Armada Victa 97 Ti ReviewJanuary 12, 2018
- Damp, quiet and stable
- Tank-like edge hold
- Versatile in a variety of snow conditions
- Tip deflection at speed
- Lacks forgiveness
- Tails wash out on hardpack & steep/icy terrain
The Armada Victa 97 Ti is freeskiing-focused Armada’s answer to the demand for a high-performance women’s ski. The result? A strong, all-mountain ski with tank-like edge hold and decent stability in a range of snow conditions and turn speeds. “It feels like an Austrian-made ski with unconditional edge hold, stability at speed and a lack of forgiveness if you get lazy,” said one tester. The ski’s construction consists of a hearty blend of hardwoods, Kevlar, Carbon and Titanal. Armada’s Power-lite core includes full wood with hardwood stringers running the ski’s length, designed for stability, power and smoothness. Carbon and Kevlar stringers are placed in the tip and tail for liveliness and two layers of titanium add stability at speed.
The Victa’s shape follows an all-mountain profile with rounded tails and moderately rockered tips. The Carbon and Kevlar keep the weight in check while maintaining integrity and indeed the Victa 97 feels light underfoot yet “meaty” and “stable.” Armada’s AR50 sidewalls are a hybrid sidewall/cap construction, with sidewalls underfoot and a capped tip and tail. This contributes to a lessening of swing weight, which was not noted as problematic for testers except for some who reported tip deflection at speed.
Testers gave the Victa 97 Ti highest scores for Stability, followed by Float and Carving. The “no surprise” ski felt damp and strong in a variety of turn shapes and snow conditions. Scores for Responsiveness were slightly lower than other fields. One contributing factor was tip deflection at speeds and the tail washout on steep, icy terrain. The Victa 97 Ti has a sweet spot, accessible by a wide range of ski abilities. However, the sweet spot favors a balanced stance and stability decreases when weight is aft. All in all, the Victa 97 Ti suits intermediate through expert skiers looking for reliability and strong edge hold in a variety of snow conditions.
The Vica 97 Ti has tank-like edge hold but it’s also damp and stable. In terms of Responsiveness, the 97 mm waist width does not lend itself to short swing turns (The turn radius averages around 18 m). Armada’s AR Nose Rocker profile includes generous tip rocker and camber underfoot. Some testers felt the ski was sluggish to transition between GS turns to slalom, in other words, sluggish to slow and shut down speed. “You can feel the metal in this ski,” said one tester. “It feels durable, powerful, but not nimble.”
Thanks to the Power-lite core and two layers of Titanal, the Victa 97 Ti seems built for Stability. Indeed testers gave the 97-mm waisted ski high marks for the category. Descriptions included “damp,” “quiet” and “bomber stable.” The only infraction to the stability of the ski occurred with skier error, specifically when testers got into the “backseat.” At that point the ski was harder to flex and felt less “reliable and steady.” All in all, testers felt that the Stability was a strength that could extend to intermediates as well as experts skiing at high speeds, with the dampness from the construction adding to the tank-like stability.
The Armada Victa 97 Ti scored decently for Resort Float. Armada’s AR Nose Rocker profile blends tip rocker with a traditional sidecut profile “for all mountain ripping.” Some testers detected tip chatter at speed, but the tip floated accordingly in soft snow.
Testers appreciated the Victa 97 Ti’s versatility in a variety of snow conditions. “I’m surprised by the meatiness, stability and versatility of this all-level ski,” says one tester. An all-mountain shape and rocker profile plus a core designed for vibration absorption, power and finesse help increase this all-mountain, user-friendly, high performance ski.
Testers found the Victa 97 Ti fun to carve even with a waist girth close to 100 mm. Mostly the tank-like edge hold captured their attention. The Victa 97 Ti is capable of a variety of turn shapes and velocity, however, some testers noted tip deflection from the rockered tips at high speeds. Similarly the tails occasionally washed out on steep, icy terrain. All in all, the Armada Victa 97 Ti favors medium to soft snow where it offers bomber edge hold and pleasurable carving.
The Gear Institute Women’s Ski test took place over three days at Snowbird, Utah, in March of 2018. Six female testers skied each of the skis in the test and completed a detailed test card after each test run. Testers ranged from Olympians, to former racers and coaches to ski instructors and skiers who prefer backcountry/off-piste conditions. Categories were concluded on the same day so that skis were tested during similar conditions and on the same terrain. An in-depth look into construction and performance of the skis took place in Vail, CO, during a December industry event where testers skied on all test skis under similar conditions.
Testers were instructed to view each ski as a “Tabula Rasa,” or blank slate. Test cards included initial rankings of Favorite, Excellent, Good and Awful. Testers were asked to list three things they both liked and disliked about each ski as well as answering the question, “Who is the ideal customer?” Lastly, testers rated the criteria in terms of best to worst in the following mini-categories; Responsiveness, Stability, Float, Carving and Versatility.
Krista Crabtree- Skiing
Passionate about women’s ski camps and women-specific gear, Krista organizes women’s ski programs at Eldora and Vail, including her own camp called She Skis. A former editor at SKI Magazine, she currently runs the ski test for OnTheSnow.com.