2019-2020 Armada Tracer 108

Ski: 2019-2020 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm

Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 179.2 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 1750 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1806 & 1862 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-108-126 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.0-107.1-125.4 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (180 cm): 19 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 34 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3-4 mm

Core: Poplar/Caruba + Titanal Binding Reinforcement + Innegra & Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered “Comp Series Base”

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.6 cm from center; 81.0 cm from tail

Luke Koppa reviews the 19/20 Armada Tracer 108 for Blister
Armada Tracer 108
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Last year I spent a lot of time skiing the Armada Tracer 108 — a fairly light ski that stood out in the touring-ski market due to its more forgiving and playful feel.

For 19/20, Armada is tweaking several of their Tracer skis, including the 108. The new Tracer 98, 108, and 118 CHX all feature tweaked constructions designed to make them both lighter and more durable. We’ll be talking about the Tracer 98 soon, but for now, let’s examine the new Tracer 108 to see what’s new, what’s not, and how it now compares to the rest of the market.

What Armada says about the Tracer 108

“Even though the Tracer 108 is firmly focused on outstanding downhill performance, we’re always searching for the perfect combination of weight reduction and stability in this category. That’s why for 19/20 we paired an even lighter Poplar-Caruba wood core to a larger fiberglass package resulting in further decreased weight and increased durability. The Tracer 108 ups the performance ante with dampening Adaptive Mesh, Titanal reinforcement underfoot and AR75 Sidewall construction to create just the right feel whether used for freeriding or touring enthusiasts.”

The main update to the Tracer 108 (and Tracer 118 CHX) is a switch from a poplar/ash core to a poplar/caruba core, and an updated laminate construction. As we’ll touch on later, the new ski is coming in a bit lighter, and we’re eager to see if we notice a difference in the overall feel of the new ski now that it has an updated core construction.

It’s also worth quickly noting that we’re testing the new Tracer 108 with the new Armada-branded Shift binding, which is the same binding as the Salomon / Atomic Shift MNC 13, but comes in a pretty sweet-looking all-black colorway.

Shape / Rocker Profile

No real change here. The Tracer 108 comes back with the same shape and rocker profile as the previous version of the ski, and our current and new pairs of the ski even measure with the same exact tip and tail splay.

The Tracer 108 has a pretty tapered shovel, and a less tapered tail. Overall, its shape is fairly similar to the Atomic Backland 107, Amplid Facelift 108, and Line Vision 108.

The Tracer 108 has a pretty deep tip rocker line and a much shallower tail rocker line. Unlike the Backland 107, the Tracer 108 has a more “twinned-up” tail and above average tail splay of 34 mm.

Overall, the Tracer 108’s shape and rocker profile slot it in closer with skis like the Vision 108 and Facelift 108, rather than more traditional, flatter-tailed, and less tapered skis like the Blizzard Zero G 105 and Black Crows Corvus Freebird.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Tracer 108:

Tips: 5.5
Shovels: 5.5-6.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 7.5-5.5

Like the previous version of the ski, the new Tracer 108 has a moderate, fairly round flex pattern. It starts quite soft at the ends of the tips (where the tip spacer is, and then slowly but smoothly ramps up as you move toward the middle. The very end of the ski (~12 cm) is quite soft, but the section behind the heel piece stays strong until that point.

Mount Point

Our pair of the 180 cm Tracer 108 has a recommended mount point of around -8.6 cm from center, which is slightly more forward than the recommended line on our pair of the 18/19 Tracer 108 (-9.35 cm from center). The new ski’s mount point is still in “more traditional / directional” territory, though it’s not as far back as some skis like the K2 Wayback 106.

Weight

Armada claims that the 19/20 Tracer 108 is about 7% lighter than the 18/19 version. Our pair is indeed coming in lighter than the last version of the ski, but it’s not that big of a difference. At an average weight of 1834 grams per ski for the 180 cm length, the 19/20 Tracer 108 still sits on the slightly heavier end of the spectrum for dedicated touring skis, and slots right around the middle for 50/50 skis that you could use inside and outside of the resort.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1476 & 1490 K2 Wayback 106, 179 cm (18/19–19/20)
1477 & 1482 G3 FINDr 102, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
1547 & 1551 Black Diamond Helio 105 Carbon, 185 cm (17/18)
1562 & 1566 Scott Superguide 105, 183 cm (17/18–18/19)
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20)
1606 & 1641 Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm (19/20)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1642 & 1662 Atomic Backland 107, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
1706 & 1715 Volkl BMT 109, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1733 & 1735 Blizzard Zero G 108, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
1745 & 1747 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
1752 & 1771 Amplid Facelift 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
1755 & 1792 Line Sick Day 104, 179 cm (17/18–19/20)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1814 & 1845 Elan Ripstick 106, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
1825 & 1904 Black Crows Corvus Freebird, 183.3 cm (17/18–19/20)
1843 & 1847 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (17/18)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1898 & 1893 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (18/19)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1941 & 1965 Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, 182 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1970 & 1979 Atomic Backland FR 109, 189 cm (17/18)
1980 & 2016 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (17/18–18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2036 & 2064 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Given the new Tracer 108’s slight drop in weight, will we notice a drop in stability?

(2) We’ve been spending time on a few lightweight skis that have more forward mount points and symmetrical shapes and rocker profiles (Line Vision 108 & Amplid Facelift 108). Given its flex and rocker profile, will the new Tracer 108 feel more like those skis, or will it fall more in line with more traditional, directional skis like the Backland 107, Volkl BMT 109, etc.?

Bottom Line (For Now)

With the new Tracer 108, Armada took a pretty versatile ski and made it stand out a bit more on the market by cutting some weight. So, will the new ski still stand out when we get it on snow? Stay tuned for updates.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
Base
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8 comments on “2019-2020 Armada Tracer 108”

  1. I am 180lbs 5′ 11″” I am planning on buying a 50-50 touring -resort ski and I have a set of Atomic Shift bindings to mount on them. i am trying to decide between skis that are available to me here in NZ. I am 63 but fit and an advanced skier, my quiver includes Bonafides, Kastle MX 98, and Black Crows Navis Freebird 179 with Tectons. The Navis are fine for spring snow but a little soft and I don’t want to rely on them for a Japan trip.
    My question is are the new model Tracer 108’s at 180cm going to work for my weight? There is a pair of Line Sick Day 104 at 186cm available, also a 2017 moderl Salomon QST 106 in at 181cm. I really would rather have around 180 cm for a touring ski. The Salomon and the Line are getting a bit heavy. But is the Tracer 180cm enough ski…it is the lightest (and the most expensive).
    Would appreciate your advice as i ave not been on any of these skis.

    • At your height, weight, and experience level, I think the 186 cm Line Sick Day 104 would be my top pick. If you thought the Navis FB was a bit soft, then I think you’d probably feel the same way about the 180 cm Tracer 108. And thanks to its moderate flex pattern, tip and tail rocker, and pretty low weight, I doubt you’d feel like the 186 cm Sick Day 104 is too long (it’s quite easy to ski while being more stable than the 180 cm Tracer 108).

  2. Thanks Luke. I was focussing on the 2018 Salomon QST (the maroon model) in the 181 however it is sold out down here. Then I read the reviews on the 2018 Tracer and it sounded good and usually referenced in the 180 length, however it also sounds like the 2020 model is a little softer, so I was wondering if it might be a bit soft and short for me, and you are confirming this with your response. As above I have sourced down here 186cm Sick Day and older model QST 106 181cm, both the same weight 1900g, getting a bit heavy and the 186 length not as tour friendly. Reading your reviews the Sick Day 104 keeps coming up, and I had a pair of the Sick Day Tourist 102 in the 179 length they skiied really good but I did feel they were a bit short and fragile too. Next I had Atomic Backland FR109 182cm the twin tip tail was a pain to zigzag turn and I never felt comfortable on them like the tips were going to fold up under me. So on to the Navis and I am keeping them, but want to augment them with wider/bigger skis for deeper snow, yet able to use inbounds too…a 50/50. I suspect you are right and the Sick day is the best, but what about the Orange QST 106 in the 181cm? Too short? Should I see about bringing in the maroon model from overseas?

    • I think either ski could work well for you — they’re both excellent 50/50 options, and I don’t think the difference between the 17/18 and 18/19 QST 106 is worth paying fees to get it shipped from overseas. That said, I think if you found the 182 cm Backland 109 to feel too soft, you might feel the same about the 181 QST 106 — it doesn’t have very stiff shovels and at your height and weight, I think you might be left wishing for a more supportive ski. That said, I know some very good skiers who use that ski in the 181 cm length as their dedicated touring setup, and they like it.

      So, all that is to say that I think the 181 cm QST 106 or 186 cm Sick Day 104 could work well for you. I think it just comes down to whether you want a more touring-friendly ski at the cost of some stability (181 cm QST 106), or a slightly less touring-friendly ski that’s a bit more stable (186 cm Sick Day 104).

  3. Thanks Luke great advice. I am leaning towards the Sick Day as a fun ski when not touring and good for slackcountry tours, and serviceable if I make it up to Japan in the New Year. I have the Navis as my dedicated touring ski for lightweight missions…heading south to Tekapo next month for a helilift into a backcountry hut for four days touring, last year we scored it ten out of ten so fingers crossed for this mission. Cheers Clive

  4. Hi Luke,

    I have posted the exact same under the Bent Chetler 100 review, as these (the Bent Chetler 100 and Tracer 108) are the 2 skis I am interested in.

    I am looking for skis that I could use 85% of the time I go skiing. I would mount them with the shift binding, use them on piste (30%) and off piste (70%) and for some touring as well. In the end I am looking for something that would allow me to have fun on powder days with up to 15-18″ of fresh powder but also on much more normal days, in the resort, on hard packed, on piste in both firm or soft conditions, and off piste with more difficult conditions like crust or variable snow.

    Which one of the two skis do you feel would offer more versatility? Which one would you feel recommending (I am 6’3″ and 202 lbs and more of a directional skier).

    Many thanks for any suggestion you can give me!

  5. This ski works really well as an every day hill ski and on big adventures. I ski it every day, at the recommended mark with the Shift binding and its got a huge sweet-spot because it’s light and soft and still it’s awesome torsionally.

    So even under major stress during wicked angulation on super hard snow it stays connected without chattering or deflecting. So I think of it as a bit of an anomaly that happens to make it my favorite daily ski on and off of the piste. Im 6′, 180, ski most days

    The tip shape is long and gradual and the transition from rocker to camber is all blended, as is the change from taper to sidecut and it has a sidewall construction that fades to a cap at the tip and tail. It has a good balance of light and easy to maneuver, straight up easy to ski with well planted power at speed. Its truly versatile

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