2020 Armada ARV 96

The Armada ARV 96 is an important ski in their collection. Armada historically has been a freestyle-focused, twin-tip brand, and that’s exactly how we’d describe the ARV 96. Billed as an all mountain ski, the newest version of the ARV 96 feels just as much at home around the whole mountain as it does in the park. It has a relatively-traditional wood core made from poplar and ash and doesn’t use any additives like metal or carbon. This gives it a very even flex pattern from tip to tail. Armada uses their AR Freestyle Rocker profile on this ski, pairing camber underfoot with rockered tips and tails.

Jeff Neagle thought it was “my kind of ski for sure,” after testing both the 177 and 184 cm lengths. He gave the ARV 96 high scores across the board, with playfulness, forgiveness, and overall impression all receiving 5’s out of 5. “For a company that started with twin tips, the ARV 96 is like a nod to the company’s roots. Would be a blast as a park ski, but is plenty capable around the whole mountain. As a 33-year-old park skier, that’s pretty much exactly what I want in a ski.” We know Jeff likes to split his time pretty evenly between the terrain park and the rest of the mountain and it’s nice to know he’d be more than happy to do so on a pair of ARV 96.

Harrison Gorham skied the 184 cm length, which happens to be the longest available in the ARV 96. He thought they had “awesome all-around performance,” and commented that they felt “stable at high speeds with no chatter.” That’s saying a lot for a ski without any metal, carbon, or other vibration damping materials in its construction. Along with that stability, Harrison also thought “turns can be whipped up quicker than a hot pocket.” The subtle early taper paired with the ski’s rocker profile definitely gives it a quick, maneuverable feel both in and out of a turn. For Harrison, he found it has “perfect flex.”

Mike Aidala might not spend much time in the terrain park these days, but that didn’t stop him from having a blast on the ARV 96, which shows in his scores. 5 out of 5 from Mike for playfulness, forgiveness, quickness/maneuverability, and overall impression, which is hands-down impressive. Mike skied the 177 cm length and was “very impressed with the all-mountain performance of the Armada ARV 96. Perfect for solid skiers that need a twin tip for park laps, but don’t want to sacrifice the all-mountain experience.” We couldn’t have said it any better.

Matt McGinnis tested the 184 cm length and focused most of his feedback on a comparison between the ARV 96 and 106. He had a blast on both skis, which was evident in his scores, but did find some differences. “The ARV 96 is the more park-centric of the two and would excel on jumps and rails alike. In terms of all mountain performance, the ARV 96 exhibits excellent edge hold and maneuverability, while the “pop” factor adds an extra level of playfulness.” Matt did think it would be “better for skiers still spending a majority of their time in the park, while the 106 is ideal for those who have outgrown their park days.” While we wouldn’t necessarily disagree, we know from Mike’s feedback that you don’t need to be a park skier to enjoy it. Even Matt ended his response with “I can’t think of many skiers who would dislike this ski.”

The ARV 96 is clearly a fantastic choice for a skier who splits their time between the terrain park and the rest of the mountain. Super-fun on jumps, rails, and jibs, but also perfectly capable ripping groomers, maneuvering through the trees, and its 96 mm waist width will even handle some light powder days. It’s a super-fun, highly-versatile ski.


Connor Gorham

Age: 29Height: 6'0"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Creative and inviting and always with a smile

Matt McGinnis

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Surfy freeride with a freestyle background

Michael Carroll-Sherwin

Age: 30Height: 6'1"Weight: 185 lbs.

Ski Style: Quick and nimble with freeride influence

Mike Aidala

Age: 42Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: As fast as the terrain allows

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Harrison Gorham

Age: 34Height: 6'0"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Heavily mustachioed and always watching out for the kids

17 Comments on the “2020 Armada ARV 96”

    1. Hi Luis!
      Lighter core in the UL makes it more of a touring ski versus the resort-oriented 96. Have fun!

    1. Hi Alessandro!
      The ARV has more of an all-mountain/freeride flair to it while the Head is more of a traditional park ski. If you’re all park all the time, I’d go with the Head, but for more versatility and all-mountain performance, look to the ARV. Have fun!

    1. William,
      Certainly a more park-centric ski, but definitely has some all-mountain capabilities. A bit soft in the tips and tails for larger skiers like myself, but average to smaller skiers shouldn’t have too much trouble. Have fun!

  1. Hi Jeff/Bob,

    I am an aggressive strong intermediate/advanced skier (173cm and 73kg), who is starting to spend more time in the park and learning more tricks. Currently contemplating between the ARV 96 and BC100 for a playful ski that can still do really well in trees and groomers. Have watched and read your reviews on both and it seems like these 2 skis excel almost in every aspect! Would be great to hear what you would recommend me to get. Thanks guys!

    1. Hi Jacob!
      I’d say the ARV is your more park-oriented ski while the Atomic has more of that all-mountain flair. The tips and tails aren’t quite as turned up on the Atomic versus the ARV, so that leads me to feel that they’re more directional than the ARV. It’s pretty close, though! Have fun!

  2. Heya!
    I’ve been exclusively snow blading for the last 15 years and am looking to get back into full length skis. Mostly Canadian Rockies resort mix of groom and powder. I want to start stepping up my game with more advanced slopes. I love the look and spec of this ski, but it is geared more to park than all mountain?
    30yr old, intermediate/advanced, Female, 230lbs.

    1. Hi Nic!
      We’re continually impressed with the ARV 96’s capabilities in an all-mountain format. Yes, it does quite well in the park, but it’s also got the shape, build, and profile to be able to go anywhere and do anything. If you took the twin tip out of the equation, you’d have a great all-mountain ski, the turned up tail just adds another dimension! Have fun!

  3. Sup,
    Do you guys think the ARV 86 holds up alright on the groomers? Im on a pair of 163s and I usually putter in n out of the trees and love to butter and throw tricks off side hits. Im not a huge park skier but I love the way park skis pop and flex. I also love to rip groomers once and a while and Im hoping the ARVs will hold up cutting some short turns. Id love to here what you guys think. Big fan.

    1. Sup, yo!
      I’m continually impressed with these well-built twin tips and their range of abilities. The ARV is one of those skis, and while it does gravitate more to the park and pipe, mostly because of the half-cap build, the full sidewall underfoot does make for some exhilarating carving on the groomers. You kind of have to ski it more in the middle to get the benefits of that vertical sidewall, but if you’re balanced and ready, it has some good energy for sure. I will also say, and this doesn’t always translate as well to the park scene, but a fresh edge, and perhaps a more aggressive side edge angle (2 degree) will really increase that groomer performance. Hope that helps!

  4. Hi guys,

    Weighing up the ARV 96s versus the Nordica Soul Rider 97s. I spend less time in the park relative to off piste. And advice as to the choice?


    1. Hi Tom!
      Soul Rider is a superior carver thanks to more positive camber and traditional sidewall build. ARV has a bit better of a park flex. Sounds like you’re looking for the Nordica to me. Great skis!

  5. Hey guys I’m looking for an all-mountain on-piste ski is the ARV 96 a good fit for that or do you recommend something else?

    1. HI Bjorn!
      In the mid-90’s category, it’s one of the more playful and freestyle-oriented skis, so while you could get something more on-trail oriented, the ARV 96 is a whole lot of fun. Slightly gravitating to more all-mountain, check out the Fischer Ranger 94 FR, or the Elan Ripstick 96. Lots of versatility there as well. Have fun!

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