EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › 2011 Volkl Katana and 2011 Elan Olympus (1010 replacement)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2011 Volkl Katana and 2011 Elan Olympus (1010 replacement)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ski reviews: 2011 Volkl Katana and 2011 Elan Olympus
Conditions:  4-5” of heavy cream cheese snow; really heavy, chunky crud; icy bumps; firm groomers.  Challenging snow, to say the least.  Got a few runs on each
Reviewer info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30+ days a year, fairly competent to relatively skilled in most terrain.

Review: 2011 Elan Olympus 183cm: this is the replacement for the 2010 Elan 1010.  It is changed slightly, with a milled out core and a new “resort rocker” tip, which is basically an additional length of early rise, shortening the contact length by a couple of cm.  Same sidecut and mold.  111mm underfoot, 23+m radius, basically flat camber.
This ski pretty much skis like the (excellent) 2010 model.  I didn’t have the 2010 on hand to compare back to back, but if I had to draw a comparison, I would say the tip eases initiation in soft snow a bit better, and the ski follows terrain a bit better with the milled out core.  Lots of information on the 1010 out there, so a rehash isn’t really needed.  The new Olympus is similiar: quick as anything in this category edge to edge, skis narrower than a 110mm ski, very solid in large turns in cruddy, crappy snow; excellent in soft bumps; very maneuverable in tight spaces and trees.  Very damp feel, not too stiff (which makes it such a great tight space ski, as you don’t need 30mph+ speeds for it to turn); and just a solid feeling edge throughout the length of the ski.  The “resort rocker” tip really doesn’t change the feeling of the ski, as it just shortens up the contact length when the ski is unweighted, but in softer snow, allows the tip to bend up well (which the previous 1010 already did as well as anything on the market).  It likes either a firmer, edge to edge feel, or a softer, rounder turn, which is another reason so many people have found It to be an outstanding ski.  I skied the 176 and 183, and the 176 is very nimble, but not long enough in deeper snow, where it is likely to be used.  I ordered a pair on the spot.

Review: 2011 Volkl Katana, 183cm
, 111mm underfoot, ~24m radius, very slight reverse camber.  This ski is (according to the rep) unchanged for 2011. 
The Katana is a ski that does everything quite well.  First off, on firm groomers, it was a fun, reliable ski, and quite stable, provided you didn’t push for too large of angles.  Totally competent.  In the uncut cream cheese, it was a dream.  The Katana surfs up very well in that terrain, and was meant to float and release in funky snow.  In heavy chunks of wet crud, it got bounced around a bit, and felt less than totally secure.  Perhaps the reverse camber is working against the ski here.  I skied a tight chute on this ski, and felt somewhere near my Huge Trouble in terms of being nimble; moderately quick edge to edge, but a little slower than some other similar width skis.  In bumps, this ski is better than it has a right to be. Due to the reverse camber and predictable flex, you can ski a zipper line on this ski, and are able to work it tip to tail.  Very surprising in that terrain.  This ski likes medium and larger radius turns: it isn’t an overly turny ski. The flex is fairly stiff and it likes a bit of speed to come alive.  Definitely more of a big-mountain ride, and a definite contender for a wide end of a 2-ski quiver. You could have fun on this ski in any soft snow condition, and not feel let down in really any condition. 

Comparison
: These skis are basically identical in dimension. In fact, Volkl reps claim that Elan ripped off their design for the Katana.  The main difference is that the Katana is stiffer (has more metal, thicker sheets of it) and the slight reverse camber.  The Olympus gets the job done with basically flat camber and a rockered tip, as well as softer flex

Quickness
: the Olympus feels quicker edge to edge.  Due to the flat camber, I could work the ski more and get it rolled up and engaged quicker.  The Katana is average or so for a ski of this width, the Olympus is the quickest 110mm ski I have ever used. This was especially notable in tight spaces (a less than 2-ski width chute I skied, for example). the Olympus just feels like it was made for chutes, tight trees, and bumpy, lumpy crud

Stability: in bigger arcs in relatively smooth snow, the Olympus is quite stable, and has no discernable speed limit. The Katana is just a little beefier, and feels even bigger at speed.  I could ski either, but the Katana noses out the Olympus here. In rough snow and crappy crud (of which there was plenty to ski) the softer flex  (also perhaps the flat camber) of the Olympus just wanted to stay on line better than the Katana, which seemed to get bounced a bit.   The stiffer skis in general (Mantra being another example) just didn’t flow as well as some of the softer skis I tried.  Might have something to do with my weight, but this is a common complaint on the Mantra for lighter skiers, and perhaps why it is so beloved by bigger guys. 

Moguls: neither is specifically a mogul ski, but both get the job done, with performance to spare.

Groomers
: same as mogul performance.  Quite adequate, although boring compared to a narrower, more groomer performance-oriented ski.  Neither were scary like, say, the current Gotama is on groomers with big edge pressure.

Feel: the Katana is stiffer, no doubt. It likes to hold onto the turn a bit more than the Olympus, which will release with a bit more ease, and can work a softer turn as well as a more aggressive impact on/off edge set.  The Katana seemed to be asking for more direct edge pressure and likes the impact style turn.

Overall: very similar skis, nearly identical in terms of performance. The Katana was beefier and liked more space, whereas the Olympus is a little softer and is easier to control in small spaces.  I also have a feeling that the Olympus will be preferred by the majority of lighter skiers (especially when speaking with others who also skied both at the demo), whereas bigger guys who like speed may prefer the Katana.  It terms of the Katana’s overall feel, it was more akin to the Answer IQ (another superb ski), which is fairly stiff and likes speed. The Answer is an even better straight ahead crud ski, while the Katana is more nimble. 

Hope this helps!  

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 21
 so dawg finally liked a Rockered skis! happens to be the one I like as well. :)
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

 so dawg finally liked a Rockered skis! happens to be the one I like as well. :)

It was interesting that it really didn't ski like any reverse camber ski I had tried; on snow feel was (more or less) like a low camber wide ski.  Felt like it had the same camber setup as the Elan.  It was no Gotama or Hellbent, that is for sure.  Definitely a sweet ski.  
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post




It was interesting that it really didn't ski like any reverse camber ski I had tried; on snow feel was (more or less) like a low camber wide ski.  Felt like it had the same camber setup as the Elan.  It was no Gotama or Hellbent, that is for sure.  Definitely a sweet ski.  

This is exactly what I think about the huge trouble. Even though its been described by some as a fun shape. It skis like a conventional fat ski.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post




It was interesting that it really didn't ski like any reverse camber ski I had tried; on snow feel was (more or less) like a low camber wide ski.  Felt like it had the same camber setup as the Elan.  It was no Gotama or Hellbent, that is for sure.  Definitely a sweet ski.  

IMO the new katana is the true successor to the old gotama. In fact I am almost sure the new katana skis harder condition as well as softer and 3d snow better than the old gotamas.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post




This is exactly what I think about the huge trouble. Even though its been described by some as a fun shape. It skis like a conventional fat ski.



 

No camber or a flat ski are worlds apart from a hell bent or true reverse camber ski. I've had race skis with zero camber and guess what they behaved like a normal ski. Thats because they are and that camber really does nothing for initiating a turn. Maybe some pop at the finish of a turn but a skis construction and materials are more responsible for that. IMO camber never made sense unless you want a hooky ski in powder and crud and want to catch an edge.
post #7 of 21
What sizes do these skis come in?  Some of us males are munchkins you know...
post #8 of 21
Scott,

Thanks for the review.  Do you think you'll have a chance to demo the Watea 98 in the near future?
post #9 of 21
 great review.
post #10 of 21
very well done, not always easy to accurately articlulate the subtleties.  Nice.....
post #11 of 21
Top notch review - much thanks, especially the subtle comment about 2011 not changing from 2010 according the Volkl rep you interacted with. Always thirsty for new, valid info. as this. Thanks again DC!
post #12 of 21

I would like to echo Dawgs comments on the Elan Olympus. After about a 7-8 days on these in a wide variety of conditions I would say his review is SPOT ON. I am a bit heavier and taller than Dawg at 6 ft and 190lbs but the Elan even in a 183 has been fantastic in nearly every condition I have tried it in.

 

I owned and loved the previous version of the Katana in a 190cm and just sold a 186 2010 Gotama (to buy the Elans) so this review and comparison struck a cord with me immediately and was one of the key reviews that sold me on the Olympus, a ski I had never owned or even really considered before.

 

These skis are remarkably quick and maneuverable for there width and traditional shape. They just bend up beautifully in soft snow without being hooky or folding on me and remain stable at any sane speed. Energy seems a bit less than the Katana's and they definitely require less speed and less space to work which makes them more versatile and that is key for most skiers. I feel I can rip tree and zipper lines like I am on a full rockered ski (or close enough)  but have a ski that has a traditional feel and much better performance on piste.

 

Glad to see they are back again next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 21

Scott  -  As already stated, a very nice review on these two skis.

 

So, here's my question regarding the Olympus and/or the Katana.  What length would one recommend for these skis if their use was going to be mostly in the east, often in trees (i.e tighter spaces), where the ability to smear and turn quickly is often a necessity.  I'm pretty close to Scott at 5'10" and 155 and noticed you skied both of these in 183.  But is that too long for someone like myself here in the east?  Should I try them in 176?  Or is the extra length, which must help with floating in the powder a bit, still more important even in tighter spaces such as east coast woods?  For what it's worth I have the Elan Apex in a 177 love that ski in that length, but it seems that as people move up to fatter skis they often also move up in length.

 

Any thoughts?  East coast tree slayers?

 

Thanks

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by easternskr View Post

Scott  -  As already stated, a very nice review on these two skis.

 

So, here's my question regarding the Olympus and/or the Katana.  What length would one recommend for these skis if their use was going to be mostly in the east, often in trees (i.e tighter spaces), where the ability to smear and turn quickly is often a necessity.  I'm pretty close to Scott at 5'10" and 155 and noticed you skied both of these in 183.  But is that too long for someone like myself here in the east?  Should I try them in 176?  Or is the extra length, which must help with floating in the powder a bit, still more important even in tighter spaces such as east coast woods?  For what it's worth I have the Elan Apex in a 177 love that ski in that length, but it seems that as people move up to fatter skis they often also move up in length.

 

Any thoughts?  East coast tree slayers?

 

Thanks



Hey,

 

Not an East Coast tree slayer, but I would think the shorter length would be just fine.  At the last demo, Kevin was on the 183cm and he is 6 foot 1, 200lbs or so, and thought it was plenty of ski for pretty much any speed; it was actually one of his favorite skis in 4 days of demoing, right up there with the new Blizzard stuff and his MX108.   I skied it in 183cm, and the 176cm as well, and the 176cm is definitely quicker, better in bumps, tighter feeling, and really well balanced for mid-radius turns. The 183cm wants to run more, but you don't need that ski in tight trees; you need something that you can engage the tip quickly on, and that would be the 176cm.  I was actually experiencing the same thing on my MX108 2 days ago; in the 187cm, it is the perfect ski for open spaces and widely spaced trees, but when the trees were getting skied out and bumped out, the 177cm would have been much better. 

 

I think that people often think they need more length than is actually necessary; with me, I live on a mountain that is pretty wide open, with well spaced trees, no bumps, and lots of above-treeline terrain. Therefore, I like longer skis for most of the skiing locally.  If I lived in hobbit-land, it would be a different story, and shorter skis would be more ideal. Same goes with skiing bumped-out terrain, say at Squaw when they haven't seen snow in awhile.  When heading there, I usually grab something around 175cm or so, unless it is dumping.

post #15 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by easternskr View Post

Scott  -  As already stated, a very nice review on these two skis.

 

So, here's my question regarding the Olympus and/or the Katana.  What length would one recommend for these skis if their use was going to be mostly in the east, often in trees (i.e tighter spaces), where the ability to smear and turn quickly is often a necessity.  I'm pretty close to Scott at 5'10" and 155 and noticed you skied both of these in 183.  But is that too long for someone like myself here in the east?  Should I try them in 176?  Or is the extra length, which must help with floating in the powder a bit, still more important even in tighter spaces such as east coast woods?  For what it's worth I have the Elan Apex in a 177 love that ski in that length, but it seems that as people move up to fatter skis they often also move up in length.

 

Any thoughts?  East coast tree slayers?

 

Thanks


the thing is to short will actually make them less manueverable at speed. If my katana's get warrantied I am going to the 190. I have had the 183 Katana at 165 5'11 and I think its an awesome tree ski, but there are some days when the snow is weird that I am under gunned and feel as if I can go over the handlebars.

 

I also ski faster than you or scott in tighter places but I can do that because I am on the bigger ski, its kinda of like the chicken and the egg arguement.

post #16 of 21



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post





Hey,

 

Not an East Coast tree slayer, but I would think the shorter length would be just fine.  At the last demo, Kevin was on the 183cm and he is 6 foot 1, 200lbs or so, and thought it was plenty of ski for pretty much any speed; it was actually one of his favorite skis in 4 days of demoing, right up there with the new Blizzard stuff and his MX108.   I skied it in 183cm, and the 176cm as well, and the 176cm is definitely quicker, better in bumps, tighter feeling, and really well balanced for mid-radius turns. The 183cm wants to run more, but you don't need that ski in tight trees; you need something that you can engage the tip quickly on, and that would be the 176cm.  I was actually experiencing the same thing on my MX108 2 days ago; in the 187cm, it is the perfect ski for open spaces and widely spaced trees, but when the trees were getting skied out and bumped out, the 177cm would have been much better. 

 

I think that people often think they need more length than is actually necessary; with me, I live on a mountain that is pretty wide open, with well spaced trees, no bumps, and lots of above-treeline terrain. Therefore, I like longer skis for most of the skiing locally.  If I lived in hobbit-land, it would be a different story, and shorter skis would be more ideal. Same goes with skiing bumped-out terrain, say at Squaw when they haven't seen snow in awhile.  When heading there, I usually grab something around 175cm or so, unless it is dumping.

Much of what you say seems to make a lot of sense.  So I am thinking that especially at my weight and skill level the shorter length may be what I need.

 

Thanks again

 

post #17 of 21



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


 


the thing is to short will actually make them less manueverable at speed. If my katana's get warrantied I am going to the 190. I have had the 183 Katana at 165 5'11 and I think its an awesome tree ski, but there are some days when the snow is weird that I am under gunned and feel as if I can go over the handlebars.

 

I also ski faster than you or scott in tighter places but I can do that because I am on the bigger ski, its kinda of like the chicken and the egg arguement.


Hmmn, you make a good arguement for the other side of the spectrum, that is, for going to a longer ski.  But I have to ask, how much of your desire for a longer ski may be due to your higher skill level?  It sounds like you get a lot more ski days in then I ever do.  So although you can ski faster through the trees then I could, isn't that as much due to your ability and experience as it is to the bigger ski?

 

Thanks

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


 


the thing is to short will actually make them less manueverable at speed. If my katana's get warrantied I am going to the 190. I have had the 183 Katana at 165 5'11 and I think its an awesome tree ski, but there are some days when the snow is weird that I am under gunned and feel as if I can go over the handlebars.

 

I also ski faster than you or scott in tighter places but I can do that because I am on the bigger ski, its kinda of like the chicken and the egg arguement.

Hey Josh,

 

Are you still in the 177cm The One for the majority of your tree skiing, or are you thinking of 184cm instead?  That 184cm seems like it would be a wicked tree ski, as it is fairly quick.  I think the Olympus is a bit easier than the MX108; it is softer and more suited to tight turns, at least in the longer length.  BTW, have we skied together?  Or, are you thinking of someone else?
 

post #19 of 21

Brief update on the Olympus

 

Originally I had this ski mounted on the factory line and was loving how easy it was to ski everywhere and trees were sublime but I didn't find it super stable in rough crud and taking airs, just felt a bit too forward. So I decided to have them remounted about 2.5 cm back of the line, similar to Kastle or Dynastar factory markings.

 

Do I like the results? Yes and no. The ski now has that unflappable, high speed stability Dawg mentions in his review and for a 183 (which is short for me at 6.1", 190) I feel like I can really charge on this ski more reminiscent of my Kastle MX78's. There better taking air and are still a pretty quick well rounded ski. That said they have lost two things that I thought were sublime on this ski. They don't initiate telepathically anymore or carve groomers as well and second they tails are considerably more engaged in trees and steeps making them harder to pivot and slarve than before. Overall I think the losses out-weight the gains but for me I suspect the ultimate change would be to move up to a 190cm and mount on the line. I feel like I am working against the ski more being just back of the sweet spot.

 

For now I will give them a few more rides to see if I sort out the new balance point but to me my initial 20 or so hrs has be working harder and enjoying the skis less. Also I know a number of other skiers with similar rearward mounts like Dawg feel these are about the quickest 110mm ski around. I'd say if you think there quick 2-3cm back try mounting them on the line! They are way quicker than any other ski over 100mm I have tried. Glad to see there making them again next year.

 

I am demoing the new BMX 108's next weekend, if I like them as much as my MX78's then my size debate with the Olympus will be mute, otherwise I think I am gonna have to try 1 size up so I can get the stability I want for charging and the quickness I become addicted to.

post #20 of 21

I’ve had a chance to play on some borrowed Olympus 183s for a few days.  Initially I had been doing the demo program and most recently tried the S7’s.   I can’t believe how much I like the Olympus as an all over the mtn resort ski.  Where the S7 is a lot of fun in the right conditions it wasn’t the multi-tool for me like the Olympus.  We just had 14-16” of snow over the last two days and it was a great day to run the ski through conditions that I would expect to use them.    I won’t run through all the minutia but here are a few of my thoughts. 

Through the medium to large moguls they made me look a lot better than I am.  An absolute blast and after each lift I found myself running down the frontside bump run and not wanting to venture off to other areas till it got skied out and my legs let me know it was time to move on.

Super stable skis, I could not find the top end and I was trying. They are definitely stable and inspire confidence.   

I’m 5’11” 165lbs, ~L8 and through the deepish and trees they were a dream.  On the open powder bowl with a little less pitch I was thinking one could easily run 190’s or more width but that might take away some of the fun in the trees/bumps/sketchy stuff. 

These are great carvers on the firm packed groomers, surprisingly agile for a wider waist. 

 By luck I must have been near the sweet spot of the ski (borrowed skis, Salomon sth bindings).  The bindings put my boot center 1 cm behind the line.   The position was $$ and I never felt like I wanted for adjustment. 

 

 I don’t think I’m giving the skis back.  biggrin.gif

post #21 of 21

Rod PNW

 

Great to hear your digging the Olympus! Funny you mention the S7 as that is the ski I was considering to replace my 2010 Gotama's before I got them but I kept thinking is that really the direction I want to go and just how much fun are they going to be much of the time in am in a few inches of snow or ripping peak to valley at mach chicken? I see soo many folks in Whistler on S7 and Bent Chelters when there is less than a foot of new or days after a storm when the stashes are few and far between.  The Olympus out ski's the big funshapes in most conditions and does well enough in deep pow and trees to more than hold it's own and thus is far more versitile.

 

There fun, forgiving skis with a wide performance envelope that have me skiing with a big stupid grin on my face regardless of what I am skiing and who I am skiing with.

 

Good luck holding on to them I doubt you'll regret it!

 

 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews

Gear mentioned in this thread:

EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › 2011 Volkl Katana and 2011 Elan Olympus (1010 replacement)