Reviewed by Mark Hendry
Ski: Majesty Vandal 3.0
Length skied: 180cm
Weight (each ski): 1.937kg/ ski
Mount: True centre
Binding: Tyrolia Attack 16 (2018 model)
Days skied: 9
Reviewer height/weight: 5'10, 165 lbs
Review Location(s): Mt. Hood, Sugarbush Mt. Ellen, Stowe Mountain
Conditions skied: Hardpack, spring slush, granular slush, and rain.
After shredding the Crowbar for two weeks, next up in the line up for me to review was the Majesty Vandal 3.0. I skied the Vandal 3.0 in late spring in the later months of April and May. Like the Crowbar, the Vandal 3.0 has simple, great looking graphics. The all-red topsheets with purple accents are subtle but appealing while the red & black alternating bases make it a great option for anyone who’s looking for simple, sleek ski.
The Vandal 3.0 is a hybrid, true twin ski with rocker-camber-rocker construction. In other words, it’s fully symmetrical with rocker tip and tail and camber underfoot. The Vandal 3.0 is on the skinnier end of all-mountain/freestyle skis with a 92mm underfoot but widens all the way out to 130mm in the rockered tip/tail.
The Vandal is also noticeably softer than the Crowbar but still provides a decently stiff base in my opinion, with a personal 6 flex rating out of 10 (1 being the softest & 10 being the stiffest). I’d say the hand flex of the ski is a little stiffer than it skis, perhaps 7 on the same scale. This ski features an all wood poplar and ash core, with a full sidewall construction.
The ski provides a softer, more playful feel when cruising all mountain terrain while maintaining good edge hold in various different conditions. The 20m radius on the 180 is pretty middle of the pack but allows you to have control at higher speeds and the ability to make shorter radius turns too. The rocker in both the tip and tail gives the ski a nice quick and floaty feeling when initiating in and exiting turns, making it great on days where there’s some fresh powder.
In comparison to the Liberty Helix 98, the Vandal skied much softer but sustained a similar platform underfoot. The rocker in the tip and tail make for some chatter when you are hitting full speed on steep groomers but they are still pretty solid for this kind of ski. I think the Vandal would be best if you are someone who is not trying to stay in the park all day because this ski is versatile and rips all around the mountain. I primarily rode the Vandal in the park but for spring conditions on the mountain, it held its own. The edge hold is one of the ski’s most interesting features, with incredible grip in all snow conditions. As with the Crowbars, I’d highly recommend dulling down the edges when you first get the ski as they are razor sharp (perhaps overly so).
The ever-changing Pacific Northwest weather meant that I skied the Vandal 3.0 in so many variable conditions, sometimes in just one day on hill. Everything from blazing sun spring slush, to sheets of ice, crud, rain, rethaw and everything in between. In the mornings on the volcano where park crew would salt and the cloud created overcast weather, this ski crushes hardpack and granular ice with nice edge hold. On hardpack jumps, the ski grips underfoot when carving into lines or edging off jumps, which is a positive factor when the park changing from pack to slush in the matter of an hour. Even taking downhill cruisers off Palmer proved to be fun, with the lightness of the ski floating as you lay into turns but give you the stability to carve at high speeds.
On the opposite spectrum, I skied the Vandal in mostly hot spring slush days on the glacier consisting of 70- 80 degree days and extremely wet and slow snow. It always takes a few days to get used to the cement conditions but the significant rocker in the tip & tail, made for easier butters and slower speed park hits in the slush. Meanwhile, the stiff underfoot segment does allow you to power through slushy patches and maintain speed throughout the park if you sat back a tad. But again like the Crowbars you have to acknowledge the stiffness sometimes means a higher risk of catching a snow snake, making slush days harder to ski than it seems (trust me I caught a mean switch edge taking off a jump). On days where the slush froze over and becomes crud, this ski powers through it, only leaving a little chatter under foot when skiing fast. I would recommend this as a pretty ideal ski to take out to Mt. Hood in the spring since the PNW throws many different conditions at you daily, which this ski tackled very well for the most part.
Although the Vandal 3.0 is nominally in the all-mountain category in Majesty’s lineup, they feel great in the park too. The poplar and ash wood core gives the ski a nice softer, flexible aspect will still allowing for a lot of pop. The medium stiffness ensures grip underfoot when taking off jumps and stability when landing with high impact or slightly flatter landings. A plus with this ski (compared to full camber) for someone who is learning new jump tricks is that the ski is more forgiving thanks to the rocker. So if you were to land a spin a little 90 then you would have the ability to shuffle out of it and not explode. But the stiffness means they are definitely not as forgiving as some. They are good for skiers who like to butter on and off rails, hit jumps with a nice stable platform and pressing on features with a help of the rocker. A jack of all trades ski. After a few days on hill breaking the ski in, they get slightly softer underfoot while still maintaining good pop and quick response, but do lose some of that stability.
There is one major factor that I wanted to point out with the Vandal, which is how light the ski is. This ski feels like a feather on snow and has little to no swing weight, making it very ideal for spinning out of rails or spinning fast off jumps. I really like this aspect of the ski because it suits my rail style more, being able to have a nice pressy feel on rails but also having the option to rip quick spins out. The downside, however, seems to come with reduced durability (see durability section).
I found this ski performed its best when hitting medium size jumps due to the little to no swing weight and forgivingness of landing slightly short on slow slushy days. If you tend to carve off the lip, this ski has great edge hold, eliminating chatter. Landing switch felt okay because if you land too far forward you might press out stomping it.
On rails, the ski was decently grippy underfoot, which helped when pedaling for spins off rails or switch-ups. But I found it way more fun and effective when I was doing butters or surface swaps on rails with the rocker giving it the flowy feel.
That control remains even when the park is slightly softer and flatter, like on they days where it was 75 and sunny. With a similar shape and construction as the Icelantic Nomad 95, these skis are meant to be fun and playful when skiing at slower speeds and stable when you are skiing harder and faster in the park. All said and done, this ski is great for hitting various medium jumps or rails, but may be a bit unstable on the bigger stuff. It allows for a ton of playful while also suiting performance.
So how durable is the are the skis for the pro & intermediate skiers going hard in the park everyday. Unfortunately, similar to my first test of the Crowbars, not the most durable. I am definitely hard on my skis (Editor's Note: Mark is by far the hardest on skis of all our reviewers - Twig) but again, I experienced several minor edge cracks in the first three-four days of skiing park. Within the five to seven day range, both of the outside edges on each ski had split from the base, which didn’t affect my riding as much in the slush but definitely exposed the ski to water damage. Although the edges started to separate from the base exposing the core, the edges remained in the ski, just cracked and dented which allowed to still hit rails and edge into jumps of the soft points of the day. The most problematic aspect of the durability was when I pulled my heel piece of my binding out of the skis. I was able to plug the holes & remount the ski very close to true centre, heli-coiling the bindings into the skis. But to my surprise, the left binding came out a second time after landing switch in a nose press. The full sidewall construction meant some significant damage to the topsheet too, including a few minor coreshots through the topsheet, exposing some of the wood to the wet conditions of spring slush. This could be fixed with epoxy but wasn't ideal.
Overall, the Majesty Vandal 3.0 is in their lineup to perform well in both the park and on the mountain. I’d describe this ski as playful, stable, and versatile. For those who are in the park regularly but also enjoy lapping the gondola when the snow is good, this is a good daily driver. The rocker camber rocker construction provides softer butter zones in the tip and tail while still maintaining a stable and explosive underfoot when hitting jumps. But I would also recommend this ski to anyone who is an intermediate skier trying to take their riding to a new level because it combines stability and forgivingness pretty well.
I personally really liked these skis due to skiing the always changing conditions while skiing on the glacier but also the wider platform it provided while hitting rails on slower slush days. I’m just overcoming my stiff, cambered ski phase, so the rocker provided the relief that I like while hitting rails. The camber still allowed to me charge jumps, with the super low swingweight making it easy to go big & spin fast.
The 92mm waist of the ski is perfect for everyday variable conditions that the East Coast will throw at you too: hardpack ice one day and the seven inches of snow the next, but they handle the former surprisingly well. The playfulness and stabilization make this ski similar to the Icelantic Nomad 95 or the Faction Candide 1.0, two skis which I have skiing for years. I didn’t have the best luck with durability but I really admired Majesty’s ability to make a ski that skis great. I am definitely hard on my skis, and it’s possible I just had bad luck with these.
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Next up from me: 2020 Faction Prodigy 2.0 / 2020 Armada B-Dog. See you in fall.