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Volkl Best fat skis out there?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
this post is totally biased

his thread is for volkl lovers

explosives started it and now it continues to such well known names Gotama, Mantra, Karma, Sanoucks, and Sumo. Now add the Aura athis year and the Katana next year and there is a ski for everyone who wants a volkl fat ski.

Is it me or out of the "big" ski companies is Volkl just owning the fat ski market. At snowbird its seems as if everyone has them. I ski on lots of different skis and for wider freeskis I would have tough time not buying from volkl. It not bandwagoning truly I feel the volkls are better.

Volkl are they the best fat skis out there?
post #2 of 22
Lets make this real easy.... Volkl makes the best fat skis, yes. But this is kind of trick question because in any ski category, you could make a pretty legit argument that Volkl makes the best ski there too...
Mid-fat: AC4
Carver: All-star
Race skis: Everyone has their preferences in brands, but if you are talking top race skis, Volkl WILL be in the discussion.

Their lineup is pretty dialed right now.

Bushwackering... You coming up to JH this weekend?
post #3 of 22
They make great skis, but there are a ton of good fats out there. LP's, XXL, Big Daddies, Monsters ........
post #4 of 22
Volkl has probably the best thought out offering of fat skis available from any of the big manufacturers. They hit every catagory of ski (just wait to see ALL of their freeride line, you'll be impressed) with a class leader. There only real competition in the freeride market (for the title of BEST LINE) is K2.

Do they make the BEST skis? I really don't think so.

Karma? I'd rather ski a Mojo90 or iM88

Mantra? Tough to beat, but what do I want a 'skinny' fat ski for? 94mm is too wide for true all-mountain and too narrow for deep days. I'd rather have a fatter ski and an all-mountain ski. If I had to choose from this catagory Legend Pro or Prophet 100

Gotama? Really good ski. I'll take a Scott P4 first. I'll take a Mojo105 second. I'll take a...you get the point.

Sanouk? Really fun to noodle around on, but...Blower, EHP, Bsquad, Legend XXL.

Sumo? Why? I mean common, no one needs a 125mm waisted ski.
post #5 of 22
I both agree & disagree with Whiteroom.

I own both the Mantra & Sanouk & love both.

But I don't really think any one company is catagorically making the "best skis." There are too many variables and personal preferences to consider. For my needs, Mantra & Sanouk are perfect !
post #6 of 22
Volki has good coverage for (The masses) but they don't fit well for the high end Big Mountain Skier.

All the big ski companies seem to be well represented in the fattie space.

Id I was a pro being spancered by one copmpany I think I would go with Atomic or Dynastar. But Volki, Rossignal, Fisher, head, Elan, Blizzard and K-2 all seem to have it covered.

Then theres Armada, and 4FRT. And I am sure there are others.

They all have a dog in the big ski fight and all have a nice product line
post #7 of 22
Volkl does seem to be doing something right. That's not to say that there are not other really great Fat skis out there.
Whiteroom when I here someone from Vermont say that a Mantra is to narrow for the really deep days I have to laugh. At Alta and Snow bird I'm with Bushwhaker The two most popular skis have to be the Manta and Karma. You also see a great many legends 888 and Pros. A ski that I was vary impressed with is the Monster 88. As I said there are ton of great Big Mountain skis out there. Right now for whatever reason Volkl seems to have the magic. By the way I don't own any Volkl skis. Now if someone wants to give me a pair of Mantas in a 177, You can ship them to Utah49 Lost somewhere in the mountains of Utah Mounted with Look P12s would be perfered
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
Whiteroom when I here someone from Vermont say that a Mantra is to narrow for the really deep days I have to laugh. At Alta and Snow bird I'm with Bushwhaker The two most popular skis have to be the Manta and Karma.
I'm right there with ya.

I've had Mantra in 3 feet of backcountry snow and they performed like champs. Just require a bit more effort. That's not to say that other skis, like my Sanouks, don't handle such conditions with more ease.

I moved from Burlington,VT three years ago and am very familiar with those conditions. I can't imagine a fresh snow day in New England that Mantra couldn't handle. Heck, I used to ski Atomic SX-11s all over Stowe.
post #9 of 22
The thing I really like about Volkls is how versatile and adaptable they are.

Explosiv - great for pretty much everything but carving short turns on groomers.

Mantra - more forgiving, turnier version of the Explosiv.

Gotama - one of the most popular "out west all-mountain" skis out there. Does pretty much everything well, save for the afore-mentioned short turns on groomers. Don't have to be a hard-charging high-speed pro to ski it, but it hangs in there if you are.

Sanouk - wierd ski. For some reason a lot of people classify it as a "niche" ski, but it's really not. Yeah, it's great in deep snow but it's also pretty fun in not-so-deep snow. For as floppy as it is, it handles speed surprisingly well. A hack like me can even get it through bumps and groomers on occasion. I'll be sad when this one gets replaced by the Katana next year.

I've got four pairs of skis in my "active" quiver, but I'm almost always on my Explosivs or my Sanouks and I could kick myself for not buying a pair of 05/06 Gotamas.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Sumo? Why? I mean come on, no one needs a 125mm waisted ski.
That's what people were saying about 90mm waist skis ten years ago. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
post #11 of 22
I never said the Mantra was too narrow for VT.

There is a newfangled mechanical flying machine that some of you may have seen. I have been known to pay for a ride in one to access the western portion of the country. No more need for the covered wagon!!!

I prefer the Monster 88's feel to the Mantra's. The mantra feels like it was made out of tin to me, the 88 is smoother and much better on firm snow and plenty good enough in eastern pow. If I was looking for a 'powder ski' the mantra wouldn't be it. As an all-mountain ski it's also not it.

The Karma just never thrilled me either. The Bridge might be better or the Wall, who knows. I'd still choose a M88, but i'm not crazy about twintips.

As for the width of the Sumo being excessive...I feel that the future of 'powder skis' will be skis like the Katana. I see a limit to the width that is practical, I think that future will be under 120mm in width, a return to slightly longer lengths and skis with rocker or different sidecuts that are designed for the 3 dimensional nature of powder.

I'm saying Volkl has a great line but there are skis in every catagory I'd spend my money on first. The Katana might change that.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
As for the width of the Sumo being excessive...I feel that the future of 'powder skis' will be skis like the Katana. I see a limit to the width that is practical, I think that future will be under 120mm in width, a return to slightly longer lengths and skis with rocker or different sidecuts that are designed for the 3 dimensional nature of powder.
I definitely agree with your thinking on increasing the length in the future.

But, I also think there is a place for 120+mm skis like the sumo. Places with heavy snow like Tahoe, really reward wider skis.

My powder ski in the Sanouk and I have had days that a wider one would have been nice. (not many days like that, but a few)

I think the stiffer Katana will be nice. Too bad it is not a true swallow tail.
post #13 of 22
I'm a big Volkl fan, have owned nearly everything they make under 110, but have to agree somewhat with Whiteroom. A good while back Volkl decided that skis were mostly about bindings, stopped pressing forward on other design fronts. So skis that were superlative a few years ago are now being caught, and passed. It's been a long time since the Zebra ruled the racing circuits, the Gotama is now just one of several excellent big pow skis, and the AC's are weirdly focused: Why buy an all-mountain midfat that's optimized for carving ice?

I'd disagree about the Mantra, though, which is really the best for the heavy chop and 6" of fresh that characterize what most resorts call powder most of the time.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
I feel that the future of 'powder skis' will be under 120mm in width, a return to slightly longer lengths and skis with rocker or different sidecuts that are designed for the 3 dimensional nature of powder.
Sounds like the Sanouk
post #15 of 22
[quote=beyond;638116] the AC's are weirdly focused: Why buy an all-mountain midfat that's optimized for carving ice?
quote]

The AC4 is built like that because when the "powder" is scraped off and all that is left is boilerplate the ski can still hold a great edge and still perform well all over the mountain. I personally like an all mountain ski that can hold a great edge on ice. This characteristic in a ski is also very desireable when you ski in eastern conditions.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
A good while back Volkl decided that skis were mostly about bindings, stopped pressing forward on other design fronts.
So there are a lot of other major brand skis out there that have zero or negative camber, swallow tails, pronounced tip rocker, tail taper, etc.?

Volkl may not be producing skis like the DP Lotus 138, but I wouldn't say they're resting on their laurels either.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Why buy an all-mountain midfat that's optimized for carving ice?
Because most people that buy mid fats never leave the groomed, but that's beside the point. Are you saying that edge grip is bad?

Not trying to be difficult, just wondering what your take is here.
post #18 of 22
on the AC4....

I have two friends in their late 40s who ski the AC4 exclusively here in Vail. They are former CU ski teamers and can take this ski anywhere on the mountain in any condition. I find it to be too demanding for powder & chopped bumps and prefer my Mantras but I'm also not as strong or as big those two.

The point I'm making is that there is a ton of overlap in ski lineups these days and it really comes down to personal preference.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.P. Racer View Post

Bushwackering... You coming up to JH this weekend?
are you there sunday and monday? so long since we talked about this....
post #20 of 22
BushwackerinPA & UPR,

If you're around, I'll be at Targhee this Friday and Saturday (and maybe Sunday).

PM me if you want to hook up.

HB

Oh yeah, if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm on the Volkl bandwagon also.
post #21 of 22
OK, now that we have this thread totally derailed... lets try moving this Here
post #22 of 22
OK, happy to elaborate:

For me, if we're talking frontside and the pows been scrapped mostly down to ice and crud, a "narrow" (in today's terms) carver's called for: RX8, Supershape, Mach 3, Allstar etc. By contrast, a mid-fat is a crossover design that allows you also to hit the backside and some fresher stuff.

And let's face it, unless we're racers, powder is prized more than ice. We ski hardpack groomers only if there's nothing softer and deeper around. So since any crossover involves compromises, it makes more sense to me to aim for a ski that excels in powder and chop, but can carve hardpack if needed, than the other way around.

IMO, the AC4 is the other way around. When I demoed the 170 and 177 at Vail, I felt like I was on citizen racers. Absolutely slayed the scrapped off frontside. (So no, Troutman, I'm not saying that edge grip is bad. I live in the NE. We know and love edge control.)

But it snowed hard all day at Vail, and neither length really liked the back bowls by lunch. The 170 was hooky and the tips dove. The 177 smashed, rather than floated. It was ponderous and heavy compared to a lot of other mid-fat's I've skied. I attribute this to the stiff, damp fronts of Volkls using Marker Pistons. You can't have it both ways, Volkl people: If your tip is optimized to hug ice at speed, and take away those nasty vibrations, it won't float up in powder at modest speeds.

There are plenty of wider mid-fats that aim for the backside but still carve decently to wonderfully - the iM 82-88, the new Fury's, the Stockli XL, the Karma, the Snoop Daddy, the B3, the 666 and 777, the Scott Aztec, the 8000 and 8800, the AMC 79, for starters. So it's not impossible.

Jer, I'm not saying that Volkl hasn't made a lot of solid evolutionary changes in it's ski body design. But think about how long it's mined the basics: Sensorwood core and one or two sheets of metal go back at least to the early 90's, and the raised upper edges came with the first Superstar p50. Those other bits you listed showed up in other skis well before Volkls. I'm not the only observer who's commented on how Volkl has put most of its energy into integrated bindings, and I'm not the first who's noted that those bindings have become more and more of the ski. In fact, that's Volkl's true innovation since the 90's - system bindings that let the ski flex. So they deserve serious kudos for that.

But I started skiing Volkls in the 90's because they felt unlike any other ski made: glassy and lively at the same time, responsive in any condition. Now they're just smooth and beefy, like a lot of other good skis. The bindings have run away with the ski...
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