No matter the pursuit you fancy yourself chasing, normal chumps who aren’t getting a free pair of skis or boards every year are probably seeking a single piece of equipment to hang their hats on and use in most any condition: in this case, the single ski quiver. I mean, who really has a couple grand laying around to spend on multiple pairs? Not me.
I will say this, finding one pair of skis to use in every situation ain’t easy. In fact, in might not be totally possible. Do you just stick to powder skis? The type that are floaty, “surfy” even—so fun to ride in deep conditions that you don’t want to ride anything else? But with that width pow skis can become liabilities on hardpack (because let’s face it, everyone has to ride hardpack sometimes), where getting edge to edge is difficult with a 120mm of ski under your feet? Or do you go trimmed down, making park and pack more fun, but limiting that feeling of freedom in the most glorious substance known to man—powder?
The choice in today’s modern era of limitless ski choices is tough. But if you were to spend your hard earned cash on a single pair of sticks that can do a lot for you, you wouldn’t be wrong if you spent that cheese on Faction’s Prodigy 4.0.
A bit about Faction first: Faction was started more than a decade ago by a bunch of international ski bums. Manufacturing began in France, then was moved across the border to the brand’s current home in Verbier, Switzerland. Faction also has offices in Colorado. The team features some heavies like John Collinson and maybe the greatest freeskier of our generation, Candide Thovex.
With skiers like that on the squad you might expect some beefy skis to match. Which brings up a generality that might apply: Faction Skis has a reputation of making boards on the stiff side (the Prodigy 4.0’s thick, poplar/ash wood core ensures that quality). Which means you won’t necessarily get the flex of a softer powder or bump ski you might be used to, even if you’re riding one of Faction’s softer powder skis. So don’t expect to muscle these sticks around in any terrain.
That said, the Prodigy 4.0 is one of the better all-around skis I’ve been on. At 112 mm underfoot they’re so fun in powder and untracked conditions. In my experience, they’re super easy to let glide through broken snow and “crud.” Again, they can be a little tricky to whip around in tight radius situations like steep hardpack where you need to make quick, jumpy turns, because these dogs want to run. But that’s an opinion—the even sidecut (or turn radius from tip to tail) should allow better skiers to control the Prodigy 4.0 with ease. Carving on groomers was definitely not a bad experience with these boards, either.
If you’re looking for a straight park ski, this isn’t it. Again, having 112 mm underfoot is too much for rails or maximum hardpack control. In my mind, the Prodigy 4.0 are perfect for straight-up riding the mountain (freeriding), especially in powder conditions; or sidecountry and backcountry lines with airs (think super stable landings). The Prodigy 4.0’s are light enough that you can easily slap a pair of skins on and go for a hike without breaking the weight bank. Here’s my takaway: for what I like to ride, which might be similar to what you like to ride, they make for the perfect one-ski quiver.