Ski Reviews

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: // Ski Reviews

Replacing one of the world's most popular skis is no easy task, but if anyone is up for the challenge, Volkl can certainly answer the call. Ever since 2012, the RTM 84 has dazzled troves of front-side skiers with its poise, precision, and all-around versatility. They intended the ski to, quite literally, Ride The Mountain, and that's exactly what it did for almost a decade. For 2020, the RTM line has morphed into and joined up with the Deacon line, previously known only for its beer leaguer race skis. Now the Deacon line is quite formidable, with the 84 at the top of the width list, as the 86 has been dropped. Some things have changed, and others have stayed the same, but the overall nature of the ski is right where it should be-a total and complete package when it comes to on-trail precision and off-piste possibilities.

The 3D Ridge that's found on the previous RTM's, and current Flair and Freeride models carries over to the Deacon 84, but in a slightly different way. The ridge is designed to absorb vibrations and make for a stable ride, and it does a great job at that. With the new design, the 3D Ridge is integrated into the ski in a bit lower of a format. It's more recessed into the core, so it doesn't stick out quite like the previous version. This allows for the vertical sidewalls to take hold and bear the brunt of the power to the edges of the ski. By combining the 3D Ridge and the Titanal Frame, the Deacon 84 is a substantial improvement in overall poise and stability.

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: Ski Spec Image

Volkl started using its Titanal Frame when the M5 Mantra was introduced, and it makes a lot of sense as far as on-trail skiing is concerned. The metal over the edges in the frame makes for a highly precise and predictable carve, with minimal vibrations and maximum power. So why not put it in their carving skis? Well, they did, and it works. Since the frame doesn't extend throughout the whole ski, but rather starts and stops between the forebody and the tail, it allows for a more consistent and natural flex pattern throughout. For a carving ski, this also makes a lot of sense in that it affords a deeper carve and a smoother turn. The Titanal Frame eliminates the need for the UVO on the previous RTM 84, making for a sleeker look and a smoother performance. This brings us to the next point of order of the all-new Deacon 84, the 3D Turn Radius.

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: Full Camber Image

I've got to quote from Volkl here, as the verbiage can be tricky, but again, the bottom line is that it works. "Three radii in one ski shape deliver maximum versatility-long radii at the tip and tail provide stability and smoothness, and a short radius in the mid-body allows the skier to switch from long arcs to short turns at will, at any speed!" So how does this technology translate to the actual slope? Really well, in fact. Basically, it means that you can make any turn shape at any time. Volkl lists three different radii for the Deacon 84, but at the 177 cm length, they average it out to a 16.9-meter shape. I noticed that the more you pressured the central portion of the ski, the quicker it came around. I will say that it did take me a run or two to figure it out, but after that, the ski felt natural and intuitive and responsive to my input. When I felt like opening it up and making longer radius turns, the ski responded in kind, and wasn't twitchy like a normal 17-meter radius ski can be at higher speeds. They're claiming a 24-meter radius in the tip, so when you're going fast, this is the shape that the ski wants to take. When you set your edge hard, short-swing turns result accordingly. This technology is now being used on a handful of Volkl's 2020 skis, including the Kendo 88, so it looks like they're putting some serious stock into this design.

As a system ski, you're getting a Lowride XL 13 FR binding with GripWalk capabilities. The biggest distinction with this system is that Volkl has lowered the stand height 10 mm over the previous RTM 84 version. This brings the skier closer to the snow and offers greater precision and balance. The rails are still integrated into the ski, so the resulting performance is still exact and pin-point accurate. Being closer to the snow gives you a quicker edge to edge ability, further increasing your ability for short-swing turns and off-trail capabilities. Speaking of off-trail...

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: Wide Action Image2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: Wide Action Image 2

At 84 mm underfoot and with an XTD tip and tail rocker profile, the Deacon 84 is one of those skis that blurs the line between front side and all-mountain. As such, it's important that we test this thing off-piste. It's a great groomer ski to be sure, but how about moguls, trees, and crud? First off, my initial test run on these skis was made on a trail full of death cookies, so I was challenged right from the start. I was very impressed with their composure and stability even when confronted with difficult snow conditions. Off-trail that day, there was a bit of fresh snow, and the 132 mm tip of the Deacon 84 stayed right on top of it all. The low stand height combined with the quick-turning nature of the ski made moguls and trees easy and fun to ski through. While the older RTM 84 had thinner sidewalls, the Titanal Frame of the Deacon 84 has beefier sides, and this gives the skier a lot more confidence in off-trail scenarios. I always felt like I was going to catch an edge on the RTM, but not so much with the Deacon. It's a whole different sense of power. I'm sure nobody will mistake these for pure powder skis, and that's not the point, but for skiers who live in low-snow areas or who have a wider pair, the versatility and soft-snow performance of the Deacon 84 should not go overlooked

Fans of the RTM 84 will love the upgrades, as Volkl has basically improved the ski in almost every way. It's stronger, smoother, and has a higher-performance ceiling, all while remaining accessible and fun for advancing intermediates looking for that wider front side ski. It's hard to imagine that Volkl would change up something as popular and polished as the RTM 84, but when you get on the Deacon, you'll likely understand pretty quickly that this is a huge boost in poise and performance.

2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: Buy Now Image
2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review: 2020 Ski Test Results Image


 

Written by Bob St. Pierre on 08/21/19

51 thoughts on “2020 Volkl Deacon 84 Ski Review

  1. Guys,

    Would I regret trading my M5 mantra for the Deacon 84? I know they are totally different skis with different design purposes but I wanted to hear your thoughts. Kinda looking for something lighter on the feet.

    Thanks again, keep up the kick ass reviews.

    -CC

    1. I just skied the Deacon 84 today in a heavy snow day with about a foot/30cm overnight - hit the piste and some offpiste trails cutting through the powder. I’m super impressed - this ski handles as well as a recreational race ski, but with the added benefit of working in the powder too. Basically the perfect ski to take out when you’re going to be having fun with friends and will ski a variety of stuff - short swing turns, longer carving turns, then some hopping up and down in the powder. I ski a DPS 112RP touring type set up when I’m going to be skiing 90% powder during the day and have to do some skinning, and this will sit in the middle and I really cannot see myself using the race set up much now. I’m 197cms/105kg big athletic guy.

  2. Having skied both of these models a fair amount I'd say the only time you might miss the M5s would be if you're in a decent amount of powder, where you might want some float. If that's a rare occurrence where you normally ski, I wouldn't fret, especially if you're looking for a lighter feel.

  3. How would you compare these with the Blizzard Brahma 82? Looking for something that is very capable on groomed and hard snow 80% of the time, but is also highly rated for East Coast trees & bumps.

    1. Hi PJ!
      I like the 82 for bumps and skied out trees. The Deacon isn't going to give you much more flotation (if any), and even though the system is the new low ride system, it's still not going to be as quick as the 82. I'd give a slight edge to the Deacon in the carving department, but it's pretty close. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Struggling between this and the Wingman 86 CTI. It seems to be a trade off between a more serious 'performance' ski (and therefore harder to ski more slowly/relaxed) with the Deacon and a lighter more playful ski in the Wingman, whilst sacrificing some edge grip on the latter. Is that a fair assumption?

    I'm a 6 foot 190 lbs who can/does charge/enjoy long GS turns but also playful off the side and between trees....

    Curve ball would be the Kore 93 for playfulness, but assuming much poorer edge grip etc.

    Keen to here you thoughts!

    1. Great comparison, Adam!
      Also, great curveball. I think for true all-mountain performance and fantastic edge grip, the Deacon 84 is tough to beat. You'll always wonder about the edge grip with the Kore, and while the Elan and the Volkl are closer in terms of personality, I found the Elan to be very business-like while the Deacon could be more easily manipulated. I'd go Deacon. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi, I am a PSIA Level 2 instructor. I ride the Kore 93 and I can say that the Kore will bend and hold. I have laid them over in bulletproof (without a recent tune) and laid them over in hero snow. They hold well. They are wide under foot so edge to edge quickness may not be great. I am currently looking at the Deacon 84 or 80.

  5. So I am pretty set on the Deacon 84...I just can’t decide if I should get the 167 or the 172. I am a female and I am just shy of 5’8”. I weigh 140 lbs. I am a fairly aggressive skier but nothing crazy and probably not as aggressive as a male my same size. I have been skiing a 170 with regular camber...so I’m not sure how much the tip and tail rocker will affect the effective edge. Can you enlighten me??? How big is the difference between the two heights going to feel?
    I am a ski instructor moving for my Level 3 exams this year if that helps to know how I would like the ski to perform for me.

    1. And to add, this will be a significant upgrade of ski for me. I’ve been skiing a 170 K2 Apache that is 84 underfoot for several years.

    2. Hi Serenity!
      The rocker of the ski isn't dramatic enough to really change the length, so I'd say they ski true to size for today's standards. The 172 will be just head high on you while the 167 will be about two inches shorter. If you're opening it up and really need that extra stability at speed, the 172 will come at a slight cost for shorter turns and quickness. Not sure if that's a higher priority for you, especially in terms of an exam, but I'd imagine you'd like the shorter and more technically oriented 167 for that application, especially if you plan on using them in a teaching environment as well. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Finallly decided to change my Vokl VWerks after 7 years. Just bought my new Deacon 84177 today. Can't wait to try them on the slope

  6. Last week I took my DPS 112s to Austria in anticipation of some soft snow which never arrived. I demoed a rangs of skis, including the Deacon 84 in 182 cms, the Stockli Stormrider 88 and 95s, the Blizzard Rustler 9, and the Kastle MX84s. The Deacons were the clear winner, so I bought them! Very stable in long carving turns, but quick and lively underfoot. The Stormrider 88s were fantastic too.
    I am 185 cms and 230 lbs, like to ski fast.
    Andy

  7. Considering the Deacons and Mantra 102 and would be interested in an comparison in glades, thigh deep powder, moguls and hardpack. Now skiing the RTM84.

    1. Hi Charlie!
      That's a pretty big gap between the Deacon 84 and Mantra 102. If you're looking for a two-ski quiver, those are great choices! The Deacon has far better edge grip and groomer performance while the Mantra is a beast in soft and broken snow. For moguls, the Deacon is way quicker and easier to maneuver. Could you keep the RTM 84 and get the 102 for softer days? Have fun!
      SE

      1. Appreciate the feedback but have an additional question - K2 Mindbender 99 Ti vs Volkl Deacon 84 - performance differences and terrain best to ski on?

  8. Question - K2 Mindbender 99 Ti vs Volkl Deacon 84 - performance differences on powder (depth?), groomers, hardpack, ice, crud, glades ?

    1. Hi Charles!
      K2 is stronger performer in powder, crud, and glades, but the Deacon is a far superior carver on groomers, ice, and hardpack. The 99 carves well for a 99, but doesn't have the torsional stiffness and edge grip of the Deacon. Have fun!
      SE

  9. 5’10” 160lb. Demoed this ski 2 days ago in a 172 at Deer Valley and really enjoyed it. Was 2 days post snow and skied it fast on groomers and was very maneuverable in bumps which was a mix of packed powder troughs and soft crud peaks. Also skied in trees which was crud and pockets of powder. Big difference between this and the Kendo? Seems like a lot of overlap in stated purpose. Looking for something to complement nordica enforcer 100.

    1. Hi Calvin!
      Yes on the overlap, but that does depend on your usage and quiver. If you have the Enforcer 100, I'd go Deacon 84 all day. For one pair total, I'd go Kendo. The pure carving ability of the Deacon make it a fantastic choice for that front-side ski. Have fun!
      SE

  10. Hi,
    I have been skiing on Volkl AC30s for the past 10 years and so have skipped over the RTMs. Now I am looking to buy new skis again. How would the Deacon compare to the AC30s? I see that there is a camber under foot like the ACs but with rockered tails. Would this be closer to what I am skiing now than the RTMs were?
    Tim

    1. Hi Timothy!
      Yup, great comparison to the AC30 (in a modern sense). Any rocker in the tips and tails is pretty minor and doesn't affect running length, just the ease of getting into and out of turns. Same control underfoot, just a different feel at entry and exit. Have fun!
      SE

  11. I demoed a bunch of skis in January in Tahoe and came away giggling after skiing on the Deacon 84's. As a former ski racer in my teens (age 57 now) these skis gave me the confidence to push it hard on the groomers like no other ski. At 5' 7" 165lbs I was on 172s and I told my family if I bought them I might kill myself or someone else skiing so fast. They just begged you to push it hard and it was very easy. As someone who also likes quick technical slalom turns as well, I am going to buy the 167's. The other skis I really like were the Stockli Laser AX and I was going to go with 175 on them because there are more oriented to shorter radius turns and I want something that will handle fast GS turns.

    1. Hi Nick!
      I'd go Deacon--certainly the best carver of the three, but also has some versatility built in. The other two are more in the all-mountain category with a frontside ability, but if you're focused on the carve, I'd go Deacon. Have fun!
      SE

  12. Hi, just getting back into skiing at 68 after a couple years off. Gave up my trusty Volkl P50's bought 15 years ago (great carving skis) and going to buy Deacon 84's. I do short and long radius turns, primarily on groomers. I want the best of both worlds in a ski that turns really easily but also is stable at speed. I'm about 200lbs, 5'8". What length ski should I get? thanks - Jim

    1. Hi Jim!
      I think you're looking at the 172 for your needs and application. Very stable, but also have a good range of speed limits! Have fun!
      SE

  13. Hi, I am 180cm and 80kg. I only drive on piste. Am good skiier but with my 45years not crazy driving. I guess you d recommend the 172 deacon and not the 167cm, right?

  14. Hello
    I’m trying to select new skis.
    5’-11”/178#, 62 yrs old. 55 yrs on the slopes- advanced skills but NOT an expert.
    Ski in west 12-15 days. 90% on Piste but enjoy resort back bowls with fresh powder. No back country.

    Help me select between Volkl Deacon 84 and Elan 82CTI.
    Edge hold is critical as is quickness to change direction. Need enough forgiveness to handle both carve and skidded turns. Recently Demo’s Kendo 170cm- (178not available). Very nice but seemed a bit damp and sluggish; very nice ski.

    Thanks in advance for your input. Amazing website!!

    1. Hi Skip!
      Even though the Deacon may have some of the similar feel and personality of the Kendo, it's certainly more energetic in a carved turn. I found the Elan to be quite stiff and one-dimensional while the Deacon had a bunch of versatility to it. That said, the singular dimension of the Elan was about as good as it gets on hard snow, it just depends if you're going to be skiing hard snow all the time. Overall, the Deacon 84 sounds like a better choice--still great edge grip and quickness with versatility built in. I'd say the 172 is the proper size in that ski unless you know you like longer skis, at which point the 179 is certainly in play, just may lose some quickness with the length. Hope that helps!
      SE

  15. Awesome. Thanks.
    Deacon sounds the goods. Demo’d the M5 Mantra and although strong it was probably not ideal for mostly piste skiing. Does the kendo “feel” similar underfoot? ....and to really confuse myself...How would the deacon 84 compare to the Fischer RC One GT 86? I’m 6ft and 200lbs but don’t want a ski I’ve got to be driving all day. Stable but a little playful at the same time. 80% on piste.
    Again, thanks in advance. You guys do great work!! Cheers nick.

    1. Hi Nick!
      Kendo and Mantra have more similar feels underfoot versus Kendo and Deacon. The Fischer is more of a tank that doesn't really like quickness, but is an absolute blast in carved turns and on hard snow. Likely won't meet your playful need like the Deacon will. 80% on-piste is definitely Deacon material. Have fun!
      SE

  16. Thanks very much for the info. Deacon it is!
    For a wider option to complete the package I’m looking at either the Mindbender 99 and Fischer 99. Have viewed your excellent reviews for both. Similar or quite different under the feet and in soft snow/ steeps? Thanks in advance.

  17. Hi Nick
    I am 70 6'1 and 205. My everyday skis got knicked and we're old Atomic Merton 177 cm or so. I never loved them really. Tips too stiff in bumps which I now avoid. Squirrely on the flats. But they were quick and I liked that. Not good in crud or more than 4 inches pow.

    So now I am considering Deacon for everyday ski. I like a quick carving ski that can handle crud and resort powder up to say 8 inches or so. Nw skier. At my age I want a ski that makes my day last longer and go easier.

    1. Hi Larry!
      Well now the thief has a pair of skis that he/she will not like! I think you'll love the Deacon--very versatile with a front-side mentality. Probably 8 inches is a definite top end in terms of powder, but that's not what they're best at. Have fun!
      SE

  18. Thanks very much for the info on the Deacon 84.
    For a wider option to complete the package I’m looking at either the Mindbender 99, Fischer 99 or Fischer 102 FR. Have viewed your excellent reviews for all. Similar or quite different under the feet and in soft snow/ steeps? Thanks in advance. nick.

    1. HI Nick!
      I'd say the Ranger 99 has the most similar feel to the Deacon, but I'd say the 102 FR is a better complement, as you're looking to make a wider gap between the two skis, I'd think. The 102 is softer, and therefore better suited for soft snow. The 99's are both on the heavy side and love to carve, while the 102 FR has more versatility and deep snow skills. I'd look to the 102. Have fun!
      SE

  19. I was able to Demo these during a demo weekend at my local hill and had a blast. I asked the Volkl rep for a ski that was all-mountain that I could still rip and go fast. This is what he recommended and said that this ski was starting to turn into his go-to ski because it was so much fun and surprisingly good all over. I actually liked this ski much more than the kendo as the Deacon felt like a sports car and the Kendo was an SUV (surprised me with just 4 cm difference between the two).

    With the blur of demo-day, I forgot to record what length I was actually skiing on. For a male, 6'3 and 240. Should I opt for the 177 or 182. Thanks in advance for all of your help!

      1. I'm an intermediate skier and really considering the Deacon 84 to compliment my enforcer 100. I ski the enforcer in a 177 and only ski Whistler. I'm 185 lbs and 6'1". Could I get away with the 172 or should I ski the 177? What are the pros and cons of each size. Thanks for your help.

        1. Hi Adam!
          Are you looking to get away with having more quickness with added stability? Unfortunately it doesn't really work that way. I'd say the 177 is a better choice overall, but if you are specifically searching for a quicker and more maneuverable setup, the 172 will be fine, I just think it's going to feel too short. Hope that helps!
          SE

  20. So I just got back from my 1st session on the Deacon 84, 177cm. Loved the ski, but the length of them kept "coming up". Maybe a 172cm for me? Expert, 145lbs, 5'10". Ski all types of terrain & conditions. Thanks for your thoughts. PR, Rossland, BC

    1. Hi Pierre!
      I'd say the 177 is on the long end, but not too long. You might be happier overall with the quickness of the 172, and since you're not particularly heavy, I'd say it's certainly worth a shot. Have fun!
      SE

  21. Hi -- I've been riding K2 TurboCharger 172s for two seasons and love them, but feeling a few limitations I'd like to improve upon in my next ski and would love your recommendation on the Deacon 84 or any other alternatives.

    1. More stability when really opening up the turns at higher speeds, without sacrificing too much edge-to-edge quickness. The TurboChargers are awesome with short-to-medium radius turns, but my kid is a locked-in GS monster and when he fully guns it I get to the limit where where I have to back off the throttle sometimes... I need another gear!

    2. Less critical when conditions are mixed, like leftover resort pow/crud and hopping on and off the groomers. The TurboChargers get pretty catchy -- especially when the snow is heavy or moist, like an East Coast storm or out in the Cascades (two places I ski regularly) -- and I'd like to blast in and out without thinking "man I should switch skis" 100x a day.

    I'm 5'9 180lbs, advanced skier

    1. Hi Stephan!
      Love the Deacon 84! For most front side and all-mountain applications, it's going to be fantastic. As always, there are some caveats to note. They're not as catch as the K2, mostly due to the slight tip and tail rocker, so you won't notice as much herky-jerky in the crud, but they're still not going to float seamlessly like a Mantra M5. Conversely, they're not built like race skis, so there is a little something left on the table when it comes to true GS performance. But overall, they strike a fantastic middle ground for skiers like yourself who love the best of both worlds. Slightly narrower and without a system binding, check out the Blizzard Brahma 82 or the Elan Wingman 82. Both of those skis also come in the wider 88 and 86 respectively. I think in those ranges, including the Deacon 84, you'll find everything you're looking for. Have fun!
      SE

  22. Hi, thanks for your reviews and answers. I have a "similar" question about the right size. I'm 5.9 / 175lb and now have 167/78 10 y.o Salomon and need to make a choice about length (I think 167 is ok) and 80 or 84. I've checked different reviews and it looks like 84 is better for Colorado snow...but not sure if it's ok for 167
    Thanks!

    1. HI Max!
      First off, the difference between the 80 and 84 is more than just 4 mm of width, the 84 has a titanal frame while the 80 has a fiberglass frame, meaning the 84 is a higher-performance ski that takes a bit more effort to get going. I wouldn't recommend a different length in one or the other, I think you'd be a 167 in either ski. The 80 is no slouch, however, very energetic and fun!
      SE

  23. I'm an advanced intermediate skier, 6'3", 200 lbs. I learnt on soft 177 skis and currently I ski a 186 Legend X96, but I'd like something better for frontside carving and East Coast big mountain. I'm torn on sizing for the Deacon 84; do you think I need a 182 or will the 177 work for me at high speed? I enjoy bombing groomers, whipping my skis around fast in variable terrain, and carving when I can. Good grip on ice is important. Thank you!

    1. Hi DTM!
      I'm 6/2 220 and I'd ski the 182 all day, especially if you're on a 186 X96. My fear is that the 177 would just feel too short. Even at 182, they're quite maneuverable, and I'd hate to sacrifice stability at speed! Take care!
      SE

  24. How does the Deacon 84 compare to the original Experience 88 with the long effective edge. I am looking for something a little more hard charging than the E88 and which can vary turn shapes more easily, while holding on to at least some versatility. Thanks.

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