The top two models in Volkl’s venerable RTM series of richly-constructed, narrow-waisted frontside skis are similar in many ways: same 3D Ridge construction (thick down the middle, thin and supple over the edge), UVO dampening module (for a quiet ride at high speeds), same rocker profile (tip and tail for forgiving turn entries and exits, with camber underfoot for positive carvability and rebound energy), and virtually the same slalomesque sidecut radius. The big difference is that the top-of-the-line 86 gets the full-metal treatment in its layup, which makes it both more powerful and demanding than the 84. So if you’re sure you’ve got the quad muscles and the ambition to keep up with the 86 all day, go ahead and spend the extra money. But testers were pretty sure that the 84 was plenty of ski for the vast majority of skiers, and even more fun in typical resort conditions. It arcs like any Volkl, but there’s a quickness to it, an ease of maneuverability, that the top model lacks. That comes in handy for steep trees, tight lines, even bumps. Long a darling of the magazine tests, this is the RTM best suited to most skiers, testers said. It’s a stalwart of the Volkl line for good reason.
Joe C. : “Loves to arc at speed, but has a laid-back side to its personality as well. Get the 86 if you’re just gonna rail the groomed all day (or even a beer league racecourse), but this one’s more friendly and versatile for all-mountain applications.”
James S. : “Hard to beat this for an all-around carver. There’s a reason it sells so well. Stable and damp, but not too demanding.”
Kris D. : “A great frontside ripper. Very stable in long-radius, high-speed turns.”
Mike R. : “Good all-around ski with very few compromises. Turns well in both short and long turns. Quick in the bumps and variable snow. A solid choice for intermediate and advanced skiers.”
Matt M. : “An extremely capable all-mountain ski. Highly maneuverable and relatively stable at high speeds. Compared to the 86, it’s a little friendlier—less ideal for experts, but more approachable for intermediates.”
Mike T. : “A quick, playful frontside ripper. Fun, fun, fun. Beautiful combination of carving skills with a nimble, playful feel. Best for a mature skier who wants a thoroughly modern all-mountain ski that still feels like a Volkl.”
Jamie B. : “Lots of energy in the tail. Medium- and long-radius turns are where this ski shines, even in the 172-cm length. A crud slayer.”