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EpicSki › Ski Equipment and Resorts  › Ski Gear › Alpine Skis › All-Mountain Skis › 2014 Volkl RTM 81 Ski

2014 Volkl RTM 81 Ski


Pros: Fantastic edge hold on hardpack snow and ice. Keeps me above the powder on off piste trails. Manageable at slower speeds (slow cruise)

Cons: Feel like something is missing on the top end

These skis replaced my Volkl RTM 77 because they chattered too much at speed and become unstable.  For that the 81 is 'problem solved'  It is a fantastic all around ski, and is ski-able at any speed.  It has some forgiveness in it that allows you to cruise at slower speeds yet stiff enough to keep you comfortably stable racing down a single black diamond slopes.  My only caution which is why I dropped it 1/2 of a star is if you decide to race down a double black diamond, the few times I did that (even on the harder single blacks race as fast as I could push them), I felt I reached the top-end of the performance of the ski.  I was stable but it felt more like hitting your delimiter in your automobile.


Pros: Great all mountain performance, Extremely versatile, Adds a new "surfy" element to skiing, Very Stable at High Speeds.

Cons: For those looking for a ski that'll hold a hard carve on the steepest hills on the iciest conditions, there's probably a better choice out there.

The All New 2014 Volkl RTM 81


This past Spring, I was lucky enough to get the chance to ski next year’s 2014 Volkl RTM 81 skis. I have to say, they really hit the nail on the head with this one! Volkl designed the RTM 81 to expand the RTM series, and bridge the gap between the RTM 80 and the RTM 84. At first this might seem like an unimportant void to have filled, but with just a few tweaks, Volkl managed to turn the RTM 81 into one of my favorite skis.

Let’s start with a breakdown of the basics. The sidecut on these skis is about what you’d expect for a frontside carver: 126/81/108. This puts the radius of the 176 cm length at 18.6m. So what you’re looking at is a solid, mid range radius that’s going to give you the ability to set a carve pretty easily at most speeds. This ski uses Volkl’s XTD Sensor Woodcore, which is the highest end wood core available from Volkl. It uses the most wood in its construction, providing a smooth and precise flex.

2014 Volkl RTM 81 Specs

The big story with this ski though is the way that it combines its rocker profile with vertical sidewalls and a layer of steel to create a totally unique feel. In case you haven’t noticed, Rocker design is here to stay, thanks to its ability to make skis both easier to use, and more versatile throughout a variety of conditions. For these reasons, Volkl gave the 2014 RTM 81 their “Full Rocker” design, which includes a bit of early rise in the tip and tail of the ski. Underfoot, Volkl did away with Camber, giving these skis a smooth, “surfy” feel.

Ultimately, this is what sets the ski apart. Critiques of zero camber skis might suggest that this “surfy” feel leads to a lack of control on firmer conditions. What they would be forgetting in this instance, is that the Volkl RTM 81 includes both a Dual XTD Transmission Sidewall, as well as a layer of steel. The combination of these two features make the RTM 81 incredibly stable, no matter what your speed is or what the conditions are like. They also add to the unique feel of this ski, as there are few, if any, skis that offer this level of performance without camber underfoot. This is the first frontside ski that I can think of that’s given me that sort-of new “surfy” style, with complete stability.

2014 Volkl RTM 81 Rocker Profile

In case you’re a bit confused by what “surfy” style might mean, let me explain for you. For the past decade or so, skiers have been focused on mastering their carves. In short, this means getting your skis on edge and letting the sidecut do the work. What this approach lacked though, was the element of being able to stop on a dime, or slip into different transitions and elements. This sort-of sideslip motion is greatly aided by the lack of camber in the RTM 81. Don’t get me wrong, the RTM 81 can still rip hard carves like the best of them, but it can also handle this new “surfy” approach to skiing.

So why exactly would you want your skis to have this new “surfy” feel to them? Well the most obvious reason is because it adds variety to what you can do on skis. Not only can you lay hard carves down the face of a black diamond run, but you can also have just as much fun slashing and sliding through the snow on green circle and blue square runs. Want to check out a bit of light snow off to the side of the trail? Not a problem, the Full Rocker and zero camber well let you float on over and spray some snow while you’re at it. See a mogul field mid way down the run? Why not lay down a few hard carves, and then let your skis surf the transitions of the moguls?

2014 Volkl RTM 81, Ride the Mountain

This versatility is exactly why the 2014 Volkl RTM 81 is my new favorite ski. I’ve never been on a ski that can handle high speeds, firm conditions, light powder, and moguls all at once. Simply put, these skis are extremely versatile, and feel at home no matter where you take them. A lot of times a ski with a width of 81 mm, vertical sidewalls, and a layer of metal only really feels at home when you’re going Mach 10. Otherwise, a ski like this typically has a hard time getting on edge and really powering through carves.

For me, I really enjoyed the Full Rocker profile that Volkl put on the RTM 81. I admit that I was skeptical at first, but that quickly turned to enthusiasm as I learned to embrace this new style of skiing. It’s almost like I was suddenly able to bring certain attributes from my powder runs onto the firmer groomed runs, without losing my ability to lay down the classic hard carve. Really, I can’t say enough about the Volkl RTM 81. I know that there will be some traditionalists out there who will strongly disagree with the rocker/camber profile of this ski, but in my opinion it is a very positive change. If you’re the type of skier who loves laying down hard carves, but might be getting a little bored of the same old, same old, then I would definitely give the Volkl RTM 81 skis a shot. They’ll add variety to your runs, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t!

Posted by Mike Aidala on 7/23/13

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2014 Volkl RTM 81 Ski

Building on the success of the RTM Series is the new RTM 81, an additional high performance option for advanced to expert skiers who want to rip up the front side on a lively, playful ski. Our Dual XTD Transmission Sidewall construction combines with spring steel for a solid, stable light weight ride.

Lengths161, 166, 171, 176, 181
Turn Radius17.4M @ 171
Constructionfull rocker
Core MaterialExtended Sensor Wood Core, Steel
Binding SystemiPT Wideride 12.0D
Binding IncludedYes
Recommended BindingiPT Wideride 12.0D
Recommended useGroomed
Binding TypeSystem
Recommended LevelAdvanced
Model Year2014
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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