The 2020 Volkl Kanjo is one of those skis that sneaks right up on you. Perhaps it’s not on your radar because it’s not an “expert” ski, or maybe you feel like it’s too narrow, or not stiff enough, or for whatever reason, it doesn’t cross your field of vision. But when you get them on your feet, your tune might change. Most of our testers seemed to have this reaction, and whether they thought it was just plain fun, or an above-average carver, the skis definitely punch above their level. With a titanal band, the skis have some metal, but not the full-metal construction of the Kendo. This makes them lighter and more maneuverable, qualities which a lot of skiers really like. At 84 mm underfoot, they’re certainly not the floaters of the bunch, but for an all-mountain ski that has a lot of good characteristics, the Volkl Kanjo is a surprising favorite.
Right out of the gates, Troy Dehm called the 175 a “really fun ski! Great rebound out of your turns, solid edge hold at speed, and very playful!” He notes that it’s “probably not a great pow ski, but can do everything else very well.” That’s pretty awesome praise coming from Troy, even though he thought the ski was a bit short for him. He continues with his praise: “Playful sidecut and much stiffer than expected. Quick and nimble turns but you can hold a long GS turn on wider trails.” As a nod to the ski’s ability to exceed performance expectations, Troy states that “intermediate skiers will enjoy it while advanced skiers should love it.” Troy’s experience is fun insofar as it shows his surprise at the composure of the Kanjo as well as his impression that the ski has a high-performance ceiling.
Benny Wax liked the 175 and scored it a 5 (5!) for overall impression. He calls it a “great groomer ski that is stable and versatile. It’s able to change the pace and turn radius easily.” He scored the ski a 4 out of 5 in all other categories except flotation, which isn’t a real shocker given the narrow-ish dimensions. But that overall impression score really stands out for a smooth-turner like Benny!
David Wolfgang, one of the taller testers, found himself on the 175 and thought it was a good length for him. His top score was a 4 out of 5 for playfulness, and perhaps the shorter length had something to do with it, but either way, he found it to be quite fun. David calls the Kanjo “A very playful and lively ski. An all-around ski for intermediate and advanced skiers. They transition through all types of turns and I found them to perform best in softer snow.” There’s something to be said for a ski that handles a lot of different snow conditions and turn shapes, and it’s nice to see that our testers are noting this for the Kanjo, which sometimes seems like it struggles to find its audience.
Mike Aidala skied the 175 and scored 4’s out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, and overall impression. Mike’s a hammer-down type of skier, so it’s always interesting to hear what he has to say about skis like the Kanjo. He calls it a “solid performer. The Kanjo skis are a great all-mountain ski for skiers who spend the majority of their time on-trail, but want a ski that can handle an occasional trip off-piste.” This is not that surprising, given the width and build of the ski, and the fact that it functions like a narrower all-mountain ski or a wider and lighter front side ski.
The Volkl Kanjo should not be overlooked by intermediate and advanced skiers who spend most of their time on the front side of the mountain, but are also looking for some versatility and high-performance characteristics to keep in their back pocket. The Kanjo really shouldn’t be overlooked at all!