The 2020 Volkl Flair 81 returns this year for another winter of clean carves and light-weight fun. These skis are snappy, quick, and stable, and skiers who are looking for dominant front-side performance do not need to look any further. At 81 mm underfoot, they’re on the wider side as far as carving skis are concerned, but that extra width underfoot contributes to the stable and balanced nature of the skis. With more material underfoot, you’ll get better snow feel and a wider point to stand on. Powered by carbon, these skis are light and stiff, and the 3D Ridge and 3D Glass construction makes them strong and powerful. Tip and tail rocker help the skier get into and out of turns, and even make the skis float up and over some fresh snow if you’re lucky enough to find it. Our testers were mainly impressed with the quickness, maneuverability, and edge hold of the Flair 81.
Jascha Herlihy dug some trenches on the 163 and loved their versatility, quickness, playfulness, and forgiveness—all categories scoring 4’s out of 5. The 3 out of 5 given for flotation is not surprising, as the Flair 81 is a lot more competent in hard snow versus soft snow. She calls it “playful, light, and energetic. They reacted well to different turns. The shape was dynamic, versatile in mild bumps and chattery surfaces.” She finishes creatively by stating that the Flair 81 is “great for a lady who enjoys a nice glass of Chardonnay for apres!”
Also on the 163, Ariel Aidala loved the playfulness, forgiveness, torsional stiffness, and versatility of the Flair 81. She loved the length and the resulting quickness. Ariel notes the versatile carving nature of the Flair 81: “This ski excelled with tight and loose turns. They performed well in soft snow, but ultimately has its limits.” No surprise there, as the skis are certainly better suited to hard and firm snow conditions. “Hard, quick turns were its jam! A great groomer ski for intermediate to advanced skiers.” Sounds like Ariel liked the fact that you could push hard into these skis and they’ll respond accordingly.
Darcy Mangan, another 163 cm customer, liked the size and had some glowing things to say. She calls it a “solid frontside ski. Deceptive topsheet—ski surprised me by not skiing pastel at all! ??” Yes, it’s an attractive ski, to be sure, and Darcy is getting at the fact that it’s more of a bruiser than a looker in her mind. She continues by stating that the Flair 81 is “so fun on groomers but stable and capable on firm and ungroomed crud. They’re easy to engage and turn quickly.” Other than a discrepancy between the graphic of the skis as misleading, it’s safe to say that Darcy is impressed with the overall performance of the lovely Flair 81.
Morgan Nichols also chimed in on the fun-loving nature of the Flair 81, calling the 163 “super-fun disco stix! They’re quick to hook up and hold a turn. Responsive and great for short quick turns and big cruisers. Perfect for an intermediate to advanced skier.” While Morgan refrained from giving the ski any score in terms of flotation, she did give the ski 4’s out of 5 for all other characteristics including overall impression. So yes, certainly not a powder ski, but a light, quick, stable, and fun ski that has some slick dance floor moves.
On-piste lady rippers will love the quickness and stability of the Flair 81 C, and if you are looking for solid edge hold and fun-loving turn styles, this ski should be at the top of your list. Volkl has a heritage for this sort of thing, so it’s definitely in the genetic makeup of the Flair 81.