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Yet another Volkl T50 Supersport 5-Star review (long)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ski: Volkl T50 Supersport ***** (5-star), 168cm
Binding: Look P10? (turntable with about 10mm lift)
Days Skied: 3
Me: Tall, about 175#, III+
Conditions: Pow, crud, moguls, groomed, ice

I bought this ski almost by accident (long story), looking for a quick hard-snow ski to complement my fat freeride sticks. It does so admirably and I am quite pleased, though it's still strange to look down and see so little ski under my feet. The last time I skied a 170 I was 12.

Also I have huge feet; the typical 63mm waisted slalom ski would require huge lifters for my feet not to deck out, and I don't like high lift. So it was between this and the Sceneo FT500. The aforementioned long story caused me to get a great deal from the local shop, and there you go.

Let's start with the bad: 168cm + 68mm waist + deep snow = ecch. It's actually not terrible in pow due to the fat tip, but once you get into heavy chop you feel like you're trying to balance on marbles. They sink in and get knocked around. But this is what you have fat skis for, right?

Once the snow sets up into big cruddy bumps, the fun begins. There are two schools of thought here: the "get stiff skis and bash GS turns straight through" school, and the "dance through and around" school which the T50 attends. The T50 is very agile, and though it is stiff enough to muscle through heaps of heavy snow, it's not so stiff that you can't ski bumps. Plus you're on a 168.

The real fun begins on groomers. Somehow Volkl has made a ski that can skid at the tail when you need to slow down or miss a bump, but also carves like a pair of ice skates. Shin pressure creates tight slalom carves, staying centered or back creates longer GS carves. Scary speeds quickly ensue.

And then there's the trampoline-like rebound. Finish a turn with proper shin pressure and BOING! I can get air between carves. It turns boring blue square groomers into a game...I win when I can stay balanced enough to link turns without being thrown into the backseat, or when I can carve hard enough to drag my hand.

Despite the fact that you have to push it hard to wake it up, it's a reasonably forgiving ski. If you dork around slowly it stays asleep instead of getting cranky and catching edges. And if you get in the backseat it doesn't throw you off the side, it just makes a wide turn instead of a tight one. Slowing down after getting thrown in the backseat is another matter, but that's a physics problem, not the ski's.

One caveat: don't look down when you're straight-running quickly. They wander all over the place and you swear you're going to catch a tip and crash. Actually I never have, but it sure looks scary to see these tiny little things wandering around and bumping into each other. Usually on the flat I make big carves, just because I can.

I am happy with the 168 length: any shorter and I wouldn't feel stable at speed, any longer and I'd lose agility. But it depends on the turn shape you like to make. 182s would make great GS carvers, 152s would basically be slalom sticks but wider underfoot.

I credit this ski for making hard snow days fun again for me. Who would have thought? Keep your edges sharp and lay 'em over.
post #2 of 6
that's a review there, daddy! cowboy up!

post #3 of 6
Rather than add a new thread on a piece of kit thats already well discussed, heres my two hellers worth on the 5stars.

I just skied my new pair for the first time (yes I bought without demoing, so shoot me) on Saturday. I am 6ft 190pounds, strong skier, who has to ski groomed at home, but spends a lot of time off piste in the Alps and bought the 168 length. It was actually to a large extent the reviews here on epic that swayed my decision towards these, as I originally wanted a mid-fat to complement my volkl gs skis. So thanks all you guys and galls, especially appreciated the reviews by Bec and spatters.

I am thanking you, because these are really exciting skis, and I would never have had the guts to go as short as 168 without the size discussions on epic. I dont think my P40s will get much action this season, the 5 stars do everything as well or better. The one area where I was surprised was their pow performance - everyone has said that this is their weakest spot - well I dont have mid-fat experience, but I seemed to float right on top in 15" of fresh, when I couldnt resist the temptation to sneak out of bounds. Cant wait to see how they handle in deeper stuff in March in Espace Killy.

post #4 of 6

I am a long-time Volkl fan, so I'm glad to hear you're happy with your new 5 Stars. But mostly, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your review.


Edited because I mistakenly said P50's rather than 5 Stars. :

[ February 12, 2003, 03:31 PM: Message edited by: Inspector Gadget ]
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the compliments, everybody. I've put several more days on my 5-Stars: here's an update.

Some people contend that skis with large sidecuts are not suitable for extreme steeps. (By "steeps" I mean "racing my turn debris down the hill and sometimes losing".) I can report that Barry Barry and other chutes at Snowbird are not a problem -- there is steeper lift-served terrain but you'll have to look hard for it.

As long as there is actual snow the 5-Stars dig right in, and since they are so short and light, hopping around in tight chutes is a breeze -- especially when they contain hardpack and moguls in which bigger, heavier skis do not want to come around.

You sure don't want to straightline, though, because extreme speed gets really hairy. These skis want to turn -- 15 meters @ 168cm to be exact -- so you can't really turn less than that. And with sufficient speed, 15m can feel *very* small.

The trouble is that it's so damnably easy to get that speed when your 5-Stars are making perfect carves. I find myself checking speed all the time on blue squares simply because I can't make a turn large enough to stay on top of my skis. These are not the skis you want for the Chinese Downhill!

The more I ski it, the more I realize that this type of ski is a great complement to a big, burly pair of freeride sticks. A good wide ride is a sledgehammer, for bashing crud and arcing big GS turns; the 5-Star is a scalpel, for precision work in steep chutes, moguls, and on hardpack. Which tool you choose depends on the conditions, and how you like to ski.


I would like to note that people should pay close attention to the weight given by reviewers. PhysicsMan noted in the XP100 thread that he loved those skis to death, whereas I found them too much for me. He has about 50-60 pounds on me, and he describes the experience of skiing XP100s much like I describe my 5-Stars. I believe this is because the XP100 is substantially stiffer than the 5-Star, and the stiffness matches his weight.

So when a 13-year-old shredder tells you Pocket Rockets are the best but you weigh 225#, you should be skeptical. And when that same 225# guy says that the Volkl G4 is the best ski ever made, the 135# women should be skeptical.
post #6 of 6

Tom / PM
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