The Faction Chapter 106 is a fun and playful freeride ski that has a decent amount of versatility. It didn’t necessarily blow me away in any one area, but I feel like it could handle just about any type of terrain. It’s certainly capable in a lot of conditions, but I definitely feel like it prefers soft snow off piste than it does hard packed groomers. I feel like it will cater best to those playful freeride skiers who are going to spend a lot of time skiing soft snow.
Faction Chapter 106 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Bolle Emperor
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
Conditions: Fresh Pow (6-10″), Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack, Bumps, Trees, Steeps
Ski Personality: The Faction Chapter 106 is a playful and maneuverable soft snow freeride ski that will cater to the skier with that buttery smooth style.
On the Snow Feel: The Chapter 106 feels playful and maneuverable while still providing a bit of stability when you need it.
Powder: The Faction Chapter 106 has a pretty significant rocker line in both tip and tail, allowing the ski to plane quickly and allow maneuverability in deep snow. I never got the Chapter 106 n anything deeper than 10″, but feel for 106mm underfoot, the float was pretty solid. I didn’t find myself sitting backseat as much as I might on other skis in the class. I appreciated the amount of rocker in tip and tail when trying to slash turns in the deepest snow. It never felt catchy or hooky, and I had no problem turning quickly. This won’t be my go-to powder ski, but the 106 waist and steep rocker profile certainly make it capable on all but the deepest of days.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Chapter 106 has 2mm of camber underfoot, but I can say that the demo pair that I skied was definitely closer to flat. The tip rocker extends a very long way back from the tip, and although the tail isn’t quite as deep, it still has a lot of rocker. While I found the ski easy to pivot and maneuver, especially at slower speeds, I found that it didn’t quite hook up as smooth and predictable as I would expect. It seemed as if the ski was more at home slashing turns than it was carving, and although it was responsive when slashing, it took a bit more work to get it to hook up and get on edge. Getting it on edge took speed, and once there I was never overly excited about the feel. Edge hold was fine, but I never really got the ski to come to life. Edge to edge transitions were mild and unexciting. I didn’t find much power, and I never felt like I was getting shot out of a turn. The tail seemed to finish the turn okay, the ski just never came out of it with authority. I wouldn’t say that the Chapter 106 wasn’t capable of carving, it just wasn’t an exciting turn. I think if you spend more of your time slashing turns in softer snow you’ll probably love the feel of the Chapter 106, but if you’re looking for that race feel in a freeride ski, this isn’t it.
Speed: The Faction Chapter 106 has a moderate flex in tip and tail with a bit more substantial feel underfoot. I never got the impression that this was a hard charging ski, but it was fine at moderate speeds. I could find a speed limit at the higher end, but even then I felt like the ski was still relatively stable. This wouldn’t be my go-to ski for straight-lining big open terrain with 1500 ft verticals, but for cruising around the mountain at moderate speeds, the Chapter 06 is fine.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: Again, the Faction Chapter 106 never felt like it was a hard charging ski, but it did okay in roughed up terrain. I just found that it required a bit more slow and thought-out approach. The ski isn’t going to cut through variable terrain, or blast through anything in the way. Instead, the ski seems to plane over variable terrain decently well, and there’s just enough stiffness underfoot to smooth things out. I found that slowing it down allowed me to maneuver the ski more, and allowed me to keep the ski from getting bounced around. So I think as long as you approach variable terrain at moderate speeds and don’t expect it to just blow up everything in your way, you’ll find the Chapter 106 to be capable enough.
Edge Hold: Edge hold was okay, but I found the Faction Chapter 106 to be way more fun in soft snow. I think if this was the only ski you owned, it would be perfectly fine on groomer days, but you’re going to have way more fun anytime there is 5-10 inches of fresh snow.
Bottom Line: I was a bit disappointed with the Faction Chapter 106. I had high hopes, and it just didn’t do it for me. That being said, I think it’s still a fine ski, and I think it could actually be a lot of fun for the playful freeride skier that doesn’t want that charger feel. I’d also be curious if the shorter 182 would come to life a bit more than the 186cm. It’s easy to maneuver and pivot at slower speeds, and those with a playful approach will find it quite capable in a lot of different conditions. It just never had a powerful or exciting feel on groomers, and it wasn’t stiff enough to really charge at speed or blast through variable terrain. It does fine at moderate speeds, but just don’t expect to straight-line every run you come across. If you like a moderate stiff, more playful and easy going feel in your freeride ski this could certainly be a good fit. If not, then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.