cm. I spend a lot of time on skis that have a much farther back, more traditional mount (i.e., -9, -10, -11, etc.), though I typically feel quite comfortable on skis mounted in the -6 or -7 cm range.
I spent one day on the ARV 106Ti mounted on the -2 cm line, and in what should surprise no one, I didn’t feel very comfortable there: not enough in front of me, too much tail behind me. That said, over the course of the day I got more comfortable with the ski, but mounted at -5 cm, I clicked instantly with the ski, and was never tempted to move the mount point. I’m not at all willing to guarantee that people most accustomed to farther back mount points will feel right at home here, but for the rest of us (or, if you just really aren’t sure where to mount), I think Luke and I would both consider -5 cm (aka, – 3 cm behind the recommended line) a safe bet.
Length: 180 cm ARV 106Ti vs. 188 cm ARV 106Ti
Luke: In short, the 188 cm ARV 106Ti feels more playful and less stable than the 188 cm version. Not surprising.
Both skis feel similar overall, but the 180 cm ARV 106Ti’s shorter length and lower weight make it easier to whip around during spins, and had me dialing things back a bit when I was skiing really fast.
The cool thing about the 180 cm ARV 106Ti was that it maintained the nice suspension of the 188 cm version, while being easier in tight terrain and when trying to throw tricks. For a mountain like Crested Butte where there’s a lot of tight, techy terrain, I think I’d actually go with the 180 cm version of the ARV 106Ti (for reference, I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs and tend to like all-mountain skis in the 183-189 cm range).
The 180 cm ARV 106Ti lets me more easily mess around at slower speeds, but doesn’t feel harsh and sketchy when the snow gets firm and rough. I still really liked the 188 cm ARV 106Ti, but for my skiing style, I’d take the increased playfulness and maneuverability of the 180 cm version, rather than sacrificing playfulness for the stability of the 188 cm version. And keeping the bindings on the more forward recommended line helps maintain the 180 cm ARV 106Ti’s increased playfulness.
Jonathan: While I suspect that the 180 cm ARV 106Ti could be fun, I’ve gotten along just fine with the 188 cm model so far, so haven’t been tempted to take the 180 cm out. (But if there are enough Blister Members who want me to, give a shout in the comments section, and I will. Otherwise, I would stick to Luke’s recommendations regarding length.)
Luke: I got the chance to ski the 188 cm ARV 106Ti in about a foot and a half of fresh snow at Crested Butte, and I think my experience echos Cy Whitling’s experience on the standard ARV 106. Cy said about the ARV 106: “The ARV 106 won’t let you down if you get out of the car to find a surprise 20” dump, and that’s about the best you could ask of a 106 mm all-mountain ski.”
I think the same can be said of the ARV 106Ti. It’s obviously not going to float nor be as surfy as much wider skis. But for its width, the ARV 106Ti is predictable and fun in fresh snow. It’s not hooky, I never had any noticeable tip dive on the 188 cm ARV 106Ti (I didn’t get the 180 cm in deep snow), and the ARV 106Ti was easy to throw around while skiing tighter trees with deeper snow.
Even with the bindings at -5 cm from center, the ARV 106Ti still felt best when skied with a pretty neutral stance in powder. So if you love to drive the front of your skis through powder, I think you’d be better off on a more directional ski (e.g., K2 Mindbender 108Ti). But for people who like to surf through pow with a more balanced stance, the ARV 106Ti seems totally adequate for its width.
Luke: While the ARV 106Ti doesn’t necessarily stand out from other all-mountain-freestyle skis in powder, it does in chop. The ARV 106Ti’s heavier weight and fairly strong flex pattern let it blast through soft chop significantly better than many other freestyle skis in its class.
For those of you who are now wondering whether your super heavy, super stiff, directional charger has just become obsolete, stop wondering. The ARV 106Ti is still a ski with a pretty forward mount point, soft tips and tails, and a lot of rocker. So, no, it doesn’t blast through chop as well as heavier, more directional skis (e.g., many of the skis in the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).
But compared to many skis with similar shapes, mount points, and rocker profiles (e.g., the skis in the “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide), the ARV 106Ti does a much better job of staying on track and not getting unexpectedly knocked around in chop.
I could ski very fast on the ARV 106Ti in soft chop, and just as easily shut things down when I started to think I was better at skiing than I really am. Unlike some skis that are more stable at speed, the ARV 106Ti doesn’t kick your ass the minute you lay off the shovels. And given that my days spent skiing soft chop often consist of me skiing faster than I should, going bigger than I should, and landing more backseat than I should, that’s a quality I really appreciate.
Jonathan: Nicely said, Luke. There are certainly burlier skis on the market, quite a few of them. But many of those skis are more punishing than the ARV 106Ti, and I can’t say that I’ve yet been in a situation on the ARV 106Ti where I wished it was more forgiving. The faster you are skiing and the rougher the snow, the more you will want to ski with a dynamic style (whereas heavier, stiffer skis will allow you to just plow your way through the chop). But I am fine with that, especially given how (relatively) comfortable this ski feels in all of the conditions and terrain I have had it in.
Firm Chop / Crud
Luke: Again, I wouldn’t call the ARV 106Ti a true “charger,” but one characteristic it does share with some skis that could be called “chargers” is nice suspension / a damp feel. The ARV 106Ti feels pretty smooth and nice on rough, firmer snow, especially compared to lighter skis.
Unlike many softer and / or lighter skis, the ARV 106Ti didn’t scare me when skiing fast through firm chop. It doesn’t give me the confidence to literally straight-line everything like much heavier skis do, but I’d say the ARV 106Ti is one of the most stable ~105mm-wide freestyle-oriented skis I’ve been on.
While I could drive the ARV 106Ti through the front when I had the bindings at around -5 cm from center, it still didn’t feel as stable as similarly heavy skis with more traditional mount points. But the ARV 106Ti does feel pretty smooth, and for skiers who ski with more centered stances and who want a damp feel often found in more directional skis, I think that should make the ARV 106Ti a very appealing option.
Jonathan: I think “suspension” is the key word here, and it is one of my favorite attributes of this ski. Just because a ski is heavy and stiff does not mean that it will feel great in rough conditions. (And lightweight, stiff skis almost never feel great in rough conditions.) But give a ski some weight, give it a flex pattern that isn’t that of a 2×4, and you are at least on your way to creating a ski that offers a nice ride that a lot of people will be able to enjoy. (Some people may still want a stiffer ski with a higher top end, and others might want an even lighter, quicker ski. But it’s hard for me to imagine that any of those people, if they are skiing this in the proper length for them, will be unable to adjust to this ski and get along well with it.)
Luke: I didn’t have high expectations for the ARV 106Ti’s groomer performance, given how much taper and rocker it has. But the ARV 106Ti offered surprisingly good edge hold, still produced some energy coming out of a turn, and was overall a fun groomer ski for what it is.
If you love the feeling of driving the front of your skis super hard and bending the crap out of a ski, again, there are tons of better, more directional options. But compared to similarly wide, forward-mounted skis, the ARV 106Ti was a lot of fun on groomers.
Jonathan: I spent far more of my time trying to figure out the all-mountain versatility of the ARV 106Ti than fixating on its groomer performance. And I would be willing to wager that those of you who would actually want to read a ton of words about the specific carving characteristics of their 106mm-wide all-mountain ski would be better of on something with a mount point of -9 or -10-ish cms. But mounted at -5 cm, on relatively soft groomers, I enjoyed making medium to large radius turns on this ski. The shovels were easy enough to bend, initiations and exits of turns were intuitive .. there was nothing that felt off.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Luke: One of the benefits of a ski with a lot of rocker and taper is that it’s often easy to slide and pivot around in tight terrain, and this holds true with the ARV 106Ti.
The ARV 106Ti is easy to slide around (especially compared to more directional, less rockered skis). But unlike many similarly loose skis, the ARV 106Ti still feels pretty damp and composed on firm, rough snow, which is always nice when the moguls and steeps are rock hard.
One thing to note here is that the ARV 106Ti (particularly the 188 cm version) has a lot of tail. Even with the bindings at -5 cm from center, the ARV 106Ti’s longer tail was noticeable when I got backseat or had to make some quick pivots in Crested Butte’s steeper terrain. As someone who’s pretty used to skiing skis with more forward mount points, this didn’t really bother me. I just focused more on unweighting the tails to get them around.
But for skiers coming from directional skis with proportionally shorter tails, I think this is worth keeping in mind.
Jonathan: That is a useful caveat, and I would say that if you are on the fence between lengths and you do tend to ski a lot of very tight trees and / or moguls, this is a ski that I think you can go with the shorter of the two lengths and you’ll be okay. (That said, bigger guys (200+ lbs) better not be reading this even thinking about the 172. It’s becoming less frequent, but we still occasionally hear from people who are skiing lengths that are simply way too short for them. If you’re in doubt, check out our article on ski length.
Luke: The ARV 106Ti is very playful in some regards, less playful in others.
In terms of being easy to slide & slash and feeling balanced in the air, the ARV 106Ti definitely falls on the more playful end of the spectrum. It’s not the surfiest ski in its class, but I had no issues throwing the ARV 106Ti sideways. And while its swing weight does feel heavy, the ARV 106Ti still feels nice in the air (even with the bindings moved back to -5 cm from center). If you’re coming from more directional skis with less rocker, I think the ARV 106Ti will feel very playful.
In terms of being easy to whip around in the air and being poppy on takeoffs, the ARV 106Ti is less playful than most freestyle skis in its class, but more playful than most of the directional ones. The ARV 106Ti’s swing weight is higher than many similarly wide freestyle skis, but it still feels much more natural in the air than most skis with more rearward mount points. And while it’s far from the poppiest ski out there, Armada seems to have managed to not get rid of all of the pop of the ARV 106 by adding two layers of titanal in the ARV 106Ti. I definitely wouldn’t call it a “dead” ski, which I would use to describe many of the similarly heavy (or heavier) directional skis in this class.
Who’s It For?
Those who are looking for a playful, wider, all-mountain ski, but who don’t want some flimsy, chattery noodle.
Directional skiers who like to really drive the front of their skis and / or want maximum stability should look to heavier skis with less rocker and more rearward mount points. There are plenty of skis out there that fit that criteria, and you can check out several of them in the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide.
But if you are coming from similarly forward-mounted skis or who like the sound of a more playful, but still damp ski should definitely check out the ARV 106Ti. It maintains the balanced, loose feel of many freestyle skis, but does so in a stronger, more stable, and more damp package compared to many freestyle skis on the market.
The Armada ARV 106Ti delivers on what Armada and evo claimed about it. It is a ski that feels conducive to playful, freestyle-oriented skiing, but it brings a level of stability that isn’t matched by many other similarly playful skis on the market. And it is that combination that makes the ARV 106Ti stand out.
Deep Dive: Armada ARV 106Ti LTD2
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the ARV 106Ti LTD2 to the ON3P Kartel 108, Moment Meridian 107, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, Faction Candide 3.0, Prodigy 3.0, & Prodigy 4.0, Sego Big Horn 106, and J Skis Metal.