Ski: 2021-2022 Faction Dictator 3.0, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 186.4 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2150 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2116 & 2181 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.2-105.2-123.1 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 23 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 70 mm / 27 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5 mm
Core: poplar + titanal (2 layers) + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.3 cm from center; 81.9 cm from tail
[Note: Our review is being conducted on the 20/21 Dictator 3.0, which returns unchanged for 21/22.]
Back in 2017, Faction launched a new series of skis: the Dictators. They were very strong, flat-tailed, and included two sheets of metal in their construction.
The Dictator series has remained in Faction’s lineup since, but it’s also gone through a lot of changes over the years (listen to Ep. #115 of our GEAR:30 podcast with Faction for more on the progression). The current 106mm-wide Dictator 3.0 was updated for the 19/20 season, and returns unchanged for the 20/21 and 21/22 seasons, apart from graphics.
We found the original (17/18–18/19) Dictator 3.0 to be a very demanding ski that was best reserved for experts, but Faction says the latest version is considerably more accessible, without compromising on power and stability at high speeds. So we recently started getting time on the revised Dictator 3.0 to see how it compares to the previous version, as well as some other directional, metal-laminate skis in this class.
Blister Members can check out our initial impressions in our Flash Review, but while we get more time on the ski, let’s take a closer look at its design:
What Faction says about the Dictator 3.0
“The Dictator 3.0 is the must-have one-stop-shop for the freerider who frequently chases bigger lines, yet needs a ski that excels in all conditions. Two sheets of metal support the energetic wood core, so you can comfortably go full-throttle. With tip and tail rocker and a girthy waist, this ski blasts through fresh snow and hearty chowder like an absolute boss. Its Elliptical sidecut ensures it doesn’t hook up at high speeds, allowing you to lace tight turns or throw on the brakes at a moment’s notice. Designed & tested at Faction’s home in Verbier, Switzerland, handmade in Austria at the finest manufacturing facilities in the world. Built to last.”
This is fairly standard copy for a metal-laminate ski that’s placed in the “hard charging” end of the spectrum. That said — and as with the original Dictator skis — Faction also emphasizes that the Dictator 3.0 is supposed to let you make tight turns and quickly shed speed, rather than purely being designed to make massive turns down the fall line.
The 19/20–21/22 Dictator 3.0’s general construction is pretty similar to the 17/18–18/19 version’s. The latest iteration still features two sheets of metal, a fiberglass laminate, and a sintered base, but it now features a purely poplar wood core, rather than the poplar / paulownia wood core in the older version. And an arguably bigger change is that Faction switched factories for the newer Dictators, with them now being made in Austria, which Faction says has helped in terms of making the skis more durable.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Dictator 3.0’s shape is one thing that doesn’t look drastically different compared to the older versions of the ski. This ski still has a fairly tapered shovel with a “straight” section around the widest point, making it look fairly similar to skis like the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti and Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, and more tapered than the Volkl Katana 108 and Black Crows Corvus. The Dictator 3.0’s tail isn’t as tapered as its tip, and overall, its effective edge is pretty long.
The current Dictator 3.0 still has pretty moderate tip and tail rocker lines and a long cambered section, but compared to the first version of the ski, the newest Dictator 3.0 has a deeper tip rocker line and more tip splay, and maybe a slightly deeper tail rocker line. Compared to the whole market of ~106mm-wide skis, the Dictator 3.0 has pretty shallow rocker lines, falling in line with skis like the Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 4FRNT MSP 107, and Fischer Ranger 107 Ti.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Dictator 3.0:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
The Dictator 3.0 is still a very strong ski. Its tips and shovels aren’t unbendable, but I’d call them stiffer than average. And then the ski is quite stout around the bindings and finishes with a stiff tail, though the end of its tail might be a touch softer than the original, 17/18–18/19 Dictator 3.0.
The Dictator 3.0’s flex pattern isn’t super far off from the Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti’s, though the Dictator’s flex pattern stiffens up more quickly as you move from the shovels to the middle of the ski. Overall, the Dictator 3.0 isn’t quite as stiff as the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, and it flexes pretty similarly to the Blizzard Cochise 106, with the Cochise’s tips and shovels being a bit stronger. Compared to the Volkl Katana 108, the Dictator’s tips and shovels are a bit softer, but it’s a bit stiffer behind the bindings.
The stated sidecut radius of the 188 cm Dictator 3.0 is 23 meters, which is around the middle of the pack compared to other similarly wide skis that are designed to be skied fast and hard. That radius isn’t as long as the Prior Husume or Dynastar M-Pro 105’s, but it’s a bit longer than the radii on skis like the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, and Black Crows Corvus.
The recommended mount point on the 20/21 Dictator 3.0 we have is about -11.3 cm from the true center of the ski. That’s pretty far back, though certainly not out of the ordinary for a ski in this class. We know some folks who have preferred the ski mounted a cm or two forward of that mount point, so we’ll be doing some experimenting during our testing.
The original Dictator 3.0 was one of the first stiff, metal-laminate, directional skis we tested that also happened to be quite light for its size. The latest iteration of the ski is still pretty light, though it has gained a bit of weight.
At about 2148 grams per ski for the 188 cm length, the Dictator 3.0’s weight is in line with skis like the Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, Kastle FX106 HP, and Black Crows Corvus, but notably lighter than skis like the Volkl Katana 108, Blizzard Cochise 106, Prior Husume, Dynastar M-Pro 105, and Fischer Ranger 107 Ti.
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.
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s ROMP 100, 183 cm
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–21/22)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–21/22)
1875 & 1881 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
1883 & 1898 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender, 178 cm (20/21–21/22)
1896 & 1942 K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm (20/21–21/22)
1947 & 2011 4FRNT Devastator, 186 cm (20/21)
1973 & 1997 Volkl Revolt 104, 188 cm (20/21–21/22)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1999 & 2020 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2022 & 2046 DPS Foundation Koala 103, 184 cm (21/22)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2049 & 2053 Whitedot Altum 104, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2073 & 2074 Season Nexus, 183 cm (20/21)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–21/22)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–21/22)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2113 & 2121 Moment Meridian, 187 cm (16/17–20/21)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2116 & 2181 Faction Dictator 3.0, 188 cm (19/20–21/22)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–21/22)
2145 & 2167 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (20/21)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21–21/22)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–21/22)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21–21/22)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–21/22)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2295 & 2344 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–21/22)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
2353 & 2360 Volkl Katana 108, 184 cm (20/21–21/22)
2449 & 2493 J Skis Hotshot, 189 cm (20/21)
2603 & 2604 Dynastar M-Pro 105, 192 cm (16/17; 20/21–21/22)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) One of the defining traits of the original Dictator 3.0 was how demanding and punishing it was if you made a mistake and got in the backseat. But Faction says the latest version is considerably easier to ski. So, just how much more accessible is it?
(2) The Dictator 3.0 is still a fairly lightweight ski, though there are now a lot of similarly light, directional, metal-laminate skis on the market. So how smooth and damp will the Dictator 3.0 feel when the conditions are rough, and where will it slot into the (ever-changing) category of hard-charging skis in this regard?
(3) At 106 mm underfoot, the Dictator 3.0 looks like a ski that should work well in a pretty wide range of conditions, but will there be any scenarios where it feels like it really excels, and others where it falls short?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The original Faction Dictator 3.0 was a radical ski when it was first released. It was very stiff, had two layers of metal, but was also quite light. While the latest version of the Dictator 3.0 maintains most of those traits, there are now many other skis that look pretty similar on paper, so we’re very curious to see how the revised Dictator 3.0 fits into the current market. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below, and then stay tuned for our full review.
Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Dictator 3.0 for our initial on-snow 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.