Faction cleaned up its line for 2018, reducing its unisex offering to four series, each comprised of four models: the new Prime collection of balsa/flax-core backcountry models, a category we don’t attempt to cover; the returning Candide Thovex Signature series, twin-tips inspired by the brand’s standard bearer; the Prodigy series, a mix of veteran and new models; and the Dictator series, a new spin on the retired Standard line of square-tailed, directional skis.

The Prodigy name has been in the Faction family since its early days, and fans can still find last year’s version as the “new” Prodigy 2.0. The 2018 Prodigy 3.0 was previously sold as the Chapter 106; the 112mm-waist Prodigy 4.0 is all new.

The Prodigy 4.0 slipped through our fingers, but we took pains to get data on all the Dictators. Like the Standard models they replace, the new Dictators use a dual-radius sidecut, so they all tuck into a turn, even the 115mm Dictator 4.0.

We dwell on the Dictators because we believe it’s where most of our readers should be looking in the Faction line. Faction gets light right: the Dictators’ combo of quicks and stability is second to none. These are square-tail, cambered, metal-laminate- powered, point-em-downhill skis with the obligatory taper at the tip to signal their off-trail intentions. If you’ve never tried a Faction, pick your favorite width potentate from the Dictator series. From the Putin-thin (85mm) 1.0 to the Idi Amin-wide 4.0, they all rule