Ski: 2020-2021 Armada BDOG, 180 cm
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 178.2 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1970 & 1990 grams
Stated Dimensions: 121-94-116.5 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 120.7-93.7-116.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (all lengths): 15 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 56 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm
Core: poplar/ash + fiberglass laminate
Base: Armada’s “S7” sintered base
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -0.0 cm from center; 89.1 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 BDOG, which was not changed for 20/21, apart from graphics.]
If you’re not familiar with the park and urban scene, Phil Casabon (aka, “Bdog”) is one of the best park / urban skiers out there, and probably one of the best of all time. And if you are familiar with the park and urban scene, you probably need no introduction to Phil. He’s won the past two X Games Real Ski contests and still put out some ridiculous videos and segments in between (I highly recommend watching his recent Real Ski edit or his short film, “En Particulier” below).
Phil has been riding for Armada for a very long time, and his signature ski, the BDOG, has been on his feet for most of his insane videos. For 19/20, Phil and Armada chose to overhaul the ski, and it’s pretty different than it used to be.
What Armada says about the BDOG
“Catered to the press and pop mastery of Phil Casabon, the BDOG is back for 19/20 with all new construction and shape. Phil’s signature Circe Flex, super flexible tips and tails, accompanies “straight” sections in the sidecut where the pressing happens for maximum surface area and minimal hang-ups. Lock into that tranny in any park or urban setting, stomp, and repeat.”
Again, please watch some of Phil’s edits. They’re insane. But beyond being extremely entertaining, they give you a very good idea of Phil’s style and how that translates to the design of his signature ski. The BDOG is supposed to be soft enough to easily enable his smooth butters and presses, and remain catch-free when doing so. And Armada’s talk about the new BDOG’s shape is worth expanding on, so let’s first touch on that:
Shape / Rocker Profile
Armada has two park-oriented skis in their “Signature” series: the BDOG and the Edollo (Henrik Harlaut’s pro-model and a repeat “Best Of” winner).
Before 19/20, the BDOG basically seemed like a narrower Edollo. The old BDOG had a pretty traditional shape with almost no taper and very little tail rocker.
The new 19/20 BDOG looks very different than the last version. In addition to being 4 mm wider (94 mm vs. 90 mm at the waist), the new BDOG has a much more tapered shape, with sections at the tips and tails that are basically straight. As Armada states in their description of the ski, these straight sections in the tips and tails are designed to provide more surface area on which you can press, butter, and slide the ski, and also keep it from hooking up unpredictably. Based on our experience with other tapered freestyle skis like the Line Tom Wallisch Pro, those claims seem sensible.
The new BDOG’s also has notably more rocker than many similarly narrow skis. It has notably deeper rocker lines than the Line Tom Wallisch Pro & Blend and Nordica Soul Rider 87 & 97, but not as much as the ON3P Magnus 102. Compared to the Edollo, the new BDOG has a similar tip rocker line but more tail rocker.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the BDOG:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-8.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 8.5-7.5
Armada says the BDOG has a “Circle Flex” and that seems pretty accurate. The BDOG’s flex pattern feels almost perfectly symmetrical, with its tails being ever so slightly stiffer than the tips.
Armada also says the BDOG’s tips and tails are “super flexible.” I’d agree for the most part, though the BDOG’s tips and tails still aren’t as soft as some other skis like the Line Blend. But the BDOG’s tips and tails are soft along pretty much the entire rockered portions of the ski, which does set it apart from many other skis in its class (many of which have flex patterns that stiffen up quicker).
Compared to the Edollo, the BDOG is a bit softer in the tips and shovels, and notably softer in the tail and behind the heel piece. Compared to the Nordica Soul Rider 87 & 97, the BDOG feels similar at the ends of the ski, but both of the Soul Riders stiffen up more quickly as you move to the middle of the skis.
After I did the specs on the BDOG, doing the math on its recommended mount point brought a smile to my face. Unlike many modern all-mountain-freestyle and park skis, the BDOG has a recommended mount point that is truly dead-center (rather than a few cm back from center). Armada says this ski was specifically designed for Phil’s needs, and its true-center mount point seems to reflect that.
For its size, the BDOG comes in at a pretty moderate weight. It’s not super light like the Line Tom Wallisch Pro, nor is it notably heavy like the ON3P Magnus 102. Just a nice, middle-of-the-road weight.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. As always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1735 & 1759 Line Tom Wallisch Pro, 179 cm (17/18–19/20)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1829 & 1838 Faction Prodigy 2.0, 184 cm (18/19)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1864 & 1919 J Skis Whipit, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1970 & 1990 Armada BDOG, 180 cm (19/20)
2002 & 2014 J Skis Allplay, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
2019 & 2022 Rossignol Black Ops 98, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2031 & 2038 Faction Candide 2.0, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
2067 & 2074 Line Blend, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2080 & 2102 Armada Edollo, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2100 & 2118 Armada ARV 96 Ti, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2118 & 2139 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2126 & 2136 ON3P Magnus 102, 186 cm (18/19)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) It’s cool to see skis designed specifically for pro skiers. But for people who can’t ski like Phil Casabon (i.e., pretty much everyone), will the BDOG still be fun and enjoyable?
(2) Phil’s known for his big butters, presses, and transfers, and we think the shape, flex pattern, and rocker profile of the BDOG should work well for those tricks. But what about average park riders who want to hit a mix of rails and jumps? Just how specialized is the BDOG?
(3) At 94 mm underfoot, the new BDOG could arguably be categorized as a park / urban ski or an all-mountain freestyle ski. So how will the BDOG handle conditions and terrain outside of the park?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Phil Casabon’s style continues to evolve, and so does his signature ski. The new Armada BDOG brings a more modern, tapered shape and generous rocker profile to a narrower width, which isn’t something we’ve seen from many other companies. We’re eager to experience the result, so stay tuned for updates.