The Flair 81 is the widest ski in Volkl’s Flair collection and is the only one to use Volkl’s innovative 3D.Ridge and 3D.Glass construction techniques. This construction is designed to deliver a strong, relatively stiff, responsive ski that’s lighter than a traditional ski with metal, vertical sidewalls, etc. Volkl also uses carbon in the Flair 81 to increase responsiveness and energy in and out of a turn. The entire Flair collection focuses on carving performance, although the Flair 81 is easily the most versatile of the bunch thanks to this construction and its rocker/camber/rocker profile. We had a series of women test a 163 cm Flair 81 and they all came back with relatively similar reactions surrounding excellent carving performance and stability.
Ali Berlin really enjoyed skiing the Flair 81. She gave it 5 out of 5 for overall impression, torsional stiffness, playfulness (!), quickness, and stability. We put that exclamation mark next to playfulness because, let’s be honest, that’s not often a word used to describe carving skis and says a lot about the feel of the Flair 81. Ali described them as a “stiff ski that’s great for a frontside skier who wants to go fast on groomers.” She felt they “held an edge from tip to tail at high speeds,” but also thought that they “skied well in choppy snow.” This is likely where Ali’s score of 5 for playfulness is coming from. It’s not often that a carving ski can handle softer, variable snow conditions, but the Flair 81 does it quite well.
Tami Razinger really liked the Flair 81, especially compared to similar carving skis of similar width. She commented that they were “one of my favorites in the size range. The Volkl Flair 81 was very responsive and a great carving ski. It held up to high speeds and was fairly playful (!) and versatile. It adapted well to varying conditions.” Again! That word playful has snuck its way into not only Ali’s response, but Tami’s as well. It really sheds light on the Flair 81’s ability to ski more than just firm, perfect groomers. Snow conditions aren’t always perfect. We know that, Volkl knows that, so they’ve given the Flair 81 the ability to retain its carving performance even through variable snow conditions.
Susan Dorn wants you to “let ‘er rip!” on the Flair 81 E. She described the Flair 81 E as a “terrific carver. Easy to turn, quick edge to edge. Not so great in bumps, but holds on edge very well.” While our other testers commented how well it did in soft snow, they did not mention moguls specifically. We can understand why Susan thought they were a handful in the moguls. Susan is pretty small and a ski like this requires you to move it around A LOT in the moguls as it does not have a soft flex that allows you to kind of “run into” moguls. According to Susan the Flair 81 is a “great ski if doing mostly groomers – whether blue or black – plus some occasional off-piste skiing.”
We think our testers did a great job describing the Flair 81. It definitely comes from the carving ski world and performs best as such. Because of the 3D.Ridge construction, tip and tail rocker, and 81 mm waist width, however, the Flair 81 is more than just a carving ski. It allows you to venture into deeper snow, variable snow, and even some completely ungroomed, off-piste terrain without feeling completely held back or without the ski feeling over-powering.