The Volkl Flair SC sits at the top of the women’s carving ski collection. While there are other high performance carving skis in the line, the Flair SC is arguably the most dedicated to firm snow performance thanks to its 72 mm waist width. There is obvious slalom ski influence in the Flair SC, with a relatively small turning radius ranging from 11.4 to 14.0 meters. Volkl uses relatively traditional sandwich construction in this ski, but instead of using metal laminates the power, responsiveness, and energy comes from carbon fiber. This reduces overall weight by quite a bit compared to skis with metal, but retains a high performance feel. We’re starting to see more carbon applications in carving skis because it provides a high level of performance, but allows manufacturers to keep the weight to a minimum, which is an increasingly popular demand from skiers across the board. Volkl integrates their UVO vibration damping system, the same system used on World Cup race skis, to help quiet the ski and retain consistent edge contact and grip. All of our testers skied the 160 cm length. Let’s see what they thought!
Ali Berlin was definitely impressed by the Flair SC. She gave it high scores, including 5 out of 5 for stability and quickness. She described it as a “great carving ski.” Ali felt it “has a nice ‘pop’ coming out of a turn. Conditions were soft and they pushed through the crud.” Ali was definitely benefitting from the carbon construction; that’s where that energy and pop out of the turn is coming from. It’s nice to know that the ski didn’t get bogged down in softer snow conditions, despite the narrow waist. That’s a testament to the ski’s stability. In fact, Ali commented that it felt “very light weight and overall stable.” Historically, high performance, stable frontside carving skis have not necessarily felt lightweight, but with advancements in ski technology, manufacturers are able to make skis lighter and lighter without any major sacrifices.
Danielle Nichols referred to it as a “total slalom ski.” She gave the Flair SC similar scores to Ali, including 5 out of 5 for stability, quickness, and edge grip. Again, those are impressive scores for a carving ski that relies on carbon instead of metal for its performance. Danielle thought it would be “perfect for someone that just wants to rip slalom turns all day long.” We think that’s pretty darn accurate. With its small turn radius and preference for short, energetic carving turns that’s a great way to describe the ski and who will like it. Danielle also noted that it’s “not versatile enough for me.” Keep that in mind if you’re considering the Flair SC. Its performance is relatively dedicated to short turns on the frontside. If all mountain versatility is what you’re after, there are better options.
Kristi Brown had an absolute blast on the Flair SC. She gave it 4.5 or 5 out of 5 for every single criteria, although did leave flotation blank. That makes sense, and we get it. The Flair SC is not really meant for powder, so flotation is a little bit of a moot point. Kristi, often one to come up with interesting ways to describe skis, thought it felt like “rolling thunder pouring down the hill with force and finesse.” If that’s too poetic for you, just focus on those high scores she gave it!
Danielle really hit the nail on the head when she said it would be perfect for someone that wants to rip slalom turns. Because of its strong torsional stiffness and energy, we wouldn’t recommend it for less aggressive skiers or lower level intermediates. You should be comfortable linking carving turns and driving a ski to get the most out of the Flair SC.