Editor’s Review: Next year’s Faction Prime 2.0 skis

Editor’s Review: Next year’s Faction Prime 2.0 skis

It’s somewhat unsettling to skin to a remote backcountry hut surrounded by some of the best ski terrain in the U.S. on a pair of skis you’ve never been on, with three days of skiing to look forward to. But when someone invites you to the OPUS Hut—a full-service backcountry accommodation featuring prepared meals, beds with down comforters, indoor toilets and running water—perched at 11,600 feet near Ophir Pass between Ophir and Silverton—you say “yes.”

A taste of the San Juans. Photo: Teague Holmes.

Faction chose this piece of paradise in the San Juans to launch its highly-anticipated Prime series (unisex Prime 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 coming in at 90-, 98-, 108- and 118-mm waists, respectively), crafted by design engineer Patrik Sannes and Freeride World Tour athlete/UIAGM guide Sam Anthamatten. Faction wanted to discover what could be built without limits. The company gave the duo free reign (and budget) to create four lightweight, tourable big-mountain skis that would perform at the highest level in all conditions. They were after the holy grail, a ski that’s light enough to tour efficiently, but burly enough to rip lines back down.

On a warm, bluebird day in early April, we met in Ouray, Colorado and waited for Red Mountain Pass to open after avalanche control work. Faction’s Dave Bottomley (North America sales/logistics) adjusted the Dynafit demo bindings on a beautiful pair of next year’s Prime 2.0s to my AT boots. He was joined by colleagues Rex Wehrman (North American Vice President), Olivier Gouby from the Verbier office (Global Sales Director) and Sannes. Several journalists, sales reps, store buyers, shop employees and athletes such as ski mountaineer and skimo racer Teague Holmes rounded out our crew.

Faction’s Dave Bottomley mountin’ up. Photo: Teague Holmes.

I learned more about the ski as we toured up Ophir Pass Road from Highway 550 in T-shirts, our faces lathered in SPF 1,000. Sannes told me about the design process and the many prototypes he went through on his way to finding the perfect combination of premium materials, construction and shape. In the end, he blended carefully-crafted sidewall construction, Swiss-developed hybrid balsa/flax cores, revolutionary Swedish TeXtreme carbon layers, a new multi-dimension sidecut shape and rockered tip and tail to create something truly unique.

Sannes is particularly proud of the carbon element, which he says most manufacturers use sparingly. The Prime series uses the most technologically-advanced carbon laid-up across the length of the whole ski for a lightweight build with superb torsional strength and response. The TeXtreme carbon has a proprietary “spread tow” weave that makes the laminate thinner and stronger than regular carbon, giving the Prime ski an industry-leading strength-to-weight ratio, packaged in a full sidewall sandwich construction with a titanal binding plate to keep everything solid and damp.

Bottomley climbing through the San Juans with the Faction 2.0 in tow. Photo: Teague Holmes.

For the next two and a half days, I put the Prime 2.0 to a true backcountry test. I skinned seven miles on a road, climbed a ridge through a thick forest, ascended a firm face using ski crampons and kick-turned on fresh wind-blown snow. I skied corn, slop, chalk and even powder in steep, north-facing trees. On the many ups, even with demo Dynafits, the ski really did feel light. On the descents, the Prime 2.0 was solid and stable on the multitude of snow conditions I skied, and its directional shape and extended tip and tail rocker kept me above the snow. In the tight trees, it was nimble, responsive and fast.

I liked the ski so much that I talked my way into keeping them for the rest of the weekend. I took them on a tour off Red Mountain Pass and skied extremely variable conditions at Silverton for its closing weekend. In both settings, the ski excelled.

Taking it all in. Photo: Teague Holmes.

The Faction 2.0 exceeding expectations on the descent. Photo: Teague Holmes.

As you can probably gather from the aforementioned materials, this is not a price-point ski series. But you might be able to justify the price with the ski’s versatility—it eliminates a need for two backcountry set-ups. This is truly a freeride touring ski that can do it all. And that’s not just the hut talking. Look out for Faction’s Prime 2.0, and the rest of the Prime series, come fall 2017. — Tess Strokes, Senior Contributor

Prime 2.0 specs:


166, 172, 178, 184

19m @ 178

1550g @ 178

410-mm tip, 2-mm camber underfoot, 420-mm tail


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