Ski: 2018-2019 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 179.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1885 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1898 & 1893 g
Stated Dimensions: 134-108-126 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.5-107-125.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 19 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 34 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm
Core: Poplar/Ash + Titanal Binding Reinforcement + “Xrystal Mesh” Innegra Weave
Base: “Comp Series Base”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.35 cm from center; 80.2 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Strider 120 / Fritschi Tecton 12
Test Locations: Front Range Backcountry, CO; Taos Ski Valley, NM
Days Skied: 10
Introduced for the 17/18 season, the Tracer series is Armada’s touring and 50/50 line of skis (the women’s equivalent is the Trace line, which we’ll also be reviewing). For 18/19, Armada is tweaking the line, stating that “for 18/19 we’re still focused on a stable and predictable ski in versatile conditions, but added subtle rocker and taper regions to keep the Tracer series nimble and playful when you want to have a little fun.”
The Tracer 108 is the second widest ski in the series, and here’s what Armada says specifically about the Tracer 108:
“The perfect combination of weight reduction and stability, the Armada Tracer 108 is a lightweight ski that likes to hang outside the ropes. This ski ups the performance ante with dampening Xrystal Mesh, titanal reinforcement underfoot and sidewall construction to create just the right feel whether used by freeriding or touring enthusiasts.”
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Tracer 108 looks kind of like a blend between the ARV 116 JJ and Invictus 108 Ti. The Tracer 108 has fairly moderate tip taper, and a bit less tail taper.
When it comes to the rocker profile, the Tracer 108 looks very similar to the Atomic Backland FR 109 (a ski that we’ll be talking about a lot here given its close similarity to the Tracer 108). The Tracer 108 has slightly deeper rocker lines, but with lower tip and tail splay than the Backland FR 109.
The Tracer 108’s rocker lines definitely suggest a soft snow orientation, but it also has around 5 mm of camber, which is more than many backcountry skis of this width. So, we’ll be curious to see how the Tracer 108 performs in both soft and firm conditions, as well as the trickier crusts and variable snow often encountered in the backcountry.
Here’s how we’d sum up the flex pattern of the Tracer 108:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind Heel Piece: 10-9
The Tracer 108 has a nice, fairly round flex pattern. Its tips are a bit softer than its tails, which should help it plane well in powder. Both ends of the skis ramp up smoothly and fairly quickly, and it seems like the Tracer 108 should offer a nice blend of forgiving + playful while remaining fairly supportive.
Coming in at around 1895 grams for the 180 cm, the Tracer 108 is on the heavier end for a dedicated touring ski, and on the lighter side for an alpine ski. The Tracer 108’s weight puts it squarely into the 50/50 category, and I personally tend to like skis in this weight class as I’m willing to drag around a bit more weight in exchange for more stability and better overall performance on the downhill.
For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis:
1685 and 1703 Scott Scrapper 105, 183 cm
1755 & 1792 Line Sick Day 104, 179 cm
1808 & 1835 Atomic Backland FR 109, 182 cm
1898 & 1893 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm
1941 & 1965 Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, 182 cm
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm
1957 & 1958 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm
1980 & 2016 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm
2101 & 2104 Ranger FR 102, 184 cm
Sometimes when looking at the specs of a ski, it’s really hard to think of a potential apples-to-apples comparison (e.g., the new Atomic Bent Chetler 100).
However, that’s not the case with the Tracer 108 as it has one very direct comparison — the Atomic Backland FR 109. Both skis share similar rocker profiles, nearly identical dimensions and sidecut radii, and both are targeted squarely at the 50/50 market.
The Tracer 108 is slightly softer in the tips and tails, has a bit more camber, slightly deeper rocker lines, and is a bit heavier.
I’ve spent much of this winter touring on the 182 cm Backland FR 109, and have come to really like that ski for the backcountry of Colorado. It is very maneuverable and pretty playful, so I’m very eager to see how the Tracer 108 compares.
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Armada Tracer 108 looks like another interesting addition to the 50/50 ski category. Its flex pattern and rocker profile seem to live up to Armada’s claims of it being designed for both stability in variable conditions while also maintaining a level of playfulness. We’ve already started getting time on the Tracer 108, so stay tuned for updates, and let us know about any questions you’d like to see addressed in our full review.
Flash Review: Armada Tracer 108
Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Tracer 108.
(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)
NEXT: The Full Review