2020-2021 4FRNT Devastator

Ski: 2020-2021 4FRNT Devastator, 186 cm

Test Location: Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

Days Skied: 12

Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.3 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2030 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1947 & 2011 grams

Stated Dimensions: 137-108-131 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.5-107.2-130.6 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 21 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 60 mm / 55 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Core: aspen + maple underfoot + carbon stringers + fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered 1.3 mm

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -4.75 cm from center; 86.9 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 S & Technica Mach1 MV 130 / Tyrolia AAAtack 13

Luke Koppa reviews the 2021 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
4FRNT Devastator — 20/21 top sheets
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

The Devastator is one of those skis that has had some very loyal fans for many years, primarily due to its combination of stability and playfulness. With the old versions, the 194 cm length was one of the most stable chargers around, while the 184 cm length was a really maneuverable all-mountain ski.

Over the past couple of years, 4FRNT made some relatively minor changes to the construction of the ski. For 20/21, they fully overhauled it. While the new Devastator maintains some key elements of previous iterations, there are a lot of noteworthy differences. We’ve now spent a good chunk of time on the new Devastator and you can check out our full review below. First, we’ll discuss the design and specs of the ski:

What 4FRNT says about the Devastator

“The Devastator has been completely redesigned this season while preserving the freeride DNA that always made it a team favorite. We worked hard with our athletes and engineers to increase its ability to charge, surf, and stomp in a much larger variety of snow conditions. The new multi radius Reflect Tech™ rocker profile enables your tips to naturally rise to the surface easier than ever before, so you can slash turns, navigate tight trees and ride away from cliff drops like a pro. This shape also provides a stronger grip on edge, so when you roll the ski over the sidecut geometry and pre-bent rocker shape work in unison to carve turns just like a cambered ski. This increased versatility gives you more fun with more control everywhere you take them. We’ve also upgraded to an Aspen core with carbon fiber stringers for a 10% weight savings; reducing swing weight in the air and making it a lighter, nimbler freeride weapon. You’ll experience more energy and pop than ever before, boosting your confidence to ski faster, charge harder, and go bigger. Click into the Devastator and buckle up for the ride of your life!”

We’ll go into each of these changes in more detail below, but long story short, the new Devastator is still supposed to be a versatile, stable, and playful all-mountain ski. And the latest version is designed to both float and carve better than the older iterations, and also be more nimble and energetic. That’s a lot to ask of a ski, so how’d 4FRNT go about doing that?

Construction

The original Devastators used a very beefy and very heavy ash and beech wood core that was combined with a pretty traditional fiberglass laminate.

The 20/21 Devastator uses a far lighter aspen / maple wood core. It’s primarily aspen, but with a small block of maple used under the binding area for screw retention.

The result of this is a far lighter weight (more on that below). And to maintain the fairly strong flex pattern of the old Devastators, 4FRNT added carbon stringers at the ends of the new ski.

Shape

While the Devastator’s construction was one of the few things that had changed in the past couple of years, its shape was one thing that had remained pretty constant. That changes for 20/21, though the updates do look fairly subtle.

The most notable change here is that the 20/21 Devastator now features a bit of tip and tail taper. The older Devastators were very minimally tapered, particularly compared to most of the current ~108mm-wide skis on the market. Unlike many skis this wide, the older Devastators’ widest points at its tips and tails were very close to the ends of the ski. Those versions basically looked like fat park skis.

The 20/21 Devastator is by no means some ultra-tapered ski like the Dynastar M-Free 108, but the new Dev’s widest points at its tips and tails are slightly closer to the middle of the ski. While doing our measured specs, the 20/21 Devastator’s widest points at both ends of the ski were about 18 cm from the ends, and its tips and tails don’t taper to much of a point.

So, the new Devastator is still far from the most tapered ski out there, but its new, slightly more tapered shape should translate to easier slashes and slarves in softer snow, and we’re curious to see how this new shape interacts with the ski’s new rocker profile on firm snow. Speaking of which…

Rocker Profile

The 20/21 Devastator is still a reverse-camber ski (as every version has been), but its reverse-camber profile is now a bit different.

Long story short, the new Devastator’s reverse-camber profile looks a bit less dramatic / radical than the previous versions. There’s a slightly longer “flat” spot near the middle of the ski, which should make it easier to engage more of the ski on the snow in firm / shallow conditions.

The new Devastator still reportedly uses 4FRNT’s “Reflect Tech,” which means the curve / shape of its reverse-camber profile matches the sidecut of the ski. The idea behind this is that it lets you engage most of the sidecut on edge once you lay over the ski (as opposed to only carving with a short portion of the ski, like some other reverse-camber skis). The difference with the new ski is that it features a multi-radius design, so rather than having a single radius for the sidecut and reverse-camber profile (like the older versions), it combines multiple radii to form the curve for both the rocker profile and sidecut.

There aren’t many reverse-camber skis in this width these days, but there are a few holdouts, including the Devastator. Compared to the Moment Meridian (another playful, reverse-camber ski), the Devastator’s reverse-camber stays a bit “flatter” for longer, but is pretty similar overall. Compared to the current, reverse-camber Black Crows Corvus, the new Devastator’s rocker lines start deeper / closer to the middle of the ski, and it’s got a much higher, twinned tail.

One of the main complaints with the old Devastator (particularly the 184 cm version) was that it could feel too loose on firm conditions. I suspect that the new version’s rocker profile could help improve its edge hold, while also potentially maintaining the super easy pivoting and loose feel of the older generations.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Devastator:

Tips: 6.5-7
Shovels: 7.5-8.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
Tails: 8-6

This is one thing that hasn’t changed a whole lot. The new Devsator might be a touch softer at the very ends of its tips and tails compared to the old version, but the new ski is still pretty strong overall — particularly for a freestyle-oriented ski.

This ski’s tips and tails are fairly easy to bend, but it quickly ramps up in stiffness and most of the ski is quite strong. Its flex pattern is also pretty “round” — the front-half feels pretty similar to the back-half. This all seems in line with 4FRNT’s claims about it being both playful and stable. The new Devastator isn’t quite as stiff at the ends of the ski compared to the Moment Meridian, but the two skis feel pretty similar through the rest of their lengths (i.e., the middle of the skis).

Sidecut Radius

The old Devastators had a single, 25-meter stated sidecut radius across all lengths (which, again, was also the radius used for their reverse-camber profiles).

The new, 20/21 Devastators use different radii across different lengths. The 186 cm version we’re reviewing has a stated 21-meter sidecut radius, though it’s also important to note that this is reportedly the average radius from multiple radii used along the length of the ski.

25 meters was fairly long, particularly for a more playful ski, and I suspect that the new Devastator’s slightly shorter average sidecut radius could be another factor that makes it more reliable on firmer conditions and at slower speeds.

(For reference, the 172 cm 20/21 Devastator’s stated sidecut radius is 17.5 meters, while the 179 cm version’s is 19 meters.)

Mount Point

Not a whole lot of change here. Our pair of the 18/19 184 cm Devastator had a mount point around -5.3 cm from true center, and our pair of the 20/21 186 cm version has a recommended mount point that measures around -4.7 cm from true center.

Both of those mount points are fairly close to center, though, on the older Devastators, we still found that we could drive them pretty hard through the shovels. So we’re curious if the same holds true for the new version.

Lengths

The older Devs were available in 174, 184, and 194 cm lengths. The 20/21 version is available in 172, 179, and 186 cm lengths.

The good news is that I think the new Devastator’s available lengths should work for a wider range of skiers, since there’s not as big of a gap between lengths. The bad news is that bigger skiers who loved the old, 194 cm Devastators no longer have a big-length option.

Your mileage may vary, but selfishly, I’m really psyched on the new 186 cm length since the old, 194 cm Devastator seemed way too long for me, while the 184 cm felt a bit short at times.

2020-2021 4FRNT Devastator, BLISTER

Weight

The older generations of the Devastator were very heavy skis. The old, 194 cm Devastator was actually one of the heaviest skis we’ve ever weighed.

The 20/21 Devastator is not a heavy ski. In fact, it’s quite light for its size: our pair of the 186 cm version is coming in at an average measured weight of 1979 grams per ski.

This brings up two big questions. First, how damp and smooth will the new Devastator feel on firm and / or rough conditions? Second, how much quicker and more maneuverable will the new ski feel, particularly in the air and in tight terrain?

If I had to guess, I’d say the differences between the original and 20/21 Devastators will be significant in both of those regards, given that the older versions were really damp and could also feel really sluggish to some skiers.

Looking at the broader market, the new Devastator now falls in line with skis like the Moment Wildcat 108Liberty Origin 106, and Whitedot Altum 104 in terms of weight. While I was never tempted to haul the old, heavy Devastators uphill under my own power, I’m now very curious to see how the new version might perform as a 50/50 ski when paired with a burly, downhill-oriented AT binding.

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)
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)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
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)
2559 & 2567 4FRNT Devastator, 194 cm (14/15–18/19)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Overall, how similar does the new Devastator feel compared to older versions of the ski?

(2) Given its much lower weight, how damp will the new Devastator feel on rougher snow conditions?

(3) The new Devastator’s rocker profile and sidecut radius make us think that it should carve better on firmer conditions, while its slightly more tapered shape makes us think it could feel more maneuverable in softer snow. So, can it really accomplish both of those things, given that you usually have to compromise one to improve upon the other?

(4) The older Devastators worked quite well both for directional skiers seeking a pretty stable, maneuverable ski and more playful skiers looking for something that’d feel composed at high speeds. Will that hold true for the new version?

(5) Where exactly will the new Devastator slot into the playful, “mid-fat” all-mountain category?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The 20/21 4FRNT Devastator maintains much of what has always made a Devastator a Devastator, but does so while also making several significant updates.

The new Devastator is still a reverse-camber ski with a pretty minimally tapered shape, fairly strong flex pattern, twinned tail, and progressive mount point. But it’s also now a pretty light ski for its size, its rocker profile and sidecut radius seem slightly better suited for firmer conditions, and its slightly more tapered shape makes us optimistic about improved soft-snow performance.

Stay tuned for updates this season as we start spending time on the new ski.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Devastator for our initial 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.

2020-2021 4FRNT Devastator, BLISTER

FULL REVIEW

We have now skied the updated 4FRNT Devastator in a variety of inbounds conditions at Mt. Crested Butte, from icy hardpack early in the season to untracked steep chutes in the past few weeks. So now it’s time to chime in on how the new ski performs overall, how it compares to the old Devastator, and where it slots into the playful all-mountain ski category.

Powder

Dylan Wood (5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg): It’s been snowing almost every day here in Crested Butte for the past few weeks, and I have been fortunate enough to get the Devastator into some pow stashes off the T-bars as well as some first tracks after rope drops.

In fresh and light Colorado snow, the 186 cm Devastator offered awesome floatation for its width. Its tips planed to the surface of the snow and kept me and the ski afloat nicely. This was consistent no matter the angle of the slope; the Dev’s powder performance was impressive in both mellow terrain and on very steep slopes. Its tips felt supportive when I skied with a more forward stance, driving the ski fairly hard through the shovels, as well as with a more centered stance, keeping my weight primarily over the center of the ski.

Overall, the Devastator provides a pretty surfy, loose ride through powder — it’s really easy to throw the ski sideways in soft snow and receive a coveted face-shot. And thanks to its low weight, the new Dev can be slashed sideways with just a flick of my ankles. Despite how loose and maneuverable it feels, the Devastator is also pretty composed at speed in powder. It’s definitely not a super stable pow ski like the far-heavier (and wider) Kye Shapes Numinous or Black Crows Anima, but in forgiving conditions like untracked snow, the Devastator feels comfortable at high speeds.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Dylan Wood on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Inspired by 4FRNT athlete Thayne Rich, I tried some 180’s off of cat tracks into soft snow, and I was pleased with the Dev’s performance on both the landings and the runouts. Especially for a ~108mm-wide ski, the Devastator’s tails did a good job of staying afloat and allowing me to ski backward in soft snow.

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): All in all, I’d say the new Devastator is a very good pow ski for its width, and I agree with much of what Dylan has said. I’ve never had its tips unpredictably dive on me, it requires very little effort to pivot in soft snow (even less than the prior iteration), and is ideal for those days when the snow is forgiving and you want to go jump off some stuff.

One caveat I’d add is that, while the Devastator is quite versatile in terms of the variety of stances it will accept, I wouldn’t say that it can be driven super hard through the shovels when the snow is deep. It’s better than a lot of similarly freestyle-oriented skis in this regard, but it’s not like, say, the K2 Mindbender 108Ti — a ski with a -10 cm mount point and a ton of tip rocker. To me, the Devastator felt best in fresh snow when I skied it with a fairly balanced stance. Do that, and the ski planes nicely, pivots easily, and is ready to get in the air.

I think I’d be content on the Devastator in up to around ~10 inches / 25 cm of fresh snow (which is what I’d say about most skis around this width). More than that, and I’d be opting for the wider 4FRNT Inthayne.

Soft Chop

Dylan Wood: As Luke and I have mentioned many times now, all-mountain freestyle skis + soft chop is usually a very fun combination, and this remains true with the Devastator. Most of what I said concerning this ski’s powder performance remains true here. The Dev is surfy, fun, and playful in soft chop.

But given how light this ski is, I was surprised by how composed the Devastator felt when making big turns through soft, choppy snow. Even in the soft pseudo-moguls that typically form by the afternoon on a resort pow day, I was still pretty comfortable making big, fast turns on this lightweight ski.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Luke Koppa on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Where the Devastator doesn’t feel as stable is when I really need to shut things down — quickly. Throwing the ski sideways at speed, it doesn’t release / feather as smoothly as a heavier ski like the Sego Big Horn 106. Instead, the Dev gets knocked around a bit and requires some extra rider input and weight over the shovels to keep things in control. The Dev also felt hooky to me at times in soft snow; there were a few occasions where I felt the downhill ski hook up the hill when trying to shed speed in soft chop. Now, these hooky instances weren’t pronounced enough to cause me to crash or anything, but some of the heavier skis I’ve been on recently stayed a bit more calm and predictable when I needed to slow down, quickly, in soft chop.

Luke Koppa: Yep, the Devastator skis really well for how light it is. But I also agree with Dylan in that it does still require a more focused, deliberate approach when making high-speed slashes in choppy conditions.

Personally, I’ve never felt like this ski was particularly “hooky” in soft snow. It was happy to make big, fast turns in soft snow and I didn’t experience it unpredictably catching and wanting to carve across the fall line. I.e., it didn’t exhibit the typical behavior that I’d attribute to “hookiness.”

Rather, when throwing the ski sideways at speed, it just feels like there’s not a lot of weight in its tips. With less weight, they’re gonna get knocked around more when, say, you go from skiing straight down the fall line to immediately slowing down by pivoting the ski sideways. It kinda feels like the ski wants to slow down more quickly than my body is slowing down. You know, mass x velocity … momentum and stuff.

Anyway, I don’t want to make this sound like something that’s unique to the Devastator. This sensation when going from very fast to very slow is something I’ve felt with basically every ski as light as the Devastator. And a lot of skis as light as the Devastator don’t feel as composed before that scenario — they get knocked around more when making those fast turns in soft chop. And in low-density chop (e.g., the morning of a resort pow day) or fairly shallow chop, it was a non-issue for me. But this is one area where the new Devastator definitely requires a more attentive pilot than the previous, much heavier version — the old Devastator would let me ski it a bit more lazily when making high-speed slashes in variable conditions.

Despite all that, soft chop was still my favorite thing to ski on the new Devastator. Again, it feels surprisingly composed when making fast turns in soft conditions, and as soon as I adjusted to it (after switching from much heavier skis), I still found myself pretty happily pushing my limits, knowing that I just had to think ahead a bit more in terms of where to shed speed. And compared to the old Devastator, the new one is far more lively and easy to get in the air, which is one of my main priorities in choppy conditions.

Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain

Dylan Wood: I really enjoyed the Devastator in Mt. Crested Butte’s steep and tight terrain, and it was in tight spots where I felt like the Dev stood out the most among other all-mountain freestyle skis. It was strikingly easy to pivot the Devastator and change directions, both in the air and on the snow. It was light and nimble when making jump turns in steep chutes and trees, and I felt notably less fatigued at the end of runs than I did on heavier, more directional skis like the Blizzard Cochise 106.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Dylan Wood on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

In moguls, the Devastator was fun for many of the same reasons I listed above. It was easy to flick side-to-side and allowed me to ski fast down the fall line, making zipper-line-style, trough-banging turns. The tails of the Dev were also pleasantly forgiving here — I could get a little buck and ski backseat on the edge of control without the Devastator totally punishing me. That being said, the Dev definitely has a speed limit in moguls, particularly firm ones. It did not stay as composed as a longer, heavier ski like the 190 cm Moment Wildcat 108 when making bigger turns through moguls and attempting to gap between some.

Luke Koppa: The words that come to mind here for me are “quick” and “maneuverable.” While the old Devastator was very “maneuverable” in terms of being easy to pivot and slash, I would not have called it “quick.”

So apart from icy bumps, I much prefer the new Dev to the old one in tight terrain. It requires minimal effort to skid and slash through troughs of bumps, its swing weight feels super light, and it’s got a pretty big sweet spot. Heavier skis make for a smoother, more comfortable ride in really firm / icy bumps, but in the vast majority of conditions, I loved the new Devastator when the terrain required lots of quick changes of direction.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Dylan Wood on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

While I’d say the new Devastator is a pretty forgiving ski (and again, allows for both a centered and forward stance), there were a few times where I got too backseat in firm moguls and I could feel the ski’s tails hooking up more than I wanted them to. Fortunately, a light detune to the ends of the tails solved this (and didn’t seriously hamper carving performance). So if you’ve got the Devastator and, like me, get acquainted with the backseat several times throughout the day, it might be worth running a gummy stone on the end of the ski’s tails.

Firm Crud

Dylan Wood: The reverse-camber profile and low weight of the Devastator became most apparent when the conditions were super firm. When I attempted to ski the Dev fast through very firm crud, it got knocked around quite a bit and couldn’t hold an edge as well as I would’ve liked. When I dialed back my speed and negotiated icy crud with more caution, the Devastator was predictable and nimble.

Simply put, the Devastator doesn’t excel in super firm and rough conditions, and for me, that’s not a problem at all. ~108mm-wide all-mountain freestyle skis like the Devastator are so fun in softer conditions that I don’t tend to care too much about how they handle brutal, refrozen conditions (in my mind, that’s what narrower, heavier skis are for). That being said, a few skis in this class, like the Whitedot Altum 104, J Skis Hotshot, and Sego Big Horn 106, outperform the Devastator in less-than-ideal conditions, primarily in terms of edge hold and suspension.

Luke Koppa: Agreed. I think the Devastator is an absolute blast in anything relatively soft. But if I was looking for a 1-ski quiver and I frequently encountered really firm conditions over the course of a season, I think I’d prefer something heavier, and probably something with some camber.

In rough, firm conditions, the new Devastator gets knocked around a good deal. So do a lot of skis in this class, but a far heavier ski like the J Skis Hotshot makes these sort of nasty conditions feel a bit less jarring. The old Devastator was certainly better in terms of smoothing out rough conditions, though the new Devastator feels much more predictable to me on smooth firm snow (its edge hold on icy conditions feels much more reliable to me).

So if you frequently end up skiing bumpy, borderline-icy conditions — and especially if you don’t let those conditions slow you down — I think you’d be better off on a ski with a whole lot more weight to it. But if you’re rarely skiing really firm crud on your ~108mm-wide skis, I wouldn’t worry too much about it being an issue with the Devastator.

Groomers

Dylan Wood: Continuing on the topic of scenarios where I am not picky about the performance of an all-mountain freestyle ski, the Devastator is decent on groomers. While I found it couldn’t hold an edge super well on very firm snow, it became much more fun to carve on soft groomers when some snow had fallen recently. On softer groomers, the Devastator carved nicely and made me forget that it is a reverse-camber ski. All in all, it wasn’t super exciting nor really disappointing on piste.

Luke Koppa: I was actually very surprised by how much I enjoyed the new Devastator on piste. While it doesn’t offer the instant “bite” of a ski with camber (a tough sensation to describe in words), I kept finding myself pushing the ski harder and harder on groomed snow, even when it was quite firm. The harder I push this ski, the more secure it feels on edge. Apart from fully scraped-off patches that were bordering on ice, the new Devastator felt predictable and actually quite fun to me on groomers.

In addition to it feeling much quicker / lighter in the air, this is one of the big upsides of the new Dev vs. the old one. I found the old 184 cm Devastator a bit scary on firm, smooth snow. The new one is more predictable overall, whether skidding turns at slow speeds or really driving it and carving it hard on edge. The only real complaint I have about the new Devastator on piste is that, like pretty much every reverse-camber ski I’ve used, it doesn’t feel particularly lively when coming out of a carved turn. Other than that, it performs as well or better on groomers than I’d expect of a ~108mm-wide, freestyle-oriented ski.

Playfulness / Freestyle

Dylan Wood: Now that we’re back on track to talking about what really matters in an all-mountain freestyle ski, I’d like to touch on the playful aspects of the Devastator.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Dylan Wood on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

First, as we’ve noted above, the Devastator is a very surfy and smeary ski. It’s really easy to throw it sideways and slash it. The Devastator also provides a nice amount of pop when getting it off the ground is a priority.

Thanks to its low swing weight and fairly centered -4.7 cm mount point, the Devastator also feels remarkably balanced and natural in the air. Shifties, tweaks, grabs, spins, flips — whatever in-air maneuver I want to do — the Devastator is easy to toss around. The Dev’s forward mount point and true twin tail allow for switch skiing in almost any scenario, whether that be landing backward off side hits into soft snow, taking off switch on a park jump, or carving some backward turns before a lift corral.

Luke Koppa: Yep, agreed on all fronts. The new Devastator is a very playful ski, and I’d say it’s notably more playful than the old version, primarily because the new one’s swing weight feels so much lighter.

While it doesn’t feel super energetic on piste, the new Devastator does not feel “dead” when loading it up before an air, and it also offers a really nice, solid landing platform. It’s one of the easiest skis in this class when it comes to quickly pivoting and slashing, and it’s also one of the easiest to manipulate in the air. I didn’t have to think too much about setting a rotation perfectly or aggressively on the Dev, relative to heavier skis that need a lot more “oomph” to flick around. The Devastator isn’t the easiest ski to bend and butter, but other than that, it is very playful.

Mount Point

Luke Koppa: Dylan and I spent most of our time on the Devastator with it mounted on its recommended mount point (about -4.7 cm from the true center of the ski). Even on that pretty centered mount point, the ski can be driven quite hard through the shovels while also allowing you to ski it with a very centered, neutral stance.

I also tried it with the bindings about -1.6 cm from the recommended line, equating to about -6.3 cm from true center. The ski didn’t feel super different there — I could drive it a tiny bit harder through the shovels, and it felt a bit less balanced in the air and when skiing switch. I don’t think I’d recommend moving extremely far from the recommended mount point, but for directional skiers, going 1 or 2 cm behind the recommended line doesn’t seem like it really messes with the ski’s overall performance. For me and Dylan, we both ended up liking it best mounted on its recommended line.

Who’s It For?

Dylan Wood: There are a few types of skiers who I believe will get along well with the Devastator.

(1) Those who ski with a directional style but who prioritize maneuverability and quickness

Dylan Wood: The Devastator is quick and pretty easy to ski in tight terrain where heavier, more directional skis are far more fatiguing. And despite how agile and easy to pivot it is, the Dev can still be skied quite fast in soft conditions, and will let most skiers drive it hard through the shovels. For directional skiers who won’t frequently be using it on really firm / icy conditions and who want a ski that makes navigating tight terrain easier and less strenuous, the Devastator warrants a good look.

Luke Koppa: Yep, even if you don’t spin or ski switch, the Dev could be a good choice if you like a ski that’s easy to pivot through tight spots and that feels light on your feet.

(2) Those looking for a playful 50/50 ski for both backcountry and resort use

Dylan Wood: The Devastator is lightweight, performs really well for its width in low-angle and steep powder, and is still predictable across most other conditions. To me, this is a recipe for a ski that would be great for playful skiers who split their time between human-powered backcountry skiing and lift-accessed resort days. At an average measured weight of 1979 grams per ski, the Dev isn’t a big burden on the uphill, and it provides a very fun ride downhill for skiers who like to ski with a playful style.

Luke Koppa: I never felt like I’d want to put an AT binding on the old, heavier Devastator, but the new one seems like a great candidate for something like the Marker Duke PT, CAST Freetour, or Salomon Shift binding (or some Daymaker adapters). The new Devastator is plenty light for me to not worry about hauling it uphill on moderate tours, but is plenty stable in relatively soft conditions to make it fun in the resort.

Luke Koppa and Dylan Wood review the 4FRNT Devastator for Blister
Dylan Wood on the 4FRNT Devastator, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

(3) Skiers who ski with a playful style but who still ski fast in soft conditions

Dylan Wood: The Devastator can be skied with a very surfy, loose style, especially in soft snow. It’s poppy, playful, and easy to throw around, making it a great tool for those who like to slash, jump, and slarve their way down the mountain. Despite this, it offers impressive stability for its weight and can be skied with a forward stance. This is a nice balance, and I think it makes the Devastator a great option for those who want a ski that is between an ultra-butterable noodle and a more stable, more sluggish all-mountain ski.

Luke Koppa: Yep. There are a few softer skis that are more playful and several heavier skis that stay more composed in chop and crud (see the All-Mountain Freestyle section in our Buyer’s Guide). But especially as a soft-snow ski, the Devastator’s blend of playfulness and good stability for its weight make it a very fun all-mountain freestyle ski.

(4) Intermediate or Advanced skiers who want an easy, forgiving ski, but don’t want to outgrow it as they progress.

Dylan Wood: The Devastator is quick and nimble, pretty easy to ski, and forgives most skier mistakes, making it a great ski for those who are looking to improve their skills. But it feels supportive and stable enough to be skied quite aggressively in most conditions. For these reasons, I believe the Devastator would be a great ski for those who want a confidence-inspiring, fairly forgiving ride that will keep up with them as they progress their skills.

Luke Koppa: I agree for the most part here. I don’t think I’d recommend the Devastator to beginners, mostly because reverse-camber skis can take some getting used to on firm snow and it’s not the most forgiving ski out there. But especially for intermediate and more advanced skiers looking to venture off piste more and / or dip their toes into the freestyle world of skiing, it seems like a very good option.

Bottom Line

As we mentioned in our initial First Look of the new 4FRNT Devastator, it maintains several elements we’ve come to expect from a ski with its name, while making a few substantial updates.

On snow, that translates to a ski that’s still very maneuverable and capable at high speeds in soft conditions, but also one that’s significantly quicker and more predictable on firm, smooth snow. While this new Devastator is not as damp or stable in rough conditions as the previous version, it will likely work for a broader range of skiers. If you ski a lot of tight terrain, throw a lot of tricks, and / or appreciate a quick ski that can be pushed hard on soft days, the new Devastator warrants a close look.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Devastator to see how it compares to the previous Devastator, Moment Meridian, Sego Big Horn 106, Whitedot Altum 104, Moment Wildcat 108, J Skis Hotshot, Dynastar M-Free 108, K2 Reckoner 112, Black Crows Atris, Line Sir Francis Bacon, ON3P Woodsman 108, Volkl Revolt 104, Season Nexus, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, Icelantic Nomad 105, 4FRNT MSP 107, Blizzard Rustler 10, & Liberty Origin 106.

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25 comments on “2020-2021 4FRNT Devastator”

    • Same DNA, it was just time to give it an update as it hasn’t been touched in years. In order to keep our line fresh and exciting, we have to dive into models every few years and touch them up.

  1. This ski was very much on my radar until I saw how light they made it. Disappointing. Their website was showing 2230g/ski up until recently. Must of been previous models weight or typo. Big let down.

    • Interesting question — according to 4FRNT’s stated weights, the Hoji should be about 100 g lighter per ski than the Devastator in equivalent lengths.

    • How do these compare to the beloved Rossignol Sickles? My pair are on their last legs, all patched and p-texed because I just love them so much. It will be a very sad day when I have to retire them, and I’d like to find a ski I like enough to put my Sickles into semi retirement so I can enjoy them occasionally rather than ski them every day until they fall apart.

      I have Devestator 184s that I just got mounted this year (after sitting I mounted for a year due to ACL tear). I must say I was disappointed with how damp they are. I kind of wish I’d gone longer too, but the weight of the 194 turned me off.

      I love low poppy and playful the Sickles are, but they can also lay trench on anything but the most bullet proof hard pack, and I love how they can both cut through or glide over chop and crud. I skied them 90% of the last 6 winters (one in Whistler, 5 in Vermont. They are nimble snd can slash/smear on a dime, but rail GS turns just as easily.

      I found the Devestator 184s kind of dead feeling, and also a lot less confident on hard pack East coast conditions. They feel more squirmy, and don’t give me the same confidence at higher speeds as my Rossi’s. They are nimble and seem to carve a tighter turn than the Sickle, but I find them way less fun and generally slower/boring compared to the Sickle without the ability to carve through chop/variable or just glide over it all like the Sickles do. The Sickles make me feel like Candide (when he’s on the ground anyways). The Devestators just feel dead competitively.

      I’m 6’ 215lbs and ski mostly directionally. I would say I favor big turns over the tops of whatever I can (I’d rather gap moguls than zipper them, and carve big turns through chop than tight ones). The sickle let me monster truck choppy powder, and carve hard on groomer/harder snow while still letting me navigate tight VT woods and trenched out moguls.

      The redesigned Devestator sound like it might have the pop and better carving I’m looking for. I’m also looking to try the Faction Candide 3.0 190cm, but would love to some other recommendations. I’m also considering a pair of Line Sakanas for a different “fun” ski on more variable condition days.

  2. Having owned a set of 17-18 Devs i can see how these changes would help some of the older models short comings. The old model wasn’t that surfy in deep snow, and its hard pack performance wasn’t the best. But… the weight cut of the new model might take away some stability, though 200gr wont affect it much being a full rockered ski. Im actually glad its a little lighter and more deep snow oriented as it might make a perfect weight (2000gr) 50/50 ski with some shifts or CASTs on them. Ive found weight to not be as big a factor on fully rockered skis as much as stiffness is and if this is as stiff as the old model in the middle (it was super stiff) it should be just as stable in weird snow as my old set. I like the new sizing too as 186 is the perfect size for me (5’9″ 170)

  3. Thanks for the info
    Q: Devastator vs Vandal – is it really just a width thing? If skiing in the East, will I be better off with less under foot? Been skiing 108/110’s for long time. With Covid, I might not get the days out West I normally see, so thinking of adding a skinny ski to my quiver. Welcome thoughts. Thanks

    • the big difference is Dev is full rockered and the Vandal has quite a bit of camber, shape wise they are similar. Actually the Inthayne, Devastator, and Vandal are all shaped similar just width and rocker that changes between them. Ive skid powder skis all season for everything so 108 is skinny for me, just depends on where you ski i guess.

    • Yo David, I am from Wyoming, my local hill has about 800ft of vert and little terrain over 30 degrees. I have 2 pow setups for backcountry days/pow days and going to bigger resorts (sego prospect 112 192 w pivot 15s & black crows anima 188 w kingpins 13s) but I ski the 186 vandal (w pivots) any day there’s less than 6 inches of snow.

      The vandals float surprisingly well when I get them in the odd powder stash. They carve really nice and are super easy to bend into various turn shapes; high speed limit on groomers unless its bulletproof ice or you’re realllllly laying into a hip carve (then they fold up a bit). They are light in the air and the tip and tail taper makes them easy to spin 3s and 5s off little side hits or bigger jumps, on hardpack the camber underfoot makes for a sweet landing platform. The vandals ski and land switch REALLY well too. I can’t say much about their rail performance but they work for log rides (lol). They are on the higher end of medium stiff underfoot but the tips and tails get close to line blend territory. I’ve found they butter really well when initiating spins but if you’re trying to hold a manual on the tails the taper can make them a bit squirrely. Definitely get pretty significant tip chatter when mobbing through soft chop but the weight lets you power through in most cases (I think they’re like 2100 grams/ski in a 186). Taking them off bigger drops in deeper snow I’ve felt like they were on the verge of folding up but I haven’t gone over the handlebars on them yet. Again in most cases; skiing on a small mountain, they hold up well. Super quick and pivoty; I LOVE skiing moguls on these things.
      Also in a 186 they are 102 underfoot which is comforting.
      Overall: nice park/all mountain skis that can handle some speed, pivot super fast, and feel great in the air. Quite damp for how soft they are but they are just that; soft.
      For reference I am 6’1, 165lbs, with a racing background; expert skier #claim

  4. Surprised they lightened this up so much since the whole Raven-Hoji-Renegade line is in this weight range and more bc oriented

  5. I know the construction is similar, but does anyone happen to know if the Devastator Jr would similarly fit the profile of skier that is described here?

    • I imagine they’d perform pretty similarly, with the one caveat that the Dev Jr. has camber / isn’t full reverse-camber. So I doubt it’d be as maneuverable, but it’d probably be easier for kids to get on edge and carve.

    • Main difference is camber in the Dev Jr vs rocker in the regular Dev. Although both skis have similar construction characteristics and styles, we pulled the rocker out of the ski to accommodate younger shredders that may not be familiar with a rockered ski!

    • Hello Robert, my 10 yr old son has the Dev Jr and I’d say they fit a similar profile. He likes the park okay but loves dropping cliffs and these skis land great. They have some stiffness but unlike the Devs, the Jrs have some camber which I think helps them carve. Plus the top sheet is bitchen.

    • I’ve only spent a bit of time on the Sickle but the Devastator isn’t as smooth or stable at high speeds in rough snow. It is a bit more maneuverable an quicker though (lower swing weight). While we’ve never found a perfect replacement for the Sickle, the Folsom Primary with their “Subtle Reverse Camber” profile was probably the closest thing I’ve found (and confirmed with at least one other fan of the Sickle who tried that ski). Here’s our review of that ski: https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2017-2018-folsom-skis-primary-custom-188-cm

  6. Great review. I liked the look of the new ski, but wasn’t really sure whether the balance between playful and charger had moved too much towards the playful side for my liking, so glad to read that the new ski seems to have evolved rather changed altogether. Problem is – they’ve completely sold out, so will have to wait until next year to get my hands on a pair!

  7. “it couldn’t hold an edge super well on very firm snow”… but is it as weak as the Kartel/Jeffrey?

    Seriously, isn’t weak ice grip pretty much implied by the category of wide, lighter-than-average, reverse-cambered, freestyle-oriented skis? I’m sort of with Scott Andrus in thinking that it shouldn’t even be mentioned.

    • The new Dev was more predictable on ice than the Jeffrey 108 I spent time on. And while I certainly don’t think super firm snow should be a high priority for someone considering a ski in this class, I’m still always inclined to mention it since (1) 4FRNT says the Dev is an all-mountain ski and made notes about it “providing stronger grip on edge,” and (2) there are always folks out there who haven’t spent time on skis like this and consequently aren’t familiar with the typical compromises you make between different types of skis.

  8. I think the 19-20 Devastator got a bit ignored last year. According to 4FRNT last year, it was 10% lighter than the 18-19 Devs. In this new Blister review, the 20-21 Dev is always compared to the 18-19 Dev, not the 19-20 Dev, which I don’t think they tested. The new 186 is actually very similar in weight to last year’s 184, though it’s quite a bit lighter than the 18-19 version. I love the 19-20 Dev and what it was capable of all over the mountain, but I guess 4FRNT thought a bigger refresh was in order. It was a damp yet playful ski that was great fun in anything but ice. On edge it I can’t believe what it is capable of charging through. Yet it isn’t as heavy as the 18-19 Dev, which I also skied, and it was already quite a bit more playful than that older ski. It’s going to end up being the forgotten Dev year, but I’m glad I have a pair.

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