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Volkl Kendo and Elan Apex, 177, reviews

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

These 2 skis were reviewed in detail earlier by Dawgcatching, and my impressions are about the same, with possibly a few new twists.


Me:  old, 5'7, 155 lbs, former instructor, aggressive, born and raised in Jamaica but not affiliated with the Bobsled  Team of yore, usually 70/30 skier at Tahoe

Previous skis owned and liked:  Head iM 78,177,  Bliz 8.7 Magnum, 174

Current skis:  08 Dynastar Legend Pro Rider, 177


Where:  Sugar Bowl/Tahoe, 1/12/11, blue bird day, no new snow in 9 days, hard wind-scoured AM snow, soft in the PM

How:  Skis were tuned to 1/2 and skied alternately on identical runs (14 runs total, 7 each)

Skis:  '11 Volkl Kendo, 177, 127-88-109mms, turn rad. 21.9m, Solly STH 14s

           '11 Elan Apex, 177, 128-88-198mms, turn rad. 21m, Solly STH 14s


Kendo:   Started on hard, wind-scoured groomers, and this ski was scary in places with no snow cover.  The Kendo is rather soft in the tip, stiff in the mid-section, and with a stiffish tail...The front hooks up close to the mid-section, so tip pressure doesn't work well on hardpack, as there is a delay until the middle engages...Skiers with racing backgrounds may not like this delay...I didn't..The Kendo rewards a centered stance but is still not exciting on groomers, and acts almost like a ski with an early-rise tip.

A different story on soft snow where it's a blast....stable, easy, no speed limit, very forgiving, and can be feathered/slarved in crud unlike its big brother, the Mantra.  It also feeds back some of the pingy/ceramic harshness of the Mantra on hard snow....Short turns and hard bumps are not in its agenda....It makes nice round med/long turns in anything soft at any speed, even slow, and is an excellent tool in difficult soft snow...I guess this would define an all-mountain ski, whatever that means.


Pros:  Stable, G-essy, competent soft snow performer with no speed limit there, forgiving, and fast.

Cons:  Not exciting on groomers, slow to hookup on hardpack, not good in short turns or hard bumps.


Apex:   Almost identical dimensions, and showed almost identical characteristics to the Kendo above. A little smoother than the Kendo.... a bulldozer in soft snow/crud, with no speed limit... loves to go fast, with a softer tail than the Kendo, and easier to slarve turns in mush...slightly better in bumps, but not its forte as well.


Pros/Cons:  As for the Kendo above, just a different "feel".


Observations:   I was looking for a groomer-oriented ski with some versatility to complement my "08 Dstar LPR (97mm waist) which has a stiffish, EVEN, flex, and which I like better than EITHER of the tested skis above. I will have to look for something narrower, and with a smaller turn radius....but as usual YMMV







post #2 of 5

 The tested lengths seem a little long for your height and weight. Did you try the shorter lengths as well?

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

The 176/177 length is what I normally use, also I prefer a longer length for stability and comfort. I previously tried the Head iM 78 in 171,  Bliz Magnum 8.7 in 167(?), Head iM 82 in 172 and was overturning all these shorter lengths, so I moved up 1 longer.


The 177 length felt right... the tunes were possibly ??

post #4 of 5

I'm just a touch bigger than you at 160 lbs, 5'9". Length is OK.

post #5 of 5

I demo'd the Kendo's in 177 cm today ( me 6', 190lbs) -- they didn't have any longer ones available.  I have almost no experience with modern skis, so take this with a grain of salt.


I did like them quite a bit as an 'all mountain ski'  --  a mid 30 degree day with a trace of new snow over consolidated hard pack (who says it doesn't rain in the West?).   As the widest ski I've donned, I was surprised at how well they held an edge on the north sloping hard pack groomed runs -- no problem keeping up with the GS team.  No real ice tested though.  I liked them quite a bit in a bit of corn, and slush, until it got really deep -- then I think the longer 191 cm might have been better for me -- in the slush I was overpowering the shovels -- but I tend to do that.


At higher speeds off piste I also felt the ceramic 'pinging' described above, especially with chunky frozen bits in the slush, and in rough terrain with complex fall lines they did bounce me around a lot -- I prefer a damper, heavier ski in order to carve over the tops of this junk (I can only say they felt flighty compared to my old 99 Volant machetes at 195 cm in this regard).  In smallish bumps and minimal crud I enjoyed the lightness -- they were more forgiving than my other skis (Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous Ca 178 cm), and much better at running over skier wash/slush/crud at fairly high speeds on groomers.


So in summary, I liked the kendo it as an 'all mountain ski' for moderate speeds off piste and higher speeds lazy GS turns on piste.



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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Volkl Kendo and Elan Apex, 177, reviews