This one’s already making waves and it’s not even halfway through 2019 yet! The 2020 Volkl Kendo 88 is a true all-mountain ski for advanced and expert level skiers in every sense possible. By combining the traditional Kendo personality with the Titanal frame construction that’s used in the M5 Mantra and other Volkl all-mountain ski, the Kendo 88 is a dream come true for many high-level skiers. With the capability to carve amazing turns as well as off-piste capabilities that are on par with much wider and more bulky skis, the Kendo 88 is breaking down barriers all over the mountain. Our testers were pretty much enamored with the performance and versatility of these great skis.
Jeff Neagle skied the 177 and found it to be just about right. Scores of 4.5 out of 5 for stability, torsional stiffness, versatility, and overall impression are pretty telling of this ski’s ability to cross borders and boundaries. Jeff calls it a “great update to the Kendo. It takes a little while to figure it out, but once you find the sweet spot, it’s a dream.” Thanks to the 3D Radius sidecut, “long radius carves and short radius turns both can be achieved depending on how much you’re initiating the forebody of the ski.” Jeff’s medium-level scores for quickness, playfulness, and forgiveness are not surprising given the beefy build of the Kendo, and he notes that appropriately: “Not exceptionally maneuverable and not the best in tight, un-groomed terrain. Requires strong skiing technique in moguls, trees, etc.” Great analysis and feedback!
Also skiing the 177, Kelby Furrer found it to be a good length. He scored it 5 out of 5 for versatility and 4.5 out of 5 for overall impression. His 3 out of 5 for flotation is almost certainly due to the narrower waist width, but that’s what powder skis are for! He could not, however, mask his enjoyment of the new Kendo. “These skis are frickin’ sweet!! Nice playfulness, responsive as hell, crushed the groomers and the crud. They’re definitely good for advanced skiers, but I feel like anyone could enjoy this except for beginners.” This last bit echoes and reinforces Kelby’s impression of the ski as supremely versatile.
Josh Wolfgang got on the 184 and found the size to his liking. His overall impression was that he “liked it more than the Mantra. Felt very similar but was a bit more playful. It performed well in the bumps as well despite the tail being a bit on the stiff side.” This is great information from Josh, noting some similarities and differences between the Kendo 88 and the M5 Mantra. It’s only 8 mm narrower, so the tradeoff with the soft-snow performance might be closer than some skiers might think.
Justin Perry loved the 177, scoring 5’s out of 5 for stability, maneuverability, torsional stiffness, and overall impression. As an M5 Mantra owner himself, Justin has a good amount of data to base his Kendo review off of. “I’ve always been partial to the Kendo being a great, aggressive, all-mountain ski. Volkl keeps that up with another year of Kendo. Great edge hold and quick underfoot at any speed you want. This ski basically just performs.” Justin has a unique perspective on this ski, and it’s great to hear that the Kendo 88 is following properly in the Mantra’s footsteps.
The beauty of the new Kendo is that it can make any turn, any time, and at any speed. There aren’t a whole lot of skis out there that can make that claim.