Volkl calls the 90Eight their most versatile ski, and it’s hard to disagree with that statement. While it lacks the upper-end stability of a Mantra, it makes up for it with its overall character. These things are stable, quick, light, and snappy. At 98 mm underfoot, they’re going to float up and over a fair amount of snow, and with the wood core, they’re far from abusive or demanding. They do, however, have a lot of pop and energy thanks to the 3D Ridge and 3D Glass build. By placing the majority of the mass in the central spine of the ski, the vibrations are kept to a minimum. The larger fiberglass laminate makes the skis stiffer and more responsive, and our testers loved the overall feeling of the skis.
The 177 felt a bit short to Bob St.Pierre, who should be on the 184, but that didn’t stop him from giving a glowing review. With all 4’s out of 5 and a 5 out of 5 for overall impression, it’s safe and fair to say that Bob had a great time ripping these things all over the hill. “Blew away my expectations. They were extremely stable in a carve and gave a great rebound after excellent edge control. I love the 3D Ridge and 3D Glass construction—it makes them so stable for a wood core ski.” Adding to that, Bob remarks on the versatility of the 90Eight: “Wonderful floater as well, but mainly impressed with the edge grip and stability.” It’s pretty impressive that a wider ski can evoke these sentiments, and that the skis can be as versatile as Bob makes them out to be.
Justin Perry skied the 177 and thought it was the proper length. He scored it a 5 out of 5 for flotation and playfulness, so it’s fair to say Justin liked it in the soft snow. He also thought it was highly versatile, scoring it a 4 out of 5 in that category. “Super light-weight and easily maneuverable. Pivot on point like a boss and cut through crud and pow like a champ! Throw a tech binding on them and fly uphill!” Good point by Justin here, indicating that the lightness combined with the downhill performance would make this a great touring ski.
Jeff Neagle, also on the 177, found them to be true to size. He gave high scores for quickness, maneuverability, forgiveness, and versatility. “The 90Eight is a fairly unique ski. Lightweight, but strong torsional stiffness. Not a hard-charger as it doesn’t have the required mass, but a high-end ski nonetheless. Best for someone who values quickness and responsiveness over stability. Also not a smearer, it’s more deliberate and precise in performance and feel.” Jeff also notes the potential for a touring ski by calling it an “adventurous side-country ski.”
Not all high-performance skis have to have two sheets of metal and weigh a ton. The 2020 Volkl 90Eight is a perfect example of this. By placing the mass in the central portion of the ski, Volkl has created a damp, stable, and quick ski that can handle a lot of different terrain and snow conditions. Based on their claim that it’s one of the most versatile skis on the market, it’s hard to argue with the overall notion that these things can simply do anything.