2020 Volkl Deacon 84

The Volkl Deacon 84 has some pretty big shoes to fill. No longer is the RTM 84 going to be the go-to model for front-side carving fun. For years, the RTM 84 has been the staple, the bar, the pinnacle of Volkl’s all-mountain carver. You could literally Ride The Mountain on those skis. Fortunately, Volkl’s backup plan is actually a step up. They’ve basically combined their 3D Ridge construction with their Titanal Frame to create the next step in modern carving and all-mountain evolution. They kept the 3D Glass, the full sidewall, and the wood core, and added a 3D Radius sidecut for versatile turn shapes. Overall, this marks a huge improvement over the RTM 84, and we look forward to strong performance both on and off-trail for seasons to come. Our testers were generally very impressed with the edge hold and the composure of this new carving stick.

Marcus Shakun is one of our taller testers, and would have preferred the 182, but still found that the 177 cm test length excelled in both short turns and off-piste adventures. He scored the Deacon 84 5’s in stability and quickness. At that length and with Marcus’ height, I’d hope they’re quick! His overall impression of 4.5 is a great indicator that Marcus was a huge fan of the new build. “Skied a 177 and took it off-trail. It turned on a dime and held an amazing edge. At speed, they’re quite stable.” That’s some pretty impressive feedback for a new ski that’s pretty short for the tester. Marcus also commented that the flex is not great for less-aggressive skiers, specifically mentioning that the tail was pretty stiff.

Also on the 177, Troy Dehm found it to not only be the appropriate length, but also a “hell of a ski! Incredible edge hold with a ton of pop out of your turns. Awesome quick turns and love the 17-meter radius. Big front shovel with no chatter. You can really throw the skis out from under you and rip them back the other way. Nimble in the trees and could be great with some light powder. Perfect ski for many ability levels. Excellent ski!” Unsurprisingly, Troy scored it a 5 out of 5 for overall impression.

Parker Herlihy skied the 177 and thought it was the correct size for him. He scored the Deacon 84 a 5 out of 5 for torsional stiffness and edge hold while his overall impression was a 4 out of 5. His lower scores for flotation and versatility do not come as a shock, as the Deacon 84 is an on-trail groomer-oriented ski for sure. He loved the quickness: “Nimbly bimbly! Strong edge to edge grip and feels like it’s intended for high speed.” Good info from Parker here, as it sounds like he was able to utilize the ski exactly how it was designed.

Rick Randall was also on the properly sized 177 and was pretty much 4’s out of 5 all across the board for all characteristics. Playfulness was his low score of 3, and with a stiffer ski like the Deacon 84, that’s not surprising. He did, however, call the 84 “really easy to ski. Felt comfortable right away on it. Good edge hold, can mix up short to longer radius carved turns and slide easily for short swing turns. Stable at speed and handled the death cookies well.” Sounds like Rick liked the 3D Radius sidecut on the Deacon 84, as that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.

The 2020 Volkl Deacon 84 is all lined up to take the spot that the RTM 84 held before. The RTM laid the groundwork down, and the Deacon is taking it to a new level. The additional construction technologies that Volkl uses make a huge difference, as evidence by our tester’s results.

Testers

Michael Rooney

Age: 72Height: 6'0"Weight: 155 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and precise with a racing background

Tad Lamell

Age: 73Height: 6'2"Weight: 220 lbs.

Ski Style: Experienced and precise with a love for early-morning runs

Rick Randall

Age: 45Height: 5'10"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Efficient and technical with a love for speed

Parker Herlihy

Age: 21Height: 6'4"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Freeride fun with big air on the brain

Troy Dehm

Age: 29Height: 5'10"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Powerful and precise

Bob St.Pierre

Age: 41Height: 6'2"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Adaptable, versatile, ex-competitive mogul skier and coach

Marcus Shakun

Age: 39Height: 6'5"Weight: 225 lbs.

Ski Style: Powerful, but playful with the terrain

17 Comments on the “2020 Volkl Deacon 84”

  1. rip RTM after owning every RTM since they were made, the Deacon is weak. You are just repeating the manufacturers propaganda, they are no replacement for the RTM. The sidecut geometry is ruined. Back to Stockli for me..

    1. Hi Rolf!
      It’s definitely a change, and I was also a huge fan of the RTM 84/86 for years. Loved the Deacon though, especially the versatility. Nothing wrong with the Stockli, that’s for sure! Have fun!
      SE

  2. Hi!
    Excellent review. I’m looking for an alternative to the Head Supershape iTitan. The Deacon 84 seems to be kind of the same category ski, how would you compare the two? Both seem to have tons of edge grip and stability, a lot of pop, and some versatility in different snow conditions. How about versatility in turn radius, or edge to edge, ability level, or other properties? Much appreciate some comparisons and pros and cons for these two great skis. 🙂

    Stig
    Recreational allday racecarver

    1. Hi Stig!
      I’d give the versatility edge to the Deacon for sure. The tip and tail rocker combined with the 3D turn radius make it capable and fun. It’s also got that low-rise binding system, so you’re closer to the snow, giving you better snow feel and quicker edge to edge transitions. For an all-mountain ski, I’d say the Deacon has more to offer, but that Titan is pretty rock-solid on the trails, that’s for sure. Hope that helps!
      SE

  3. Hi,
    I’m in the market for a new pair of skis. I’m 60 and have been skiing since I was 7 yrs old and I’m also a former ski patroller. I want a All-Mountain ski that will handle New England conditions and be able to drop into the trees. I’ve demo’d several skis and narrowed my picks to either the Volkl Deacon 84 Low Rider or the Blizzard Brahma 88. My home mountain is Mount Snow and both skis seem to handle anything on the mountain including the North Face. Being demo skis I did not take them into the trees for fear of damage. I feel that either ski would be a good choice but would like to get a 2nd opinion from a ski expert.

    1. HI Jeff!
      Both great choices. The Deacon is nice because it’s a bit better for a wider variety of speeds. I’ve always felt that the Brahma doesn’t really get going until higher speeds while I thought the Deacon was pretty useful and versatile in slower speeds. A bit narrower for trees, but overall, I’d say the Deacon is a better choice for you. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi,
        I appreciate your response & input to my question. I was leaning toward The Deacon due to Volkl’s reputation and the fact that it felt very stable on a windblown / hard-packed trail I skied 2 weeks ago on the North Face. The Brahma was a big surprise to me as I have never skied anything from Blizzard but unfortunately I didn’t ski both skis on the same day / conditions. I’m 6′ 1″ 220 lbs. and having tested the Deacon in both 177cm & 182cm I feel the 177cm might be the better choice.

  4. Based on the reviews I am having trouble differentiating between the Deacon 80 and 84. What is the major difference in feel of the ski?

    1. Hi Brad!
      Other than the 4 mm of width difference, the main factor is the glass frame versus titanal frame. Circumnavigating both skis is a frame, and int he 84 it’s made of titanal while the 80’s is made of fiberglass. This gives the 80 a quicker feel and a snappier turn while the 84 is damper, heavier, and more stable at speed. The 84 is more “advanced” only because it takes more work to get the ski to carve while the 80 is easier to get on edge. This difference has more impact than the 4 mm of width. Have fun!
      SE

  5. Hi,
    I’m considering a new set of skis for the 2020 NZ winter. I’m currently on a set of 2019 QST99 174cm and enjoyed riding them last year here and in Japan. However, I found that when driven a bit more firmly on-piste they feel soft and don’t have the edge hold I’d like. Most of my time is spent on-piste (perhaps 80/20, or 70/30), and so I’d like something that’s more hard-snow focused. However, I’m having a hard time considering between the Deacon 76 (take 2x sets of skis up the mountain) or Deacon 84 (daily drivers, & keep the QSTs at home for softer/spring snow). Is there anything else I should be looking at as well? I’m 33, 5’10” 145lbs & ski at an advanced intermediate level.
    Cheers
    Mark

    1. HI Mark!
      I think you’ll like the versatility and well-roundedness of the 84 versus the more race-like 76. The 76 is very much built like a race ski just in a wider platform and with a tad of tip and tail rocker. The 84 has less of a race build, an even wider platform, and a friendlier personality while still offering top-end piste performance. When combined with the 99, the 84 will make a great second set. I’d go that route. Have fun!
      SE

  6. Hi,

    I´m looking for a forgiving ski that works well at both low and high speeds. First and foremost on piste, but I would like to start off-piste skiing as well. A ski that you can ski every day for a week on holiday without having to be an expert skier or fully trained. I thougt about the Deacon 84, Rustler 9 or maybe the new Disruption 82Ti. I am 6′ 1″ 200 lbs and currently on a Redster XTi which, to be honest, can do a lot more on piste than I am capable of.

    1. HI Stefan!
      I think you’ll find the Disruption and the the Deacon to be pretty comparable–more capable and versatile than your Redster, but not overly demanding. The Rustler is the wider option, still a strong carver, but with way more all-mountain and freeride capabilities than the other skis on your list. If you’re looking for versatility, look no further than the Rustler, but if you want that on-piste carving performance, the Deacon is likely your next best option. Take care!
      SE

      1. Hi Stefan!
        I think the 177 is the way to go. 182 might be a bit of a stretch, and they’re pretty darn stable, so I think the slightly shorter would be more fun overall. Take care!
        SE

  7. Hi,

    First, you guys freaking rock!
    Please recommend a 2nd set of skis in my quiver. My current pair is Ripsticks 106 Black edition. (my pow/out west ski). I’m looking for an east coast ski which I can charge down the mountain at top speed, hit jibs, dip into trees and also go ski with and teach my kids
    I’m 5′ 10″ 190 lbs Advanced/Expert skier. Here is what I could narrow it down to.
    Rossignol Exp. 88, Volkl Deacon 84, Deacon 80, Vantage 90Ti, Enforcer 88, KENDO 88.
    Would Rossi be too soft for the stability that I’m seeking?

    1. Thanks, Dmitriy!
      Nice to be able to combine work and play! I think the 88’s are the place to be for that second set, unless you really want an on-trail specific ski like the Deacons. I’m including the Vantage in the 88’s as well. One of my main takeaways from the Kendo 88 is that it’s a lot livelier than the older version, which I always found to be planky. It’s actually a fantastic ski with a lot of different levels, in terms of speed and terrain. I never thought a Kendo would be a good tree or bump ski, but that’s where I was most impressed. Still a ripping on-trail ski, not quite the power and stability of the Enforcer, and certainly a level up from the Rossignol and the Vantage, but overall, I didn’t find a weakness for the Kendo in an all-mountain format. The Deacon 84 has a lot of the same attributes, just takes the carving prowess up a notch and the versatility down a peg. Coming from the 106, the Kendo is going to feel like a sport bike–so nimble and powerful. So that’s my recommendation, just right down the middle of the skis on your list in terms of stability, strength, and playfulness. 177 or 184, depending on how aggressive you’re skiing. Have fun!
      SE

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