2020 Armada Trace 98

The Armada Trace 98 is a women’s all mountain/freeride ski that’s focused on being lightweight and maneuverable. Armada has been producing more directional skis in recent years than ever before, and the women’s Trace line is a perfect example of how far the brand has come. A poplar core is paired with Armada’s Adaptive Mesh, a variable angle weave that provides additional vibration damping without excessive weight. The Trace 98 is designed with touring in mind, but it’s a capable ski within the resort as well. Its all mountain rocker profile should give it excellent versatility for both on and off-piste terrain.

Catherine Ferguson confirmed that idea with her very first comment about the Trace 98, “very versatile all-mountain ski.” We saw some high scores from Catherine, including 5’s out of 5 for quickness/maneuverability, forgiveness, and versatility. She skied the 164 cm length and described the Trace 98 as “responsive to turning, especially on groomed terrain. Extremely maneuverable. Could be a ski for any type of conditions.” It’s nice to know that Catherine thinks the Trace could handle a variety of conditions. It’s designed more for soft snow performance than anything else, but based off Catherine’s assessment it can also hold its own on firm snow. She concluded her feedback on the Trace 98 with some high praise, stating that it was “one of my favorites of the day!”

Ariel Aidala also skied the 164 cm Trace 98 and her first comments on the ski touched on that same versatility. “With no metal, this ski was surprisingly awesome on groomers!” Technically, there is a metal binding reinforcement plate, but that’s not really adding much to overall performance, so Ariel is basically correct. Armada is achieving a high level of torsional stiffness in the Trace 98, despite it being so lightweight. That really is a nod to its versatility, and a testament to the idea that it really could be a one-ski-quiver for a lot of women, especially those who value lighter skis. Ariel went on to describe the Trace 98 as having “incredible torsional stiffness and edge hold.” She also mentioned that she would “love to try these skis without a demo binding and with a Kingpin or something similar. Just enough dampness without the unforgiving metal.” She thought it would be “perfect for someone who would want to ski the resort, but also have a lightweight touring setup.” We’re 100% sure Armada would love to hear that feedback, as that’s exactly the intended use of the Trace 98.

Lauren Lepage helped confirmed that versatility, commenting that the Trace 98 is “an all mountain ski that can do a lot.” She even thought it would hold up well on the feet of aggressive skiers, although you should keep in mind that it’s on the lighter side. Those that want a lot of punch-through power might want a heavier ski, but that’s a pretty small percentage of women in our opinion. Most will love the Trace 98. She also found it to be “easy turning” and that it was easy to “make quick turns.” That’s important performance for a ski that’s designed for sidecountry and backcountry use. You often need to make quick movements in terrain like that, and that’s where the Trace 98 really shines.

Whether you’re planning on mounting it with an AT binding for touring, using it at the resort, or some kind of combination of both, the Trace 98 is a whole lot of fun. Lightweight, maneuverable, versatile, yet with a surprising amount of edge grip and stability for a ski that tops out at 1500 g in its longest length (172 cm). With the Trace 98, you’ll be ready for adventure.

Testers

Lauren Lepage

Age: 28Height: 5'5"Weight: 145 lbs.

Ski Style: Half snowboarder, half skier, all fun!

Nifer Hoehn

Age: 40Height: 5'6"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and precise carving

Catherine Ferguson

Age: 26Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Freeride and freestyle oriented with a flair for fun

Ariel Aidala

Age: 27Height: 5'3"Weight: 124 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous and fun with a fall-line mentality

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