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Volant skis. A bit of a history lesson. - Page 4

post #91 of 114

The deed is done, and it really was easy.

 

I guess I don't know what I expected drilling through the cap. From what the shop said, I expected it to be like trying to drill tool steel- nope. A fresh bit went through like butter in a matter of seconds- much faster than I expected and so fast I almost let it go too deep.

 

It makes me wonder how dull their bits are.

 

They all seemed to take the tap cleanly and bit the screws well with a little epoxy in each hole for good measure. Mounted, adjusted and tuned, now I just need the right day to ski them!

post #92 of 114

Ah, good.   No fuss, no muss, eh.

post #93 of 114

I'm glad to have found this thread.

 

While visiting family in Colorado (in either 2001 or 2002), I skied at Vail one day and needed rental skis. I made a point to ask for recommendations on a high quality pair of demo skis. It had been a few years since I had skied so I kind of missed the advent of "parabolic" skis. The demo guy at Vail very highly recommended a pair of Volants. I was skeptical. Surely, the ski reps had gotten to this guy.

 

Then I skied on them, and they were so incredibly smooth!

 

In the following years, I forgot the brand and categorized them as Volkls in my mind. However, I could never find any Volkl models made of stainless steel so I was never really sure.

 

Now I know. Thanks!

post #94 of 114
Thread Starter 

Originally Posted by quant2325 
 

If the odds of breaking were 80%-90% there would have been major lawsuits about the ski from a simple remount regardless of warranty, yet that has never happened in the USA or Europe (where the ski is still being made).

_____

 

Why on earth would there be a lawsuit due to a product being modified in a way that was not intended? It was not like this was hidden. Shop techs were trained just as they were with any binding mount process. As stated in my previous post, it was clearly stated in the manual that was shrink wrapped to the ski, as it voided the warranty. You are correct – there were no lawsuits over this. We only had one lawsuit in our entire history – some bone head ignored a slow skiing area and literally jumped off of a bump and into a lift line. The guy who got hit/hurt said the skis were like knives. He lost that suit.

 

Remounting was always a concern. We would never include a remounted ski in our demo sales at the end of the season, and having one in the truck made you nervous if you put it out on the snow on demo. I loved the product (I still do and will continue to ski them until my remaining quiver is dead) and want you to as well. I have absolutely no reason to lie to you about this – just telling you how it is.

 

Drilling:

There are (were) three different Volant drill bits – the early bits (before the skis had the binding platforms) were both hardened and shorter. These bits came in two different sizes. One was primarily used for the FX-1 and FW-1 – they were the thinnest skis, especially in short lengths. Techs were trained to grind off the last two threads on the mounting screws as to not dimple the bases (very very common – in the FX series skis). When the binding platforms were installed, the bits went to a normal length. If you drilled them at a slow speed, you could get a ton of holes out of a bit. Drilling slow was crucial – you could delam a section of the top sheet if you got things too hot. As well, the binding platforms were soft enough that the collar stop on the bit could dig in to it and cause depth issues with the bit (dimpled bases again – but only on short skis).

 

There was a feel to it – once the bit started to cut, you could almost punch them through the top sheet. In a bind you could absolutely use a regular non volant bit – but you again have to drill slow and use a cutting oil. You will trash the bit quickly.

 

The Volant tap was a blunt tip/short depth tap. Using a regular off the shelf hardware store tap, you again have a high risk of dimpling the base.

 

Once you got comfortable with the process, you could drill and tap using a power drill for both processes. We used to assembly line demo skis for the vans/hummers in the fall – one guy drilling, one guy tapping, one guy shooting screws – all using power drills. Cordless was fine – that was all we had both at the factory and in the trucks (Dewalt).

 

 

I usually agree with finding another shop if you are having issues – but it has been decades since these skis were in the shops -  cant fault them for not knowing or having the bits.

 

Ugh… now I feel old.

Sorry for the long post.

post #95 of 114

On the skis with the plastic binding platforms, did that change the dynamics WRT difficulty of drilling and/or integrity of the ski?

 

This thread almost scared me away from attempting to drill these skis, and when I did, I found that it wasn't really harder than any normal topsheet, with the exception of:

 

1. A few extra seconds to drill each hole

2. A dull drill bit by the end of the process.

 

I was expecting such difficulty that I almost punched a hole all the way through the ski when drilling the first hole- I was giving the drill a good amount of downward pressure, and it cut through the topsheet about 10x faster than I expected. I feel more lucky than anything else that there was still wood in the bottom of that hole.

 

The last few holes were a bit balkier, but still on the easy side as far as drilling metal goes.

 

I would think having the plastic on top of the metal would also help keep the topsheet from tearing, but I don't know.

 

I expect to take my new-to-me t3's out this weekend. At best, they will only see a handful of days each year, and I doubt I will ever ski them enough to break them.

post #96 of 114

Ok, so I got a chance to ski these Blinged-out gold T3 Powers yesterday.

 

Conditions were pretty nasty. The snow was very polished and very thin- too thin to groom any more without scraping through the coverage, so the surface was very firm and very lumpy, even on purportedly groomed slopes.  Bumps were in better shape with more predictable surfaces and less sharks teeth.

 

These are exactly the conditions that made me think a good damp ski would be helpful, as this is typically more or less opening day conditions at Wolf- they open SKETCH as early as they can (It just usually isn't sketch into December).

 

I liked the skis quite a bit.  Obviously I expected a DAMP ski, and they definitely are.  Zero chatter, and they soaked up a lot of the potholes saving a lot of leg fatigue.  I could drive harder over stuff that I usually approach more gingerly.

 

What I didn't expect is that the skis felt nimble- that was a real surprise. The ski was easy to drive with confidence.

 

However, edge hold on these skis is abysmal.  I was washing the edges out in mid-turn when they should have been really dug in. They got skittish in anything really firm.

 

I doubt this is an inherent problem to the ski, but rather the edge tune. I put a 2* side angle on them by using a swix hand tool, but I noted that the edges were fairly chewed up before I started, and the final result was not satisfying.  I think I am going to have a machine tune done on these.  I don't normally spend that kind of money on a rock ski, but I think I like these skis enough to make the investment.

 

 

So- can somebody confirm that these skis should have pretty good edge hold?

 

What are the preferred base/side edge angles on this ski?

post #97 of 114


I don't recall that model ever having great edge hold (certainly no Stockli), but nothing terrible. I can't remember the tune.

post #98 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 


I don't recall that model ever having great edge hold (certainly no Stockli), but nothing terrible. I can't remember the tune.

 

Well, in their current state, edge hold was worse than my 105 waist Obsethed (probably machine tuned last about 4 years ago), and my 118 waist Bluehouse Maestros (2 years old on factory tune).

 

So, I'm not looking for amazing, but they have a really low bar to clear and they failed to clear it.

post #99 of 114

I can't say what the |t-powers are, but my Machettes are 1-1 from the factory.  I put a 1 base 2 side on them when they were new, but it did touch the sidewall a bit, so I will have to put a 1 degree side on 'em.   Ice skis they are not.  They are torsionally very rigid though, so if there is some hard snow to dig into they will hold. 

post #100 of 114

I was watching McConkey on Netflix last night and saw this about 36 minutes in, so did a screen grab - seems appropriate to post here.  ;-)

 

 

This too ( again ;-).

 

 


Edited by jc-ski - 12/5/14 at 10:08am
post #101 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 


Maybe you could trade him for them.  You probably have a Huckster or something laying about somewhere?

 

I will never have a quiver without my Hucksters. Gold Vapor T3 Powers (I'd actually like the 190s to tell the truth) would be swell, but I don't have skis I want to cull from the herd.

 

To tell the truth, my addiction to acquisition has fallen away from me even as did smoking cigarettes, and downing a six pack a night.

 

Anyway, when I want to ski something skinny, I click into my 200cm Superkarve Legends, they are true rocket rails. You would love them Ghost, they like to go very fast.

post #102 of 114

One of my best days ever as a kid was on a pair of Chubbs.  Huge storm cycle, one of the biggest in history at Bachelor, a Tuesday, bluebird after 7 feet fell in the prior 5 days.  And completely deserted on the hill, fresh tracks every run, all day long.

 

You don't see that anymore.  Back then, skiers didn't go off-piste.  I had no ideal how good I had it!  Never thought it would be getting tracked up in an hour, 20 years later.   

post #103 of 114

One thing I did not see in this thread. Bob Noyce - inventor of the chip and cofounder of Intel (and alum of Grinnell College and MIT) was one of the folks who provided initial financing for Volant. He was an avid skier who spent a ton of time in Aspen. Apparently he was talked into trying some Volant protos or early run skis and immediately fell in love. IIRC Silicon Valley legends Mike Markkula and Art Rock were involved as well (and I think one may have led the round). 

post #104 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

 

What are the preferred base/side edge angles on this ski?

Stock tune is a 1/1 on all American made Volants.

post #105 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

The deed is done, and it really was easy.

 

I guess I don't know what I expected drilling through the cap. From what the shop said, I expected it to be like trying to drill tool steel- nope. A fresh bit went through like butter in a matter of seconds- much faster than I expected and so fast I almost let it go too deep.

 

It makes me wonder how dull their bits are.

 

They all seemed to take the tap cleanly and bit the screws well with a little epoxy in each hole for good measure. Mounted, adjusted and tuned, now I just need the right day to ski them!

 

LOL, my bit is terribly dull  (I just remounted my son's Chubbs).  I used to have a friend who sharpened bits and saw blades, and he'd touch it up after every couple pairs, but he sold the business and moved. I'd wager if you used that bit on a second pair, you would feel a very noticeable difference.

 

In the absence of a fresh brill bit, I use a sharp roofing screw, and a hammer to punch a small pilot hole, it gives the bit something to grab on.

post #106 of 114

post #107 of 114

fascinating thread!  love the history even more so as my spouses first pair of skies were/are Volant Vertex Supercarve with Salomon 711 bindings. Just ran down to basement to check em out, still in nice condition. Picked em up after she demo'ed a pair, were were newbies (well, I was) but very first pair either of us owned. I know they were popular as I suggested she try em out based on multiple reviews .. but smart enough that they skied several different skis and loved the Volants simply as most stated, crud busters that made her feel comfy on new slopes.

 

Still have the Made in USA stickers on em ..

post #108 of 114

PSA

 

 

Rare Volant Machete Skis Stainless Steel 178cm w/bindings - $60 (san jose north)

 

Very rare high end Volant Machete McG skis with Salomon S810 bindings and poles for sale!

For over two decades Volant has produced skis with the finest materials available to serve the high end ski market. Each of these skis were crafted by hand in the USA and took almost 5hrs to produce each. Featuring a durable and high performing stainless steel top, Volant skis have been beautiful to look at as well as a dream to ski on.

These skis are designed for all mountain skiing and was designed by pro skier Shane McConkey. These retailed for $700 new! For more info on Volant, check out http://www.volantski.com/

I've had these skis for some years now, but as I'm an avid snowboarder, I don't use the skis anymore and it's time to offer them to a better home.

The skis are about 178cm tall and come with high end Salomon bindings. I also have a set of poles to go with the skis and I'll throw in a ski bag for carrying also.

This set is perfect for anybody - it's an affordable setup for somebody starting out, and it's a killer deal on super technology for more experienced skiers.

Available for pickup in San Jose during the weekdays.

 

Posted on CL 12/09/14

post #109 of 114

I took my Gold T3 Powers out yesterday. The verdict is that I really like this ski, and not just in a "good for a ski I picked up for $10 to abuse on rocks" sort of way.

 

Conditions were firm with a week of 40+* temps every day and a lot of snowmelt. Freezing fog on the mountain. I was expecting rock hard, but for some reason it wasn't that and almost everything was nicely edgeable.

 

I haven't had a pair of hard-snow skis I've even remotely liked since 2007 (Recons, and I fell out of love with those pretty quickly). I found a lot to like in these skis. They were damp without feeling dead, and drove over chewed up snow at warp speed without losing connection to the snow.  I could tell the dampness in the skis kept my legs fresh as I had to use my legs less to maintain balance.

 

They felt insanely quick going from edge to edge, but I bet any ski would feel that way considering my daily driver ski is 117 waist and these are what, 74?

 

Also, the skis glided really, really well with just a basic wax job over a some bases that haven't seen a stone grind in a few forevers.  Is this something Volant was known for, or I am just lucky that all the scratches add up to a decent base structure?

 

Now that I know I like the Volant feel, I'm going to really be keeping my eye out for a set of Chubbs.  I see them most years at the ski swap, but either being sold flat or with questionable bindings. Would also love a pair of Spats, but those won't be found cheap...


Edited by anachronism - 1/12/15 at 1:58pm
post #110 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

Now that I know I like the Volant feel, I'm going to really be keeping my eye out for a set of Chubbs.  I see them most years at the ski swap, but either being sold flat or with questionable bindings. Would also love a pair of Spats, but those won't be found cheap...

 

 

Sins.   You want an unpranged pair of Sins, trust me.     That's going to be just as hard as finding Spats tho.    Zebra- base Chubbs are nice but keep a separate eye out for  the 'slinky - sexy' Chubbs from the last Colorado production, that had a bit more sidecut to them.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

They felt insanely quick going from edge to edge, but I bet any ski would feel that way considering my daily driver ski is 117 waist and these are what, 74?

 

Here's another thing for you to try (nothing to do with waist size really) - take them out on a day when you're planning to fart around on greens/blues and take them through things like pivot slips and falling leafs.      They're ridiculously easy to do low-edge-angle moves on.    Makes you wonder why we needed reverse camber, really, when we could do all that already on skis with the appropriate flex.

IME the bases on the V2s have been noticeably faster than the older bases - so I think it's just someone your size on that pair in that snow consistency.     Not that that's a bad thing. 

post #111 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

Ok, so I got a chance to ski these Blinged-out gold T3 Powers yesterday.

 

Conditions were pretty nasty. The snow was very polished and very thin- too thin to groom any more without scraping through the coverage, so the surface was very firm and very lumpy, even on purportedly groomed slopes.  Bumps were in better shape with more predictable surfaces and less sharks teeth.

 

These are exactly the conditions that made me think a good damp ski would be helpful, as this is typically more or less opening day conditions at Wolf- they open SKETCH as early as they can (It just usually isn't sketch into December).

 

I liked the skis quite a bit.  Obviously I expected a DAMP ski, and they definitely are.  Zero chatter, and they soaked up a lot of the potholes saving a lot of leg fatigue.  I could drive harder over stuff that I usually approach more gingerly.

 

What I didn't expect is that the skis felt nimble- that was a real surprise. The ski was easy to drive with confidence.

 

However, edge hold on these skis is abysmal.  I was washing the edges out in mid-turn when they should have been really dug in. They got skittish in anything really firm.

 

I doubt this is an inherent problem to the ski, but rather the edge tune. I put a 2* side angle on them by using a swix hand tool, but I noted that the edges were fairly chewed up before I started, and the final result was not satisfying.  I think I am going to have a machine tune done on these.  I don't normally spend that kind of money on a rock ski, but I think I like these skis enough to make the investment.

 

 

So- can somebody confirm that these skis should have pretty good edge hold?

 

What are the preferred base/side edge angles on this ski?

 


Yeah, my T3's were the dampest ski ever.   And like you said, they allowed me to ski faster through rough snow, and my legs would last longer.

 

But their edge grip was average for that era, which is to say, poor by today's standards.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

post #112 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

 

 

Sins.   You want an unpranged pair of Sins, trust me.     That's going to be just as hard as finding Spats tho.    Zebra- base Chubbs are nice but keep a separate eye out for  the 'slinky - sexy' Chubbs from the last Colorado production, that had a bit more sidecut to them.

 

 

 

Here's another thing for you to try (nothing to do with waist size really) - take them out on a day when you're planning to fart around on greens/blues and take them through things like pivot slips and falling leafs.      They're ridiculously easy to do low-edge-angle moves on.    Makes you wonder why we needed reverse camber, really, when we could do all that already on skis with the appropriate flex.

IME the bases on the V2s have been noticeably faster than the older bases - so I think it's just someone your size on that pair in that snow consistency.     Not that that's a bad thing. 


Spats aren't that hard to come by.  Neither are Chubbs. 

 

The hard part when searching for Volants is to find a pair that aren't bent.  Or delammed.

 

Anybody holding some 193 Hucksters?  I will buy them from you.  I need them to add to my McConkey collection.

post #113 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caucasian Asian View Post
 


Spats aren't that hard to come by.  Neither are Chubbs.

 

The hard part when searching for Volants is to find a pair that aren't bent.  Or delammed.

 

Anybody holding some 193 Hucksters?  I will buy them from you.  I need them to add to my McConkey collection.

 

Yeah, I do see Spats, but usually for more than I want to pay for a ski that will pretty much be a novelty and wall ornament. I could really see a pair of Chubbs getting into the rotation, though.

post #114 of 114
Have any of you repaired the red sidewall cap layer?

I have a pair of Sins here with cracked-off red layer - the fiberglass is underneath. I am very tempted to cover the exposed fg with ABS-red of course.
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