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RTM 81 Length?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi I am looking very hard at RTM 81s.  I ski mostly (98%) frontside on Blacks and Blues.  I like to ski aggressively and fast on groomed trails in big sweeping arcs.  I consider myself an Advanced/Intermediate.  I am still perfecting my turns and I am working on short radius turns and the pole plant, as well as skiing better in cut up crud and those afternoon piles of junk.


I am on a set of Volkl Codes that are awesome but demand constant attention.  I also use them on NASTAR. I ski those at 177.

What size would you recommend in the RTM 81's? I was thinking 171 0r 176.




  1. Where in the world are you skiing? East Coast NH

  2. What kinds of terrain do you prefer (groomed runs, moguls, race course, park'n'pipe, trees, steeps, backcountry/sidecountry) 98% Groomed Black and Blues

  3. How many days a year do you ski? 22 - 26 Days

  4. How advanced are you as a skier? Intermediate/Advanced

  5. What's your height and weight?  5' 10" 210







Edited by OldGlory - 2/21/14 at 2:46pm
post #2 of 14

Have you skied the RTM81 and if so what length?

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I demoed them in 171 today but the conditions were very bad.  Raining on top of 3 inches of slushy snow.  Fog and rain made it impossible to see so not a great test.  I managed to make a few turns and could feel how surfy they could be.


I generally ski on 177s but wanted a bit more nimble turning ability to help me make short quick turns.  Thus dropping down to 171.  However I worry about losing grip and edge with the full rockered shape and no camber.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well I tested both lengths today.  Conditions were refrozen cord from the rain yesterday.  Hardpack and death cookies.  These skis chattered badly in those conditions and I skidded out of the turns often and I was bounced around pretty good.


Once the snow softened up they were super fun.  I liked the 171 better.  They could handle the crud and I could change turn shapes easily. I had a blast on them.  Still not sure about them since they were so bad on the hard stuff.



Any other skis I should look at?  Want to keep them under 88 carve on Hard pack and mash the crud.



post #5 of 14

Well, you discovered the downside of a camberless ski with tip and tail rocker.  When I skied the RTM84 it was at Snow Basin and while the snow was fairly hard, by western standards, it certainly wasn't ice.  I was seriously impressed by it  and thought it was a pretty fun ski, but certainly not for everyone.


While it is 90mm I think you should demo the Nordic Steadfast.  It has terrific edge grip and carves very well.  It's a fairly lightweight ski since there only had metal where the bindings are mounted.  The early rise tip is just enough to make it a great ski in the trees and it's also pretty good in the bumps.  I ski it all over the mountain at Red Lodge and Bridger and it hasn't let me down in three seasons as my daily driver.  I'm about 5'8", 150 pounds and ski the 170 and it's quite nimble.  I think you will be better off with the 178.  If you really insist on not going wider than 88mm, see if you can find the Elan Amphibio 88XTi to demo, same lengths as the Steadfast.  If I didn't already have a 90mm ski that I love, the Elan would be my choice for an 88-90mm ski.  Another possibility is the Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT.  This is one of the most fun skis I've ever been on.  It is not a ski for anyone except advanced or expert skiers because you have to pay attention all the time and your skill level needs to be up there, or it will treat you badly.  But, if you have the skiing chops for it you will be rewarded with a fabulous ride.  It has no speed limit, carves like a race ski, is very quick and with it's very small amount of early rise can easily handle several inches of powder.  I spent most of two days on a pair of 176s at Bridger Bowl last year and really enjoyed them and even skied them in the trees where they performed really well.

post #6 of 14

Hi Old Glory:


I have been skiing and teaching on the Volkl RTM 81's all season and have probably 30 plus days on them.  I work at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire, a steep, fast, and often Icy mountain,  I've skiied them in pretty much all conditions, so I think I can offer you some educated feedback. 


What mtcyclist says about this ski being camberless is not accurate, and it skis more like a cambered ski than not. (The 84 is fully rockered though).  I know it says Full Rocker on the ski, but that is a misnomer.  The early rise tip rocker makes turn initiation a dream and this ski will do short turns beautifully.  And medium, and long.  There is tail rocker, but it is slight, and the tail is stiff, so it will spank you if you get back.  It is not camberless or reverse camber.  My RTM 81's do have positive camber.  I can see it.   Moreover, the steel layer stiffens up the middle of the ski considerably. 


So if I am on Avalanche, the steepest run at Cannon, on an icy morning the edges will hold.  And not chatter unless the operator gets behind the skis and the tips start to wander.  Trust me, if you are skiing it right, the edges will glue to the snow.  The faster you ski, the bigger it smiles.


The ski is somewhat forgiving, but it rewards precision.  It is a ski that asks you to stay forward to give its best, and it wants you to lead the turn with your upper body.  To get its best, you will have to learn to ski it, BUT it will make you a better skier. 


If you were out on this ski on Death Cookies and you were skidding, then you were behind your skis.  That's understandable in those kinds of conditions.  Who amongst us has not gone off their game in certain conditions?


I teach, so that means I spend a fair amount of time skiing slowly.  It does that well. 


It may or may not be the right ski for you, I don't know.  But it is a great ski.  It is the best ski I have ever owned.  I've stepped up my game since I have been on them.


I'm 5'11" and 170 lbs, and 65 years.  I'm on the 171's and happy.  I think Volkl would recommend the 176's because of your weight.  Still your call. 


Since you are in NH, what hill do you most frequent?



post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi thanks for the replies. Surf dog I think you nailed it. That is a big flaw in my skiing. I tend to lower my center of gravity when conditions are tough...which causes me to get back on the ski. I could feel the inside ski catch when my weight was not forward and pressuring my outside ski. I am working on it. The skis were wicked fun when it got soft and I never skied mushed up snow as well as I did on them. I widened my stance and it was even better.

Conditions were very challenging for me but I loved the ski when things got better. My daughter is in rattle snakes at Cranmore so I ski there regularly. Before that we skied Sunday River.
post #8 of 14

That lowered center of gravity limits your range of motion and your ability to move effectively.  Usually the ass drops back and you lose shin to tongue contact. If you are catching your inside edge you may be leaning into the hill with too much of your weight on the inside ski and not enough on the outside.  Hence the chatter. 


Cranmore is a fun little hill, and I like their expert run down the middle of the mountain.


If it is within your budget, I would encourage you to take a private lesson there with an upper level instructor.  I think you would benefit from it and not regret the expenditure.



post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Cranmore is fun but gets small when you ski it for a week...:)     I took a lesson there Thursday and we worked on pole plant and it totally screwed me up.  I felt like I was skiing worse after the lesson...and it was with an instructor I used in the past.  Will take another with a different instructor I think.  I just could not get the pole plant down.  I would lose rhythm and end up planting on the wrong side. 


Very frustrating.

post #10 of 14

For whatever reason, sometimes an instructor doesn't click.  But what we are doing with our hands is very important for our balance, as well as our movement into the new turns.  There are a lot of drills that can discipline your hand position, while your lower body learns to work with the new positions.  It can be part of your discipline to separate your upper and lower body more.


Don't expect to "get it" all in one lesson.  I've spent about 4 hours this season working on my own poling and hand positions with one of our senior staff. 


Keep working at it and it will creep into your skiing, to positive effect.  If you come up to Cannon, look me up



post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi - I picked up a set of 171s.  Took me a half a day to figure them out but once I did they were awesome.  I was looking for a ski that could carve and handle afternoon crud and spring mashed potatoes.  This ski does that for me.  I would not trust it on true ice but on hard snow it is fine.  Was ripping big fast GS turns top to bottom down Hurricane at Cranmore.  Skis are rock solid at speed.  No chatter no skidding.  Snow was groomed packed powder.  Last weekend we had Spring skiing on Saturday firm in the morning and soft mashed in the afternoon.  Skis were great.  


One thing I noticed is there is not a lot of rebound energy.  My Volkl Codes pop from turn to turn these skis are very smooth and stable.  Surfdog is that a fair assessment or do you think I am off the sweetspot or to far back?

post #12 of 14

There is perhaps less rebound energy than some Volkls I have had, like my old AC 4's.  The tails are on the stiff side, though, and will spank you if you get behind.  This is hardly a limp ski, though. You are heavier than I am by about 35 pounds, so your mileage may vary on the rebound energy.  You may want to go up in length.


As far as edge hold on ice, you should be able to use your weight to advantage.  For me this has been a very strong ski on ice.  I will repeat my remarks from post #4:  


So if I am on Avalanche, the steepest run at Cannon, on an icy morning the edges will hold.  And not chatter unless the operator gets behind the skis and the tips start to wander.  Trust me, if you are skiing it right, the edges will glue to the snow.  The faster you ski, the bigger it smiles.


The ski is somewhat forgiving, but it rewards precision.  It is a ski that asks you to stay forward to give its best, and it wants you to lead the turn with your upper body.  To get its best, you will have to learn to ski it, BUT it will make you a better skier."


I have skied Avalanche and the other steepest runs on the Front Five all season, on some extremely icy days, and it has never failed me.


What I love about this ski is the snow feel and the feedback it gives me.  It always tells me when my technique is faltering, and where along the length of the ski it is happening.  That is great for self-correcting. 


I think you will want to balance over the outside ski more. That will give you more grip, along with being more forward.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

All good feedback.  Sunday was so icy only the racers were really carving.  Guys like me were merely shaving the ice. 

post #14 of 14

Cannon got 2 feet from the storm last week.  More snow than anybody else in the state.  100% open, including Mittersill.  Still the best conditions of the season.  Plenty of terrain for your daughter too.  I would say spring skiing, but we have not had the spring part of it yet.  But when it gets here, it's going to be ridiculous.  Bode will be here on April 5 for the Bodefest race. 

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