Updated: Jan 25
By Greg Gardner and Scott McKean
Best Price: evo $749
Length Tested: 179
Width Tested: 116
Test Bindings: Look Pivot 15 with CAST System
Test Locations: Alta UT, Steamboat Springs CO
Standard Resort Conditions: 7
Technical Terrain: 9
Less than ideal conditions: 6
The Faction Prodigy 4.0 is a versatile powder oriented ski that intends to incorporate freestyle aspects into a wider platform for powder skiing. As a part of Faction's Prodigy lineup, the 4.0 is the widest of the bunch coming in at 116mm underfoot. The ski follows a twin tipped shape, and incorporates a rocker-camber-rocker profile. While the 4.0 was intended as a powder specific tool, its shape and sidecut are conducive to handling whatever terrain type you encounter. The Prodigy 4.0 is the perfect ski for advanced skiers who want a quiver ski for soft snow, while maintaining the versatility to handle a multitude of conditions, and the ability to incorporate freestyle aspects into their skiing.
Standard Resort Conditions
When it comes to standard resort conditions like groomers and moguls, the Prodigy 4.0 certainly holds its own. Like its slimmer siblings in the prodigy lineup, the 4.0's perform optimally on groomers. This is in large part due to the shape and aggressive sidecut that Faction utilized for its prodigy series. The poplar core provides the necessary rigidity for making long swooping turns across the run, without sacrificing playfulness. However, our tester, Scott, found that due to their lightweight and width, the 4.0s can feel a bit 'loose' at high speeds. When it comes to moguls, the prodigy 4.0 does struggle a bit. This is not due to any specific design flaws, but simply a sacrifice that must be made as a result of their large tip size and overall wide width. That being said, the skis are light and snappy, and can get it done when in a pinch. Unlike the Black Crows Nocta, which we previously reviewed, the 4.0s are a cambered ski, providing a much more forgiving ride for when things start to get skied out. Overall, for a ski of this width, the Faction Prodigy 4.0 handles standard resort conditions very well.
Faction designed the Prodigy 4.0 to handle the deepest of conditions, and the hit the nail on the head. The 140mm tip width in conjunction with the 116mm waist provide plenty of floatation whether you it just dumped at the resort or you're climbing into the heli. Not to mention, their lightweight provides plenty of maneuverability and you always feel in control on decent. One feature that does hurt the 4.0s powder performance slightly is the less aggressive rocker in the tips and tails. This means that the ski's profile is straighter rather than spoon shaped like some other alternatives. As a result, it may not float quite as well as the Black Crows Nocta or Blizzard Rustler 11. However, the less aggressive rocker creates a longer effective edge which is extremely helpful in other terrain types you may encounter. Despite this, the Prodigy 4.0s still handle powder skiing with ease.
In defiance of their wide stature, the Prodigy 4.0s weigh only 2200 grams. This in turn makes them an easy and fun ski for technical terrain types due to their quick maneuverability. Our tester, Scott, felt like he never had to worry about being out of control or feeling like he couldn't scrub speed when needed. Not to mention, the longer effective edge that we previously mentioned makes it easy to engage the edges when needed and make quick adjustments. The Prodigy 4.0 is a great ski for maintaining control and having a great time during a technical decent.
Less than ideal conditions
When it comes to less than ideal conditions, the Prodigy 4.0s don't handle quite as well as some other categories. This is to be expected due to their primary purpose as a powder ski. When conditions are icy the prodigy can be slow to find an edge due to their width. Additionally, the light weight material and construction can create some chatter at speed and you might be sliding around a bit. Additionally, crud can be a bit challenging as the skis can get tossed around a bit. If you were to hit a 'death cookie' you may face ejection due to the less aggressive rocker in the tips. However, when maintaining control you should have no issue getting through less ideal sections of terrain.
Our tester, Scott, mounted Look Pivot 15s with the CAST touring system on his Prodigy 4.0s. If you are unfamiliar with the CAST system, it is an add on for the Look Pivots that allows you to swap the front of the binding for a pin alternative when you want to tour. This is a great setup for the Prodigy 4.0s because it allows you to tour when you desire, but also obtain the rigidity of traditional alpine bindings when at the resort. The 4.0s as a whole are a great option for someone that wants to fill both the touring and powder spots in their quiver because they are only 2200g and provide plenty of versatility necessary for both the backcountry and resort.
The Prodigy 4.0 was designed with the freestyle skier in mind. The ski is a mid flex, but still provides plenty of playfulness allowing you to easily press and snap off the tips and tails. At only 2200g, the ski has a very light swing weight making spins and aerial maneuvers a breeze. Not to mention the twin tipped shape is perfect for those who occasionally like to ski and land switch. Believe it or not, Faction actually designed this ski to also be able to handle jibbing. While it's not a park ski by any means, it can certainly handle a hot lap or two, and will leave you searching for side hits and natural kickers all over the mountain.
The Faction Prodigy 4.0 is a really great option for advanced skiers with a freestyle background looking for a playful powder ski. This ski can handle a plethora of terrain types whether its park, groomers, or the back country and will leave a smile on your face at the bottom of each run. You should buy this ski if you want a super versatile powder ski for your quiver and love slashing, slarving, and launching all over the mountain.