The 2020 Volkl 90Eight W returns unchanged for this year, and the general reaction is “awesome!” Skiers love the versatility and soft-snow performance of this one-ski quiver. With the 3D Ridge and 3D Glass construction, these skis have roughly the same build as the Flair series, but in a wider and more rockered package. As a result, they not only blow through powder, crud, and chop, but they carve some pretty slick turns for a wider ski. That central ridge really keeps the ski on track, and many companies are getting on board with that particular design type. Our testers were mainly unsurprised at the versatility, and many simply thought that the ski is just about perfect the way that it is.
Lauren Lepage skied the 163 and thought it was just the right size. Her high marks for stability, torsional stiffness, versatility, and overall impression are warranted, given the year-to-year success of this model. The 90Eight W is built to handle it all, and Lauren’s experience echoes that intention. She calls it “a fun ski. They are very stable, and although I wish it had a bit more pop, they are quite solid. I think if you only had a one-ski quiver, this could be it.” That’s some pretty high praise, but given the overall versatility of the 90Eight W, it echoes the sentiments of Volkl’s claim that this is their most versatile ski.
Danielle Nichols preferred the longer length (170) and gave pretty high scores (all 4’s) for all categories. This type of scoring generally reflects the overall impression and versatility of the 90Eight. It’s great to see when a ski is both playful and torsionally stiff. This means that the 90Eight is capable of holding a lot of different characteristics all at the same time. Danielle picks up on the addition of carbon stringers from last year’s model in her review: “I really liked this ski—not sure if the construction changed but they just feel less tinny and are solid underfoot without feeling dead.” Perhaps she skied it two years ago, before the carbon and 3D Glass, which certainly add some power and snap to the skis.
Kelsey Boleski also skied the 170 and gave it some pretty high marks. Her lowest score was a 3 out of 5 and that was for forgiveness, meaning that she found it to be on the stiff side. The rest of her scores were all 4’s out of 5, again showing the versatile and composed nature of the skis. Her characterization rings true in this regard: “the 90Eight is versatile and light. This ski performs surprisingly well at higher speeds for a ski with no metal.” It’s always interesting to see when testers say that a ski does something well, and then list a condition. This implies that a ski punches above its level in some way, and that is usually much appreciated by testers and skiers alike.
The 2020 Volkl 90Eight W is a Jill of all trades to be sure. With its wider platform and innovative design, the skis break a lot of barriers and make believers out of skeptics. How can a ski this wide carve so well? How can a ski without metal feel so damp? These questions, and more, are properly answered by the 90Eight W.