2018 Volkl Ski Guide: A Complete Overview // Ski Reviews
A quick glance at the 2018 Volkl collection might suggest that there’s not much new from them moving into the new season. There are, however, some subtle changes to the line in the form of a few new models and updated construction that carries through almost all of their categories. While we don’t have an abundance of new shapes to talk about, we do think the changes to Volkl’s skis for 2018 warrants this article. Let’s work our way through their entire 2018 ski collection, skimming over unchanged skis and spending more time talking about what has changed.
2018 Volkl Code Series:
We’ll start with dedicated frontside carving skis, the Code series, as there are essentially no changes here with the exception of the Code X Red getting an updated vMotion3 binding system. The construction of the skis, however, is unchanged. The Code series essentially draws design elements and technology from race skis and packages them in more user-friendly shapes for us non-professional ski racers. The Code V.Werks is the flagship model and unlike the other three uses Volkl’s 3D.Ridge construction (something that we’ll touch more on later). This will be the third season for this construction and we’re seeing Volkl use it in more and more skis. It creates a lightweight, yet powerful ski thanks to the carbon fiber ridge, especially in a ski like the Code V.Werks where it’s also supported by titanal.
The other three skis in the Code line use more traditional sandwich construction. They can almost be considered “cheater” or “beer-league” race skis (with the L corresponding to GS and the S having more of a slalom feel). The Code X Red swaps titanal for steel, which is less torsionally stiff and has greater vibration dampening. This makes it a little bit more approachable for intermediate skiers while retaining a very smooth on-snow feel. There are no women’s versions of the Code carving skis, so if you’re a female looking for a full on carving ski there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider a Code.
2018 Volkl RTM and Flair Series:
That, however, brings us to the RTM and Flair collections for men and women respectively, which can arguably considered carving skis as well. While their range of waist widths is wider than that of the Code series, the overall design and shapes are rooted in carving performance on firm snow. This is also where we start to see the changes in construction going into 2018. Volkl has updated their 3D.Ridge technology to include what they call 3D.Glass. 3D.Glass essentially refers to the skis using more fiberglass and that fiberglass extending to the edge of the ski, up along the edge, then out to the sidewall. While it seems like a minor change it has resulted in noticeably increased torsional stiffness, stability, and overall power. This new construction is found on the RTM 86, the 84, and the 81. The RTM 78 remains unchanged, and there is now a 76 Elite and a 76, which are both more intermediate-oriented skis. We did a full review of the 2017 RTM 86, which didn’t have the new 3D.Glass, so when referencing that review remember that the 2018 ski is that much more powerful.
The Flair collection somewhat mirrors the RTM series, although only one ski uses 3D.Ridge and 3D.Glass, the Flair 81 E. The Flair SC is the most dedicated carver of the bunch with a 72 mm waist width and just tip rocker, no tail rocker. The Flair 81 E is certainly the most versatile thanks to its widest waist width and tip and tail rocker. 3D.Ridge also has relatively low swing weight, just as an effect of the design, which makes them slightly more maneuverable than similar skis with more traditional construction. The Flair 78 moves back to what we would consider a more traditional construction, but uses steel to increase its power. The Flair 76 Elite, Flair 76, and Flair 73 are each slightly more user-friendly than the last and are all essentially targeting intermediate and beginner skiers.
2018 Volkl All Mountain Skis:
That then brings us to Volkl’s All Mountain skis, which contain some pretty famous models. The ever popular Mantra and Kendo return completely unchanged. Both the Mantra and the Kendo use a multi-layer wood core and two sheets of titanal metal laminates. They are both high performing, relatively burly skis that have become favorites among aggressive all mountain skiers. The Mantra has a full rocker or full reverse camber shape that gives it excellent maneuverability despite not being a light ski as well as solid float when combined with its 100 mm waist width. The biggest difference between the Mantra and Kendo is the 90 mm waist width of the Kendo and its camber under foot. This makes it much “snappier” on firm snow and gives it a little more of a traditional feel when compared to the Mantra. The new ski in the All Mountain collection is the Kanjo, which becomes the narrowest and lightest ski in the line. Instead of two sheets of metal the Kanjo uses a single centered strip of metal, which drastically reduces weight and increases the quickness of the ski. We did a full review of the 2018 Kanjo earlier this year, so check that out for all the nitty gritty details.
On the women’s side of things it’s pretty easy to describe the collection as it genuinely mirrors the men’s side. The Aura is essentially the women’s Mantra and it too uses two sheets of metal and a full rockered shape. The Kenja is the women’s Kanjo through and through. The only differences here between men’s and women’s skis are their available lengths. You can’t get an Aura longer than 170 cm, just as you can’t get a Mantra shorter than 170 cm. Make sense? The third ski on the women’s side is a name you might be familiar with, the Yumi. The Yumi has been around for a few seasons, but is now totally changed for 2018 and follows the same path as the Kanjo: a central strip of metal (referred to as titanal band), an 84 mm waist width, and a much lighter overall feel than the Aura and Kenja. Anyone who liked the old Yumi should be psyched with the new one, and anyone who hasn’t skied it, but is in the market for a versatile all mountain ski, should consider it.
2018 Volkl Freeride Skis:
Moving right along the next skis we’re going to take a look at is their All Mountain Freeride skis. This is where we find the 100Eight and 90Eight for both men and women. Although there are women’s specific graphics, the construction is the same for both genders, just like we saw in the All Mountain line. There are different options for lengths with the men’s skis going up to 189 cm and the women’s skis going down to 156 cm. The 100Eight is a fully rockered, super versatile ski that really fits the description of All Mountain Freeride perfectly. We did a full review of the 2018 100Eight, so head on over to that page to get the full description and our full reaction. The women’s ski, remember, is the same, just available in shorter lengths. These skis benefit from the new 3D.Glass just like the RTM and Flair lines. It’s perhaps a more noticeable difference in these more freeride oriented skis as they do not use any metal, unlike the RTM skis. The increased power in the 2018 100Eight comes completely from this new construction. The 90Eight has a slightly more traditional shape with camber under foot. It too uses the 3D.Ridge and 3D.Glass technology and is super maneuverable. People often want to compare it to the Mantra or Aura because they have very similar waist widths, but the 90Eight is noticeably lighter and quicker, although does lose some stability and vibration dampening when compared to the Mantra. These Freeride skis are so light, in fact, that we see some skiers mounting alpine touring bindings on them, although we’d venture a guess that there are more with full on alpine bindings than being used as a touring setup.
Volkl has two dedicated Big Mountain skis that are relatively different from one another. The V-Werks Katana is like a showroom display model of Volkl’s unique construction. It uses 3D.Ride Carbon, their Skin Pin, and an ICE.OFF top sheet, among other high end design elements. They are impressively light for being 112 mm under foot and are a perfect choice for a backcountry touring ski in an area that receives a lot of snowfall and on the feet of a relatively aggressive, demanding skier. The other ski in the Big Mountain line is the Confession. The Confession is more traditional sandwich construction, but uses Volkl’s new Titanal Band. We put together a review of the Confession when it first came out, so check out our full thoughts on the ski on that page.
2018 Volkl Touring Skis:
We’ll touch quickly on Volkl’s touring specific and freestyle skis as well. For touring specific skis they essentially have two designs available in three different widths each. It’s not actually that simple, as there is some variance in rocker profile, but that’s the easiest way to think of it. The BMT collection is essentially designed for an even mix of uphill and downhill performance, and is home to Volkl’s widest ski, the BMT 122. These skis are all about seeking out fresh snow in remote zones. The BMT 122 and 109 both use full rockered shapes and Volkl’s 3D.Ridge Carbon construction. The 90, being much narrower, moves to a rocker/camber/rocker shape, but also uses the same construction, and is intended for use in more variable snow conditions.
The VTA collection, home to the new VTA 108 and 98 along with the VTA 88 Elite carried over from last season, are the lightest and most dedicated “uphill” skis in Volkl’s line. These are intended for alpine touring enthusiasts that demand the lightest possible gear. They use a construction Volkl calls “VTA Superlite Outline” along with a carbon tip. While they don’t have the same stability or downhill performance as the BMT line, and especially not as much as the Freeride 90Eight and 100Eight skis, they still feel solid enough for relatively quick skiing in soft snow. Their true touring application is obvious when you consider they only have tip rocker. Backcountry enthusiasts often want a flat tail for self-repelling and other advanced ski mountaineering techniques.
2018 Volkl Twin Tip Skis:
And finally let’s chat quickly about Volkl’s Freestyle twin tip skis. There’s not actually anything new in this collection, but some names have changed. Remember the Volkl One powder skis? They are now the Bash 116 and Bach 116 W (women’s graphic). They’re the same floaty, maneuverable, surfy, fun powder skis they’ve always been, but with a different name and a new look that we think is pretty awesome. The Revolt is back, but is now referred to as the Revolt 95 as Volkl has carried that name through more skis. The Revolt 87 is a competition level park ski that uses full camber and the Revolt 85 is a symmetrical park ski with tip and tail rocker. The Transfer 89 is more of an all mountain twin tip shape that is somewhat comparable to the Revolt 95, but doesn’t have specific “butterzones” in the tip and tail. There is also a Transfer 85, which shares the same shape of the Revolt 85, but in a lighter build. The Transfer 81 is an entry level, lightweight twin tip that uses full camber.
With the exception of junior, race, and rental specific skis that’s what you can expect from Volkl going into 2018. Their line is relatively straight forward with some models carrying over without any change from men to women. We think they have a very all-encompassing collection of skis with a little something for everyone. In fact, most of our staff can pick at least 2 or 3 Volkl skis they’d like to own, and we’d venture a guess that you’re not much different.