2018 Volkl Kendo Skis 2018 Volkl Kendo Skis

2018 Volkl Kendo Skis

The Volkl Kendo is one of those skis that you see a lot and hear a lot about. It’s been on the market for years and years, although has undergone some changes over that time. The idea behind the Kendo is that it’s a burly and versatile all mountain ski. It uses race-like construction: two sheets of titanal metal sandwiched around a wood core with vertical sidewalls. The current version of the Kendo has tip and tail rocker with camber under foot and a 90 mm waist width. There are a lot of skis out there that fall into this “do-everything” category for all mountain skis, and even a fair amount with two sheets of metal, but the Kendo was certainly one of the earliest to make waves in the ~90 mm all mountain ski world.

Jeff Neagle skied the 177 cm length and described the Kendo as being “exceptionally stable,” but admitted that due to the two sheets of metal and the ski’s weight and stiffness, “it requires some skier input and a certain amount of aggressiveness to get the most out of the ski.” While the addition of tail rocker has made the Kendo a little bit more user-friendly and forgiving, it’s still a pretty demanding, burly ski. You can sit back a little bit and just ride the ski, but it really rewards proactive, aggressive skiers. Jeff thought it was “a nice compliment to the new Kanjo. In the Kanjo you get a lot of energy, in the Kendo you get a lot of stability and smooth performance.” It’s relatively important to note here that the Kanjo uses significantly less metal, so it makes sense that it’s not quite as stable.

Bob St Pierre tested the 184 cm Kendo and referred to it as “an extremely solid ski.” Bob found that “you can definitely feel both sheets of metal and the vertical sidewall.” It has really strong torsional stiffness from the vertical sidewalls and metal laminates in addition to its stable, quiet feel. Bob even went as far as saying it was “one of the burliest skis of the test.”

Marcus Shakun called the Kendo a “good all-around utility knife.” Marcus found it to make “medium to long radius turns,” which sounds about right considering Marcus was skiing the 184 cm ski that has a 22.2 m turn radius. Even the shortest Kendo, the 163 cm, has a middle-of-the-road 16.8 m turn radius, so the Kendo isn’t really going to be a quick turner if we’re talking carving turns. Marcus described it as being very stable with great edge hold, “able to set an edge and not worry about if the ski will hold.” “Tip rocker helps roll into every turn and gas pedal your desired quickness.” Marcus recommended the Kendo for advanced to expert skiers that ski a variety of terrain and is looking for a medium to long radius turn with great edge grip.” Marcus was able to put them to the test in some variable conditions and terrain and did comment that they “might be a bit stiff for bumps, but rocker profile allows you to slide your turns when you want to.”

The Kendo really is best suited for relatively aggressive advanced and expert skiers basically just because it uses so much metal in its construction. Metal makes a ski heavier and requires more effort and skier input to manipulate it into different turn shapes. Skiers who like to charge, however, will have no trouble getting the Kendo to respond nicely to changes in terrain and conditions and will really appreciate the incredibly amount of stability the ski provides for high speed skiing.


Bob St. Pierre Ski Tester Headshot Image

Bob St. Pierre

Age: 39Height: 6'2"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Adaptable, versatile, ex-competitive mogul skier.

Jeff Neagle Ski Tester Headshot Image

Jeff Neagle

Age: 31Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Marcus Shakun Ski Tester Headshot Image

Marcus Shakun

Age: 37Height: 6'5"Weight: 210 lbs.

Ski Style: Powerful, but playful with the terrain

57 Comments on the “2018 Volkl Kendo Skis”

  1. Hi SE …
    Up until a 4 day trip to Mammoth in February 2019, it’d been 23 years since I’d trapped on skis … business, kids, college fees, etc. When we last Ski’d Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon it was winter of 1996, and at that point I was an advanced-int skier. Today I am 5′-11″ and 190.

    Yesterday, on my 5th day back on skis … I demo’d the 2019 177cm Kendo and found myself skiing better that I’ve ever experienced. It was awesome! So, I’m now in the hunt to buy a pair. There are a few 2019 Kendo’s out there, with a few more 2018 and 2017s available.

    So the question is, were there any changes that would effect ski performance from 2018 to 2018? Or 2017 to 2018 to 2019? The savings and availability are measurable if you go back 1-2-3 years.

    Best, Tom in Portland, Oregon

    1. Hi Tom!
      You’re fine to go back to 2017, but they’re different before that. The 18 and 19 are different (do not read “better”) and it gets a total re-design for 2020. Have fun!

  2. Had the Kendo 184 for some time now and adore them. It really was love at first ride. I’m only 5’9” it still wanted the longer ski. Took them down the Swiss wall which was difficult but doable. Also had them on more regular moguls and another skier commented, nice bumps so you can take them anywhere. Once your on rollers they come into their own and they don’t mind loads of snow. They are a charging ski and they need to be pushed hard to get them to respond. For me perfection

  3. I have been renting for the past 10 years and decided to buy my first pair of skis. I am 44, 5’11, and 155 lbs. I mostly stayed on groomed blue and black trails, also very much enjoyed the back bowls in Vail. I am not a big fan of moguls and woods but sometimes have to get in to chase my two teenage kids. On non-terrain trails, I tend to ski faster than them and often have to wait for them. We live on the east coast but have booked trips to CO and UT this winter.

    Initially, I thought these metal ones might be too heavy and intimidating to me. I haven’t paid too much attention to the models of rented skis, despite having paid up to get “performance” rental in recent years. If I could, 3 things on my wishlist 1) better stability, more responsive carving, and reduced tremor at high speed; 2) easier to maneuver moguls and sometimes the irregular bumps due to piled up fresh powders; 3) easier to walk/backcountry on a relatively flat surface. After reading through some reviews, it seems that heavier metal skis can precisely address my #1, not sure if it helps or hurts for #2, and probably will make #3 worse. I am very attempted to get Kendo 177cm, but also eyeing Enforcer 93, Navigator 90, and XDR 88. I have crossed Head Core 93 off my list as it might be too light and unstable for me.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Lujing!
      Of the skis on your list, the Navigator 90 and the XDR 88 stand out as your best options. The Kendo is a great ski, but the dual metal laminate and the very high-performance level can be prohibitive in the moguls and trees. They’re very stiff, and as a result, hard to control in tight situations. They are, however, very well suited to the blue and black groomers you may encounter. Neither the Navigator nor the XDR 88 have two full sheets of metal, so these will address #’s 2 and 3 on your list better than the Kendo or Enforcer 93, while still providing tremendous stability and carving ability. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks very much!

        If I am to get the navigator, shall I get 179 or 186cm, given its short turning radius?

      2. Lujing,
        I’d go with the 179. They will be plenty stable for what you are looking to do. Additionally, you’ll love the maneuverability of the skis in those tighter areas. Have fun!

      3. I am a 170 pound advanced skier, and am contemplating purchasing the kendo’s. Is it a good fit for me? I cycle and spin quite often and can generate a good level of sustained leg power.

      4. Hey Bill!
        The Kendo is like a wide GS ski–they love to be on hard snow and carving at high speeds. If that fits the description of your skiing style, then go for it! They’re fantastic skis with great reputations. Have fun!

  4. love your website and am looking to finally get a new pair of skis this year–I’m on 2004-2005 Liberty Choppers as my daily driver and 2008 Rossi World Cup SLs right now.

    I’m a long time ski racer and I coach Alpine racing in Burlington Vermont. I ski 50+ days a year and I’m looking for a one ski quiver–one that I can stand up on the race hill when I inspect with my racers, but also slip into the bumps and trees in between the girls and boys runs.

    I’m an aggressive skier on my own time and ski mostly bump trails and steeps — I teach lessons to beginners as well but usually use old rock skis.

    The ski tech I’m on is OLD and HEAVY. I was hoping to lighten it up a little. That being said, I’m basically looking for a ski that can rip steeps and still play in powdered bumps and trees.

    I was looking at the K2 pinnacle 88’s and the Kendo 90 (both 17-18). What would you recommend?

    Is there another ski that I’m overlooking? For stats–26yo, 5,5 and 170lb.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your help!

    1. Hi CD Sheffy!
      The Kendo will best the Pinnacle 88 in terms of on-piste performance. That said, if you’re hoping to “lighten it up a little” as you say, the Pinnacle 88 is maneuverable, playful, and super-fun. They’ll still rip on-trail, but the Kendo is a different animal altogether. The Blizzard Brahma compares more to the Kendo, if that’s the route you want to take. If you’re used to race skis, the Brahma and Kendo have similar constructions and behaviors, but also the same heft. If you’re interested in more versatility, the K2’s, the Nordica Navigator 90, Rossignol Experience 88, and Atomic Vantage 90 Ti are worth a look. Happy skiing!

  5. Hi SE,
    I´m using 1,77 Salomon Q90 with Salomon Guardian WTR 13 Alpine Touring bindings since a couple of years ago. I´m 1,75 and 85 kg with strong legs, mostly on-piste intermediate to advanced skier but trying to feel comfortable off-piste every season, which is quite a challenge to me due I feel better on ice than on deep powder (although it sounds weird). My skis are quite used now and I´m looking a replacement, what you can say to me about these Kendo in 1,70?
    Thanks in advance, greetings from Patagonia Argentina!

    1. Hi Diego!

      The Kendo is a little heavier and stiffer than the Q90 you were on. It uses two sheets of metal in its construction, which gives it excellent vibration damping, stability, and power, but it also adds quite a bit of weight and makes the ski a little bit more demanding. Are you planning on using your AT binding on it? Not many people use the Kendo for touring because it is on the heavier side. Some do, but it’s pretty rare. They’re relatively challenging in deeper snow conditions. Have you considered sticking with Salomon and going with a ski like the QST 92? It’s somewhat similar to your Q90, but really benefits from more recent technology and designs. It’s definitely a higher performing ski than the Q90 across the board, in any snow condition, and it would make an awesome touring ski in addition to being a lot of fun at the resort.

      Hope that helps!


  6. Hi SE!

    I am looking to buy my first pair of skis after using rentals for the past 20+ years, so have been checking out your reviews/analysis and would love some assistance if possible. I’m 180cm and 75kg and am looking for an all-mountain ski that I can take anywhere, but will probably on-piste ~80% of the time. I tend to be aggressive down groomers (mostly blue/blacks) with the odd bumps run as well, so thought the 177cm Kendo could be a good option given my high speeds, but am a bit worried about it’s burly, unforgiving nature and skier input requirement. The Brahma sounds even burlier, while the Rossignol 88 HD may be too light given it’s lack of metal.

    Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated! I often ski east coast, with the odd Japan/Canada trip when possible.


    1. Hi Nick!

      You’re pretty much spot on with your impressions of these skis. The Kendo is fairly burly and unforgiving, the Brahma is even more demanding, and the Experience 88 HD is quite lightweight and loses significant stability and vibration damping compared to the Kendo or Brahma. I think the Kendo could potentially work really well for you, although there are some other skis that are a little bit more user-friendly if you’re worried about the amount of metal, stiffness, weight, etc that comes along with the Kendo. The Nordica Enforcer 93 is one to consider. Uses two sheets of metal like the Kendo, but it’s thinner metal and the ski has more pronounced rocker, so it’s a little bit more forgiving. It’s got a nice blend of performance for all types of terrain, and is a little easier in the bumps. The Head Kore 93 is similar to the Enforcer, but drops metal entirely so it’s quite a bit lighter, but not quite as stable or powerful. The Salomon QST 92 also comes to mind. Similar to the Kore 93 in the sense that it doesn’t use metal, so it’s quite a bit lighter. I think you’ll probably appreciate having metal in your skis given that you like to ski fairly fast, but I thought I would mention those skis as options.

      Hope that helps! Also, I agree that the 177 cm length would be right for you in the Kendo, and I would stick right around that length if you go to any of the other skis I mentioned.


  7. Hi SE,

    I’ve been skiing on a pair of Volkl 8.0’s and am looking to upgrade to a pair of all-mountain skis this year. I’m 6” and around 205 lbs, strong -intermediate, I like to ski quite aggressively on groomers, but found the 8.0’s to feel a little unstable when I pushed them hard. Ive done a bit of research, (watched a few of your videos) and the Volkl Kendos and the Nordica Enforcer 93’s are the two names that keep on popping up. Im looking for something that can maintain nice stability at speed and something that can push my ability as a skier as well.

    Any help would be great!


    1. Hi Alex!

      I would go with the Enforcer 93 if I were you. Between those skis the Enforcer 93 is a little bit more approachable. Not to say that you wouldn’t be able to handle the Kendo, but it can feel fairly demanding. The Enforcer 93 is more forgiving, while still being very stable at speed. I think it will give you the performance you’re looking for, but will be a better ski to take your ability to the advanced/expert level.

      Hope that helps!


  8. Hi , I have a kendo 2013 170cm length ( dragon graphics) , im a 50 years old advanced/ skier with 170cm and 80 kg weight. I feel very secure when cruising off piste and even in piste except icy terrain. its there any change in construction material or other reason for me consider upgrade to this 2018 kendos?

    1. Hello!

      The rocker profile is different and there’s more early taper now. They’re a little bit more versatile and perform better in softer snow conditions than the previous versions. Not a huge difference in construction, it’s more a difference in shape.


  9. Hi SE

    I’ve always used cheap beginner skis, but decided to rent something more advanced this year. The rental gave me a Volkl racetiger SL(165cm), which felt amazing after only using beginner skis for years. I’m looking to buy a pair of higher end skis now and the Kendo seems to be recommended a lot as just overall better than the racetigers I used. Your review however makes me think they might be too hard for me to handle as my first good skis. I’m 170cm and 80kg and like skiing fast with short turns, but I’m not the most “active” skier and I’m still trying to improve.

    Any advice?

    1. Hi Stijn!

      We always mention that the Kendo is a relatively demanding ski because of its two sheets of metal and the stiffness and weight that comes along with that. That said, if you skied a slalom Racetiger you can probably handle a Kendo just fine. Racetigers use two sheets of metal as well, so the Kendo likely won’t feel exceptionally heavy to you compared to those. I might, however, consider going with the 163 cm length. On paper you could probably handle the 170 cm, but I think the 163 cm would be plenty of ski for you and will be a little more user-friendly at first.

      Hope that helps!


  10. Love your site. Great advice and insights. I am a 67 year old advanced/expert skier who has just started skiing more after retirement. Eastern skier. I am 6′, 185, and still athletic and strong for my age. Technique is improving because I have become a ski instructor, Level I PSIA. I have been skiing 2016 Rossignol Experience 88 in 180 cm, and I am looking for a ski that provides me a bit more stability in Eastern mixed conditions and more flexibility and quickness in different terrain – bumps, trees, off-piste – without sacrificing hold on firm Eastern conditions. I like the long edge of the Rossignol for carving, but the dramatic side cut makes them catchy in mixed conditions and they are not great in moguls/tight spots. I have reviewed Blizzard Brahma, the Volkl Kendo, Nordica Enforcer 93, Head Kore, Atomic CTI 90 Vantage, Dynastar Legend XTI 88, Salomon XTR 88TI and even the remodeled 2019 Rossignol Experience – the usual all-mountain suspects. My research has me leaning towards the Volkl, Nordica, maybe the Brahma though that seems oriented more on-piste. What do you think? And, if I am looking for a bit more quickness, would I be better off in the high 170’s vs low 180’s for length, without sacrificing stability at speed? I know, I am asking for a ski to do an awful lot, but what the hey! Thanks

    1. Hi Bill!

      My first impression of your situation is that you’re looking for both more stability and more quickness, which is tough to do. Often stability comes from a heavier ski, which tends to reduce overall quickness. That being said, I do think there are some skis that can accomplish what you’re looking for. I don’t necessarily think the Brahma or Kendo are the ticket. While they are a different shape than the Experience 88 you’re on, they don’t use a ton of early taper or rocker. You get more stability for sure out of those skis, but I don’t expect you’d find them any easier in moguls or other un-groomed terrain. The Enforcer 93 uses much more rocker and early taper, so definitely feels more maneuverable while still benefiting from the stability of metal, but it’s not an exceptionally quick ski. The XDR 88 is an intriguing option for you. More metal than the Experience 88, but also a more versatile shape. You could say the same about the newer version of the Experience 88. Some metal now, but it’s not drastically heavier than the previous version and is actually more maneuverable. I would say XDR or new Experience 88 is the way to go, at least that’s my opinion.


      1. SE,

        Thanks for the response. I have been away for a few weeks so I did not have a chance to check the site. I like your analysis and it makes sense based on the combination of attributes I am seeking. I assume you would recommend that I stay on the 180cm in Rossignol, 179 in XDR.

        Just to make sure, is there any ski that I am not considering that might work?

        Thanks again. ADK Bill

      2. Hi Bill!

        Yeah, I think right around 180 cm is a good length to shoot for. I would also throw the new Blizzard Rustler 9 into the mix. It’s a little wider, but definitely another good option in terms of skis that blend carving performance with more playful, maneuverable off-piste performance. We did a full review of it on our Chairlift Chat blog, as well as the new Experience 88.


  11. Hi SE,

    This is an excellent site, and its so helpful for those who don’t have the knowledge to read the comments.

    I’ve just got home from a late season week in the Alps, where I found my 172 Rossi Hero Elite Short Turn TI Skis a bit tricky in the wet slushy snow. I bought the Ski based on an instructor recommendation (based on my burly 194cm/145kg frame), that I needed to go for stiffness even if the ski was technically above my intermediate skill level. These really improved my skiing over random rental skis, where my size has always confused the ‘petit’ guys in the Ski shop.

    I’ve really enjoyed the Hero’s but would like another set which is stiff but is going to better handle the crud, rather than just perfect piste/hard pack conditions. I only Ski on piste in a relaxed style.

    From reading your reviews and comments the Kendo or ‘regular’ Blizzard Brahma in 180 seem to be what I’m looking for, to handle my size in the crud.

    Do you have any advice to share with me?

    1. Hi Nick!

      Yes, I can imagine the faces on the staff of rental shops when you walk through the door! They certainly aren’t used to providing skis for someone your size.

      I think a 184 cm Kendo would be great for you. It would really give you a nice stable feel and the ability to ski softer snow conditions, crud snow, etc. I would also consider the Enforcer 93 from Nordica. I think those two skis are going to be a little easier for your ability level than the Brahma just because they use more tip and tail rocker and early taper, so a little more maneuverable in variable snow, soft snow, etc. A 185 cm Enforcer 93 would likely work really well for you too. Someday you could even consider getting a ski like the longest Enforcer 93 in the 193 cm length, but for now I think the 185 cm would be more approachable for you while still delivering the performance you need.

      Hope that helps! SE

  12. Hello there! I am looking to get a new pair of skis for all day long skiing on any conditions. I am a hard charger and i like to go fast, carv turns and jump from every bump. I have 22 years of skiing experience but most of it on SL skis 1.65, but still a versatile skier, i got borred skiing most of the time on pist.I would like to get some resort all mountain skis witch will include some powder days too. I would like to get the skis on short back country runs too. Do you belive Kendo or Enforce 93 will be a good ski fo me ? I am 1.84 and 75 kg i belive i need to check for 1.84 skis to be more fun on powder right ?

    1. Hi Adelin!

      I bet you’ll really like the Kendo. The Enforcer 93 is a great ski, but if you’re really charging hard the Kendo does have a longer effective edge, which gives it really good stability and edge grip. The Enforcer 93 is no slouch, but I think the Kendo is a little more powerful. I do think the Enforcer’s shape handles soft snow better, so somewhat of a decision to be made there. In the Enforcer 93 you’d definitely want to get the 185 cm length. The 184 cm Kendo is pretty demanding, but it sounds like you can handle it as an aggressive, advanced skier.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Thank you for the replay!!
        What about the new Rustler 9, i believe i can trade some performance from onpist to offpist, because i already have and i will always have some WC SL skis. I am a ski instructor, and i spend a lot of time on hard pack snow, but my mind is always on the offpist side and i would like to do some freeride too ( not like big mountain freeride ). I am so confuse, but if i need to pick one from Kendo, Enforcer 93, and Rustler for better performance on offpist allmountain witch one will be better ?

      2. Hey again Adelin,

        If you’re willing to sacrifice some power on piste for maneuverability off piste I think the Rustler 9 would work well. It’s not like it’s drastically less ski on firm snow, but the metal is shorter in the Rustler 9 and it uses more tip and tail rocker than the Kendo. Similar tip rocker to the Enforcer 93, but more tail rocker, so a bit more maneuverable and playful in soft snow conditions. If you’re looking for a ski to compliment your slalom skis I agree that the Rustler 9 could be the way to go. I’d say it’s more versatile than both the Kendo and Enforcer 93, although the Enforcer 93 isn’t far behind in my opinion. It’s just a little more challenging to throw around because of the full sheets of metal and less tail rocker.

        Hope that helps!


  13. Good morning,
    I am a recently reborn skier; the last pair of skis I had were Rossignol Viper, at a whopping 195cm if I recall correctly. This was in the late 90’s. I just picked up and went skiing again recently and it reminded me how much I enjoy the sport, and how much skis have changed over 20 years!

    I was on a pair of 175cm, 100mm under the boot Icelandic skis and wasn’t a huge fan. I’m sure the condition of the skis was a factor but overall just felt they didn’t get an edge easily.

    So, of course, I’ve been researching skis like crazy and want to try to demo/purchase a pair and go as much as I can before the end of the season. I would describe my ability as intermediate currently (before I took early retirement in my early 20s I would have said advanced / moguls, jumps, fast pace, aggressive) I’m 5’11” and about 165lbs, and now 40 yrs old.

    The models I was looking into were:
    Volkl Kendo
    Head Kore 93
    Nordica Enforcer 93
    Atomic Vantage 90 CTI
    Blizzard Brahma
    Elan Ripstick 86 or maybe 96

    From what I’ve read it seems the Volkl may be a bit too stiff and require a lot of input from the skier, but I don’t know that for sure — It was the ski I was set on until I read some that information. Sounds like the Enforcer is about the perfect ski for all conditions, but don’t want to give up anything or overlook. Ripstick also sounds great, but again, just want to hear from an expert.

    I’m looking for something that will most likely be used on groom/trails/resort – and as I regain my skill level will start to go off trail, moguls, etc

    Any recommendation? Maybe another brand?

    1. Hi GH!

      Psyched you’re getting back into the sport! It’s amazing how much has changed since the 90s, huh? So, with having some experience under your belt and what I perceive to be a fairly athletic build I’m guessing you’ll progress pretty quickly, especially when you have a ski you like more on your feet.

      That said, I do think the Kendo might be a little much to start. It is the most demanding out of the skis you’ve listed, and it is pretty stiff. An Enforcer 93 will definitely be a little bit more approachable for you to start, but as your ability progresses you’ll likely find you aren’t pushing the ski past its limits. It’s a fairly unique ski in the sense that a more intermediate level skier can ski it, while an expert can too and really can unlock more of its potential. I think the Enforcer 93 would be a great choice, of if you wanted a little bit lighter weight ski the Kore 93 is quite similar, just lighter, not quite as stable, but a little quicker. The Brahma is pretty demanding, like the Kendo, and not quite as versatile. You’d probably like the Ripstick a lot at first, but for some reason I get the impression you’re going to want a slightly more aggressive ski. Same can be said for the Vantage. A great ski, but I think the Enforcer 93 is probably more appropriate.

      What do you think?


  14. Hi,
    Looking for some new skis. Have been told to look at the kendo and the blizzard Brahma. I am 5 ’10″/175 lbs, 67 years old, skiing for 40 years. Really like the challenge of the moguls. So I probably spend 35 % of my time there. I do like a stable ski when I am not sking moguls. I currently have the vokl unlimited. Appreciate any suggestions kendo Brahma or others u might suggest. Cheers Tom

    1. Hi Tom!

      The Brahma and Kendo both absolutely rip! They’re super fun skis, although I will say they’re both somewhat demanding in moguls as they have a pretty stiff flex pattern through the whole ski and both use two sheets of metal. If you’re spending that much of your time in moguls maybe something with slightly softer tips and tails would be a little less fatiguing? Of course it’s up to you, and I will say there are a fair amount of people that ski bumps on those skis, but I thought I’d mention that. The Salomon XDR 88 always comes to mind among the all mountain category for a ski that’s stable when skiing fast on piste, but does quite well in moguls as the metal doesn’t extend to the end of the tips and tails. I don’t want to take anything away from the Kendo or Brahma, as they really are ripping skis that are a blast to ski, but the XDR 88 is a little more forgiving, just to give you another option. I think it’s a toss up between the Kendo and Brahma if you go that route. The Brahma has a shorter turn radius, which is nice in bumps, but the Kendo uses more early taper in the tips and tails, which is also nice in bumps, so it’s a bit of a wash.

      Hope that helps!


  15. Hey,

    Wondering whether this is the right ski for me; between the 170cm and 177cm. 5’8” around 170lbs I definitely like speed and pushing the ski. Been skiing 2010 Line Chronic Cryptonites at 163cm (camber twin tips).

    Does this ski carve daily well? Skiing mostly groomed conditions with lighter powder here and there. Mostly east coast conditions; rarely a lot of powder and never in the park anymore.

    I like the Mantras too, but not sure they make sense for me… Any other recommendations if these aren’t a good fit?


    1. Hi Ian!

      Oh yeah, the Kendo rips carving turns for sure! Plenty of power, excellent stability from the metal, holds an edge really well. I would say the Kendo is more appropriate than the Mantra considering you ski mostly groomers, although if you’re looking for a little more ability in soft snow you could consider the Nordica Enforcer 93. It’s a little bit wider, a little bit more maneuverable in soft snow because of the rocker profile, but still performs really well on firm snow. Next year’s Mantra would be more appropriate than the current version because it goes back to having camber and is a little bit narrower, but I think you’ll find what you’re looking for in either the Kendo or Enforcer 93.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Cool Thanks! I had looked at the Enforcers — I’ll have to take another. Any thoughts on the 170cm or 177cm length?

      2. Hey Ian!

        Sorry, forgot to include length. I think because you have a preference for speed and really pushing a ski you’ll probably like the 177 cm best. I would say the same is true for the Enforcer – 177 cm instead of 169 cm.


  16. Looking to upgrade to a new set of mild width all-mountain sticks for east coast ice and crust. I’m 35, 6’3 and a burly 108kg, quasi aggressive intermediate-advanced skier looking to up my skiing. I’ve been looking at Salomon QST92 at 185 or the Volkl Kendo 184. ive been skiing an older set of Fischer motive74, which were my first foray into shaped skis from a long layoff and way to short to keep up with me now. are these salomon and volkl similar in character or vastly different?

    1. Hey Derek!

      They are somewhat similar in the sense that they’re both around 90 mm underfoot and are designed to be versatile all mountain skis, although they are fairly different in terms of construction and feel. The QST 92 uses a wood core, but integrates carbon and flax fiber for a lot of its performance. It does have some metal, but not much. It’s pretty lightweight, very playful, and overall pretty forgiving as well. The Kendo, on the other hand, uses two sheets of metal sandwiching its wood core. It’s very stable, has excellent vibration damping, although is heavier and has a less playful feel than the QST 92. I think at your size you’re one of those skiers that will likely benefit from having metal in your ski regardless of how aggressive you are, which is why I’m kind of leaning towards the Kendo for you. I think it will be smoother and you’ll actually appreciate having the extra weight.


  17. Currently on the last Mantra 184 before they went to zero camber and looking into the Kendo in a 184. Will I feel any decrease in stability at high speeds? I moved to New England from Tahoe and went to the Mantra 184 from the Katana 191. I still charge as hard as I can and always look to get off the trails but being in New England I find myself laying down GS turns on corduroy or ice very often.

    1. Hi Zk!

      Nope, I don’t expect you’ll find any decrease in stability from your Mantras to the current version of the Kendo. It’s largely the same construction (wood core, two sheets of metal) and definitely can still handle aggressive, high speed skiing. It’s also more appropriate when we don’t have soft snow here in New England and we’re stuck arcing GS turns on firm snow. I think you’ll be psyched with the Kendo.


  18. Wondering how this updated version of the Kendo compares with the Nordica Enforcer 93’s? I’ve demoed both the Nordica’s and the 2017 version of the Kendo (both in the 177cm) and I think I prefer the Kendo but I was curious if there had been any changes from the previous iteration. Also looking to get a length recommendation. The 177’s were nice but seemed a bit short and I’m curious if the pairs I demoed were in fact too short for me and if the 184cm would be a better option. I am 6′, 165lbs and a strong intermidiate/advanced skier. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Pieter!

      There’s really no difference between the 2017 and 2018 Kendo except for the top sheet graphic, so your testing on the Enforcer 93 and Kendo still applies to the current version. I think you could justify the 184 cm at your size, especially if you found the 177 cm felt short. I know quite a few skiers around your size who prefer that 184 cm length.

      Hope that helps!


  19. Hey Ski Essentials! Thank you for the review. I recently demoed a pair of the 170’s and I thought they were a phenomenal ski. I am looking at purchasing a set for myself and am trying to decide between the 2018 170s and 2017 177s. I have managed to find them both for the same price, and I know the construction is no different. My only question is which do you think would be better for me? I am just over 5′ 10″ and weigh 160 lbs. I’ve been skiing 167s for a while now, but I am definitely frustrated with the chatter at high speeds. To quote the immortal Ricky Bobby, “I wanna go fast.” I don’t fool around in the park (learned my lesson there), and am really all about the wind rushing through my helmet, so what do you folks over there think?

    1. Hi Travis!

      I certainly don’t think there’s any reason for you to not get the 177 cm Kendo. I’m about your size exactly and would describe myself fairly similarly in terms of speed and level of aggressiveness. I don’t think that length is too long for you by any means and will definitely feel more stable at speed. Go for it!


  20. Looking to buy replacement of my Völkl RTM80 171cm skis, with which I am very happy. Want something a bit more suited also for powder. I am 56 years, 183 cm and 78kg. I was between the Völkl Kendo 177cm or the Atomic Vantage CTI 176cm. Am I on the right track in my decision or would you suggest going a different direction?

    1. Hi Reinhard!

      Yes, I think you’re on the right track. You don’t want to get something drastically different than what you current ski, since you’re happy with their performance. I think a ski like the Kendo will retain a good feel for you on firm snow, but will be more appropriate for soft snow and more forgiving in un-groomed terrain. Now, the Kendo has two full sheets of metal, so is relatively heavy and somewhat demanding. The Vantage CTI could be a great choice if you want a slightly lighter weight ski, and it still performs at a high level thanks to the carbon, titanal backbone, etc.


  21. Hi.

    I recently purchased 177cm volkl kendo skis although I have not had the chance to try them out yet. I am worried that I should have went for the 184cm and I was wondering if you think this would have been a better option? I am 6’2″ and weigh 80kg. I am an advanced intermediate and a relatively aggressive skier.



    1. Hi Greg!

      Do you like to ski really fast? The 184 cm Kendo is quite a lot of ski, so you might not need it. You’re not exceptionally heavy, which is arguably more of a factor when choosing length than height. The only issue would be a lack of stability at speed, but at your weight I’m not sure that’s going to be an issue. What do you think? Do you like to ski really fast over choppy snow conditions?


      1. Thanks for your reply!

        Yeah I do like skiing really fast but usually over groomed snow. Yeah I was worried 184cm would be a bit too much ski given the kendo is already quite a stiff ski.


  22. Looking to buy the 2017 Kendo or the 2018 model . Not sure I can justify nearly double the price for 2018 model. Any reasons I’m missing ?

    1. Hi Pidge!

      No structural or shape changes to the Kendo for 2018, just graphics. You’re going to get the same performance out of the 2017 and 2018 skis.


    1. Hi Joel!

      You know, it’s really hard to say that one ski is the BEST, as each skier wants something different out of a ski. A less aggressive skier on ice would probably want something that’s confidence inspiring, easy to use, but still holds an edge, while a super aggressive skier will require the maximum torsional stiffness to hold an edge through high speed, powerful turns. If we stick to the latter, skis with two sheets of metal start to rise to the top: The Blizzard Brahma and the Kastle MX 84 both have camber underfoot and two sheets of metal, and are both under 90 mm at their waist, so a bit quicker edge to edge. Then there’s skis like the Volkl Kendo and Nordica Enforcer 93 that have two sheets of metal, but are wider and use more rocker in their profile. Even a ski like the Volkl Kenjo, even though it uses much less metal, performed great in icy conditions. We’re not here to say that one ski is the best out of an entire category, but if you have any other questions or want us to compare particular models to help you dial in your next skis definitely let us know!


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