Faction Ten Ski Review
This past summer I found a good deal on a pair of Faction Ten (now called the Ten5) skis that had basically zero reviews online. Having heard good things about Factions and not wanting to spend too much on a pair of skis, I took the chance and purchased them. These skis replaced a pair of 2010 Liberty Helix skis that have taken a beating and are pretty noodley now, and they have been a great replacement since they are similar skis with nearly the same dimensions and camber, just with a little bit of tip rocker (Liberty added tip rocker to the 2011–2012 Helix).
Rocker: 5mm rise 200mm length
Construction: sandwich with capped tips and a flat tail
Sidecut Radius: 22m front 27mm rear
The Tens have a “dual-radius sidecut” meaning the radius is slightly different in the front and back of the ski which is supposed to allow it to handle both short and wide angle turns better.
I have my Tens mounted with Tyrolia Attack 16 bindings (which are awesome BTW) at the recommended mount line.
My ski style
My wife likes to say that I ski with reckless abandon and I would say that’s definitely true. I don’t like to take anything slow. I love to rip groomers with wide turns at maximum velocity, zipper down bumps, fly through trees, and air off of anything and everything. I don’t take it easy on my skis and I expect them to be up for any terrain or snow conditions. That’s why I like skis in the 105mm waist range because it’s the perfect width for 90% of snow conditions and terrain.
Conditions I’ve skied on the Ten
So far I have about 20 days on the Ten with just about every condition possible. Icy early season snow, packed powder, 4 inch fresh, and thigh deep. Pretty much every condition except for slush. I have taken them to several mountains: Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Steamboat, Solitude, and Snowbird so they’ve seen everything from Winter Park’s VW Beatle sized bumps to Snowbirds bowls and chutes.
These skis absolutely rail on the groomers. They have superb edge grip and definitely want to go fast with wide angle turns. You can definitely make shorter angle turns when needed, but I’ve found the tips to be a little catchy when making tight, slow speed carves. I’m not sure if that’s from the rocker or the smaller turn radius in the tip, and is only noticeable when carving and not when sliding the tails out a bit.
The skis are also very stable at high speeds and when things are chopped up at the end of the day. At the end of one 4" day at Winter Park I skied as fast as my legs would allow down a very chopped Sleeper trail (groomer on one side, bumps on the other) and didn’t reach the speed limit of these skis. Faction gives them a 5 out of 6 flex rating which definitely helps when things are choppy. Strangely when hand flexing them, they don’t feel that stiff, but they ski fairly damp while still having some pop.
Bumps and Trees
The Tens aren’t just good at high speed carving, they can also make quick turns in the bumps and trees quite easily. I’ve been able to ski the bumps at Mary Jane really fast even when they are deeply rutted thanks to the nimbleness of the Tens. They don’t have much camber so they are very easy to pivot on and slide your turns when you need to and ready to engage the edges when you find a nice line to zipper down. I have been able to ski the trees confidently knowing that I’ll be able to shut down the speed at a moment’s notice.
So far this season I have skied days with 4–6" of fresh all the way up to thigh deep snow and I haven’t ever felt like I needed wider skis. I have a pair of Moment Night Trains in my quiver and I have a feeling they won’t be getting much love except on really deep days. The early rise on the Tens makes turn initiation super easy so you can forget about what you’re doing and just concentrate on your line. They handle variable conditions very well so they’re a lot of fun from the smooth, early morning snow to the end of the day choppy mess that’s left.
Wind-blown and Heavy Snow
About the only time I’ve been left wanting more from the Tens is in heavy, window-blown snow. The Tens are very light and while early-rise/early-taper does help prevent deflection, they can still be tough to handle when the heavy snow is sending them different directions. I wouldn’t call them unmanageable by any means but you definitely have to stay on top of them and can’t relax too much.
The Faction Ten skis are a fantastic all-mountain ski that I’ve had a blast on. They allow me to ski as fast as I want in any conditions and still have plenty of pop for any jumps I may find around the mountain. They find a nice balance between dampness and poppy-ness that really does allow them to ski anything. They allow you to not worry about what your feet are doing and just focus on creatively skiing the terrain in front of you. I would definitely buy them again.