The ARV has been one of the top skis in the Armada arsenal for years now. The latest version of the ARV, and the 106, in particular, is a versatile freestyle ski that will serve you well across changing conditions on the mountain.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: All-mountain skiers who want freestyle capabilities.
- Pros: A versatile all-mountain ski that is capable in varied conditions across the mountain. Fun and playful but wide enough to handle deep snow and have you coming back for more.
- Cons: You can take the ARV 106 in the park, but true park rats will enjoy a smaller width version of this ski.
- Alternatives: Armada ARV 96, K2 Sight, Icelantic Nomad.
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I took the Armada ARV 106 out for a spin last season and below you will find my review.
The magic of the Armada ARV 106 is in its versatility. If you want to tackle any condition or feature on the mountain with a ski that will perform well in everything you throw at it, these are for you. They are playful from park to powder but can have hard-charging all-mountain characteristics when needed. That makes them a perfect all-season ski that will have you stoked and satisfied no matter what comes your way on the snow.
All-mountain skis are built to handle any type of condition or situation, and speed is a major performance characteristic of any model in this category. Park skis can often sacrifice some stability at speed for a playful response. The ARV 106 blends both of these attributes into a ski that will keep up with you when you want to cruise without sacrificing the playful nature that has made them so popular.
The ARV 106 holds up very well at high speeds, with design characteristics built into it for that exact purpose. They have a reinforced sidewall that features Armada’s durable and effective AR75 Sidewall construction. This design is intended to reduce chatter and bounce at high speeds, and we found it to be very useful when put to the test on the snow.
Stability at speed while maintaining a playful nature is an all-mountain dream, and these skis live up to that designation. The speed characteristics built into the ARV 106 will allow you to bomb steeps and groomers and then spend all day in the park without the desire to change your planks.
Speed is an excellent initial performance indicator for many skiers, but if you’re like me, you need to know how they’ll hold up in a wide variety of on-snow conditions. That’s the true test of any all-mountain offering and why this versatile style of skis have gained in popularity over the years. The ARV 106 has some killer performance across the board, another reason to give these all-mountain monsters a shot.
While not a dedicated powder ski, the ARV 106 is wide and playful enough to satisfy powder-hungry skiers on a snow day. They have a nice float and poppy response that will stand out in the deep stuff. These skis really stand out in dealing with slightly choppy conditions, like you’d find the day after a big storm when you are cruising the mountain looking for leftover stashes.
The all-mountain attributes of the ARV 106 will give you the freedom to explore and handle just about any condition. They perform well across the board, but I found them to be lacking a bit when digging into those carve turns on a steep groomer. That’s no surprise, as the twin shape and ample rocker leads to a loss of rear edge control. They aren’t a ski racer’s ski, but aside from that, they more than satisfy.
Construction and Style
The heavily playful-yet-stable nature of the ARV 106 is primarily due to its solid and innovative construction. The AR75 sidewall construction mentioned earlier is certainly one construction aspect that adds a lot to their abilities, but it doesn’t stop there. Ash stringers are built into the skis for added pop and play while the latest version utilizes a Smear Tech improvement in the tip and tail to create better performance in the soft stuff.
These skis are constructed with an AR Freestyle Rocker, which allows for quality performance in the park while maintaining the ability to float and respond very well in steep and deep conditions. A poplar ash core allows a medium-stiff flex – another construction design that results in a playful nature while still having enough bite to handle just about any condition.
The graphics on both the tops and base of the ARV 106 provide the classic visual appeal of Armada skis that they are known for. Artwork by Joram Roukes gives the skis a stoic but spooky look that is oozing with style. A blend of various portraits on the front half of the ski combined with a simple clouded look on the back half seems to display the versatile nature of these great skis.
Price and Value
The latest version of the Armada ARV 106 is available in 172, 180, and 188 sizes. It is a moderately expensive ski that might seem on the high end compared to earlier versions of the ARV. When you consider all that it can do, this is an effective 1-ski option that will allow you to cover plenty of ground on the mountain while having a great time doing it. That makes these skis a tremendous value and recommended option.
What I Like
The Armada ARV lineup of skis has been a personal favorite for years. And as this model developed, the wider widths turned a park-focused freestyle ski into an ample and adequate all-mountain beast. The ARV 106 provides the best attributes of its park ski heritage into a larger ski that can tackle the entire mountain without sacrificing the playful nature of freestyle flow.
Versatility is the main attraction of this ski. If you like to ride a little bit of everything and have reliable performance throughout, the ARV 106 is recommended. They will provide you with excellent pop and response in steep and deep conditions from fresh powder to chopped up fluff. A well thought out construction gives you good stability at higher speeds with this same strength holding up for a lap or full day in the park.
For a one ski option that will give you stand-out performance in a wide variety of conditions, the ARV 106 is hard to beat. Durable and stable construction with a freestyle rocker profile makes these skis playful in powder and the park.
What I Don’t Like
While there isn’t much to dislike about the ARV 106, tremendous versatility means that you will sacrifice a bit of high-end performance under some conditions. And for me, the main area in which these skis are lacking is their response at high speeds on packed or groomed snow. They maintain decent stability at speed, sure, but the freestyle profile with a heavily rockered tail leaves something to be desired when you want to bite into a turn.
And while these skis are certainly capable in the park, don’t expect to get as much performance there as you would with a narrower version of the same ski or another park-focused model. The 106 waist is a versatile size, but it can feel a bit beefy in the air or other park features. The 106 is a relatively lightweight all-mountain option, but you’ll want something lighter for that feather feel true park connoisseurs love.
If you are looking for an alternative option to the Armada ARV 106 that provides some of the same all-mountain versatility while being playful and responsive, check these out:
- Armada ARV 96 – This is a narrower version of the 106 and a good alternative for anyone who wants a more park-focused ski. It’s still versatile through a range of conditions but is a lighter and more effective option in the park. Don’t expect as much control and float in big-mountain conditions with these, however.
- K2 Sight – This is a good alternative for more beginner skiers who still want the flexibility to explore all over the mountain. They are a quality ski that is also affordable, another enticing aspect that makes them good for anyone just learning how to ski. They will hold up well in the park and let you play all over the mountain as well.
- Icelantic Nomad – For a ski that I would argue is even a bit more versatile than the ARV 106, check out the Icelantic Nomad. This is the best-selling ski of the Colorado-based company for good reason – it’s an amazing all-around option that will give you excellent performance all over the mountain all season long.
What type of conditions are the Armada ARV 106 made for?
In short, a little bit of everything. These skis are designed to be an all-mountain ski with freestyle characteristics. That means you can expect decent performance in deep powder with the ability to venture into the park when you want to.
Are the Armada ARV 106 a park ski?
These skis can certainly perform in the park, but they are not a dedicated park ski. The wider waist gives them a better all-mountain performance that adds some additional weight to limit their abilities in the park slightly.
Do these skis stay stable at high speeds?
Indeed they do. An AR75 sidewall construction built into these skis gives them solid stability and reduced chatter at higher speeds. Considering the rockered profile, which usually results in increased chatter, the ARV 106 has excellent speed characteristics for an all-mountain option.
The Armada ARV 106 is a great all-around ski. From deep powder runs to chopped up bowls to laps in the park, these skis will give you stand-up performance in a variety of conditions. They are an all-mountain skiers dream and cater especially well to anyone who wants a ski with a playful nature that will obey your every command under challenging big-mountain conditions as well.
They will provide you with pop, response, and performance all over the mountain, and some added constructed elements make them even more stable at high speeds than previous versions of this always popular ski. They are not a good option if you want to run gates or bomb groomers all season, but if you want impressive performance and an always fun ride, the ARV 106 is a recommended option.