The Versatile Volkl One: A Ski Review // Ski Reviews
In today’s ski market the abundance of different widths, shapes, rocker camber profiles, etc. makes choosing a ski more difficult and more confusing than ever. This is perhaps most evident in the powder ski category, where manufacturers seem most likely to experiment with progressive and innovative ski designs. Without having a chance to get on snow during a powder day and demo at least 5 or 6 different ski designs, it can be hard to determine what ski is the right addition to your quiver.
The Volkl One, at first glance, is just another rockered powder ski in a popular waist width category, coming in at 116mm under foot. However, when you start to dive deeper into the subtleties of the design it becomes evident that the Volkl One is much more unique than it may seem. Volkl claims the One is most at home in powder conditions, but will also excel in variable terrain. Okay, we’ve heard that before… Can it be true?
First let’s talk about the skis performance in powder. Most importantly, the Volkl One is full reverse camber, also commonly referred to as full rocker. Combine this shape with a 116mm waist width and 138mm tip and you’ve got a recipe for a good amount of float. The One is a prime example of why you don’t need to go excessively wide with a powder ski. You’ll be hard pressed to find snow that’s too deep for the Volkl One. None of our testers had any issues with their tips diving, thanks in part to the tip shape of the Volkl One.
In recent years we’ve seen a big influx of powder skis featuring early taper in the tips and tails. The Rossignol Soul 7 is a perfect example of this shape, where the widest point of the ski is not actually at the tip, but set back closer to the waist of the ski. This shortens the effective edge of a ski, typically resulting in very maneuverable, quick characteristics. What this also does, however, is allow the tips and tails of the ski to sink more easily than a non-early tapered ski, typically slowing you down in soft snow, allowing you to take more direct lines down the fall line while maintaining a comfortable speed (i.e. the skis are less likely to take off on you).
In open terrain, however, a ski with significant early taper can be slightly less stable. With a full width tip a ski will plane out on powder at slower speeds as well as provide increased stability. The Volkl One technically has early tapered tips and tails, but because it’s such a subtle amount of taper the ski ends up being both very maneuverable in tight terrain, but also boasts plenty of float and stability in bowls and other open terrain. Combine this with the One’s full reverse camber profile and you’ve got a very stable ski that will drift and slash turns like no other. This shape also makes the ski very easy to pivot when in trees and other tight terrain. Ultimately, as a powder weapon, the Volkl One is both extremely playful and very stable, a combination that can be really hard to find.
As mentioned above, the One is most at home in true powder conditions. Rest assured there aren’t many days that are too deep for this ski. But what makes this ski most impressive, perhaps, is its ability in variable conditions and chopped up snow. Recently we’ve seen a lot of new powder ski designs featuring relatively small turn radius, helping to increase maneuverability at slow speeds, but reducing stability through variable conditions as the ski consistently wants to turn. The Volkl One, however, boasts a 27.5 M turn radius in the 186cm length, which is significantly longer than some of its competitors. The ski also has a stiffer flex pattern than some similar skis on the market right now. What this means is the ski will hold an edge and track much better through chopped up and variable snow. Achieving such high performance in both fresh powder and variable, sometimes horrible, snow is something most manufacturers are still trying to figure out. A stiff ski will be great in the chunder, but won’t leave you with that perma-grin on a powder day. On the contrary, a very soft rockered ski will make you feel like a rock star in freshies, but often leaves you flailing around and scared in variable conditions due to the lack of stability.
By combining a stiff flex with an aggressive rocker profile, Volkl has effectively combined true powder performance with an impressive amount of stability through chopped up snow. Skiers buying the Volkl One as their powder ski will be pleasantly surprised by its versatility. Whatever your skiing style is, chances are you’ll enjoy the Volkl One. You can charge down an open face at Mach 5, slash, surf, and drift turns like a snowboarder, or jump into tight trees – the One shines in all these scenarios.
If you’re considering purchasing a Volkl One and feel like you’re in between sizes, go with the longer option. Because the ski features such an aggressive rocker profile it does ski a little short, especially when you’re not in 8 inches or more of fresh snow. Don’t think 116mm underfoot is wide enough for you? Check out the Volkl Two. The Two is essentially the same exact design, but the waist width increases to 124mm for those super deep days.
The Volkl One was released last year for the 14/15 ski season. After an incredibly positive reaction from the industry they’ve brought back the One completely unchanged for the 15/16 season. The skis were given a fresh new top sheet, but the design and construction is identical. Don’t feel like dropping full retail price? Don’t worry, SkiEssentials has the 14/15 Volkl Ones and Twos at a significantly discounted rate. Now it’s easier than ever to ski powder like the pros and with our prices it’s easier on your wallet as well.