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Review of the Volkl AC4

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Here's a thorough review of the Volkl AC4:

My stats: 5'9", 170 lbs., male, aggressive level 8 skiier with the Volkl AC4s at 170cm.


Day 1 at Winter Park on Thursday, January 18th: Conditions were about 1-2" inches of new snow on top of packed powder in fairly cold weather (10-15 degrees). This was really a test of how good in the bumps these skis were. As some of you know, Mary Jane/Winter Park really prides itself on their bump runs. I'll be honest, these skiis were just okay in the bumps. As has been said numerous times on this board, they did get a little hooky in the bumps. I needed to stay on top on them in order to keep them on my lines. I also had to slow it down a tad more than I was used in order to not get out of control. You have to be aggressive and fairly mistake free with the AC4s. I did have a chance to take them up to Parsenn Bowl a few times and WOW...these things ABSOLUTELY ripped. Talk about arcing turns at GS speeds. Unbelievable. After my first time down it when I got to the lift line...I said to myself "Is it really that easy?."

Day 2 at Breckenridge on Friday, January 19th: Conditions were 20-25 degrees with packed powder on a bluebird day. Took my AC4s up to the top of Peak 8 summit (hoofed it) and went off the steep ridges of Imperial Bowl, Whale's Tail and Peak 7 Bowls. So the situation on Imperial Bowl was steep drop-in of about 35-40 degree pitch followed by steep packed powder gradually shallowing out into a 30 degree pitch. I was really impressed. These skiis held great edges on the steep pitch and were not difficult to get around on my turns. They did a good job of digging into the packed snow and allowed me to really navigate my line. Didn't slide and didn't make me rush anything. Whale's Tail and Peak 7 Bowls...they again (like Parsenn Bowl at Winter Park)...RIP like no other. I was flying by people with control and fluidity and I truly believe these skiis were a big factor in that.

Day 3 at Vail on Saturday, January 20th: Conditions were 20-25 degrees partly cloudy. Packed Powder. This day gave me a good all-around viewpoint at the AC4s. I did some bumps on Blue Ox and Highline with these, steeps on Lovers Leap and Iron Mask off of Skyline Express chair and groomed bowls on the Back bowls. Damn, what a fun ski. It handled all of this terrain very well. Handled the bumps at Vail a little bit better, didn't want to dive and catch as they had with me at Winter Park. That could've been because the bump runs I did weren't quite as steep and it was my 3rd day skiing in a row and had a chance to get the hang of the AC4s.

Overall: I HIGHLY recommended this ski. If you are looking for an all-mountain ski and you are an aggressive skiier, GET THESE SKIS. They are phenomenal on packed powder conditions. Bumps can get a little tricky yes but once you get used to these, they shouldn't be a problem. You must be aggressive with these b/c if you don't they'll take you places that are faster and more out-of-control than you want to go. The more energy you put into them...the more you get out of them. Many times I rode the lift lines, people talked about how they've heard great things about this ski.

Note: I did not have a chance to ski these in 6 or more inches of fresh powder. While not knowing what they ski like in these conditions, I can imagine they ski probably how you think they would. They will ski like a mid-fat does, not the greatest powder ski. However, if you are looking for a deep powder ski...then you shouldn't be looking at these anyways.

Grades: Groomers - 10 out of 10
Bumps - 7 out of 10
Powder - N/A
Steep Packed Powder - 9 out of 10
Icy conditions - 10 out of 10

Again, I highly recommended this ski if you are one of ability and stats like myself. Awesome. Really makes you want to ski. I'm from the Midwest and ski quite frequently out West and Pac NW but am forced to ski in the Midwest every now and then. These skis are perfect for a one-ski quiver for someone from the East or Midwest like myself. If you do most of your skiing out West (or live there), I'd say get these and then do a fatter ski (i.e. Gotama or Mantra, or whatever) to complement your quiver when it dumps. To me it doesn't make any sense if you travel from the Midwest or East to ski West and you buy a fat ski (90mm and higher underfoot). You may not get any new snow like I did on my four day trip. That's my two cents.
post #2 of 6
I'd agree on the bumps comment - tried this on Outer Limits at Killington the other day in typical scrape covered with snow "variable" eastern conditions. It wasn't pretty, but I was being careful with these - probably somewhat of a mistake. As you suggest I kinda feel you have to rip medium turns in this ski vs try and be subtle with it and pivot.
post #3 of 6
Demoed the Volkl Allstars on hardpack at Purgatory, CO in Dec and loved them. Ended up buying AC4s and skiing them six days in Jan thru pow/soft/crud conditions and they were awesome. Near the end of that outing conditions firmed up once again and I was convinced that I still might want that Allstar to complete a nice two-ski quiver. Picked up another demo pair and after four runs took them back to the condo, grabbed my AC4s and was back in business. They seem to me to do just about everything the Allstars do, but much more, and with more stability.

I was POed that I wasted $25 on those demos, but in reality I saved hundreds
post #4 of 6
Gee, another AC4 lover. What a surprise.

I've got over 40 day's on mine, still lov'em.

Even tried to beat the frozen, chunky bumps into submission last Sunday at Okemo with them. Did the bumps 4 times during the day, I think they won. I have notice the AC4 is better in larger bumps then tighter ones. That is the one major step backwards from my AX3's. But I don't like tight bumps anyways.
post #5 of 6
Hey MAX don't ever get rid of those ax3's. I own the 724 pro's, Mantras 2007, Allstar 2006 and a bump ski and I miss those so badly. What a fun ski!! As and all around ski they are hard to beat!

AX3 fan
post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post
Hey MAX don't ever get rid of those ax3's. I own the 724 pro's, Mantras 2007, Allstar 2006 and a bump ski and I miss those so badly. What a fun ski!! As and all around ski they are hard to beat!

AX3 fan
Don't worry I still have them. I'll be skiing them until they break. Put 19 day's on them this season. They are my rock skis now, but I still take care of them.

I think the manufactures really had a great design for that year. The 108/70/ 96? skis were great, are great. How can we get Volkl to make that AX3 again.
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