Ski: 2018-2019 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm
Available Lengths: 170, 177, 183, 190 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 181.2 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2133 & 2134 grams
Stated Dimensions: 128-104-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 128-103-120 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 22 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 54 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm
Core: Poplar/Ash + Flax Fibers + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: P-Tex 3000
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.0 cm from center; 82.6 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Salomon QST Pro 130 / Marker Jester Demo
Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort & Arapahoe Basin, CO
Days Skied: 5
While it didn’t even exist a decade ago, the all-mountain freestyle category has been blowing up over the past several years, and the attempt to combine all-mountain performance with playfulness and trickability has produced some really fun skis. From fat park skis to very strong and stable chargers that you can also spin and flip, this category now offers a broad range of options for skiers that like to take a playful approach to the mountain.
Faction’s line is unique in that they offer not one but two all-mountain freestyle series: the Candide and the Prodigy lines. (We’ve already reviewed the Candide 2.0 and 3.0, and also spent some time on the older Prodigy 2.0 and 3.0 in the past.)
But for 18/19, Faction is updating the line with some new construction and shapes, and the Prodigy 3.0 gets the most major overhaul, with an all-new shape, core, and rocker profile.
We’re pretty excited about all of the changes, so let’s take a look.
Here’s what Faction says about the Prodigy 3.0:
“Inspired by the Prodigy 4.0, this ski shares the same shape, Poplar/Ash core and Flax Fibre layers as its big brother, meaning that it grips when carving up corduroy or slush, and has the right mix of pop and dampness to boost that backcountry kicker then charge down the tracked-out landing. Surf Zone technology ensure that even at this waist width, you can fly through fresh snow and slash all the way down your line. Whether you’re gapping safety barriers, bouncing down pillow lines or wheelying rollers, this ski is playful, solid and versatile enough to do it all, in style.”
There’s a lot going on in that description. First, the Prodigy 3.0 features a new Poplar/Ash core with Flax reinforcements, while the last version had a Poplar/Beech core without any Flax.
Second, Faction mentions “the right mix of pop and dampness” — two characteristics where one often comes at the cost of the other.
Third, they talk about the Prodigy 3.0’s ability to both carve corduroy and “slash all the way down your line.”
Finally, they say the new ski is “playful, solid, and versatile enough to do it all” — i.e., it seems like they’re going for the infamous 1-ski quiver category. So we’ll be keeping all of these claims in mind throughout our testing of the new Prodigy 3.0.
We don’t normally say a whole lot about ski graphics, but the pair of Prodigy 3.0’s that we’re reviewing is worth noting (we actually gave it our “Best Graphics” award at SIA / OR). And after getting the skis in hand, we’re still just as stoked on these topsheets. The pair we’re reviewing is a special edition that’s part of a collaboration with Dragon Alliance, featuring art from Japanese artist, Kengo Kimura.
(In addition to the special topsheets on this ski, the collection will also feature a special edition of Dragon’s NX goggle.)
But truth be told, the standard versions of the Prodigy skis look pretty awesome, too. They feature art from a mural made by street artist, SatOne, and we think the standard Prodigy lineup is one of the best-looking series for 18/19. Well done, Faction.
Shape / Rocker Profile
One of the most important changes to the new Prodigy 3.0 is in its rocker profile. Despite having a good deal of tip and tail taper, the old Prodigy 3.0 had very shallow rocker lines compared to many all-mountain freestyle skis of this width.
The new Prodigy 3.0 has significantly deeper tip and tail rocker lines, and more tip and tail splay (65 & 54 mm for the new vs. 49 & 40 mm for the old version). Despite now having a stated waist width that’s 2 mm narrower than the last version (104 mm vs. 106 mm), the new Prodigy 3.0’s rocker profile suggests that it should be much looser and surfier in soft snow. We’ll be curious to see if that is indeed true, and whether it comes at the cost of much firm snow performance.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Prodigy 3.0:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Overall, we really like the flex pattern of the Prodigy 3.0. It’s pretty strong throughout, but the tips and tails still feel like you’ll be able to flex into them. The tips and tails also feel like they have a lot of rebound when hand-flexed, which we’re curious about since we didn’t find the previous Prodigy 2.0 or 3.0 to be especially poppy.
Overall, the new Prodigy 3.0 is a bit stiffer than the previous iteration. The front half of the new Prodigy 3.0 feels pretty similar to that of the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, but the Prodigy 3.0’s tips are actually very slightly stiffer. The back half of the Ranger 102 FR feels noticeably stiffer — the Prodigy 3.0’s flex pattern feels pretty round / nearly symmetrical.
Compared to Faction’s other mid-fat all-mountain freestyle ski, the Candide 3.0, the Prodigy 3.0 feels stiffer and snappier (at least while hand-flexing it) in both the tips and tails.
Dimensions & Available Lengths
The new Prodigy 3.0 is slightly slimmed down, from 106 mm to 104 mm at the waist. The 183 cm 18/19, 183 cm Prodigy 3.0’s dimensions at the tip are 2 mm wider and the tails are 2 mm narrower than the 17/18, 182 cm Prodigy 3.0, making the new Prodigy 3.0 slightly less symmetrical in shape compared to the last version (8 mm tip / tail difference for the new version vs. 4 mm tip / tail difference in the previous version).
The new Prodigy 3.0 also comes in new length options of 170, 177, 183, and 190 cm. The previous iteration was offered in a 172, 178, 182, and 186 cm.
Our pair of the 17/18, 186 cm Prodigy 3.0 came in at 1942 & 1943 grams per ski, which is significantly lighter than the 18/19, 183 cm Prodigy 3.0 (2133 & 2134 grams). We’re pretty psyched about this bump up in weight, since we think it should help the new Prodigy 3.0 feel a bit more stable at speed, but we doubt the ski will feel all that heavy on snow due to its tapered shape and generous rocker profile.
For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis:
1941 & 1994 Faction Candide 3.0, 186 cm (18/19)
1942 & 1943 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 186 cm (17/18)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1980 & 2016 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2032 & 2062 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19)
2144 & 2153 K2 Marksman, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm (18/19)
2341 & 2318 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
While Faction emphasizes the Prodigy series’ freestyle origins, the -8 cm mount point of the Prodigy 3.0 seems to suggest that more directional skiers might also get along well with it.
Despite its more traditional mount (compared to other skis in this all-mountain freestyle class), the Prodigy 3.0 still has a nearly symmetrical flex pattern and rocker profile, so we’ll be playing with the mount point to see how comfortable the Prodigy 3.0 feels both at the recommended line, and with the bindings pushed forward.
Bottom Line (For Now)
With the new Faction Prodigy 3.0, it looks like Faction has a made a strong contender in the competitive all-mountain freestyle class. Its weight, solid flex pattern, and increased tip and tail rocker all seem to suggest that it’ll be a strong but playful ski.
We’ve now spent several days on the Prodigy 3.0, and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review below. As we spend more time on the ski, let us know any questions you’d like to see addressed in our full review.
Flash Review: Faction Prodigy 3.0
Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Prodigy 3.0, with our initial comparisons to the Faction Candide 3.0, ON3P Kartel 108, and Fischer Ranger 102 FR.
(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)
NEXT: The Full Review