I took my new (2002) 188 Völkl P50 F1s for a little test run today. Here’s my partial review.
ME: advanced skier, been skiing for decades, but not too many days per year. Pretty much self-taught. Always had and still have a strong preference for arcing as opposed to speed control turns. Like to ski fast, but prefer to keep skis within their designed speed range.
Other skis I like: Fischer WC SC, Head SS, Fischer RX8, Head SS speed Salomon Equipe SC, Rossi 9S, Atomic SX11/12. Volant Machete G for deeper snow. My old SGs for high speed thrills.
Skis not so much liked: Rossi 9X, Head Magnums,
Skis: 2002 188 cm Vökl P50 F1, listed sidecut 102-65-88, Marker Comp 16 Bindings.
This is only a partial review as my local hill has no moguls, and it was all on groomed runs, but I can say that this is a great ski for groomed runs. In fact it is my new every-day groomer-zoomer.
I can’t understand how it got such a bad rap, and how it can be sold at $50 bucks on the internet. It really skis great.
I took a couple of (very short) runs down the easy trails to get the feel of these after skiing my 165 Fischer WC SCs exclusively for the last several times out. I did notice on the first run that the front edges needed a little bit of conscious effort to move a little weight forward to them while initiating a turn at slow speed as compared to the SCs, but not so much as to be a problem, just that on the hard pack it did require a bit more pressure and touch at slower speeds. I also noticed they were a little more finicky about sloppy skiing than the SCs, but I put it down to getting the feel for the extra 23 cm of length; after a 15 minutes running time, it wasn’t noticeable. I have to admit that if you weight 180 lbs (or less) and ski under 15 mph, you won’t think too much of these skis.
Once up to about 15 or 20 miles per hour and above these skis really shine. They seem to be able to do anything you want. Arc railroad tracks? No problem. Make a braking turn to the cut-off? No problem. Turn sharper? No problem, just tip ‘em over more and feel the acceleration.
The really nice thing is that at the speed where a turn on the SCs begins to be a little dangerous, a hard turn on the F1s just sucks you right in and accelerates you through the turn. It almost feels magnetic. They are very playful; they have a nice “fun” feeling. They are always just begging you to turn harder and sometimes, just when they begin to really pull you into the turn, they say “Quick! Turn the other way”, so you do, and you get that rebound effect doubled as you go through a little chicane.
These skis had me singing out loud as I carved some turns.
I don’t think the edge grip at the stock tune of 1 base, 2 side is as good as the Fischer WC SCs (currently at 1:3), or my SGs at 0.5:2, but it seemed better than the Volants (also at 1:2). Hard to say for sure; there wasn’t any real ice. The Volants are stiffer and thus a little harder to carve a tight turn on very hard snow. These are no problem, unless you are going really slow, then you have to resort to skiing on one foot to arc a turn. With the factory tune, they will pivot a tight turn without any objections (might be more difficult if tuned to 0.5:3).
Can’t say how they feel at really high speeds; it was a small hill. They feel fine, no, they feel better than fine, right in their sweet spot, at guessing about 30 to 50 mph (forgot to bring the GPS). Extrapolating, they should feel good at anything under 60. I think they would be too “lively” beyond that.
Extrapolating some more, I bet they would be fine in crud and cut up snow, but not frozen stuff (like death cookies or frozen slush).
Strangely enough, although these skis make the speeds seem slower, the time passes by faster. I had started as soon as the lift coral opened for the day and planned to ski until lunch, but only stopped when I discovered the lift was closed for the day.
Also, skiing the F1s are less of a work out than skiing the SCs.