2020 Volkl Kenja 88

The 2020 Volkl Kenja 88 is a new ski for this year, and it has lady skiers all jazzed up. The Kenja of years past had a fairly planky feel, but the new version is a lot livelier. By implementing the Titanal Frame construction that the Mantra M5 and the Secret use, they’ve kept the edge precision and power intact, but have added a snappier and quicker character. When you get on them, you’ll know that they’ve really stepped up their game, and as the narrowest ski with Titanal Frame, it’s super-quick and fun to ski. Our testers were pretty unanimous in their attitude towards the new Kenja 88, and loved the power and versatility of this great new stick.

Lauren Lepage skied the 163 and found the size to be just about right. She scored all 4’s out of 5 with the exception of forgiveness, which garnered a 3 in her mind. As a stiff ski, this is not a shock. The 4’s in versatility and overall impression are telling of her favorable experience on the ski. Lauren calls it “bomber, playful, super-stable. I felt very comfortable at high-speed. The edge control was there and I felt confident on this ski.” While the Kenja 88 is certainly more of an advanced and expert-level ski, it can surely boost confidence in the advancing intermediate crowd as well.

Kristi Brown’s got a colorful description of the 170 that she skied: “The new Kenja is a fanny pack full of fun! Equipped and ready for anything!” Kristi checked all the 5’s on her scorecard, so it’s safe to say she’s a fan of this fanny pack. She goes on to call them “super-versatile and energetic and I love the playful personality, the finesse in bumps, crud, and corduroy.” Great to hear the versatility shows through with this great new ski.

The 163 treated Shelby Parenteau quite well. Her top marks of 5 for stability and torsional stiffness show that the titanal frame construction is the real deal. She calls it the “best ski for cuttin’ through crud. One of the stiffer skis I tested, it was very stable and liked to go fast. The maneuverability was ok, but you’ve got to be on this ski or it will ski you. I would not say it’s a forgiving ski, but if you can handle the Kenja, it is a lot of fun!” Great point by Shelby here, that it does require attention; it is not a lazy ski by any stretch of the imagination.

Ali Berlin skied the 156 and found it to be just the right size. She drew a line right down the middle of the 4’s on the score sheet, leading us to believe that the Kenja 88 is a high-performance, well-rounded ski that is capable of pretty much anything. Her quotes echo that sentiment: “Wow! An extremely versatile ski for whatever you’re looking to do. I found that any turn shape, whether carved, skidded, or smeared, these skis responded. They were stable and quick to move. I felt the skis gripping the snow with an easy release out of the turn.” Very nice summation by Ali here, noting the versatility and the responsive nature of the Kenja 88.

Sometimes new skis kind of fall flat, but the Kenja’s heritage combined with the Titanal Frame construction created a lively, new ski that is poised to set itself apart from the rest of the ~88 underfoot ladies ski crowd.


Ali Berlin

Age: 42Height: 5'"Weight: 110 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast frontside, free spirit.

Shelby Parenteau

Age: 27Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Snowboarder

Katrine Wolfgang

Age: 49+Height: 5'5"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth carving

Ariel Aidala

Age: 27Height: 5'3"Weight: 124 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous and fun with a fall-line mentality

Danielle Nichols

Age: 42Height: 5'4"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast fall line ripper

Shannon Walton

Age: 37Height: 5'3"Weight: 145 lbs.

Ski Style: Carving-oriented with some tricks up her sleeve

Kelly Carroll

Age: 24Height: 5'7"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous and playful with a love for exploration

Elise Magnant

Age: 26Height: 5'6"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Sleek and smooth, with a penchant for clean carves

Catherine Ferguson

Age: 26Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Freeride and freestyle oriented with a flair for fun

Kristi Brown

Age: 49Height: 5'9"Weight: 133 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, precise, very smooth and skis with a lot of finesse

Lauren Lepage

Age: 28Height: 5'5"Weight: 145 lbs.

Ski Style: Half snowboarder, half skier, all fun!

6 Comments on the “2020 Volkl Kenja 88”

  1. I have the 2015 version of the Kenja and love it. Eventually I know it will need to be replaced. This seems like the obvious choice since the width of the Kenja is now down to 88 so close to the 87 undefoot that my 2015s are. How do the two compare. I really like everything about the 2015 so hoping that this is just a newer version of it and who knows maybe a little better?

    1. Hi Kimberly!
      Definitely a great choice. I feel they’ve made all the right improvements for sure. The new model retains all the performance of the older version, but is more lively and quick. They’re lighter and less planky but with no loss of performance. They’re more accessible for different turn shapes and styles, and in my mind, that makes a ski more versatile. You’ll love it I’m sure. Have fun!

  2. I am very interested in the kenja 2020. I have skied for the past 8 years on the kenja 2012 and they have been amazing. I Like to go fast and found the 2012 would start to vibrate and once they went out from under me. . Are the 2020 so light that this might be a problem or will they actually be better with the new construction.

    1. Hi Diane!
      We’ve found them to be less planky and more refined than the older versions. Most of our staff who ski on the newer Kenja and Kendo models love the titanal frame build. They are lighter and more maneuverable, but I don’t think they lost any stability at all. Have fun!

  3. What size do you recommend. I’m an advanced skier, 53 years old, 5’10, 140lb. I have the old 2013 Kenjas in 163, which I really do not like anymore now that Ive been skiing the billard Sheeva 10s, 172 size, and have fell in love with the rocker. I’m looking for an all mountain ski for those hard packed/icy days with lots of edge hold. I tried the Secret and loved the edge hold, but maybe skied too long a ski? The Secret is an incredible ski, but the 170 felt too powerful, heavy and FAST for me…maybe just the wrong size? Do you think that the newer Kenjas might be a better fit or try the Secret in a smaller size? Since I love my Blizzard Sheeva in 173, would I get the Kenja in 170 or shorter? Thanks!

    1. HI Jill!
      I think you’ll have a similar experience with the Kenja in the 170, as the build is the same as the Secret, and only 4 mm narrower, so you’re not gaining back a lot of material by going down a width. Perhaps you’d really enjoy the 163 in either of those skis, as it is quite a different animal versus the Sheeva 10. While your stats put you in the 170 size, it sounds like your experience does not mirror that. I’d give the 163 a shot, and I’d also push to the kenja over the Secret, just to vary up your quiver even more (even it it’s only 4 mm). Have fun!

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