or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Rossignol S86 and Volkl Kendo Reviews
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Rossignol S86 and Volkl Kendo Reviews

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I got to demo a couple of skis on my wish list recently so here's an attempt to share my take on these skis.  Hopefully I can do the review justice.


Me: 5'10", 155, age 57. Ski about 25 days a year, sometimes a little more.  Usually ski where ever the snow is best so often find myself in the trees.  Ski mostly in northern Vermont.  Skis I have skied quite a bit are the Head Monster IM 77, Head Monster 88 and Volkl Gotama.


The conditions for these demos were quite varied, from very hard and slick groomers to nicely spaced fairly easy soft moguls with 3 to 8 inches of wind blown snow.


Rossignol S 86 in 178.  This was a ski I really wanted to love.  I don't know what it was, the large sidecut or maybe a bad tune, but these felt very "hooky" to me.  They held an edge pretty good on the hard stuff and were competent and somewhat easy to turn in the soft stuff, but I simpy couldn't get comfortable on them as they seemed to constantly want to hook up into turns.  They seemed to have a pretty good flex in that they were not too soft or too hard and seemed to be pretty much a 50/50 hard snow/soft snow ski.  However that hookiness bothered me the entire time I was on them and I never felt good letting these run at speed.  I spent a couple of hours on them hoping I could get use to them but never really did.  One of the guys at the shop I got them from really liked them and I've heard many others do too but they were not for me.


Volk Kendo in 177.  What a difference this ski was.  Within two or three turns this ski felt confident inspiring on the groomers and I found myself letting these rip, increasing my speed throughout the run.  These skis held very well on the hard frozen groomers and I found I could manage any kind of turn shape too, as they seemed to do pretty much whatever I wanted them to do.  In the soft bumps with heavy windblown snow though was where these really shined, as they seemed to turn quickly and easily with just the right amount of flex and forgiveness.  Compared to my old Head 88s I would say they are not as damp as those skis in that the Heads seemed to absorb vibrations more and smooth things out while busting through crud.  The Kendos seemed to have a lighter and quicker feel then the Heads, and although they did not seem as damp (I hope I am using that term correctly), they didn't get thrown around either. As on the groomers I again found that I could vary turn shape very easily and quickly.  I also had the chance to take these into some untracked woods which was mostly very deep and very heavy windblown snow.  When I had some room in there to let them run a little they performed ok but when the lines got tight and I had to slow down (ok, I also slowed down a bit due to my own inability too), they were somewhat difficult and tended to sink, but I don't think these are really the conditions this ski was made for (just for comparison I took the Gotamas into the same run an hour later and the extra surface area of those skis helped keep the tips up instead of sinking).


Overall, I would say that the Kendo is a very well balanced mid fat ski that is maybe slightly biased toward hard snow and crud versus soft snow but still competent at both.  I think this is a pretty good East Coast all mountain ski.





post #2 of 3

easternskr --


Thanks, nice review.  Particularly relevant for me, as we have very similar stats (you've got one inch height on me, which no doubt explains the five extra pounds).  

I demo'ed the Kendo last week and also found it did whatever I asked in mixed snow -- going in and out of hardpack, crud, and bumps.  I also couldn't get it to float when skiing (maybe too slowly) in soft snow.  Your comparisons to the Peak 88 were helpful; I demo'ed that last Spring.  I found it to be maybe a bit more labor-intensive than the Kendo, but the trade-off was that it seemed a bit more steady going through choppy stuff.   I still want to try the Rossi S86; it's in the range where I think I should be and it has gotten a lot of positive vibe this season. 
One (newby?) question -- to you or anyone -- when you say a ski is "hooky", what is it that you're feeling?  When I demo'ed the Atomic Crimson last week, sometimes just as I was coming out of a turn, there would be a split second "catch" in the tail.  If I'd been coming off my old skis (Volkl AC-20s) I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.  But with the other two skis I demo'ed last week (the Kendo and the Bridge), I didn't feel this.  Was that "hookiness" with the Crimson, or something else?
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 



I'm honestly not sure if my use of the term "hookiness" was correct, so others may chime in and correct me.  But what I was tring to explain was this, that the tips seemed to almost "catch" on the snow.  In other words, if skiing with the skis flat on the snow, just letting them run a little bit, it seemed like the very slightest movement made the skis want to engage a turn.  And it happened a couple of times when I didn't want it to happen.  Now, this could be some not so great technique on my part, or maybe the tune on the ski wasn't so great and maybe the edges of the tips needed to be "detuned" a bit, or maybe I just don't do well skiing crud and chopped up snow with skis with such a significant sidecut.


By comparison, when I skied the Kendo, I did not have this problem whatsoever.  The ski could run flat, turn subltly, or turn quick and hard, pretty much whatever I wanted.  I felt confident letting the ski just crank but not so with the Rossi.  I also never had that feeling before that I had with the Rossi on any ski, so maybe it was just a bad tune.  And I had read some very good things about the Rossi, so maybe someone else on the list who has been on this ski can chime in with some more comments. 


Hope this helps.


New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Rossignol S86 and Volkl Kendo Reviews