This posting is a summary of my experiences on both skis if you are considering purchasing them.
About me: 5'10" (176cm actually), 185 lbs, ski style: 50% recreational/50% aggressive
Location: Eastern - Mid-Atlantic & North East.
Most likely snow conditions: hard packed snow, crud, and ice
Volkl RTM 77 (2014 in size 171cm)
- Excellent recreational ski, has great edging, easy to initiate turns. Volkl rates this ski as an "advanced" ski, however I would reclassify it as Intermediate/advanced intermediate. Reason: this ski does not like to be skied hard (fast). It will handle single black diamonds with ease as long as you don't push it, what I refer to as 'the need for speed'. If you do push this ski with speed, the ski chatter (vibrations) become excessive making you feel unstable. Other than that, it handled the groomed slopes in their worst conditions (ice and crud) like 'master of its domain' and short powder trials on a whim no problem. This ski really helped me perfect my carving and is a solid all-around recreational (viewing the scenery) ski.
Volkl RTM 81 (2015 in size 171cm)
- The major flaw with the RTM 77 does not exist in the RTM 81.... this ski wants to be driven hard. The harder (faster) I pushed it, the more response I received from the 81. The 81 waist made it a little more difficult to initiate turns and any human errors on my part were exemplified, but once I was acclimated to it's style which is very similar to the 77 (just a little more effort), it was 'put the peddle to the floor and spin the tires' type of performance. This ski was very responsive in cruising and high speed, but you really feel the investment in what this ski has to offer the pilot the harder you push it. It enabled me to ski single and double black diamond slopes with greater confidence (even in full ice conditions) then when I tried the same slopes in the RTM 77, largely because I was able to ski faster with greater stability. The 77 has great edging but the 81 took it to an entirely new level with none of the vibrations.
Common notes on both the RTM 77 and 81
- These skis are full-rocker (reversed camber) therefore they are effective only on there edges. If you try and ski them on the flat bottoms, I felt some instability especially at fast downhill speeds. There are 2 ways to compensate: 1) buy these skis longer, but then expect longer turning radius; 2) always ski these skies on edges even on flat straight aways.
- If you don't prefer this type of skiing style (always skiing on your edges), then the current RTM rocker line (77, 89, 81, & 84) are not the ski for you, and would recommend considering rocker/camber type of ski profiles (RTM 73 & 75, but these are more beginner skies) that place more effective edges and ski base in the snow when skiing on flat bottoms especially on groomed slopes.