As many here probably know at this point, I have spent the bulk of my days this year on cheater slaloms. The past couple of weekends I used them in the bumps and have really enjoyed them, much more than my Head Rev 105. Yesterday, after a morning of skiing the slaloms, I decided to jump on the heads. Found some soft snow and they were great; much more sluggish than the slaloms, but plenty of fun. Then I hit some frozen crap. Mixture blue ice, frozen bumps, some areas with a bit of snow, basically a chunk of everything. Typical New England day. Not exactly fun, and getting the skis around quickly was cumbersome. I couldn't wait to get back onto my slaloms.
I really love my Revs but the slalom skis really ruined me. I have learned to love a skinny stiffer ski. My theory about an all around ski for bumps, snow, crud, soft groomers and trees was simple. Go longer, wider, turny and soft. Longer to help with float. Soft so it doesn't beat you up. Wider because it rides over things when the conditions are right and we get a snow. Turny so you can still lay it over and carve short turns.
I think my theory is quite flawed. I demoed the Volkl Kendo today. Narrower, layer of metal and 22.5 meter radius. All the things that in my mind should pound me in the bumps, wind packed snow and trees. Well, I was quite wrong. We had a couple inches of snowfall last night but it came with 30 mph winds. I hit one of our bump runs (Agony for you locals). Completely frozen hard bumps with wind packed snow in the troughs ranging from 2 to 18 inches :) I figured, great testing grounds, this should pound the shit out of me. Ski was a ball. So much easier to handle than the Rev, not even close.
Took it into the woods next. More frozen bumps with a coating of snow, trees to add to the challenge. I had a ball in there.
Went on some groomers. Well, no hero snow to try since it was blown down to the frozen layer. They held nicely. I am sure that they will feel like a wide gs ski on some hero snow.
Have a question for you gearheads. Why do I find a stiffer ski more fun in bumps, wind blown piles and woods? Does less side cut make the difference? I think I like the less width underfoot and at the shovel. I always had a 105mm ski for snowy days, but realize that powder has a thirty minute shelf life in New England. I can always find more powder/snow in the woods but am starting to think 89mm is plenty for that stuff. I think the Kendo is a bit heavier than the Rev (181cm), but it feels half the weight under my feet. What gives? They felt almost as nimble as the slalom skis. Soft skis should be easier. Starting to think soft skis twist too much, especially when they get wider.
The only thing I am on the fence about is the early rise/reverse camber at the tip of the Kendo. I had a pair of gotamas that had that tip and tail. Thing would flop around like wounded fish if you didn't have a bit of snow to dig into. You had to get it waaaaaay over for it to begin to grab on windblow groomers. Kendo has some camber and a flat tail, so it is probably all good.
I know this much, I know shit about skis.