From Dawgcatching's 2011 Ski Reviews: Mid-Fat skis, 80-100mm Waists, 11/28/10
Volkl AC50: I really don't know the details on this ski; if it has changed or not. Still 85mm underfoot, and pretty stiff.
These were tested over several days: conditions included lots of manmade snow, firm and rock-hard bumps, fast groomers, a few inches of new snow, steeps, icy chutes, some heavy new snow, and a fair amount of crud. Since I only got a couple of runs on these skis, for the most part, I didn't do the 1-10 scale for these skis.
5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line double-black bumps for the first time in my life by early spring. Probably ski 40-50 days per year. I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers. My skiing speed is fast to full-on. Overall fitness is high, as I am on my road bike 15+ hours a week 9 months of the year, and race pro-level races as a Cat1.
I skied this in 177cm, and it is quite a bit of ski in that length. This is one of the stiffer skis tested here, and laterally very stiff. I felt it had no speed limit, but was even a touch stiffer than the Blizzard Magnum 8.1, and perhaps stiffer than the 8.7, although in the longer length, it skis considerably longer as well. My previous test lengths were always 170cm. At any rate, this is a damp, hefty, weighty feeling ski on the snow. Although the dimensions are close to the Kendo (at least in terms of waist width), it is a very different ski. First off, whereas the Kendo is a GS ripper and lower-energy ski, the AC50, true to form, is every bit the “Western Carver”: a carver for people who need width to get off the groomed from time to time. It is stout, and a blast to ski on any groomer, and especially a soft snow groomer (over say a blue ice groomer, where you want a true race carver). There is tons of energy in this ski, although the longer length saps it of energy somewhat that the 170cm has. Bumps are a handful and a challenge. In crud, this ski again has a lot of heft, and a lot of stability, but not the suspension of the more crud-oriented Kendo. If I had to compare them in crud, I would give the Kendo a 9 and the AC50 a 6 or 7. On steeps, in tight spaces, I liked the AC50, although with such a stiff tail, it isn't terribly confidence-inspiring; one mistake and can be a bit punishing. This ski could use a bigger sweet spot for dicey conditions. That is what happens with all that horsepower under the hood. Overall, I would rate this as a warp-speed groomer ski, solid crud ski, and great model for those who have no use for slow skis. In comparison to the Blizzard 8.7, I felt the latter was just as demanding, but perhaps more manageable due to the shorter length, but that the 8.1 eclipsed this ski just a bit, as it had all of the groomer power, but just a smidge more versatility.
Pros: thrilling carver, extreme stability in the longer lengths
Cons: a big pushy in crud, not a great bump ski or true all-mountain weapon.