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.