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Demo days: Atomic Maven 86C, K2 Mindbender 89Ti (revisited) and 90C, Faction Dancer 1.0, Black Crows Captis/Atris Birdie/Miro Cor

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Me: 157-158cm/53-55kg/skis 2019 Volkl Kenja 156cm and 2018 Volkl Flair SC E 155cm
Adventurous intermediate who is happy on most groomed runs but struggles off-piste on black runs (and on crud on blue runs)
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Location - Morning Glory and Broadway on Mt Hutt which are reasonably chill groomed blue runs, spring-like despite it being winter - crust and often scraped-off in the morning, slushy in the afternoon, LOTS of rocks.
Atomic Maven 86C (161): I was prepared to be meh about this because of the carbon, however trying this in the late morning when there were still solid patches I was pleasantly surprised by the edge hold and control I had. I did not really get this up to any kind of top speed due to crowds but I wasn't worried by the possibility of it becoming twitchy or unstable - the longer length compared to my usual most likely gave me more stability. Turns were easy and the ski is exceptionally forgiving about poor technique. I think in my 'usual' mid 150s lengths I would find it too soft overall, but the topsheet colours are my jam.
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K2 Mindbender 89Ti (158): I already know I don't like this ski on scraped off early morning snow based on last year's experience and I was back on the 158cm 2023 model. Demoed on a slushy afternoon and they were a heck of a lot of fun - the bouncy, energetic feeling meant that turns were a doddle and smearing over and around the soft piles of slush was effortless. I could drive them at speed through the soft snow without being worried about catching even with poor body position.
K2 Mindbender 90C (?163): Same day, same slush, good pivot but they didn't feel so stable as the 89Ti. They didn't feel "too soft" for the afternoon but were very flexy. Certainly fun, although I didn't really feel like they wanted to make longer turns for me or get on edge as readily as the 89Ti, and were for surfing over the snow rather than going through it.
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Location - Curvey Basin at The Remarkables, taken down blue runs with some fresh manmade
Faction Dancer 1X (162): I really wanted to try the 2X but it was out, so the 1X was it. The snow was pretty nice that day so anything would have felt good in those conditions, however on a direct comparison with my Kenjas I found these to be the easier-going ski (unsurprising!) despite the additional length, still with reasonable stability and good edge hold on-piste. They survived a little excursion into solid bumps and certainly pivoted around them more easily. I can see why they are named the Dancer. The gradient design Faction have going on feels a little bit like Word Art gradients from the 1990s and 2000s but that's the cool thing now, right?
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Location - Curvey Basin at The Remarkables, groomed refrozen ball bearing snow but with grip rather than fully scraped off
Black Crows Captis Birdie (160, dark green): These surprised me in a good way with how easily they gripped on the snow we had - I was recommended the 160 over the 154 due to the rocker, and they were a blast. I didn't go particularly fast on them however I don't think I would exceed their stability speed limit. All turn sizes were great and I felt like I could push through the ball bearing crud rather than catching on it.
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Black Crows Atris Birdie (160, light green): I was apprehensive about this ski as last time I was skiied BY them, however I was assured the newest version was more accessible and I certainly had a blast on these as well. They were a bit more challenging to pull in the turn radius compared to the Captis but no more difficult than the Kenja. My knees when trying to get on edge, however, were like "you know this snow is kinda solid, right?". A ski for a different country, perhaps.

Black Crows Mirus Cor (168): This was definitely far too long for me despite the generous rocker. It reminded me most of the Line Blade with its tip-over-and-you-edge-it approach and fondness for short turns rather than going long at speed.
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IKam

Certified Ski Diva
So, which ski did you like the best? Are you still demoing? It sounds like a little longer ski affords you more stability. I'm a 5'0 intermediate and tried skis that are longer than mine and they seemed fine.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Glad to see someone else try Faction skis! I demoed the Faction Agent 1.0X (similar to Dancer, but carbon instead of metal) at Killington this past winter and ended up buying them. They're super forgiving and easy to ski, yet very damp with good edge grip. An enigma. lol
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So, which ski did you like the best? Are you still demoing? It sounds like a little longer ski affords you more stability. I'm a 5'0 intermediate and tried skis that are longer than mine and they seemed fine.
I am actually in the market for a narrower ski - all of the above were “fine” but nothing that was all-around better than my Kenja. Sadly everyone brought their all-mountain range not their piste skis, the only piste ski I got on was the Salomon S/Max 8 which was too soft for me.
 

Sokolva

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks for the detailed review on so many skis!
 

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