Ski: 2016-2017 Armada Invictus 108Ti, 188cm
Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm
Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 188.1cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 138-108-128
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,287 and 2,290 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 26.5 meters
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech + Titanal (2-Layer) + Carbon/Kevlar Stringers
Tip & Tail Splay: 58 / 16 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm
Factory Recommended Line: 85.9cm from tail; -8.15cm from center
Mount Location: +0.5cm from Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Salomon X-Pro 120 & Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)
Days Skied: 6
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Invictus. The ski was not changed for the 15/16 or 16/17 seasons (apart from the graphics) but it was renamed the “Invictus 108Ti.”]
I’ve spent five days on the Armada Invictus at Taos (and one day at Temple Basin, New Zealand) in some pretty deep conditions, so this review is a good supplement to Will Brown’s review of the Invictus from the Canterbury club fields of New Zealand.
Having just re-read Will’s review and given my experience the past two weeks, I can confirm that his review is spot on. He got the Invictus’ on-snow performance exactly right.
So in this 2nd Look, I’ll reiterate some of his points, but what I most want to do is supplement his review by (a) talking about the Invictus’ soft snow / deep snow performance, and (b) making some comparisons to other skis in its category, including some of the skis that Will was speculating about with respect to the Invictus.
Armada says this about the Invictus:
“New for 14/15, the Invictus demands full throttle skiing in variable terrain. The highly adaptable width allows for floatation in softer conditions, while the AR Nose Rocker and longer turning radius perform well when venturing on harder snow. Carbon fiber strips from tip to tail increase liveliness and top and bottom layers of Titanal provide stability.”
That’s a good description, and the more ready and able you are to use the 188cm Invictus for “full throttle skiing,” the more you are going to like it. The 188cm Invictus feels like a pretty heavy, burly ski. If you’re not ready and able to ski it strong, you’d be better off skiing something else.
But for being a pretty burly ski, I’ve found the Invictus to work quite well in some very deep snow over the past two weeks at Taos, so I think it’s quite fair for Armada to tout the Invictus’ “floatation in softer conditions.”
Unlike the 108mm-underfoot, 185cm Blizzard Cochise, which has not fared well in the same deep snow at Taos, I’ve experienced very little tip dive on the Invictus.
We caught the rope drop earlier this week, December 27, on Longhorn, one of Taos’ longest runs, and it was covered in knee-to-thigh deep pow. Longhorn is an open run, and very conducive to fall-line skiing at pretty high speeds. The Invictus performed well here in what is, essentially, its wheel house: soft—and even deep—conditions.
Honestly, the Invictus shouldn’t work as well in deep snow as it does. As you can clearly tell from looking at the rocker profile pics, this is not a surfy pow ski. But it doesn’t tip dive, either, despite the fact that it has less tip rocker than, say, the Salomon Q-Lab 109, the Line Supernatural 108, or the Blizzard Cochise. (I’ll say more about the Invictus vs. those other skis below.)
The Invictus is not an especially quick ski, and its tails are not very tolerant of backseat skiing. So if you’re going to be skiing a lot of bumps, you’ll want to be a strong skier with good technique or you will get punished. (The same is true of the 190cm Salomon Q Lab.) In fact, I’ve moved the mount point up .5 cms in front of the line to make these feel a bit quicker in big, steep bumps at speed. The Invictus already has a good bit of tail, so I haven’t been tempted to move any farther forward, and have been happy with the ski at +0.5.
In moguls, the Line Supernatural 108 is a much easier option, though the Supernatural 108 is a far more playful ski, while the 188cm Invictus isn’t going for playful.
To be clear, if you’re skiing lower-angle bumps with good lines, you ought to be just fine on the Invictus. But this ski isn’t going to help you ski bumps better. I had a good time skiing the Invictus on Taos’s frontside (Spencer’s, Rhoda’s, etc.) though I was never able to ski relaxed or lazy on these things.
Big, Open Faces
What the Invictus does do is track exceptionally well in soft chop and deep snow. On a run down the backside of Temple Basin, New Zealand, the stability of the Invictus was impressive, and I never felt out of control when letting these skis run flat out.
I don’t think the Supernatural 108 would have felt as inherently stable, and the 185cm Cochise may have struggled when hitting deeper pockets of snow.
I tend to think that the 190cm Salomon Q Lab would have felt most similar / most at home here, despite the fact that it has a tighter sidecut radius than the Invictus. But what I know for sure is that the Invictus is an extremely fun and capable ski to rip huge turns down Taos’s Kachina Peak.
Who’s the Invictus 108Ti For?
If you’re worried that the 188cm Invictus might be too much ski for you, then chances are it probably will be, and skis closer to the Playful / Forgiving end of the spectrum will likely be the better fit.
If I had to predict who would be happiest on the 188cm Invictus, it would be the person who thinks that the 185cm Cochise might be too little ski, while the 193cm Cochise might be too much. Or the person that is willing to work a bit more than he or she would on the 185cm Cochise for the sake of getting a significant deep-snow performance upgrade over the 185cm Cochise.
The Invictus is an exciting development from Armada, and it’s cool to see the company move into this category of the legit, directional charger. It’s also cool – and pretty unique – to see a ski this stable also perform so well in soft and deep conditions. So much so that, while this is a very good mixed conditions ski, I’d say that it skews toward the soft / deep end of the snow spectrum rather than the firm end of the spectrum.
Deep Dive: Armada Invictus 108Ti
To get our comparisons of the Invictus 108Ti to nine other directional chargers, and see all of them on a spectrum from ‘most demanding / stable’ to ‘most playful / forgiving,’ see the Blister Deep Dive: Armada Invictus 108Ti.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics