I could be mistaken, but Gunther Yocal
(forgive me for the phonetic spelling), the former U.S. importer and distributer of Volkl - as well as the owner of, I believe, Sugar and Beech Mountains in North Carolina - has nothing to do with the woodwork that goes into Volkl skis. Nor has he ever done so. He is a long-time family friend of Franz Voelkl (no typo) Sr. and there was some discussion about his taking over the company because Franz Jr. was (is?) such a putz, but that never materialized. Ownership of Volkl (in the father land) changed hands several years ago and the U.S. skis are now distributed from the great state of New Hampshire with Technica. And, of course there is the Marker relationship, but that's another story . . . . of stock purchased and a bunkruptcy. Damn-it!
Years ago there was talk of a Volkl owned forest, though I wouldn't be able to confirm that as the gospel truth. Though I can confirm that making a pair of Volkl skis is more akin to aging a fine wine that brewin' up some beer in your tub. Volkl products have always had a certain intangible quality about them; though I do agree that the competition has narrowed the gap - Salomon, in particular, in my opinion. If you have ever wondered why you see so many Rossignols and Salomons on the steps of a World Cup podium and so few Volkls I can tell you it comes down to cubic-dollars. All those racers, their contracts and contingency money costs a ton. News-Flash
: I did go to the Men's GS in Park City and, I am pleased to report, that there was a Volkl racer on the podium!
As much as I love the way that some of the French skis ski, I don't think they maintain that snappy feeling for very long i.e. Rossignol and Dynastar. For me, beyond how much fun Volkls are to ski, is the way they maintain their camber, and thus their lively feel, for much longer than do some of their competitors. When you're not buying your own skis it's much easier to live with, or race on, a ski with short life span. I would take an Austrian or German ski hands down over any French ski with the possible exception of Brand S
. As much as I am a tried and true Volkl aficionado; the ski formerly known as Kastle (pronounced kess-lee), now known as Nordica, was, and is now, a fabulous ski and terribly underrated. But I digress.
As skis go, the Volkl mystique did not begin with the P-9, or even the World Cup series of skis: SL, RS (RS, loosely translated is long slalom
or giant slalom), Renntiger and Targa - all with an "R" suffix. It began years before that, for many of us past our twenties, with the Renntigers and Zebras in the first half of the seventies.
In closing, when you take away all the flashy colors and long-winded talk about shape and length, skis look roughly the same as they have for many decades. When I look back on the abominable period of the GLM, Kneissl Short Stars and Rossignol Smash I shudder at the thought of short skis . . . . "hey, did you pick up your little sister's skis by mistake?" But then I wake up. I find myself goin' like hell on a pair of Volkls that come up to my nose and I can't help but giggle - like driving a car with a LOT
Man, I really need to go skiing . . . on my new
Volkls [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] .