The 2021 Armada Whitewalker, a big mountain ski. A review of Sammy Carlson's new pro-model ski, plus weight and full specs.
I originally skied the Whitewalker at the OR On-Snow test. They were very stable at speed for a jib oriented ski, and of course they floated great. I found the ski a bit lifeless though. By figured that, by making a light ski stiff, they were left feeling rigid and lacking in energy.
However, when I got my own pair, they had either made some significant changes or bumping up the mounting point to -2cm (perhaps a smidge too far forward) transforms how they ski. They felt far more accessible and fun. The Whitewalkers are still a pretty stiff ski, especially underfoot, but now the tip and tail had enough give to make them fun to butter. They are still damp too, particularly so for a ski of this weight but they also now have enough energy to make popping off sidehits and playing around enjoyable. I pretty much only got to ski them on shitty days and while I hated that at the ski test, suddenly I was having tons of fun.
For me, they have the perfect amount of rocker for a powder ski, and the pinned tip and tail slices through crud and weird snow with almost alarming comfort. Yes, they are light (and so am I) so they do get bounced around a bit, but for the weight, they are ridiculously good in mixed snow. With knees a few years younger (and less currently blown), I'd pretty much be able to ride these as a daily driver. By contrast, the JJ UL, which is even lighter, has much softer tips and tails, and feels a lot less damp. While the ski shapes are very different, the UL really is best suited to good days only.
The one potential downside is that the pinned tips do provide slightly less float, or perhaps I should say lift, than a ski with a more traditional tip. Interestingly, I had the JJ 116 UL to test at the exact same time, so I could back to back these skis and you could feel the difference. The UL, with fatter tips and softer flex, really wanted to rise out of the snow and stay on top, whereas the Whitewalker didn't have quite the same feel of lift. However, being 116 underfoot, the Whitewalker is still a great powder ski, and it goes sideways like no other ski I've tried.
I wasn't convinced at the demo, but after spending more time on the Whitewalker, I can say for sure that these skis are something special. If they hold up durability wise as well, we are talking about a wonder ski. A lightweight ski that is both stiff and fun, chargy and pivot-y, buttery and stable. For Newschoolers, that's something of a holy grail.
At Powder Week, I started the Armada session riding some groomers with Hans, Dan, Wally (a Powder tester) and Todd Ligare. Dan and I were on the Whitewalkers and the others were ripping the new Declivity line. The guys on Declivity were having a blast, but I was struggling to enjoy these laps. They aren't very responsive when gripping an edge, they don't offer much versatility for turns on hard snow. You'll get down but it's not particularly fun.
However, exploring Red Mountain's gladed areas is when Dan and I started to have some fun. The north facing and steep BC trees, with plenty of side hits and cliffs and about a foot of fresh snow made for a great playground to test the Whitewalker. I felt an above-average sense of control in these conditions. They are light and extremely maneuverable for charging through steep and narrow terrain with quick feet. This agility is complemented with a stiffness that I really liked, offering support for landing cliff drops. The rigidity also helps for regaining control if you find yourself leaning a little backseat from catching too much speed.
Tl;dr: Impressively light for such a wide ski. Impressively stiff for such a light ski - @Dr.Zorko
Sizes: 185, 192 cm
Dimensions: 139 / 116 / 135 mm - 185 | 140 / 116 / 136 mm - 192
Radius: 18M - 185 | 19M - 192
Weight: 1800g /ski - 185 | 1925g /ski - 192
Flex Pattern: 7.5 - 8.5 - 7.5
We set out to build Sammy a powder ski that is stable enough to charge exposed lines and stomp big pillows with maximum confidence, yet light enough for foot-powered backcountry access. A strategically enhanced Caruba Core allows these concepts to merge while the rockered Pin Tip and Tail guarantee quick turn initiation, reduce drag, and further lessen the swing-weight. Lightweight and stable, but offering plenty of release when needed, the Whitewalker perfectly compliments Sammy’s laidback, surf-inspired style, peppered with sudden bursts of all-out aggression.