2013 Armada Norwalk Ski Review

 

Ski: 2013 Armada Norwalk

Size: 179cm

Flex: Moderate (same as JJ)

Rocker: Tip Only/Camber Underfoot

Dimensions: 125-140-115-131mm

Turn Radius: 19m @ 179cm

The Armada Norwalk is a brand new ski for Armada in 2013 and we feel this is going to be a huge hit with those of you that are looking for a big mountain ski. If you enjoyed the Armada JJ Skis, but wanted a ski with more energy out of the tail the new Armada Norwalk is the ski for you! With tip rocker only and a traditional tail the Norwalk skis had incredible stability at higher speeds, something that you lose on the JJ because of the non traditional tail. Overall this was an excellent choice for big mountain skis, it was not as versatile as the Line Opus, however if you want a hard charger and enjoy the way Armada Skis ski then this should be a top pick for you. It plowed through chopped up snow and it had not issues at all going through tight trees or bumped up snow. It is one of the best new skis Armada has created. If you want more of a Powder Hound ski then check out the new Armada Magic J or Bubba.

36 thoughts on “2013 Armada Norwalk Ski Review”

  1. Hi Adam,

    It’s been quite a while. The season – which was good in the Alps – is over and it’s time to think about next season’s gear. I am stoked that you had a chance to ski the Norwalk as there is still very little information available. Actually you are the first reviewer as far as my research goes.

    I am keen to learn more about the Norwalk (189 length though) due to the following: I have skied the Armada TST (183 length) quite a few times towards the end of the season. It is a light, nimble, snappy and quite stable ski with good edge hold that excells in steps, tight spots, moguls and is a good tool for boot-packing and touring. However, I find that it is not really a big mountain ski as it is sometimes marketed as.

    1. In the 183 length you do not have much ski in front of you.

    2. I did not find it provided for the best landing platform and sometimes felt a bit off-balance (again probably due to the fact that there is not much ski in the front and also due to the relatively narrow waist with 102mm).

    Did you experience similar behaviour with the Norwalk or does the Norwalk’s wider platform eliminate the above issues?

    In the 189 length (real length probably 186cm, as both, the TST and JJ measure about 2-3cm short) there would also be “more ski” in the front, so in theory the Norwalk as the TST’s big brother should better fit into the big mountain segment.

    Finally, what would you estimate is the weight of the Norwalk in the 189? The TST in the 183 cm length weighs about 1950 grams per ski, i.e. 3,9 kg for the pair. The JJs in the 185 weigh about 4,2 kg for the pair. Would 4,3 to 4,4 kg be realistic? You state that the Norwalk has a similar flex as the JJ, so there should be no metal in the ski or anything else that adds weight.

    Thank’s in advance for your thoughts and enjoy the summer!

  2. Hi!

    There are certainly not many of these skis out there and I only wish i had a chance to ski the 189cm length as that is more style in this style of ski, especially because they measure short. I found the same things you did with the TST and that is why in that ski I would have bought the 192cm length. My friend who has that ski is just loving it as his everyday go fast ski and he is a big guy. I would not consider any ski in that 102mm range a big mountain ski… has to be at least 110 to 120 or so…. I would consider it a great All Mountain and maybe even a one ski quiver ski

    There certainly needed to be more ski in front of you for more stable landings, the Norwalk answers that with the 189cm and altogether more surface area for more forgiving landings. The ski will do everything the TST will do, but it is more big mountain oriented because of the width and more traditional tail unlike the JJ. You can always mount a cm or so back too.

    It has the same flex as the TST and JJ. This was a great ski and if you are looking for light and big mountain there are not many choices that are going to be better that is for sure. I expect the weight to be right in that 4.2 to 4.3 range as there is less of a tail than the JJ so the 189cm should weigh about what the 185cm JJ does, maybe a little more because of length. Still very light for the amount of ski. There is no metal in the ski and has the same construction and everything as the TST does.

    It’s 85 today but hopefully it will drop back down for the weekend :)!!! Hope you are enjoying until it is yet again time for another season!

    Adam

  3. Hi Adam,

    Thank you for the prompt response. I got the TST as a bootpacking/touring and steep ski only (e.g. for narrow couloirs in the Alps or Dolomites; therefore I picked the 183 length.

    For a one ski quiver I would have picked the 192. However, I think the current line sir Francis Bacon is the much more versatile one ski quiver. The only terrain where the TST outperforms the SFB is in steeps according to my opinion. In such conditions I prefer a ski with less sidecut in the tail and no tail rocker. Everywhere else the SFB is on tie (bumps, trees, crud, groomers) or better (better landing platform, better float, more buttery, yet with the same stability and edge hold as the TST), plus it offers the additional freestyle capacities.

    I may have the chance to demo the Norwalk in the 189 length in November for the season opening demo days on the glaciers. I’ll keep you updated and please leave a comment, should you have any further information on the ski. I would also be interested what your thoughts are how the Norwalk skis compared to the Salomon Rocker 2 115 in the 188 and the 2013 line influence 115 in the 186 or 192 length.

  4. That makes sense as to why you would go with the 183cm I would have done the same thing.

    I have to agrees with everything that you say about the SFB it does not get much better than that for a one ski quiver ski, it truly is a fun ski in just about every situation.

    Certainly let me know about the Norwalk in the 189cm length as I really would like to hear what you have to say about that in the 189cm length! Rocker 2 115 is a blast but I enjoyed the 108 more from them, it was slightly more playful than the 115 was. Still a great ski and had incredible stability at speed and would be a perfect big mountain ski like the Influence 115 (2013). The newer Influence 115 Skis was a blast for speed and doing more straighlining runs and dropping cliffs. It was lighter than the 2012 model and certainly made more for Big Mountain than a All Mountain/Freeride Skis like the 2012 version. Not all that versatil of a ski, but a blast in steeep and deep snow! You can plow through anything with as much speed as you want. Not a ski that wants to be going slow it wants to be charging hard.

  5. I’m a North Island New Zealand skier so usually ski hardpack, ice, spring snow and “marine pow” (which might be akin to Sierra cement?)
    I’m coming up to Breckenridge for a few weeks in January and I am going to order skis to use around there then bring home.
    Here I already have Fischer Superior for hardpack, Salomon Enduro and Volkl Grizzly for all- mt, and I have a pair of 183 cm TST’s with Baron’s for soft snow.
    I am 180 lbs 5’10 56 year old hard charging fit and love to ski offpiste but not into big air thanks.
    I’ll bring my TST’s and maybe the Enduros but are they neccessary?
    I was thinking of buying something a bit out there like Icelantic Shaman’s 173 cm but then I saw the Norwalk….I love the TST’s but sometimes they lack stability in our heavy snow…I suspect the Norwalk would be more stable? Would they be stable enough to go 179cm which would fit on airplanes better…to be used in heavy snow back here and no big drop-offs? Or should I stick to the funky shamans? If the Norwalks…where to mount them? I would love some advice…Thanks Clive

  6. Hi Clive,
    Great questions! First I think the TST will be fine. They ski all conditions very well and Enduro’s are great for firm snow but the TST can easily be used on firm snow conditions, and hopefully the snow is so soft you wont have to worry about it.

    If you want something that is wider than the TST but has that same Armada feel then go with the Norwalk, if you want something stiffer that will plow and surf through the snow then go with the Shaman as those will certainly plow through the heavist of snow. Norwalk has the same stiffness as the TST but it is wider so it will be easier to float in the heavy stuff. You could do the 179cm length in the Norwalk if you decided to go with that…

    As for Norwalks I would say if you like how your TST’s are mounted stick with the Armada suggested mounting point.

  7. Wow thanks for the quick response Adam. I also emailed Armada reply as follows : We recommend mounting the Norwalk on the marked mid-sole line on the ski.(In the neighborhood of -7.5cm back) This will give you the best performance from your Norwalk’s. Have great winter on those bad boys!
    It’s dumping here at present heading for the Mts tonight and I have the opportunity to try a mates Shamans, will ski them back to back with my TST’s then with this new data maybe make a decision.At present leaning towards Norwalk probably beacause of how good the TST is. Any thoughts on the Baron’s stand height of 35mm affecting stability? In deeper snow I get a bit of wavering under high g forces if my weight is fractionally out.
    You comment above…The (Norwalk) will do everything the TST will do…this makes me think that I could replace my TST with the Norwalk and have a versatile ski which is better in deeper snow…is this reasonable thinking especially in the 179 Norwalk?
    Thanx Clive

  8. I think the Norwalk is going to make the most sense for you!!You can easily turn the Norwalk into your One Ski Quiver TST ski. I like to ski my skis longer for my own personal stle but you can easily do the 179cm if that is what you want to do.

  9. Hi Clive,

    If I may throw in my 2 cents. Go with the 189 Norwalk. Although not having skied it as of now I also own 183 TSTs and the 189 Norwalk is one of the top skis on my list. Hence, I would like you to consider the following:

    - Firstly, the norwalk will measure about 2cm short.

    - Secondly, up to 190cm airlines charge the same. It only matters beyond that length and all skiroller bags (Armada DaKine, Icetools, ect.) that I could think of will fit the 189 Norwalk. It gets critical beyond 190 cm real length. And even in the 189 length, the Norwalk will roughly weigh 4,2 to 4,3 kg. That is still damn light for such ski.

    - Thirdly, the TST in the 183 skies short. I am 175 cm, 84-85 kg and got the TST in the 183, because I wanted it as a couloir and touring ski. For a daily driver I would have gone 191. I find that with the elf shoe tip rocker you do not have much ski in front of you.

    If you own 183 TSTs already, the Norwalk IMO only makes sense in a 189.

    If you want something more substantial than the TST that floats better, yet you are concerned about going too long, then may I throw in the following:

    1. 2013 line influence 115 in a 186 (real length 182,5).

    2. New 2013 Scott Punisher in a 183 (quite stiff, nice rocker profile, very light, 108mm under foot).

    3. Moment Jaguar Shark in the 182 length (tip rocker, kicktail, 116mm under foot – closest to the Norwalk among all the skies I mention here). Also very light (4,35 kg in the 182 length).

    4. Moment Bibby Pro in the 184 length.

    Don’t waste your money on the short length. Armada is dead easy to ski. The norwalk will not be too different from the 185 JJ, despite the camber through the tail. that is what everybody says that has skied the prototypes in the spring. All the shop reps I know even say, they wish Armada would come with a 195 cm length on this. 189 will be dialed. Otherwise look elsewhere…

  10. Hi Adam,

    thanks for the review,

    I am i guess an 8/9 skier looking to purchase Norwalks as they seem to be a great all rounder but with better pow ability, my question is, what bindings would you suggest for them? i’m a tall bloke so going for the 192s and more focussed on the mountain than the park, would you suggest a middle mounting or something different?

    thanks

  11. I would suggest going off the suggest mounted mark for the ski as that is where it will ski best for you. As for bindings you will want something that is burly so something like the STH 12 or the Marker Jester would be great choices for you. If you are going to do any touring then go with the Salomon Guardian or the Marker Duke Binding.

  12. Another one to look at that is the same idea as the Norwalk would be the Moment Governor. Would love to hear if anyone has tried both and can comment on the comparison.

  13. Hi Chris,
    Grea call on that. Yes the Governor or Bibby SPecial Pro Model both have the same idea, however, with the Moment it is built for more big mountain skiers. It has a more powerful tail and will be better for bigger heavier skiers over the Norwalk. That being said you have to be aggressive all day on the Moment as where the Armada you can spend all day on it with out it wearing you out.

  14. Interesting take on the Governor, Adam. You’re right that it’s supposed to be their burliest big mountain ski. I guess I thought the Norwalk was targeting the same type of skier. I’ve been using Bent Chetlers every single day for the past season and love them but thinking of getting something beefier for the bigger lines at Squaw on non-powder days…hence the Governor or Norwalk. I probably don’t NEED either ski because the Bents are great so if i do grab a pair, it had better be the right ones! Tough call!

  15. The Armada is going to ski a little more like the Bentchetler in flex as it is made in the same factory. The Moment is an awesome ski just depends on what you want. The Bent is an excellent everyday ski and the only thing it doesn’t like is straightlining and that is where the Armada and Moment are going to do better, but other than that you have a great one ski quiver ski IMO.

  16. I think you’re right, Adam and thanks for sharing your opinion. Sounds like it’s best to see how it goes with the Bents on the bigger lines and if the it gets to squirelly at speed on the big straight-lines add the Moment down the road (even though I’m not all that big at 5’10 175-80). Probably doesn’t make much sense to add the Armada given how similar it is to the Bents…very good point that I hadn’t thought of. Although there’s something to be said about getting the Armada because it’s the coolest graphic I’ve ever seen on a ski! Just hang it on the wall and stare at it…

    Thanks again Adam…if you or anyone else have views/opinions/thoughts I’m all ears and will be sure to chime in if I get out and demo either the Norwalk or Gorvernor.

  17. what size tst for me> i’m 168cm tall (5’6″) yet weigh a chunky 190…trying to get down to 170ish….want true 50/50 ski for pnw skiing: good float but also wicked edge hold on harder pack days too…mid stiff

  18. Would love to get out to Squaw!! You are right about not much of a need to add that ski to your quiver. It is though an awesome graphic so that of course makes it tough :). It really comes down to more of how aggressive you are than how big you are. If you come home and ever go to Saddleback just look for some dreads and big skis!

  19. Thought I’d chirp in here and add my thoughts to the Norwalks as I’ve recently just bought a pair of 189′s whilst out in Verbier a few weeks back. Conditions were amazing, fresh snow every day and a lot of it! I’d been eying up the Line SFB’s, Armada TST’s and also the Whitedot Preachers before I went out there and got to try out both the TST’s and Bacons before trying oyt the Norwalks, but after a conversation with an off piste guide in a bar who raved about them I thought I better check them out. I actually demo’d the shorter 179 for a day but like everyone has said on here, this ski lends itself to the 189. I’ll say now, I enjoy charging down down things like a maniac and finding things to jump off as that what puts a big smile on my face and after a day on these, my god I was grinning! The confidence they give you is incredible, they like to be skiid hard and fast and the more you do it the more confidence they give you that whatever you put in their way they will handle with ease. Tree lines (better on the 179s for obvious reasons but still great fun on the 189s), steeps, deeps and if you care for it – these carve and hold an edge bloody well too. Yes the Bacons were probably more versitile and really can’t fault them but the extra stability in the tail, confidence at speed and better powder performance given the extra 7mil underfoot was noticable, especially in the deeper stuff. I’ve mounted mine with Jesters on the factory line which I believe (dont quote me on this) is -7 from centre and for me, worked perfectly. The icing on the cake is as you’ve also already said – they look shit hot too!

  20. Hey guys! Thanks for your great insights on the Norwalk. I´m considering to use these as my daily driver, but I´m not sure if they would be ideal for me.
    I´m an advanced offpiste-skier and I would describe my style as “go big and fast or go home”. I really like the more demanding technical lines so I´m not sure if the Norwalk would be suitable althoug Armada brands them as their “big-mountain gun you could run any countest on…”

    I´m 6 ft 2 in at around 180 lbs – since they share the same flex-pattern as the ak jj I´m not really convinced
    that they would be stiff enough given my weight and preferred skiing-style.
    The second thing is that the longest Norwalk measures in at 189 cm ( maybe a 185 real measure) so they aren´t that long (compared to let´s say the AK JJ in 195cm)

    What do you guys think? Any comments and experiences appreciated!

    best regards

  21. Thanks James, excellent review of the Norwalk and so glad that you enjoyed them and there is nothing better than that huge grin on your face when you have a ski that does everything you want it to do!

  22. If you go big and fast with some technical mixed in the you would really love the Norwalk, if you are more Technical and like to make more turns then go with the AK JJ as it turns much quicker. The Norwalk is better for landing off big drops and for straight up speed lines. As for length they do measure about 189cm but like the AKJJ they ski shorter because of the 4 dimmension design of the ski.

  23. I have skied the Norwalks for 4 days. On the plus side, I found them to be very fun and stable at high speeds and quick and nimble in the trees. However, in deep snow and in very steep conditions I felt like the tips were catching or grabbing near the exit of the turn. Has anyone noticed that?

  24. What about compared to the Armada Magic J? Anyone ski thoses? Or the Lib Tech fully functional 5? I’ve tried the TST in 183cm, loved them, but want something wider. Have Rossi CX80 for east/groomers.

  25. Great review and comments. I’m looking for a new telemark ski and would appreciate any feedback. I’ve been telemarking for 3 years and spend 60% in the bumps, 30% in open bowls, 10% on the steeps. I’m 6-2 and 175lbs. One ski quiver kind of guy.

    My old K2 PistePipes 170 are comically too short, narrow, and flexy for me (they were hand-me downs). I demo’d an Icelantic Nomad RKR 181, which felt pretty good. However, the weight (4.75lbs per ski) concerned me. Also, I don’t think the tail rocker is for me, as sometimes with tele’ing you end up a little back, and the tail rocker made it so hard to recover in these situations. Turning radius felt too wide as well.

    So I settled on the TST 183–very light weight, directional tail, and I also like this 5 pt design for quicker turns in the moguls. Only problem is the TST 183 appears to be sold out EVERYWHERE.

    So I’m looking at the Norwalk 179. Still 0.25lb lighter per ski than the Nomad RKR, with directional tail and 5 pt design. The extra 10mm underfoot (Norwalk at 115 vs Nomad at 105) doesn’t really concern me. However, I thought the Nomad’s shovel of 140 was pretty darn wide for moguls, and the Norwalk also is at 140 (but I think the Norwalk will be slightly better in this regard due to the 5 pt design).

    Any thoughts here? Am I crazy for considering the Norwalk for primarily tele bumps? Thanks in advance.

  26. Thanks for all the info. I think the overall design of the TST will be more versatile for you especially in the bumps than the Norwalk will be. The Norwalk is more of a big mountain ski where the TST is a little more playful and versatile going everywhere on the mountain. The Norwalk would do alright but I dont think it is going to turn as quickly as you want it to in the bumps.

  27. Great, thanks for the feedback, adam. Yeah, I think the Norwalk would work, but it’s probably not the most ideal. I found a new pair for less $400 so I’m wondering if I should just scoop them up and maybe evolve to a two-ski quiver if these just don’t work out.

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