Ski: 2019-2020 Faction Chapter 1.0, 178 cm
Available Lengths: 154, 162, 170, 178, 186 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 176.4 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1685 & 1688 grams
Stated Dimensions: 120-86-110 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 119.3-85.4-109.3 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (178 cm): 19 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 25 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm
Core: Poplar + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.9 cm from center; 78.3 cm from tail
Faction is introducing a new line of skis for 19/20. Well, I suppose you could say they are re-introducing the Chapter line, but these new Chapter skis aren’t anything like the old Chapter skis Faction made a few years ago.
The new Chapter skis are essentially metal-less versions of Faction’s freeride Dictator skis, designed to be more approachable to a wider range of skiers. If you’ve read our reviews of the Dictator 3.0 and Dictator 4.0, you probably know that there is a large market of skiers who would probably get along better with an easier, more forgiving version of those skis.
The new Chapter line will consist of the 86mm-wide Chapter 1.0 and 96mm-wide Chapter 2.0. So just how different are the Chapter skis from the Dictators, and how do the new skis compare to the rest of the market? Let’s take a closer look at the Chapter 1.0.
What Faction says about the new Chapter series
“Using the same playful wood core as found in our freestyle skis, with a shape based on our best freeride skis, the Chapter Series are designed to rip in all terrain, all over the mountain. Built to be energetic and versatile in all conditions, the elliptical radius sidecut keeps the ski responsive and performant on piste, as well as in the softer snow when you decide to go exploring. Made in Austria for unrivaled quality and equipped with XL 2.5mm edges, these skis are as durable as they are fun.”
What Faction says about the Chapter 1.0
“Say goodbye to the same-old and say hello to the brand-new Chapter 1.0. With the same energetic poplar core as our freestyle skis, this flat-tailed, progressively shaped ski is maneuverable, versatile and is ready for you to start turning it up a gear all over the mountain.”
First, the difference between the Chapter series and Dictator series. The Chapter skis use a full poplar core, while the Dictators use a lighter paulownia / poplar core. Then the Chapter skis lack the two sheets of titanal that the Dictators use. The Chapter skis maintain the Dictators’ 2.5 mm edges, which are well above average in terms of size. Other than that, there’s not much difference — the Chapter 1.0 and 2.0 have the same exact dimensions as the Dictator 1.0 and 2.0, respectively.
As for the Chapter 1.0 itself, Faction seems to be emphasizing the ski’s versatility. This is noteworthy as many ~85mm-wide skis on the market now are not all that versatile. Instead, many are basically just fatter on-piste skis with designs that don’t cater well to variable off-piste snow. But looking at the Chapter 1.0, I’m not that surprised that Faction is taking this angle in their marketing copy…
Shape / Rocker Profile
For a relatively narrow ski, the Chapter 1.0 has a very modern, tapered shape. It doesn’t have nearly as much taper as much wider skis, but the Chapter 1.0 has significantly more taper than other skis in its class like the Head Monster 88 Ti, Blizzard Brahma, Renoun Z-Line 90, and K2 Ikonic 84 Ti. Overall, the Chapter 1.0’s shape looks pretty similar to the Nordica Enforcer 88 and Folsom Spar 88.
The Chapter 1.0’s rocker profile is a bit more traditional. It has shallower tip and tail rocker lines than the Brahma and Enforcer 88, but deeper rocker lines than the Z-Line 90, Monster 88 Ti, and Ikonic 84 Ti.
Overall, the Chapter 1.0’s shape and rocker profile seem to put it more in the “all-mountain” category, rather than the more piste-oriented category. And just looking at the ski, the Chapter 1.0 seems like it could be a lot of fun in bumps — tapered tips for low swing weight, not a ton of sidecut to get caught up when pivoting, and a fairly flat tail for support. I know reviewer Sam Shaheen is very excited to mash this ski through some moguls.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Chapter 1.0:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
This is another notable difference between the Chapter 1.0 and the Dictator skis. While we haven’t hand-flexed a Dictator 1.0, the 178 cm Chapter 1.0 is notably softer than the 186 cm Dictator 3.0 and 4.0. This is most noticeable in the front of the Chapter 1.0 — the Dictator skis are pretty stiff throughout, whereas the Chapter 1.0 starts fairly soft in the tips and shovels and smoothly ramps up as you move to the back of the ski. The Chapter 1.0 also finishes with a tail that’s a bit softer than the Dictator 3.0 and 4.0.
The Chapter 1.0’s flex pattern is pretty similar to the Folsom Spar 88’s. Both skis start soft, have strong midsections, and finish with moderately stiff tails. The Spar 88 is a narrower ski that we love in variable off-piste snow and, given the two skis’ similarities in flex and shape, we’re excited to see how the Chapter 1.0 compares.
The Dictator skis were already quite light for having two sheets of metal, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Chapter 1.0, lacking those two sheets of metal, comes in at a very low weight. It’s the lightest ski in this class that we’ve weighed.
Given that we typically use ~85mm-wide skis when the snow is firm, we’re curious to see how well the Chapter 1.0 handles rough and unforgiving snow.
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.
1685 & 1688 Faction Chapter 1.0, 178 cm (19/20)
1690 & 1707 Amplid Time Machine 90, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1790 & 1828 Black Crows Orb, 179.1 cm (19/20)
1790 & 1831 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
1839 & 1842 Black Crows Orb, 178.3 cm (17/18–18/19)
1855 & 1877 Liberty evolv 90, 186 cm (19/20)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1920 & 1940 Volkl Kendo, 177 cm (15/16–18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1943 & 1968 Liberty V92, 186 cm (18/19)
1959 & 1985 Renoun Z-Line 90, 180 cm (17/18–18/19)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Skis Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2077 & 2092 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm – weight includes binding plates (17/18–19/20)
2098 & 2105 Nordica Enforcer 88, 179 cm (19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2131 & 2194 Nordica Enforcer 88, 186 cm (19/20)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88 Ti, 184 cm (18/19)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Chapter 1.0 has a more tapered shape than a lot of skis in its class, so we’re curious to see how biased it feels toward on- or off-piste conditions.
(2) As we just mentioned, the Chapter 1.0 is very light. So how harsh vs. damp will it feel on firm conditions?
(3) The Faction Dictators are some of the most demanding skis we’ve ever been on. So, with its more moderate flex pattern, how much more forgiving will the Chapter 1.0 feel?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The new Faction Chapter 1.0’s design stands out in the ~85mm-wide all-mountain category. It’s got a modern, tapered shape, an accessible flex pattern, and a very low weight. We’re hoping to get on the ski before the snow’s gone, so stay tuned for updates.