Armada wouldn’t be Armada if it wasn’t for skis like the ARV 106. A freestyle-inspired, twin-tip freeride ski, the ARV 106 is designed for playful skiers who view the whole mountain as their own personal terrain park. Armada keeps the construction and design of the ARV 106 relatively simple, which we’re happy to see among a sea of new-age materials and crazy designs. Its performance relies heavily on its poplar and ash wood core. With no metal or other additives, the ski has a very smooth flex pattern from tip to tail. Its AR Freestyle Rocker profile combines camber underfoot with rockered tips and tails all in a twin-tip package. We hand-picked testers for the ARV 106, most of whom have some experience on freestyle-inspired skis such as the ARV 106.
Jeff Neagle felt right at home on the 180 cm ARV 106. “If I lived out west still, I would want a ski like the ARV 106 as my daily driver.” We’re always psyched when a tester says they would be happy to own the ski they tested as we can’t think of much higher praise. Jeff’s only score under 4 out of 5 was for torsional stiffness/edge grip, which isn’t exceptionally surprising because that’s not really the focus of this ski. His 5 out of 5 scores for playfulness, forgiveness, and overall impression are much more telling. “Feels at home in the park, in the powder, and even holds its own on groomers. Not the most powerful ski, but also not a noodle. Enough stability for going big in the backcountry,” which is just about exactly what we imagine skiers doing on the ARV 106: going big on natural hits.
Matt McGinnis also tested the 180 cm length and “fell in love with this one pretty quickly.” His scores were similar to Jeff’s, although we saw a higher score for torsional stiffness/edge grip from Matt, suggesting it’s plenty of ski for firm snow depending on the skier. “What I found was a super-powerful, highly-maneuverable ski that was lively and eager to take on any challenge. For me, this is an ideal ski. As such, I’d recommend them to advanced/expert all mountain skiers, likely with freestyle backgrounds.” You don’t have to have a freestyle background to enjoy the ARV 106, but it’s a safe bet anyone that falls into that category certainly will.
Kelby Furrer had “lotsa fun on this one!” He also tested the 180 cm length and was most impressed by its playfulness, forgiveness, and versatility. He did mention that transitioning hard carving turns wasn’t the highlighting performance factor on the ARV 106, but that’s where skis like the Invictus 99 Ti come into play. Rather, Kelby found it to be nice and playful and also thought it “held up well to chunky mashed potatoes.”
Harrison Gorham was another tester who felt right at home on the ARV 106, despite “eating s%*t because I went too big to flat.” That’s okay, Harrison, we’re still proud of you. High scores from Harrison for the ARV 106 without a single score below 4 out of 5. “Beautiful top sheet. They swivel very well, hard with minimal chatter, and fly like a bird.” Harrison’s final thoughts and recommendation for the ARV 106 was perfect, “one ski quiver for a west coast hotdogger.”
Based on the reactions from our testers, the ARV 106 will put a smile on your face if you like playful, maneuverable skis. For those with freestyle backgrounds wanting to take those skills to the rest of the mountain, it’ll likely be love at first sight. If you’re not planning on jumping and jibbing on them, they still make a fantastic all mountain/freeride ski for those that like forgiveness and easy pivoting performance.