KURO review, translated ;-)Well, for the benefit of the group I translated the entire review from Russian. The review was originally written by Dmitry Klimov, AKA "red". Here is the full text, enjoy:
Early December 2007, Oberugle(?), Austria
Groomed, what groomed? here we have a very, very fat 2008/09 ski with 132mm waist (164-132-139) and reverse camber, which has become quite popular among the powder-oriented freeride models, (mainly due the efforts of the inventive Mr. McConkey). You can start thinking about bottomless powder fields, fluffy snow, and you are bombing it on these snowboard-skis, well, skis, easily gliding on top of it.
Of course I am interested in all models in the Volkl' freeride lineup, but somehow, I always come back to the KURO. It is quite natural- it is the widest ski in the lineup ;-). So why I and iva (Ilya Varshavsky, Volkl's brand-manager) like to ski on wide skis? It is easy- we are not so young anymore so we like effortless skiing, and need to conserve our strength. Well, that's a joke, but only partly. First of all, I am attracted by the graphics. In my experience, all freeride Volkl models are done in very stylish reserved design that looks extremely good. That was the case with the first Gotama and Karma. KURO's design is very different from the other skis in the lineup, no color spots, only one bigline(?) snaking along the topsheet. The overall impression is a sudden instinctive desire to take the ski, run to slopes and start ripping... The only odd feeling i that topsheet is not black...
OK, let's go, I am riding the 185 today. Right away I am entering soft,shallow snow, about 10-inch deep. The skis never dive, they just skim along the top surface. OK, that's expected. Now Ia m entering the broken-up patch that was cut-up by about ten people before me--= no problems, the ski dampens so well that you just don't notice anything. Great! What's remarkable is that I don't feel the extra 30mm that this ski has over my favorite Gotamas, I am feeling at ease with Kuro right away, it only takes a few turns. The soft patch next to the groomed run ends up in a rocky area, so I need to go back to the groomed. I am expecting that I would have to slowly and carefully cross the groomed trail, trying not to wash out, and try to find another soft spot in the ungroomed. But here I was hit by the enexpected...
One turn, then another. The ski holds. I increase the speed and stop skidding the tails. The ski holds! Moreover, KURO just rips the groomed run, carving the turn with the all the aplomb and surefootedness of a GS ski. Phenomenal, I just let the ski rip and get up to almost the maximum speed possible on this slope and...I am enjoying the ride, just feeling my legs crossing under my body. Fun, Fun, Fun! Perfect freedom on a hard groomed run! Iva (Varshavsky) is waiting for me at the bend. "What do you think?" "Iva- I found MY ski!!! Yeah!!!!" Emotions overwhelm me.
A slight diversion: I never get tired when I am skiing on MY skis, my legs never hurt afterwards, and I enjoy skiing any terrain. For a very long time the "MY skis" were the black Gotamas (1st and 3rd version), and I was never able to find a replacement for them, so I even looked for the "new old stock". I found some recently, but now I don't think it is relevant anymore. Because now there is KURO.
I am nearing the end of the run, just before the lift the slope has a sharp kink, I enter it at almost the top speed. The skis hold the edge very well- I am literally feeling the edge hold 100%. The rebound is not as strong as from a top-level carving ski, but for the KURO it is a good thing, as it just suits the skiing style that this ski is intended for. That such as wide reverse camber ski can carve so well on a hard groomed run is simply phenomenal. There is a slight pitch change in the slope, I take a jump... The landing is very comfortable, soft, and very damp. That's IT. KURO. MY ski.
I don't even care that much how Kuro behaves in real deep powder, because I have a pretty good guess about that: geometry+ reverse camber... I really want to test them in real harsh conditions,on a realc Cheget's cruddy snow *. ALthough I know that any ski won;t be comfortable on that snow, I still expect a minor miracle from the KURO- they have provided me all the indications for that already.
I see Schinka skiing down the run. I annot see his skis from the distance, but my impression is that he is on a real carvin ski. He is making beautiful arching carves at high speed, his hands almost touch the snow. He flies towards us. KURO. «Do you like it?» «Yes, Schincka, KURO is really amazing.» «It's my Baby!»
What else can I say? I don;t know what epiphany the Volks engineers had when they designed the KURO. That does not really matter. A big thanks for them. Because now all freeride skis now fall into two groups: KURO and the rest...
A follow-up: Mid-January, Montenegro.
All my early impressions still hold true- Soft snow, groomed snow- no problems, with only one exception: It is harder now to change the edges, until I get up to speed. I can feel the girth of the skis, which I haven't noticed before. Although I quickly find the reason for that: these skis are mounted with Dukes and my Austrian tester was mounted with Jesters. Duke has higher lift, that's why it feels different. No wonder Volkl recommends Jesters for the KURO. Unfortunately, I cannot test this, as the second pair mounted with Jesters is too short to take my ski boot...
Frozen crud on a steep slope is not for this ski. Even standing on them in a fog trying to scout your line is not too convenient- your legs are always tense. I am scared to try jump turns on a steep icy slope, but then I try and they come out quite OK, not too bad... I enter some cut-up crud, the ski tip start to vibrate,and I even start loosing control, overall, not too great. Well, no one expected miracles, right?... I find a patch of soft snow and finish the run. I take the lift up and do the same run again, just to try to find the right balance and get used to the skis. Do I like them? I do. So, for the rest of the time I take out the KURO for a couple of hours on every test day, just to have some fun.
* Cheget- a ski resort in the South of Russia in the Caucases mountains, near Mount Elbrus. Great mountain range, nice terrain, stupenous views, but it used to be famous for having these huge icy carved up moguls on some of the runs, very tough. When I skied there last time 20 years ago, the place didn't have grooming, so the moguls were truly epic proportions. Apparently, it is still the acid test for the Russian skiers.