Another thing I should mention is that the VJJs love air. This was the first season I began to experiment with cliff dropping, and I feel the VJJs are nearly 100% responsible for my newfound confidence. The wide girth of this ski coupled with the rockered tips and tails make it a cinch to land drops. It was possible to maintain a forward stance when hucking cliffs and retain this aggressive position upon landing. The rockered tips kept me afloat, preventing the dreaded forward dive that can easily happen when landing cliffs or drops. I found the VJJ’s forgiving nature perfect for ladies looking to take their skiing to the next level.
Armada claims that the 50/50 base material used on the VJJ is one of their most resilient base materials, and I don’t doubt it. On several occasions I heard that horrific scraping sound every skier dreads. Each time I checked my bases, however, to my overwhelming surprise nary a core shot could be found. More than 40 days in a low snow year, and the only damage to these bases were a few superficial scratches. I didn’t invest in any P-tex this season, which is more than I can say for the majority of my ski buddies.
But the VJJ, like any ski, isn’t without its shortcomings. I never felt entirely comfortable making tight, slalom-style turns on hardpack at speed. When I have tried to lay out a very tight turn at a faster clip, I found the boards lacked responsiveness and felt a little squirrely.
Given their design, however, this isn’t surprising. Still, it’s good to be aware of. One Saturday, things were getting fairly crowded on Corkscrew, a groomed run that leads back to the Collins lift. A small child veered out in front of me, and I threw down a very tight turn to the right to avoid a crash. The VJJs didn’t like being forced into that turn shape at speed, and I lost control and veered off piste. I emerged unscathed, but came away more aware of the VJJs dislike for slalom-style carving on groomers.
My only other complaint is that the tails could wash out if I didn’t stay centered and balanced over the ski while carving on firmer snow. But as long as I stayed balanced, it wasn’t a problem.
I will admit that I was also initially nervous about ordering the 175cm VJJ. My previous 2008 Salomon Czars at 166cm seemed the perfect length. But I had been advised to size up given the significant amount of rocker of the VJJ, as it would ski like a much shorter length.
Having spent the bulk of my 2012 ski days on the VJJ, I can say without a doubt that 175cm was the correct length for me. The lightweight construction allowed me to ski from bell to bell, and the longer length kept me afloat in deeper snow. I do think that some women out there will appreciate the stiffer flex and heavier construction of the men’s JJ, but I certainly felt that I benefited from the reduced weight and softer flex of the VJJ.
I think the “V” in VJJ can stand for “versatile,” as this ski offers such excellent performance in a wide range of terrain and snow conditions. They’re absolutely perfect for all-mountain expert females looking for a one-ski quiver. The forgiving shape and lightweight construction also make the VJJ appropriate for intermediate skiers looking to improve their game. All things considered, the VJJ is the best ski I’ve owned, and it has set the bar high for what I expect from an all-mountain ski.