The RTM 86 is the widest ski in Volkl’s “Ride The Mountain” collection and is best thought of as a wider carving ski. While it is mostly unchanged from 2017 going into 2018, Volkl did add their new 3D.Glass construction. This 3D.Glass is fiberglass that instead of ending before the sidewall now wraps up the side of the ski and out to the edge. The concept is to give the ski more structural integrity and thus better torsional stiffness and power. This builds on the performance we’ve seen in the RTM 86 since Volkl redesigned the line with their new 3D.Ridge technology: an innovative and unique way of building a carving ski that has been met with rave reviews. The RTM series is known for delivering responsive performance on groomers and for having relatively innovative, unique construction. They’re lighter than traditional carving skis, yet don’t seem to lose any torsional stiffness, but let’s see if our testers agree.
4 out of 5 testers gave the RTM 86 5 out of 5 for its Stability score, which it a great place to start when talking about this ski. It’s a powerful ride that shouldn’t be taken lightly and is incredibly damp, something that all of our testers agreed on. As Mike Thomas states, the ski is a “Ripper. Powerful ski with a carving character with just enough rocker to make it a little playful and very versatile for how well it trenches.” Joe Cutts, another big, powerful skier adds, “Can be a little exhausting, but WOW does it love to carve hard snow at high speed!”
Most testers agreed with Mike Thomas that the ski is quite versatile considering its strength and power. Matt McGinnis even went as far as giving the ski 5 out of 5 for both Quickness and Playfulness. He added, “Quick edge to edge, plus the camber makes it bounce, so I had a playful time on it!” Despite Matt’s praise, we probably wouldn’t describe this ski as overwhelmingly playful, especially when compared to lighter, more rockered skis, but his response sheds light on the skis ability to do more than just carve. For reference, Mike, Matt, and Joe all skied the 182 cm length.
If you love carving powerful turns, but you want a little more versatility out of your ski, consider the RTM 86. Our testers do have some words of advice, however. Joe Cutts puts it nicely, “Great at what it does, just know what you’re in for.” Matt McGinnis echoes this sentiment with, “The ski probably isn’t for true beginners partly because there are simply better choices for them.” We can add that the ski probably isn’t for less aggressive intermediate skiers for the same reason.
It is, on the other hand, “Ideal for fast, high-angle arcs on fresh, early-morning corduroy,” according to Joe Cutts. Mike Thomas, being a larger guy himself, adds in “Best for a bigger skier looking for a wide carver with versatility. Not for lightweight, timid skiers.” While you certainly can be a smaller skier and still enjoy the RTM 86, you don’t want to be checking the timid box alongside the lightweight box. We’ll leave you with our favorite quote out of all the RTM 86 test forms, again coming from Mike Thomas:
“Eat your Wheaties and charge.”