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2007 Volk AC3 Review

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just took up skiing after almost 20 years absence. I spent the season demoing and ended up liking the Volkl supersports and the Unlimited AC 3's the best. Demoing gets expensive, so I decided to get the AC 3's since they would be more versatile than the supersports.
The 2007 model had just arrived; I took a chance and bought them since they looked like a compromise between the supersports and the Unlimited.
I went to Kirkwood in Tahoe to try them out. Since it is towards the end of the season I figured I'd make the most out of it and I made it a 3 day trip. During the 3 days I got to experience fresh snow, hard pack, ice, iced over powder, and slush. The base temperature ranged from 26º to 57º Although I'm quite the novice here's my review for what it's worth:

Fresh snow:
I arrived monday and got to try them out on some fresh deep ungroomed snow. Unfortunately I got there a bit late so I had to venture away from the "normal runs" to find virgin snow. I ended up traversing as the terrain was a bit steep for my comfort. They did float nicely on top, didn't sink through at all, but I felt a little out of my element, I decided to head over to the groomers.
Groomers: I felt like a was riding a rocket ship. The feel of the ski was very similar to the feel of the supersport, like a coiled spring. I loved every minute of it and much too soon the lifts closed for the day. . .
Ice: Tue morning; I was there first in line anxious to try them out on the first run. It had been a cold night following a sunny afternoon so there was Ice probably even by eastcoast standards to be had. No problem with these ski's; The edges bit in beautifully, and I felt in complete controll, as the day progressed the snow softened gradually.
Hardpack The ski's performed like a dream on the hard pack, never in my life have I gone so fast and had so much fun. This is where the ski's really shined in my opinion; my confidence grew, I felt bold, I ventured off the groomers and in between the trees, no problem with my new allies. Next I ventured off to try the ungroomed snow again.
Iced over powder The fresh snow naturally had a thin hard layer on top which kicked my ass. I had a really hard time turning, and it felt like the ski's wanted to take off from under me as soon as I started initiating a turn. I spent about an hour eating snow before giving up.
Slush: Wednesday, Day started off cold and then progressively got warmer. I tried the race course which was pretty chewed up. Not quite moguls, but not a groomed run by any stretch of the imagination. I had a blast kicking off the small bumps and enjoyed the spring in the ski's as I was bouncing around. Soon the snow started to get really soft, and it began to feel like I was skiing on mud. I had to lean back on my heels, It was now 50º and rising, it became increasingly harder to ski, everytime I leaned forward it felt like I hit patches of sand. -Weird. . . At 1500 I called it a day with a smile on my face, what a great pair of skis!

I would love to hear the opinion of more experienced skiers that have tried them out.
post #2 of 6
Thanks for the review!
As a long time skier who's had a breakthrough year, your comment about your skis wanting to shoot out from under you caught my attention. I've always had that problem until late this season when I took a PSIA workshop clinic that focused on strong inside edge. The unconscious tendancy for me to go to the back seat when exceeding my comfort zone has finally been replaced by a conscious focus on keeping shin to tongue pressure on my inside leg. The result is that my inside leg stays under my hips and my inside ski doesn't lead my turns as much. Some instructors will tell you to pull the inside ski back, but flexing the inside ankle more is what did it for me. The light came on for me when the clinician had the class focus on a 50/50 weight distribution during turn transition. The end result is I'm truly skiing on both feet and my outside foot no longer skids out. Give it a try next season.
post #3 of 6
Your post was like dejavu all over again . . . I did the same thing last season after about a 10 yr layoff, and ended up buying the AC4 in spring of 2005. Looking for a ski that I could use in any Tahoe condition. I, too am really happy with this choice. What boots did you pair up with it? I'm wearing XWave 9.0's.
Ski till Memorial day . . .
post #4 of 6
Adding the iPT sytem to this ski should make a big difference since it is a major upgrade over the motion rails. Part of what made this year's Allstar such a great ski was this system.
Of course Elan has done this type of binding for years with excellent result but hey, I'm glad Volkl joined the party.
post #5 of 6
IMO: The '07 AC-3&4 will please the Volkl die hards who thought that the '06 versions were "wimpy". (not to suggest that the '06's did not please a wide range of skiers)

My feeling of the new AC-3 is that it feels more like a wide carver than anything else. There are other '07 skis in this category of course, but the AC-3 is one of the best and will (again IMO) be a strong candidate for SOY in many venues.

Not that anybody would really care about why the ski skis well, but the chances are, that it has little to do with the IPT. Sinking the binding interface into the surface of the ski generally has little to do with anything except esthetics as the binding system really is primarily about flex pattern. However, the extended double grip sidewalls, (with secondary cores of wood rather than the current foam), and probably most importantly, top and bottom metal sheets really determine the stellar edge grip of these skis.

Both of the AC's are among a select group of 10-12 skis that I personally feel are most newsworthy among the '07 offerings. These will be getting a fairly extensive test run during May.......

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the responses, and advice.
I will definitely participate in a ski workshop clinic first thing next season.
What you're [EricBskiVT] describe sounds exactly what I need to work on.
The summer will be spent doing serious cardio and legs in preparation for the next season.

1974jim, The first thing I did when I realized that I was hooked was to buy a pair of ski boots. Reading the forums was a great help; I read everything I could about boot fitting, went to several shops and tried out different models. I ended up with the Nordica Beast 10's They have a nice snug fit with right under 1/2" gap behind the heel, toes touching the front, (with the liner out, of course.) And they were wide enough for my Fred Flinstone feet. I actually tried the XWaves as well, and would have bought them if they've had just 1 size smaller in stock. Great boots, and they look awesome.

A wide carver is a great description of the AC3's, SierraJim. I absolutely loved the speed and feel of the supersport 6 stars. I knew I needed an allmountain ski though so I could venture off the piste as well. I was thrilled when I found the AC 3's with the similar construction of the supersports. Perhaps a "tamer" ski would have been a better choice for my ability level, but after the supersports everything else felt a bit boring in comparison. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on the AC3's after you try them.

Robscapes, I tried the '06 AC3's, and set out to purchase them when the '07's had just shown up. The iPT's has the PCOS (piston control oil system) in them. -I'm not advanced enough to make an informed comment on the difference in bindings, but the '07's definitely feel alot stiffer with more spring in them.
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