October 27, 2020

Armada ARV 116 JJ 2020 – 2021 | Review

3 min read
The heart of the original JJ remains in a new and updated all mountain package...

The heart of the original JJ remains in a new and updated all mountain package

Why we chose the Armada ARV 116 JJ: JJ moniker, playful, soft snow slarver

Lengths (cm): 165, 175, 185, 192
Sidecut (mm): 139 / 116 / 135 (185 cm)
Radius: 18m (185 cm)
Rocker Profile: Rocker-Camber-Rocker
Weight (per ski): 2250g
Price: £TBC

If you’re going to slap a ‘JJ’ on a ski, you’d better hope that it lives up to the near legendary notoriety its predecessors brought to the name. You know, the JJ and the JJ 2.0? These were the freestyle powder skis that pretty much set the blueprints for modern skis that like to keep things loose in the backcountry.

Now discontinued and merged into the Armada’s ARV line of skis, the JJ has been brought into the ARV 112 JJ and the Magic J. We’d rather not look at the JJ range as a dying breed, more one that has helped to influence the modern day powder shape into what it is now.

“The freestyle powder skis that pretty much set the blueprints for modern skis that like to keep things loose in the backcountry”

The ARV 116 JJ features quite a few design cues from the original JJ yet, unsurprisingly borrows a few from the ARV line as well; creating a soft snow specific ski that’s not only capable of charging, but that’s also happy to throw in a bit of freestyle fun in the backcountry.

Armada ARV 116 JJ Build

Similar to the updates made to the ARV 106, the ARV 116 JJ has been given a more stout flex thanks to that same Poplar / Ash core that’s now gracing much of Armada’s line up. This, Armada claims, has stiffened up the tips and tails to help throw the skis around in “in tight conditions and no-fall zones”.

As expected from a ski this width, Armada has used  their Smear Tech in order to create a surfier feel. Smear Tech features 3D contoured and edgeless sections towards the tips and tails, resulting in a ski that’s happy to scrub its way out of a turn in favour of a big ol’ slarve.

Armada ARV 116 JJ Shaping

Deep rocker sits in the tips and tails are just as you’d expect from a JJ but, in keeping with the ARV name, Armada have also pressed two mm of camber into the ARV 116 JJ. This camber has been used to improve the all-mountain versatility of these planks, something you’ll come to appreciate if you ever find yourself on an exposed and wind-scoured entrance slope on your way into that hidden powder stash.

Another shaping note that shows that this ski lives within the ARV family of all-mountain skis is found within the ARV 116’s sidecut. While previous JJs featured a 5-point (Armada called it an Elf Shoe) sidecut, similar to that of the Tracer 118 CHX, the new and updated ARV 116 JJ features more of a traditional sidecut, with not too much tapering. This has all been done with the end goal of improving the ARV 116 JJ’s stability at speed, particularly when arcing long radius turns.

Who Is The Armada 116 JJ For?

All in, we’d say that Armada have done exactly as the name of this ski implies – they’ve created a hybrid ARV / JJ ski. And, that’s not a bad thing at all (far from it). The ARV 116 JJ will be happy mixing it up through the trees, and whatever you’re able to throw off the nearest pillow line, while also being able to hold its own down the hairiest of freeride lines.

There’s a great deal of versatility built into this ski, so much we’d be happy to say that this could become a single ski for those who put a lot of emphasis on charging hard in the backcountry or a second soft snow ski for those who have an inkling towards freestyle.

What Is The Armada 116 JJ Good At?

Playfulness: 9/10
Soft Snow: 9/10
Dampness: 8/10

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