Conditions: A single blue run at A-Basin. The snow was surprisingly good, with small bumps, some slush, and a few hard patches. In the afternoon, snow was soft and smeary on top, with hard base beneath. Conditions and terrain weren't varied enough for a full vetting of the skis. Hence, findings here are preliminary.
Me: (Thought you'd never ask ). 6'1", 185 lbs, level 8 skier. Good basic technique, with reasonable facility in powder and varied conditions.
Skis: Volkl Unlimited AC50. Dim: 128-85-112 Radius: 18 meters. iPT Wide Ride 14 Bindings - 30% wider than most bindings. Flex: stiff. Weight: medium. Wood core (Sensorwood) with two titanium layers, and bindings embedded deep within "power channels" over each edge.
Other Skis: Volkl Gotama, Atomic M:EX, Atomic M:9's, Volant Chubbs.
MO: I began with medium-radius turns, lengthening into long, swooping turns. I then tightened into short, quick turns, and targeted moderate bumps. I varied between feathered, smearing turns, and fully angulated carves.
Turn Initiation: Automatic - much easier than my M:EX's. The AC50's are wider in the tip, and hook-up quickly on the turn. Engaging the tip required much less effort than anticipated.
Stability: Imperturbable. On the run I skied, it wasn't possible to red-line the skis. They were stable as a freight train. The Sensorwood core provides a smooth feel on crusty or variable surfaces.
Edge-Hold: Predictable Volkl edge-hold. The AC50's grab like crampons. On the worn hard spots I found (on the edge of the run), I purposely angled hard. They never let go.
Feathering: On the soft snow, I had no problem letting the tails go.
Forgiveness: It's difficult for me to measure this. I found as long as I stayed over the skis, they were completely accommodating. If you get into the back seat, I'm sure they'll spank you.
Long Radius: I couldn't make many wide turns due to the number of people on a single run. Near the bottom, however, I could let the skis run a bit. No surprise here. They arced confidently, with precise control.
Short Radius: This was the biggest surprise. Due to the stiffness and size of these skis (more surface area than my Volant Chubbs), I didn't expect much in terms of short turns. I was wrong.
The AC50's snapped short-radius turns almost as well as my Atomic M:9's (74 mm waist), and with better control, stability and smoothness.
Moguls: Hard to say. We only had small bumps on the hill, except near the end when medium-sized moguls formed. On these easy bumps, the AC50's were fine. I had no trouble carving over, and around the moguls. The easy turn initiation helped. I doubt these skis would be great in large, hard bumps.
Energy: Explosive. The AC50's are dynamic, and nimble. They'll cruise fine, but prefer to dance.
Soft Snow: Hard to know. There was a few inches of soft slush on top in the afternoon. In this snow, the AC50's were easy to steer. They floated over the chunks. Real powder is another animal, which must wait for another day.
When I first received the AC50's, I worried I'd be overpowered by these skis. The flex was stiffer than my M:EX's (84 mm underfoot), and they're wider in the tip and tail. Comments from reviewers, such as: "feels more like a wide race ski than a midfat", deepened my concern.
Within 30 seconds, all concerns vanished. The AC50's are an easy ski to manage. They turn with remarkable ease and quickness for a ski this size.
If you have decent basic technique (over your skis, with good angulation), you'll have no trouble driving the AC50's.
Volkl's wide iPT binding does what they say: brings greater power to the edges. I wouldn't expect an 85 mm ski to be this agile.
Last year I always brought both my M:EX's and M:9's to the hill, because they didn't overlap much. This year, I'll bring the AC50's in place of both.
If the AC50 can also handle deep snow with reasonable facility, it's as close to a true one-ski quiver as I've skied.
I'd like to compare the AC50 to Atomic's Nomad Crimson TI, and Blizzard's Magnum 8.7 IQ. Both are skis I considered before going with the AC50's.
Of the many skis I've owned and demo'd, the Volkl AC50's are, by clear margin, the most fun and versatile skis I've tried.