[Editor's Note: This review was conducted on the 2018-19 Prodigy 1.0, which is unchanged for 2019-20 and 2020-21 except for graphics]
Roofbox Reviews: Our no bullshit, in-depth ski reviews, by skiers for skiers. No sponsored athletes, no 'we took 3 runs at a ski test'. Brands send us the sticks and we spend a solid chunk of our own seasons shredding them. Then, when we feel we've spent enough time on a ski to judge it fully, we tell you what we honestly think about the pros and cons of the ski and who we think it will work for. It's a matter of pride for us that 'NS Tested' means something, that these reviews can't be bought and that we advise you as best as possible what you should be slinging in your roofbox.
Ski: Faction Prodigy 1.0
Length skied: 176
Actual length (Tip-tail w/ straight tape): 174.3cm
Measured weight (each ski): 1732g/1738g
Mount: True center
Binding: Tyrolia Attack 13
Days skied: ~30
Reviewer height/weight: 5'9, 145lbs
Review location(s): Snowpark Zermatt
Conditions skied: Freshly groomed, icy days, slush, park, rivers.
Cover Photo: Laura Obermayer
The Prodigy name has been with Faction for some years now and I reviewed the old ski a few years back. They were one of my favorite ever daily drivers at the time, except for one thing: the durability. The new Prodigy series is getting a big push from Faction this year, with most of the team now riding them instead of the Candide series. Because all four skis are very much in the public eye, we spent time on all of them last winter. The 4.0 was the ski that influenced the design direction of the remaining models, and our review of that has already been released, but each has fairly unique characteristics. The Prodigy 1.0 is a completely new ski for 18-19 and was more or less designed for Alex Hall. It’s Faction’s first ‘new era’ park ski (large twin rocker, early taper etc) but it’s also designed to stand up to competition style skiing. It’s certainly an interesting idea and I spent give or take 30 days on them this past summer in Zermatt.
The Faction Prodigy 1.0 has a short turn radius (16m at 176cm) and comes with what I’d call a typical rocker profile for a modern jib oriented ski. By that, I mean lots of rocker in both the tip (370mm) and tail (360mm) with camber underfoot. It’s a similar profile to both the ON3P Magnus and Vishnu Wet, though there is less rocker splay than the Magnus. My pair also had significantly more than the 3mm of camber listed in the specs.
The new ski has a full Poplar core with full sidewalls underfoot and ‘2.2mm edges’. The edges are definitely bigger than Faction’s other skis (excluding the Candide 1.0). However, the increased dimension (the 2.2mm) is the width of the edge along the base, rather than the height (as with Armada skis) which is the more important measure for durability in my experience. The sidewall extends for just over half the ski, with the tips and tails being capped.
The Prodigy 1.0 is also stiffer than the Magnus, which is no soft ski itself, and the extra stiffness is particularly noticeable in the tail. I’d probably rate them as around a 7.5/10 in the tip an 8.5 underfoot and an 8 in the tail but it’s a smooth flex, essentially stiff throughout and roughly comparable to the Poacher, maybe even a touch stiffer.
The Prodigy 1.0s are pretty stiff skis. Combine the flex with the generous camber underfoot and plenty of dampness and you have a ski that holds up pretty well when skiing groomers for something with so much rocker. The short sidecut and narrow (by today’s standards) waist means they also feel super quick, possibly too quick for me since I have a fairly languid style (to say the least). However, while they are quick edge to edge, they aren’t the most energetic feeling of skis, with the flax dampening more than doing its job. They flow from turn to turn but they aren’t powering you into the next turn as soon as you’ve finished the previous unless you really throw a lot of weight at them. And a ski with this much rocker really does have poor edge hold once the edges get dulled/detuned, because most of the remaining edge is raised off the snow.
They are also surprisingly good at dealing with crappy snow for a narrowish park ski. They seem to cut through chunky snow nicely and not deflect too much even when riding the icy shit you get skiing down the glacier in the summer. I didn’t ski any fresh snow on these due to reviewing in July/August but skiing down on the Zermatt glacier has also taught me that these skis float pretty well when riding glacial rivers. Useful info only here.
I actually think these would be a pretty fun all-mountain ski for someone who likes to hit some crud, bumps and do quick turns, while still wanting to ski some park and likes a narrower ski. They are certainly superior in my mind to the similarly shaped ON3P Magnus for ripping around the hill.
At the end of the day, these are a park ski so it’s performance here that will make or break them. As already mentioned, the Prodigy 1.0s are pretty stiff and damp. Faction list them as a 6/10 flex but on the scale of park skis, but I’d probably put them around an 8 or 9. Interestingly. They also list the Prodigy 2.0 and Candide 2.0 as a 6/10 and the Candide 1.0 as a 7/10 but I’d say these feel noticeably stiffer than all three more similar to the K2 Poacher. I was a bit thrown by that, so I got a couple of friends to try them too, and they concurred. That stiffness with a decent dose of camber underfoot gives you a pretty good landing platform on jumps, the skis are also light and easy to spin, making them a great ski to take on kickers. They aren’t quite a comp ski like the Nightstick or Salomon NFX but they are more solid than any ski with this much rocker I’ve tried.
A majestic mountain with a less than majestic hand drag in front of it. Photo: Laura Obermayer
Thanks to the abundant rocker, the stiffness, which would typically become a downside when jibbing, is fairly well countered. At speed, they are a really fun ski for buttering on. Tons of rocker and a touch of early taper (much like the new Magnus) means they don’t catch and they are stiff enough that simply throwing all your weight at them is the perfect amount of force when buttering. There's not much risk of overpowering these that’s for sure. The amount of rocker and stiff flex mean you can load up the noses and tails to get pretty good pop out of them, but doing ollies and nollies feels more like popping a skateboard than bending the ski for rebound energy. However, the stiffness does make them a lot of work when it comes to low speed playing around. Even with the rocker, I found these harder work for doing tricks like butter combos out of rails. Buttering on to features and popping over stuff at low speed also took a lot of work and left me with sore legs when on other skis, I have no issue. Here, skis like the Magnus, EDollo, Blend, Vishnu Wet etc are far superior. I wouldn't really recommend these for a riding smaller/flatter hills in that manner (or indeed indoors) as a result.
On rails, they are nice and light for quick switchups thanks to a 90mm waist and low swingweight (and measured weight). The rocker also keeps the tips/tails well out of the way on surface swaps etc. I found the combo of the taper, camber underfoot and stiffness less comfortable than many park skis for 5050s, I just couldn’t get comfortable locking them in on the Prodigy 1.0 but that’s almost certainly a very minor personal complaint. These are actually a pretty fun ski in the park, for doing a bit of everything. The stiffness holds them back at the extreme playful end of park skiing and I still like wider skis better but otherwise, they are a great tool. I didn’t find them notably ‘fun’ but they did a pretty good job of most things. However, what has typically let Factions down in the past as park, and particularly rail skis has been durability.
The last time I spent significant time on a Faction ski was the old Prodigy, back in 2015 when the Prodigy existed as a single ski rather than a whole line. I loved them but they blew apart on me, two pairs in fact. Since then I have heard a significant number of tales from friends and acquaintances lamenting Faction Skis’ inability to hold up to heavy park skiing (though I should also say that my OG Candide 2.0s are still alive in the hands of my friend, who skis as if the mountain did something to offend him, 4 years down the line from when I reviewed them). So how did the Prodigy 1.0s do?
Well, let's start with a disclaimer, I am not typically super hard on my skis: I don’t snap a ton and I don’t go through edges in 5 days like some (though I do heavily detune my skis which helps a lot). As always durability is hard to gauge even with 25+ days on them but so far, the answer seems to be there are positive signs. I’ve always had problems with Faction topsheets chipping like crazy and then skis delaming as a result, but their new anti-chip microcap has held up better than most skis I’ve tried (though not quite as well as Line’s new topsheet). The only tiny minor chips I got were superficial and unlike some older Faction skis, I didn’t see any delamination or edge pullout in 25+ days of cruising summer rails. There are currently one or two cracks in each edge, and I started getting cracks on about day 10, but things are basically holding up ok. I’ve definitely had more durable skis (the Magnus springs to mind) but I would say the durability for these during the test period has been normal compared to most brands.
The only actual construction issue of note was that while mounting I had a couple of spinners. It is almost impossible to gauge the significance of that since it could have been me overtightening (though I don’t think it was). Pure poplar cores have been known to have binding issues in the past and it strikes me as worth noting that, having has no issues all year, the first poplar-only core I tried, I got spinners. Ultimately, though I had the problem holes helicoiled and there are no signs of an impending binding pullout so far.
The Prodigy features a 4-piece wrap similar to Armada’s new models, but unlike the Armadas I skied, all the filler between edge pieces is all still in place at the end of the review period, despite having more days on them. To me, that's a good sign. Ultimately, the best answer I can give when it comes to durability is that you get a ‘feeling’ about skis when you ride them and to me, these never felt any more fragile than the other skis I tried this year. I still think there are likely more durable skis out there, but as far as I can tell, Faction has made durability improvements with the Prodigy 1.0.
Conclusion/Who are they for:
Much like the ARV 96, I liked the Faction Prodigy 1.0 but they didn’t really excite me. I think they’re a solid performing ski and for the type of ski they are, they are pretty versatile in that they do more things decently than most skis. For example, to me, they ski groomers far better than the Magnus, they are better on jumps too and feel a touch lighter. But ultimately, I didn’t find them as fun to ski, nor do I think they are as solidly built. Coming at this from the other end of the park spectrum, they are a lot more fun than traditional ‘stiff’ park skis to me, in that they offer much more versatility in terms of the kind of skiing you can do on them, but at the same time, they aren’t as stable.
So again much like the ARV 96, they somewhat prove the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ truism. There are certainly better comp style skis for solely going big and there are better playful skis for having fun on small features, but these are one of the more versatile ~90mm park skis I’ve tried. The Prodigy is also a great entry to the modern jib ski shape, because they will feel way more familiar to people used to skiing regular camber or minimal rockered park skis than softer, similarly shaped options. And if you ride something like the Magnus or Vishnu Wet, but would like more stability these could also be a great option. Ultimately, they are a stiff, quick but still relatively versatile and fun park ski. With park skis becoming more specialized, i.e. tending to be either stiff comp skis or soft/jib oriented skis, these are an interesting middle ground. For someone looking for a bit of both worlds, these are a good option.
If you have any questions about the Prodigy 1.0, feel free to hit me in the comments and I'll do my best.
Find out what I'm reviewing in real time: @twig_spens
Next up from me: Armada EDollo
- Merchant Sale Price Retail Price
- Geartrade.com $300.00 Faction Prodigy 1.0 181cm Brand New
- Outdoor Gear Exchange $499.00 $579.00 FACTION - PRODIGY 1.0 X SKIS - 170 - White
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