The goldilocks one-quiver backcountry ski is an elusive beast, requiring extensive R&D, inspired vision, and maybe a hint of fairy dust. Freeride skiers, however, may have found the solution in the Armada Locator 104. The Locator incorporates tip rocker plus moderate camber, with a generous shovel and blended tail shape. The result is a ski geared towards speed while retaining the ability to float on powder or crash through crud without protest. A caruba core keeps weight manageable, making these skis an excellent choice for multi-day trips or collecting laps where conditions can change at a moment’s notice. Fairy tale travelers, take heed: your quest for the perfect everyday ski might end early with the Armada Locator 104 ski.
- Full-length carbon reinforcement dials the stiffness for enhanced speed--without adding weight.
- Minimalist 1.7 lightweight edges are heat-treated for a light, snappy feel.
- "AR Bat Tail" effectively centers skin tail clips.
- Tapered tips and tails guarantee hook-free skiing across various snow types.
|Lengths (cm)||162, 170, 178, 186|
|Weight (pair)||2560g 
||AR Bat Tail|
||EST Freeride Rocker|
||Spoon tip, medium radius, flat tail|
||Ti binding dampener + carbon reinforcement|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Do-it-all ski touring with a soft snow preference|
|Notes||Less rocker, more camber than the Locator 112|
|Bottom Line||Balanced, light and fast freeride touring ski|
|Compare to other High-fat Skis|
Questions & Reviews
I'm giving these 5 stars because I think they do indeed make an awesome ski if you are looking to freeride in the backcountry, while not exhausting yourself on the uphill. They want to play and go fast. Definitely the most fun I've had skiing a touring ski in the resort. Relatively easy to ski but I had to change my usual skiing style. They don't want to carve but rather bounce around things and preferred when I skied with an especially active style. Tons of fun especially jumping off stuff.
For backcountry use, for me personally, they weren't as good a fit since they are not great at pivoting or slow speeds, and I agree with skimo's description that they have a "soft-snow preference" which makes them not as versatile for hard-snow conditions.
However if you truly are looking to free-ride in the backcountry and usually are out in soft snow, I can't think of a better ski.
PS -- given their soft-snow preference these definitely made me want to try the Locator 112, maybe another winter when WA state gets more snow :D
How does the Locator 104 compare to the faction la machine mega? I am looking for a playfull and light ski for backcountry use. Something that excels in soft snow but is nonetheless very reliable in harder and not so good conditions.
I've briefly skied both, here's my thoughts;
Both the skis you've mentioned are very playful, and capable on soft and hard snow. The Locator is very energetic, and loves to slash turns. The La Machine Mega feels more damp and buttery. On hard snow, the Locator gets even more energetic, sometimes almost a little too springy at high speeds. The Mega stays very damp, requiring a bit more effort to drive. Overall both fit your description of light and playful, depends on if you're looking for energetic or buttery sort of playfulness.
If you want to go into more detail, shoot us an email at email@example.com!
Sounds like the Locator is right up your alley. Very energetic, fun to slash, and can hold their own on firm snow. The Backlands tend to be pretty friendly and damp. Still playful in soft snow, but arguably less so than the Locators. All depends on your skiing style!
The 186 would provide a nice supportive platform at your height and weight, but the 178 would be a tad lighter and allow more maneuverability. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get into more details!
I'm 5'9 140 lbs - looking at the 178 and the 170. Sizing thoughts? Float vs maneuverability I guess? I'd need to re-learn skiing with a radius this long, but hopefully I can hack it. Thanks much for this Q&A feature.
Given the rockered shape of the ski, you may find these to ski more intuitively than you think!
Thanks for reaching out! The Armada Locator 104 has a modern freeride shape, with a longer turn radius that likes to go fast. However, ample rocker in the tip allows this ski to be nimble when necessary. It is a pretty lively ski. Great for those that like a faster paced backcountry experience.
The Black Diamond Helio 104 also has a longer turn radius. It is a more subdued ski. It will feel a little less lively. The shape is similarly freeride, and it is pretty stiff as well. As for materials, Karuba is another name for Paulownia. Most touring skis have made the jump to Paulownia for the awesome weight to performance ratio.
If you have further ski questions, feel free to reach out to email@example.com!
The Ripstick is a bit stiffer and more powerful, while the Locator is more playful and a hair lighter.
The Ripstick has a little more muscle, so it would probably perform better in less-than-ideal conditions.
If you'd like to go more in-depth, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Color has been shown to increase performance by up to 150%, so choose wisely!
Earn store credit by writing reviews. Learn more.