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Mid-Fat Ski Review: Volkl G31

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ht: 5'10"
Wt: 200 lb
Skill Level: 7
Current Ski: Rossi Mountain Viper X 9.3, 191 cm, dimensions: 93/62/81
Binding: Marker M41SC
Boots: Salomon Xscream
Where I ski: Western Washington

I just demoed some 188 cm Volkl G31's. I think this review might be more meaningful after I demo other skis, but here goes it:

As I posted in the Ski Gear General Discussion, I like my Vipers when the snow is groomed and firm, but under most normal PNW conditions (some variety of heavy and wet) the don't seem to the optimum skis for me. Thus I will be demoing some all-mountain skis (starting with G31's, next weekend Bandit XX's, after that TBD)

In short, the G31's were great - I didn't want to return them. They were much superior in Saturday's conditions to my Mountain Vipers.

Saturday's Conditions:
It seemed to get colder throughout the day and was a combination of wet spring like snow in some places and very choppy cut-up frozen snow in others.

I haven't skied on alot of different skis, (Volkl Presto (later renamed Snow Ranger Lights) -> Volkl Carver Pluses ->Mountain Viper 9.3's), so it's a little difficult to write a good quantatative review. Thus I will basically compare the G31's to my Vipers.

1. It seemed to easier to initiate turns (espically short radius) with the G31's.
2. The G31's seemed to power right through any crud, and not get knocked around like the Vipers would have.
3. Where the snow was soft, the G31's floated much better.
4. The G31's felt a little heavier - this might have been due to the rental bindings.
5. The G31's seemed more forgiving for the conditions of the day.
6. Of the few different types of skis I have used, the G31's remind me of "grown up" Presto's. I.e., easy to turn and good floating plus muscular enough to plow through rough/tough snow and more sidecut (however, since the Presto's were my 1st year beginning ski, I don't know how valid the comparison is)

Based on these observations, I think I could either keep the Vipers for skiing groomers and the G31's for everything else - or use the G31's for my single quiver all-mountain ski.

If anyone has any questions, I will be glad to clarify/elaborate on any comments, and will add another review after I ski the Bandit XX's (184cm) this coming Saturday.

My wife loves her XX's and assures me that they will be the ski for me (even better than the G31's - we will see).

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[This message has been edited by alan (edited March 12, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
I think you might be right, the G31 will be a hard act to follow.

I have one question though. Some of the sources that I have seen refer to the G31 as an experts ski. And the Bandit XX as more of an intermediate/advanced skiers ski. Thus, I wonder if (although I loved the G31 compared to my Mountain Vipers) the Bandit XX might prove to be more appropriate for a Level 7 kind of guy?

I guess I really had 2 questions: A couple people that I ski with switched from Series to XX's this year. I'm really not sure why, other than they just liked them more. Do you know why someone would find the XX's better - or easier to ski?

Alan<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by alan (edited March 12, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by alan (edited March 12, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 12
I think many of us feel we have to sell our old skis to justify a new purchase. Bottom line is you won't get much for your 9.3s, I mean not what they are worth to you. If you like 'em, keep 'em, and enjoy your new boards.
post #4 of 12
$450 if you have a good deal... i wish the shop i usually hang out at sold volkls and atomics. my energyrails cost 650 with bindigns at the beginning of the year (expensive beause the shop had to special order volkl skis and didnt get them for as cheaply as they get, say, rossi)... minus 150 for the rossi race bindings and 100 for eneryrail... nevermind... 450 isnt that great a deal

in any case... try the Dynastar Powertracs. Floats more easily and has more life and stability and just about anything than an XX, and qestionably more versatile than a G31. granted, i have not skied the g31's, but i have volkl's GS race ski this year and it's a great ski. i can imagine how the g31's ski knowing how my F1's feel, and it feels a lot like the magazine reviews said it did
Gonz, what about 10.20's? i've never tried any atomic ski, but i will ASAP
anyway back to the powertracs... as Matter once said, they dont feel quite as refined as other midfats. they dont have a silky feel carving... but that does not mean that they dont carve. if you can drive the shovel of a ski they can rip great tight arcs. the reason they are not as automatic as other skis is because of what the company calls high taper geometry. the tail is a narrow 92 mm, while the tip is 107 and the middle is 70.i believe the g31 is 105-69-97, and most other midfats are a similar. the xx is 107-74-9?... the wider tail locks you into a carve more and makes carving automatic, but it also reduces the ski's versatility if you want to skid turns, for, say, bumps or trees. I will say it once more: these skis can carve! trust me on this one... they can hold an edge on groomers as well as a GS race ski from 3 yrs ago and rip bumps like no other midfat, at least that i've tried, and snap around short turns with amazing energy... god i love these skis. i have them wrapped in 3 towels to go to jackson tomorrow... 5 ski straps on them, LOL... in any case, gonz, i hope to hear a response from my questions if i check this in the morning, but if not, i'll certainly read any responses when i get back the 23rd... that is if this ice storm moving in tomorrow doesnt cancel my flight. arrgh! in any case, cya in 10 days!

It's not bragging if it's true - Mohammed Ali

There are two reasons for everything, the good reason and the real reason
-J. Pierpont Morgan

If life was easy everyone would be successful.
post #5 of 12

I owned the Bandit XX for about a season and a half. They were great in the crud and powder, which is where I ued them the most. On the groomers, they were ok, but not outstanding. I sold my 191 XX's this season and bought a pair of G30's (last year's G31). In my opinion, they are a bit more demanding than the XX, but much more thrilling. They are one of the ultimate all-mtn. boards. I must agree that the Scream Series and G31 are hard to beat. I would throw the Mod X Pro into that bunch, too. However, it does feel like a lot less ski than the G31. Of course, it comes down to personal preference and so forth. I love the G30's because they handle like a race stick, yet are just wide enough for some back-country stuff. Gonzo is right. Most likely all others will seem like a let down.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I think I am a true Level 7 (I confirmed this with another instructor that I ski with).

How do I turn? I find it a little difficult to characterize my own turn mechanics - its so much easier to examine others technique. This is my fifth year skiing, and I have only skied on straight skis once (my first day on skis). Thus I am fortunate to have missed the old-school, straight ski technique.

Ok, how do I turn/ski? Well, I will give it a shot:

1) I am trying to carve earlier in my turns, and skid less.

2) I am working on earlier, more dynamic cg/weight transfer.

3) My favorite terrain has been groomed, but I have given up on expecting to find much groomed (or at least recently groomed) terrain on our local slopes. I want to be able to ski the entire mountain. It seems almost everyone I ski with, skis the ungroomed (sometimes it feels that I have to learn to ski it too, or remove myself from the gene pool through natural selection or not ski with them)

4)My favorite turn shape has been long radius, but there is never enough room to actually ski long radius turns. Also, everyone I ski with, skis short radius turns. As I build more milage with short radius turns, they are becoming more appealing. I think, if they could float and power through crud, T-power Cobras and Vipers would be very cool skis.

5) Things that I have had to work on, but I think are getting better:
a. Keeping my body more quiet (i.e., more countered)
b. Staying forward
c. Although, I understand that we should ski in a little more wide stance than in the "old days", I have been skiing with too wide of a stance. This got a lot better after I had an alignment analysis, new footbeds and shims under one of my bindings. Now that I'm properly aligned, I don't feel that I have to ski in an "aproned" (sp?) stance inorder to engage/dis-engage my edges. This is one thing that makes demoing skis a little challenging. I noticed when I was on the G31's my stance got wider and I had some difficulty engaging/dis-engaging. I am sure that this alignment problem contributed to my old body steering problem that I have had to fight from time to time. Also, an early instructor told me to keep my skis shoulder width apart, when I think hip width would have been more appropriate. As I have narrowed my stance, it seems to be MUCH easier to cross over/under.

As a side note: this (my alignment) was a problem that was not diagnosed properly by the Level 3 guys I clinic (and ski) with. They could tell me to not use my body (and steer more - pivot slips, pivot slips, pivot slips, ...) all day long, but if I couldn't get on and off my edges correctly, I just couldn't do it. Oh well, it sounds like a topic for the technique section.

I hope this response hasn't been too long winded.

post #7 of 12
Gonz, i wont be going to college, at this rate! i have 1 class that, since it's english+US history, counts as a double grade. the teachers, however, arent particularly fond of students who attempt to prove the most difficult thesis at any given time and interpret the literature in a different way than they do. the class essentially is a 'let's read stories from throughout US history and then analyze them in the way the teachers want you to', and we are taking the AP US History exam in a few weeks. it's my lowst grade by 15 pts, and it counts as double... yeeeeeeha....

in any case, Jackson was fun, but not my style of skiing... too much tree skiing, not enough bowls and wide open areas. i had some good times but it wasnt my favorite mountain. sadly enough, with all the snow whiteface got (they have a 120 inch base), it would probably have been the year to stay at home. This was the lowest snow year many of the locals i skied with had ever seen. i can't wait for summer!

It's not bragging if it's true - Mohammed Ali

There are two reasons for everything, the good reason and the real reason
-J. Pierpont Morgan

If life was easy everyone would be successful.
post #8 of 12

You mentioned that you like long turns, but you also give the impression that you are having trouble with short turns and nasty conditions. Have you considered a shorter length? The G31 in 188cm is a lot of ski for all but very advanced and expert skiers.

Consider something around 180cm and do not worry about float and stability at speed. A good mid-fat (like the G31 or X-Scream or Mod X) will give both even in shorter lengths.
post #9 of 12
I've chimed on this type of thread before and I would like to do so again. Several weeks ago I spent a week in Utah at PCMR and DV. The snow ranged from ice to corn and all-out slush complete with drippy mashed taters. I took my G30's and had a blast. This only made like the 5th time or so I've skied them ever since I have Nother pair of skis ("99-00 Rossi Mtn Viper X's 10.2). The G30's demand mor than the rossi's but you get paid back in spades!! First of all, it's like having two ski instructors attached to your boots. Second, if you want to rip, hold on, they'll do it all day. I usually don't like to ski moguls but I took "em in and they did fine (I'm not a zipper line skier) but if you worked them and knew shich edges you were on at all time they did just fine. They even coaxed me to get air intermittently lauching off of more widely spaced bumps skipping one or two at a jump. If you wanted to run straight and flat--just sit back a tad to launch them and stay on the edges and you have all you can handle. The changing conditions I mentioned above were no problem for the skis: ice (even translucent boiler plate) was adhered to with great tenacity; corn was like a dream; and mashed potatos no problem at all--it was even fun due to the floatability of the skis. If you can get them (G30's or 31's) go for it--they are getting hard to find. I hear next year's replacement is the G3 (maybe softer). Hope there isn't too much change--I think they have a great thing going. I'm out
post #10 of 12
Alan, Make sure to try the K2 Axis, and Axis X. I spent very little time on the G31 and XX, But from my experience I prefer the K2's. Everyone skis differently so what works for me might not work for you. But you have to give them a shot. My Mod X Pro's leave trenches on the groomed. But that is not the best thing about them.
Besides living in the PNW it is always good to ride a homegrown product.......
post #11 of 12
Anybody know where these can still be found? I need a 188cm. I wasn't in a hurry until I demoed the G3 Motion a couple weeks ago and found out the G31 is discontinued.
post #12 of 12
Have you looked at www.comorsports.com?
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