Pros: A strong frontside carver with versatility for softer snow conditions.
Cons: Too stiff to be fun in refrozen crud or death cookies. Tails catchy and stiff in trees and hard bumps.
Length Tested: 168
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 128-85-111
Camber: Traditional with switchable tip rocker
Mount point: Suggested (boot center)
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Michigan
Number of Runs: Lots and lots (primary recreational carver for 2 seasons)
Snow Conditions: All except powder
Demo or Own: Own
Height/Weight: 5'5" 190+
Ski Days/Season: 50-60
Years Skiing: 28
Experience: Lapsed PSIA L2 instructor (8 Years), NASTAR and up to 2x weekly league Gold/Platinum racer
Aggressiveness: Moderate(Finesse) but love speed and cruddy snow conditons
Current Quiver: Volkl P60 WC SL 155, Racetiger WC GS 180, Six Star 168, Karma 177, Aura 177, Kiku 176, Katana 176, Shiro 173, Kuro 175, Hart Lady Twin 176, Hybrid 8.0 168
Home Area: Crystal Mountain and Caberfae Peaks, MI
Preferred Terrain: groomers, soft bumps, off-piste, trees
The Hybrid 8.0 in the appropriate length is a competent hard snow carver with enough width and versatility to be fun in most front side conditions.
In full camber mode, the tips are quick to hook up and pull you into the turn while the semi-flat tail is compliant in both holding well for extended turns and releasing for scarves when required. The Hybrid craves speed and high edge angles but doesn't get balky or fussy at slower speeds or in skidded turns. Only once in 2 years have I found a speed limit, even at my weight on the 168 cm size. The 8.0 is wide enough that medium and longer turns are its fortes, but it can be fairly easily coaxed into surprisingly short and snappy turns. I love the rebound moderation of these skis.....where my 6 Stars and race skis feel twitchy and often launch me into the next turn so hard I end up a bit off balance, these are capable of doing that if pressed, but they generally have a more easy-going nature to their turn finish. I have skied these in every conceivable Midwest front side condition except powder (I have Kikus, Shiros, and Kuros for that), and have found their biggest weakness to be their stiffness when in really hard/icy conditions that haven't been groomed well. Chicken heads and death cookies will rattle your teeth right out of your head on these babies. Correspondingly, their stiffness and semi-flat tails tend to hang up in tight trees and hard bumps.
I was skeptical about the whole tip-rocker-switch-thingy and had real reservations about the function and durability of entire mechanism. Instead, I've found that the switch does, indeed, change the character of the ski - subtly but noticeably, and the mechanism has held up perfectly for 2 seasons. In the tip rocker mode, the tips are slower to engage but the ride in chunky, bumpy, or cut-up conditions is much smoother as the tips ride up and over the irregularities rather than just plowing through. As my first encounter with any type of rocker, it took me several runs (actually several after-work sessions) to find the slightly more forward pressure point that the tip rocker configuration required for optimal performance. On a 60 degree day with boot-to-knee-deep and variable corn/slush/mashed potato bump conditions last spring, these skis - in tip rocker mode - hung with other, much wider skis, handling all of it with absolute ease and confidence. I was beyond impressed!
As a Volkl girl, I was completely surprised to find I really liked these skis! While they don't have that mystical Volkl "pop", I found their slightly calmer and completely predictable nature really encouraged me to open up and let them fly. They have become my preferred front side carvers, completely replacing my 6 Stars and Karmas, and eliminating my stealing of hubby's 165 SLs . I totally recommend the Hybrid 8.0 for strong skiers with decent carving skills and the weight and power to really flex them.