The Volkl Aura is the widest ski in the women’s all mountain freeride collection sitting next to its sisters the Kenja and Yumi. The Aura, however, is significantly different than those two skis thanks to its full rocker (reverse camber) profile. Combine this rocker profile with the ski’s 100 mm waist width and you’ve got a ski that, on paper, seems very versatile. In theory it should be wide enough for some powder skiing, stiff enough for fast, aggressive skiing thanks to its two sheets of metal, and versatile enough to be able to ski and enjoy the entire mountain. We had great conditions for testing the Aura thanks to a mix of firm, frozen snow and softer, wetter snow as things softened throughout the day.
Ali Berlin really enjoyed skiing the Aura, which perhaps is best communicated by the smiley face she drew on her test form. In addition to the visual representation of her mood, we also got some nice comments about the performance of the ski from Ali. She tested the 156 cm length and described the Aura as “a fun ski that handles well going fast on groomed and choppy snow.” She also referred to the Aura as being “surprisingly versatile.” We can understand this comment as it’s relatively easy to characterize the Aura as a heavy, stiff, aggressive ski, but it can do more than just ski fast. The Aura “did respond well to a smaller radius turn, but handled best on big turns pointed straight down the hill.” Because of the reverse camber shape the Aura is relatively easy to “pivot”, which allows the skier to manipulate turn shape much more easily than on a cambered ski. On the other hand, the two sheets of metal provide vibration dampening and stability that makes fast, aggressive skiing smooth and fun.
Elissa DeGolyer skied the 163 cm and was really impressed by this maneuverability. She described the Aura as a “very strong, solid ski.” She thought it “lived up to expectations,” which is saying a lot considering Volkl is known for their high performance all mountain skis. Elissa scored the Aura 5 out of 5 for flotation, stability, versatility, and overall impression. Forgiveness was the only category that didn’t receive a pretty high score, which we can understand as the Aura is relatively heavy and the two sheets of metal make it relatively stiff and powerful. Elissa did, however, comment that it “turns on a pivot point to allow for any size turn on any type of terrain,” going back to that impressive maneuverability the Aura provides.
Karly Acker felt right at home on the Aura, which isn’t a total surprise as Karly openly admits she’s a fan of Volkl skis. After taking some runs on a 163 cm Aura she described it as a “nice wide, fun powder ski. It turned very good on groomers and can charge down the hill with total stability that I don’t often find in other skis. The weight is perfect to cut through anything! Obsessed.”
The Aura is a high performance, relatively aggressive all mountain ski. It’s not really suitable for intermediate skiers, and beginners should certainly stay away, but as Ali Berlin puts it the ski is “suited best for an advanced skier that can drive the ski forward. Less forgiving if your weight is in the back seat.” Chances are an Aura skier already knows they’re an Aura skier, but if you’re the type of woman that is frustrated by “dumbed down” women’s specific skis there’s certainly nothing about the Aura that falls into that category.