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  1. #1
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    Oct 2006
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    MT
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    Review: 08/09 185cm Armada JJ

    Probably the most difficult to find ski these days. And with good reason...

    I am on day three of the JJ. I have ridden everything but absolute blower pow. So ice, packed powder, powder, chop, whatever. This will be part one of the review. Photos to follow.

    Me: 5'9 or 10, 145. I ski a lot.
    Skis: 185 JJ mounted on the line with Marker Dukes. (I hope to tour on them this week)
    126-136-115-133-121
    Other skis I like: tankers, spatulas.
    Other skis I dont like: pistols (1st gen anyway), big troubles (mixed bag) gotamas (too soft and a weird tail)
    Other funshapes I have skied: Hellbents, Spatulas. <-(basically the parents of the JJ's.

    The first things you notice...

    Lightweight. Not that fat compared to some of the other funshapes. The graphics dont make much sense. They seem practical. Much stiffer than most funshapes I have flexed. Not a ton of rocker.

    What Am I Looking For?

    If you haven't read my hellbent review, you would see that they are amazing when it is deep, but mediocre everywhere else. I want a ski that doesn't wheelie out when you jump, can throw a fatty stem christie in variable conditions and generally charge in crud bumps. Oh yeah, I want it to ski powder too.

    Construction/Durability:

    Good, not great. The finish is really nice, but I may or may not have gotten a small core shot already. Hell, that was my fault. I didn't buy these things to hang up on the wall. They are not amazingly durable like head bases, but they definitely are not made out of the butter they put in dynastar trouble makers. Topsheets are beautiful.

    Powder:

    Honestly, I haven't gotten to ski real blower on these, so cold smoke is still untested. These things are not super wide, but the rocker does wonders in variable catchy snow. The snow I have skied was from shin deep to windblown. They ski variable like the spatulas, really great. From what I gather so far, they do not make powder skiing feel like cheating like the hellbents did. But it is good to feel human. Honestly, I would much rather have the shredability of the JJ's vs. the float but lack of balls (IMO) of the 179 hellbents. They make you have good form on landings (cant ride frontseat off of cliffs) and still float and slarvecarve in the pow.

    The extent of my flippy spinnyness:

    Spin really easy. Revert pretty smoothly. You will forget you are on a ski so wide.

    Top speed:

    They can run really fast. Not as stable on groomers as a real big mountain standard side cut ski, but thats not what you need.

    Moguls:

    They rock! You can charge whether hard or soft. They are the perfect ski to ride when the mountain got six inches and a lot of wind too. They ride from ice bumps to deep pockets really nicely. You can pretty much zipper around with these things once you figure out form.

    Hux:

    They have a lot of pop. Perfect for any sort of a hit with a sketchy/variable take off. Can hold an edge off of a lip when it is solid snow. They are not so soft that they wheelie back. I did about 20 feet today and it was just confidence inspiring. No worries, relaxed on the takeoff, where spats can be really really awkward.

    Why they kick so much ass (so far):

    They float exceedingly well, turn on a dime, and carve on the ice. They dont float like crazy, but they sink in enough on a huck that you can actually have fun. Honestly, perfect ski when you want to ride around and jib soft snow and ride big powder days. I would rather ride my big mountain skis when I want to charge on soft, but take these for powder any day. And if you want to charge, you can really throw down with these things.

    Random Observation:

    You have to ride these things with a bit of a wide stance most of the time. They are a lot more stable when you need to rip a turn if you have a wider stance.

    The negatives...

    -Not insane float, but that isn't always a negative.
    -Only in a 175 & 185. They should make a longer ski.
    -Just shoulder-able. You can do it, which is a plus compared to most rockered skis, but it isn't always easy which can be bothersome.
    -You might have to explain to a bunch of 14 year olds just how sick you are.


    Bottom Line:
    -Your one ski quiver as long as you dont need Legend Pros/ IM103's/B Squads. I take it you dont race down groomers either. Confidence inspired jibbing. Fun powder. Lands well off of cliffs.

    I would like to compare these to the S7/obseth'd/Lotus 120. I think that your life will still go on if you had your heart set on these but found out you can't get any. Or if you are tall. I am sure the competition is pretty dope as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    seattle
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    631
    good review

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Trouserville
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    14,463
    Trade ya for a laptop.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    left hand
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    329
    Good review, makes me wanna try em! Although, as you said, having a VERY hard time finding ANY in a 185...there are even some websites that say they are only available in a 175...liars.

    anyone tried these AND the S7? similar, different...?
    "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
    Then I realised God doesn’t work that way, so I stole
    one and prayed for forgiveness." Emo Phillips

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Jack-spen, Wyorado
    Posts
    5

    My two cents - they fucking rule it

    5'10", 165lbs, former racer, ski the park, big lines, like to huck, tour... all that shit.

    I wanted a rockered pow ski that can hang at a resort with bumps, groomers, etc (I ski Snowbird). I didn't want to have to switch skis mid day as stuff gets hammered.

    So far I've put 3 days in Jackson on the 185's with Jesters (mounted on the line, -5).

    First day was VERY variable with hard and soft bumps, pockets of wind funk and many ice patches. At first the relatively centered mount was weird to me, and dealing with short tips and long tails took some getting used to in a big mountain setting. I wasn't so stoked at first.

    Second day was graupel snow, crazy wind and zero viz. But it was getting deeper and the pow was creamy, spongy wind blown shit. These were killing it, and more and more I got used to getting way forward on these like a normal race/traditional ski, trusting the short tip which at first felt like a snowblade.

    Third day the sun came out and the snow 10" of fresh was blower. Now I see the light. These things are SO RAD. Slarved surf turns down untracked Rendezvous bowl and had a boner from it. In the Hobacks I could feel the old snow underneath but was still totally able to charge. They are crazy agile in tight trees, like to smear and don't puss out at speed. The swing weight is awesome and they are real light generally, threw some filthy shifty/twisters in the middle of steep lines on 'em. They feel short on groomers but ski true to a 185 in anything over say 3" deep. Also, they carve amazingly on hardpack. I was railing GS turns past everybody on the groom.

    These skis make switch skiing on groom a cake walk: the rockered tails refuse to hang up so you can just bomb. Haven't gone switch in the pow yet but I'm sure it's all good 'cause that's what these are made for.

    No tip flap like a hellbent or pontoon either, which is good cause I hate that shit. Super stable at high speeds. In bumps they have so much pop and are so light you can just boost and gap shit with ease. So much fun and so ready to launch. Plus you don't get kicked all weird and landings are cake thanks to the rocker. They also stomped the few 10 footers I found, but I haven't gone bigger than that yet. I'm not worried about them for that at all though.

    The graphic's not really my bag but hey at least they're eye catching, right? I thought these would be too jibby for me since I have more race style and like to ski lines more than anything, but they are sooo worthy. I wouldn't mind and extra 3cm of length but it's not big deal. These skis do exaclty what I want and kill pow, crud, bumps, groomers, etc. Wouldn't take em out when it hasn't snowed in weeks but they are going to see a lot of use this season... more than I had anticipated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    I the Ho
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    232
    Just bought a pair of the 175's for my wife. She is a advanced skier I would not say expert. She is 42 5'8" 150lbs. no hucking or switch. Your thoughts on mounting would be appreciated. I'm thinking on the line or +1.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by GlimmerIII; 01-04-2009 at 11:37 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Bellevue, WA
    Posts
    104
    Got 3 days on my 185s so far as well. Each day better than the other. These skis do it all. Undoubtedly they are going to be my every day skis from now on. Never had so much fun just charging and being able to skip right over anything. Feel very lightweight and nimble turning and stopping on a dime. Ski switch with ease too.

    I am 6'2" 180 lbs and they are not too short. The JJ's aren't as soft and noodly as bents or EPs. If you're a bigger guy, don't be wary of the length.
    Last edited by PLUMPwonton; 01-04-2009 at 11:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    771
    Took a pair out on new years day with about 10+ of fresh and they slayed, also tried some chopsticks and these were just so much easier to turn, so much more fun in trees, and just way more lively. I am about 5'10 175 and the 185 were very easy to ski. Honestly this is the most fun I have had on a ski in a very long time. In fact I like these skis so much I'm trying to figure out what to sell so I can buy a pair of JJ's!! Any one have a line on some 185's?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    MT
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlimmerIII View Post
    Just bought a pair of the 175's for my wife. She is a advanced skier I would not say expert. She is 42 5'8" 150lbs. no hucking or switch. Your thoughts on mounting would be appreciated. I'm thinking on the line or +1.

    Thanks!
    Dont mess with the mounting at all. It will totally f with the geometry. Ski on the line and get stoked.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    very very small mountains
    Posts
    668
    good review
    Seconded.

    Pretty fucking gay to read reviews about the ski you just bought, eh? (but who doesn't?heh).

    Can't wait to get my pair in a few weeks (slightly used demo pair pair, I got a good deal...stoked here)

    I was interested on ARG's too but decided to take this ski, only skiing Scandinavia this year.(and I guess JJ's are great for this, 2 weeks trip coming in April: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5qTwG-93m0)
    "Average summit heights are around 1000m to 1200m but on the high glaciers of the main Lyngen Peninsula there are summits over 1400m with Jiehkkevarri being the highest at 1834m above sea level."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    very very small mountains
    Posts
    668
    Holy shit they POP!

    Skied slushy park today. Mounted -0,5cm (due to some overlap in binding holes - this pair had Salomon demo bindings earlier) w/ Dukes.

    Bent a brake of other Duke, on a fucked up 180. I just forced it back but the brake arm remained a bit twisted. This didn't matter the skiing though - but I guess landing switch isn' that wise on Dukes anyway?

    Gotta say JJ's are ok for jumps, for an 115mm middle skis. It was also nice to be able to surf the slush. People had to use one track through the slush to hit the jumps (even boarders) but I just cruised the in-run floating on the wet mank, having no probems with speed.

    Due to (relatively) centered swing-weight spinning (from booters) was easier than I thought (did 360s, 180s, very small fakie 180s). But all kinds of little features were even more fun - lean back a bit and "ollie" (in the lack of a better word) and damn you just bounce up. I can't wait to ski some windpacked soft snow on these - I guess you can really bounce from turn to turn if you like to...
    "Average summit heights are around 1000m to 1200m but on the high glaciers of the main Lyngen Peninsula there are summits over 1400m with Jiehkkevarri being the highest at 1834m above sea level."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2,521
    Excellent review. Very thorough. I'm curious to see someone compare those to 186 ehps.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    very very small mountains
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    668
    Some more observations here.

    I skied the JJ's for two weeks in Sweden last April.

    Mostly slush/perfect spring corn and one day with "dust on crust". Worked like a charm, and no problems on skiing soft groomers - they do carve well!

    Can't wait to get'em to the real powder (which might take a few months still...no real holidays until late march...f**k)
    "Average summit heights are around 1000m to 1200m but on the high glaciers of the main Lyngen Peninsula there are summits over 1400m with Jiehkkevarri being the highest at 1834m above sea level."

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