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Retro-heaven, Volant Spatula

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The Volant Spatula has been reviewed many times, so I'll keep my comments brief.

This in the reverse camber & reverse sidecut ski designed my S. McConkey and built by Atomic soon after Atomic purchased the brand. They were only made one year.

I skied Steamboat springs today, 8 inches of fresh snow over a soft base.

The are a great powder ride. I found them easy to adapt to. Just remember not to carve and to side-slip and they become very easy to ski. The are ideal for untracked snow. I was able to ski and turn without using any tail-gunner skiing technique. I was able to ski on the balls of my feet and lean against the tongue of the boot without being concerned about tip-dive. Much more relaxed and easy-to-use in powder than other skis I've used under similar conditions.

The are especially great on soft but cut up snow with soft moguls underneath. Typical resort powder condition. They just iron out all the piled-up snow and soft moguls. Pretty easy to just ski the line you want without thinking about whats hidden under the snow. Just float and smear and ski fast without trying too hard.

They can be skied on firmer groomed runs. More boring that difficult. You just end up skiing like an intermediate sliding around all the time. Boring but not impossible unless the snow is rock hard.

The ski is not ideal for really aggressive skiing however. They are not very stable at insane speeds. I wanted to to just shuss down a run and preserve my speeds on the flats. I ended up using a wide legged stance to keep the ski on edge. This made faster skiing possible but its goofy.

I think a good conventional powder ski can deliver the same soft snow performance without the drawbacks. But as a big snow day either inbounds or in the back country the Spatula deserves its great reputation.

I'm going to Cat ski on Monday, I'll add some notes then

Michael
post #2 of 14
Thanks, Michael. That leaves me drooling even more at the thought of picking up my 195 Praxis Powders this afternoon.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Have fun!

The remarkable aspect of the reverse camber/reverse sidecut ski is that skiing the steep & deep was never so easy or fun. No tip dive, No tips or tails auguring into every irregularity. They are super easy to swivel under foot. Ideal for gnarly conditions and terrain.

However, they are almost completely non-performing for cruising the groomers back to the chair.

Michael
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was able to cat ski with the Spatula's earlier this week. This is probably the best use of this very specialized ski. 80% of the vertical was tight aspen groves. the conditions were also bottomless powder and almost completely untracked.

The TR is here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=63698

All the limitations I discovered while using the Spats inbounds evaporated. The ski is unlike any conventional ski, wide or skinny. It skims the surface at any moderate speed. This allows the ski to accelerate like it was on hardpack. It is much faster over the flat sections and maintains it speed when others are pushing with their poles and walking.

It also scrubs speed very well. Just throw it sideways and tip into the hill, you will soon be standing on a platform of soft snow the size of a bathtub. Ever see a snowboarder stop in powder? If you have, you know how easy it is. The Spats can be stopped with the same pivot & bank technique. Slowing or stopping was never so quick or so easy.

The Spats were ideal in the trees. The ski will swivel and bank its way through any gap.

I really felt like i was on "cheaters", too easy to use, IMO. I was consistently one of the first to the pick-up point and finished the day feeling strong with little fatigue.

Anytime I am going to Cat or Heli ski, the Spatula will be with me.

I've included this photo to show how upright and forward the stance can get without tip-dive. Also notice that the ski is just skimming the surface (and I'm in the 230 lbs + club). This helps the ski produce more speed IMO.

[ IMG ][ /IMG ]

Michael
post #5 of 14
Great picture Michael -- it really does make the point perfectly.
post #6 of 14
great review
post #7 of 14
finally broke 'em in, eh?

welcome to the inner circle my friend!



though i have to say that i am guilty of Pinto driving mine a little too hard (i.e. riding the tails), thus wearing out my quads a lot faster'n I should.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
finally broke 'em in, eh?

welcome to the inner circle my friend!



though i have to say that i am guilty of Pinto driving mine a little too hard (i.e. riding the tails), thus wearing out my quads a lot faster'n I should.
Yeah, I loved 'em in deep snow. I hope to bring them to California this winter, can you arrange a heavy snowfall as I arrive :?

Michael
post #9 of 14
Bump!

Just saw a new pair of Spatulas, still in the wrapper and flat for
$200.  Did not see a length on them about 190+- 

I just about got the plastic out, but want a little more versatile ski. 

PM me if anybody wants any more info.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
 Did not see a length on them about 190+- 

 


I think they were all 186's.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Bump!

Just saw a new pair of Spatulas, still in the wrapper and flat for
$200.  Did not see a length on them about 190+- 

I just about got the plastic out, but want a little more versatile ski. 

PM me if anybody wants any more info.

Get em and just find a home for them later. 
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post




Get em and just find a home for them later. 


For real.

That is an iconic ski. It's story has a position in skiing history that no other ski will ever duplicate.

Michael
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post



This in the reverse camber & reverse sidecut ski designed my S. McConkey and built by Atomic soon after Atomic purchased the brand. They were only made one year.
They were indeed built in the Atomic factory, but before Atomic bought Volant. After Atomic bought Volant, none of the fat powder skis, the Spatulas, Machete FBs, and Chubbs were ever again produced.
post #14 of 14
 size is a 185 and if they are new in the wrapper, snag 'em. I paid $400 for mine, new in the wrapper, 3.5 seasons ago, so $200 is a steal. Plus as a powder ski they're pretty sweet (I ride a Lib-Tech NAS as my everyday and then have the Spats for the deepies). plus, as others have stated, it's an iconic ski, to say the least. pretty much all of the reverse camber and rockered skis that are popular now are based on the Spatula blueprint. Besides, what better way to honor the life of Shane McConkey than to rock his babies on the slopes?
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