At first glance, the D3 ARC looks like every other D3 you have ever seen. The shape of the tip and the contour of the top of the ski are clearly recognizable and indistinguishable from last years D3 or the D3 from 5 years ago.
Yet if you take a closer look, you will find a ski unlike any D3 before. The first obvious difference is the width. The widest point on 67” ARC is almost 00.10” wider than the same point on a 67” D3 Quest. A more thorough examination will expose a smaller tunnel radius than any previous D3, which results in a deeper concave.
What you can not see by visual examination is that the ARC is a simplified design. The ski was designed without multi-stage rockers or bevels. It was designed from scratch without bits and pieces of hydrodynamic trickery. The design is elegant, and in my opinion, it is the best ski D3 has ever built.
Skiers who are overly aggressive will fit this ski as well as skiers who depend on finesse. The skier with the best technique will almost always be the skier with the highest score, but the ARC will forgive more mistakes than expected.
Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
Most high end skis on the market today deliver a great off side turn. To rave about a ski’s off side turn has become almost cliche. In the case of the ARC, there are two attributes of the off side turn that are worth mentioning:
The first key attribute is that the ski is very forgiving to less than perfect technique. If you push hard over your front foot, the ski turns hard and fast. If you are in the middle of the ski, it turns almost as well, and if you are a bit on your back foot, the ski still turns good enough. Patient and impatient skiers will both find success.
The second key attribute is that it is easy for the skier to maintain a tight line and ride the ski back to the inside with a lot of speed and very little drama.
Heel Side (On Side) Turn
On Side turns are similar to the off side turns but are more technically critical. The ski will perform smooth, high speed on side turns provided the skier remembers three key points:
1) keep your head up and shoulders level 2) apply at least moderate front foot pressure 3) initiate the finish with your lower body. This may sound like a lot to think about, but the ski’s inherent stability makes this these three points relatively easy to execute.
From Ball to Second Wake
Modern ski technique emphasizes calmer skiing, and some of the top skis on the market require skiers to constrain their aggression. The ARC is one ski that will tolerate “Hammer Down” skiing better than most.
From Second Wake to Ball
Historically, D3 skis are known to be more stable than fast and require a lot of skier strength and handle control technique to create a path wide of the ball. The ARC is a legitimately fast ski that makes space in front of the ball without perfect technique. The ski draws a path that feels more early than wide.
The ski's stability means that the path to the ball is very calm and low drama. Errors made at the wakes are easily corrected approaching the ball.
The most important thing about this ski
If your goal is to round more balls for a higher score, the way a ski performs on easy passes is not nearly as important as how it performs when you are at your limit. There are plenty of skis on the market that feel awesome until your hardest pass, and then they are unforgiving. The ARC is one of the few skis that does not punish the skier when they approach their limit.
The stated goal of BallOfSpray ski reviews is to describe the ski more than judge it. This goal is achieved at varying degrees for each ski reviewed. In the case of the 2016 D3 ARC, I have to say that it is one of the very best skis that I have ever ridden.
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