2017 Volkl Confession Ski Review: Full Mountain Capable, Small Mountain Friendly // Ski Reviews
Volkl is a company that has always been at the forefront of innovation and progression in ski design and technology. Whether it’s in their frontside carving skis, their wide range of all mountain skis, or their designated freeride and powder skis, every year you can expect something new from Volkl. We’ve already taken a look at a couple of their 2017 ski models: the Revolt and the RTM 86 UVO, both all mountain skis, although quite different from one another. Now, however, we want to turn our focus to Volkl’s brand new big mountain, freeride powder ski, the Confession.
A few SkiEssentials employees were lucky enough to get on a pair of Confessions this season. One in particular had the Confession in his quiver all season and was able to spend quite a bit of time on the ski. Let’s start by talking construction. Perhaps the most notable feature of the Confession’s design is the use of camber. Volkl has been using a lot of reverse camber, also known as full rocker, in recent years, such as in the Volkl One, Two, Three, and many other skis within their line. The Confession, on the other hand, uses a rocker, camber, rocker profile. The ski has a 117mm waist width, 2 titanal bands running down the center of the ski, and carbon stringers. Unlike the One, Two, and Three powder skis, the Confession has a directional shape and is not necessarily designed to be skied switch.
Volkl classifies this ski as a hard charging, big mountain freeride ski. That claim is supported by the fact that essentially every single one of their Freeride World Tour athletes were competing on the Confession this past season. And there’s no wonder why. Compared to the One, Two, and Three, and even the Shiro, the Confession can be thought of as more purpose built for that kind of application. If you want a competition style freeride ski that will charge down gnarly lines, you won’t be disappointed by the Confession, especially if you go with the longest 193cm length.
In our minds, however, the Confession is a lot more than just a hard charging, competition freeride ski. We don’t want skiers to think they won’t be able to handle the Confession or that they don’t ski fast or aggressively enough for it. It really is impressively versatile and more manageable than we initially expected. First let’s talk about groomers and firm snow conditions. Yes, it’s 117mm underfoot, so talking about groomer performance is a little bit like talking about the racetrack performance of a Hummer. Because Volkl has used camber underfoot in this ski, however, it actually does quite well on groomed terrain. Unlike the Volkl One, which prefers to smear and slide turns, the Confession will hold a carve and pop you out of it seamlessly into the next turn. The subtle 5 point sidecut also make turn initiation really smooth. Lean the ski over on edge and it follows suite, arcing nice smooth turns. The use of metal gives the ski its power and also provides dampening properties that are almost Mantra-esque. Because the metal only runs down the center of the ski, however, swing weight is much lower than if it were two full sheets, and it also gives the ski easier turn initiation without sacrificing too much energy and torsional stiffness.
It’s also much more nimble in soft snow and off-piste terrain and conditions than we expected. First impression of the ski, even when you’re holding a pair in your hands, is that it’s going to want to take direct, high speed lines down the fall lines. It certainly will do that if you want it to, but it also pivots easier and makes quicker line adjustments than you’d think. As one of our testers commented, “[it is a] powerful big mountain ski but still nimble and playful enough for us east coasters.” This is, most likely, a result of the carbon stringers that are found in the Confession’s construction. Alongside the center metal strips that provide power and dampness, carbon stringers add energy and a sense of pop that really helps this ski shine in a variety of conditions. If you’re not a hard charging big mountain skier, don’t feel like you’re not aggressive enough or powerful enough for the Confession. It’s surprisingly user friendly for a 117mm waist ski with metal.
We’re really looking forward to taking some trips with the Confession to ski wide open, high speed terrain. Most of our testing on the ski was done at Stowe Mountain Resort, and although you can get a couple early morning high speed, steep powder runs, the snow is usually tracked out within an hour and you’re left seeking out untouched powder stashes in the trees and in other tight terrain. This gave us a lot of chances to put the Confession’s maneuverability to the test, which really impressed us considering the use of metal and camber. We think anyone in the market for a relatively aggressive, but not over the top, powder ski should check out the Confession regardless of where you live. We definitely think it would be a blast to rip down wide open faces and bowls on the Confession, and we know it’s super fun in our tighter, eastern conditions as well.