The 2016 Armada JJ 2.0 is mostly unchanged for 2016. Like last season’s ski the JJ 2.0 has a longer turn radius, and more stability on edge. Armada also reduced reduced the taper from prior years and moved the widest points further out, making for better float at slower speeds. The Armada JJ 2.0 is a fantastic powder ski that can also hold its own on the frontside. It’s still most at home in the soft snow, but when you’re forced to take the groomers to the lift, the JJ 2.0 will get you there with more control and stability than you’d expect.
Conditions: Soft Snow (5”), Crud, Groomers, Hard Pack
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack 13
Ski Personality: The JJ is an easy going powder ski that seems to do most things pretty well
On the Snow Feel: The Armada JJ 2.0 has a semi-stable feel. When in the deeper soft snow it was easy to maneuver and turn, allowing you to surf and smear turns anywhere, but the JJ 2.0 can be quite stable as well. Traditional camber underfoot helps to increase stability in both the soft snow and on hard pack. The widest points have also been moved out, further away from the boot, helping to increase the amount of ski in contact with the snow. This reduces the surfy playful feeling a bit, but increases stability.
Powder: The JJ 2.0 retains Armadas EST Freeride Rocker profile, which consists of a significant amount of rocker in the tip and tail, and traditional camber underfoot. This helps to insure a playful and nimble ride in the powder and soft snow, while retaining stability on the hard pack. New for 2015, the Armada JJ 2.0 has a more gradual taper, really helping to increase floatation at slower speeds. At 116mm underfoot, you still have plenty of surface area for floatation. Sure there are wider powder specific skis out there, but the JJ 2.0 has a nice balance between surfy, playful, floatation in the powder, and stable carvability on the hard pack, making it much more versatile than the powder specialists. In the light dry snow, the JJ 2.0 is really fun, but the one area the JJ 2.0 lacks a bit is the really wet and heavy Sierra Cement.
Turn Initiation and Carving: Armada was the first to develop the 5 dimensional sidecut, which allows for varied turn shapes, and when combined with an early taper in the tip and tail, the edges are able to engage sooner and more gradually than skis with less taper. Sure at 116mm it takes a bit of work to get the ski on edge, but with a forgiving flex, and easy maneuverability, the JJ 2.0 is quite easy to turn. Once the ski is on edge, it is surprisingly lively and quick. The Turning radius was increased for 2015, but at 17m it’s still a ski that likes to make short to medium radius turns. It’s not as quick from edge to edge as past versions, but it’s also much more stable. It’s still quite lively and more fun on the groomers than one would expect. It’s not a frontside or even all-mountain ski, but I think most people will be pleasantly surprised at how well it can handle the frontside when you need it to.
Speed: In the soft snow it was pretty easy to feel confident going fast, especially since the Armada JJ 2.0 is easy to pivot and scrub speed when necessary. As the snow firmed up, however, I was less inclined to push the speed limit. The JJ 2.0 has a wood core with a fiberglass laminate. This helps to increase torsional rigidity, and reduce vibrations, but this is not an ultra-damp metal or carbon ski. It was still fun at speed, but it definitely has a bit of a speed limit in the harder snow.
Uneven Terrain: The Armada JJ 2.0 does a pretty decent job with the crud and variable terrain. It has a soft and forgiving flex that when combined with a wide platform (116mm underfoot) help to smooth out the variable conditions. In the soft snow I felt confident and stable, but as things hardened up, I found myself wishing for a bit more underfoot.
Moguls: The Armada JJ 2.0 is pretty responsive and easy to maneuver, but it’s not a mogul killer. I found the JJ 2.0 to be quick and maneuverable in the trees, and here I was able to have a ton of fun. In the tighter bumps the JJ 2.0 was okay, but it’s still a pretty wide ski, and for me there are better mogul skis out there.
Edge Hold: Edge hold is surprisingly good in the Armada JJ 2.0, even on the harder snow. The 5 point dimension, tapered tip and tail, and matched rocker profile really help to increase the length of the effective edge, giving the JJ 2.0 much better edge hold than similarly wide skis. Ice was definitely not its friend, but on the hard pack the JJ 2.0 performs much better than expected.
Flex: This ski has a progressive flex that is softer in the tip, stiffer underfoot, and medium flex in the tail.
Switch: The Armada JJ 2.0 has a directional twin shape that allows for switch riding when needed.
Jumps and Park: The flex pattern and lively wood core actually make the ski quite poppy off the jumps, It’s really fun to launch off of wind lips or backcountry booters. It’s also light in the air, and the slightly more forward and balanced stance makes spinning easier.
The newly redesigned Armada JJ 2.0 has gotten a few upgrades with its wider turn radius, and reduced taper. It’s still a great powder ski for the deepest days, but offers even better float at slower speeds. It’s a ski that is for the rider who wants great floatation and playful surfyness, but also appreciates stability and edge hold on the groomers. There it also makes fun and poppy turns that you often don’t find in wide waisted powder skis. It’s still not a front-side ski, but offers a decent amount of edge hold and stability as well as great powder performance in the light and deep snow.