tags: tgr tested |faction skis
We all know that the only thing better than skiing powder is skiing more powder. Therefore, a lighter ski that makes skiing more powder must logically be superior, right? Well not exactly. Light skis (we’re talking sub-1800g) certainly make going uphill much easier, but what do you sacrifice on the way down? With the advent of carbon-filled skimo-inspired “free-touring” skis a few years ago, it seemed to be a race to the bottom of the weight list, but we can’t deny that came at a strong cost to on-snow feel. I mean #freemo is sooooo 2019. In a nutshell, lightweight powder skis were really chattery, bucked you around, and didn’t hold up when it came time to open up the throttle. Now, Faction has re-entered the free-touring game with the new La Machine skis, and we’re convinced the 109-mm underfoot La Machine 3 Mega is the perfect ski to grab for skiing big lines in deep snow all under your own power.
Last year, Faction debuted the La Machine Max, a 122mm-underfoot behemoth that quickly became a go-to for their athlete team on deep days. This year, the La Machine 3 Mega enters the mix with a 109mm waist width, a longer 21-meter radius, and a long rocker profile in the tip and tail. I’m convinced that unless you’re skiing in Japan or Alaska, that 110-ish waist width is the perfect combination of float and agility on firm snow.
Inside the ski, Faction uses an environmentally-conscious bioresin to hold together a fairly traditional construction. This bioresin has 35 percent of its molecular range derived from plant material and has the same structural properties as traditional resin derived solely from petrochemical products. What does that mean? It performs just as well or better than what we’re used to, and it’s better for mother earth. As a newly-minted B Corp, Faction is working to implement this material across its entire ski range over the next few years.
The weight on the skis is where these really stand out, coming in a claimed 1610 grams for the size 184. For a touring ski, that’s noticeably light. That gives you options on bindings, where I’ve seen some folks mount up a heavier-duty binding like the Shift or the CAST system, but I went full nerd and mounted them with the 220-gram ATK Kuluar 12 at the most forward “Newschool” recommended mount point.
So how does this light of a ski actually ride? Spoiler alert: really, really well. Faction worked some black magic inside these black super sticks to make one of the most energetic and lively skis I’ve ever toured on. Simultaneously, the La Machine 3 is quite damp at speed, inspiring you to put down the throttle in couloirs or on big faces. Playful and stable? Sign me up.
The 21-meter turning radius inspires confidence at speed, but the healthy amount of tip and tail rocker (combined with the soft tips and tails and stiff underfoot flex - what Faction calls Mustache flex) give the ski a very playful and surfy feel in deeper snow no matter what speed you're going. Jump turning down a firm couloir or billygoating through some cliffs? These will stay planted on edge to give you the control you need. The low swing weight actually makes quick jump turns almost automatic. Opening it up on the apron and want to throw in a few pow slashes for good measure? These will have your back.
I did ski some days of manky sun-affected snow and cruddy conditions, and was still impressed by how well they performed. Yes, you couldn’t quite open it up as much, but the skis still tracked predictably without getting tossed around the way other lightweight touring skis would. In the Tetons, we call that “High Alpine Variable” conditions - and with a slightly more delicate touch, the La Machine Mega 3 handled it just fine.
Finally, the best part is this setup will let you go literally ALL day long without tiring you out. With our seemingly endless supply of storm days here in the Tetons this year, I’ve been grateful to have these on my feet to sneak in “just one more" lap day after day.
The Bottom Line:
If big days in the mountains chasing technical ski objectives in soft snow is your idea of a good time, I’d encourage you to invite the Faction La Machine 3 Mega to the party. After a season of skiing pow in all manner of places in the Tetons, including endless steep tree laps, high-mountain couloirs, and big faces, I’m convinced this is the perfect ski for human-powered skiing in Tetons.
Get Faction's La Machine 3 Mega here.